The Beanacre sidings complex was constructed from late 1938 onwards and existed to serve both Ridge and Eastlays underground ammunition depots. These were located in deep former stone quarries approximately 2 miles to the north of the railway near the village of Gastard. Some buildings were constructed at the Beanacre site in late 1941 as part of an RAF component store but this was never completed (Melksham was also an RAF base from July 1940 until closure in 1965 although the camp was located on the southern side of the town at Bowerhill close to the former Devizes branch which formed the site's southern boundary). Eastlays is now used as a wine storage facility while Ridge has been abandoned.
Returning to Beanacre several sidings and an access road were laid with a footbridge provided across the lines. Four pillboxes were located around the perimiter of the site and three still exist with rubble from the fourth easily seen to the east of the single line just to the south of Westlands Lane road overbridge. This is the pillbox visible to the left of the approaching Hymek in Keith's 1968 picture. Beanacre sidings were abandoned in 1948 and lifted but the access road is still in place and leads to the National Grid sub station site. Beanacre Halt was located just to the east of Westlands Lane bridge. This was constructed from old wooden sleepers and accessed via cinder tracks from the road. Opened in October 1905 with the introduction of steam rail-motor services the halt was never very well used and closed in February 1955.
Just under two miles east of Beanacre was Lacock Air Ministry sidings and yard. Opened in 1943, this was larger than Beanacre and closed in 1964. A loop line ran from here to Thingley where a south-west chord was put in to enable through running to/from the Corsham direction. See RCTS 'Mystery Photographs' on the RCTS website (accessible by all, member or not) for many interesting pictures of this area taken in 1966 just before mass closures took place and rationalisation set in.
Close to Beanacre is a large National Grid 400 kv sub station. This was first established in the early 1950s and pylon lines radiate away from it in many directions and for many miles. Following the closure of the GEC factory at Melksham in 1988 excess capacity existed here and Beanacre was chosen to supply power to the western section of the Great Western Main Line from Thingley Junction where a 25kv switching station has been provided at the east end of the former up sidings. In 2014-15 the Beanacre site was upgraded with new equipment, a large trench was dug across open farmland to Thingley Junction, a distance of approximately 4 miles, and into this several high voltage cables were laid following which the trench was refilled. The Beanacre-Thingley project appears to be complete now with much work still to be done erecting the OHL equipment and wiring before the electric trains can start to run!