17 July 2018

Diesels back to Broadway at the GWR - 27th to 29th July!

  • Guest locomotives include two Western Region Diesel Hydraulic locomotives

  • Biggest diesel gala ever staged by the railway

  • TEN locomotives plus a diesel multiple unit in action, all from the 1960s and 1970s

  • Plenty of parking at Cheltenham Racecourse Station


There's always a good reason to visit the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway but visit between Friday and Sunday, 27-29 July and it will have become the 'Gloucestershire Warwickshire Diesel Railway’!


That's because the popular annual Heritage Diesel Festival takes place with a spectacular range of locomotives in action, taking in the newly-opened extension to the delightful Cotswold village of Broadway.


And topping the bill of locomotives operating over the 14-mile line between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway, will be two visiting locomotives that represented the peak of diesel development on the Western Region of British Railways.  They are ‘Warship’ class diesel-hydraulic no. D832 Onslaught and ‘Hymek’ diesel-hydraulic no. D7017.  The ‘Warships’ were among the diesel classes that took over from steam on express services out of Paddington to the West Country and Wales while the ‘Hymeks’ were particularly associated with the North Cotswold line and also worked over route that now partly forms the present-day GWSR.  


The Festival is an established part of the railway's calendar of special events with plenty for everyone - for families as well as enthusiasts - or those simply looking for a fascinating and out-of-the-ordinary day out.


The GWSR boasts one of the UK’s finest fleets of heritage diesel locomotives including one that has strong associations with the former Stratford upon Avon - Cheltenham line, class 45 no. 45149 (or Sulzer type 4, former BR number D135) which will thrill both in terms of its huge size and spectacular sound.  


Says Peter Smith, one of the event’s organisers: “You don't have to be a diesel aficionado to appreciate these giants from a past age when diesel took over from steam half a century ago.  That's when makers such as English Electric, Sulzer, Brush, Metropolitan Vickers and others, as well as British Railways' works, produced a wide range of locomotive classes each stamped with their makers' individuality, providing variety and interest.


“Over the weekend the railway will be operating no fewer than NINE main line locomotives as well as a diesel multiple-unit, following an intensive timetable over the full length of the 14-mile line between Cheltenham Racecourse, Gotherington, Winchcombe, Toddington and Broadway.  Overall the trains will clock up more than 1,000 over the three days.


“Features will include an intensive timetable featuring double-heading of some trains, in a range of locomotive combinations.  There will also be opportunities to look 'behind the scenes' in the diesel shed at Toddington where you can get close up and personal with locomotives being overhauled as well as enjoy what’s on offer from preservation group and sales stands. Be sure too to enjoy the narrow-gauge delights of the North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge Railway at Toddington, too.


“It’s going to be quite a weekend that celebrates what is now a long-gone age when a wide variety of powerful and impressive diesel locomotives ruled the rails.”


The extensive and impressive Carriage & Wagon Department at Winchcombe will also be welcoming visitors who will discover how the railway restores and maintains its impressive fleet of Mk1 coaches, which are a perfect match for the traction in action over the weekend. 


And of course no event like this would be complete without a beer tent and plenty of refreshments.



You can find out all you need to know about this spectacular event by visiting the Heritage Diesel Festival pages at www.gwsr.com  including ticket prices and detailed timetables for the event.


Ends / more


Media contact: Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or ian.crowder@gwsr.com 




Warship no. D832 appears by courtesy of the Bury Hydraulic Group and Hymek D7017 appears courtesy DEPG (Diesel & Electric Preservation Group) 



The GWSR is a heritage railway operating trains hauled by steam and heritage diesel locomotives and multiple-units, over part of the former Great Western Railway route between Stratford upon Avon and Cheltenham. It opened throughout in 1906 with several stations on its route via Honeybourne, Broadway and Toddington. Most of the intermediate stations closed in March 1960. The last scheduled (non-stop) passenger services over the line ceased in 1968 after which it was used by freight and occasional passenger trains diverted from the surviving former Midland line between the West Midlands, Cheltenham and Bristol. The line was closed in 1976 following the derailment of a freight train at Winchcombe in 1976 and the track and infrastructure removed by the end of 1979. The GWSR took up residence in the derelict station yard at Toddington in 1981 and ran its first train over a short stretch of track at Toddington, in 1984. By 2003 the railway had reached Cheltenham Racecourse. It has now reached Broadway (opened 30 March 2018) providing a round trip of over 28 miles, making it one of the top five heritage railways, in terms of length, in the UK. The railway is enjoying significantly increased passenger numbers - around 60% up year-on-year.  The railway carried over 100,000 passengers in 2017 for the second year running. https://www.gwsr.com



Broadway station was constructed by the Great Western Railway and opened initially as a terminus for trains from the north, in August 1904, until the line was completed towards the south. The station site was bisected by the Evesham Road which is crossed by a steel bridge that has been subject to considerable repair following bridge strikes by over-height lorries. The Caravan Club now occupies the site of the former goods yard on the south side of the road. The station closed to passengers on 7 March 1960. With the present GWSR’s ambition to reach Broadway, the Broadway Area Group of volunteers was formed and began work in 2009 clearing the station site, finding the foundations of the original buildings and platforms. The platforms (longer than the originals) were built largely using recovered railway bricks and other materials from several locations. The design of the new building closely follows that of the original, using similar new bricks including decorative brickwork, for example along the eaves and window surrounds. The new building is longer than the original, in order to accommodate toilets and other facilities expected by modern visitors. The roof and platform canopy is supported by a steel framework built at the railway’s steam locomotive department at Toddington, using traditional riveting. The footbridge came from Henly-in-Arden and the signalbox on Platform 2 is a brand new replica of the one that once stood at Shirley. The station’s original signalbox was on the south side of the road. The new structure will eventually be open for visitors to view. The entire construction has been completed by volunteers. In January, Wychavon District Council announced its support for the railway by agreeing to fund the £560,000 cost of constructing a new 99-vehicle car park at the foot of the railway’s embankment between Evesham Road and Childswickham Road. This is expected to open some time during or after August 2018 – meanwile, there is no car parking at Broadway station. http://broadwaystationgroup.blogspot.co.uk (There are two very nice videos of the first train arriving and departing from Broadway Station here)


Ends all

Pictures of visiting locomotives: 

Top: Diesel-hydraulic Hymek (class 35) no. D7017 on its home West Somerset Railway, and owned by the Diesel & electric Preservation Group (photo: Peter Smith)

Lower: Diesel-hydraulic Warship (class 42) no. D832 Onslaught, owned by the Bury Hydraulic Group is seen during a visit to the West Somerset Railway.  This is the first time a member of the class has visited the GWSR (photo: Peter Smith)