Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
|Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway|
Toddington railway station
|No. of stations:||4|
|Operated by:|| Gloucestershire Warwickshire|
Steam Railway plc
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR, GWSR or Gloucs-Warks Steam Railway) is a volunteer-run heritage railway which runs along the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border. The line is also known as The Honeybourne Line. It is owned by a volunteer group through Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc.
The GWSR has restored and reopened 12 miles of line, operating between Cheltenham Racecourse and the site of Laverton Halt. The company is currently raising £1.5 million to extend three miles northwards to Broadway, and will eventually begin working on plans to extend a further six miles to Honeybourne (where an island platform has since been rebuilt).
- 1 Overview
- 2 Signalling of the Heritage GWSR
- 3 Future development plans
- 4 Landslips
- 5 Steam locomotives
- 6 Diesel locomotives and DMUs
- 7 See also
- 8 Outside links
- 9 References
The line was originally part of the Great Western Railway's Cheltenham–Stratford-upon-Avon–Birmingham line, known as the Honeybourne Line, built in 1900–1906, and runs through the Cotswold towns of Winchcombe and Bishop's Cleeve. The line was run down over the years and finally closed after a derailment damaged a stretch of track in 1976. The double track was lifted from 1979.
The preservation group rehabilitated the line, starting steam train operations at Toddington in 1984 over 700 yards of re-laid track. In 1987 the line was restored as far as Winchcombe where the station was reconstructed using the former Monmouth Troy station building. The railway continued to re-lay track west of Winchcombe, through the 693 yard long Greet Tunnel, and past the villages of Gretton, Gotherington and Bishop's Cleeve. This culminated in the reopening of the line to Cheltenham Racecourse in 2003, by Princess Anne.
The GWSR runs trains from March to the end of December, with the line closing during January and February for line and locomotive maintenance. The GWSR runs regular train services every weekend and most weekdays during the summer, and some weekends are used to host special events including steam and diesel galas, Day out with Thomas events, race trains and Santa Specials.
The railway operates a wide variety of both steam and heritage diesel locomotives, as well as heritage DMUs. These have included the world-famous locomotive 4472 "Flying Scotsman" and equally famous 3440 "City of Truro", which in 1904 was the first engine to reach 100 mph. In 2013 the resident steam locomotives were ex-GWR 'Modified Hall' Class no.7903 'Foremarke Hall', ex-GWR '28XX' Class no.2807 and an LMS-designed '8F' Class which has been repatriated after a lifetime working in Turkey. To complement the running stock a collection of over 210 carriages and wagons of various origins has been compiled, many of which are still being restored.
Signalling of the Heritage GWSR
The signalling on the line is a mixture of Electric Key Token and One Train Staff working, depending on operational requirements. Current sections are:
- Laverton–Toddington (One Train Staff)
- Toddington–Winchcombe (EKT)
- Winchcombe-Gotherington (EKT)
- Gotherington-Cheltenham Race Course (EKT)
- Winchcombe–Cheltenham Race Course (EKT) (With Gotherington switched out)
- Toddington–Cheltenham Race Course (One Train Staff - with Winchcombe and Gotherington switched out and Cheltenham Race Course behaving as a ground frame)
There are four signal boxes on the line, and a new platform mounted one at Broadway is under construction, with the frame parts all acquired and assembled:
- Broadway – under construction
- Toddingon – operational
- Winchcombe – operational
- Gotherington – operational
- Cheltenham Racecourse – operational
Future development plans
North to Broadway
Major works are focused on raising £500,000 of funds to allow the refurbishment of five bridges, thus allowing a further line extension northwards to Broadway by 2018. After receiving planning permission for the reconstruction of Broadway station to a similar plan to the previously demolished original, construction of both platforms is nearing completion (Autumn 2013), with signal box construction having started in January 2014. In early November 2014 80 Lengths of 60ft flat bottomed rail were delivered to the railway to lay track as far as the next bridge recently repaired thanks to the share offer at Little Bucklands, equating to approximately half a mile beyond the current railhead at Laverton.
