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Honeybourne line to stage its biggest ever event for GWR 175

GWR steam: source GWRGWR steam: source GWRGloucestershire Warwickshire Railway teams up with The Railway Magazine to mark 175th anniversary of Great Western Railway
9-day event: Saturday 29th May to Sunday 6th June 2010
The Honeybourne Line, which runs steam and heritage diesel train services over part of the former Great Western Railway between Cheltenham and Toddington, has partnered with Britain’s leading railway periodical, The Railway Magazine, to organise Britain’s leading celebration of the Great Western Railway’s 175th anniversary.

The nine-day celebration, from 29th May to 6th June 2010 will feature up to a dozen Swindon-built steam locomotives working over the 10-mile railway.  They will feature:
1903 built ‘City of Truro’, the first locomotive to reach 100mph, in 1904 and now owned by the National Railway Museum
First chance to see freshly-overhauled 1905 -built heavy freight locomotive no. 2807, the oldest Great Western Railway locomotive in private ownership. This engine was restored at Toddington by Cotswold Steam Preservation
‘The Coffee Pot’ auto-train, representing the ‘push-pull’ service that used to run over the Honeybourne Line from Cheltenham St. James station
One of the last steam locomotives built at Swindon, 1959 built 9F class ‘Black Prince’, owned by artist and wildlife conservationist David Shepherd
Typical Great Western Railway freight train
Tank engines; express engines, freight engines

Static exhibits include Iron Duke, the replica 7ft 0�in gauge locomotive, a type that used to work over Brunel’s ‘broad gauge’ Great Western Railway.  Several exhibitions include miniature Great Western locomotives, some of them working; name plates from famous Great Western locomotives; preservation society exhibits; a show to illustrate the history of the Great Western and much more.

The event is also being supported by STEAM, the museum of the Great Western Railway at Swindon.

Says Chris Milner, deputy editor of The Railway Magazine: “The Great Western Railway was the most innovative of Britain’s railways.  Designed by Britain’s greatest engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Great Western ran the fastest services in the world, including the ‘Cheltenham Flyer’ and built beautiful locomotives that were technically far in advance of anything else in the UK.

“That pioneering spirit continued well into British Railways days, with the famous Swindon Works a world centre of railway engineering excellence until its closure was announced in 1985.

“The Railway Magazine was the first periodical devoted to railway practice and performance and it has tracked innovation on the Great Western Railway throughout the magazine’s 113-year history.  We’re proud to be playing a part in this important celebration.  We’re looking forward to covering the anniversary just as we did for the GWR’s 100th and 150th anniversaries, too.”

The Honeybourne Line’s chairman, Malcolm Temple adds: “Our line was built by the Great Western and opened in 1906, long after the GWR was forced by Act of Parliament to abandon Brunel’s broad gauge track and convert to the present-day ‘standard’ gauge. 

 “But Cheltenham St. James’s station (now the site of a supermarket) was served by broad-gauge trains from London Paddington via Swindon. Later, this was also the route of the pre-war ‘Cheltenham Flyer’ which was then the fastest train in the world.

“We are developing an event that we know will really do justice to the history of one of the world’s most admired and loved railways.  An event that people will talk about for years to come.  And we’re really glad to have The Railway Magazine on board to help us celebrate the GWR which was often nicknamed: ‘God’s Wonderful Railway.”

The Honeybourne Line is also calling on former GWR and British Railways Western Region staff to contact them to share their experiences of life on the railway.  Write to ‘Railway Experience GWR175’ at GWSR, The Railway Station, Toddington, Gloucestershire GL54 5DT or  The railway is planning a ‘reunion’ at the railway to mark the 175th anniversary of the GWR ahead of the event.

Tickets for the event along with full details are online at

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc
The Railway Station,
GL54 5DT

Telephone: 01242 621405

Source: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc 

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