The Farnborough Explorer
Interesting Things Around Farnborough

R.A.E. Railway

If you look, on a hot day, along the length of Elmgrove Road, you will see two glossy parallel lines in the road's tarmac that you won't see anywhere else. What you are looking at is a railway track that goes down the centre of the road. It is all still there, just under the surface of the road. An unusual sight for the residents of Elmgrove Road today, but from World War II up until 1969, the road's residents were used to watching a steam train trundle down the centre of their road between Farnborough Main station and the RAE.


Can you imagine that:

House Buyer: "Do you get much traffic along this road?"

Home Owner: "No, but a steam train comes down the road every so often!"

In WWII it was regularly seen pulling flat-bed carriages piled with dismantled German planes that had been captured or crashed, for analysis by the Boffins.

The train ran from the main line, across Union Street and then down the length of Elmgrove Road. Crossing Victoria Road at the other end, it would enter a leafy rail-line that stretched for a mile through cove to the RAE.

This third Screenshot is of the leafy rail-line which is now part of the ASDA car park.
The final engine, before the line was shut down in 1969, was 'Invincible', a saddle tank engine built in 1900.
Today, Invincible may be seen pulling carriages as part of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

Screen captures from the film RAE Railway, 1969, which is available on DVD from:

Farnborough Air Sciences Trust Museum, Farnborough Road