City of London
The City of London is a city and county that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district of London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the agglomeration has since grown far beyond the City's borders; the City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London, it is a separate county of England, being an enclave surrounded by Greater London. It is the smallest county in the United Kingdom; the City of London is referred to as the City and is colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 sq mi in area. Both of these terms are often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services industries, which continue a notable history of being based in the City; the name London is now ordinarily used for a far wider area than just the City.
London most denotes the sprawling London metropolis, or the 32 London boroughs, in addition to the City of London itself. This wider usage of London is documented as far back as 1888; the local authority for the City, namely the City of London Corporation, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority. It is unusual in having responsibilities and ownerships beyond its boundaries; the Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an office separate from the Mayor of London. The Lord Mayor, as of November 2018, is Peter Estlin; the City is a major business and financial centre. Throughout the 19th century, the City was the world's primary business centre, it continues to be a major meeting point for businesses. London came top in the Worldwide Centres of Commerce Index, published in 2008; the insurance industry is focused around Lloyd's building. A secondary financial district exists at Canary Wharf, 2.5 miles to the east.
The City work there. About three quarters of the jobs in the City of London are in the financial and associated business services sectors; the legal profession forms a major component of the northern and western sides of the City in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located, of which two—Inner Temple and Middle Temple—fall within the City of London boundary. Known as "Londinium", the Roman legions established a settlement on the current site of the City of London around 43 AD, its bridge over the River Thames turned the city into a road nexus and major port, serving as a major commercial centre in Roman Britain until its abandonment during the 5th century. Archaeologist Leslie Wallace notes that, because extensive archaeological excavation has not revealed any signs of a significant pre-Roman presence, "arguments for a purely Roman foundation of London are now common and uncontroversial."At its height, the Roman city had a population of 45,000–60,000 inhabitants.
Londinium was an ethnically diverse city, with inhabitants from across the Roman Empire, including natives of Britannia, continental Europe, the Middle East, North Africa. The Romans built the London Wall some time between 190 and 225 AD; the boundaries of the Roman city were similar to those of the City of London today, though the City extends further west than Londonium's Ludgate, the Thames was undredged and thus wider than it is today, with Londonium's shoreline north of the City's present shoreline. The Romans built a bridge across the river, as early as 50 AD, near to today's London Bridge. By the time the London Wall was constructed, the City's fortunes were in decline, it faced problems of plague and fire; the Roman Empire entered a long period of instability and decline, including the Carausian Revolt in Britain. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, the city was under attack from Picts and Saxon raiders; the decline continued, both for Londinium and the Empire, in 410 AD the Romans withdrew from Britain.
Many of the Roman public buildings in Londinium by this time had fallen into decay and disuse, after the formal withdrawal the city became uninhabited. The centre of trade and population moved away from the walled Londinium to Lundenwic, a settlement to the west in the modern day Strand/Aldwych/Covent Garden area. During the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, the London area came in turn under the Kingdoms of Essex and Wessex, though from the mid 8th century it was under the control or threat of the Vikings. Bede records that in 604 AD St Augustine consecrated Mellitus as the first bishop to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the East Saxons and their king, Sæberht. Sæberht's uncle and overlord, Æthelberht, king of Kent, built a church dedicated to St Paul in London, as the seat of the new bishop, it is assumed, although unproven, that this first Anglo-Saxon cathedral stood on the same site as the medieval and the present cathedrals. Alfred the Great, King of Wessex and arguably the first king of the "English", occupied and began the resettlement of the old Roman walled area, in 886, appointed his son-in-law Earl Æthelred of Mercia over it as part of their reconquest of the Viking occupied parts of Englan
London Waterloo station
Waterloo station known as London Waterloo, is a central London terminus on the National Rail network in the United Kingdom, located in the Waterloo area of the London Borough of Lambeth. It is connected to a London Underground station of the same name and is adjacent to Waterloo East station on the South Eastern main line; the station is the terminus of the South Western main line to Weymouth via Southampton, the West of England main line to Exeter via Salisbury, the Portsmouth Direct line to Portsmouth Harbour and the Isle of Wight, several commuter services around West and South West London, Surrey and Berkshire. Many services stop at Clapham Woking; the station was first opened in 1848 by the London and South Western Railway, replaced the earlier Nine Elms as it was closer to the West End. It was never designed to be a terminus, as the original intention was to continue the line towards the City of London, the station developed in a haphazard fashion leading to difficulty finding the correct platform.
