page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76

59Situated at the three mile post from Bletchley, the signalbox was built to serve the shunting and storage requirements of many trains and, although in its latter years it was host only to a double road, scissor points system for changing lines and a single catchpoint on the down line, it had seen much action.The photographs shown here of signalbox the workings of the signalbox were taken in the summer of 1983 when it still serviced the double track and scissor points system, which can just be seen in the photograph of the engine shot through the window of the signalbox. It is interesting to note that the signalbox frame consists of twenty six levers, a throwback to its days as a fully fledged sidings.Swanbourne sidings was to have become one of the three largest railway sidings in the country at one point. An idea was put forward by British Rail in 1955 with reference to their modernisation plans. The main line running through Bletchley was to be electrified and Brtitish Rail decided to try and pull all freight off the main line heading for London and put it on to the Cambridge- Oxford lines, where it could be dispersed efficiently and without the need to use the already overcrowded London lines. In effect, by running to Oxford and Swindon from Swanbourne and Bletchley, London itself could be skirted. The plan consisted of a massive flyover being built at Bletchley to allow trains to run directly through from Oxford to Cambridge without having to make awkward crossings of the main line at Bletchley.Work on the flyover began in September 1958 at a cost of £1.6 million. This in turn bought all of the land around Swanbourne sidings into a compulsory purchase situation. The area of land was to be turned into a massive marshalling yard along with a similar project in Carlisle designed to serve the north of the Country. The flyover was completed in 1962 and still carries the line on its way to Cambridge. Plans for the marshalling yard were shelved due to the advent of road freight movement and a policy of using `Block' trains by British Rail, which do not need the massive storage facilities that a marshalling yard provides. To this day, the massive flyover is known locally as `the bridge to nowhere'! Under original plans it would have been very busy, yet latterly the line was only used by four or five trains a day before shutting in 1994. It is now a very pleasant walk in the Summer..Proach BridgeBridge near Salden under Weasel LaneThe top of the bridge is still cobbled

60It is probably a good thing that the massive yard at Swanbourne sidings did not appear in the end. It would have had a profound effect upon the village.Work would have been plentiful for local people but, as the road network developed over the years, it could have suffered the same fate as the brickyard, destroying the livelihoods of many hardworking village people.The brickyard itself had a siding off the bottom of the brickyard hill. Apparently it also had its own signalbox, but no photographs of it have been found. The sidings closed in 1964 when London Brick decided to go over soley to road transport.The siding was serviced every afternoon, usually by a class 4 freight engine, which would collect laden wagons and take them to the sidings at Swanbourne where their loads would be dispersed. The engine would then return the empty wagons to the yard ready to be loaded up for the next day. The whole operation used to take about three hours.The last scheduled passenger train to make the run from Oxford to Bletchley was the 22.50 from Oxford on the 30th December 1967. There were very few people on that train and at Winslow station a few miles up the line towards Oxford some salutory detonators marked its exit from the station. The train was a diesel multiple unit coloured in the then green livery of British Rail.1967 also marked the end of Swanbourne sidings. It was closed and ripped up in March of that year.Since the passenger trains have stopped running, the line has seen a few specials going to and fro; one of the most memorable being the famous `Flying Scotsman' No. 4472 heading back to its yard at Grantham from Bletchley in 1970. It had been used as a public relations exercise by the then Bletchley Urban District Council to mark the end of their reign and mark the beginning of the new Milton Keynes Borough Council. (The event was actually organised by George Martin, father of the author.) Other trains that have run have consisted of special one-off excursions for various councils looking into the feasibility of reopening the line for passenger services.In some ways the coming of the new city has breathed a little bit of life back into the line. Until recently the line was used frequently for frieightThe line is now closed Bletchley Station c.1930