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Twyford Bridge - King's Sutton

This is a historical overview of a particularly photogenic stretch of line that is well known to modern photographers. The route was ascending gently from Oxford and, near Twyford Bridge, steepened briefly to 1:386.

The access road to King's Sutton Lodge, which owns the farmland to the east, was taken over the railway by a modest occupation bridge to the NW of which lay Twyford Mill and, more recently, an industrial estate.

A mile to the south a station was built for King's Sutton and its name mispelled as "Kings Sutton", which has not exactly pleased local people, especially in modern times when there is a greater historical awareness. It became a junction station when the Banbury and Cheltenham direct line was built and after the GCR London Extension was built (not the "GC Main Line", please...) it carried cross-country trains to South Wales.

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OS 1" map of 1960 showing Twyford Bridge and the station at King's Sutton. Source: National Library of Scotland

The pictures below are in geographical sequence, beginning with the area around Twyford Bridge.

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Looking north from Twyford Bridge with the occupation bridge between the signals on 2nd August 1958. Note the repeater on the distant signal, just above ground level with a shield behind it. 5022 Wigmore Castle is powering southwards down the grade with an express.

During construction a triangle of land to the left of the line was used to dump spoil and a small hill was produced with a flat top which turned into a small wood. As can be seen, the cutting used to be well-maintained but that has gone the same way in recent years.

On the other side of the cutting a row of Scots Pine was planted in an effort to screen the railway and its earthworks from King's Sutton Lodge which overlooked it but is off this picture - people were sensitive to the iron road in those days. The pines matured over the years and getting on for half have caused problems and been felled: several have gone since I moved here in the 1970s but you can still see what had been intended. Photo: S.V. Blencowe collection.

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A closer view of the occupation bridge with WD 2-8-0 No 90125 (Cardiff Canton) passing with a Code 8 Unfitted Freight. 29th April 1961. This location is now aforested, like a great deal of the line to Oxford. Photo: F.A. Blencowe.

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Looking in the opposite direction from virtually the same place but actually off the occupation bridge on a misty day on 1st February 1960. The pines show well although the nearest one had already been lost.

9F No 92228, which was one of the batch that came to Banbury new, is making light of the gradient with a Code 7 train of empty mineral wagons. Photo: F.A. Blencowe.

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The classic view looking south from Twyford Bridge as No 2842 (allocation unknown) eases up the hill with a medium length Code 7 freight train. 18th October 1958. Photo: S.V. Blencowe collection.

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Another view from the same day as Banbury's No 4964 Rodwell Hall approaches with a Down 6-coach express. 18th October 1958. Photo: S.V. Blencowe collection.

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One of Tyseley's 9Fs No 92212 is heading north with Code 7 unfitted coal empties. Note the extensive flooding. 8th November 1960. Photo: F.A. Blencowe.

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And finally for Twyford Bridge, two colour pictures:

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A fine sunny day in early May with the hawthorns in bloom sees Reading's recently shopped No 5986 Arbury Hall passing with a down short fitted freight. No date but my estimate would be the early 1960s. Colour-Rail BRW 890.

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Slightly more up to date, this view from around 1981 captured an unidentified Class 47 passing through the floods as if on a causeway. Photo: Steve Banks.

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To be continued....

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