Cirencester Town disused railway station – Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Now stranded in the middle of a car park in the centre of town is the remains of Cirencester Town railway station, a rather fine two-storey building designed by Isambard Kingdon Brunel and R.P. Brereton, his resident assistant.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Opened by the Cheltenham and Great Western Union on 31st May 1843, Cirencester was the terminus of a four mile, broad gauge single line from Kemble. The line was swiftly absorbed  by the Great Western Railway within a month or so of opening.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Renamed Cirencester Town in July 1924, the station boasted an extensive layout, with the single passenger platform being supplemented by large two road goods shed, a single road engine shed, cattle pens, a wagon loading bay, four storage sidings and an intriguing-sounding pig wharf.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Trackplan detail from [Great Western Archive] – click on the image for a larger version of the graphic.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

The station originally boasted a small overall roof, but this was replaced by a standard canopy in 1874, leaving the building looking oddly slender.

Note the shortened remains of the passenger platform in the photo above.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Cirencester Town is a good example of Victorian railway Gothic - my favourite architecture!

The station enjoyed a partial rebuilding in 1956, with architect  H. Cavanagh taking care to match the existing building by using Bath stone for a new ticket office and waiting room.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Despite the investment, the line was still threatened with closure in 1959, with British Rail Western Region attempting to bring down costs by introducing a diesel rail bus service.

By all accounts, this was something of a success, prompting the opening of new halts at Chesterton Lane in 1959 and Park Leaze a year later.

It seems that this still wasn’t enough to save the line, and despite a concerted local campaign, passenger services were withdrawn on 6th April 1964, followed by complete closure  on the 4th October 1965.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Early 1960s view, showing the railbus dwarfed by the station building. You can see the engine shed to the far right with the goods shed behind the railbus. [via]

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Similar modern view – the 1956 extension is to the left.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Although it looks in fairly ropey condition today with some tatty modern additions, the station is a Grade II listed building.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

A small section of the platform still exists. Shame the trains have gone.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Platform detail showing closed up entrances..

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Bricked up entrance to the original booking hall.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Looking towards the junction at Kemble.

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Archive view from 1958 [via].

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Disused Cirencester Town railway station - Victorian Gothic stuck in a car park

Although the Gloucestershire market town was once served by three stations, none survive at Cirencester, with the nearest railhead now being Kemble, some four miles distant.

There are no plans to rebuild a railway into Cirencester.

More disused railway features

References: [Cirencester and Tetbury Branches] – [Great Western Archive]