Wild Swan Books

The Banbury & Cheltenham Railway Volume One

William Hemmings

Hardback  -  200 pages  -  £29.95


Of the many cross-country branch lines which have received the attention of photographers and historians, the Banbury & Cheltenham has remained one of the most mysterious and elusive. It sprang from a modest 4½-mile branch line which opened in 1855 to connect the market town of Chipping Norton with the Oxford Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway at Chipping Norton junction.

The next component, the Bourton-on-the-Water Railway, which opened from Chipping Norton Junction in 1862, had serious aspirations to reach Cheltenham. However, it took a third company, the Banbury & Cheltenham Direct, to make the outstanding portions of the planned route a reality, the Bourton to Cheltenham (Lansdown Junction) section opening in 1881 and the Chipping Norton to King's Sutton on the GWR's northern main line, opening in 1887. Even then it took the Great Western Railway, which absorbed the line in 1897, to provide the final east to west link, a flyover across the OWWR which, from 1906, allowed through running over the route without entering Chipping Norton Junction, later renamed Kingham station.

The line was used as a route for the Ports-to-Ports (Newcastle & Swansea) expresses and for one or two through goods services but, curiously, local goods services and, very largely, local passenger services operated separately either side of Kingham. This first volume details the history of the line up to 1939.

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