Some Early Lines – The Stonehouse and Nailsworth Branch

The Stonehouse and Nailsworth Railway

The Stonehouse and Nailsworth Railway was a short railway line in the county of Gloucestershire, England, which brought the Cotswold town of Nailsworth into the UK national rail network. (Often called the Dudbridge Donkey Line). The line was 5.75 miles (9.3 km) long, and ran from a junction with the Midland Railway’s mainline between Bristol and Gloucester at Stonehouse to a terminus at Nailsworth.In the summer of 1961 ex Midland 0-6-0 tank No.41748 leaves Nailsworth with a Stephenson Locomotive Society Special.  Passenger service on this line was suspended in 1947.  Ivo Peters

The line was completed in 1867 and its backers had further plans to extend it southwards to Tetbury and Malmesbury. But it ran into financial trouble very quickly and the company was subsumed into the Midland Railway.Stonehouse Station – The Stonehouse History Group

The line was run as a branch from Stonehouse (Bristol Road) station, though the junction with the Midland mainline was a little to the north of Stonehouse station. A separate platform for the Nailsworth services at Stonehouse was joined to the mainline station by a covered walkway.Ryeford Station – The Stonehouse History Group

There were intermediate stations at Ryeford, Dudbridge and Woodchester, all except the last named having stone buildings on a large scale.Dudbridge Station – The Stonehouse History Group

Dudbridge was originally advertised as “Dudbridge for Stroud” after the market town only a mile or so away. In 1885, however, the Midland opened for goods traffic a short branch from Dudbridge to a station in Stroud that was variously known as Stroud Cheapside and Stroud Wallgate.   Passenger services began the following year, 1886, and connected to the main branch line services at Dudbridge.Skew railway bridge

This skew bridge was constructed in 1867 to carry the Nailsworth Branch of the Midland Railway over the Stroudwater Canal. Passenger traffic ceased on the branch in 1947 but the line remained open for freight until 1966. Currently the alignment carries a cycle path between Stonehouse and Dudbridge.

  © Copyright David Stowell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Stonehouse and Nailsworth Railway, along with the rest of the Midland Railway, became part of the London Midland and Scottish Railway at the 1923 Grouping. Passenger services were suspended on the line as an economy measure to save fuel in June 1947, and were officially withdrawn from 8 June 1949. However, the line, including the Stroud branch, remained open for goods traffic until 1966.

Much of the line, including the three-mile section from Dudbridge to Nailsworth, is now in use as a cycle path, a section of National Cycle Route 45 from Salisbury to Chester.The Gloucestershire Railway Society ran a further special over the Nailsworth Branch on 7th July, 1963.  Here ex LMS 0-6-0 tank No.47308 runs round the train at the terminus.  B.J.Ashworth.

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