Wantage Tramway

A look through old photos can find forgotten items – not just the photo forgotten but also much about the time and place when it was taken. I recently came upon a photo I took in the year 2000.

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This building clearly had something to do with the Wantage Tramway Co Ltd and dates from 1904.

I remember going to Wantage but had completely forgotten this building. Having ‘discovered’ the photo I thought I ought to find out something about the Wantage Tramway.

It seems the nearest main line station was a couple of miles away and known as Wantage Road. The tramway was built to link the centre of town with the railway. It opened in 1875. The original motive power was four legged – the horse.

The little line prospered and went over to steam traction in the late 1870s.

Lives and habits change and by 1925 the passenger service was no longer making money and it was shut down although a freight service continued until 1945 when it was decided to close the tramway entirely, rather than spend what was needed to renovate the track.

My photo shows the company headquarters which were built during the time of plenty for the line. It survives in situ. One of the line’s steam locos has escaped the cutter’s torch and can usually be seen at Didcot which is not so far away.

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