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Fairford railway station

Fairford railway station served the town of Fairford in Gloucestershire It was the western terminus of the Oxford, Witney and Fairford Railway between Oxford and Fairford1 It had one platform, and a stone-built station building


  • 1 History
  • 2 Present day
  • 3 References
    • 31 Notes
    • 32 Sources
  • 4 External links


The station was opened on 15 January 1873 by the East Gloucestershire Railway EGR23 It was built in open fields beside the road to Lechlade, 1 mile 16 km east of Fairford45 As with the stations at Lechlade and Alvescot, Fairford was a simple, single-platform structure, built of honey-coloured local Cotswold stone which reflected the architecture of the nearby villages6 There was also a standard Great Western Railway signalbox, a Pagoda Platform Shelter and a small permanent way shed which housed a motorised trolley7 Near the engine shed was a water tank and an old horsebox used as a mess hut, while a spur led to a 45-foot 14 m turntable and a coaling stage89 The tank was driven by a steam supplied from locomotive injectors1011

GWR 7400 No 7412 with a local train to Oxford in February 1962

The station was not designed as a terminus: the line continued a further 500 yards 460 m west of the station and doubled to form a run-around loop, finally ending at a buffer stop with a carriage siding on one side and a timber engine shed on the other12 There were several attempts at extending the line beyond Fairford The original scheme would have seen the line run from Cheltenham via Andoversford and the Coln Valley to Fairford and Lechlade where it would divide into two routes: an eastern branch to Witney and a southern line to join up with the Faringdon Railway13 This was opposed by the Great Western Railway whose Cheltenham to Swindon line provided a shorter route to London and which was wary of proposals which might allow the London and North Western Railway to compete for its South Wales traffic13 Agreement was reached with the Great Western for a modified route via Bourton-on-the-Water on the Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway but the Great Western withdrew its support following objections from shareholders who felt that the scheme was a risky and unnecessary proposition14 Although the East Gloucestershire Railway obtained Parliamentary approval for its initial proposal via Andoversford, it could not finance it and decided to concentrate on the section between Fairford and Witney15 The next attempt was made in 1890 when the Great Western offered to purchase the East Gloucestershire and Witney Railways, leading the directors of the East Gloucestershire to enquire with the Witney directors as to whether they would support an approach to the Midland and South Western Junction Railway for an extension to Cirencester16 The Witney directors declined as they had received a good offer from the Great Western for their shares16 In 1895, the Midland Railway, London and North Western Railway and Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway proposed a trunk route to South Wales via Fairford and Oxford17 This was defeated by the Great Western by buying off the support of the Manchester company through certain concessions18 Another proposal came in 1899 when a group of local businessmen and landowners put forward a scheme under the Light Railways Act 1896 for a line parallel to the A40 road which was backed by the Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire County Councils but did not secure the support of the government and was abandoned in 190318 Finally, during the Second World War, thought was given to connecting the Fairford branch with the Highworth Branch Line using a 6-mile 97 km spur between Lechlade and Hannington19 The upturn in fortunes meant that the proposal was not taken further19

Station site in 1992

As Fairford had not been conceived as a terminus, its layout created a number of problems The 246-foot 75 m platform was inconveniently sited across the station throat which prevented the yard from being easily shunted if there was a train at the platform20 In the event, this defect did not need to be remedied as the station was never particularly busy;20 receipts from 1903, 1913 and 1923 show that on average 6,500 tickets were issued whilst goods traffic handled never exceeded 10,000 tons and around 400 parcels were dispatched,21 although there was at one time a substantial milk traffic with 15,000 gallons being sent daily to London22 In addition, there was insufficient space for the engine to run around the train for the return journey, meaning that the train had to be pulled forward to the goods loop where the engine was detached and positioned on the adjacent track to haul the coaches to the buffers using a cable until the points were cleared and the engine could regain its position1123

During the Second World War, Fairford station was busy with traffic for RAF Fairford and a second goods siding was added to the station in 1944242225 The station was closed along with the East Gloucestershire Railway on 18 June 196223262728 In its last days, the station had no more than a dozen regular users29

