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The Thames Trumper

Saturday 27 January 2018

Start 2018 with a nice gentle Forgotten Tracks tour of freight-only lines in and around the Thames Valley.

Starting at Paddington and reversing at Southall Yard we firstly traverse the Brentford Goods branch, running via Trumpers Crossing. The branch has latterly been used for refuse and scrap metal traffic. It once ran a little further to Brentford Dock alongside the Thames and the intermittent passenger service ended permanently in 1942.

We return to Southall and head west to West Drayton where we initially veer right before diving under the GW Main Line to follow the Colnbrook branch which has in recent years been used to service Heathrow with fuel supplies as well as construction materials for Terminal Four. The line used to extend to Staines West and carried passenger trains until 1965.

After a further reversal near Hayes & Harlington we continue our journey west, passing Reading and Didcot to reach Kennington Junction just to the south of Oxford. We reverse once again and immediately cross over the Thames. We are now on a branch that was once a through route to Thame and Princes Risborough but which now survives only to serve the former Morris Cowley factory, ancestral home of the Morris Minor, now the BMW plant, present-day home of the Mini. We are very grateful to BMW for agreeing to our train running into their loading terminal, hopefully continuing right to the end of the line.

Leaving the Cowley branch we then head through Oxford where we take a right turn, taking the former LNWR route that has very recently been upgraded as part of the Chiltern Railways route between here and London Marylebone. Travelling via Bicester and the new chord at Gavray Junction, our homeward route is via Princes Risborough, West Ruislip and Old Oak. .

All timings are provisional and intended only as a guide.

London Paddington08.0017.25