THE FAIRFORD BRANCH LINE

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fairford by C. F. D. Whetmath Fairford by C. F. D. Whetmath (Branch Line Handbooks June 1962)
A very interesting booklet published at exactly the same time that the line closed. Apparently produced in limited numbers and obviously a private production, this slim volume covers the history of the line, description of the route, and a motive power summary. It includes six photographs, but unfortunately due to the limitation of the production process used, these do not reproduce well. The typewritten pages are a little difficult to read in places with several uncorrected spelling and grammatical mistakes, as well as the quaint uneven letter alignment one associates with vintage documents! 
Railway World October 1962 Farewell to the Fairford Branch by J. M. Tolson (Railway World October 1962)
Taking the form of an elaborated story of a trip down the branch on the last day of passenger services, this account also covers the history of the line and has a selection of previously unseen pictures. There are however one or two errors. I'm not quite sure how he managed to see a "substantial stone station building and goods shed" at Alvescot! As with the Railway Magazine article it makes interesting reading in conjunction with the other contemporary railway news included in the magazine.
Branch Line to Fairford by Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith

Branch Line to Fairford by Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith (Middleton Press 1988 ISBN 0906520525)
Is there no line that Vic & Keith haven't covered in their prolific Branch Line series? The usual Middleton formulae of a pictorial trip down the line includes many previously unseen images. Also included are numerous plans, tickets and timetables. Excellent reproduction and informative captions make this an indispensable volume.

The Witney & East Gloucestershire Railway by Stanley C. Jenkins

The Witney & East Gloucestershire Railway by Stanley C. Jenkins (Oakwood Press 1975 ISSN 03055493)
The first serious attempt at documenting the line's history, written by a local historian who has personal recollections of the line's final years. The full story behind the origins of both the Witney and East Gloucestershire Railway are covered in great depth. A slim volume that nevertheless contained a useful selection of pictures and track plans. Long out of print and now something of a collector's item.

The Fairford Branch by Stanley C. Jenkins

The Fairford Branch by Stanley C. Jenkins (Oakwood Press 1985 ISBN 0853613168)
A greatly enlarged reprint of the previous title and although now also out of print, remains the definitive work of reference on the line. A larger selection of photographs, although not all of those used in the original publication were included in this reprint. Track plans, timetables, traffic tables and a lengthy reprint of rules for the use of the maintenance motor trolley are all included. Building plans and pictures of often overlooked details will be of help to modellers.

Just A Few Lines by Paul Jennings

Just A Few Lines by Paul Jennings (Guinness Superlatives 1969 SBN 900424508)
A much sought after volume that describes four rural branch lines that at the time of publication were either closed or on the point of closure. The other lines being: Cambridge to Wakes Colne, Whitby to Scarborough and Brecon to Neath. A journalistic style is evident in the writing, which includes interviews with local characters. Also notable is Graham Finlayson's photography - a typical late 1960s avant-garde style with liberal use of fisheye lenses, unusual perspectives and gritty black and white. Where else would you see pictures of pigs on the platform at Carterton (after closure!), the vandalized lavatory at Yarnton and a VC-10 aircraft coming in to land over the remains of Brize Norton & Bampton station!

Branch Lines of Oxfordshire by Colin C. Maggs

Branch Lines of Oxfordshire by Colin G. Maggs (Alan Sutton Publishing 1995 ISBN 0750910240)
Another useful collection of photographs along with a potted history of the line. Also included, as the title suggests are all the other branch lines in the county as well as the Bicester Military Railway and the ironstone lines around Wroxton. Luckily this volume doesn't suffer from the 'muddy' B&W reproduction that can plague some titles from this publisher.

A History of the Railways of Oxfordshire Part 1: The North by Bill Simpson

A History of the Railways of Oxfordshire Part 1: The North by Bill Simpson (Lamplight Publications 1997 ISBN 1899246029)
The Fairford Branch gets good coverage in this book which also includes the railways of Oxford, Banbury, Bicester & Chipping Norton. Once again many previously unseen pictures have been used, including a couple of pictures of trains in the open countryside between stations, something of a rarity considering the number of possible photographic vantage points along the line!

