Press release: 11 January 2018

Steam railway welcomes Broadway car park decision

Another record year for railway’s passenger numbers

  • Wychavon District Council to provide £650,000 car park at Broadway station

  • Council describes decision as: ‘A real good news story’

  • GWSR records another record year with over 100,000 passengers carried

  • Essential bridge repairs at Broadway and Gotherington

As the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway’s (GWSR) Broadway station approaches its opening on 30 March 2018, Wychavon Council unanimously agreed at its meeting on 10 January, to fund the £650,000 cost of building a car park close to the brand new station.

 

Councillors spoke enthusiastically about the railway reaching Broadway and the tourism and economic benefits it will bring to the village. Members also encouraged the GWSR to extend towards Honeybourne in the future.

 

The new car park will be built on a stretch of land alongside the railway between Evesham Road and Childswickham Road. The scheme will include a pedestrian crossing over Evesham Road to allow easy pedestrian access to the station, which is on the opposite side of the road.

 

Leader of the Council Cllr Mrs Linda Robinson commented that there is a lot of public interest in the railway arriving at Broadway. “It’s a great news story – Wychavon is very happy to support it. It’s a wonderful way to bring tourism into the district and there is the potential for the track to go even further than Broadway. Wonderful, good news,” she told the meeting.

 

Deputy leader and holder of resources portfolio, Cllr Mrs L R Duffy added: “We want to play our part. It will alleviate parking problems along Station Road [as well as] provide parking for the railway.” 

 

Councillors also felt that the railway would attract many more visitors from the West Midlands for whom the car park would be particularly important. 

 

However, there will be no car parking at Broadway station when it opens on 30 March 2018 and the GWSR strongly urges potential travellers to start their journey at Toddington or Cheltenham Racecourse stations. 

 

Chris Bristow, the railway’s voluntary finance director told the railway’s 900-plus volunteer staff in an internal announcement how delighted he was that the Council had agreed to build the car park at a cost of £650,000. 

 

He explains: “The railway is transferring ownership of the land on the west side of the railway between Broadway Road and Childswickham Road to Wychavon and they will build a car park for which they receive the income from parking fees. The (railway) Board has agreed that part of the cost of parking will be refunded to passengers who start their journey at Broadway.”

 

He added that the car park was expected to be completed during 2018, possibly as early as August, adding that the railway doesn’t currently have the financial resources to build the car park itself. “This is the perfect solution for both the GWSR and for Wychavon District Council.”

 

Railway carried over 100,000 passengers during 2017

Meanwhile, yet another record has been broken in terms of the number of passengers carried by the railway during 2017. 

 

Colin Fewell, the railway’s volunteer commercial director says: “We’ve done all the adding up and, despite losing one of our busiest Santa Special days and two days after Christmas, both because of snow and ice and costing up to 2,000 lost passengers, we still beat last year’s record.

 

“The final number of passengers carried by railway during the 2017 season was 100,619 which even allowing for the problems in December, beats last year’s record total of 100,020 which itself was 13% up on 2015.

 

“This is a truly brilliant result and one which every volunteer should be proud of.

 

“Now that we will have Broadway station added to our line, increasing its length to 15 miles from our southern terminus at Cheltenham Racecourse, we can expect our passenger numbers to increase significantly this year.”

 

The railway relies on over 900 volunteers who give of their time to restore, maintain and operate the railway – including those of the Broadway Area Group who are finishing off the station they have built which closely follows the design of the original that was demolished in 1963 and the Permanent Way Gang who have laid the track, installing the last rail on 23rd December to reach Broadway station.

 

Bridge repairs

A passing sympathetic mention was made during the Wythchavon council meeting on 10 January to the damage caused to the railway bridge over Station Road at Broadway, by a truck carrying earthmoving equipment and causing over £60,000 damage to the structure of the bridge. This has necessitated the road being closed while repairs are carried out.

 

Says Chris Bristow: “We are very sorry for the obvious inconvenience to local people while the repair work is done because the road has had to be closed to allow access to the underside of the bridge. This is a real shame particularly as the bridge was fully refurbished only three years ago at a cost of nearly a quarter of a million pounds.”

 

The railway is also refurbishing the ‘skew’ bridge further south at Gotherington, which crosses Gretton Road which runs between Gotherington and Winchcombe. The steel deck of the bridge needs repairs of corroded metal and new waterpoofing. This has also necessitated closure of the road for which diversions are in place. 

 

Adds Chris Bristow: “We have little choice but to close the roads while this essential work is carried out to both bridges and I am deeply grateful for the forbearance of local people and of course, everyone on the railway is sorry for the difficulties it will be causing local residents and businesses.”

Work on both bridges is expected to take around six weeks.

 

Ends / more

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  • The proceedings of the Wychavon Council meeting can be viewed here: https://wychavon.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/326857. Select item 5: Strategy Refresh and the references to the GWSR car park begin 27 minutes into the webcam recording.
  • The GWSR is currently closed and reopens between Toddington and Cheltenham for the weekends of 10-11, 17-18 and 24-25 March. The line opens fully to Broadway from 30th March. However, initially the only facilities at Broadway station are likely to be the booking office and toilets with trains using just one platform: there remains much work to do to complete the station. There will be NO CAR PARKING at Broadway station for the immediate future – visitors are strongly urged to start their journey on the railway at Toddington or Cheltenham Racecourse.

MEDIA CONTACT Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or ian.crowder@gwsr.com

ENDS ALL

 

IMAGES (hi res and others available by contacting the press office on 07775 566 555) show:

1) The area designated for the new car park, as viewed from the station, looking over Evesham Road.  Visitors will cross the road over a pedestrian crossing, pass under the railway bridge on the left and reach the station by the station approach

2) Progress on 12 January at Broadway station as the building approaches completion.  Platform 2 (from where the pictures is taken) will not initially be in use

3) A similar view of Broadway station taken when new, with some work still progressing, in 1904: spot the differences! (Courtesy Jo Roesen collection)