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Thomas and friends chuffing to Cheltenham

Two days of family fun as famous railway stories are re-lived
on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

Thomas the Tank Engine - creation of the late Rev Awdry - takes over the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway over the weekend of September 22 and 23.

The cheeky blue tank engine will be up to his antics on the heritage railway, which runs between Cheltenham Racecourse and Winchcombe.

Organiser of ‘Day out with Thomas' Andy Smith, admits that he has been an avid Thomas fan since he was a youngster: "Visitors can see many of the extraordinary Thomas and Friends stories being acted out for real," he says.

"For instance, when Thomas feels unwell the Fat Controller investigates to find some fish in Thomas's tanks!

"The Fat Controller will be keeping a close eye on Thomas and his friends during the weekend to make sure he they don't get into any mischief. And when one of Thomas's friends runs short of water, you can even help fill his tender for him."

Apart from Thomas, a London Routemaster Bus will be giving rides, as will Toad the brake van at Cheltenham. ‘Diesel' and one of the railway's other steam engines will be hauling the mainline trains along with Thomas.

 

As well as the trains there will be plenty of other attractions to enjoy, including the ‘imagination station' - and all are included in the entry price.

Tickets cost £17 for adults, £15 for senior citizens and £10 for children and just £32 for a family ticket for one adult and two children or £45 for two adults and two children. They give unlimited rides throughout the day so the earlier you get there, the better value the ticket is!

"It doesn't matter whether you're 6 or 60, you'll recognise all of the characters and memories of the books will come flooding back when you visit the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway," adds Andy.

The enduring appeal of The Railway Series books is underlined by the fact that Thomas gifts, models and souvenirs are the hottest-selling lines in the railway's shops.

Tickets can be bought the day. Car parking at Cheltenham Racecourse is free. There will be no car parking at Winchcombe station on the day while a frequent train service will run from Cheltenham Racecourse station (entrance through the main gate at the roundabout on Evesham Road), the first train departing at 09.30).

Visit www.gwsr.com for up to date information about Thomas and the railway.

The Rev. W Awdry, (1911-1997) wrote his first Railway Series book for his son, Christopher, in 1943. Since then, more than 30 books have been published, the Christopher Awdry has continued to add to the series. Millions of copies have been sold and Thomas and Friends is also a popular TV series - still captivating youngsters even though steam age on Britain's railways has long gone.

The volunteer-run Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway runs between Cheltenham Racecourse, Winchombe, Toddington and Laverton, although an embankment failure currently divides the line just north of Winchcombe station. The railway is therefore currently operating two lines, between Cheltenham and Winchcombe and from Toddington. A £1m appeal for funds towards the cost of embankment repair, which is almost complete, is only £8,000 short of target. Despite this setback, the railway continues to develop its plans to extend to Broadway and Honeybourne.

Source: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

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