Tour Operators and Coach Companies
We are receiving increasing numbers of group bookings both from tour operators and private groups, and some dates in 2023 are already fully booked. To avoid disappointment, if you are considering a group booking this year, we recommend you contact our group bookings team as soon as possible. We will always do our best to help but on occasions we may have to offer alternative times or dates. Thank you for your understanding.
Every year we are pleased to see that an increasing number of tour operators and coach companies include a visit to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway as part of their tour programme. It's easy to see why. Not only does the experience of travelling on a heritage railway hauled by a steam locomotive evoke many memories, but add to this a gentle trip through the glorious Cotswold countryside and you have the prescription for a perfect day out. The 24 mile return trip between our stations at Cheltenham Racecourse and Toddington takes from an hour and a half, the single trip about 35 minutes. For more information about possible journeys, see our 2023 calendar and timetable.
Cheltenham Race Course station is situated in the grounds of the racecourse itself, about a mile out of town, and has plenty of free parking.
Winchcombe Station is about a mile outside the town of Winchcombe. Facilities at this station include a 1950's style coffee shop and toilets.
Toddington Station, about a 10 minute drive north-east of Winchcombe, has a large, free car-park. There is a GWSR shop and a small museum as well as a children's play area and the Flag and Whistle tea room, serving hot and cold snacks all day.
Our northern terminus is at Broadway, the popular Cotswold tourist destination. Coaches can drop off at this station. Parking is available in the chargeable public car park opposite.
We have access and facilities for disabled visitors. You may find our Accessibility page helpful.
Generous discounts are available for groups who book in advance, and for parties of 30 or more. We will be happy to discuss your requirements and we will tailor our pricing according to your needs. For instance if you don't differentiate between different age groups when pricing your tours, we can quote one single price; just let us know. The tour guide and, if applicable, the driver can of course travel free with your party, or the driver can alternatively obtain a refreshment voucher at the station.
Please note that the group booking discounts, free driver and tour guide travel and reserved seats on the train are available only if the visits are pre-booked. They are not available should groups arrive on the day without any prior reservation.
We can take bookings at very short notice if seats are still available, but we would advise booking as early as possible to secure the dates and times you require. To make a booking please email us at email@example.com with your requirements and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We will then send you a booking confirmation by email and ensure seats are reserved for your party on the appropriate train.
There is a buffet car on every train (subject to volunteer availability) serving a selection of snacks and drinks, but if you wish to pre-book, cakes or other light refreshments on the train, please let us know what you would like by email to the above address. We will then get back to you to discuss details. However, please note that we will not be able to provide pre-booked on-train catering for groups at weekends or during the month of August.
You can read our full terms and conditions for group bookings here.
We are happy that our passenger numbers over recent years have gone from strength to strength and we are enjoying increasing numbers of bookings both from tour operators and private groups. You may have a special anniversary in the near future or you may wish to plan a surprise party for a friend or relative, or you may be part of an association which organises special days out. Whatever the reason, a day spent with the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is always a great experience.
Therefore, if you are planning a group booking this year we would strongly suggest, to avoid disappointment, contact our booking team as soon as possible. We will always do our best to accommodate your wishes; however on occasions we may have to offer alternative times or dates.
Parties of 10 or more passengers are eligible for discounted fares. When travelling by coach we offer concessionary travel to both coach drivers and tour guides. In addition, wherever possible your seating will be reserved allowing your party to sit together throughout your journey. Group booking discounts, concessionary travel and seat reservations are only available for pre-booked parties.
As part of your day's visit to the railway, we can provide refreshments either at the tea rooms situated at Winchcombe, Broadway and Toddington Stations, or if you prefer, on the train itself while you are watching the countryside pass by. There are also refreshments available at Cheltenham Station. We pride ourselves that we are a volunteer run railway and as such all bookings for refreshments are subject to availability. Please also note that we will not be able to provide pre-booked on-train catering for groups at weekends or during the school summer holidays.
To make a group booking, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your enquiry. We will deal with your enquiry during normal office hours and get back to you as soon as possible.
Group bookings are available for all days other than special event dates coloured gold in our 2023 timetable. For enquiries about visits on such dates, please email email@example.com.
Group rates are not available for evening events or lunchtime fish and chips specials.
If you are bringing a group of children or vulnerable adults to the Railway, you may wish to conduct a risk assessment prior to your visit. For your convenience, we have prepare a standard Risk Assessment form which will help you with this process.
