I have always been adamant that I wouldn’t model a GWR branch line. Perhaps there were just too many models of them about in the 1960’s and 1970’s when I was developing my taste in railways. I do, however, rather like Panniers (I have a Dapol one in London Transport red livery) and am fascinated by the GWR railcars. I have never really liked the main line 4-6-0’s like the Castle’s and King’s – heresy, I know, but I much prefer the Southern 4-6-0’s.
But I came across this website on the Fairford Branch Line, well put together by Martin Loader. It almost convinces me to build a branch line, and use some of the lovely GWR small locomotives and coaches being released in N gauge.
Fairford was one of those, not unusual, stations that was never meant to be a terminus.
The East Gloucestershire Railway had initially been conceived as a cross country route linking Witney and Faringdon to Cheltenham via Andoversford, indeed earthworks were already underway at Andoversford when the operation was scaled down to a purely local line from Witney to Fairford. In 1869 work commenced on this less ambitious plan, although the layout of the station at Fairford clearly indicates that it was never intended as a terminus and that Cirencester and a connection with Midland & South Western Junction Railway was their ultimate aim. The line from Witney to Fairford opened on 14 January 1873 and the resultant 22 mile branch line was operated by the GWR until that company took over the two local companies entirely in 1890.
The track layout is interesting for a small branch terminus, with its goods yard beyond the station, and the engine shed at the very end of the line.
And the station itself would make an attractive model. The road bridge at the platform end makes a perfect break to enter the fiddle yard.
And the photograph below is a good ‘prototype for everything’ moment. Move the plane off the tracks, so the trains can still run, and it could make an effective scene for a layout.
Oops! On 28 November 1946 an Avro York MW168 belonging to the Transport Command Development Unit at RAF Brize Norton failed to become airborne and instead crashed onto the railway line between Brize Norton and Carterton stations, coming to rest in a field, as pictured above. Needless to say the line was closed for several days while the RAF effected recovery.
Of course there was another Great Western
And I really do prefer the Isle of Wight railways to any GWR branch line – it’s just there are very few models available, without scratch building.