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GWR starts its 2012 Season - Classic Steam & Diesel Trains;Classic Buses, Events for Everyone

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) starts its main 2012 season

over the weekend of 10th and 11th March.

Because the 12-mile long railway, often known as the ‘Honeybourne Line', is
currently divided by a landslip just north of its Winchcombe station, trains
are operating over the separate sections - with a vintage bus link
connecting the two.

Colin Fewell, the volunteer-run railway's commercial director, explains:
"Following a similar arrangement to last year, steam trains will operate
between Cheltenham Racecourse and Winchcombe.

"In addition, we're running a classic railcar service out of Toddington
station. This takes visitors on an 8-mile round trip: first to Hailes, then
north over Stanway viaduct to Laverton, half way between Toddington and

"To make it easier for visitors to enjoy both sections of line on the same
day, we're running a free ‘rail replacement' vintage bus service* between
Winchcombe and Toddington stations at weekends and Bank Holidays, which
really adds to enjoyment of the day."

However, Mr Fewell points out that those who don't have sufficient time to
take in both sections on one day, or visit during the week when the bus
service is not running (it depends classic bus owners making their time and
vehicles available), can use their full-line tickets on both days so they
can enjoy all that the railway has to offer.

Meanwhile, work on the £670,000 repair of the collapsed embankment at
Winchcombe is pressing ahead and, subject to the appeal to raise the
remaining £150,000 needed to meet this bill, the two sections of railway are
expected to be re-connected by the early autumn.

"When that happens, the railcar service will continue to Winchcombe** to
connect with trains from Cheltenham," Mr Fewell adds, pointing out that
those who wish to donate to the railway's Emergency Appeal***, or invest in
shares, can do so from the railway's website at
<> .

Train services throughout the year

The railway operates  every weekend from 10 March to the end of November, and on most weekdays during the summer. Other regular services include fine dining on 'Elegant Excursions' first-class dining train on many Sunday lunchtimes and Saturday evenings, starting with Mothering Sunday
on 18th March; Fish and Chip lunchtime and evening trains as well as light
refreshments available on services between Cheltenham Racecourse and

The 1950's ‘Coffeepot'**** café at Winchcombe station and ‘Flag & Whistle'
tearooms at Toddington are open on every operating day.

Special events in 2011

In addition to its normal train services, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire
Railway offers something for everyone - whether it is fine food and wine; Fish
& Chip Specials; spending a day learning to drive a main-line steam or diesel locomotive and a host of event throughout the year for all ages.

Key calendar dates, which end with the popular ‘Santa Specials, include:

Monday April 9th - Easter
Eggspress - fun for everyone on our steam trains at Easter time -
surprises and Easter treats for all of the family. And an extra Easter
treat: all children travel free!

Saturday April 14th - Concert at Cheltenham Town Hall - Reading Male Voice Choir & Clevedon Miscellany Ladies Choir - Concert in aid of the GWR Emergency Fund
- Concert starts at 7.30 pm

May 19th & 20th - Spring
Ale & Steam Weekend - organised jointly with North Cotswold
CAMRA - an opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds at once - travel by
steam train from Cheltenham Race Course Station to Winchcombe Station and sample some fine real ales, many locally brewed

May 26th & 27th - A Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends - meet the cheeky tank engine and his friends with a fun day out for all of the family Cheltenham Race Course Station to Winchcombe Station

May 31st through to 31st July - Jack Boskett Photographic Exhibition - an
opportunity to see the work of one of the railway's resident photographers -
his work on display and for sale in the Flag & Whistle Café at Toddington

June 10th - Classic Vehicle Day - come and see a gathering of vehicles from days gone by all on display at Toddington Station

June 16th - Midsummer Murder Mystery - enjoy an evening of fun and
excitement on our steam train as a murder mystery unfolds around you. And to top it off, there will be a large portion of fish and chips served to
everyone - advance booking required.

June 17th - GWR Sponsored Walk - stretch those legs and enjoy a unique walk along the trackside from Toddington Station to the site of the landslip at Chicken Curve - proceeds to the Emergency Appeal Fund

July 15th - Walkers Sunday - travel from Cheltenham Race Course Station to
Gotherington Halt which will be the starting point for a choice of guided
walks through the Cotswold countryside. Advanced booking advised

July 22nd - Classic Bus Rally - a spectacular gathering of buses from the last century all on display at Toddington Station

August 18th & 19th - GWR Carriage & Wagon Department Open Weekend - come and have a behind the scenes look at the work of the railways C&W Department.
Rolling stock under restoration will be on display together with the
opportunity to meet and talk with volunteers. Regular trains from Cheltenham Race Course to Winchcombe Station

September 15th & 16th - Autumn Ale & Steam Weekend - a second chance this year to enjoy the experience of real ales at Winchcombe Station and a steam train ride

September 16th - Classic Vehicle Day at Toddington Station - restored vehicles from the last century on display

September 22nd & 23rd - A Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends - the cheeky engine returns with his friends for their last visit of the year - ride behind the famous blue engine from Cheltenham Race Course Station to

October 13th - Race the Train - come and see the running competitors in
their challenge to race across the countryside against the train. Begins at
Cheltenham Race Course Station. It's man against machine: the ultimate in
off-road running on Saturday 13th October 2012 to raise vital funds for the
Cotswold Care Hospice. Find out more at or

October 27th - Steam & Scream - all the fun of Halloween on the railway -
come and be spooked on this journey between Cheltenham Race Course Station and Winchcombe Station, taking in the haunted Greet tunnel...

December - Santa Specials - Enjoy the fun and spirit of the festive season
at the GWR where children can meet Santa in his Christmas Grotto and receive a quality present

December 8th - RNLI Carol Service - enjoy the Christmas atmosphere with a
steam train ride and a carol service in aid of the RNLI

December 26th to January 2nd - Mince Pie and New Year Specials & Cheltenham Races - blow away the cobwebs and if you travel with us on New Year's Day, you can make a day of it by joining the train and visiting the Cheltenham races. Our last train back is an ideal conclusion to this full day out

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway: winner of the Ian Allan Heritage

Railway of the Year Award, 2011. or 01242 621405.

* The classic bus service is operated by courtesy of owners making their
time and vehicles available and is subject to availability
** Date of the two sections of railway being reunited depends on the date of
completion of the embankment collapse
*** Work on the embankment has started and early completion depends on
funding. The railway's emergency appeal is about £150,000 short of target
and the appeal is open for donations which can be gift-aided and
shareholdings. Share investments of £1,000 and over attract a ‘golden pass'
to the railway for life.
**** ‘Coffeepot' was the affectionate name of the local train service that
used to operate between Cheltenham St James station (where the Waitrose
supermarket is now) and Honeybourne, stopping at all stations. The service
ceased in 1960.

Source: Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway




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