Golden Valley Line
|Golden Valley Line|
South West England
|Operator(s)||First Great Western|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The line was originally built as the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway in the 1840s. It diverges from the Great Western Main Line at Swindon and (after going through the Sapperton railway tunnel and down the Golden Valley to Stroud), joins the Bristol Temple Meads to Birmingham New Street main line at Standish Junction just north of Stonehouse.
The intermediate towns served by the route are listed below.
- Gloucester (through trains must reverse or omit calling here)
Kemble railway station was a junction for two branch lines serving Cirencester and Tetbury. Both of these lines were closed in the 1960s and the Swindon — Kemble section of the line was reduced to single track. Today, Kemble station is mainly used by commuters from Cirencester.
Local passenger services between Swindon and Cheltenham are currently operated by First Great Western. Services are approximately hourly but with some gaps. These are filled by express services from Paddington to Cheltenham via the Golden Valley, which are operated by First Great Western.
Single track section
The part of the line between Swindon and Kemble is single track, the second track having been lifted in the summer of 1968 by British Rail. At that time it was intended that the whole of the line between Swindon and Standish Junction would be single track only but protests caused British Rail to abandon the project after reaching Kemble.
In 1977 the Parliamentary Select Committee on Nationalised Industries recommmended considering electrification of more of Britain's rail network, and by 1979 BR presented a range of options to do so by 2000. Options included electrifying numerous former Great Western routes including the Golden Valley line. Under the 1979–90 Conservative governments that succeeded the 1976–79 Labour government the proposal was not implemented. As of 2013[update] there are no plans to electrify the line.
Reinstatement of second track
Network Rail proposed to reinstate the second track in September 2008, then September 2009, but the plans were referred to the Office of Rail Regulation. Despite protests by local MPs, the ORR made a preliminary decision that it would not be included in the 2009-2014 High Level Output Specification plan for new rail infrastructure. In the 2011 Budget the Government announced that funding for the redoubling was to be provided, with works reported to be completed by Spring 2014. Work was started on redoubling in January 2013.
- For fuller details of the earlier stations on this line see the article on the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway and also http://homepage.ntlworld.com/davidlloyd/CGWURLYHOME.htm
- Thames and Severn Canal which runs alongside the line and can be seen from the train, particularly between Stroud and Kemble.
- Anonymous Winter 1979, pp. 0–2.
- Anonymous Winter 1979, p. 8.
- A copy of the debate is at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2008-06-30a.703.0&m=1494
- "Extra railway line hopes dashed". BBC News. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
- "Chancellor approves Kemble to Swindon railway upgrade". BBC News. 23 March 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- Anonymous (Winter 1979). Railway Electrification. British Railways Board (Central Publicity Unit). pp. 0–2, 8.