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The Midland & South Western Junction Railway. During autumn 2014 and spring 2015, the club's Southern Western Area ran a series of walks which covered this former cross-country railway between Cirencester and Marlborough via Swindon. The whole line ran from Andoversford (Gloucestershire) to Andover (Hampshire), but with running rights actually provided through services from Cheltenham to Southampton. The fact that the line ran through Swindon led to its now popular name as 'Swindon's Other Railway'. The selection of photographs here, taken in August and September 2014, comes from the Swindon to Cricklade section.

Above: A substantial overbridge on the M&SWJR just west of the site of Swindon Town station. The view is looking up the grade towards Swindon Town, with Rushey Platt and Cricklade behind the photographer. The attractive stonework is noteworthy, for many of the railway's bridges south of Swindon were re-worked in brick in the early 1940s when the line had a strategic role as a feeder route to Southampton. Presumably this work was to strengthen the bridges, but often it disfigured them. 16th August 2014. (Jeff Vinter)

 
Above: This fine skew bridge at Rushey Platt carries the modern trail on the M&SWJR high above a restored section of the Wilts & Berks Canal, which 30 years ago was a weed-infested bog. Local volunteers have cleared and re-watered it between the Kingshill area of Swindon and Westleaze, which is not far short of the M4. Getting underneath the motorway will be a major challenge. 16th August 2014. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: Narrow boat 'Dragonfly' is seen here on its way north, back towards Swindon, about to pass under the bridge seen in the photograph above. This vessel is owned by the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, which uses it as a trip boat during the summer, and for 'Santa Specials' in November and December. 16th August 2014. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: This underbridge at grid reference SU 135836, also in Rushey Platt, carries the modern trail over a new road which, on the left (i.e. south side), leads to an area of as yet unstarted development; we suspect that it was constructed with the aid of a Section 106 grant as mitigation for what is to come. Whoever built it certainly made a fine job, for the brickwork reflects that of the old railway – but we suspect that the engineering standards are a lot higher. The M&SWJR was never a wealthy railway and engaged the cheapest contractors, which no doubt accounts for some its its engineering features having collapsed during the construction phase. 16th August 2014. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: Many who use the modern trail miss the remains of this platform at Rushey Platt station – an unfortunate place, even by the M&SWJR's unhappy standards. Opened on 18th December 1883, the station was closed to passengers as early as 1905, with the platforms on the link line to the GWR lasting only 18 months – a victim of the high fees charged by the GWR for running rights. Goods traffic, mainly milk, survived here until freight services were withdrawn in 1964, but a private siding continued in use even after that. The location is grid reference SU 133837. 16th August 2015. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: Oxted unit 1302 – one of the Southern Region's famous 'Thumpers' – arrives in the mid afternoon at Taw Valley Halt on the modern Swindon & Cricklade Railway, which operates a service between here and Hayes Knoll, south of Cricklade. The train had arrived to collect a permanent way gang who were working on the halt to prepare it for its official opening the following month. They gave the photographer a lift to Blunsdon, the railway's headquarters, which was the first time he had ever been given a free lift in a train! 16th August 2014. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: This replica running-in board at Cricklade marks the approximate location of the town's long-lost station; it is situated at the south end of the High Street at the point where the B4040 takes over the trackbed (SU 099933) as far as Horsey Down. 16th August 2014. (Jeff Vinter)
 

Left: A few feet from the replica running-in board seen above, the Swindon & Cricklade Railway has erected this replica GWR-style signal as a further visible reminder of what was, and what might yet be. The S&CR is now just a few hundred yards from what will be its final terminus at Mouldon Hill Country Park, near Swindon, and it remains determined to extend the final three-quarters of a mile from its current northern terminus (near South Meadow Lane, Hayes Knoll) into Cricklade. While much of the M&SWJR is now a multi use trail, the section occupied by the S&CR is an operational railway; please do not trespass if visiting this area. 20th September 2014. (Jeff Vinter)