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15. Westbury

At the other end of the Vale, Westbury lies on the later-developed main line to the west. It is an important junction for connections to Bristol and Salisbury, as well as being the concentration point for stone trains from the nearby Mendip quarries. It has a lot to offer the rail enthusiast as well as

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14. Pewsey

All the above locations could be considered local to Hungerford, perhaps requiring a short ride to Bedwyn for the upper reaches. Once over the summit the line extends spaciously through the Vale of Pewsey, whose award-winning station still retains a flavour of the GWR wayside station of the past. A modern bi-mode IET unit flashes

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13. Savernake Summit

As you travel further you come upon the summit tunnel for the canal. The railway crosses over at this stage so that Savernake summit GWR station (as was) sits on the top of the tunnel and the line has a short sharp ascent at 1 in 106 to avoid the obstacle. Again it is difficult

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12. Wolfhall Junction

When you look down from the overbridge at the far end it is difficult to imagine the scene of a signal box in the foreground with sidings and the link line climbing away to join the M&SW – such is the extent to which nature has taken possession again after closure. This is the Wolf

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11. Railway Bridge Abutments

As you emerge from the curve you become aware of earthworks from a disused railway. You are just entering the section where the B&H route was intersected by the former Midland & South West (M&SW) through route from Cheltenham to Andover. Although the later M&SW flew over the B&H further along the way, the military

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10. Crofton – Autobiography Bridge

The railway here squeezes past the old buildings and is forced into a sharp curve following the canal as it changes direction from SW to NW, requiring careful negotiation by the drivers of heavy freight trains:

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9. Crofton

Continuing westwards you pass the ‘Roman’ level crossing (of an old Roman road) and soon see the tall chimney announcing the pumping station at Crofton, built to provide water to the upper sections of the canal in the absence of a natural water supply. The original steam beam engines are still in situ and take

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8. Kennet & Avon Canal Bridge 99

Further on a stretch of open countryside can be broken with a visit to canal bridge no. 99. This has been a popular location for railway photographers for years, albeit somewhat informally used as the redundant bridge had become overgrown and barely accessible. In recent years it has been restored as a viewing platform by

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1. Hungerford Common – Dun Mill Overbridge

Passenger services are reviving after the Covid pandemic but they have to contend with the use of the route by heavy freight trains, mostly from the Mendip Quarries beyond Westbury. One of these heavy and slower-moving trains is seen crossing Hungerford Common on the line of the original branch, a short walk to the east

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7. Bedwyn Church Meadow

Looking back as we leave Bedwyn we see the squat church, with associations to the Seymour family of Henry VIII’s times, just as a special working of Pullman carriages hauled by an exuberantly-liveried diesel loco thunders past. This image will be familiar to people who have the 2004 Locomotives pocketbook published by Platform 5:

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