The Railway - CLHG

Chiseldon Local History Group
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The Railway


From the middle of the 19th century various schemes had been proposed for a railway between the industrial  Midlands and Southampton but, because of opposition from the Great Western Railway, it did not receive an act of parliament until 1873.  It was however strongly backed by the townsfolk of Swindon, Cirencester, Cricklade and Marlborough, especially the latter, as they had lost trade when traffic between  London and Bath transferred to the G.W.R.

Work began in 1875 with the construction of the Swindon Marlborough and Andover Railway and Chiseldon station opened in 1881 when the line was opened between Swindon and Marlborough.

Due to difficulties with the G.W.R. at the junction of the two lines the new railway always struggled to make a profit.  The line was extended to Andover in 1883 and the link north to the Midlands shortly afterwards and the company was renamed the  Midland and South Western Junction Railway.  At Cirencester, a railway workshop was built to maintain the engines and rolling stock.  The Railway Act of 1921 placed the M&SWJR into the hands of the G.W.R., who closed the Cirencester Works in 1926.

During both World Wars the line was used to move men and equipment quickly to and from the south coast ports of embarkation.  Apart from wartime, the line was never profitable and was closed for passengers in 1961 and for goods traffic shortly after.

The route of the line north and south of the village is now incorporated into a  National Cycle Path.

Supported by Chiseldon Parish Council
© Chiseldon LHG 2020
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