OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
When I was growing up In Ciren during the 50’s and 60’s, trains were an everyday part of life. With a station in town, one at Watermoor and halt at Chesterton; it was possible to get to most parts of the Country, easily and cheaply. Back then, as well as Kemble and Tetbury, it was also possible to reach London by changing at Swindon. As a boy I well remember the steam trains chugging along the line at the back of our garden at Patterson road, Beeches Estate on their way to and from Fosse Cross from Watermoor. On hearing the train whistle as it crossed the City bank bridge I would often run to beat the train to the bridge at Queen Elizabeth road; to then hang as far as possible over the parapet to see down the chimney as it passed beneath. I f feeling really brave, I would venture beneath to sit on the embankment and wave at the train driver through the billowing smoke and steam. It was highly illegal of course and children were terrified by tales of boys being caught and taken down line to Watermoor station for an interview with the Station Master and a Constable. It didn’t stop us kids doing what we did, but our smoky clothes often took a fair bit of explaining to our mothers when we got home later.
Nowadays most of the old track lines have disappeared, leaving little trace of what were once arterial routes connecting Ciren to the Midlands, and further afield Watermoor closed to passengers in 1961 and Goods trains stopped two years later in 1964. The town station also closed in 1964 to the great sadness of Ciren people, many of whom had seen sons off to war from the platform; gone up to London for a visit to the Circus, or just used it daily to get back and forth to work.