The station was rebuilt in the early 20th century, opening in 1922, included the Victory Arch over the main entrance, which commemorated World War I. Waterloo was the last London terminus to provide steam-powered services, which ended in 1967; the station was the London terminus for Eurostar international trains from 1994 until 2007, when they were transferred to St. Pancras International. Waterloo is the busiest railway station in the UK, it is the country's largest station in terms of floor space and has the greatest number of platforms at 24. When combined with the Underground and Waterloo East stations, it is the busiest station complex in Europe; the station's formal name is London Waterloo, appears as such on all official documentation. It has the station code WAT, it is in the London Borough of Lambeth on the south bank of the River Thames, close to Waterloo Bridge and northeast of Westminster Bridge. The main entrance is to the south of the junction of York Road, it is named after the eponymous bridge, which itself was named after the Battle of Waterloo, a battle that occurred two years prior to the opening ceremony for the bridge.
Several London bus routes, including 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 171, 176, 188, 507, 521 and RV1 all stop at Waterloo. Some buses call at stops by the side of the station on Waterloo Road, others at Tenison Way, a short distance from the Victory Arch. Waterloo was built by the South Western Railway, it was not designed to be a terminus, but a stop on an extension towards the City. It replaced the earlier Nine Elms, which had opened on 21 May 1838 and connected London to Southampton since 11 May 1840. By the mid-1840s, commuter services to Wandsworth, Kingston upon Thames, Ditton Marsh and Weybridge had become an important part of L&SWR traffic, so the company began to look for a terminus closer to Central London and the West End. An Act of Parliament was granted in 1845 to extend the line towards a site on York Road, close to Waterloo Bridge; the extension past Nine Elms involved demolishing 700 houses, most of it was carried on a brick viaduct to minimise disruption. The longest bridge took the line over Westminster Bridge Road.
The approach to the new station carried four tracks, with the expectation that other companies would use it. The station was designed by William Tite and opened on 11 July 1848 as "Waterloo Bridge Station". Nine Elms closed for regular services at the same time, but Queen Victoria was fond of the privacy afforded by the old station, so it was kept open for her, a replacement private station built on Wandsworth Road in 1854. Waterloo Bridge was laid out as a through station, as it was expected that services would continue towards the City of London; the L&SWR purchased several properties along the route, before the plans were cancelled owing to the financial crisis following the Panic of 1847. In October 1882, Waterloo Bridge station was renamed Waterloo, reflecting long-standing common usage in some L&SWR timetables; the L&SWR's aim throughout much of the 19th century was to extend its main line eastward beyond Waterloo into the City of London. Given this, it was reluctant to construct a dedicated grand terminus at Waterloo.
Waterloo had none of the usual facilities expected of a terminus until 1853, when a small block was built on the far east side of the station. In 1854, the London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company opened a private station inside Waterloo that provided services to Brookwood Cemetery; the station was demolished and replaced with a dedicated building in 1902, as part of the reconstruction of Waterloo in the early 20th century. Traffic and passengers to Waterloo increased throughout the century, Waterloo was extended in an ad-hoc manner to accommodate this. In 1860, new platforms were added on the northwest side of the station. An additional dock siding of the main station opened on 17 March 1869. A 5-chain link to the South Eastern Railway line from London Bridge to Charing Cross opened in July 1865, it was diverted from London Bridge to Cannon Street on 1 February 1867, before being withdrawn the following year. The SER opened Waterloo Junction station on 1 January 1869 as a replacement, that allowed LSWR passengers to change and access services to Cannon Street.
