The Henley-on-Thames Branch
Paul Karau presents a detailed account of this GWR Branch Line in the Thames Valley.
The Henley branch, opened in 1857 as one of Brunel's broad gauge 'feeder lines', provided easy access and effectively increased the town's popularity as a Thameside resort and home of the famous Royal Regatta. The increasing traffic necessitated a continuing expansion of facilities and culminated in the doubling of the line in 1897.
This account retraces the hitherto unrecorded history of this neglected line which, terminating some 35 1/2 miles from Paddington, accommodated long trains hauled by main line express locos and yet in quieter moments so often seemed little more than a minor country branch line.
The author was born in Henley and spent many happy hours exploring the line, particularly as a young school-boy. However, the demolition of, in the first instance, the engine shed, water tower and goods shed, such seemingly permanent features, made him realise the need to record the railway and eventually led him to research the history of the branch. Although the line is still open, the author makes no apology for not including a detailed account of the economies following the demise of steam. Henley station has almost totally disappeared, together with so many familiar features, and it is hoped that the reader may be left with an impression of the line in happier times when the service was thriving and vital to the town's economy.
Hardback with dust jacket. 176 pages with many black & white photos, plans and excellent scale drawings of buildings etc.
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Updated: 1 June 2020