Garston Station just after the line opened, and with only
the standard LVR wooden office in situ. As was the case at
Boxford, the station here in East Garston was in very close
proximity to the village providing convenient and easy access
via a narrow lane named, surprisingly enough " Station
Road". All Saint's Church and the Manor House lie just
to the North of the station area.
The distance between the rails
and the Northern boundary fence would suggest that perhaps
a crossing loop had been initially planned by the LVR
management as a later addition. However this didn't materialise
and the area was ultimately used for the construction
of a loading dock as part of the GWR reconstruction plans
of the early 1900s.
Reconstruction also brought with
it, a loop siding, situated at the Newbury end of the
platform and controlled by two lockable ground frames.
A higher, longer, wider platform, and the removal of the
chestnut paling which was in turn replaced with standard
GWR post and wire fencing. The Station did however retain
it's two original oil lamps. Traffic access to the siding
and goods yard was by way
of a gated road running parallel
to the rear of the new platform.The now familiar pagoda
style waiting room was added later, and the reconstruction
project undertaken by the GWR was brought to it's conclusion
in July 1919.
Porter Tom Liddiard spent his entire
working life at East Garston station. He started work
here in 1913 and continued through until his retirement
in 1957. Tom was an avid gardener and was in the enviable
position of being able to combine his love for horticulture,
with his daily work. In fact, Tom's gardening skills on
and around the station area won him several awards in
the GW R and BR (Western Region) station competitions.
The small wooden office was a
somewhat cramped affair, with a door at each end. The
facing door in which Tom is standing, was boarded up in
later years and a small ticket window installed. This
increased the amount of staff accommodation within and
must have been a lot less draughty during the Winter months.
The cabinet on the side wall
housed the batteries for the telephone system that had
been installed by the Great Western Railway following
takeover and general reconstruction in 1905.
in 1926, left to right, Railway Workers
Joe Green, Albert Barratt, Tom Liddiard and William Palmer
the station circa 1950, looking towards Newbury.
Above also the afore-mentioned loading dock clearly visible
to the front left of picture. This was used extensively
in the early days for the loading and unloading of milk
churns. Milk cartage providing a large percentage of the
traffic handled from East Garston. Horse traffic from here
was practically non existent.By the 1950s, the Great Western
Railway's wooden fencing of 1919 had been replaced with
concrete posts and wires.
A double gate had also been added to allow for easier handling
of small goods and milk churns thus rendering the old obscure
loading dock virtually redundant.The solitary figure on
the far end of the platform is Tom Liddiard, probably returning
from working in the goods yard or maybe from watering the
many floral displays that be-decked the station every year.
above, a Collett '2251' class engine No. 2214 departing
with a Lambourn train in the late 1950s. The crossing gates
were normally kept open to the road and across the running
line. Red targets and lamps were the only protection for
the road as fixed distant signals were not installed until
1957. Ultimately they were positioned 550 yards in the 'up'
direction and 660 yards in the 'down' direction.
The railway line had a major impact
on East Garston, it formed the Northern boundary of the
village and was a key method of transporting in supplies,
particularly coal. Four coal merchants from the area received
supplies in the yard. They were Messrs. Bracey and Messrs.
Flowers, Mr. Barnard of Eastbury and Mr. Bates. A small
galvanized shed within the village passed as an office
for the firm of Bates, while wagons belonging to 'Butler's
of Swmdon' and Toomer's & Co. of Reading' were used
by "Bracey's" and "Flowers" for inward
required provision of crossing gates ensured the station
was permanently staffed from the very beginning. The GWR
employed a porter (class 1) from the outset, working a split
shift from 7.30 a.m. to 1 p.m and 3.30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Responsibility
for the gates at all other times was that of the train guard,
he was also required to oversee any neccessary, out of hours
Newbury bound Dean Goods enters the cutting after crossing
the 'School Lane' over bridge. In the background can
be seen the row of thatched cottages that is now known as
Trinity Cottage. To the rear of that lies The Old Rectory.
while the farm buildings just below the embankment belonged
to College farm.
Newbury, The train passing the loading dock with
All Saint's Church clearly visible from the Station platform.
1959 and Porter Tom Liddiard along with the guard, negotiate
off loading of a Pram from the luggage compartment of a
Lambourn bound train.
in the final years of it's life, opposing views show the
care and pride that went into the upkeep of this tiny station.
The open air ground frame was one of two, appropriately
named "North" and "South" that controlled
access to the siding, while the concrete sleepers that ran
the length of the platform were thought to be the first
used on the line. The ground frames were both locked and
released by the electric train token and were type 'D' with
frame pattern '6W'
Winter and Summer at East Garston
delightful studies in colour ~ one a fitting tribute to
the horticultural prowess of Tom Liddiard. It is believed,
the two ladies with Tom are the Lever sisters, village residents
for many years. Following the complete withdrawal of the
"Dean Goods" and "MSWJ 2-4-0's from service
in the early 1950's ~ the Western Region had little option
but to approve the use of more modern, heavier steam engines
on the branch. This led to 57xx tank engines and 22xx tender
engines appearing on services, a situation that was to last
until the line closed.