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 extremely limited. Please start your day if possible from Cheltenham Race Course station where there is plenty of FREE car parking. There is car parking for 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 will get £3 back off their fare if they park, book and travel on the same day).
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
|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)
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.
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. 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 be located at Cheltenham Race Course station, where home made soup and burgers, bacon baps, etc will be available to be purchased there each day.
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 will get you £3 off your ticket price (or a £3 refund for pre-booked 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.
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. 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 rides: Full detials of how to enjoy this really rare opportunity to travel on one of the home fleet locomotives between Toddington and Chelteham (or vice-versa) will be on this site when the timetable is published The footplate ride cost - just £99 - includes access to the event.
- Timetable and map: The 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 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. 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).