A further extension on the southeastern side of Waterloo, to provide more services, opened on 16 December 1878. A further extension to the north, beyond the Windsor Station, opened in November 1885. For each extension, the long-term plan was that the expansion was "temporary" until the line was extended past Waterloo, therefore these addi
Windsor & Eton Riverside railway station
Windsor & Eton Riverside station is a station in Windsor, England. The station, close to the River Thames and Windsor Castle, is a Grade II listed building, it is 25 miles 48 chains down the line from London Waterloo and is the terminus of the Staines to Windsor Line, served by South Western Railway. The station is in close proximity to Windsor's other station, Windsor & Eton Central, served by Great Western Railway trains from Slough on the Windsor branch of the Great Western Main Line; the station building was designed by William Tite as a royal station with a stone-faced frontage with a mullioned and transomed main window, gables and a multi-arch entrance. The main booking hall is now a wine bar. There is a spacious concourse under the train shed at the head of the platforms; the two platforms extend a considerable distance beyond the train shed. The wall on the southeast side of the station forms a long curve, parallel with the platform, containing a series of arches with depressed heads; this wall links the station proper with the former Royal Waiting Room built for Queen Victoria.
This is a small building of main room and ante rooms crowned by a turret with spirelet, has Tudor arched windows. The interior of the main room has a ribbed ceiling with a pendant finial; the route from Staines was authorised in 1847 and was opened by the Windsor and South Western Railway as far as Datchet, on the opposite side of Home Park from the town of Windsor, on 22 August 1848. Opposition from both Windsor Castle and Eton College delayed the completion of the line, but the Riverside station was opened on 1 December 1849. In 1848 before Riverside station opened, the Windsor and South Western Railway had been incorporated into the London and South Western Railway, which ran the services until 1923 when, under the railway grouping of the Railways Act 1921, the LSWR became part of the Southern Railway. In 1930 the line was electrified on the third rail system at a nominal 660 volts DC. In the 1948 nationalisation the line became part of the Southern Region of British Railways. In 1974 the level crossing in the throat of the station giving access to Romney Lock was closed and replaced by a footbridge.
Vehicular access to the lock was maintained by a road constructed on the north side of the station through the former goods yard which became the station car park. As part of the privatisation of British Rail, the Stagecoach Group company South West Trains took over operation of the service and the station in 1996. Ownership of the line and station subsequently to Network Rail; the Windsor Link Railway was a 2009 proposal for a new railway connecting the Great Western and South West Trains franchise areas and linking both to Heathrow Airport. Windsor & Eton Central and Windsor & Eton Riverside railway stations would be replaced with one through-route station in the Windsor Goswells; the proposal was rejected by the Government in December 2018. On 22 May 2009, the end carriage of the 06:15 departure derailed as the train pulled out of the station causing disruption to services for much of the day. No trains ran the full route, with an hourly service terminating at Datchet and all other trains terminating at Staines.
On 11 October 2009 the bogie of a DEMU, on "The Eton Rifles" tour, derailed on arrival at platform 1. The tour could not continue and passengers were sent out on the next timetabled train. On 30 January 2015, a Class 458/5 operated by South West Trains was damaged by fire following severe electrical arcing which occurred shortly after departing Windsor & Eton Riverside; the train's guard was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. There is a half-hourly service to London Waterloo seven days a week, taking just under an hour to reach Waterloo; the service is provided by South Western Railway. Mitchell, Victor. Waterloo to Windsor. Middleton Press. ISBN 0-906520-54-1. Windsor History – includes photographs of station
Great Western Railway (train operating company)
First Greater Western Limited, trading as Great Western Railway, is a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup that operates the Greater Western railway franchise. It manages 197 stations and its trains call at over 270. GWR operates long-distance inter-city services along the Great Western Main Line to and from South West England and South Wales, as well as the Night Riviera sleeper service between London and Penzance, it provides commuter/outer-suburban services from its London terminus at Paddington to West London, the Thames Valley region including parts of Berkshire, parts of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. GWR was due to begin operating the Heathrow Express service under a management contract on behalf of Heathrow Airport Holdings from August 2018; the company began operating in February 1996 as Great Western Trains, as part of the privatisation of British Rail. In December 1998 it became First Great Western after FirstGroup bought out its partners' shares in Great Western Holdings.
