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May 2022 Outing

Visit to the Historic Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway

Saturday 14th May 2022, depart Toddington 11.20

The GWSR is a heritage railway operating over a 14 mile stretch of the former Great Western Railway main line from Birmingham Snow Hill to Cheltenham. It runs below the Cotswold edge between Broadway and Cheltenham Race Course and was the route to the West Country taken by ‘The Cornishman’ express train in the 1950s. The line was built in 1900-1906 and closed south of Stratford in 1976. Preserved steam operations began in 1984 and extended to Cheltenham in 2003 and to Broadway in 2018.

We will have reserved seats in the beautifully restored first-class saloon coach ‘Mary’ (pictured below) on the 11.20 steam departure from Toddington. The 28-mile round trip takes us to Winchcombe, through Greet tunnel, past Gotherington to Cheltenham Race Course. There the locomotive will run round the train and we will retrace our steps crossing Stanway viaduct to the re-created Broadway station before returning to Toddington at 14.06. The train will include a buffet car (subject to staff availability, bacon baps recommended). There is extensive free parking at Toddington and breakfast and lunch may be taken at the Flag and Whistle Café. There are several points of interest at Toddington including museum elements, a well-stocked shop and a separate narrow-gauge steam railway. We hope to arrange an optional. tour of the locomotive shed and workshops not normally open to the public. 

Please contact Helen Smith to secure your place, avonburyhelen@hotmail.co.uk or 07821 920367.

Cost per person will be £22.50, children 5-15 will be £9, under 5s free. Please make payment to the History Society:

·        Make a bank transfer to the Society’s bank account – please include your surname as reference so we can identify your payment

(a confirmatory e-mail to Mark Shaddick, the Treasurer would also be most helpful)

Lloyds Bank

Sort Code: 30 - 98 - 26

Account Number: 02855942

·        Or, send a cheque to Mark made payable to Bidford & District History Society  

‘Mary’ seats 42 passengers and we will have it to ourselves if we fill it, more can be accommodated in an adjacent coach if necessary. 

The railway is largely run by volunteers, over 940 of them, and raised substantial funds to extend to Broadway and to re-create the station from scratch. Amongst a wide range of activities are driver experience courses, fish and chip and Father Christmas trains and a popular World War II evacuation experience in collaboration with The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum for KS2 primary school pupils (includes fire-fighting practice with stirrup pumps, community singing, identify the spy).

Lots more information about the GWSR is to be found at https://www.gwsr.com

There is a very comprehensive summary of the commercial development of Midlands steam railways in the C19th. & C20th, attached. This has been created to support our trip.  Just click on the link below.

GWSR Historic Notes.pdf