Preceding station Disused railways Following station
Terminus   Great Western Railway
East Gloucestershire Railway
Line and station closed

Present dayedit

After closure, the station building was adapted as offices by Antocks Lairn and survived among the industrial units which were constructed on the former goods yard3031 At some point after 1991, the structure was demolished and replaced by a modern industrial unit3233 The outline of the infilled turntable pit was still visible in 199134



  1. ^ Conolly 1976, p 9, section F5
  2. ^ a b Butt 1995, p 93
  3. ^ a b Quick 2009, p 169
  4. ^ Mitchell, Smith & Lingard 1988, fig 93
  5. ^ Jenkins 1985
  6. ^ Jenkins 1985, p 33
  7. ^ Jenkins 1985, pp 102, 104
  8. ^ Jenkins 1985, pp 102-103
  9. ^ Mitchell, Smith & Lingard 1988, figs 112 and 113
  10. ^ Mitchell, Smith & Lingard 1988, fig 110
  11. ^ a b Yorke 2009, p 131
  12. ^ Jenkins 1985, p 102
  13. ^ a b Jenkins 1985, p 27
  14. ^ Jenkins 1985, pp 27-28
  15. ^ Jenkins 1985, pp 31-32
  16. ^ a b Jenkins 1985, p 36
  17. ^ Jenkins 1985, pp 43-44
  18. ^ a b Jenkins 1985, p 45
  19. ^ a b Jenkins 1985, p 108
  20. ^ a b Jenkins 1985, p 107
  21. ^ Jenkins 1985, p 52
  22. ^ a b Simpson 1997, p 185
  23. ^ Mitchell, Smith & Lingard 1988, fig 103
  24. ^ Jenkins 1985, p 69
  25. ^ Mitchell, Smith & Lingard 1988, fig 100
  26. ^ Jenkins 1985, p 112
  27. ^ Clinker 1988, p 46
  28. ^ Waters 1986, p 28
  29. ^ Jenkins 1985, pp 104, 107
  30. ^ Mitchell, Smith & Lingard 1988, fig 120
  31. ^ Jenkins 1985, p 147
  32. ^ Waters & Doyle 1992, p 104
  33. ^ "Disused Stations" Subterranea Britannica 
  34. ^ Waters & Doyle 1992, p 105


  • Butt, R V J 1995 The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present 1st ed Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7 OCLC 60251199 
  • Clinker, CR 1988 1978 Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England, Scotland and Wales 1830–1980 2nd ed Bristol: Avon-Anglia Publications & Services ISBN 978-0-905466-91-0 OCLC 655703233 
  • Conolly, W Philip January 1976 British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas and Gazetteer 5th ed Shepperton: Ian Allan ISBN 0-7110-0320-3 EX/0176 
  • Jenkins, Stanley C 1985 1975 The Fairford Branch Headington: Oakwood Press ISBN 0-853613-16-8 LP86 
  • Mitchell, Victor E; Smith, Keith; Lingard, Richard April 1988 Branch Line to Fairford Midhurst: Middleton Press ISBN 0-906520-52-5 
  • Quick, Michael 2009 2001 Railway passenger stations in Great Britain: a chronology 4th ed Oxford: Railway and Canal Historical Society ISBN 978-0-901461-57-5 OCLC 612226077 
  • Simpson, Bill 1997 A History of the Railways of Oxfordshire; Part 1: The North Witney: Lamplight Publications ISBN 978-1-89924-602-1 
  • Waters, Laurence; Doyle, Tony 1992 British Railways Past and Present: Oxfordshire Wadenhoe: Silver Link Publishing ISBN 978-0-94797-187-8 No 15 
  • Waters, Laurence 1986 Rail Centres: Oxford London: Ian Allan ISBN 978-0-7110-1590-6 
  • Yorke, Stan 2009 Lost Railways of Gloucestershire Newbury, Berkshire: Countryside Books ISBN 978-1-84674-163-0 

External linksedit

  • Photos and details about the station
  • Station on a 1947 OS, Map
  • Station on Disused Stations
  • Archived page with post-closure details of stations

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Fairford railway station

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