In April 2006, First Great Western, First Great Western Link and Wessex Trains were combined into the new Greater Western franchise and brought under the First Great Western brand. The company adopted its current name and a new livery in September 2015 to coincide with the start of an extended franchise, due to run until April 2020; as part of the privatisation of British Rail, the Great Western InterCity franchise was awarded by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising to Great Western Holdings in December 1995 and began operations on 4 February 1996. Great Western Holdings was owned by some former British Rail FirstBus and 3i. In March 1998, FirstGroup bought out its partners' stakes to give it 100% ownership. In December 1998, the franchise was rebranded as First Great Western. On 1 April 2004, First Great Western Link commenced operating the Thames Trains franchise, it operated local train services from Paddington to Slough, Henley-on-Thames, Didcot, Newbury, Worcester, Hereford and Stratford upon Avon.
It operated services from Reading to Gatwick Airport, from Reading to Basingstoke. On 1 April 2006, the Great Western, Great Western Link and Wessex Trains franchises were combined into a new Greater Western franchise. FirstGroup, National Express and Stagecoach were shortlisted to bid for this new franchise. On 13 December 2005, it was announced. First planned to subdivide its services into three categories based on routes. Following feedback from staff and stakeholders, the decision was taken to re-brand and re-livery all services as'First Great Western'. In May 2011, FirstGroup announced that it had decided not to take up the option to extend its franchise beyond the end of March 2013. FirstGroup stated that, in the light of the £1bn plan to electrify the Great Western route from London via Bristol to Cardiff, it wanted to try to negotiate a longer-term deal. CEO Tim O'Toole said: "We believe we are best placed to manage these projects and capture the benefits through a longer-term franchise."By not taking up the option to extend its original franchise contract for a further three years, FirstGroup avoided having to pay £826.6m to the government.
In March 2012 Arriva, FirstGroup, National Express and Stagecoach were shortlisted to bid for the new franchise. The winner was expected to be announced in December 2012, with the new franchisee taking over in April 2013; the ITT ran from the end of July until October 2012. The winner would have been announced in March 2013, taken on the franchise from 21 July 2013 until the end of July 2028; the new franchise would include the introduction of new Intercity Express Trains, capacity enhancements and smart ticketing. The award of the franchise was again delayed in October 2012, while the Department for Transport reviewed the way rail franchises are awarded. In January 2013, the government announced that the current competition for the franchise had been terminated, that FirstGroup's contract had been extended until October 2013. A two-year franchise extension until September 2015 was agreed in October 2013, subsequently extended until March 2019. A further extension to April 2019 was granted in March 2015.
The refurbishment of first class carriages in 2014 included interiors that featured a new GWR logo and no First branding. The whole company was rebranded as Great Western Railway on 20 September 2015 and introduced a green livery in recognition of the former Great Western Railway; the new livery was introduced when HST interiors were refurbished, on sleeper carriages and Class 57/6 locomotives. Great Western Railway is the primary train operator in Devon, Somerset, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire. Great Western Railway operates commuter services between London and destinations such as Slough, Reading, Oxford, Bedwyn, Hereford and Banbury. There are services between Reading and Basingstoke. Trains run on various north-south routes from Cardiff and Worcester to Taunton, Salisbury, Southampton and Brighton. Many of these run via Bristol; the company runs trains on local routes including branch lines in Devon and Cornwall, such as the Looe, Newq
London Paddington station
Paddington known as London Paddington, is a Central London railway terminus and London Underground station complex, located on Praed Street in the Paddington area. The site has been the London terminus of services provided by the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the main line station was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Paddington is the London terminus of the Great Western main line, operated today by Great Western Railway, which provides the majority of commuter and regional passenger services to west London and the Thames Valley region as well as long-distance intercity services to South West England and South Wales, it is the terminus for the Heathrow Express and TfL Rail services to and from Heathrow Airport. It is one of 11 London stations managed directly by Network Rail, it is situated in fare zone 1 and has two separate tube stations providing connections to the Bakerloo, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines. The station has been perennially popular for passengers and goods milk and parcels.
