Windsor & Eton Central Station from the cache
About the cache
Windsor & Eton Central station is one of two terminal stations serving the town of Windsor, Berkshire, England. Although a small part is still a railway station, most of the station building has been converted into a tourist-oriented shopping centre, called Windsor Royal Shopping. It is situated on the High Street, almost immediately opposite Castle Hill, the main public entrance to Windsor Castle.
Originally named simply Windsor, the station was renamed twice: first to Windsor & Eton on 1 June 1904; and then, following Nationalisation, to Windsor & Eton Central on 26 September 1949.
The station is served by a shuttle service of trains from Slough operated by First Great Western and is the terminus of its Windsor Branch. .
The line opened, (despite opposition from Eton College who were convinced that the proximity of a railway would lead the Eton boys astray). on 8 October 1849. It was built as a broad gauge line but dual gauge track was laid in 1862. An extension of the branch was planned in 1871–72 to connect to the south via Dedworth and Ascot. It was planned to diverge west from the viaduct, just to the south of the river bridge. Despite reaching an advanced stage of design and with some property purchased plus the construction of a possible station building, the plans were never completed and were abandoned completely by 1914.
The Metropolitan and District railways .
Later the Metropolitan District Railway expanded its services to the west of London. On 1 March 1883 it started a service to Windsor from Mansion House, using the Great Western main line. These trains were not popular, possibly because of the unsuitability of using four-wheel coaches for the non-stop section between Ealing Broadway and Slough, and possibly because Windsor was too affluent and too far from the City at that time to make commuting attractive. The service was discontinued on 30 September 1885.
The structure .
The station is approached by a 2035-yard brick viaduct and Windsor Railway Bridge, Brunel's oldest surviving railway bridge. The original building was little more than a glorified train shed. This was completely rebuilt by the GWR for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, with a much grander frontage and an interior reminiscent of Paddington. Two island platforms and a bay on the south side were provided.
The goods yard
To the north of the station, a large goods yard was laid out between the station and the River Thames at ground level. Since the station was built somewhat higher up, the yard had to be reached by a steep incline built against the side of the viaduct. It sloped down towards a short headshunt, near the river bridge, which allowed switchback access to the yard sidings. This arrangement limited the number of wagons that could be transferred to and from the sidings in one go. In addition to serving the populace of Windsor and surrounding area, the yard provided a connection to Windsor Gas Works; a siding was laid through one of the bridge arches in order to supply the works with loads of coal, and remove loads of coke and tar.
When freight services were stopped in the 1960s, the goods yard and incline were removed. The yard became a coach park, but on the side of the viaduct, it is still possible to see where the incline was.
On 17 November 1968 platforms 3 and 4 were taken out of use, and on 5 September 1969 platform 2 was also decommissioned. Later on, the remaining platform was also truncated, twice, at each rebuild of the station. In 1997 Axa Life bought the station buildings and enlarged and remodelled them as a shopping complex called Windsor Royal Shopping. The single platform was truncated still further, and can now handle no more than a three-coach train.
The cache is a magnetic bison. Please bring your own pen/pencil to record your find.
Please only record your initials - no date required!
Finally, please be very careful when retrieving and replacing the cache, as this can be a very busy place.