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Model of train station nears end of the line
Buy this photo » Brian Garland of Oxford Model Railway Club with part of the model of the Rewley Road station
IT took dozens of men weeks of painstaking planning, four years to build and a host of modifications to get it just right.
And that is just the model version.
There are few that will remember Oxford’s Rewley Road station as it was at the height of the golden age of railways.
But for those who do not recall it, a lovingly-recreated railway model of the station and line will go on display, for what the creators believe will be the last time.
Rewley Road station, which closed in 1951, stood where the Said Business School is now, in Park End Street.
The model was built by Oxford and District Model Railway Club, who were exhibiting part of it at Oxford Town Hall on Saturday and Sunday.
The full set will go on show at the Oxford and District Model Railway Club’s Annual Exhibition on Saturday, September 22, for the last time.
Working the display were club members and two of the original modellers Brian Garland and David Potter.
Mr Garland, 68, of West Hagbourne, said work on the set, much of which was made from scratch, had been carried out between 1972 and 1976.
He said: “Not many models last this long. But it’s because it is a model of an actual line, and not just from the imaginations of people who built it.
“It may be coming close to the end of its life now. We are getting older and it’s getting difficult to get it about.”
The station as it existed then was a much larger operation than the one commuters use today.
The line from Bletchley to Oxford was opened by the Buckinghamshire Railway in 1851 and the Oxford station was built on the site of Rewley Abbey, a 13th century Cistercian monastery.
The Great Western Railway built its station, on the site of Oxford Station today, in 1852 – the stations came under joint management in 1933.
It was built from similar material to that of Crystal Palace, and when the London monument burned down the station became a listed building.
The Rewley Road station closed in 1951, as part of the nationalisation of the railways. The building was dismantled and later re-erected at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre near Aylesbury in 1999.
A swing bridge which was built in 1850 on the approach to the old Rewley Road station is now being restored by the Oxford Preservation Society.
It carried tracks across the canal and would swing open to allow boats passage.
It operated until 1985, when tracks north of the bridge were removed.
The trust invited the Rail modellers club to exhibit part of the track as part of the campaign to restore the swing bridge.
Mr Potter, 73, of Abingdon, said he had been interested in trains as long as he could remember.
He said:”I wanted to be a train driver but I never was.
“Instead of fairies at the bottom of my garden when I was child, there were trains.
“It’s never rubbed off. “
The Oxford and District Model Railway Club show will be held at the United Reformed Church, in Collinwood Road, Risinghurst, Oxford, between 10.30am and 4.30pm. Admission is £4.