British Railways Past & Present No.15 Oxfordshire by Laurence Waters & Tony Doyle

British Railways Past and Present No.15 Oxfordshire by Laurence Waters & Tony Doyle (Silver Link 1992 ISBN 0947971874)
As the title suggests, this book tries to match present day views with historic photographs of the line. Although some of the 'now' pictures are now just as historic as the 'then' ones, it really does show the dramatic changes that have taken place since the line closed. Although mostly confined to two pictures for each location, Lechlade boasts four: the line in use in 1962; derelict but still largely intact in 1967; buildings gone and becoming overgrown in 1978 and finally a 1991 shot from the same spot (the road bridge) that shows nothing but a close-up of the trees that have invaded the site!

Great Western Branch Line Steam 2 by Colin L. Williams

Great Western Branch Line Steam 2 by Colin L. Williams (Bradford Barton ISBN 0851533248)
During the 1970s, the Bradford Barton series of large format pictorial books filled the need for high quality railway pictures at a time before seemingly every branch line had been pictorially covered in at least one book. Here we have a dozen high quality pictures of the Fairford Branch. My favuorite has to be 7411 arriving at Carterton, with second coach of a three coach rake noticeably tilting in relation to its fellows as it enters the loop!

Great Western Steam Through The Cotswolds by Colin L. Williams

Great Western Steam Through The Cotswolds by Colin L. Williams (Bradford Barton 1975 ISBN 0851531628)
An excellent book containing a number of large format pictures of the Fairford Branch. Particularly noteworthy are J. R. Besley's photos of Witney, with plenty of added human interest, including a superb token exchange picture. Note also the close up shot of GWR 74xx Class 0-6-0PT Fairford Line regular 7412 at Oxford with its oil drum chimney!

Great Western Branch Line Termini Volume One by Paul Karau

Great Western Branch Line Termini Volume One by Paul Karau (Oxford Publishing Co. 1977 SBN 902888897)
Extensive coverage is given to five former GWR branch termini (Fairford, Lambourn, Tetbury, Wallingford & Watlington). Photographs and timetables are complimented by pull out 4mm/foot plans of the buildings - indispensable for modellers.

An Historical Survey of Selected Great Western Stations by R. H. Clark

An Historical Survey of Selected Great Western Stations by R. H. Clark (Oxford Publishing Co. 1976 ISBN 0902888293)
141 Great Western stations are examined in this volume, each one have a very detailed track plan and often a schematic signal box type diagram as well. Concise notes include opening and closure dates. Fairford Branch stations included are: Alvescot, Eynsham, Kelmscott & Langford, Witney (EGR) & Yarnton. 

The Last Days of Steam In Oxfordshire by Kevin Robertson

The Last Days of Steam In Oxfordshire by Kevin Robertson (Alan Sutton 1987 ISBN 0862993326)
Despite a few caption errors, this is an interesting collection of photographs. Particularly noteworthy is the picture of 57xx Class 0-6-0PT No. 9654 on a freight at Eynsham during the period after the withdrawal of passengers services. Published pictures of steam hauled freights during this period seem particularly scarce.

More Last Days of Steam In Oxfordshire by Laurence Waters

More Last Days of Steam In Oxfordshire by Laurence Waters (Alan Sutton 1992 ISBN 0750900938)
A follow-up volume to the above, again with a good selection of Fairford Branch pictures. The reproduction is a little poor but some different viewpoints are on offer. Note especially Dr G. Smith's selection of shots around Cassington Halt.

Steam on the Great Western: Severn & Cotswolds by Rex Kennedy

Steam on the Great Western: Severn & Cotswolds by Rex Kennedy (Ian Allan 1993 ISBN 0711020647)
Another pictorial album covering the Cotswold region as well as some more distant outposts, such as the Cleobury Mortimer & Ditton Priors Light Railway. A useful selection of Fairford Branch pictures are included with some excellent pictures of locos in the yard and on the turntable at Fairford. However, this book contains a serious error that should not really have got past the proof reading stage. The picture of a '633' Class loco at Bampton is in fact the other Bampton on the Great Western system - on the Tiverton to Morebath Junction line in Devon! 

Cotswold Memories by Ron Pigram & Dennis F. Edwards

Cotswold Memories by Ron Pigram & Dennis F. Edwards (Unicorn Books 1990 ISBN 1852410027)
The subtitle to this book (Recollections of Rural life in the Steam Age) gives a hint that this may be more than just another railway title. Indeed, the subjects covered range from bygone farming practices (note the ingenious potato planting machine), through rural pastimes, the country bus to canals and railways. The section on the Fairford Branch has some well presented pictures as well as the usual brief history.

