A VICTORIAN canopy has been unveiled at Wallingford Station after a £700,000 restoration.

Chairman of Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy was at the ceremony for the Brunelian canopy.

It was taken down from Maidenhead Station in 2014 to make way for Crossrail electrification and improvements.

Sir Peter officially opened the canopy by flagging off the first train hauled by GWR Pannier Tank 4612, on hire from the Bodmin & Wenford Railway.

This type of steam engine was historically common on the branch and would have been seen regularly under the canopy at Maidenhead.

The loco is visiting until the end of July and will be hauling public trains every weekend.

Some VIPs were present at the big reveal including Lady McAlpine, TV Presenter Tim Dunn, present day GWR managing director Mark Hopwood and local MP David Johnston.

The structure will feature in a future episode of The Architecture the Railways Built on Yesterday.

Presenter Mr Dunn, said: “This canopy really is one of a kind. It has a very long and interesting history in this local area. It was brought up bit by bit, rebuilt, and finally gives this railway a portal to the rest of the town. This is a brand new entrance to Wallingford.”

Cholsey & Wallingford Railway Chairman Dr Tony Stead said: “The canopy has provided a massive boost for our volunteers. We have been pleased to welcome a number of new helpers since the project began. It has also generated a lot of interest in our line, which we hope turns into more passengers and visitors to the town. The canopy provides some much-needed covered accommodation for our coaches, but above all we have been able to preserve a remarkable Victorian building from the age of Brunel's Broad Gauge railways. "

It is believed the canopy dates from 1871, although the exact date is a bit of a mystery even to the experts at Wallingford Station.

It originally spanned Brunel’s 7ft broad gauge tracks which were abolished in 1892.

Its resulted in several ornate cast iron components being damaged in the process which then presented a number of challenges to the restoration at Wallingford.

All of the work on the canopy was financed by grants from the Railway Heritage Trust.

In addition to the canopy being erected, the platform has been extended by the railway volunteers and many heritage artefacts restored to complete the scene.

The railway has thanked Oxfordshire businesses such as The Morton Partnership, Grundon, Oxford Construction and Blanchford Building Supplies for providing valuable assistance to the project.