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The Waterloo to Reading Line
is a National Rail
National Rail is a title used by the Association of Train Operating Companies as a generic term to define the passenger rail services operated in Great Britain...
A railway electrification system supplies electrical energy to railway locomotives and multiple units as well as trams so that they can operate without having an on-board prime mover. There are several different electrification systems in use throughout the world...
railway line running generally westwards from London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...
, England. It is operated by South West Trains
South West Trains is a British train operating company providing, under franchise, passenger rail services, mostly out of Waterloo station, to the southwest of London in the suburbs and in the counties of Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Berkshire, and Wiltshire and on the Isle of Wight...
(SWT). With the connecting Hounslow Loop Line
The Hounslow Loop Line is a railway line in southwest London which was opened by the London and South Western Railway in 1850. It leaves the Waterloo to Reading Line at Barnes Junction and after some seven and a half miles rejoins it at a triangular junction between and...
it forms the most northern line of the SWT franchise.
Other connecting lines of that franchise are:
- the Kingston Loop Line
The Kingston Loop Line is a railway line built by the London and South Western Railway in South West London. It runs in an overall southeasterly direction from a junction west of Twickenham on the Waterloo to Reading Line to join the South West Main Line west of New Malden; both connections face...
- the Windsor Branch
The Staines to Windsor Line is a National Rail suburban railway line in England operated by South West Trains. It branches from the Waterloo to Reading Line at Staines in Surrey and runs to Windsor in Berkshire.- History :...
- the Chertsey Branch Line
The Chertsey Branch Line, opened in 1848, connects the Waterloo to Reading Line at to the South Western Main Line at . It is also referred to as the Weybridge Line.The line was electrified in the late 1930s by the Southern Railway....
- the Ascot to Guildford Line
The Ascot to Guildford Line is a railway line operated by South West Trains.The name refers both to a service between Ascot and Guildford and a physical railway line between Ascot to Ash Vale....
The Waterloo to Reading line with its many stations and suburban nature is a slower line than the Great Western Main Line
The Great Western Main Line is a main line railway in Great Britain that runs westwards from London Paddington station to the west of England and South Wales. The core Great Western Main Line runs from London Paddington to Temple Meads railway station in Bristol. A major branch of the Great...
- London to Richmond
Richmond station is a National Rail and London Underground station in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in south west London which is managed by South West Trains....
was opened on 27 July 1846 by the Richmond Railway, which was purchased by the London and South Western Railway
The London and South Western Railway was a railway company in England from 1838 to 1922. Its network extended from London to Plymouth via Salisbury and Exeter, with branches to Ilfracombe and Padstow and via Southampton to Bournemouth and Weymouth. It also had many routes connecting towns in...
(L&SWR) in 1847. Until 1 July 1848 the London terminus was , thereafter it was Waterloo which was called "Waterloo Bridge station" until 1886.
- Richmond to Staines (and ) opened on 22 August 1848 by the Windsor, Staines and South Western Railway under L&SWR auspices. This line reached Windsor
Windsor & Eton Riverside station is a station in Windsor in Berkshire, England. The station, close to the River Thames and Windsor Castle, is a grade II listed building....
on 1 December 1849.
- Staines to Ascot was opened 4 June 1856 by the Staines, Wokingham and Woking Junction Railway (worked by the L&SWR).
- extended from Ascot to Wokingham on 9 July 1856 to join the South Eastern Railway
The South Eastern Railway was a railway company in south-eastern England from 1836 until 1922. The company was formed to construct a route from London to Dover. Branch lines were later opened to Tunbridge Wells, Hastings, Canterbury and other places in Kent...
line to Reading which had opened in 1849.
The line was electrified
Railway electrification in Great Britain started towards of the 19th century. A great range of voltages have been used in the intervening period using both overhead lines and third rails, however the most common standard for mainline services is now 25 kV AC using overhead lines and the...
on the DC third rail system, initially at 660 volts, in sections:
- Waterloo to Twickenham flyover (for Kingston Loop) 30 January 1916
- Twickenham to Whitton Junction (for Hounslow Loop) 12 March 1916
- Whitton Junction to Windsor 6 July 1930.
- Virginia Water to Ascot and Reading South 1 January 1931. The Ascot station article says "1 January 1939"
Early on Sunday 15 November 2009 the bridge carrying the line over the River Crane at Feltham partly collapsed. Services between Feltham and Whitton, and between Feltham and Hounslow, were suspended. They were restored eight days later on a temporary diversionary line with a 20 mph speed limit laid across the adjoining site of the disused Feltham Marshalling yard. The defective bridge was demolished and rebuilt.