Great Western Branch Lines 1955 - 1965 by G. J. Gammell

Great Western Branch Lines 1955 - 1965 by G. J. Gammell (Oxford Publishing Co. 1975 SBN 902888528)
Another well printed large format pictorial book containing a few Fairford Branch pictures, strangely with a predominance of 14xx class 0-4-2Ts, which were something of a rarity on the line.

Railways of the Cotswolds by Colin Maggs

Railways of the Cotswolds by Colin Maggs (Peter Nicholson Railway Publishing 1981 ISBN 0907036074)
A handy A5 hardback volume giving a brief history of all the lines in the Cotswold area. Of the few pictures included, the shot taken from the train at Brize Norton showing all the huts, station building (with modified gable end), signal box & goods shed is especially noteworthy.

GWR Country Stations by Chris Leigh

GWR Country Stations by Chris Leigh (Ian Allan 1981 ISBN 0711011087)
A very interesting book with numerous photographs (a real boon for the modeller) of not just the major buildings at various GWR country stations, but the minor details as well. The Fairford Branch features in several illustrations, indeed Fairford station is on the rear dust jacket.

GWR Country Stations:2 by Chris Leigh

GWR Country Stations:2 by Chris Leigh (Ian Allan 1984 ISBN 0711014388)
Although the first volume in this series contained a couple of Fairford line pictures, it is this follow-up that expands the theme by not only including pictures of Witney and Fairford from the usual angles but including an extensive selection of photos of Lechlade from unusual viewpoints (including from the top of one of the signal posts!)

The Heart of the Great Western by Adrian Vaughan

The Heart of the Great Western by Adrian Vaughan (Silver Link 1994 ISBN 1857940261)
A very comprehensive account of the railways around Oxford, which naturally includes the Fairford Branch. The usual history is complimented by details of all the signal boxes in the area.

Oxfordshire Railways In Old Photographs by Laurence Waters

Oxfordshire Railways In Old Photographs by Laurence Waters (Alan Sutton 1989 ISBN 0862996694)
A large collection of pictures which is unfortunately let down by very poor printing. As well as the Fairford Branch pictures, there is a rare picture of the narrow gauge line used in the construction of the new A40 at Cassington, which crossed the branch.

Oxfordshire Railways In Old Photographs A Second Selection by Laurence Waters

Oxfordshire Railways In Old Photographs A Second Selection by Laurence Waters (Alan Sutton 1991 ISBN 0862998522)
A follow-up to the above. Better reproduction and a wider selection of Fairford Branch pictures plus another Cassington narrow gauge picture make this a worthwhile purchase.

Rail Centres: Oxford by Laurence Waters

Rail Centres: Oxford by Laurence Waters (Ian Allan 1986 ISBN 0711015902)
Although obviously concentrating on the main line through Oxford and including much diesel era material, a small section on the Fairford Branch is included. An interesting appendix gives locomotive allocations for Oxford depot for 1855, 1861, 1901, 1930, 1943 & 26 December 1965 (the final week of steam operation).

Western Steam In Colour: Branch Lines by Chris Leigh

Western Steam In Colour: Branch Lines by Chris Leigh (Ian Allan 1992 ISBN 0711020361)
One of the hugely successful landscape format coulor albums from Ian Allan that includes a couple of views from the branch: 57xx class 0-6-0PT No. 9773 is shown at Witney with the 'Western Ranger' railtour and an excellent shot of Lechlade station building.

Gloucestershire Steam Finale by Stephen Mourton

Gloucestershire Steam Finale by Stephen Mourton (Runpast Publishing 2000 ISBN 1870754506)
Like the above title, this book only contains two Fairford Branch pictures but as both are in colour it becomes all the more interesting. A picture of a Collett 0-6-0 at Lechlade is complimented by a splendid shot of 74xx class 0-6-0PT No. 7404 at Fairford with what must be the 06:47 departure for Oxford. Its a good job that T. B. Owen got up early enough to catch this in such superb light back in 1959.

The Changing Faces of Witney Book One by Derek Honey

The Changing Faces of Witney Book One by Derek Honey (Robert Boyd Publications 1998 ISBN 1899536310)
Although a number of local history books feature the Fairford Branch to some extent, this volume has a chapter dealing with the railway, along with a selection of pictures not used in other publications. Other subjects covered include Early's, the famous blanket making family, the local fire brigade & brewery.

