EAST GARSTON
East 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.
phoyo : Pearson Collection phoyo : Pearson Collection

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 with, and 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.

photo : unknown
photo : courtesy of Mrs. Liddiard photo : courtesy of Mrs. Liddiard

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.

Photo : Unknown
Photo : Unknown
photo : C.Gordon-Watford photo : unknown photo : D.W.Winkworth
photo : unknown photo : J.H Moss
Pictured in 1926, left to right, Railway Workers
Joe Green, Albert Barratt, Tom Liddiard and William Palmer
Above, the station circa 1950, looking towards Newbury.
photo : D.W Winkworth

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.
 
Pictured 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.
photo : Mike Esau photo : unknown
photo : unknown photo : R. Dennison

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 cartage.

The 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 shunting operations. 
photo : G.H Hunt / Colour Rail BRW1560
phot : J.F Russell-Smith
A 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.
photo : C.Gordon-Watford m photo : D. Thompson
Destination Newbury, The train passing the loading dock with
All Saint's Church clearly visible from the Station platform.
 
September 1959 and Porter Tom Liddiard along with the guard, negotiate the
off loading of a Pram from the luggage compartment of a Lambourn bound train.
photo : J. Smith
m
photo : D.W Winkworth
Photographed 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'
photo : Martin Galley
photo : unknown
photo : J.F Russell-Smith
photo : unknown
photo : unknown photo : unknown
Winter  and Summer at East Garston Station
photo : courtesy of Hilary Reem
photo : unknown
Two 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.