Swindon Town railway station


Swindon Town railway station

Swindon Town railway station was on the Midland and South Western Junction Railway at Swindon in Wiltshire. The station was sited in the Old Town area about one-and-a-half miles from the main station on the Great Western Railway.

Swindon Town was originally planned under an Act of 1873 for a different site to the east of the eventual station, with a tunnel to be built under the hill on which the Old Town sits. But money ran out and the line was realigned to run south of the hill. The Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway opened between Swindon Town and Marlborough on 27 July 1881; in early 1882, the line was extended northwards from Swindon Town to a junction with the Great Western main line at Rushey Platt, and services were started between the two Swindon stations. Rushey Platt became a junction the following year with the opening of the Swindon and Cheltenham Extension Railway as far as Cirencester Watermoor. The SM&AR and the S&CER combined to form the M&SWJR in 1884. Services between the two Swindon stations ceased in 1885 because of the high charges the GWR imposed on M&SWJR trains. Finally, the northern section of the M&SWJR was extended in 1891 from Cirencester to a junction with the GWR Cheltenham to Banbury line at Andoversford railway station, so that through-services could be run from the north to Southampton and the south coast.

Swindon Town was seen as the most important station on the line, and housed the M&SWJR's offices. There was a loop line, a locomotive turntable and a loco shed at the site. The loop line platform was used for the shuttle services to Swindon's GWR station when these were reinstated following the takeover of the M&SWJR by the GWR at the Grouping in 1923.

Swindon Town station was heavily used in early years, but increasingly suffered from the concentration of traffic at the main GWR station as the focus of the town shifted away from the Old Town area to the newer parts that developed around the GWR station and the railway works there. Passenger and goods traffic on the M&SWJR fell very steeply after the Second World War and the line closed to passengers in 1961, with goods facilities being withdrawn in March 1964, though a private siding remained for some years after that. The M&SWJR offices remain on the site, but much of the rest has disappeared under a trading estate. Part of the track alignment has been opened as a railway path and nature trail.

Reference

* Wiltshire Railway Stations, Mike Oakley, Dovecote Press, Wimborne, 2004, ISBN 1 904349 33 1


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