Major upgrades took place in the 1870s, the 1910s and the 1960s, each trying to add additional platforms and space while trying to preserve the existing services and architecture as much as possible. Paddington was first served by London Underground trains in 1863, as the original western terminus of the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground railway. In the 20th century and commuter services appeared at Paddington as the urban sprawl of London moved westwards. Despite the numerous upgrades and rebuilding, plus damage sustained in particular during World War II, Brunel's original design is still recognisable; the station complex is bounded at the front by Praed Street and at the rear by Bishop's Bridge Road, which crosses the station throat on Bishop's Bridge. On the west side of the station is Eastbourne Terrace, while the east side is bounded by the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal; the station is in a shallow cutting, a fact obscured at the front by a hotel building, but which can be seen from the other three sides.
To the north of the station is the Westway, to the northeast is Edgware Road, to the east and southeast is the London Inner Ring Road. The surrounding area is residential, includes the major St Mary's Hospital and hotels; until there was little office accommodation in the area, most commuters interchanged between National Rail and the London Underground to reach workplaces in the West End or the City. However, recent redevelopment of derelict railway and canal land, marketed as Paddington Waterside, has resulted in new office complexes nearby; the station is in London fare zone 1. In addition to the Underground stations at Paddington, Lancaster Gate station on the Central line is a short walk away to the south. A little further to the south lie the conjoined parks of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Several London Buses routes, including Nos. 23 and 205 serve the station. The National Rail station is named London Paddington, a name used outside London but by Londoners, who call it just Paddington, as on the London Underground map.
This same practice applies except London Bridge. Parts of the station, including the main train shed, date from 1854, when it was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as the London terminus for the Great Western Railway, it is one of eleven stations in London managed by Network Rail. After several false starts, Brunel announced the construction of a railway from Bristol to London on 30 July 1833; this became the GWR, he intended it to be the best railway in the country. The GWR had planned to terminate London services at Euston as this allowed them to use part of the London and Birmingham Railway's track into the station, which would have been cost effective; this received government approval in 1835, but was rejected as a long-term solution by Brunel as he was concerned it would allow Liverpool to compete as a port with Bristol if the railway from Birmingham was extended. The first station was a temporary terminus for the GWR on the west side of Bishop's Bridge Road, opened on 4 June 1838; the first GWR service from London to Taplow, near Maidenhead, ran from Paddington in 1838.
After the main station opened, this became the site of the goods depot. Brunel did not consider that anything less than a grand terminus dedicated to the GWR would be acceptable, this was approved in February 1853; the main station between Bishop's Bridge Road and Praed Street was designed by Brunel, enthusiastic at the idea of being able to design a railway station himself, although much of the architectural detailing was by his associate Matthew Digby Wyatt. He took inspiration from the München Hauptbahnhof; the glazed roof is supported by wrought iron arches in three spans spanning 68 feet, 102 feet and 70 feet. The roof is 699 feet long, the original roof spans had two transepts connecting the three spans, it is believed that these were provided by Brunel to accommodate traversers to carry coaches between the tracks within the station. However recent research, using early documents and photographs, does not seem to support this belief, their actual purpose is unknown; the original station used four platforms, 27-foot -wide and 24-foot-6-inch -wide departure platforms, a 21-foot arrival platform, a 47-foot combined arrival platform and cab road.
