Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway

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Sketchmap of Railway described on this page

The Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway was a 7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm) broad gauge railway that linked the Great Western Railway at Swindon, Wiltshire, with Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. Much of the route is still in regular use today as the Golden Valley Line.


The line between Cheltenham and Gloucester was worked jointly with the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway, necessitating mixed gauge track and shared maintenance. The line between Gloucester and Standish Junction was owned by the C&GWUR, but the Bristol and Gloucester Railway had running rights over it. The Bristol and Gloucester Railway and 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge Birmingham and Gloucester Railway then merged, and were then quickly taken over by the Midland Railway. The Bristol & Gloucester line was soon converted to standard gauge to allow through trains from Bristol to Birmingham, thus extending the mixed gauge as far south as Standish. Despite this joint working, the stations were generally independent with the individual railways providing duplicate facilities at Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stonehouse.


  • 1836 Authorised by Act of Parliament
  • 1840 Railway opened from Cheltenham to Gloucester (only for Birmingham & Gloucester Railway trains)
  • 1841 Railway opened from Swindon to Cirencester
  • 1842 Work stopped[1]
  • 1843 Railway company sold to Great Western Railway and work on revised alignment of Sapperton Tunnel resumed[1]
  • 1845 Railway opened from Kemble to Gloucester leaving Cirencester on a short branch
  • 1847 Independent station opened at Cheltenham
  • 1872 Line converted from 7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm) broad gauge to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge, and mixed gauge lines around Gloucester removed
  • 1882 Kemble station opens at Kemble Junction after local landowner finally gives permission for a station
  • 1903 Introduction of steam railmotor local passenger services in the Stroud Valley, resulting in the opening of 7 small halts to boost traffic
  • 1964 Stroud Valley local services withdrawn and all the halts and some of the intermediate stations closed. Only Kemble, Stroud and Stonehouse remain.
  • 1965 Line from Kemble to Cirencester closed
  • 1966 Cheltenham St James closed as London services transferred back to Cheltenham Lansdown (now Cheltenham Spa).


C&GWU Line and stations, 1840 to today
mile-chain GWR to Birmingham
MR to Birmingham
7-03 Cheltenham St James
6-40 Cheltenham Malvern Road
Cheltenham Lansdown
to Banbury
3-04 Churchdown
(excludes ex-MR lines)
Standish Junction
MR to Bristol
104-75 Stonehouse
103-52 Ebley Crossing Halt
103-23 Cashes Green Halt
102-69 Downfield Crossing Halt
102-13 Stroud
101-37 Bowbridge Crossing Halt
100-60 Ham Mill Halt
99-74 Brimscombe Bridge Halt
99-24 Brimscombe
98-62 St Mary's Crossing Halt
98-01 Chalford
95-14 Cirencester Town
94-49 Chesterton Lane Halt
Sapperton Tunnels
94-42 Park Leaze Halt
91-65 Tetbury Road
to Tetbury
90-79 Kemble
Kemble tunnel
88-35 Oaksey Halt
85-37 Minety and Ashton Keynes
GWR to Bristol
GWR to London

Includes stations opened by the Great Western Railway (1843–1947) and BR (1948–)

Swindon and Gloucester stations were already served by other railways prior to the arrival of the C&GWU in 1841 and 1845 respectively. Between Stonehouse (Burdett Road) station and Gloucester trains on this line passed next to the station at Haresfield, but the station only served Midland Railway trains running between Bristol and Gloucester, and there were no platforms facing the C&GWUR (Great Western) tracks.


  1. ^ a b "The Approaches to Sapperton Railway Tunnels" (PDF). 1998. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  • Fenton, Mike (1985). "The Brimscombe Bankers". British Railway Journal. Wild Swan Publications (GWR Special Edition): 64–83. 
  • MacDermot, E T (1927). History of the Great Western Railway, volume I 1833-1863. London: Great Western Railway. 
  • Mike Oakley (2003). Gloucestershire Railway Stations. Wimborne: Dovecote Press. p. 62. ISBN 1-904349-24-2.