Historic Witney

Historic Witney edited by Stanley C. Jenkins (Mill House Publications 2002 ISBN 0952440520)
This collection of articles from the Witney & District Historical & Archeological Society contains in addition to much general historical material from the Witney area, an article on the River Windrush, which includes a detailed description of the Witney railway bridges, along with a couple of photos from the diesel era. Other topics covered are: Historic Inns & Alehouses, De Havillands - Witney 1939-45, Some Thoughts on the Topography of Early Medieval Witney, An Oxfordshire Folk Rhyme, The Great Fires of Witney & Death in the Hayfield.

Great Western Branch Line Modelling Part One by Stephen Williams

Great Western Branch Line Modelling Part One by Stephen Williams (Wild Swan Publications 1991 ISBN 0906867959)
Colour pictures of Fairford station on the cover and a close up of the huts at the end of the platform complete with motorised PW trolley on the rear cover almost recommended this book on their own. A wealth of photographs inside (in B&W) include several more interesting Fairford Branch shots and of course masses of information for prospective modellers.

Great Western Branch Line Modelling Part Two by Stephen Williams

Great Western Branch Line Modelling Part Two by Stephen Williams (Wild Swan Publications 1991 ISBN 0906867983)
This time its the turn of Lechlade to be featured in colour on the cover and Witney on the rear. Interesting pictures of the Fairford Branch inside include a close up of Eynsham signal box. Once again a myriad of details will make this invaluable to modellers. 

The Railway Magazine October 1960

The Oxford, Witney and Fairford Line by Trevor J. Saunders (The Railway Magazine October 1960)
A comprehensive history of the line which has the added interest when read today, in that the line was still open when it was written: "Present passenger traffic is light: freight traffic to Witney is healthy enough, but poor on the rest of the branch. The future is locally regarded with much pessimism: it is even feared that freight working as far as Witney will be the only survivor of a curtailment of services." Obviously now difficult to obtain but a hunt through the publications on sale at model railway exhibitions and swap meets may turn this one up! 

Railway Walks by Martin Green

Railway Walks by Martin Green (Reardon Publishing 2003 ISBN 1873877617) 
This new 44 page book in the Walkabout series is subtitled "Twelve Circular Walks along abandoned railway lines in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire". As well as the Fairford Branch, the lines covered are the MSWJR, and the Cirencester, Malmesbury, Tetbury, Marlborough, Tidworth, Nailsworth, Calne, Highworth & Dursley Branches. Written with the motorist in mind, some of the routes described inevitably cover some non-railway walking in order to get back to one's parked car! The section of the Fairford Line in the book is the Little Faringdon to Calcroft Lane public right of way. A couple of present day pictures are included.

Model Railway Constructor Annual 1987

Model Railway Constructor Annual 1987 edited by Chris Leigh (Ian Allan 1986 ISBN 0711016348)
This book contains an excellent article by Stanley C. Jenkins entitled 'East Gloucestershire Railway Stations'. Obviously, this book is aimed at the modeller, and consequently much architectural detail of the stations is covered. Nineteen pictures are included, including such unusual views as the back siding at Lechlade, and Witney station from the road approach. Also of interest is the picture of cable shunting at Fairford.

Great Western Journal

Great Western Journal No. 41 Winter 2002 (Wild Swan Publications ISSN 09446809)
Only one item relating to the Fairford Branch in this periodical, but its uniqueness makes the purchase worthwhile. A full page colour picture of the end of the line, with pannier tank No. 7412 standing in front of the wooden engine shed. The grounded wagon body is also clearly visible. Two buffer stops and a field beyond show the unfulfilled promise of the East Gloucestershire Railway's ambitions.

Great Western Journal

Great Western Journal No. 44 Autumn 2002 (Wild Swan Publications ISSN 09646809)
Two colour pictures from the camera of the late John Strange are featured in this edition. Both taken on the last day of passenger services at Fairford, one shows 9653 taking water, the other is an unusual picture of the station, taken looking right through the goods shed.

Oxfordshire's Lost Railways by Peter Dale

Oxfordshire's Lost Railways by Peter Dale (Stenlake Publishing 2004 ISBN 184033312X)
This attractive volume from a company normally specializing in Scottish local history books, contains some previously unseen photos of the Fairford Branch, including a splendid picture of 17 workmen proudly posing in front of the newly constructed Kelmscott & Langford station.