GWR RAILCAR No. 18 TO LAMBOURN
The 121/2 mile branch line from Newbury to Lambourn was built as a light railway and opened in 1898. It was taken over by the GWR in 1905 and a standard GWR station replaced the original wooden structure at Lambourn. The line served villages with several small halts, but passenger traffic was always light and seldom warranting more than one coach. However, the Lambourn Downs racehorse training area offered considerable traffic in racehorses.
In steam days, a single coach worked by a pannier tank, a Collett or Dean goods 0- 6- 0, or one of the pretty EX-MSWJR Beyer-peacock 2-4- 0s, would suffice, allowing for several horseboxes to be added when necessary. In order to dieselise the service a bespoke vehicle was needed, and GWR railcar No. 18 was known as ‘ the Lambourn Valley car’. It had a more angular body with flat sides and rounded ends, fitted with
conventional buffers and couplings.
It was geared down to 40mph so it could haul horseboxes.
Railcar No. W18W has only ever been offered as a westward whitemetal kit to fit the Lima or Hornby railcar chassis. It is no longer manufactured, but you might find one second-hand.
Halt and connection to the US Air Force base at Welford Park.
The branch and Lambourn station have been demolished and built over. Some small structures from the branch are preserved at Didcot Railway Centre.
Left: On August 7 1954 railcar No. W18W stands at Lambourn in front of the pristine GWR station building.
Top: The Westward Models cast whitemetal kit for railcar No. W18, designed to fit on a Lima/hornby railcar chassis, is no longer in production.