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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Leamington Station: gwrls3962

Copy of the Parliamentary Act authorising the GWR Loop Line through the Town of Leamington

On 31st August 1848, the Great Western Railway Loop Line from the Birmingham & Oxford Junction Railway through the Town of Leamington was authorised by Parliament. On the same day parliament also authorised the Great Western Railway to purchase both the Birmingham & Oxford Junction and the Birmingham, Wolverhampton & Dudley Railways. The Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway as authorised on 3rd August 1846 past to the west of Leamington and the Great Western Railway had originally approached the L&NWR to share the route that they were constructing into Leamington from the south-east. The Rugby & Leamington Railway had been authorised on 13th August 1846, purchased by the L&NWR on 17th November 1846 and was opened as a single line on 1st March 1851. The Great Western Railway's approach proved unsuccessful and with all but the Birmingham viaduct and Leamington sections built, there was a need to construct a route of their own through Leamington.

The engineer for the Great Western Railway (Isambard Kingdom Brunel) estimated that this Leamington Loop Line would cost £120,000. The loop line would deviate at Whitnash, cross over the Warwick & Napton Canal on a 65 foot bowed balloon-topped iron bridge ('gwrls2106') and then run parallel with the L&NWR, passing through the southern part of the town on a brick viaduct to a new station. A 105 foot iron plate girder bridge was required to span the High Street ('gwrls2529'). On the north-west side of the town, a cast-iron trough aqueduct was needed to carry the Warwick & Napton Canal over the railway ('gwrw399') and another 160 foot long iron plate girder bridge to carry the railway over the river Avon ('misc_abps171').

The Captain Douglas Galton of the Board of Trade inspected the railway on 14th September 1852 and reported that he had found all the works sufficient as regards construction and strength and the mixed gauge complete on the line between Banbury and the junction with the branch to the L&NWR in Birmingham (This branch being the Duddeston viaduct). At Leamington only broad gauge track was laid through the new station, with the mixed gauge carried outside on a loop to the north-east.

Robert Ferris