£1 million milestone passed for railway’s Broadway bid!
Just £250,000 to reach by end of April 2017
Work on Broadway station and line extension well advanced
Opening date planned for 30 March 2018
Picture shows the Broadway station building up to ceiling level on 01 February 2017
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway’s ‘Broadway: The Last Mile’ share offer has passed the £1 million mark with now less that £250,000 to raise before the end of April, when the share offer must close.
A generous share application on Thursday 02 February from Phillip Bowden, who lives outside the area, took the total past £1 million.
The railway’s volunteer finance director, Chris Bristow says: “This is such an important milestone and of huge encouragement to the many volunteers involved with building Broadway station and extending the line northwards to this delightful Cotswold town.
“The rate that money has been coming in means that we can, with confidence, say the extension will open to the public on 30th March 2018. I'm deeply grateful to the many hundreds of people who have invested sums large and small, and from all walks of life.
“Already the track, using new rail from British Steel at Scunthorpe, has crossed the county boundary into Worcestershire and is within sight of the station. When finished, it will give us a railway offering a 30-mile round trip between Cheltenham and Broadway.
“But in many ways the last quarter-mile will be the most challenging.
“The line will run over a short stretch of high embankment which through decades of lack of maintenance and poor drainage has become unstable and needs strengthening. We will be starting work on this soon but it will cost a significant five-figure sum: when done it will secure the line for generations to come.
“That’s why we must reach the full £1.25 million we’re seeking in this Offer.”
The railway's newest shareholder, Philip Bowden commented:
“I remember steam as a child and have always been attracted to it, like many people. I had a very tenuous link with the railway around 25 years ago but it has been in my mind for quite some time and my interest was renewed recently.
“The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is a very different operation now, of course. Particularly impressive is the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff and the fact that so many volunteers give up their time and energy to it.
“The organisation of the railway and all it entails is exceptional. I am delighted to be able to contribute towards the ambitious and exciting extension to Broadway with all the benefits it will bring. I'm very pleased that the fund-raising is being so successful.”
Work on the extension from the railhead at Laverton has involved refurbishing five bridges as well as repairing culverts, putting in new drainage and remedying slipped earthworks in some places.
“Time and Mother Nature took their toll but we are well on the way now to bringing trains back to Broadway, for the first time since 1960 when British Railways axed the local services,” Mr Bristow says.
He went on to suggest that, given continuing low interest rates: “An investment in ‘Broadway: The Last Mile’ shares represents astoundingly good value!
“Shares bring valuable travel concessions that have the potential of realising a 100% return in terms of money saved on buying tickets. For instance, just £100 will entitle the shareholder to three round-trip tickets per year, currently worth £51. So in less than two years, your investment will be paid for - and that would be hard to beat anywhere.”
But Mr Bristow adds: “Above all investors enjoy the satisfaction of playing a vital part in restoring a much-loved railway plus the opportunity to have a say in how the railway is run.”
The share offer document, a short film about the project and share application form can be found online on the railway’s brand new website at www.gwsr.com.
Ends / more
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Media contact: Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or email the Press Office
The share offer
'Broadway: The Last Mile' share offer was formally launched at Broadway station side by the railway's president, Pete Waterman, on 6th April 2016. The aim is to raise £1.25 million to fund the extension of the line from Laverton to Broadway and complete construction of the new station, which in appearance will be very like the original that was demolished soon after the station closed in 1960. The £1 million milestone was passed early in February 2017. The offer must close on 30 April.
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR)
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (The Honeybourne Line) first took occupation of a derelict Toddington station yard in 1981 by which time British Railways, which closed the line in 1976, had removed all of the track and other infrastructure. The GWSR's prime abition was and remains, 'to restore as much as possible of the former Stratford upon Avon to Cheltenham railway'. It currently runs heritage steam and diesel train services over 12 miles of line between Cheltenham Racecourse-Gotherington-Winchcombe-Toddington-Laverton and, when opened to Cheltenham will be 15 miles long. Future development potential includes extending both northwards towards Honeybourne and south into Cheltenham as well as restoring at least a part of the former double-track formation. The railway was once a main line on the Great Western Railway's route from Wolverhampton and Birmingham via Stratford upon Avon and Cheltenham, to both South Wales and the west Country.
More information of progress at the Broadway Station Blog