Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

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Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
The Honeybourne Line
Toddington Station, G&WR.jpg
Toddington railway station, August 2007
Locale Gloucestershire,
Worcestershire England
Terminus Cheltenham Racecourse and
Laverton Halt
Commercial operations
Name The Honeybourne Line
Built by Great Western Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Operated by Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway Plc
Stations 4
Length 12 miles (19 km)
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
Opened 1906
Closed 1976
Preservation history
1981 Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway Plc formed and track re-laying began
1984 First public service along relaid section of track between Toddington Station and (the site of) Hayles Abbey Halt
1987 GWR Extended to Winchcombe
1997 GWR Extended to (the site of) Gretton halt
2000 Extended to Gotherington
2003 Extended to Cheltenham Racecourse
2011 GWR extends to (the site of) Laverton halt
Headquarters Toddington, Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
Birmingham to Stratford Line
Birmingham (Snow Hill) )
Leamington to Stratford Line
Wilmcote National Rail
Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway National Rail
Stratford-upon-Avon National Rail
Evesham Road Crossing Halt(1904-16)
Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse
Chambers Crossing Halt(1904-16)
Milcote
Long Marston
Network RailLong Marston MOD Depot )
Broad Marston Halt(1904-16)
Pebworth Halt
Cotswold Line ( Worcester )
Honeybourne National Rail
Network Rail
Cotswold Line Oxford )
Weston-sub-Edge
Willersey Halt
Broadway under construction
Extension under construction
Laverton Halt
Stanway Viaduct
Toddington
North Gloucestershire Railway
Hayles Abbey Halt
Winchcombe
Greet Tunnel (693 yards)
Gretton Halt
Gotherington
Bishops Cleeve
Cheltenham Racecourse
Hunting Butts Tunnel (97 yards)
Cheltenham High Street Halt(1908-17)
Cheltenham (St James)
Cheltenham (Malvern Road)
Cheltenham Spa National Rail
National Rail Cross Country Route

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR, GWSR or Gloucs-Warks Steam Railway) is a volunteer-run heritage railway which runs along the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border in England.

The GWR has reopened 12 miles (19 km) of line, operating between Cheltenham Racecourse and Laverton Halt. The company is raising £1.5 million to extend 3 miles (4.8 km) northwards to Broadway, and then plans a further 6 miles (9.7 km) reinstatement to extend working to Honeybourne.

Overview[edit]

The line was originally part of the Great Western Railway's CheltenhamStratford-upon-AvonBirmingham line, known as the Honeybourne Line, built in 1900–1906, and runs through the Cotswold towns of Winchcombe and Bishop's Cleeve.[1] The line was run down over the years and finally closed after a derailment damaged a stretch of track in 1976, with the double track being 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 Bishops Cleeve.[2] This culminated in the reopening of the line to Cheltenham Racecourse in 2003, by Princess Anne.

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (known as the 'GWR') runs trains from March to the end of December,[3] with the line closing during January and February for line and locomotive maintenance. The GWR 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 and many are still being restored.

Signalling of the Heritage GWR[edit]

The route consists of single line sections with passing places at the major stations. All stations and loops are signalled using GWR Lower Quadrant Semaphore Signals.[4][5]

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 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[edit]

North to Broadway[edit]

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.

South to Cheltenham[edit]

A 1910 Railway Clearing House map of railways in the vicinity of Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa
The bowstring bridge, built on the alignment of the former GWR trackbed into Cheltenham by developers in 2002 to allow continued bicycle access to Cheltenham Leisure Centre, when they constructed a supermarket on the site of the former Cheltenham Spa St. James station

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.[citation needed]

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[6]
  • 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[citation needed]

Although the GWR has extended track to its present ownership point 1 mile (1.6 km) 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′09″N 2°05′11″W / 51.90245°N 2.086434°W / 51.90245; -2.086434), 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,[7] a condition was imposed that the developer construct a new pedestrian bridge to ensure continued access to the remaining trackbed.[8] The resulting bowstring bridge follows a section of former railway embankment, which was removed to provide road access to the new store.[9]

Landslips[edit]

In the early 2010s the GWR 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.

2010 (Gotherington)[edit]

In April 2010 the GWR suffered a landslip of an embankment near Gotherington.[10] 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 £1m 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)[edit]

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.

Steam locomotives[edit]

Operational[edit]

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 GWR 2807 2 (8842284353).jpg
No. 8274 LMS 2-8-0 Class 8F Boiler ticket expires in 2019. Repatriated from Turkey in the 1980s and now available for traffic. Built in 1940. LMS Black Hugh llewelyn 8476 (6633833145).jpg
No. 5542 GWR 2-6-2T 4575 Operational, boiler ticket expires in 2022. Built in 1928. Moved to the South Devon Railway end of May 2014 but will be returning to the GWSR. GWR shirtbutton green Totnes 5542 shirtbutton livery.jpg
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 7820 Dinmore Manor.jpg
No. 4270 GWR 2-8-0T 4200 Class Restoration from Barry Scrapyard condition completed 2014.[11] Built in 1919. GWR Green 4270 GWSR.JPG

Undergoing restoration, repairs or overhaul[edit]

