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The Lambourn Valley Railway
Stations & Crossings
Photo : L&GRP

Heading in the down direction from Newbury, Boxford station was the first stop to be equipped with a small goods siding. This siding took the form of a passing loop, i.e, connected at both ends. Unlike Stockcross and Bagnor, further down the line, Boxford station was very close to the village of Boxford. Like all other LVR stations, passenger facilities were sparse. Public access consisted of a basic cinder crossing that led from the goods yard to the ramp at the Newbury end of the platform. To the rear of the station there existed a steep embankment that dropped away quite sharply, ruling out any form of legitimate access from that direction.

Above: Looking towards Lambourn, early 1920s. The first building on the platform was the LVR-supplied wooden office, at the rear of which was a small lean-to storeroom. In 1908, the Board of Trade had approved plans for the partial reconstruction of the station, including lengthening the platform by some 30 feet and raising it to standard height. The siding length was increased to accommodate up to nineteen wagons, and of course, the regulation GWR pagoda was constructed next to the original office. The nearer of the two cinder crossings in the above picture is the aforementioned passenger foot crossing. The further one enabled road vehicles to reverse up to the platform edge in order to make loading and unloading operations easier.

Photo : Unknown Photo : Unknown

During the independent days of the LVR, the station was looked after in the usual fashion by a lad porter. But in line with the other larger stations, the GWR upgraded the position to that of a Class 1 porter. Here at Boxford, he was also required to undertake the free delivery and collection of small parcels within a half mile radius of the station on a GWR-supplied pedal cycle.

From 1903 until around 1940, the station was overseen by local man 'Charlie' Brown. Despite the requirement of him to perform the many varied tasks associated with the railway, Charlie was always immaculately presented in his Great Western uniform. He was also credited for being able to swing up the door of a drop wagon to the closed position and then knock up the clips single handedly, not the easiest of things to accomplish while standing at ground level.

In addition to his railway duties, Charlie was also a special constable. In 1926, at the start of the General Strike, he locked up and secured the station and subsequently reported for police duty. Charlie was detailed to provide security cover for public amenities buildings to prevent sabotage. Where was he assigned to?  Why, the local railway station at Boxford of course!

Photo : J.H Moss
Left: The south end of the station, looking towards Newbury. The black hut on the right is for the permanent way gang and housed equipment required for the safe and uninterrupted operation of the line. Equipment for dealing with snow  and ice in the winter months would also be stored here. The line dropped away on a gradient of 1 in 82 through the station, then out onto the embankment and away to Stockcross. Centre left is a standard-height loading gauge.    

Initially, senders of goods had to deliver all outgoing items to the station themselves. The goods in question would have been in the form of quite sizable quantities of corn, barley, hay, straw, timber, milk and eggs. In later years a local carrier, probably one of the coal merchants, took on the contract for collecting this type of produce direct from the farms. As a result of the introduction of the GWR Country Lorry Service from Newbury however, the contract was short lived. Given the small rural nature of the station, the amount of traffic handled was impressive and accounted for a high percentage of the receipts for the branch.

Photo : J.H Moss

Left: Porter Charlie Brown was succeeded by a local lady, Edith McCartney. Edith was known by the village folk as the 'station master of Boxford'. She took on all the duties previously handled, by Charlie, but was assisted with the heavier lifting by a porter from one of the other stations.

The goods vehicle crossing had long gone by the time this photograph was taken in 1951, leaving just the foot crossing. Milk traffic was now in the domain of the road hauliers and had completely disappeared from the railway.

Mrs. McCartney remained at the station until staffing ceased on 2nd August 1954, at which point she took control of the station at Speen. This arrangement required a daily cycle ride from her home at Boxford and continued until closure of the line. The wooden hut was moved from the platform to a roadside position in the village. Situated adjacent to 'The Bell Inn.' it started a new career, still protecting passengers from the elements, but this time as a bus shelter. As of 2015, it was still there, doing a sterling job. The sole job of the overbridge to the north of the station was to provide access to a nearby field.

Photo : A. Attewell
Left: The railway continued on through a cutting towards Welford Park. The open-air ground frame controlling the north end turnout is just visible to the left of the cutting with a single tongue catch point in the siding alongside the mile post.

The points were removed in 1964, having been clipped out of use in June of 1962. The set at the southern end of the station was lifted in March 1965.
Photo : John Smith Photo : C. Gordon Watford

Below left: the line to the south of Boxford with the three car unit on the Isis tour of 1970.
Below right: The same stretch of line presumably taken a few days later when the snow had almost disappeared from view.
photo  : D. Cannings ..... photo : C Webb

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