- Reading to Basingstoke Line
The Reading to Basingstoke Line is a short railway link between the
South Western Main Lineand the Great Western Main Line, constructed by the Great Western Railwaybetween 1846 and 1848. The line is served by First Great Westernlocal services between Reading and Basingstoke, which stop at the intermediate stations Reading West, Mortimer and Bramley. The line is also an important through route for longer distance passenger and freight services: CrossCountryservices from Bournemouthand Southamptonto Birminghamand the North of England and freight trains between Southampton Docksand the Midlandsuse the line. The section of line between Southcote Junction and Basingstoke was resignalled in 2006, to increase the capacity of the line.
A railway was originally proposed in 1843 as a link between Basingstoke, Newbury and Didcot by
London and South Western Railway. A new company, Berks and Hants railway had the idea of building the link between Basingstoke and Reading. Berks and Hants railway joined Great Western Railwaybefore the track was laid.
The railway was built by Great Western railway, with the engineer
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who used a broad gauge, from Reading's railway station to Basingstoke. Since the main line at Basingstoke used a standard gauge, this meant that it would be impossible for the railways to share the same station. Great Western railway built a small station to the north of L&SWR's station. In the 1850s however, a new standard gaugetrack was laid down the route. This made it possible for at first freight, and then passenger trains to use the route to link the south coast with the midlands. Around the 1930s, the GWR's terminus at Basingstoke was demolished, with all services transferred to the mainline station.
In 1895, a railway station was opened at Bramley, then in 1917, a large depot was opened at Bramley, which had a complex network of sidings. The depot was used to manufacture and store ammunition, and lasted until 1987. Another station was opened at Reading West, and allowed long-distance trains to call at Reading without the need to reverse at Reading's main station. This became less of an issue when diesel-electric trains were introduced, which could easily reverse at Reading General.
Since the conversion, the line uses
standard gauge. The line is limited to 75mph, and is not electrified. It has a maximum tonnage of 15 tonnes. The line has two tracks. There is a level crossing at Bramley railway station.
The route sees 2 stopping services in either direction every hour which are operated by
First Great Western. A further train in each direction every hour is operated by CrossCountrywhich reverses at Reading.
The railway is listed with Network Rail as part of route 13, the
Great Western main line. In July 2007, plans were agreed to build a station in Reading south of Southcot Junction in the Green Park business park, serving the southern suburbs of Reading and also the Madejski Stadium. The station is expected to be complete in December 2008. [ [http://www.greenpark.co.uk/factfile/newreadingstation.shtml GreenPark - Reading GreenPark Station ] ]
* [http://web.ukonline.co.uk/cj.tolley/cjt-brhr.htm| Basingstoke's railway history]
* [http://www.firstgreatwestern.com| Official Site for First Great Western]
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