President David Shepherd CBE FRSA FGRA
The Swindon & Cricklade Railway
On a visit to Swindon to visit our daughter and her family. We were greeted by our 2½ year old grandson with the words “We go railway” and then showed us pictures of ‘his station’ in the Swindon & Cricklade Railway leaflet. He was right, we did go to the railway. The terminus at Blunsdon is only a few minutes drive from their home in north Swindon, and we went on the local roads, avoiding the traffic on the A419.
The line from Blunsdon to Hayes Knoll is only ¾ mile long and the journey takes just four minutes, but you can ride as many times as you want from 11 am to 4 pm every Sunday till the end of September.
The train comprised 2 Mk1 BR crimson coaches, with an 0-4-0 saddle tank engine at the Hayes Knoll end and an class 3 diesel at the Blunsdon end.
Blunsdon Station platform was the first to be rebuilt, and is on the site of the original structure. At the moment, it is adequate for two-coach trains, although an extension is planned.
The station waiting room is a wooden railway structure rescued from Malmesbury and restored on site, with the addition of a solid fuel stove. More recently, a similar building has also been saved from a farm in the same area, in remarkably good condition. This will probably be restored for use as shop premises.
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST "Richard Trevithick" is a regular performer. Seen here at Hayes Knoll station
Hayes Knoll is a completely new station built on a new site. This is located where there was enough room to build the new shed.
The shed has been designed for locomotive and rolling stock repair and restoration as well as a running shed for the Railway's steam locomotives. Also at Hayes Knoll is the Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST, Slough Estates No 3, the property of the Slough & Windsor Railway Society, who have moved their standard-gauge preservation activities to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway. It is used on the railway from time to time.
The Swindon & Cricklade Railway is now extending its line southwards to the future Mouldon Hill Country Park, where there will be a new station. A variety of tasks are involved, not least the laying of the track itself, half a mile of track has been laid South of the River Ray bridge.
Northern areas of Swindon are being intensively developed with new roads etc. The latest changes in terms of new roads and housing development are not shown on the adjacent map, particularly to the east of the new line. The new track is now half a mile down the route towards West Swindon. Each week in the first half of this year saw significant progress, with up to three new lengths being laid each time.
The spur into the car park has been reinstated, using a new set of points and ground frame to running-line standard. Extending South Laying Track New Sidings Mouldon Hill.
Laying new rail on the extension has now been suspended so that other tasks can be tackled. Firstly, the new length needs some adjustment and "fine tuning". Secondly, additional sidings are urgently required at Hayes Knoll.
BR Class 03 Diesel Mechanical at the other end of the train, also at Hayes Knoll
Work being carried out on the line adjacent to rolling stock stored in the siding to the north of Hayes Knoll
NB since this article was submitted extensive extra work has been carried out, you can get the latest information from the website
In July 2010 the Swindon & Cricklade had the privilige of hosting the GWR 175 celebrations - the star was a visit by the 3440 City of Truro - a Swindon legend.
Here are 3 photos from that event.