SATURDAYS in my teenage years owed much to pedal power or to bus and train.

There were much more of both then, though not late at night.

The Tetbury flyer could be caught at Culkerton and changing at Kemble meant football at Swindon or Gloucester rugby was in reach.

Heading for Swindon the train stopped at Oaksey Halt, Minety and Purton, sadly all long gone.

At Culkerton Station the 32 bus could be caught.

This bus service linked Cirencester and Bristol.

It was ideal for watching the exciting Bristol Rovers side of the late 1950s, a side that was good enough to defeat the pre-Munich Busby Babes 4-0.

The bus passed the much loved Eastville Stadium, which is now Ikea but could not be called swift. This did not matter because it took me to unheard of places.

Leighterton, Didmarton, Hawkesbury Upton, Horton, Little Sodbury and Chipping Sodbury were now firmly on my geographical compass.

Not only those but Bristol suburbs such as Coalpit Heath and Stapleton became well known.

Cheltenham and Gloucester were easily reached from Cirencester but to go to Bristol or Swindon added an extra dimension to someone living three miles from Tetbury.

When there was a proposal to close the Tetbury – Kemble line my father was asked by his employer Ian Mitchell to attend the inquiry into its closure and speak about how much our family used and valued the line.

I can remember him rehearsing his speech.

“My family use the line a great deal.

Two of my sons are at university and it is the train that takes them there.

My wife can take to opportunity of shopping in Gloucester or Swindon and I use the train to take me to football there, Culkerton Station is valuable to us as a family”.

All these points were valid and true.

The reply was swift and dismissive.

“That maybe so Mr Light but others who use it are few.

The average number of passengers at Culkerton is 31 per month.

The inevitable happened!

I have fine memories of the station.

In September 1959 I caught the Tetbury Flyer to Kemble, changed and for the first time in my life stayed on beyond Swindon – university beckoned.

My life changed forever.

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