South to Cheltenham
Encouraged by support from Cheltenham Town Council, who have given both the railway direct funds as well as placing protected status on the former lines trackbed south from Cheltenham Racecourse to Cheltenham Spa, the railway could at some point connect to Network Rail in the south.
The Council have backed the long term scheme, as this would allow the railway to:
- Be reinstated as an access point for race goers from all across the UK to easily access meetings at Cheltenham Racecourse, and reduce resultant current traffic congestion
- A new station at Cheltenham North, to serve a nearby sports stadium
- Tourist and excursion trains to access the railway and the city
- A possible future cross-city commuter route, from the Racecourse to Cheltenham and possibly onwards to Gloucester.
Although the GWSR has extended track to its present ownership point one mile south of Cheltenham Racecourse station (via Hunting Butts tunnel), as far as the Prince of Wales stadium at Wyman's Brook, major and costly engineering works would be required to extend the trackbed further south.
The primary impediment is a bowstring bridge (located at 51°54’9"N, 2°5’11"W), built in 2002 to allow continued access by bicycle along the old track bed alignment to Cheltenham Leisure Centre. When planning permission was given for the redevelopment of the former Cheltenham Spa St James station site as a Waitrose supermarket in 2002, a condition was imposed that the developer construct a new pedestrian bridge to ensure continued access to the remaining trackbed. The resulting bowstring bridge follows a section of former railway embankment, which was removed to provide road access to the new store.
In the early 2010s the GWSR was affected by two major landslips in embankments on the line, which cut it into separate sections; however, both slips have now been repaired, and the line has been fully re-opened.
In April 2010 the GWSR suffered a landslip of an embankment near Gotherington. Train services continued despite the Gotherington landslip, but over a reduced route. The landslip forced the closure of the line south of Gotherington, including Cheltenham Racecourse Station, which was effectively cut off. The railway continued to operate services from Toddington to Gotherington, with a locomotive at both ends of the train ("top and tailed"), as it was not possible to run the locomotive around the train at Gotherington at the time (there is now a run round loop just south of Gotherington). The railway launched a £1 million appeal, both to fund the rebuilding of the embankment, and also to undertake preventative maintenance to ensure that similar problems do not happen at other points along the line. It was deemed unlikely that the line south of Gotherington would re-open before July 2011, but donations ensured that the work could be carried out promptly, and it was re-opened on 22 April 2011.
2011 (Chicken Curve)
In January 2011 the railway was damaged by another landslip just east of Winchcombe station at Chicken Curve. The landslip severed the railway in two; it was very similar to the one at Gotherington, but closer to the middle of the route. It was estimated that the cost of the repair work would be £850,000; funds for the repair were successfully raised. During the repair period a DMU service was run from Toddington up to the extension at Laverton; since the earlier Gotherington slip had been repaired, steam trains ran from Winchcombe to Cheltenham Racecourse, the steam locomotive maintenance facilities temporarily being transferred to Winchcombe. The Chicken Curve landslip was repaired over the summer of 2012, and the GWSR is once again operational as a single unified line from Cheltenham Racecourse to the site of Laverton Halt, a total of 12 route miles in length.
|Number & Name||Description||Current Status||Livery||Image|
|No. 2807||GWR 2-8-0 2800 Class||Fully operational, built in 1905 with boiler ticket expiry due in 2020. Historically significant as the oldest locomotive to have ever been rescued from Barry Scrapyard.||GWR Green|
|No. 8274||LMS 2-8-0 Class 8F||Boiler ticket expires in 2019. Repatriated from Turkey in the 1980s and now available for traffic. Currently on loan to the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) for the 2015 season. Built in 1940.||LMS Black|
|No. 5542||GWR 2-6-2T 4575||Operational, boiler ticket expires in 2022. Built in 1928.||GWR shirtbutton green|
|No. 7820 "Dinmore Manor"||GWR 4-6-0 7800 "Manor" Class||Recently returned to service following its 10-year overhaul. Currently running with the tender of "Dukedog" Class No. 9017 Earl of Berkeley until its own tender is complete. Built in 1950. Boiler ticket expires in 2023.||BR Black with early crest|
|No. 4270||GWR 2-8-0T 4200 Class||Restoration from Barry Scrapyard condition completed 2014. Built in 1919.||GWR Green|
Undergoing restoration, repairs or overhaul
Stored or static
Diesel locomotives and DMUs
Operational coaches are shown in bold.
