This is a station that has changed little since opening. Located upon the 6-miles 46-chains-long double-track branch line to Windsor & Eton Riverside, 22-miles 48-chains from Waterloo, a stop at Sunnymeads was brought into use in response to local housing development. In 1923, a company by the name of “Sunnymeads Estate Limited” started advertising a range of then new riverside bungalows that had been built, aimed at professionals who worked in and commuted to the city. A freehold bungalow could be secured for £375 upwards, and a freehold ¼ acre plot of land for £75 (ref: Pall Mall Gazette, 25th June 1923). At that time, the estate company advertised the nearest station to their riverside bungalows as being Wraysbury, the first stop on the Windsor branch, between Dachet and Staines.
The Southern Railway opened stations at Sunnymeads and West Weybridge on 10th July 1927, coinciding with the start of the summer timetable (ref: The Railway Magazine, July 1927). At the site of Sunnymeads, the gap in-between the two tracks was widened to accommodate an island platform of 520-feet length. The platform was of the familiar prefabricated concrete construction, using components manufactured at the SR’s Exmouth Junction works. Upon the platform was situated a 120-feet-long pitched roof canopy; as per the canopies that had been completed by the SR at Ramsgate in 1926, the example at Sunnymeads comprised side valances of steel construction, combined with timber end panels. Lampposts were of the Barley-Twist type, these of which supported electric lighting.
The island platform was reached by means of a metal footbridge that linked it with an entrance on the south western side of the running lines, where the station’s main building could be found. Of the latter, this was a simple single-storey structure of brown brick construction with a hipped slated roof and sash-style windows, set upon a concrete base. A track foot crossing for staff and heavy loads existed at the Staines end of the island.
As part of the SR’s scheme to complete the electrification of its suburban lines, third rail was extended to Windsor from Hounslow and Whittington Junctions. Regular public electric trains along the Windsor branch line commenced on 6th July 1930, in conjunction with these trains being extended elsewhere on the SR between Dartford and Gravesend, and Wimbledon and West Croydon (ref: The Railway Magazine, August 1930).
What of Sunnymeads today? In spite of the fact that this station has for long been unstaffed, it remains remarkably faithful to its 1927 appearance. Your author is pleasantly surprised that the copious canopy has not been taken down and replaced by a bus shelter-style structure. Even the disused station building remains intact, adjacent to the original footbridge.
This Windsor-bound view from the footbridge shows a canopy in fine fettle. In the background can be seen the gap between tracks narrowing beyond the island platform — the same happens behind the camera. Your author dates this view to around the early 1970s, based on the fact that the BR “Sausage” Totems had been affixed to then new plain lampposts, these of which had replaced the previous Barley-Twist types from 1927. This is a rare case of Totems being reused so late on, rather than plain black and white signage being deployed. The totems were still there in 1977.
© David Glasspool Collection