John Speller's Web Pages Brentford Branch

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Broad Gauge

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Considering its proximity to Heathrow, the Great Western Railway's Brentford Branch might, had it survived the Second World War, have taken on a new importance. The Great Western & Brentford Railway Company was chartered on 14 August 1855 to build a line, 4 miles 62 chains long, from Southall on the Great Western main line to Brentford in Middlesex, where there would be a dock on the River Thames. The Directors included the redoubtable Captain Bulkeley of Windsor. The Brentford Branch was partly built to stave off a long-forgotten attempt of the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway to build a line to London via Oxford, Princes Risborough and Southall to Brentford against much Great Western opposition. The Great Western & Brentford Railway opened for traffic on 18 July 1859. The ownership of the Brentford Branch was vested in the Great Western Railway under an Act of 5 July 1865. The branch was originally double-tracked, but traffic was never as heavy as had been anticipated and on 4 June 1875 the up line was removed and the down line converted to narrow gauge. Passenger service ceased on 22 March 1915 but was reinstated on 12 April 1920, only to be withdrawn permanently in 1942. An intermediate halt at Trumpers Crossing between Southall and Brentford operated 1904-15 and 1920-26. Goods traffic continued until complete closure in 1970. The track is still intact and in the twenty-first century some freight trains have again been run on the branch. One of these is shown here.
Map of the Brentford Branch and surrounding lines
Steam railmotor service was introduced on the Southall to Brentford Branch 1 May 1904, at which time a new "Halte" opened at Trumpers Crossing
Circular issued to Great Western staff concerning the introduction of railmotor service on the Brentford Branch in 1904
In 1901 the Railway Magazine lamented that so few passengers used the Brentford Branch to travel to Paddington that it could hardly be called a suburban railway. Nevertheless the 1902 timetable shows a generous 9 trains each way on weekdays and 7 on Sundays
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