BlogEventsHeritage Diesel Gala - Fri 24th to Sun 26th July 2020

Heritage Diesel Gala - Fri 24th to Sun 26th July 2020



This year’s 3 day summer festival of heritage diesel traction on the GWR will transport you back to a time when British Rail ran locomotive hauled trains the length and breadth of the country, from large powerful express locomotives on inter-city journies, to smaller mixed traffic and freight types many of which were pressed into use during the summer months taking people from the towns to our seaside resorts.   

All these sights and sounds will be re-created once more as we take you for 14 miles along the edge of the Cotswolds from Cheltenham Racecourse to the magnificently rebuilt Broadway station at this picturesque Cotswold village as we recreate a past era of the UK’s railways now long since disappeared from the national network. Why not take a stroll up the road into this lovely Cotswold village with a number of excellent pubs, eateries and shops? Over the 3 days, our magnificently restored collection of vintage diesel locomotives will be clocking up over 1000 miles between them as we celebrate the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

This year, we are very pleased to welcome a very special visitor courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Society, in the shape of class 55 ‘Deltic’ locomotive no.55019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier’ one of the class of 22 large and powerful locomotives that were built by the English Electric company for British Rail in 1961 to pull high speed express passenger services such as the ‘Flying Scotsman’ and ‘Talisman’ between London and Scotland over the east coast main line. Those allocated to the Edinburgh end of the line were named after famous Scottish regiments and those to the London end famous race horses. They were the most powerful locomotive on British Rail with two 1650hp Napier power units installed giving a total power output of 3,300hp and their introduction to service enabled a substantial speed up of anglo-scottish services. The class became very popular with enthusiasts and the general public alike, due to their impressive size and distinctive sound and were finally withdrawn from main line service at the end of 1981 after 20 years high speed service.

We are also pleased to welcome back a popular favourite to our summer gala from own our home fleet of locomotives – class 24 no. 5081, which has been undergoing an extensive bogie and running gear overhaul and has been out of traffic for the past 3 years. 5081 was built by British Railways at its Derby locomotive works in 1960, so we will be celebrating it’s 60th birthday this year. A venerable piece of 1950s engineering technology and still going strong thanks to a small dedicated group of volunteers here at Toddington.

Up to 10 trains each day will run to Broadway, with even more running between Toddington and Cheltenham Racecourse giving a full 28 mile round trip on most services, which together with passing trains in the loops at Gotherington, Winchcombe and Toddington allows a 45 minute frequency service all day.  There will be something for everyone - for families looking for a great day out as well as for the railway enthusiast. For the haulage enthusiast, our regular timetable allows a wide variety of 'moves' to be made throughout the day in pursuit of your favourite traction. Come and re-live the atmosphere of travelling by British Rail (remember them?) from 40, 50 and 60 years ago. The 1960s, 1970s and 1980s live again!

Our fleet of heritage diesel locomotives are all now well over 50 years old so the event also pays tribute to the history of British electrical and mechanical engineering from the 1950s and 1960s - a time when Britain was still at the forefront of locomotive technology and exported railway locomotives all over the world. At Toddington, you will be able to visit our diesel maintenance shed and see up close 1963-built class 47 locomotive no.47105 in the final stages of its overhaul and our single car diesel multiple unit built in 1957 W55003 and formerly used on the Honeybourne line currently being refurbished.

The best way to buy tickets for the event will be in advance over the Internet. Avoid any queues on the day and benefit from an on-line discounted price – one day adult tickets are available for just £23.50! Multi-day rover tickets offering substantial savings are also available if booked in advance. Alternatively just turn up and pay on the day (adult tickets £27). The railway is also offering multi-day rover tickets (if booked in advance). 

On these pages you will find latest news, information about the locomotive line-up, timetable, details of fares and on-line booking, where to stay, attractions at the railway's stations …just about everything you need to know!

Just use the links below to get the information you need.

These sections will be updated right up to the event itself as we add more news and information.  If not all of the pages are populated yet, please keep coming back to keep yourself up to date!


Getting there – how to reach us, by car and by public transport

Tickets Office! - Full details of ticket prices and how to buy on-line

Locomotives – the line up of heritage diesels

Rolling stock – the coaches we will have in use

What's happening where – the full run down on what's going on at each station

Sales stands

Toddington Shed open day

Where to stay 


Your safety

Finally, a gentle note about safety and good behaviour: we everyone to enjoy your day and go home happy and in once piece!  Platforms and trains are likely to be crowded at times so...