A series of nineteen turnplates were sited beyond the ends of the platforms for horse and coach traffic. The first GWR service from the new station departed on 16 January 1854, though the roof had not been finished at this point a
A broad-gauge railway is a railway with a track gauge broader than the 1,435 mm standard-gauge railways. Broad gauge was first used in Great Britain in Scotland for two short, isolated lines, the Dundee and Arbroath Railway and the Arbroath and Forfar Railway. Both the lines were built in 5 ft 6 in. Both the lines were subsequently converted to standard gauge and connected to the emerging Scottish rail network; the Great Western Railway, was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, in 1838, with a gauge of 7 ft 1⁄4 in, retained this gauge until 1892. Some harbours used railways of this gauge for construction and maintenance; these included Portland Harbour and Holyhead Breakwater, which used a locomotive for working sidings. As it was not connected to the national network, this broad-gauge operation continued until the locomotive wore out in 1913; the gauge proposed by Brunel was 7 ft but this was soon increased by 1⁄4 in to 7 ft 1⁄4 in to accommodate clearance problems identified during early testing.
While the parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was prepared to authorise lines built to the broad gauge of 7 ft, it was rejected by the Gauge Commission in favour of all new railways in England and Scotland being built to standard gauge of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in, this being the gauge with the greatest mileage. Railways which had received their enabling Act would continue at the 7 ft gauge. Ireland, using the same criteria, was allocated a different standard gauge, the Irish gauge, of 5 ft 3 in, used in the Australian states of South Australia and Victoria. Broad-gauge lines in Britain were converted to dual gauge or standard gauge from 1864, the last of Brunel's broad gauge was converted over a single weekend in 1892. In 1839 the Netherlands started its railway system with two broad-gauge railways; the chosen gauge of 1,945 mm was applied between 1839 and 1866 by the Hollandsche IJzeren Spoorweg-Maatschappij for its Amsterdam–The Hague–Rotterdam line and between 1842 and 1855, firstly by the Dutch state, but soon by the Nederlandsche Rhijnspoorweg-Maatschappij, for its Amsterdam–Utrecht–Arnhem line.
But the neighbouring countries Prussia and Belgium used standard gauge, so the two companies had to regauge their first lines. In 1855, NRS regauged its line and shortly afterwards connected to the Prussian railways; the HSM followed in 1866. There are replicas of one broad-gauge 2-2-2 locomotive and three carriages in the Dutch Railway Museum in Utrecht; these replicas were built for the 100th anniversary of the Dutch Railways in 1938–39. Ireland and some states in Australia and Brazil have a gauge of 5 ft 3 in, but Luas, the Dublin light rail system, is built to standard gauge. Russia and the other former Soviet Republics use a 1,520 mm gauge while Finland continues to use the 5 ft gauge inherited from Imperial Russia. Portugal and the Spanish Renfe system use a gauge of 1,668 mm called Ancho Ibérico in Spanish or Bitola Ibérica in Portuguese. In Toronto, the gauge for TTC subways and streetcars was chosen in 1861. Toronto adopted a unique gauge of 4 ft 10 7⁄8 in, an "overgauge" stated to "allow horse-drawn wagons to use the rails", but with the practical effect of precluding the use of standard-gauge equipment in the street.
The Toronto Transit Commission still operates the Toronto streetcar system and three subway lines on its own unique gauge of 4 ft 10 7⁄8 in. The Scarborough RT, uses standard gauge, as will the future light rail lines of the Transit City plan. In 1851 the 5 ft 6 in broad gauge was adopted as the standard gauge for the Province of Canada, becoming known as the Provincial gauge, government subsidies were unavailable for railways that chose other gauges; this caused problems in interchanging freight cars with northern United States railroads, most of which were built to standard gauge or a gauge similar to it. In the 1870s between 1872 and 1874, Canadian broad-gauge lines were changed to standard gauge to facilitate interchange and the exchange of rolling stock with American railroads. Today, all Canadian railways are standard-gauge. In the early days of rail transport in the US, railways tended to be built out from coastal cities into the hinterland, systems did not connect; each builder was free to choose its own gauge, although the availability of British-built locomotives encouraged some railways to be built to standard gauge.