|BR||Mk 1 RBR,||1672, 1675 and 8805 (ex-army)|
|BR||Mk 1 RMB,||1808 and 1876|
|BR||Mk 1 RU,||1965 and 1972|
|BR||Mk 1 FO,||3132, 3045 and 3091|
|BR||Mk 1 SO,||3727, 4787, 4790, 4798 and 4806|
|BR||Mk 1 TSO,||3960, 4331, 4440, 4763, 4772, 4869, 4986, 5023, 5042, 5054|
|BR||Mk 1 BSOT,||9000|
|BR||Mk 1 FK,||13326, 13329, 13337|
|BR||Mk 1 CK,||16195, 16221|
|BR||Mk 1 BCK,||21275|
|BR||Mk 1 SK,||24949, 25341, 25451, 25501, 25618, 25646 and 25743|
|BR||Mk 1 BSK,||34701, 34929, 35201 and 35308|
|BR||Mk 1 Autotrailer,||975076|
|BR||Mk 1 POT,||80432, 80434, 80433, 80411 and 80435|
|BR||Mk 1 BG,||80926, 81039, 81049, 92199, 92418, 92933 and 92990|
|BR||Mk 1 TPO,||92384|
|BR||CCT,||94486, 94557 and 94824|
- North Gloucestershire Railway – a narrow gauge railway also at Toddington
- Stratford on Avon and Broadway Railway – a now defunct group that had initially hoped to restore the railway between Stratford upon Avon and Broadway.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
about Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway)
- Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
- North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge Railway
- Cotswold Steam Preservation Ltd. - Owners of No. 2807
- Warwickshire Railways
- Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith. Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham. Middleton Press. ISBN 978-1901706253.
- "GWR - Gloucestershire's mainline heritage railway - Chronology". Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc. 2010. http://www.gwsr.com/about-us/history/chronology.aspx. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- "GWR - Gloucestershire's mainline heritage railway - 2014 Timetable". Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc. 2014. http://www.gwsr.com/planning-your-visit/2014-timetable.aspx. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- "Broadway Railway Station | GWSR | Broadway | Toddington |". Steaming to Broadway. 2013-03-19. http://www.broadwaystation.co.uk/signalbox.htm. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- Bill (2014-01-21). "Steaming to Broadway!: The Broadway Signal Box". Steaming to Broadway. http://broadwaygwsr.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-broadway-signal-box.html. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- GWSR Latest News - GWR orders first 80 lengths of rail for Broadway as share offer passes target
- Johnston, Howard (1–14 May 2013). "Regional News". RAIL (721): p24.
- Scott Wilson Group. "Waitrose Development, Cheltenham". http://www.scottwilson.com/projects/transportation/roads/cheltenham_waitrose.aspx. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- Theme Day - Bridges - Cheltenham Daily Photo, 1 December 2007
- Development Control Sub-Committee (1997-07-08). "Redevelopment of the St.James site, Cheltenham". Gloucestershire County Council. http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/CeListDocuments.aspx?MID=5274&F=Redevelopment+of+of+the+StJames+site%2C+Cheltenham%24embed%24.htm&DF=08/07/1997&A=1&R=0. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- GWR - Gloucestershire's mainline heritage railway - Honeybourne Line train services continue despite Gotherington landslip - Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc
- Cotswold Line Promotion Group Includes proposal to link GWR to main line at Honeybourne
- About Britain Entry
- Cheltenham local attractions
- Reference in directory of Heritage Railways in the UK
- New bridge on the Honeybourne Line