Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

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Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
The Honeybourne Line
Toddington Station, G&WR.jpg
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) standard gauge
Preserved operations
Operated by Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway Plc
Stations 5
Length 13 miles (21 km)
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
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
1990 GWR Extended to (the site of) Gretton halt
1997 Extended to Gotherington
2003 Extended to Cheltenham Racecourse
2011 GWR extends to (the site of) Laverton halt
2017 Hayles Abbey Halt reopens
Headquarters Toddington, Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire Warwickshire
Railway
miles [1]
North Warwickshire Line
to Birmingham
Leamington to Stratford Line
32.8 Wilmcote National Rail
Stratford-upon-Avon
Parkway
National Rail
29.1 Stratford-upon-Avon National Rail
Evesham Road
Crossing Halt
1904
1916
Stratford-upon-Avon
Racecourse
Chambers Crossing Halt
26.1 Milcote
23.5 Long Marston
Network Rail
to Long Marston MOD Depot
Warwickshire
Worcestershire
boundary
Broad Marston Halt
1904
1916
Pebworth Halt
NR Cotswold Line
to Worcester Shrub Hill
21.1 Honeybourne National Rail
NR Cotswold Line
to Oxford
Worcestershire
Gloucestershire
boundary
18.8 Weston-sub-Edge
Willersey Halt
16.1 Broadwayunder construction
Worcestershire
Gloucestershire
boundary
Up arrow Extension under construction
Laverton Halt
Stanway Viaduct
11.6 Toddington
North Gloucestershire Rly
Hayles Abbey Halt
9.0 Winchcombe
Greet Tunnel
693 yd
634 m
7.6 Gretton Halt
5.6 Gotherington
4.1 Bishops Cleeve
2.3 Cheltenham Racecourse Park and ride
Hunting Butts Tunnel
97 yd
89 m
Cheltenham
High Street Halt
Cheltenham
(St. James)
Cheltenham
(Malvern Road)
0.0 Cheltenham Spa National Rail
NR Cross Country Route

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

The GWSR has restored and reopened 13 miles (21 km) of line, operating between Cheltenham Racecourse and Little Buckland. The company has raised £1.38 million to extend 1 mile (1.6 km) northwards to Broadway, and will eventually begin working on plans to extend a further 6 miles (9.7 km) to Honeybourne, (where one half of an island platform has since been left unrebuilt for their future usage).

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.[2] 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 (640 m) 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 (634 m) long Greet Tunnel, and past the villages of Gretton, Gotherington and Bishops Cleeve.[3] 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,[4] with the line closing during January and February as well as November for line and locomotive maintenance. The GWSR runs regular train services every weekend plus most weekdays from Easter to the end of October, and some weekends are used to host special events including steam and diesel galas, Day out with Thomas events 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 2016 the resident steam locomotives on the line were 7820 "Dinmore Manor", 28xx class 2807, 42xx class 4270, 7903 "Foremarke Hall" and 35006 "Peninsular & Oriental SN Co". 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[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.[5][6]

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[edit]

North to Broadway[edit]

The GWsR is currently extending its railway north to Broadway Station with an expected full opening date of 30th March 2018. The railway has raised £1.33 million in a share offer entitled "Broadway: the last mile" which will allow it to complete the extension and have it operational by Easter 2018. [7]

The first 2024 yards of the extension opened in May 2017 to just north of Little Buckland Bridge in time for the steam gala.

The main station building at Broadway is complete to eaves level and the steel riveted roof canopy was installed on 23rd May 2017. The footbridge is also in place, however, the steps have yet to be constructed.

The area north of the station has been ballasted and track work stored ready for laying.

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 Borough 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[8]
  • build a new station (or halt) in the Wyman's Brook area of Cheltenham itself, to serve an adjacent Prince of Wales sports stadium
  • run tourist and excursion trains to access the railway and the town
  • run a possible future cross-city commuter route, from the Racecourse to Cheltenham and possibly onwards to Gloucester[citation needed]

Although the GWSR have extended track to Hunting Butts tunnel, a few hundred metres beyond Cheltenham racecourse station, it owns the trackbed as far as the Prince of Wales stadium at Wyman's Brook. It is likely that after extending to Broadway laying track further into Cheltenham will happen to this point; a distance of about 1 mile. However, beyond here 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.[9] The resulting bowstring bridge follows a section of former railway embankment, which was removed to provide road access to the new store.[10]

Landslips[edit]

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 reopened.

