Cotswold Festival of Steam:'NORTHERN SOUL' 25-27 May 2019

B1 class 4-6-0 no.1264 is visiting from the North Yourkshire Moors Railway.  Here it departs Grosmont on 3rd April 2018 (Copyright Tony Fletcher)


  • 'Northern Soul' - Saturday 25th to Monday 27th May 2019

  • North meets south: from the Caledonian and LNER to SR and GWR


We're grateful to our sponsor of this event: Morton's Media, publishers of The Railway Magazine; Heritage Railway magazine and Rail Express

Please note: parking at Toddington will be limited and spaces are likely to fill quickly. Please start your day if possible from Cheltenham Race Course station where there is plenty of FREE car parking. There is car parking for just 88 cars at Broadway station now: the cost is £5 for up to 10 hours pay and display or you can use the Ringo app.  (Train users buying a ticket on the day, will get £3 back off one fare if they park, book and travel on the same day.  Note, the discount is NOT valid with those who have bought discounted advance tickets). 


The GWSR is operating a complimentary bus service between Cheltenham Spa Network Rail station and the GWSR's Cheltenham Racecourse station.


Once again the stage is set for the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway's spectacular Cotswold Festival of Steam with up to eight locomotives* in steam over the late May bank holiday weekend!


The theme this year is 'Northern Soul' reflecting the visiting B1 class 4-6-0 no. 1264 and 'Caley' 0-4-4T no. 419 from Scotland!


Quick links -

Links will be activated as details become available

Locomotives    Timetable & Map  
Footplate rides    Tickets   
   Take a trade stand   Narrow Gauge
Bus timetable Getting to the GWSR



Caley tank no. 419 adds a splash of Caledonian colour to the Cotswold Festival of Steam (copyright Ray O'Hara)







CALEY TANK FEELING POORLY: Caledonian tank engine 419 suffered a hot big-end bearing while out on Thursday.  But in an extrordianry feat volunteers from the GWSR and the locomotive's owners dismantled, repaird (including machining) and refitted the big end bearings and the engine was being tested this evening (Friday).  But to be prudent the engine will be on light shunting duties at Winchcombe rather than operating a train service tomorrow (Saturday).  But it is a chance for you to get up close and personal to this lovely machine at Winchcombe!

COLLECT YOUR FREE GUIDE! Sponsored by Mortons, publishesrs of Heritage Railway, Railway Magazine and Rail Express, make sure you pick up a copy of our FREE and colourful guide to the Cotswold Festival of Steam, jam-packed with information about what's going on and where; and profiles of the locomotives.  It includes the train timetable (on the back cover) which tells you which locos are running with which trains.

WHICH WAY ARE THE LOCOMOTIVES POINTING? Check the Locomotives page to find out.

LAST CHANCE TO BOOK DISCOUNTED TICKETS ONLINE!! After Monday 20th May, online ticket sales will be closed so book up now before its too late to get your discounted tickets.  You save a worthwhile £4 if you buy your tickets now and you avoid the queues. Book your tickets now!

CAR PARKING AT BROADWAY: Please note that our sponsors, Heritage Railway magazine, mentioned that you can get a £3 refund off the £5 parking fee at the Broadway station pay and display car station car park, for pre-booked online tickets. This is incorrect! As a discount has already been applied to online ticket sales, the car park discount does not apply.  You might therefore be best parking at Toddington or Cheltenham Race Course, both car parks are free.  However, if you are buiying at ticket on the day, the car park discount does apply. The Pay and Display car park at Broadway is run by Wychavon District Council who built the car park, for the use of GWSR travellers.

FREE BUS SERVICE FROM CHELTENHAM SPA NR STATION TO GWSR RACECOURSE STATION The bus timetable is now available if you are travelling by public transport to the Cotswold Festival of Steam

TIMETABLE NOW AVAILABLE The full timetable is now online.  It's a PDF so you can download and print your own copy

FOOTPLATE RIDES NOW AVAILABLE! Once again the event is offering the rare opportunity to ride on the footplate with the driver and fireman over the full 14-mile length of the line, between Broadway and Cheltenham (or vice-versa).  Click here for the full low-down.  There are just 18 spaces and they will go as quickly as you can shovel coal so don't delay, book today! NOTE - ONLY FOUR FOOTPLATE RIDES REMAINING SO BOOK NOW!