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Image
No. 35006 "Peninsular & Oriental S.N. Co." SR 4-6-2 "Merchant Navy" Class Undergoing restoration, built in 1941. The boiler has been returned to the locomotive having passed its steam test. It is hoped to enter service in late 2014/early 2015. BR express lined Brunswick green. 35006 Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. P&O.JPG
No. 9642 GWR 0-6-0PT 5700 Class Undergoing a ten-yearly overhaul off site. Built in 1946. It may have been sold, because it's no longer listed on the website.[citation needed] BR Black with early crest Pannier (389214545) (2).jpg
No. 44027 LMSR 0-6-0 Class 4F Overhaul in progress. Built in 1924. On loan from the National Railway Museum. BR Black LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 4027 at Rainhill.jpg
No. 7903 "Foremarke Hall" GWR 4-6-0 6959 "Modified Hall" Class Currently being dismantled prior to removal to Tyseley Locomotive Works to begin its 10-year overhaul. Built in 1949. BR Green with early crest 7903 Foremarke Hall on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway (2).jpg
No. 2874 GWR 2-8-0 2800 Class Major restoration has begun. Built in 1918. Owned by the Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd. group. N/A 2874 at Toddington Yard during the 2014 Cotswold Festival of Steam.JPG

Stored or static[edit]

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Image
No. 76077 BR 2-6-0 Class 4MT Awaiting major restoration. Built in 1956. Currently stored on several flat wagons in the Northern head-shunt just north of Toddington station. BR Black with late crest BR Standard Class 4 76077 at Barry.jpg

Diesel locomotives and DMUs[edit]

Operational[edit]

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Image
No. D2182 BR 0-6-0 Class 03 Operational BR green with late crest Class 03 D2182 at Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.jpg
No. 11230 Drewry 0-6-0 Operational BR black with early crest Hugh llewelyn 11230 (5573368453).jpg
No. 08484 BR 0-6-0 Class 08 Operational BR blue 08484 at Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.jpg
No. D8137 BR Bo-Bo Class 20 Operational BR green with yellow warning panels Hugh llewelyn D8137 & 47 105 (5567935399).jpg
No. 24081 BR Bo-Bo Class 24 Operational BR blue with full yellow ends 24081 departing Cheltenham Racecourse.JPG
No. D5343 BR Bo-Bo Class 26 Operational BR blue with full yellow ends D5343 at Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.jpg
No. 37215 BR Co-Co Class 37 Operational BR blue with full yellow ends 37215 gwr.JPG
No. 45149 BR 1 Co-Co 1 Class 45 Operational Undercoat 45149 at Toddington.jpg
No. 47376 "Freightliner 1995" BR Co-Co Class 47 Operational Freightliner grey 47376 at Toddington.JPG
No. 73129 "City of Winchester" BR Bo-Bo Class 73 Operational BR blue with yellow warning panels 73129 City of Winchester old oak common depot.jpg
Nos. W51405, W59510, W51363 BR Class 117 Operational BR lined green with yellow warning panels 3 Car DMU & 45145 Toddington.jpg
No. W55003 BR Class 122 Operational BR lined green with yellow warning panels W55003 at Toddington.jpg

Non operational[edit]

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Image
No. D2069 BR 0-6-0 Class 03 Undergoing overhaul BR green with late crest D2069 at Doncaster Works.JPG
No. 7069 LMS 0-6-0 English Electric shunter Undergoing restoration N/A LMS shunter No 7069.jpg
No. D9553 BR 0-6-0 Class 14 Stored out of use BR green Toddington, Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway geograph-3282968-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
No. 37248 BR Co-Co Class 37 Undergoing overhaul N/A Hugh llewelyn 37 248 (5567920241).jpg
No. 47105 BR Co-Co Class 47 Undergoing overhaul BR blue with full yellow ends Hugh llewelyn 47 105 (5568526842).jpg

Coaching stock[edit]

Operational coaches are shown in bold.

Origin Type Number Notes Photograph
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
BR GUV, 94051

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith. Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham. Middleton Press. ISBN 190176257 Check |isbn= value (help). 
  2. ^ "GWR - Gloucestershire's mainline heritage railway - Chronology". Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc. 2010. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  3. ^ "GWR - Gloucestershire's mainline heritage railway - 2014 Timetable". Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc. 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  4. ^ "Broadway Railway Station | GWSR | Broadway | Toddington |". Steaming to Broadway. 2013-03-19. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  5. ^ Bill (2014-01-21). "Steaming to Broadway!: The Broadway Signal Box". Steaming to Broadway. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  6. ^ Johnston, Howard (1–14 May 2013). "Regional News". RAIL (721): p24. 
  7. ^ Scott Wilson Group. "Waitrose Development, Cheltenham". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  8. ^ Cheltenham Daily Photo (2007-12-01). "Theme Day - Bridges". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  9. ^ Development Control Sub-Committee (1997-07-08). "Redevelopment of the St.James site, Cheltenham". Gloucestershire County Council. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  10. ^ "GWR - Gloucestershire's mainline heritage railway - Honeybourne Line train services continue despite Gotherington landslip". Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  11. ^ http://www.gwsr.com/news/latest-news/4270-steams.aspx

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°59′21″N 1°55′41″W / 51.98910°N 1.92813°W / 51.98910; -1.92813