The GWSR's class 117 passes under Bridge 8 which carries the B4632 over the line near Stanton, 7 November 2021 (Ian Crowder)
TROUBLED WATERS BRING RAILWAY BRIDGE APPEAL
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust £200,000 bridge appeal
Over £100,000 raised in daysFull £200,000 raised in less than a month
Long-term corrosion over many years has weakened B4632 bridge
Bridge waterproofing damaged by historic utility activity
30 November 2021 Updated 3 December 2021: The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust (GWRT) – the Registered Charity that supports the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – launched a £200,000 appeal to fund the repair of the water-damaged ‘Bridge 8’ over the railway between Toddington and Broadway early in November. But just three weeks into the appeal, the half-way mark was passed with over £100,000 raised. And by 3rd December, less than a month since the appeal launch, the full £200,000 target was passed and the appeal has been closed.
‘Bridge 8’ carries the busy B4632 (formerly A46) road over the railway near Stanton at an angle. It has been subject to traffic control and speed restriction for a considerable time to reduce the risk of further damage to the bridge which has over many years been weakened by corrosion.
Explains Glyn Cornish, Chairman of GWRT: “The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) was required to take on responsibility for the 46 bridges and 51 culverts that cross the railway as a condition of purchasing the line 40 years ago.
“Unfortunately, when services including water and gas were laid over Bridge 8 long before we acquired the railway, we believe the waterproof decking was damaged, allowing water to seep through. Gradually, this has corroded the structural steelwork beneath the road surface.
“Although repairs were carried out by us some years ago, examination of the bridge has shown that corrosion has continued. Remedial works have been undertaken to dry the structure, but the damage was done and needs to be repaired.”
The utility companies which are believed to have caused the damage have since disappeared through privatisation, mergers and name changes. In order to carry out repairs, the bridge must be propped up from underneath so the work can only be carried out while the line is closed during January and February.
Glyn Cornish says: “Maintenance and repair of our bridges has been a significant part of the railway’s strategy as well as past fundraising effort. For example, repair of the bridges that carry the railway over roads on the extension from Toddington to Broadway, was the subject of a successful £500,000 fundraising effort in 2014. Thanks to the pandemic and the consequent loss of nearly two years of revenue, the GWSR needs additional support so that’s why GWRT has launched this appeal.”
Full details of how to donate to the Appeal, which will remain open until the fool amount has been raised, can be found at New Donations | Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust (gwrt.org.uk). Following the complete success of the appeal it was closed on 3 December as the target was reached.
Added Glyn Cornish: “May I thank everyone for their past and future support of our wonderful railway and especially for such a rapid response to the current appeal so far. Without such support we wouldn’t have the railway that thousands of people enjoy today.”
Winchcombe cutting repairs
Meanwhile, remedial work has started in the cutting south of Winchcombe station where the cutting side collapsed over the winter of 2019/20. The slip was caused by rain water soakaways for new houses built on the site of the former Harvest Home pub. Prolonged heavy rain caused the soakaways to be overwhelmed which brought parts of the back gardens of the houses down towards the line.
Temporary repair work was carried out immediately after the collapse to prevent further damage and now permanent repairs are being undertaken, which has closed the railway south of Winchcombe. The work is being funded by the insurers of the homes affected.
The railway’s fully-booked Santa Special trains are this year starting from Toddington station to the ‘North Pole’ at Winchcombe station.
Ends / more
A high-resolution picture of Bridge 8 can be found here
Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or email@example.com
Catherine Johnson, 07920 406630 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARWICKSHIRE STEAM RAILWAY
The award-winning Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) operates over 14 miles through the Cotswolds between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway. The railway this year celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the formation of GWSR Plc, to purchase the vacant trackbed between Cheltenham and Broadway. The GWSR is on part of the former Great Western Railway route between the West Midlands and Bristol, South Wales and the West Country, the section between Stratford-upon-Avon and Cheltenham opening throughout in 1906. The line closed in 1976 and the infrastructure was removed in 1979, the formative GWSR beginning to rebuild the line from 1981.
The railway is currently running its fully-booked ‘Santa Specials’ out of Toddington station. A train service operates between Broadway and Winchcombe from 27th December to 3rd January 2022. Note that there are no trains from Cheltenham because the line is closed south of Winchcombe station for repairs to the cutting.