The Great Western Railway Company was founded in 1833 and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, then aged 29, was appointed engineer. He selected a route from London to Bristol which ran north of the Marlborough Downs connecting Paddington to Reading, Didcot, Swindon and Bath.
The section of the route from Reading to Swindon was completed in 1840 and Wantage Road station was opened in 1846.
It remained in use until, on 7 December 1964 as a result of the Beeching Report, British Railways withdrew passenger services from Wantage Road.
It was supported by a tramway from the centre of Wantage to the station.
In June 2009 the Association of Train Operating Companies produced a report called 'Connecting Communities' in which it was suggested that Wantage Road Station would be a viable station to re-open during any expansion of the rail network.
Since then support for this report has been quietly dropped. Network Rail when asked said that they had no plans for our station.
The County and District Councils may be starting to take the re-opening of Wantage and Grove Station seriously.
See the District Council page Proposed Grove Station for more details.
Quotes from the Report commissioned by Oxfordshire County Council and the Vale District Council:
"OCC’s aspiration for a new station serving Wantage & Grove has been long-standing, going back to 1979, although it was the introduction of a new train service between Bicester Town (now Bicester Village), Oxford and Bristol Temple Meads in 1998 that was the catalyst for a more detailed assessment."
"Wantage & Grove station is identified as being regional infrastructure [within the Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy] and within that categorisation it has been prioritised 12th out of 15 similar transport projects."
"A new station could function both as a local access point to the national rail network for residents and businesses in Wantage, Grove and the surrounding area, and have a significantly wider and dual role as a 'parkway' for South East Vale and the A420 corridor."
"Developing the detailed case for Wantage & Grove Station within the principles of Network Rail’s ‘Governance of Railway Investment Projects’ (GRIP) process will require: - • An evidenced, deliverable and affordable train service; • Full economic and financial Business Cases; • Engineering assessment of the scope and cost of the station; • Innovative funding models; • Engagement with the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Great Western Railway, together with neighbouring LEPs and local authorities.
Achieving such evidence will require significant investment via a united, ambitious, determined promoter and stakeholder partnership."