1st Take

Branch Lines of Oxfordshire

Code: TA046
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Your Branch Lines odyssey continues as 1st Take now explores the railways of the county which is home to the oldest university in the English speaking world. The story was researched by leading railway author and historian Colin Maggs, whose superb collection of historic photographs enhances the quality and interest of the film.

Although Oxfordshire’s branch lines were not as numerous as those of many other counties, they were extremely diverse in terms of locomotives and rolling stock and they included specialist lines such as those for Morris Cowley. Many of the lines had their hub in Oxford itself, and most were rural – although some did form part of a through route.

In this film we revisit all of the county’s branch lines, from Henley and Shiplake in the south, where an interesting automatic train control method was pioneered by the GWR in Edwardian times, to the Wroxton Quarry Railway, operational from 1919 to 1967, and the important railway centre of Banbury in the north. Along the way we uncover hidden station sites and sample charming Cotswold villages and towns, such as Kingham and Chipping Norton. Of those station buildings which have survived, the one at Blenheim & Woodstock, unusually close to the town centre, is a particular delight. Most Oxfordshire branches eventually joined the Great Western Railway’s empire, although some in the north of the county were controlled by the London and North Western Railway, including the Buckinghamshire Junction Railway, or Yarnton Loop, which passed through Bicester, one of the market town’s two stations featured.

You will take great pleasure in our feature on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, a superb heritage line at the foot of the Chilterns escarpment which uses part of the former Watlington branch, which was formed 150 years prior to our visit. There is also a welcome detour as we pay tribute to Didcot Railway Centre, which boasts the best collection of GWR locomotives and rolling stock worldwide!

Join us as we take a trip back in time to discover how, why and when these branches were built, and what remains today. Our evocative tour of Oxfordshire is illuminated with interviews, rare archive photographs, wonderful location film, detailed maps and brief excerpts of colour archive footage.

Produced by - 1st Take
Running time - 109 minutes (approx)
PAL DVD (for UK/Europe/Australia/New Zealand)
Widescreen 16:9 format
Colour & B/W
DVD only
Released - August 2022

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