THE FAIRFORD BRANCH LINE

FAIRFORD

Fairford station was unlike the typical branch line terminus, in that the line continued on past the station for a further ¼mile and was clearly intended as a through station in the original plan to link up with the MSWJR at Cirencester. The standard EGR station building was provided on the single platform. This could be easily viewed from the adjacent road bridge, the site of which (SP167010) is now the entrance to the industrial units that have obliterated all trace of the station.

7404 Fairford 1959

A superb panoramic picture of Fairford station in 1959. 74xx 0-6-0PT 7404 waits to depart with the 06:47 to Oxford, while just visible in the background through a gap in the trees another pannier tank can be seen on shed. Given a pleasing perspective by the use of a telephoto lens, and in perfect early morning light, this is possibly one of the best colour views of the station. 
Colour Rail (T. B. Owen)

Fairford station on a September evening in 1961

It is September 1961, and the crew of the 18:00 Fairford to Oxford train are relaxing in the warm evening sunshine before commencing their 25½ mile journey to Oxford. This scene typifies the lazy nature of the line, no passengers visible and the signal already 'off'. The I in 100 gradient commencing under the bridge is readily apparent in this view. The standard GWR pagoda hut on the left was used for bicycle storage. Note also the shunt signal below the main signal arm.
Paul Strong

14xx Class 0-4-2Ts were never particularly common on the Fairford Branch, possibly due to their small water capacity being ill-suited to such a long branch line. However, 1468 is pictured here at Fairford, waiting to depart with a train for Oxford. 
Colour Rail

1468 Fairford Station

Fairford Station 14 May 1962

Despite the damage to the original slide, this view is certainly worthy of inclusion, as it shows the station building and signal box from the approach road side, in beautiful evening light on 14 May 1962, just one month prior to closure. Note the parcels office extension on the end of the station building and the tapered rear wall of the signal box, required in order to give vehicular access to the end loading bay. 
Colour Rail

7445 at Fairford in 1961

The last rays of the setting sun illuminate Fairford signal box and 74xx Class  0-6-0PT 7445 which has just arrived with the 16:24 service from Oxford on 25 March 1961. Unlike the majority of branch lines, bunker first running was uncommon, full use being made of the turntable at Fairford. On this occasion however, for some reason the loco was not turned at Oxford. The photographer is standing next to the short end unloading bay.
Gerald T. Robinson

Fairford station after closure

Pictured in the late 1960s, Fairford station is abandoned, but remarkably free from vandalism. Inspecting the original negative reveals intact glass in the signal box windows! Nearest the camera is the toilet block, which between the wars had acquired a roof, otherwise the station building is largely unaltered. Note the odd shape of the signal box roof, a flat top to the gable end at this end, standard gable on the other end (see above picture). 
Stanley C. Jenkins

If only the trains had been this busy on a normal day! Crowds swarm over Fairford station on the last day of passenger services - 12 June 1962. I was there, but even with careful inspection of the original photograph I cannot see myself in the crowd! My father, brother and myself made the journey from Carterton to Fairford and return. 
Colin Moulden Collection

Crowds at Fairford 12 June 1962

There was no run-round loop in the station, instead trains proceeded towards the goods yard, where a lengthy loop was provided. The whole site was over a quarter of a mile long, terminating in two sets of buffer stops up against an earth bank, just as if they were waiting to extended westwards towards Cirencester. At the far end of the site a timber engine shed, turntable and standard GWR conical water tank made up the locomotive depot, which was a sub-shed to Oxford. 

Fairford railwaymen's cottages

A pair of railway workers cottages were built near the station, on the main road towards Fairford, and are pictured here on 22 April 2006. The nearest one is named 'Terminus Cottage', while the far one is 'Station Cottage', which nicely maintains a link with the railway, despite the fact that everything else has been swept away. 
Martin Loader

74xx Class 0-6-0PT 7412 (note the oil drum chimney repair) is pictured passing the goods yard, after having run round its train. Another rake of coaches can just be seen at the end of the yard, near the water tower.  
Paul Strong

Fairford's chief claim to fame is its 15 century 'wool' church, which contains the finest collection of medieval stained glass in the country. The 28 windows containing 2,000 square feet of coloured glass was considered so precious that it was all removed for safe storage during World War Two. Visitors arriving by train had nearly a mile to walk to the church, as once again the station was remote from the place it was supposed to serve. When the railway opened in 1873, the pioneering Fairford Gas and Coke Company had already been trading for over twenty years, and until the mid 1930s coal was brought to for the works was brought in by rail.

7404 being turned on Fairford turntable

74xx Class 0-6-0PT 7404 is turned on the 55 ft turntable at Fairford on 11 June 1962. All locos were normally turned, as despite the evidence of the two pictures at the top of this page, bunker first running was uncommon. This turntable replaced a 45 ft one on the same site. 
Paul Strong

9654 & 3653 Fairford June 1962

A pair of 57xx 0-6-0 pannier tanks at Fairford in June 1962. While 9654 takes water, classmate 3653 stands on the turntable road. Not an original fitting, the conical water tank was added sometime during the Great Western years.
D.K.Jones Collection 

The site of the turntable is visible as a circle of rougher grass in this 27 May 1979 view. The only other clue being the lamp post on the right. The picture was taken from the earth bank that surrounded the far end of the yard (SP163008). Further concreting of the yard, and over two decades of bush growth has now obliterated this view. A public footpath passes the end of the line (approach along the gravel road to Fairford Town Football Club), and one can stand with the remains of the railway fencing on one side of the path, and the open fields heading off towards the EGR's thwarted destination of Cirencester on the other side. 
Martin Loader

The site of Fairford turntable in 1979

2221 Fairford 15 April 1962

The very end of the line! Two pigs graze contentedly in the field through which the East Gloucestershire Railway should have continued en-route to Cirencester. 22xx 0-6-0 2221 stands with a GWR 'Toad' brakevan in front of the timber built loco shed on 15 April 1962. The grounded horse box served as a crew mess room. The footpath mentioned above runs along the fence visible in the background. 
Colour Rail