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Midland and South Junction Railway 

See also Cerney Wick Scrapbook

South Cerney

English Heritage

Midland and South Junction Railway (now disused)
South Cerney and 
Ashton Keynes Station
One of the original locomotives on Midland and South Western Junction Railway 
which connected South Cerney to GWR Railway and London

 "In the meantime, construction work had been going ahead. Rushey Platt platforms were being built at a cost of 250 each and the SMA (Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway) offered to pay half the cost of the connecting subways. Shopland, the engineer, considered lighting them by gas, the New Swindon Gas Company offering to lay the necessary pipes. The junction between the SMA and the SCE (Swindon and Cheltenham Extension Railway) was inspected by Col F. H. Rich on 9 September 1883;; he found that one lever needed interlocking and the permanent way needed repacking. it was re-inspected and passed on 12 October 1883. Goods traffic began between Rushey Platt and Cirencester on 1 November 1883, and Major Marindin inspected this stretch of 13 miles 35 chains on 27 and 28 November. He reported that it was a single line with passing places at Rushey Platt junction station, Cricklade and Cirencester. The works were well and substantially constructed, but on the day of inspection wet weather had caused a slip in the embankment near the Wootton Bassett Road, at the point where the chalk and the clay soils met. Major Marindin would not pass the line for passenger traffic, but goods continued to work over it. Overed Watson, the contractor, said that in the four months from September to December more rain had fallen than for fifty years during the same period. He added that of the opposition, Great Western, landowners and the weather, the last was the worst. It was calculated that the work on the bank would be finished in eight days, so the opening demonstration was postponed from 5 to 13 December, but numerous engagements prevented the inspector from coming until 17 December. He passed the line, though recom- mending that the slip should be watched during the winter and trains run cautiously. As the inspection train reached Cricklade, South Cerney and Cirencester stations, bills were posted announcing that the line was passed and would be open to traffic the following day. The inspection train returned over the sixteen miles between Cirencester and Swindon in twenty-two minutes. Cirencester people had of course arranged a celebration for opening day, but as the rearrangements had been hasty and Christmas was so near, it was postponed until the New Year. However the contractors invited some friends to a champagne luncheon on 18 December. The train carrying the guests left Swindon at 1 p.m. and was welcomed by crowds at Cricklade-the town band playing 'A flower that bloometh'. The following day the Vale of White Horse Foxhounds travelled by train to Swindon for their usual weekly meet at the end of the county. Unlike Cirencester, Cricklade could not wait until after Christmas and held its celebrations in the White Hart Hotel on the 21st. Sports were held on the following day, with a tea- for the children and old people, and a firework display. On 8 January came Cirencester's rejoicings. A public luncheon was held in the King's Head Hotel and the humbler folk filled the market place and played games and sports-jumping, running, bobbing for treacle buns, climbing greasy poles.

Extract from "The Midland and South Western Junction Railway" by Colin G Maggs
(pages 34 35) describing the opening of the railway through South Cerney.

 

"Soon the line passed lakes formed by gravel working and the ascent of the Cotswolds began. South Cerney originally had only one platform but another was added later. A goods loop in addition to the passing loop was opened in September 1900, and there was also a horse dock and three sidings. Sometimes 2-6-0 No. 16 came out from Swindon with a brake van to pick up ten to fifteen trucks of gravel from the sidings. The gravel had been dug up by hand, shovelled into a two-wheeled, horse-drawn cart, taken to the station and shovelled into the open wagons - a laborious task. The station has had two changes of title: originally Cerney and Ashton Keynes, it became just Cerney until 1 July 1924, when it was amended to South Cerney. Freight traffic was withdrawn on 1 July 1963.

 

Description of line around turn of 20th century

Locomotive number 16 "Galloping Alice" (or "Dirty Alice" when going up hill and belching smoke)  
after being re-built at Swindon 1925 and re-numbered engine 24 in GWR livery.