Some bits of history
Culham station opened on 12th June 1844 as ‘Abingdon Road’ station, being renamed ‘Culham’ on 2nd June 1856 on the opening of the branch from Abingdon Junction (later closed and replaced by Radley station) to Abingdon. Culham was for a number of years the only intermediate station on the line as Appleford station closed after less than five years of use. The name ‘Abingdon Road’ was later re-used for a halt opened in 1908 to serve the village of South Hinksey. The old ticket office is all that remains of the original station buildings. The signal box (itself a replacement for the original one) was closed on 12th January 1961, with the old broad gauge goods shed and waiting room on platform 1 being removed during 1972. The old footbridge was declared unsafe and was removed, but interestingly the original cast iron pillars survived and now support its replacement.
Culham station was fairly well served with goods facilities right from day one. There was a cattle dock and loop on the Up side, and another loop and goods shed on the Down side with a small weighbridge in the yard and several coal merchants operated out of the station at various times. There were crossings between the running lines and the layout changed only slightly over time. Goods services to and from Culham were withdrawn on 19th July 1965 and the station was reduced to having just the two running lines. Before it was reduced to an unmanned station Culham had its own Station Master and a varying number of staff of different grades, some quicky passing through whilst others remained for many years.
In September 1939 Culham became one of the designated reception stations in the GWR London Evacuation Scheme, and went on to receive around 4,000 evacuees.
Culham is one of the best preserved of Brunel’s characteristic and charmingly designed small country stations, and the only survivor of this particular Tudor Revival design. It was given Grade II* listing by English Heritage on 20th May 1975. Model railway enthusiasts might be interested to know that Culham Station (renamed Pendon Parva) and the Railway Hotel have been included in the Vale layout at the world famous Pendon Railway Museum a few miles away in Long Wittenham.
Closing to the public in the mid 1970s, the old ticket office was let out to a number of different tenants. In 2003 it was the subject of extensive renovation by Network Rail and since early 2014 has been occupied by Entikera Ltd. (trading as Mpfineartprinting
Click or tap link to open a new page and visit the Mpfineartprinting website) who have been proud to open their offices to the public a number of times as part of the national Heritage Open Days scheme and especially so to celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2019. The ticket office forms part of a group of contemporary structures which include the original brick road bridge, the Railway Hotel (opened in 1846) and Thame Lane bridge. Across the forecourt Station House, often referred to as the Station Master's house, was not built until 1898. Remnants of the siding which once served the adjacent Royal Navy air station (HMS Hornbill), now Culham Science Centre, have almost all vanished. Traces of an estate road which once linked Nuneham House to the station are visible in places, although the old gatehouse marking the entrance to the estate has long disappeared.
This is a short introduction to the history of the station at Culham. More detail can be found by exploring the 'Culham in the news' and 'Changes at Culham' pages under the 'ABOUT/Culham Station' menu tab.
Other pages in this section explore the links Culham had with Brunel, the early history of the Didcot to Oxford branch itself and a few of the intermediate facilities which it served.
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