PURCHASE OF SHARES
GWSR was founded in 1981 with the aim of reopening as much of the railway over which the former Cheltenham Spa to Honeybourne line had operated since 1906. At the time of the purchase, little was left of the former mainline railway which had ceased operation in 1976. The track bed was purchased between Cheltenham and Broadway in Worcestershire.
Since 1981, shareholders have contributed not only to rebuilding the railway but also ensuring there was and remains sufficient funding for day-to-day operations. Without the immense support of shareholders and also grant funding from the related Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust (“GWRT”), it would not have been possible to achieve the recreation of a heritage railway. Shareholders can now enjoy a railway which is 14 miles in length traversing open countryside while following the base of the Cotswold escarpment. There are four principal stations which are at Cheltenham Racecourse, Winchcombe, Toddington and Broadway and two halts at Gotherington and Hayles Abbey.
The business model of the railway is to be volunteer led but professionally managed whilst ansuring the railway reemains financially viable and satifies the standards set by the Office of Rail and Road. There are approximately 900 volunteers who offer their skills and experience to the railway. Many of the volunteers are shareholders of GWSR but all of them are also members of GWRT. GWSR has a small number of employees who have mainly technical, administrative and marketing responsibilities.
We own most of the ex-BR Mark 1 coach fleet that you will see at the railway. However, the steam and diesel locomotives are hired in from independent operators. The railway has a considerable infrastructure burden, with 2 tunnels, 46 bridges, embankments, cuttings, and culverts. The standout feature of the line is our iconic 15-arch 42 feet high Stanway viaduct. Station buildings have been recreated in a heritage style. All these structures and buildings need looking after, the repair costs of which are mostly borne by the railway. Whilst revenues from ticket operations are expected to cover day-to-day costs, the costs of maintenance of our fixed assets particularly where earthworks are involved is considerable. Therefore, additional capital is helpful in funding projects whether major repairs or capital investment in new facilities.
There is still more to do at the railway, for example to enhance facilities for visitors at Toddington and to remodel Winchcombe yard including the provision of covered storage for the coach fleet.
A purchaser of shares should acknowledge that there is no market to buy and sell shares in GWSR and that shareholders will receive no dividend. However, GWSR does provide travel benefits which are awarded annually based on the cumulative holding of a shareholder.
Current travel benefits are:
- From 100 to 499 shares – three free return trips per year
- From 500 to 999 shares – four free return trips per year
- From 1,000 to 2,999 shares – five free return trips per year
- From 3,000 to 4,999 shares – free unlimited travel for the holder and two accompanying guests
- 5,000 or more shares – free unlimited travel for the holder and three accompanying guests
Travel vouchers must be exchanged for tickets at one of the station booking offices. Travel vouchers may not be used at closed events where the cost of the entry ticket includes the cost of travel (e.g., at the annual steam gala).
These benefits are reviewed by the baord at least anually.
How do I apply?
You may purchase shares either as a single amount settled by one payment or, if purchasing shares by regular instalment, by a monthly standing order. Separate application forms and a banker’s order are provided. Please print and complete the appropriate application form and then post it together with either:
- your remittance if paying by cheque, or:
- your completed bankers’ order form for payment by monthly instalments
to: GWSR shares.
No 3 Station Approach
Winchcombe Railway Station
- Share Application - Individual
- Share Application - Company or Charity
- Bankers Order - Monthly Instalments
- Notes for Shareholders
If you wish to settle the amount due by BACS, please call the Administration office and ask to speak with the share administrator who will be pleased to give you the details of the shares bank account.