Cotswold Festival of Steam:
Saturday 26th to Monday 28th May 2018
Celebrating the GWSR's re-opening of Broadway Station
|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 extremely limited. Please start your day if possible, on the Railway from Cheltenham Race Course station where there is plenty of FREE car parking. There is no car parking at Broadway.
If you are travelling by public transport a FREE bus service operates between Cheltenham Spa Network Rail bus station and the GWSR's Cheltenham Racecourse station. Train times are designed as far as possible, to link with departures/arrivals at both stations.
Once again the stage is set for the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway's spectacular Cotswold Festival of Steam with an expected eight locomotives* in steam over the late May bank holiday weekend.
The theme this year is 'Give My Regards to Broadway' and it will celebrate the re-opening of Broadway Station, which now gives us 15 miles of running line from Cheltenham Race Course Station all the way to Broadway.
Quick links -
Links will be activated as details become available
|Traders||Accommodation||Brake van rides|
|Getting there||Footplate rides||Narrow gauge|
'Give My Regards to Broadway' - what's that all about?
The big attraction of the Cotswold Festival of Steam must be the locomotives - and there will plenty of all shapes and sizes, however this year will be the first opportunity to travel as far north as the beautifully re-created Broadway station.
The event team always strive to find locomotives that have never visited the railway before and you may be sure of some surprises at work in the Cotswolds for this breathtaking family-friendly event. The railway's home fleet of five locomotives will be bolstered by an expected three visitors making EIGHT LOCOMOTIVES operating, adding extra interest and variety.
LATEST NEWS: AMERICAN INVASION AS S160 2-8-0 CONFIRMED! USATC S160 class 2-8-0 no. 5196 will be an appropriate visitor for the event, given the 'Broadway' theme. We're grateful to the Churnet Valley Railway and owners Batt Holden Ltd. Many members of the class were put into use on the Great Western Railway during the war, before being shipped to Europe - and they worked freight trains over our line.
LATEST NEWS: THE KING IS COMING! Star performer will be a GWR 'King' on the line for the first time in preservation in the shape of No 6023, King Edward II from the Didcot Railway Centre, plus two further guest engines that will be announced nearer the time. It's believed that the only occasion a King has ever run over this route before was a 'positioning move' for No. 6000 King Geoirge V in the mid-1970s.
Two more visiting locomotives will be confirmed over the next few days!
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.
This is the view you could enjoy on the freight train as it heads away from Greet Tunnel with Manor class 7820 Dinmore Manorat its head (Ian Crowder)
Collett, 4-6-0, 6023, King Edward II during a visit to the Great Central Railway. This is the first time a King class has visited the GWSR (Ray O'Hara)
Merchant Navy class pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental SN Co heading a 14-coach train at its inauguration into traffic two years ago (Jack Boskett)
No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell doing what it does best, heading an excursion on the main line - in this case, the 2010 Great Britain III at Glencarse on 11 April 2010 (Jack Boskett)
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.
Perhaps you might enjoy a brake van ride with the goods train. You can uniquely experience how the nation's freight and victuals were moved around the country before road transport took over and you'll experience first-hand what life was like for the guard. Tickets for this rare opportunity will be availabe each day of the Festival - first come, first served. For just £10 you can enjoy a round trip from Toddington to Cheltenham and back. More details and the freight train timetable will be published soon.
We plan an evening 8-coach special on Saturday.
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 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 tea rooms.
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 in to 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 Goffs real ale in the beer tent. Of course the 'Coffee Pot' cafe will be offering great tea, coffee, sandwiches and cakes. 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. The new Platform 2 will be in use once again so the station will be busier than usual. 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 Racecourse station. This will be free of charge. Light refreshments will be available here as well.
Broadway station will be re-opened to the public on Good Friday (March 30th 2018). The station building has been built from scratch by our volunteers 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 in time for the gala and the exquisite signal box will unfortunately have to be admired from platform 1. Although the ticket office will be open, the car park won't be available until after the gala, so please park at either Toddington, or preferably Cheltenham race Course and visit this gem in the Cotswolds on one of our trains.
Suffice to say, this will once again be a show to remember.
What's going on over the weekend?
(The bold links will in due course, 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. The blue 'King' no 6023 King Edward II - believed to be the first visit of the class to the line either historically or in preservation - is keenly anticipated; while USATC S160 class 2-8-0 will bring a brash American performance to the event, perfectly in keeping with the 'Broadway' theme. Celebrity 'Britannia' class pacific no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell will also be a star perfomer, the first visit of a member of the class to this route since 1965. We expect to announce one more guest shortly. All locomotives of course will be 'subject to availability'.
- Footplate rides Up to six footplate rides each day are available on the home fleet locos and must be booked in advance: train times and locomotives will be announced very soon - thanks for your patience! The footplate ride cost - just £99 - includes access to the event.
- Timetable and map The timetable will soon be available and you can download a FREE copy along with a map of the line. This 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 - there is at present no car parking at Broadway station but there are Pay and Display short and long-term car parks in and around the village. 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.
- Tickets please Click on the link to find out about ticket prices and to by tickets. Tickets will be available on the day and reduced-rate tickets will be offered for those who arrive after 3pm. 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.
- Take a Brake on a Freight** A really unique and memorable experience. You can ride at the front of the train immediately behind the locomotive or at the end of the train - each offering a quite different perspective. There is a separate ticket required for the brake van rides, purchaseable only on the day, first come, first served. Freight train tickets will be on a first come first served basis from the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust (GWRT) stand.
- 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 - 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.
- 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) and brake van rides (available at Toddington on the day of travel only).