Swindon & Cricklade Railway Society is opening another half mile of track ready to carry passengers on 26, 26 and 27 August.
Following many months of toil and heavy labour by volunteers, the Society is proud to be opening a brand new extension to the public, increasing the total length of useable track to two and a quarter miles, giving a round trip of four and a half miles.
Right, some of the volunteers who have laid the new railway track, from left, Robert Harris, Dave Randall, Jonathan Mills, with assistance from RealPower
The new extension takes the southern end of the line as far as Taw Valley, close to Mouldon Hill Park.
Passengers will not be able to disembark at this point as the platform and facilities at Taw Valley Halt, as it will be called, will not be fully ready until the new year.
However, passengers can enjoy travelling on the new full length of line by going to Blunsdon station to catch the train.
To add to the interest of the new track extension, guest locomotive, Swindon built “Prairie” tank 5521 will be in use on all three days – pictured below.
Built at the Great Western Railway works in 1927, 2-6-2 “Prairie” tank 5521 spent most of its working life on branch lines in the west country, until withdrawal from British Railways in April 1962.
Having run just over 1,000,000 miles during this period, in preservation, 5521 has travelled extensively, having spent 2007 ti 2009 in Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia.
There are also two fly-pasts scheduled for the weekend, subject to weather and availability:-
On Saturday 25 August a restored World War II vintage Spitfire will pass over at 4.30pm.
On Monday 17 August, the Red Arrows are due overhead at 1.08pm.
Blunsdon railway station is open
Swindon & Cricklade Railway Society wants to publicise the fact that Blunsdon Station is open for business and people need to keep coming to ride on the trains.
The repair and reconstruction is taking place in two phases. Vehicle access until mid-September is via the B4553 road from West Swindon to Purton. But there is a temporary footbridge over the River Ray to the station from the North Swindon side of Tadpole Lane. At weekends visitors are permitted to park on one side of Tadpole Lane.
In the second phase, from mid-September, contractors will stabilise the Grade II listed railway bridge and embankment next to the railway station. During this time the approach from the B4553 will be closed and the railway will be approached along Tadpole Lane from North Swindon.