THE KING RETURNS! Once again King class 4-6-0 - the Great Western Railway's most powerful locomotive design - is visitng for the Cotswold Festival of Steam.  Turned out in early British Railways blue livery the engine will once again be turning heads as it runs through the green countryside of the Cotswolds, courtesy of the Greeat Western Society at Didcot.

CALEDONIAN COLOUR: Another blue locomotive!  The GWSR is delighted to welcome the delightful 'Caley' 0-4-4 tank locomiotive no. 419 which adds another shade of blue - 'Perth Blue' to the scene.  The engine arrives courtesy of the Scottish Railway Preserevation Society

A B1 FROM THE NORTH-EAST: Without doubt an outstandingly attractive addition to the Festival fleet, B1 class 4-6-0 no.1264 returned to steam after overhaul last year and is splendidly turned out in LNER lined black livery and appears thanks to the generosity of the Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Lots of family fun

Of course whether you are a 'railway nut' or a family looking for a brilliant day out, the Cotswold Festival of Steam is for you. You can expect a very exciting day with lots of opportunities to do something you might not ordinarily have the chance to do;  not least is to travel behind lots of different locomotives all on the same day.

Thompson B1 class 4-6-0 no. 1264 running round its train at Whitby on 3 April 2018 (copyright Tony Fletcher)


Merchant Navy class pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental SN Co heading a 14-coach train at its inauguration into traffic two years ago (Jack Boskett)


Blue King class 4-6-0 no. 6023 King Edward II being coaled at Toddington during the 2018 Festival (Ian Crowder)



There will once again, be limited opportunities to take a ride on the footplate between Toddington and Cheltenham (or the other way round), for an additional charge and bookable in advance, sold out!!.


Unfortunately, we aren't able to run a freight train this year although wagons will be shunted at Winchcombe for added interest.  However, you could once again enjoy getting behind the regulator as a "driver for a tenner" with one of our home fleet steam locomotives at Cheltenham Racecourse Station on each morning of the gala.  There is no need to book in advance, just turn up and pay on the day.


At Toddington station there will be free car parking (but the car park fills quickly so aim to get there early, or park at Cheltenham Racecourse where there is stacks of space - parking is free.  There is also limited parking at Broadway station - see below).  There will be sales and preservation group stands to visit; railway displays, including a stand showing the work of Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust: why don't you join up as a member?  The delightful North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge Railway, which should have at least two locomotives in steam, will be operating; bouncy castle for the little'uns; traction engines in steam and of course the Flag & Whistle restaurant will be offering plenty of tempting fare. 


Gotherington station is a delightful spot and once again, Bryan and Savita will be throwing open their lovely gardens which include a private siding.  Here you could have a go on Bryan's pump trolley or ride in a Wickam platelayers' trolley. There's lots of railwayana to catch your interest while homemade teas will also be on offer. A great spot for a picnic while you watch the trains go by.


Winchcombe station is a terrific place place to catch the atmosphere of a busy country station.  Between passing trains, pop along to the Carriage & Wagon works to find out how the railway restores and maintains its growing rolling stock fleet - you could sign up as a volunteer too! Look into the former Royal Mail carriage to see an extensive model railway; find out more about the railway in the Discovery Coach or enjoy a pint of real ale in the beer tent. Of course the 'Coffee Pot' cafe will be offering great tea, coffee, sandwiches and cakes.  The GWSR Griddle will be located at Winchcombe station, where burgers, bacon baps, etc will be available to be purchased there each day from 9.00am to about 2.00pm. There is very limited car parking here so our advice is not to try.


Cheltenham Racecourse is the best place to start your day, not least becasue there is almost unlimited car parking.  If you are coming by public transport, there will be a classic bus service kindly provided by Wyvern Omnibus* from Cheltenham Spa Network Rail station to Cheltenham Race Course station. This will be free of charge. The GWSR Griddle will now be located at Winchcombe station.


