The station through time


The earliest images of Culham station we have found are the original contractor's drawings from 1843. These drawings are held by the Network Rail Corporate Archive who very kindly scanned and made them available to us. The full set of images can be seen on their Culham Station GalleryClick or tap to open a new page and view the Network Rail gallery where they may now also be purchased. The full sized drawings are quite large so only extracts are shown below. These drawings were produced for the Oxford Railway Company and are entitled Dorchester Road Station whilst it was actually called Abingdon Road when first opened. Also included in the set is a sheet entitled Dorchester Road Goods Shed - Abbingdon [sic]. The ticket office (on platform 2) and the waiting shelter (on platform 1) drawings do not indicate the relevant platform as we might now expect, but the ticket office is appended Departure and the waiting shelter Arrival.

Network Rail have produced a short video outlining the work of the Network Rail Corporate Archive which can be viewed by clicking or tapping this linkClick or tap to view the Network Rail video.

It is interesting to note that the drawings show the Ticket Office to be constructed with stone or flint walls and not brick infill as actually built. Although of a different design, similar construction was used for the station building at Chinnor, home of the Chinnor & Princess Risborough Railway, which has been beautifully rebuilt with stone infill as per the original. As with the stone/brick infill differences these early drawings may not reflect the station 'as built' condition.

Contractor's drawings from 1843

Contractor drawing
Oxford Railway - Dorchester Road Station ©Network Rail Corporate Archive

~~~~~~ Pangbourne Station ~~~~~~

The station at Pangbourne was opened on 1st June 1840, predating that at Culham by just four years. Those original buildings at Pangbourne were replaced when the main line was quadrupled in 1893. Whilst there were many other similar stationsClick or tap to reveal our hidden page about some of these stations built around the same time, the ticket office at Culham was identical to that at Pangbourne and so, although no very early images of Culham have been found, these of Pangbourne do give a good idea of what Culham might have looked like during its broad gauge days.

Pangbourne station in 1846
Pangbourne in 1846
Print originally published by J.C.Bourne
Author's collection
Pangbourne station in about 1890
Pangbourne in about 1890
courtesy of David Bowman

The first image is an early print by J.C.Bourne, taken from his book The Great Western Railway published in 1846, and gives some idea of what Culham station might have looked like when it first opened. David & Charles produced a limited edition large format, but abridged, reprint of the original book in 1969, a copy of which is in our collection.

The second is a scan of an old photograph which was taken in about 1890. Whilst almost 50 years separate the two images they are strikingly similar. The main running lines have been converted to mixed gauge track to allow both broad and standard gauge (called narrow gauge by the GWR at the time) trains to operate along the same lines, with the standard gauge being nearest to the platforms. Interestingly, it looks as if some of the crossovers have only been laid to the standard gauge.

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Choose a period from the menu bar to see how Culham has changed over time
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