Lost Reading railway line which is now a main road

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Parts of Reading have undergone considerable redevelopment in recent decades. Any stroll through the city will quickly show a number of construction and regeneration projects underway.

Most developments in the city are not on greenbelt land. Many sites are being regenerated from former uses as derelict buildings make way for new homes and other developments.

Among these sites is the Reading Central Goods Depot, a huge railway site near the city center. For three quarters of a century, this site was served by trains carrying goods to and from the town of Berkshire.

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The goods depot is long gone, along with the railroad that led to it. However, a section of this old track continues to be used to carry goods to this day – as part of it forms part of what is now the A33 (another section of this is now a popular walking route, although not an official right-of-way).

Reading Central Goods Depot

Great Western Railway built the Central Goods Depot and Coley Branch line and they opened in 1908. The 1.76 mile line to the station exited the Reading-Basingstoke railway line at a junction near the Southcote junction still existing.

From there he traveled to the goods depot under a bridge that ran Berkeley Avenue above the track. The depot itself was between the Kennet River and Brook Street West.

It had 12 sidings and could hold up to 300 railroad cars at a time. It served a number of coal merchants and other town-based businesses.

What remains of the Coley Branch line today?

Nothing lasts forever and use of the Coley Branch line has declined over the years. The line and the goods depot were closed in 1983 – 75 years after the first trains arrived.

Most of the Coley Branch line is now a common walking route. However, a section of this has now been converted to the A33.

The bridge that carried Berkeley Avenue over the railroad still exists. It is the same that carries the road on the two-lane road to this day. The Goods Depot site is also long gone, having also made way for the A33 and new accommodation.

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