• GWSR picks up two top accolades in Cotswolds Concierge Awards • Railway is ‘Best Attraction in the Cotswolds’ and organised ‘Best Event in the Cotswolds’
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) has won two categories in the prestigious annual The Cotswold Awards organised by the online and social media guide, Cotswold Concierge.
The GWSR operates heritage steam and diesel trains over 14 miles of a former main line, between Cheltenham and Broadway. It’s trains offer glorious views of both the Cotswold escarpment on one side and distant views towards the Malvern Hills on the other.
The Awards are voted for by the public, who rated the GWSR the ‘Best Attraction in the Cotswolds’ in the ‘Experience Awards’ category. Other winners in this category included Cotswold Wildlife Park and Blenheim Palace.
And, taking top spot in the ‘Events Awards’ category was the railway’s Cotswold Festival of Steam which took place over the length of the line in May, voted ‘Best Event in the Cotswolds 2023’.
Richard Johnson, the delighted Chairman of the volunteer-run GWSR Plc, says: “These Awards were a complete surprise and we are thrilled to have been nominated top in these categories.
“That the winners are chosen by public vote confirms our railway is in the mainstream of attractions that make the Cotswolds the amazing place it is for families to visit. The Awards showcase just what this beautiful region has to offer and I’m proud that we are playing a part in bringing visitors to the region.”
The Cotswold Festival of Steam has long been considered a ‘railway enthusiast’ event and while that remains true, it is broadening its appeal and drawing families excited by the wide range of things to do on our railway, which really is a ‘living museum’, Mr Johnson adds.
“It is the premier event in our summer range of activities. The Festival brings a variety of visiting steam locomotives as well as offering rare opportunities to ride on a goods brake van in our demonstration goods train; enjoy visits and rides on a steam locomotive footplate as well as take a look behind the scenes to discover how our volunteers restore and maintain locomotives and coaches.
“I’m deeply grateful to everyone who voted for us – it’s a real feather in the cap for all our volunteers who work so tirelessly to make a visit to our wonderful Cotswolds railway such an unmissable experience.”
One other award was for ‘Professional Services’ and the ‘Best Photographer’ category was won by Jack Boskett, who is recognised as one of the country’s leading professional photographers, particularly of railways and Royalty. He is Editor of the railway’s membership magazine, The Cornishman (named after ‘The Cornishman’ express which once ran over the line between Wolverhampton and Penzance), as well as an official voluntary photographer on the railway and a trainee steam locomotive fireman. He often successfully features photographs of the railway in in national newspapers.
The GWSR is currently operating its ‘Santa Express’ with trains running from Cheltenham to Winchcombe, re-named ‘North Pole’. The service is fully-booked and it attracts hundreds of families to visit Father Christmas by steam train and to enjoy the incredible festive experience at the station. The railway, has also just launched its brand new annual pass, allowing holders unlimited travel on services – visit https://www.gwsr.com/your-visit/tickets-fares to find out more.