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Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway

INFORMATION FOR THE VISITOR

RCD’s Overview

This is one of the UK’s premier heritage lines. Along with just 12 railways, it gets our very top rating.

The railway passes through attractive Cotwolds countryside, on part of the former Great Western main line from Stratford upon Avon to Cheltenham, closed to passengers in 1968 and to freight in 1976. The southern terminus is at Cheltenham Racecourse (on the outskirts of Cheltenham), and its northern terminus at Broadway (a popular Cotswolds village). The railway has an extensive collection of ex-main line steam and diesel locomotives. It also has an intensive timetable of trains that operate over much of the year. Being 14 miles in length, it gives an impressive 28-mile round trip. Although its stations are located some distance from the towns, Winchcombe and Broadway are particularly attractive villages to visit. A trip to Cheltenham or to the Cotswolds should include a visit to this impressive heritage railway. 

 

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Cheltenham Racecourse to Broadway 

Principal Visitor Centre:

Winchcombe Station (GL54 5LD)

Period of Operation*

- March (Weekends)

- April to October (Near daily, save most Mondays and Fridays)

- Late November and December (Special event trains)

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days

 

Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Most days: Mix of steam and diesel

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Full range of steam and diesel locos (large, mid and small-sized)

Length of Line:

14 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

2 to 3 hours

Number of trains per day:

5 in each direction

Number of Stations:

6 stations

Prices:

Adult Rover: £25. Child Rover: £10. Family: £60

Time to allow for Visit:

Half day

Museum:

No. There is a Viewing Area at Toddington Yard, and occasional Yard tours

Shop/Cafe:

Yes/Yes

Picnic/Play areas:

Yes

Preservation Established:

1981

Car Park Facilities:

Free parking at Toddington. Pay and Display at Broadway. Limited parking at Winchcombe. Race course car park at Cheltenham.

 

Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- Fish and Chip Specials

- Some trains have a restaurant buffet car which usually serves hot and cold drinks, toasted tea cakes, bacon rolls and snacks                                                               

Event Trains:

- Santa Express: Late November and December

- Mince Pie Specials: Late December/ early January 

Principal Galas:

- Steam Gala: May

- Diesel Gala: July

- Autumn Diesel Weekend/Mixed Traffic Gala: October

Experiences:

- Guided Tours of Toddington Sheds

-  Driving Experience / Firing Experience

 

Contacts

Email:                                                                  info@gwsr.com

Telephone:                                                           01242 621405

Website:                                                               www.gwsr.com

Social Media:                                                       www.facebook.com/gloucestershirewarwickshirerailway

                                                                              Also on Twitter/ Instagram/LinkedIn


Information for the Enthusiast

Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

The Honeybourne line from Stratford-Upon-Avon to Cheltenham was born out of the territorial rivalry between the Midland Railway and the Great Western Railway. In 1846 the Midland Railway had acquired under the noses of the GWR the entire route from Birmingham to Bristol, the latter being deep in Great Western territory. The Honeybourne - Cheltenham line was conceived by the GWR as part of a grand scheme to build a rival route from Birmingham to Cheltenham and Gloucester, connecting there with other GWR lines. The scheme had 3 aspects, firstly the building of a new 22-mile line from Honeybourne to Cheltenham, secondly the up-grading of the existing line between Honeybourne and Stratford, and lastly the building of a new more direct line between Stratford and the outskirts of Birmingham (at Tyseley) via Henley in Arden. The complete scheme was completed in 1906. When the railways were nationalised in 1948, British Railways inherited two routes between Birmingham and Cheltenham, and closure of one may have seemed inevitable. The Midland route, however, had a major impediment in the form of the Lickey Incline, at 1 in 37 being the steepest gradient on any main line railway in the country. The Honeybourne line therefore survived, but only as a through route, all local stations on the line being closed in 1960. Through passenger services were discontinued in 1968 and from then the line was used exclusively as a diversionary route for freight. When a freight train derailed on the line in 1976 causing considerable damage, the decision was taken to close the entire line.  Almost immediately the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Society was formed to preserve the line. In 1981 it successfully obtained a lease at Toddington yard, and in 1983 obtained a Light Railway Order to relay track between Cheltenham and Broadway. The railway expanded south from Toddington reaching Winchcombe in 1987 and Cheltenham Racecourse in 2002. It then looked north reaching Broadway in 2020.

