'Foremarke Hall' will haul the first train on 15 august 2020 - it's seen here passing beneath the aqueduct at Stanway on 9th August during one of the 'shake down' days (pic Ian Crowder)
'Shake-down' trains rehearse for RE-START OF TRAIN SERVICES on 15 August
Unprecedented five-month pause in services during lock-down
Railway rehearses vital safety procedures ahead of public services
'Foremarke Hall' will haul first train: 10.00 departure on 15 August
Tickets selling fast
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) Railway ran ’shakedown’ trains over the weekend of 8th-9th August to get volunteer staff used to operating a service again, after an unprecedented pause of nearly five months.
The weekend proved a success as Commercial Director, Graham Radband, says: “It’s such a joy to see steam trains running once again and volunteers have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to bring our wonderful railway back to life.
“Many staff had their competency certificates expire during lockdown so inspectors were busy re-assessing operational staff, such as signalmen, footplate crews, guards and station staff.
“In addition, we were able to rehearse management of visitors, to ensure social-distancing and the safety of both our passengers and visitors.
“Now we are ready to welcome the public back.
“Trains resume on 15th August and run three days per week (Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays) for the time being. Tickets are only available online and they’re selling very fast - go to www.gwsr.com to book yours!”
Each train is made up of six coaches – including five compartment coaches with a side corridor for parties of a minimum of two and up to six people. One is an open coach available for individuals or couples at designated seats to ensure social-distancing.
The first train is expected to be pulled by ‘Modified Hall’ class no. 7903 Foremarke Hall – one of the most popular engines on the line. It is known to have worked over this route in British Railways days.
The Flag & Whistle Tea Rooms at Toddington station will be open, but the volunteer-run cafés at Winchcombe and Broadway and on-train buffet cars won’t be available. However pre-packed snacks and drinks or a picnic lunch can be reserved when booking and this will be given to travellers at their seats, while hot drinks will be available at Cheltenham Racecourse station.
The timetable is modified to either two or four departures from Toddington each day. Fares are £25 per head for individuals and couples. A party of six in a compartment costs a minimum of £50 for two people plus £10 per head up to six (a full compartment costing £90). Unfortunately, as the railway has to rebuild its finances after the pandemic, vouchers and discounted tickets are not for the time being accepted.
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Pictures are available on this Dropbox link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/on2fisq922aiugz/AAB7c7aS_3sadREGgpFOX9qUa?dl=0
Media contact: Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or press.office@gwsr.,com