Frequently Asked Questions
The list of FAQs is a living document and will be added to over time. If you have a question you think should be added to the list please email the webmaster.
How many people run the railway?
All the people you see operating the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway are volunteers. We have over 940 of them, each one volunteering because of the enjoyment they get from their particular role and the camaraderie of working with like-minded people. There are only three full-time and two part-time staff, all employed in administrative or technical positions. But we need more volunteers.
Can I become involved with the railway?
Yes. You can become a Member of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust, the Registered Charity that supports the railway. Full details are here (your web browser will open a new window and take you to the GWR Trust website) or pick up a JOIN US booklet from any of our stations. Membership is an ideal gift for family or friends.
Can I volunteer on the railway?
Yes. If you are fit, aged over 16 (12-16 for our Youth Group) and are able to commit to at least 12 days per year, we will be glad to hear from you. You can volunteer in more than one department. Some departments are full but vacancies exist in many departments. To find out more, click here (your web browser will open a new window and take you to the GWR Trust website's Volunteering section).
When does the railway operate?
The Railway operates at weekends from March through to the end of the year, with a short break in November. We also run mid-week from April through to the end of October.
Full details and the timetable are here.
Which timetable has most steam trains operating?
Which timetable has most diesel trains running?
There will normally be one diesel-hauled train plus a diesel railcar as well as one steam-hauled train operating on Green Timetable days.
How much are the fares?
When is the Narrow Gauge Railway open?
The North Gloucestershire Railway, which operates the Narrow Gauge Railway, is totally independent of the GWSR; they have a relatively small number of volunteers so are able to open only on certain days of the year. Their opening dates and times are displayed on their ticket office at the western side of the car park at Toddington or go to www.toddington-narrow-gauge.co.uk.
Can I visit a signal box?
Try your skill at this most safety-critical of tasks on the railway by visiting our a small signal cabin on the western side of the car park at Toddington to pull levers and see the signals move.
What facilities are there for the disabled?
The GWR is committed to making everyone's visit to the railway as enjoyable as possible. You can find details of disabled access and facilities on this page.
Can I visit the yard at Toddington?
Unfortunately the yard at Toddington is currently not accessible to the public. The yard is a hazardous area not only with locomotives and other vehicles moving around but often welding, grinding and compressed air tools are in use. Guided visits can be organised for enthusiast groups with sufficient notice. There is a pedestrian walkway down the western side of the yard, past the diesel shed which allows visitors to see what is happening in the yard. Click here for more details.
Can I find out which locos are running on the day of my visit?
Yes you can. We publish the operating locomotives, both steam and diesel, on the loco roster page. We keep this page as up to date as possible however we can never guarantee a particular locomotive will be running. Some of the locomotives are 100+ years old and sometimes things go wrong and they have to be replaced on the roster. Whenever this happens we endeavour to update the roster as soon as possible.
Can I drive a steam/diesel engine?
Yes, join us as a volunteer and work through the grades in the steam or diesel department until you reach driver. Alternatively we run steam footplate experience days and diesel driving experiences. Details of these can be found here.
How do we fix the start and finish times for operating trains?
We need to have plenty paying passengers on our trains to help pay for the cost of running them, so the railway usually starts running the trains from Toddington at 10.00 and we don’t usually run them past about 5.00pm to 5.15pm. Running for longer each day would mean fewer passengers on each train and operating a split-shift system requiring twice as many volunteers.
Do you have a commentary on the trains?
We give everyone who buys a ticket a ‘Your Day Out’ leaflet at the Booking Office. It describes the line and what there is to see. Our coaches are heritage rolling stock and are not equipped with a P.A. system. Also, we find that not all of our visitors want a commentary: some like peace and quiet in which to enjoy their journey.
Can I walk into Winchcombe town?
Yes – it’s it's a good healthy walk of about a mile from Winchcombe station into the town (Winchcombe station is actually in the village of Greet!): allow about 20 minutes each way. Turn left at the top of the station drive onto the B4018 Greet Road and follow the road to the crossroads and turn left into North Street. There is a footpath all the way.
Yes. Well behaved dogs travel free in standard class carriages and compartments (not First Class) but they are not allowed on the seats or tables, and not allowed on any dining trains or buffet cars.
How long is the line?
The line is currently 13 miles long from Buckland, through Toddington and Winchcombe to Cheltenham Race
Course. When the northern extension to Broadway is completed the line will be 15 miles long.
How long is the tunnel?
Greet tunnel, situated to the south of Winchcombe station, is 693 yards long. It is the second longest tunnel on a heritage railway. Because it's on a curve you can't see "the light at the end of the tunnel" until you are most of the way through it. It is also haunted!