Broadway station was re-opened to the public on Good Friday in 2018 and has since won awards including the top Heritage Railway Association Award for large groups.  The station building is an astonishing example of what can be done by volunteers who have completed the building to an incredibly high standard, from the faithfully recreated English bond brickwork of the building to the authentically rivetted canopy, built "in house" by members of the steam locomotive department.  Platform 2 will not be open so the exquisite signal box will unfortunately have to be admired from platform 1.  The 'box is expected to be operation by next year.  The atmospheric ticket office will be open, while the new pay and display car park has accommodation for 88 cars.  The cost is £5 for 10 hours and production of the ticket counterfoil (only from the station car park, it does not apply to other car parks in Broadway) will get you £3 off your ticket price if you buy your ticket on the day you travel.  The discout does not apply to tickets already discounted (ie online Event tickets). Refreshments are available in the brand new cafe within the station building. A classic Routemaster bus will link Broadway station to the village centre, linking with train departures and arrivals.


Suffice to say, this will once again be a show to remember! 

What's going on over the weekend?

(The bold links will take you to additional pages)

  • Locomotives Information about the locomotives that will be in action throughout the three days can be found here, including our star-studded visitor line-up.  Star visitors this year include the Mackintosh 'Caley' 0-4-4 tank locomotive as well as the B1 4-6-0 no. 1264 from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway: lending the 'Northern Soul' theme to the Festival.  The blue 'King' no 6023 King Edward II is visiting once again and will remain on the railway until the end of August.  These three visitors join the GWSR's home fleet of five so eight locomotives will be available - 'subject to availability', of course.


  • Footplate ridesBOOKINGS SOLD OUT!! Full detials of how to enjoy this really rare opportunity to travel on one of the home fleet locomotives between Broadway and Chelteham (or vice-versa) - a 14-mile ride with the footplate crew over the full 14-mile length of the line.  The price includes entrty to the event.


  • Timetable and mapThe timetable will be available to download for FREE along with a map of the line shortly. A printed version will also be distributed free during the event.


  • Getting to the railway Click on the link to find out where we are and what public transport is available. Once again we are operating a heritage bus service throughout the gala between our Cheltenham Race Course Station and Cheltenham Spa Railway Station. In addition, there will be a London Routemaster bus operating between Broadway station and the Broadway village centre. At Toddington and Cheltenham Racecourse parking is FREE and there is unlimited parking at the racecourse so that might be the best place to aim for if travelling by car.  Please note that there is extremely limited parking at Winchcombe station.  At Toddington, look out for direction signs for additional car parking on the Stow side of the station just off the B4077.  There will be no parking in Toddington station yard.  Parking is now available at Broadway station in the new Pay & Display car park - production of the ticket counterfoil will gain you a £3 discount off your train ticket cost.


  • Tickets please Click on the link to find out about ticket prices and to buy tickets. Tickets will be available on the day and reduced-rate tickets will be offered for those who arrive after 2pm. Please note, access to the site is for ticket holders only. Tickets do not provide access to the locomotive yard, however there is a viewing area open to the public, accessible from the West side of the car park.  Unfortunately it is not possible to gain entry to the site for 'just a look around' 


  • Traders and preservation groups A great way to find out more of what's going on in the wider preservation world while there will be art, crafts, sweets, bric-a-brac, railwayana, models, art, photography - lots to enjoy.  If you are a trader, you can take a stand at the event.  We are elighted that Mortons Media, publisher of the Railway Magazine; Heritage Railway and Rail Express will be present throughout the event.  Visit their display tent and take advantage of special subcription offers - and have a chat with the magazines' staff!


  • Where to stay There are plenty of wonderful places to stay in the area and here we've made a few suggestions to help you.  If you are planning to bring a caravan or motor home, you may be able to stay on the Caravan Club's site in the former goods yard (from where there is an excellent viewpoint of trains leaving Broadway station).  But you must book in advance as it fills very quickly. 


  • North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge Railway at Toddington  will be operating throughout the weekend with steam locomotives working on this delightful 2ft-gauge line that runs from Toddington, the station being on the opposite side of the car park to the main line.  The railway expects to field up to three locomotives.

* Note that locomotives, attractions and bus services all subject to availability.
** Please note, NO ADMISSION is possible to the railway WITHOUT AN  EVENT TICKET.  We are sorry but the layout of car park and station at Toddington precludes admission 'just to have a look around' or 'go to the cafe'. Similarly, it won't be possible to gain access to the 'Coffee Pot' cafe at Winchcombe without without an event ticket. Admission tickets include unlimited travel on the day of issue (including the North Gloucestershire narrow-gauge railway) and all other on-site attractions.  Additional charges apply for: footplate rides (bookable in advance).