REALLY SideTracked - Maidenhead Riverside
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Small camouflaged cache placed towards the back entrance of the now demolished Station. There is parking nearby. However please be aware that on Sundays there is often a car boot that makes it very busy. Also there is special needs play-ground near by, (Thames Valley Adventure Playground) do not enter this play-ground unless you have permission to do so.
The original station at Maidenhead was built a mile from the town centre close to Dumb Bell bridge over the Bath Road (close to the present Taplow station).
The purpose of this location was so that the railway could take passengers from the busy coach traffic that travelled between London and the West Country. Built using two platforms and wooden buildings, it was very successful at 'tapping' into this market.
Another consideration was that although Brunel's Maidenhead Railway Bridge was completed in 1838, it was not brought into use until 1st July 1839.
It is thought that the Great Western board directors did not believe that the bridge - due its flat design - would not hold the weight of the trains, and ordered Brunel to leave the wooden frame work used to construct the arches in place. However, Brunel simply lowered the framework slightly so that it had no structural effect, but appeared to be in place. Later, when the framework was washed away in floods, but the bridge remained, the strength of the arches was accepted.
Realising their error in serving the town though, the Great Western directors planned a move nearer to the centre of Maidenhead, but this did not take place until 1871. Meanwhile, in 1854, a station was built on the Wycombe branch line to serve the town called Maidenhead Boyne Hill. situated on Castle Hill close to the point where the line passes under the Bath Road the present day A4. (GC4EGJH).
There was no station on the present site until 1871, when local contractor William Woodbridge built it. Originally, it was called "Maidenhead Junction", but eventually it came to replace the Boyne Hill as well as the original station Maidenhead Riverside.
Once Maidenhead Junction had been built, the Maidenhead Riverside station was converted to a pub and was named the Old Station Inn. Opposite was its grander neighbour, a 1780s coaching inn owned and run since 1842 by the local farmer, Richard Cleare. on his death in 1888, his hotel was renamed The Dumb Bell in recollection of the silent bell in the disused station.
The site today is now a petrol station and car dealership and with the exception of the Arch way that you will see by the Cache, no part of the Station or platforms exist after extensive remodelling by the railways.
If you do wish to have a closer look at the archway be very careful whilst making your way to it and do not attempt to go over the gate as you will now be on Private railway land, which would probably result in a visit by the British Transport Police.
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