  • Please take care at the platform edge
  • Please respect instructions of volunteer station staff and remain in designated areas
  • Never walk near the track unless you have a lineside pass and are wearing a high-visibility orange jacket
  • Never sit on the platform edge with your feet over the side
  • Never attempt to join or leave a moving train
  • Please keep an eye on children - they can easily get lost when there are a lot of people about!  If your youngster is lost, contact station staff who will make an announcement
  • If you are hurt in any way or feel unwell, please contact station staff who can call appropriate assistance from paramedic staff and our first responder team.

Please respect your fellow visitors, our facilities, trains and staff members, who are all volunteers. We want everyone to have a happy and enjoyable day at the friendly line in the Cotswolds – anyone who is seen or reported to be behaving inappropriately will be asked to leave with no refund.

We have a zero tolerance policy towards anti-social behaviour of any kind.


Important information for photographers

Fortunately, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is blessed with many vantage points publicly accessible from footpaths, roads, stations and other locations from where pictures can be taken of trains without the need to access the railway's property. Ordnance Survey maps: Explorer OL45; or

Landranger 162 and 163 are well worth exploring for footpaths and vantage points along the route of

the railway.


Getting there

By car

Car parking is available at Cheltenham Racecourse, Toddington and Broadway stations (please note that there will be no parking at Winchcombe station). The biggest car park is at Cheltenham Racecourse station where there are stacks of parking spaces. Parking is free at Cheltenham and Toddington, and is available at the council run car park across the road from Broadway station – if you pay for an all day ticket (£5) you will receive a £3 voucher redeemable at the booking office when you purchase a ticket. Both Toddington and Cheltenham are easy to find and access from all directions including the M5 motorway. Use this link for detailed information and directions.

Free station to station bus link

A  free connecting bus will make several trips direct from Cheltenham Spa National Rail station to Cheltenham Racecourse station in the morning and late afternoon. This year available on all 3 days, details of the connecting buses can be found on the main gala timetable.

By public transport

If you're travelling by public transport, the best way to get to the railway is by Network Rail to Cheltenham Spa station (services from all over the country) and take the excellent Stagecoach bus service D from the station to 'Racecourse Park & Ride' from where it is a 5-10 minute walk to the station.  The bus service runs every 10 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays, and every 30 minutes on Sundays. Journey time is 22 minutes, so allow 35 minutes from departing Cheltenham National Rail station to Cheltenham Racecourse GWR station.

There is also an hourly service from Cheltenham North Street on the Friday and Saturday to Winchcombe town (15 mins walk from the station). The timetable can be found here.

There's more information about reaching the GWR by public transport here


Sales stands

We positively welcome and encourage groups, societies and traders to bring a stand to the event. We can offer both under cover pitches (inside the diesel shed which will be functioning as an exhibition hall) and, at a lower rate, outdoors in the car park which provides a link between the shed and the station.

There is no charge for societies, registered charities and locomotive groups, although we do suggest a small donation to the GWR Trust (£20 suggested).

The charge for a pitch to trade stands for businesses selling goods is £25, payable in advance.

To apply please download the appropriate application form:


Ticket Office

A range of tickets are on offer all of which include:

  • Unlimited travel on all train services throughout the day.
  • Admission to the site and diesel shed at Toddington.
  • Admission to the Carriage & Wagon workshops at Winchcombe.
  • Rides on the North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge Railway at Toddington (which will be operating on all three days) and other attractions on the line, offering remarkably good value for money!

Unfortunately, shareholder, member, HRA passes, reciprocal arrangements and other complimentary tickets will not be valid.

Ticket prices

The best way to buy tickets for the event is in advance over the Internet. Avoid any queues on the day and benefit from an on-line discounted price! Multi-day rover tickets offering substantial savings are also available if booked in advance.

Advance purchase (internet)


Advance Purchase


1 day

2 day

3 day





Child (5-15yrs)









To purchase your tickets just go to our on-line booking site:


Buy tickets now


Alternatively, just turn up on the day and pay as you enter the site, either at Toddington or Cheltenham Racecourse stations.

Pay on the day

Pay on the day


1 day



Child (5-15yrs)





Please note that multi-day tickets are only available for purchase on-line in advance of the event.


Locomotives and coaches

The Heritage Diesel Gala will feature the GWR's unique collection of ex-British Rail diesel locomotives, operating an intensive service of trains plus a guest locomotive. Nine locomotives will be in use (subject to availability) travelling over 1000 miles in the course of the 3 days.

