Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Southern - Windsor review 1


13/11/07  Staines to Windsor & Eton Riverside

Cost of ticket £3.80 (single from Windsor Riverside to Feltham)

Dept Windsor: 13.51  Arrive Staines: 14.08

Journey time: 17 mins

Distance: 7 miles  Weather: raining

Train type: Class 450 Desiro 8-car EMUs (double track all the way)

Railway company: South West Trains

Frequency of trains - one every half hour

Windsor & Eton Riverside station is right under the shadow of Windsor Castle, which you can look up to from this two-platform station. As befitting the royal influence the station building is quite impressive architecturally. As I get ready to board my train a leaf-clearing train pulls into the other platform, looking like something from Germany or some other European country. My train is an 8 carriage Class 450 and is very plush inside with a blue carpet and air conditioning. In some other TOC trains this would be 1st Class! We leave on time and have the river Thames on our left and playing fields on our right. Another train is waiting to our place on the platform as we leave. We run next to the river for a short distance before we cross it and have a good view of Windsor Great Park on our right. Then there is a golf course on the right and houses on the left as we slow for Datchet station. It still has its original yellow brick station building on platform 1 on the left and a car park next to platform 2 on the right. We are in one of the most affluent places in England here and this is reflected in the number of large detached houses you can see form the train on both sides. As we move more into open countryside we pass the large reservoirs, which are on the edge of Heathrow Airport on our left.  We stop next at Sunnymeads station, which is an island platform station that still has its original veranda roof, though it looks like it could do with a lick of paint! I can't see a station building as such. We leave, passing several former gravel pits, which are now small lakes on both sides of the track. We don't seem to be going to fast, but soon stop again at Wraysbury, which seems to be in the middle of nowhere, with no houses nearby. It has a bus shelter on each of its two platforms. We pass another large reservoir on our left, with sheep grazing on its slopes and then the M25 motorway passes over us. Then more housing appears as we come into the town of Staines. We join the Reading line on our right and then come to a halt at Staines station, which has two platforms. The train continues all the way to Waterloo from here.

Summary: A busy branch line in commuter belt country, which should be safe for many years to come.  MC