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The ser­vice

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.

The trains

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.

The mod­els

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.

Best at­mos­phere

Halt and con­nec­tion to the US Air Force base at Welford Park.

Present sta­tus

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.

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