08 August 2018
Enjoying steam in the Cotswolds - 'Britannia' pacific 70013 'Oliver Cromwell' crosses Stanway Viaduct during the Successful cotswold Festival of Steam on May 29 2018 (Photo: Paul Begg)
"Astonishing success" for Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway half way through year
Passenger numbers up by more than half compared with 2017
‘Some trains full’ as visitors enjoy travelling to new Broadway station
Beer, classic cars and ‘Thomas’ among upcoming events
Praise for the railway’s 950 volunteers
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway is now firmly placed as one of the leading visitor attractions in the Cotswolds. To the end of June, it had attracted almost 72,000 passengers travelling on the heritage line between Cheltenham Racecourse and its newly opened station at Broadway.
That compares with 46,500 passengers at the year to date last year – an astonishing 52% up.
On some days passenger numbers have been double the equivalent days last year.
A delighted Colin Fewell, volunteer commercial director of the railway said: “The Broadway effect is eclipsing our past success and records are tumbling one after the other.
“We have strengthened out trains to eight coaches this year with a capacity of around 400 seated passengers but often popular trains are nearly full even on midweek days, especially the first train of the day out of Cheltenham Racecourse.
“Our railway now goes through more than 14 miles of glorious landscape from Cheltenham to arguably the most delightful of Cotswold villages, Broadway. Businesses in Broadway are telling us that they have noticed an increase in the number of visitors to the village since the station opened once again, 58 years after it was closed by British Railways.
“We are also in demand for organised coach trips but we are having to turn some away because we simply can’t accommodate them.
“The popularity of the line since we opened Broadway station is simply astonishing!”
“And, although we would like to run more trains and provide extra capacity, there is a limit to what we can do – but this is the first year of our newly-expanded railway and we are learning as we go along.”
Last year, the railway also opened a delightful Halt at Hayles Abbey, a replica of the one that stood there until 1960. It has also proved popular with people wanting to visit the nearby beautiful Cistercian Abbey – or for walkers keen to explore the network of footpaths that extend from here in several directions.
Colin also pays tribute to the railway’s 950 or so volunteers. “We aren’t Network Rail and our volunteers run the railway because it gives them enjoyment – and that often comes as a surprise, especially to people visiting for the first time.
“Our volunteers often go above and beyond in their commitment to make sure that all our visitors have a fantastic day out. This railway is a real passion for people from all walks of life who freely give of their time and are enjoying its success – and lots of visitors tell us that their passion rubs off.
“We get so many commendations saying how friendly our volunteers are, which really makes our day.”
Throughout August, the railway is running ‘Teddy Bear Tuesdays” with fun-packed events for youngsters: bring your own bear!
Events for every possible taste coming up on the railway include Steam & Real Ale on Friday 10th to Sunday 12th August; Classic vehicles on Sunday 9th September; Day Out with Thomas over the weekend of 15th and 16 September; the Autumn Diesel Weekend 6th and 7th October and the bigger and better Cotswolds Food & Drink Fayre, in its third year, on 20th and 21st October.
December once again sees the railway’s popular Santa Specials. Colin points out that although it is now the height of the summer school holidays, the Christmas trains are already booking up fast.
“It looks as if Christmas will be just as busy as ever so now is the time to book to avoid disappointment!”
Meanwhile, the railway is running every day except Mondays during August (apart from August Bank Holiday) – full details can be found on the railway’s website at www.gwsr.com
Ends / more
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Media contact – Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or email@example.com
Table excludes Race Trains, Footplate Experience, Fish & Chip Specials, complimentary tickets (ie War in the Cotswolds enactors, traders at special events etc)