In Conclusion.

The line remains today as a memory to those enterprising Gloucestershire businessmen who, in good faith, invested in a company that was to last but a short time. Western expresses run through from Swindon to Gloucester, Cheltenham and Worcester, but the line between Gloucester and Cheltenham is now designated as the South Wales and Bristol line to the north.

The future of the old "Cheltenham Union" line seems secure, if only for the wrong reasons. With the severe downgrading of the Oxford and Worcester line, the Gloucester line provides a secondary route to South Wales and is extensively used when the Severn Tunnel is closed for maintenance. There does remain, however, an alternative "Great Way Round" via Bristol and Gloucester. All the stations on the line have been either rebuilt or renovated, Kemble and Stroud now sporting plants in hanging baskets.

The M4, M5 and M40 motorways have certainly had an adverse affect on the line, motor coaches now speeding to London at a fraction of the cost of rail travel. To try and fight off this competition British Rail is considering a "Drive and Ride" station at Tuffley or Barnwood, near Gloucester. This follows the success of the Bristol Parkway experiment.

There are still signs of the pre-Beeching railway to be found with careful exploration. The old embankment where the MSWJ Railway crossed the line, and the Bremell Sidings, which served an oil terminal. The remains of the stations at Purton, Minety and even Oaksey Halt are to he found, while the old headquarters of the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway at Cirencester is now used as a car park and offices.

The Tetbury engine shed has been demolished but the fine blue-bricked goods shed is completely intact and is used by the local coal merchant to store liquid gas. The cattle pens at Tetbury are now hidden beneath the undergrowth, but the adjacent cattle market is still in use. Culkerton's goods shed stands visible from the Tetbury to Cirencester road, but it is now in a sad condition, serving as a garden shed. Sapperton Sidings have been reduced to one track, but the tunnel mouths remain much as the original.

At Stroud the Cotswold stone goods shed has had its roof. replaced after repeated vandalism. British Rail decided to strip off the roof, leaving the stonework and interior open to the elements and decay, but due to a preservation order reslated it. On the opposite side of the track, however, sands the 1905 GWR bus shed, now used as a store. The Cashes Green Halt sign stands in a garden backing on to the railway, a reminder of the old railcar days. A mile further down the line the GWR signal box at Stonehouse remains as a permanent way store. The Stonehouse footbridge still spans the rails, displaying three GWR monograms. Little remains of the old Gloucester Railway. Parts of Horton Road shed still stand as well as the T sidings and part of the up platform buildings.

The old headquarters of the Stonehouse and Nailsworth Railway is now used as a private residence and until the early 1980s it was kept in splendid condition. The stone building at the end of the Station drive displays the signs of its origins as the Nailsworth Midland Railway Hotel. Dudbridge station buildings also remain, now on the site of an Ex-Ministry Surplus Supplier.

So, from the early excitement of railway mania to the Inter-City High Speed Train there remains a railway which was born of humble beginnings:- The Cheltenham and Great Western Union.

Changes p20 Time Line p22 CGWU contents