2010 (Gotherington)[edit]

In April 2010 the GWSR suffered a landslip of an embankment near Gotherington.[11] 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 reopen before July 2011, but donations ensured that the work could be carried out promptly, and it was reopened 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, Great Western Lettering GWR 2807 steam loco.jpg
No. 4270 GWR 2-8-0T 4200 Class Restoration from Barry Scrapyard condition completed 2014.[12] Built in 1919. Boiler ticket expires in 2024. GWR Green, GWR Lettering 4270 GWSR.JPG
No. 7820 "Dinmore Manor" GWR 4-6-0 7800 "Manor" Class Returned to service in 2013 following its 10-year overhaul. The loco ran with the tender of "Dukedog" Class No. 9017 Earl of Berkeley until October 2015, when it was changed for 2884 Class No. 3850's tender after the loco came out of service for overhaul. It will soon be running with a unique Collett 3500 gallon tender. Built in 1950. Boiler ticket expires in 2023. BR Unlined Black, Early Emblem Paignton - 7820 in carriage siding.JPG
No. 7903 "Foremarke Hall" GWR 4-6-0 6959 "Modified Hall" Class Overhaul completed in mid-2016. Built in 1949. Boiler ticket expires in 2026. BR Green, Late Emblem 7903 Foremarke Hall at Toddington, GWSR.jpg
No. 35006 "Peninsular & Oriental S.N. Co." SR 4-6-2 "Merchant Navy" Class Returned to service in mid-2016 following the completion of a 30-year restoration from scrapyard condition. Built in 1941. Boiler ticket expires in 2025. BR Green, Late Emblem 35006 Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. P&O.JPG

Away from the GWR[edit]

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Image
No locos away at present (Nov 2016)

Undergoing restoration, repairs or overhaul[edit]

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Image
No. 3850 GWR 2-8-0 2884 Class Withdrawn from traffic on 28 September 2015 and now undergoing overhaul. Owned by the Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd. group. BR Unlined Black, Early Emblem 3850 at Toddington, May 2014.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 north siding just north of Toddington station. Restoration is hoped to begin soon. BR Black with late crest BR Standard Class 4 76077 at Barry.jpg
John Industrial Peckett & Sons limited, Bristol. W6 class 0-4-0ST. Works Number 1976. The loco is presently undergoing cosmetic restoration in order to become a static exhibit at Toddington. http://www.gwsr.com/userfiles/images/Profile_Locos/john_ws.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 Class 04 Operational BR black with early crest Hugh llewelyn 11230 (5573368453).jpg
No. D8137 BR Bo-Bo Class 20 Operational BR green with full yellow front end 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. D6948 BR Co-Co Class 37 Operational Original BR green Hugh llewelyn 37 248 (5567920241).jpg
No. 45149 BR 1 Co-Co 1 Class 45 Operational BR blue with full yellow ends 45149 at Toddington station.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

Non operational[edit]

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Image
No. 47105 BR Co-Co Class 47 Undergoing overhaul BR blue with full yellow ends Hugh llewelyn 47 105 (5568526842).jpg
No. 20035 BR Bo-Bo Class 20 Component recovery Orange and white livery of the CFD (Compagnie de Chemins de Fer Départementaux')
No. W55003 BR Class 122 Undergoing restoration New livery is yet to be chosen (was BR lined green with yellow warning panels) W55003 at Toddington.jpg
No. W51360 BR Class 117 Undergoing restoration - has run in multiple with other 117 units BR Blue with full yellow ends
No. SC52029 BR Class 107 Undergoing restoration New livery will be BR Blue with full yellow end

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
BR Mk 1 SO, 4787, 4790, 4798 and 4806
BR Mk 1 TSO, 3960, 4440, 4763, 4772, 4869, 4986, 5023, and 5042
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, and 35308
BR Mk 1 Autotrailer, 975076
BR Mk 1 POT, 80432, 80434, 80411 and 80435
BR Mk 1 BG, 80926, 81039, 81049, 92199, and 92418
BR Mk 1 TPO, 92384
BR CCT, 94486, and 94557
BR GUV, 94051

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Railway Magazine December 1957 p. 859
  2. ^ Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith. Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham. Middleton Press. ISBN 978-1901706253. 
  3. ^ "GWR - Gloucestershire's mainline heritage railway - Chronology". Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc. 2010. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  4. ^ "GWR - Gloucestershire's mainline heritage railway - 2016 Timetable". Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc. 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-26. 
  5. ^ "Broadway Railway Station | GWSR | Broadway | Toddington |". Steaming to Broadway. 2013-03-19. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  6. ^ Bill (2014-01-21). "Steaming to Broadway!: The Broadway Signal Box". Steaming to Broadway. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  7. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-39614067
  8. ^ Johnston, Howard (1–14 May 2013). "Regional News". RAIL. No. 721. p. 24. 
  9. ^ Scott Wilson Group. "Waitrose Development, Cheltenham". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  10. ^ Development Control Sub-Committee (1997-07-08). "Redevelopment of the St.James site, Cheltenham". Gloucestershire County Council. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ 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