Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
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    Promotional feature: The GWSR is a 12 mile heritage railway running at the foot of the Glorious Cotswolds from Toddington to Cheltenham Race Course.

    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

    Themed to the period 1955 – 1970 the 800 volunteers who are the mainstay of the staff have lovingly re-created this period in time from the derelict and abandoned state it was bought in in 1981. To complement this there is an extensive stock of steam and diesel locomotives from the period and traditional carriages plus a heritage Diesel Multiple Unit – the face of the future in 1960!

     

    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

    A round trip including the extension to Laverton takes about 2 ½ hours. Add in to this the things to see and do at the 3 main stations of Toddington, Winchcombe and Cheltenham Race Course it is easy to make a visit a full or part day out if you are taking in any of the other local tourist attractions. Here you can buy your train tickets giving unlimited rides for that day. Included with your ticket is a brochure “Your Day Out” giving suggested itineraries for your day, things to do, a map of the railway with nearby attractions and that days’ timetable.

     

    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

    Our main station is at Toddington, just 5 miles south of Broadway. Also here is a children’s playground, heritage trail, viewing area of the loco yard and for the inner person the Flag and Whistle Restaurant serving a range of hot and cold food. For those who like their railways on the smaller scale there is the narrow gauge North Gloucestershire Railway open on selected days throughout the season. In this Centenary year of the start of WW1 they have an operational German loco used to pull trains on the lines behind the trenches.

     

    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

    Next is the delightful country style Winchcombe Station, about 1 mile from the town centre. Here there is the 1950s Coffee Pot Cafe serving tea, coffee, sandwiches and delicious home made cakes. This station was used as part of the set for the BBC TV Series “Father Brown”.

    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
    Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

    A little further along is Gotherington Halt, only accessible by train or on foot. The station buildings opposite are privately owned but have been very sympathetically restored by the present owners to fit the period of the railway. Their garden has many railway artifacts including their own short line and platform!

     

    The southern terminus is Cheltenham Race Course Station. Access is via the racecourse grounds from the roundabout off the A435. It was built just to serve race traffic and has an exceptionally long platform for the very long special trains that stopped here.

     

    All of the stations except Gotherington provide full facilities for disabled travellers. The trains have also been adapted to serve their needs as well. On the trains light refreshments are also usually available. Alternatively you are welcome to bring your own to eat on the trains or at the picnic areas at the stations.

     

    Special themed events are put on throughout the year. These include the late May Bank Holiday Steam Gala, a Diesel Gala, two “Thomas the Tank Engine” weekends, Classic Vehicle Days, Vintage Bus Rally, “Wartime in the Cotswolds” and finally 3 weeks of Santa Specials in the run up to Christmas. For something different why not try our “Scenic Rail Cruises” which run most Friday evenings in July and August using the DMU. A regular feature throughout the year are our “Cheltenham Fryer” Fish’n’Chip specials. These invariably sell out and pre booking is essential.

    The railway offers special rates to groups, both private groups and Tour Operators. To enhance your experience we can provide a knowledgeable guide from our volunteers to explain more of who we are what has been achieved and our plans for the future.

     

    As well as developing facilities for visitors, volunteers and the care of our heritage vehicles we are in the process of extending the line from Laverton to the famous Cotswold village of Broadway. No loans are taken out to fund this so it is entirely dependent at the rate the money comes in! But the aspiration is to have this completed for the 2017 season. No trace of a station remained when BR left, just an anonymous grassy bank, so everything has to be replaced in the appropriate style. Most of the platforms have been completed and building structures are just beginning to appear.

     

    The first of these is the new signal box on platform 2. Fortunately elsewhere on the line BR did not demolish the spectacular 15 arch viaduct at Stanway or the 693 yard tunnel at Greet. The latter being on a bend so from the middle there is no light at the end of the tunnel!

     

    All of the scenery from the railway is attractive but from the tunnel southwards there are magnificent views across the Vale Of Evesham – up to 50 miles if the air is clear and includes the Black Mountains of Wales, the Malvern Hills and Shropshire Hills. Our lineside management team make sure the vegetation is sensitively managed to provide good views for you and an appropriate home for flora and fauna.

     

    For those who would like a souvenir of their day out there are well stocked book shops at Toddington and Cheltenham selling a wide range of railway related items – books, CDs, clothing, models and much more.

     

    Full details of what the GWSR offers – including driving a steam or diesel loco – are here at our website www.gwsr.com or telephone 01242 621405. This number is manned from Mondays to Fridays from 10:00 until 16:00 and at weekends between 09:00 and 13:00. For an instant mini tour take this aerial ride – truly amazing! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo11ANRFTDs

    Do you love Britain? Let others know!