"The Goods Shed' welfare facility is an extension of and sympathetic to, the original 1903-built GWR goods shed. The Mk. 1 carriage for 30 years housed the loco department mess facilities (pictures by Ian Crowder)
GWSR volunteers take occupation of ‘The Goods Shed’
New welfare building the facility ‘volunteers deserve’
Construction sympathetic to original GWR goods shed
Official opening planned for later in 2021
Industry-leading facilities built using local contractors
Toddington, Gloucestershire 06 May 2021: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) volunteers have taken occupation of a new welfare building, which is a tasteful extension of the former Great Western Railway-built goods shed at Toddington station.
The completed new building – known as ‘The Goods Shed’ – has doubled the size of and is sympathetic to the original 1903-built building.
The approximately £500,000 project offers in total, around 380m2 (almost 4,200ft2) arranged over two floors, including an 81m2 (872ft2) ground floor yet-to-be-fitted-out extension to the machine shop, which occupies the original building. Funding came from a grant of £371,000 from the charitable Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust (GWRT) while over £20,000 has been raised by volunteers (including Gift Aid).
New male ground floor washroom
For the 'meeting of minds'
John Cruxon, head of Steam Locomotive Department, happy with the 'mess'
Brickwork matches that of the 1903-built original
New view to watch the trains go by, 37215 pictured from the new mezannine
The new facility comprises a sign-on lobby with noticeboards, ground floor male and female toilets, changing rooms and showers; while on the first floor are meeting and training rooms for footplate and mutual improvement sessions, medical and testing room, office, washing facilities and a spacious mess room. The latter incorporates a kitchen complete with fridge, microwaves and dishwasher. There is ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ access to the first floor, the former via an internal stairway and the latter via an external steel flight and the first-floor external mezzanine.
Local firms were involved in the construction, the main contractor being Middicott & Rodway while sub-contractors were ABS Heating, Buzz Electrical, AJ Furniture and Steelway Fensecure Ltd for joinery and steelwork. The architecture was by volunteer Keith Smith while Mark Young, also a locomotive department volunteer, oversaw the contracts through his own business, Berry & Young. There are ‘nice touches’ in the construction such as replica external lanterns while windows and brickwork match the original.
Although largely for the steam and diesel locomotive departments, the facility, replacing a former Mk 1 coach that has been used since the 1980s, is open to all volunteers and it is where they sign on and off, if not done via a recently-commissioned online system.
Completion of the building is about a year overdue, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Concurrent with the construction, the siding giving access to the unloading road in the car park (Road 5) has been re-laid and the surface between the David Page locomotive shed and The Goods Shed concreted, thanks to a further GWRT grant of £20,000.
John Cruxon, Steam Locomotive Department Chairman commented: “This is a game-changer for the railway and it is a testament to the volunteers who have provided a significant amount of funding for the fitting out of the building.
“It is an exciting time for our railway as it emerges from lockdown restrictions and this facility must be one of the, if not the, best of its type on any heritage railway, providing outstanding standards of welfare and hygeine. Our regulator – the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) – is rightly taking in increasing interest in the welfare of volunteers on heritage railways and The Goods Shed certainly more than satisfies such requirements.”
Added Glyn Cornish, GWRT Chairman: “This type of project is exactly what the Trust is there for. I would particularly like to thank all those volunteers who have contributed to help fund this facility to reach such a high standard, especially as we have been able to recover Gift Aid from their donations. ‘The Goods Shed’ provides an exceptional standard of welfare accommodation and it does great credit to our railway.
“Above all it recognises the importance of our railway’s 950 or so volunteers by giving them the facilities they deserve which can only enhance their enjoyment.”
An official opening of The Goods Shed, a name chosen by ballot among volunteer staff that also recognises the past use of the original building, is planned for later in the year.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or email@example.com
Bryony Exton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine Johnson, 07920 406630 or email@example.com
Photographs: Available on this link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3ahzck9lqn9wm32/AABKguNi1BLOaDUpZvKSV5Hka?dl=0
For additional images contact Ian Crowder
Train services unitl 5 July:
One train timetable (steam)
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays to the end of April
Trains depart Toddington at 10.00 and 13.20 (round trip takes approx. 2.5 hours)
Two train timetable (steam)
Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday (2 May) and from 4 May, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays until 30 June (except 25 April, 23 May and 27 June**),
Trains depart Toddington at 10.00; 11.40; 13.20 and 15.00 (round trip takes approx. 2.5 hours)
Heritage Diesel Days Sundays 23 May and 27 June
Trains depart Toddington 10.00, 12.30 and 15.00 using a variety of diesel motive power
Details of train services from the end of June will be published on www.gwsr.com when available.
ABOUT GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARWICKSHIRE STEAM RAILWAY The multi-award-winning Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) operates over 14 miles through the Cotswolds between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, the railway has, since 15th August operated round trips when permitted under government guidance, only from Toddington station, bookable in advance. 2021 Covid-secure services resumed from 13 April and continue until the end 5th July, unless restrictions are eased earlier or subject to further Covid-19 restrictions. Turn-up-and-go tickets have been available subject to space being available on trains. Services have and continue to reflect prevailing Government guidelines. The GWSR is on part of the former Great Western Railway route between the West Midlands and Bristol, South Wales and the West Country, construction of which was completed in 1906. The line between Cheltenham and Stratford-upon Avon closed in 1976 and the infrastructure was removed in 1979, the formative GWSR beginning to rebuild the line 40 years ago in 1981.