Frequently Asked Questions
The list of FAQs is a living document and will be added to over time. If you have a question you think should be added to the list please email the webmaster on webmaster@GWSR.com.
How many people run the railway?
All the people you see operating the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway are volunteers. We have over 940 of them, each one volunteering because of the enjoyment they get from their particular role and the camaraderie of working with like-minded people. There are only three full-time and two part-time staff, all employed in administrative or technical positions. But we need more volunteers.
Can I become involved with the railway?
Yes. You can become a Member of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust, the Registered Charity that supports the railway. Full details are here (your web browser will open a new window and take you to the GWR Trust website) or pick up a JOIN US booklet from any of our stations. Membership is an ideal gift for family or friends. You can also buy shares in the Railway - there are more details here.
Can I volunteer on the railway?
Yes. If you are fit, aged over 16 (14-18 for OnTrack, our Youth Group) and are able to commit to at least 12 days per year, we will be glad to hear from you. You can volunteer in more than one department. Some departments are full but vacancies exist in many departments. To find out more, click here (your web browser will open a new window and take you to the GWR Trust website's Volunteering section).
When does the railway operate?
The Railway operates at weekends from March through to the end of the year, with a short break in November. We also run mid-week from April through to the end of October.
Full details and the timetable are here.
Which timetable has most steam trains operating?
Which timetable has most diesel trains running?
There will normally be one diesel-hauled train plus two steam-hauled trains operating on Green Timetable days.
How much are the fares?
Our standard fares are shown here and fares for our special events please refer to the special events calendar. Please note the tickets booked in advance online will incur a small fee for postage and packing.
What are the rules regarding smoking and vaping at the railway?
Smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes (vaping) are not permitted on trains, in or near buildings, or under station canopies.
When is the Narrow Gauge Railway open?
The North Gloucestershire Railway, which operates the Narrow Gauge Railway, is totally independent of the GWSR; they have a relatively small number of volunteers so are able to open only on certain days of the year. Their opening dates and times are displayed on their ticket office at the western side of the car park at Toddington or go to www.toddington-narrow-gauge.co.uk.
Can I visit a signal box?
Try your skill at this most safety-critical of tasks on the railway by visiting our a small signal cabin on the western side of the car park at Toddington to pull levers and see the signals move.
What facilities are there for the disabled?
The GWR is committed to making everyone's visit to the railway as enjoyable as possible. You can find details of disabled access and facilities on this page.
Can I visit the yard at Toddington?
Unfortunately the yard at Toddington is currently not normally accessible to the public. The yard is a hazardous area not only with locomotives and other vehicles moving around but often welding, grinding and compressed air tools are in use. Guided visits can be organised for enthusiast groups with sufficient notice and may be offered on other days subject to volunteer availability. There is a pedestrian walkway down the western side of the yard, past the diesel shed which allows visitors to see what is happening in the yard. Click here for more details.
Can I find out which locos are running on the day of my visit?
Yes you can. We publish the operating locomotives, both steam and diesel, on the loco roster page. We keep this page as up to date as possible however we can never guarantee a particular locomotive will be running. Some of the locomotives are 100+ years old and sometimes things go wrong and they have to be replaced on the roster. Whenever this happens we endeavour to update the roster as soon as possible.
Can I drive a steam/diesel engine?
Yes, join us as a volunteer and work through the grades in the steam or diesel department until you reach driver. Alternatively we run steam footplate experience days and diesel driving experiences. Details of these can be found here.
How do we fix the start and finish times for operating trains?
We need to have plenty paying passengers on our trains to help pay for the cost of running them, so the railway usually starts running the trains from Toddington at 10.00 and we don’t usually run them past about 5.00pm to 5.15pm. Running for longer each day would mean fewer passengers on each train and operating a split-shift system requiring twice as many volunteers.
Do you have a commentary on the trains?
We give everyone who buys a ticket a ‘Your Day Out’ leaflet at the Booking Office. It describes the line and what there is to see. Our coaches are heritage rolling stock and are not equipped with a P.A. system. Also, we find that not all of our visitors want a commentary: some like peace and quiet in which to enjoy their journey.
Can I walk into Winchcombe town?
Yes – it’s it's a good healthy walk of about a mile from Winchcombe station into the town (Winchcombe station is actually in the village of Greet!): allow about 20 minutes each way. Turn left at the top of the station drive onto the B4018 Greet Road and follow the road to the crossroads and turn left into North Street. There is a footpath all the way.
Can I walk into Broadway village?
Yes – it’s it's a steady walk of about ¾ mile from Broadway station into the village centre: allow up to 20 minutes each way. Turn left at the bottom of the station drive and follow the main road to the village centre. There is a level footpath all the way.
Yes. Well behaved dogs travel for a flat-rate fare in standard class carriages and compartments (not First Class) but they are not allowed on the seats or tables, and not allowed on any dining trains or in buffet cars. Assistance dogs travel free of charge. For further information click here. Please note, There may be additional restrictions in place at certain of our special events - please see the relevant page on the website.
Can I pay by credit card at the railway?
You can use a credit/debit card for purchases at the railway as follows:
At booking offices to buy your ticket before you start your journey. Note - there are no ticket sales on the trains;
At the Flag and Whistle Café, Toddington;
At the Coffee Pot Café, Winchcombe;
At Broadway Refreshment Room;
At our shops at Toddington and Cheltenham Race Course stations.
PLEASE NOTE ALL FOOD AND BEVERAGE SALES ON OUR TRAINS ARE STRICTLY CASH ONLY. UNFORTUNATELY SIGNAL STRENGTHS ARE UNRELIABLE ALONG THE RAILWAY SO YOU CANNOT PAY BY CREDIT/DEBIT CARD IN ANY OF OUR BUFFET CARS.
How long is the line?
The line is 14 miles long from Broadway, through Toddington and Winchcombe to Cheltenham Race Course.
How long is the tunnel?
Greet tunnel, situated to the south of Winchcombe station, is 693 yards long. It is the second longest tunnel on a heritage railway. Because it's on a curve you can't see "the light at the end of the tunnel" until you are most of the way through it. It is also reputed to be haunted!