One of our locomotives approaching the end of an extensive overhaul will form part of the exhibition inside the diesel shed at Toddington.

The intensive locomotive hauled service will be the main draw for enthusiasts highlights of which will be:

  • The visit of class 55 locomotive 55019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier’, and
  • Class 24 no.5081 celebrating its 60th anniversary after a 3 year overhaul

4 coaching stock sets will be in use.

All our locomotives and railcars are owned by preservation groups or individuals and most have their own websites packed full of information on the locomotive's history, operation and latest news.

Click on the links for lots more on each (including how you can join and get involved with the operation, maintenance and restoration of each if you wish). Note the GWSR is not responsible for the content of external links.

Guest Locomotives

- in use and working trains


Class Number Owning Group  
Class 55 55019 'Royal Highland Fusileer' The Deltic Preservation Society


Home fleet

- in use and working trains


Class Number Owning Group  
Class 20 D8137 Privately owned
Class 24 5081 24081 Locomotive Group
Class 26 D5343 Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group
Class 37 D6948
Privately owned - in custodianship of
Class 37 37215
Class 45 45149 Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group
Class 47 47376 The Brush Type Four Fund
Class 73 E6036 Privately owned


Home Fleet

- on static display


Class Number Owning Group  
Class 47 47105
(cab visits available)
Class 04 11230 Privately owned
Class 122 W55003 Cotswold Diesel Railcar Ltd


There will be 4 sets of coaches in use during the weekend. This year we can offer two 8 coach sets – our usual chocolate & cream and maroon sets of coaches, together with an additional 6 or 7 coach set comprising a mix of coaches, including the newly refurbished full brake coach (BG), and  a smaller 5 coach set.

Hot food will be available on board Set A (marked in the timetables).

Find out more about all our rolling stock here.


What's happening where


The main centre of events will be at Toddington, the railway's headquarters and location of our engine sheds and maintenance facilities.

Things happening at Toddington over the weekend will include:

  • Diesel Shed Open Day (with the opportunity to get close-up to a locomotive undergoing overhaul)
  • Sales stands and stalls (inside the shed and outside too)
  • An evening train on Saturday offering a 2 hour round trip of the line departing at 18:45 from Toddington (with a free bus connection to Cheltenham main line station) and arriving back at 20:40.
  • The 'Flag and Whistle' cafe selling a range of hot home-cooked food, snacks and drink. Fast food available outside adjacent to the platforms.
  • Beer tent

Our diesel shed will once again be throwing open its doors to visitors, and as well as the model railways and sales stands, you will be able to see the following:

  • Get up close to class 47 no.47105 under going a heavy general overhaul. See the work required to maintain our locomotives in tip top condition.
  • Class 122 ‘Bubble Car’ W55003 built in 1958 and originally used on the Honeybourne Line, undergoing extensive restoration.

A full site plan for Toddington will be available soon.


Winchcombe is a pleasant location to break your journey, with the Coffee Pot cafe serving refreshments on platform 1 with a picnic area adjacent to platform 2. As it is a crossing loop on our largely single track railway,  it provides the opportunity to view trains passing each other through the station with all the hustle and bustle that goes with it. Most up trains will pause here for around 10 to 15 minutes giving you some time to stretch your legs and take photographs of the trains as they pass each other in the station.

Our Carriage and Wagon workshops, who restore and maintain all the coaches and wagons used on the railway will be open for visitors to inspect the work that goes on, and see the range of rolling stock we have.

Trains will operate between Broadway and Cheltenham Racecourse every 45 minutes throughout the day.

Cheltenham Racecourse

Our largest car park is available at Cheltenham Racecourse station, together with access to a frequent bus service into Cheltenham town centre and Cheltenham national rail station at the entrance to the racecourse site ('Racecourse Park and Ride'). We will also be providing a free bus service direct from the Racecourse station to the National Rail station at the start and end of the day. Hot food will be available on the platform from the start of the day.

There may be the opportunity for you to visit the driver's cab (subject to safety and operational requirements) whilst the locomotive is waiting at Cheltenham Racecourse.


The ‘jewel in the crown’ of the GWR’s stations. Broadway Station is the newest station on our railway and is our northern terminus. The station is situated on the north-western edge of the village, a 15 minute walk from the centre. The whole station has been built by our volunteers in the style of the original which was completely demolished when the line closed and has now got a welcoming tea room selling refreshments. The station is now provided with a car park making it an ideal place from which to start or finish your journey.

Heritage Diesel Gala - Fri 24th to Sun 26th July 2020