John Speller's Web Pages Midland & South Western Junction Railway

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The Midland & South Western Junction Railway ran from Andoversford Junction (with running rights over the GWR to Cheltenham St. James) to Andover (with running rights over the L&SWR to Southampton). The line enabled the Midland Railway to run through trains from Sheffield and Birmingham to Southampton. By an act of supreme foolishness the Grouping of 1923 grouped the M&SWJR with the GWR rather than the MR or L&SWR, thereby effectively ending its usefulness. The line had once had grandiose dreams. There was talk of a line connecting it from Andoversford to Stratford-upon-Avon, and the North Warwickshire Railway was originally promoted to connect this line with Birmingham, forming an independent line from Birmingham to Andover. Alas, the first of these schemes (which in any case more or less duplicated the GWR line) never came to fruition, and the North Warwickshire line was uiltimately built by the GWR.

The M&SWJR originally comprised two lines:

The Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway was incorporated in 1873 to build a line a line from Swindon (Town) to Andover. The section from Swindon to Marlborough was opened on 27 July 1881, and the section from Grafton to Andover on 1 May 1882. Difficulty was experienced, however, in raising the funds to complete the heavily graded section between Marlborough and Grafton, which involved an expensive tunnel. In the end a separate company, the Marlborough & Grafton Railway was incorporated in 1893 to built the Marlborough to Grafton section, and the missing link was completed in 1898 and incorporated into the M&SWJR in 1899. Between 1882 and 1898 Swindon, Marlborough and Andover trains ran over the GWR Marlborough Branch and main line between Marlborough and Grafton.

The Swindon & Cheltenham Extension Railway was incorporated in 1881 to complete the line between Cheltenham and Swindon. Owing to shortage of funds it was initially only possible to complete the line between Swindon and Cirencester, which opened in 1881. The rest of the line to Cheltenham opened in 1891, but even then only managed to get to Andoversford and had to rely on running over the GWR for the last 7 miles into Cheltenham St. James.
Midland & South Western Junction Railway Corporate Seal
The M&SWJR had to operate substantial goods trains over their heavily graded line. With 4 ft. 0 in. driving wheels 2-6-0 No. 16, built by Beyer, Peacock & Co. in 1896, and its sister-engine No. 14, proved extremely successful for this work
Midland Railway Southampton express leaves Cheltenham Lansdown behind Midland & South Western Junction Railway 4-4-0 No. 1, designed by James Tyrrell, Locomotive Superintendent of the M&SWJR 1903-22, and built by the North British Locomotive Co. in 1905
Midland & South Western Junction Railway 0-4-4T No. 15 with 5' 2" driving wheels, built by Beyer, Peacock & Co. in 1895
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