 

Principal Aspiration

To extend the line north from Broadway to Honeybourne to link with the national rail network, and to extend further south into Cheltenham.

 

Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) GWR Class 42xx” class - 4270

(2) GWR Manor Class - No. 7820 ‘Dinmore Manor’

(3) GWR Modified Hall Class - No. 7903 ‘Foremarke Hall’

(4) Merchant Navy Class - No. 35006 'Peninsular & Oriental S.N. Co'

 

Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) BR Class 20 - 20137 (D8137)

(2) BR Class 24 - 24081 (D5081)

(3) BR Class 26 - 26043 (D5343)

(4) BR Class 37 - D6948 (37248)

(5) BR Class 37 - 37215 (D6915)

(6) BR Class 45 - 45149 (D135)

(7) BR Class 47 - 47105 (D1693)

(8) BR Class 47 - 47376 (D1895)

(9) BR Class 03 shunter - D2182

(10) BR Class 04 shunter - D2280

(11) Drewry industrial shunter - 11230

(12) Heritage DMU Class 117 - W51405 (DMS), W59510 (TCL), W51363 (DMBS)

(13) Heritage DMU Class 122 Bubblecar - No W550032

 

Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) GWR Churchward 28xx Class - No. 2807

(2) GWR Collett '2884' Class heavy freight - No. 3850

 

Diesel Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) BR Class 20 - 20228 (D8327)

(2) Yorkshire Engine Company shunter - 372 ‘Des’’

(3) Fowler 0-4-0 shunter - 21 ‘Mavis’

 

Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:

- GWR '28xx' class heavy freight - 2874

- BR Standard Class - 476077

- Peckett & Sons (Works No. 1976) ‘John’


INFORMATION ON THE SUPPORT GROUP


Name of Support Group:

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £25. Senior: £20. Junior: £15. Family: £50. Life: £575

Own Website:

Email:

Use contact box on website

 

Benefits of membership:                                  

-          A voucher for a free day's travel each year (excluding Special Events and Santa trains)

-          A voucher for £5 off the price of a ticket for you as member or your accompanying passenger

-          The opportunity to get involved by working on the railway

-          Quarterly Magazine, ‘The Cornishman’

 

How to Join:

 Go to www.gwsr.com/supporting_the_railway/membership_and_donations/Become_a_member.html

 

What They Say About Volunteering:

Becoming a volunteer on our Railway is a great opportunity to help keep one of Gloucestershire's foremost visitor attractions running - and it is fun too! Uniquely for a Heritage Railway of our size we rely almost exclusively on volunteers to keep it operational. The professionalism which our volunteers bring to the role they are undertaking, is always appreciated by our visitors.

 

How to Volunteer:          Go to www.gwrt.org.uk/Volunteering.html

 

How to Donate:              Go to ww.gwsr.com/supporting_the_railway/Make_a_Donation_1/Donation.html

 

WHY JOIN: With its large collection of locomotives and rolling stock, help is always needed to maintain this prestigious railway


INFORMATION ON OTHER SOCIETIES WITH RELATED INTEREST

Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this

website:

 

Traditional Railway Societies:

- Great Western Society

- Great Western Study Group

- Tewkesbury YMCA Railway Society

 

Locomotive Societies (steam):

- Dinmore Manor Locomotive Limited

- 35006 Locomotive Company Ltd


Model Railway Clubs:

- Stratford & District Model Rail Club

- M5/M50 Narrow Gauge Modellers

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