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An evening of vintage transport and nostalgia

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The Stroud Vintage Transport  Engine Club (SVTEC) ran a very successful evening trip to the Swindon and Cricklade Railway last Monday evening, writes Ian Thomas.

The tour started with a 1950 built AEC Harrington III coach KDD 38. This was owned by the Bevan Bros under the name of Soudley Valley and remained in service with them until 1980. It was then sold to Nick Helliker and is now lovingly restored and in good running order. The coach picked the punters up at Cainscross and headed to Blunsdon on the Swindon and Cricklade Railway.

The purpose of the visit was to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the  closure of the branch lines from Kemble to Cirencester and Kemble to Tetbury, these seeing the last passenger trains over the weekend of April 4th-5th 1964.

We had the pleasure of riding in the AEC Railbus No 79978, now almost fully restored, for a trip along the entire length of the line. This route was the former Midland and South Western Junction line which ran in its entirety from Cheltenham through to  Andover (Hants) where it joined the London and South-Western Rails with through trains from Cheltenham to Southampton.

The last trains ran in September 1960. A visit to the locomotive depot at Hayes Knoll and then back to Blunsdon to rejoin Nick`s coach back to Cainscross. All in all, a brilliant evening and a first for me to actually see a railbus of that type in the flesh and take a trip aboard. I just imagined myself on the Tetbury branch sometime between 1959 and the end in 1964. Happy days!

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