Swindon &

MSWJ Survivals

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When we took over "our" section of the old Midland & South Western Junction Railway over 30 years ago, not a trace of the original line was left. In fact, apart from small artifacts in private hands, it is probable that hardly anything remains at all.
Apart from building within the same boundaries, what we now have is a new railway, with our new version of Blunsdon (the first station to be originally closed) now often handling more passengers in one day than the old milk platform saw in a year. But there are some survivals from MSWJ ownership, and here they are.

5-ton hand crane from Ludgershall.
Now standing beside the main entrance to our Blunsdon car park, the crane was delivered to Ludgershall station by Stothert & Pitt of Bath during the first World War. We acquired it in 1980 and, after being stored in pieces on the railway for many years, it was restored as a static exhibit and installed on a new base in 2008.

Loading Gauge. In easy view from the end of Blunsdon Platform, this MSWJ loading gauge was recovered from the Swindon area and given a new post fabricated from old rail in the original style.

Water Column. This was also recovered from Ludgershall. At times - especially wartimes - Ludgershall was the busiest station on the MSWJ, and was the junction for the military branch to Tidworth Camp. This is one MSWJ survival that has been put back into service, and is fed from the water tower by the road bridge.

Road bridge. When all traces of a former railway have been swept away, the bridges often remain. The one at Blunsdon is of some interest because it was made by the Phoenix Foundry of Derby, whose maker's plate is also shown. A rare survivor, it is subject to Preservation Order.

And under your feet. Although the rails had long gone from the line when we started to build, there were still considerable quantities of blue brick and platform edging available for recovery from station sites. At one time or another, we were allowed to visit Swindon Town, Rushey Platt, Cirencester and South Cerney. So, if you know where to look, something of the old MSWJ does live on!
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