You can read our full terms and conditions for group bookings here.
WW11 Evacuation experience
The fully escorted evacuation experience will include a steam train journey to the 'safety of the countryside' plus (subject to availability):
- Presentation by Museum Education staff in role, showing a range of wartime items.
- Firefighting practice.
- Air raid experience including short stay in 'air raid shelter'.
- A short talk by a real WWII evacuee with the opportunity to ask questions ( or a video, subject to availability).
- 1940s picnic lunch (appropriate food to be provided by school/parents).
- Final allocation of the children to their 'farming occupations and accommodation'.
Pupils and staff should come dressed in 1940s style costume with an identity label, gas mask box, suitcase or pillow-case for belongings, and suitable wartime lunch.
- Dates for 2023: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from April to June and September to October - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Start Time: 09.30
- Finish Time: 14.00 approx
- 2023 Costs: To be announced
- Group Size: Normally a minimum of 20 pupils up to 33 pupils approx
- Availability: Up to 3 Groups per day
- Booking: Contact School Bookings Coordinator at Email: email@example.com, use our Contact Form (Select Option 'School Visits') or telephone GWR Enquiries 01242 621405 and ask for a call-back from the School Bookings Coordinator
You can download this information as a pdf by clicking here.
For your visit to the railway, teachers will need to conduct a Risk Assessment.
The Dispersal of Ashes
The opportunity to disperse the Ashes of a deceased person who was interested in heritage railways via a steam locomotive firebox is available at the GWSR. It can be used by the loved ones of a person who has passed away and is a moving and fitting way to say goodbye to someone who loved steam trains.
To make enquires about having Ashes dispersed at the railway and to find out about availability and the cost, please contact Maxine Barton-Hawkins in our Development Office on:
01242 621 905 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Maxine will explain what the railway can do and seek an indication of the approximate date the family of the deceased person wishes to have the Ashes dispersed. Please be aware that availability is limited, so while we will do our best to accommodate your wishes this may not always be possible due to to crew availability and operational requirements. Dispersal of Ashes is not undertaken when the railway is holding a special event and is also not available on Santa Experience or Fire and Drive train services.
At the time of booking, Maxine will require the approximate size of the group attending the dispersal and whether a member of the family wishes to ride on the footplate of the locomotive when the Ashes are placed in the firebox. She will also explain the railway's requirements, principally about footwear and clothing, for anyone riding on the footplate.
Cost for Dispersal of Ashes
The railway will not charge a fee for the dispersal of the Ashes if the deceased was a working volunteer of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway when they died.
Until further notice;
- The railway will charge £50 if the deceased was GWSR plc shareholder or a GWRT member (including former volunteers).
- The railway will charge £100 if the deceased had no formal affiliation with the Railway.
Cost for travel for support group
All members of the group attending the Ashes Dispersal who plan to travel on the train must have the appropriate ticket for their whole journey (for example a return from Toddington to Cheltenham Race Course Station, or a Day Rover for travel on the whole line). Tickets are purchased by a single payment, on the day of travel, by the person named on the Group booking form. Shareholder and Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust vouchers will be accepted.
On the Agreed Day
The group attending the railway for the dispersal of Ashes will start their journey at Toddington Station. They should be there at least 20 minutes before departure to advise the Station Master that they have arrived and to buy any additional tickets required.
The group will be allocated reserved seating at the north (Broadway) end of the train so that they are in the coach next to the locomotive when the Ashes dispersal is carried out. The Disposal of Ashes will be undertaken as the train travels north from Cheltenham Racecourse to Winchcombe, (see below).
When the train reaches Cheltenham Race Course Station the one member of the group intending to ride on the footplate must see the Station Master there to confirm that the conditions for riding on the footplate have been met and to provide the required signature for their footplate pass.
The Ashes must be in a cardboard box (no other type of container is accepted) and this is put on the Fireman’s shovel and placed in the firebox by the Fireman on the Winchcombe side of Bishop’s Cleeve as the train heads towards Gotherington. The whistle is sounded when the Ashes are placed in the firebox so that the other members of the group in the reserved seating at the north end of the train know when the dispersal has taken place.
Please get in touch using the phone number or email address above if you wish to discuss making use of this facility to disperse the Ashes of a loved one at the railway.