Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Heath End - the Fictitious Origins

The Basingstoke and Newbury Railway was enacted some time after the building of the LSWR and GWR lines through those two towns, and Heath End Station was approximately half way along the line, not only providing an important rail link between two important towns, and facilitating in particular, race traffic for Newbury, it provided the Brick and Tile Works at Axmansford easy access to markets for its fine products.

The upper map shows the route between the two towns, and the lower a more detailed location of the Station, like so many, quite some way from its eponymous settlement! Originally there was a private siding to Wheat Fold, necessitating a second arch to the overbridge to the south of the Station; this closed in the mid-war period, and Coutenay and Cox, local coal and coke merchants purchased the arch for its offices and stores.

The Station comprises a single platform, with a level road crossing at the north end, and a passing loop at the south end, leading to the coal yard, and two other sidings, one incorporating a cattle pen, and carriage chute. Trains originating on both Companies' metals traverseed the line, but it was owned by the GWR and the buildings and signalling reflect that Company's practice. However, in the mid 1950s, when the BR Board rejigged the Regional boundaries, the operation of many of the lines to the south-west changed hands, and so the responsibility for this line transferred to the Southern Region.

The period modelled is just after that transfer, so that signs and paintwork are beginning to change colour from the old [not updated] GWR light and dark stone, to the SR green and cream.

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