1st Take’s exploration of the Branch Lines of England now encompasses a fascinating journey to the historic county of Wiltshire – based on a 1992 book by the eminent railway author Colin Maggs – who joins us for the entire tour. Our journey, which reveals that most branches sadly closed in the 20th century, benefits from the historical content of Colin’s book, while also providing a fresh appraisal of railway developments in the county since it was published.
We explore the old routes of the GWR, which dominated much of the county; pay tribute to the Wiltshire section of the Midland & South Western Junction Railway, which was absorbed by the GWR in 1923; and also feature the branches of the London & South Western Railway, which made inroads into the county’s southern region, which is where the film begins, by looking at the railways of the Salisbury area. This chapter includes those military lines which made such a vital contribution during wartime, as did the route from Corsham to Quarry Tunnel. We then proceed to explore the lines in the area of Chippenham, Calne, Trowbridge and Devizes, which largely grew from the Wilts, Somerset & Weymouth Railway. Other highlights include a visit to the branch from Savernake to Marlborough; the quirky Dodsdown Brickworks Railway, which was only open from 1902-1910; the Swindon & Highworth Light Railway; and, in the far north of the county, the line from Dauntsey to the beautiful town of Malmesbury, with its majestic abbey. All of these are enhanced by superb modern film, including many tranquil rural scenes, comparisons with rare historic photographs, and informed commentary. The DVD also benefits from interviews with two former railwaymen and a fascinating feature on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Wiltshire’s only standard gauge heritage line.
Also available from the Branch Lines of England series:
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