SWINDON’S Old Town Station opened in 1881 and closed to passengers eight decades later.

Three years after that, having continued to serve freight traffic, is closed altogether.

The course of the line is now a tranquil destination for walkers and cyclists, and an industrial estate stands on the site of the station itself.

Our main picture shows the refreshment room at the station and has appeared in an Adver supplement about railway history, but until now we were unable to track down the story it originally accompanied.

We have discovered that it appeared almost exactly 56 years ago, when the refreshment room was soldiering on in the absence of the passengers who had provided most of its trade.

We wrote: “Few things have changed more in the last decade than the English public house.

“But in one isolated corner of Swindon - the Old Town Station refreshment bar, just off Newport Street - the years have stood still.

“The walls and ceiling have been newly-decorated, but these changes have barely scratched the atmosphere of silent Victoriana which clings to this strange pub, left stranded on an almost deserted station platform.

“Time and railway modernisation have passed the station by. Only one train, the 7.25am goods, stops every day, and it is an event greeted by the customers with cheers when the occasional special trundles through on its way to Moredon power station.

“Inside the saloon, the gas lamps, with their faint hiss, cast a comfortable light over the marble top bar, with its rough wooden tables and chairs.

“On the counter squats a battered cash register made in Ohio, USA, back in 1904.”

The landlord and owner, Reginald Townsend, had been there with his wife since 1933, when his father took over from a Mr CD Godwin, who had also run the King’s Arms.

We added: “With his old-world charm and his love of the antique - he owns a 1925 vintage Bentley - he seems the only possible proprietor for such a place.”

Legend had it that the ground rent charged by the Government for the venue was a penny a year, but the landlord would say only that the sum was many, many times more. Other tales suggested the place was haunted.

“But the bar,” we said, “is not a place where legend needs to be invented. It has a magic all its own and has defeated the march of time.”