As a general rule, southern railways were built to one or another broad gauge 5 ft, while northern railroads that were not standard gauge tended to be narrow gauge. Most of the original track in Ohio was built in 4 ft 10 in Ohio gauge, special "compromise cars" were able to run on both this track and standard gauge track. In 1848, Ohio passed a law stating "The width of the track or gauge of all roads under this act, shall be four feet ten inches between the rails." When American railroads' track extended to the point that they began to interconnect, it became clear that a single nationwide gauge was desirable. Six-foot-gauge railroads had developed a large regional following in New York State in the first part of the 19th century, due to the influence of the New York and Erie, one of the early pioneering railroads in
Slough–Windsor & Eton line
The Slough–Windsor & Eton line is a branch railway line 2 miles 63 chains long, in Berkshire, England. Trains run between the line's only two stations and Windsor & Eton Central. At its northern end, the branch line joins the Great Western Main Line, but passenger trains from Windsor use the connection terminating at Slough. A 20-minute service interval in each direction is operated by Great Western Railway using the dedicated bay platform 1 at Slough. Neither the Great Western Main Line west of Hayes and Harlington nor its branch lines are electrified and most trains on the Windsor Branch are diesel-powered. Services are provided by Class 166 2 - and 3-car diesel multiple units. In the 1970s and 1980s DMUs such as the Class 117 and Class 121 were used. Electrification of the Slough to Windsor route was approved in 2014, it was announced on 8 November 2016 that the electrification of the branch was being delayed, without a revised forecast date. The line opened, despite opposition from Eton College, on 8 October 1849.
It was built as a broad gauge line but dual gauge track was laid in 1862. For a period from 1863, Metropolitan Railway trains served the line. Between 1 March 1883 and 30 September 1885 the branch was served by the Metropolitan District Railway. Slough Junction was a triangular junction connecting the branch line to the mainline in both eastbound and westbound directions, it is not known. The layout of the junction was complicated. Most service trains accessed Slough station by the eastern chord, it is double track, with the "outer" track to the bay platform used by branch-line trains at Slough, the "inner" track, connected to the mainline, used by empty stock workings and by rare passenger trains. The western chord, known as the "Royal" or "Queen's" Curve, was little used except by excursion traffic and royal trains, it was closed through lack of use in 1964 and was used for a time to stable carriages, after which the track was lifted. All land west of the eastern chord was sold for housing, there is little evidence of the junction at the site now although aerial photographs show the curving line of the western tracks.
The only intermediate stop on the branch line was Chalvey Halt, 47 chains south of Bath Road Junction. The halt was authorised on 24 February 1929, at an estimated cost of £840, opened on 6 May 1929, it comprised both "up" and "down" platforms, built from heavy timbers to the standard GWR design for halt platforms. There were waiting shelters, steps down to the nearby road. After only 14 months of operation, Chalvey Halt closed on 7 July 1930. A note in the GW Engineer's Department minutes of 19 October 1930, records that the materials from Chalvey Halt had been used to build Cashes Green Halt on the Gloucester to Swindon "Golden Valley Line", between Stroud and Stonehouse; the Windsor Link Railway is a proposal to tunnel from Windsor & Eton Central to Windsor & Eton Riverside to create a through railway from Slough to Staines. Mitchell, Vic & Smith, Keith. Branch Lines to Henley and Marlow. Middleton Press. ISBN 1-901706-77-X; the Railways at Windsor at The Royal Windsor Web Site slough loco shed 81B 3Q at Flickr Steam Locomotive Shed 81B Slough at Rail UK British Railways London Western Region Locomotive Depots 1948–59 Ordnance Survey Popular and New Popular Editions at Vision of Britain