The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR), which runs heritage train
services between Cheltenham Racecourse and Winchcombe, Toddington and
Laverton has received another major accolade, in the Heritage Railway
Association awards 2012.
It has won the Peter Manisty Award for ‘outstanding contribution to railway
preservation’. The recently-announced winners will be presented with their
awards at a special ceremony in London, in February.
The award citation says that it was presented: ‘for the (GWR’s) grim
determination in dealing with its double slip disaster including
improvements to the line’s original construction. It had continued to run
services in an imaginative way and even continued to progress its extension
Recent recipients of this Award include the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland
Railway for completion of the 25-mile narrow-gauge line from Caernarfon to
Porthmadog; London & Continental Railways for the superb restoration of
St.Pancras Station and the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust for their construction
of Tornado, the first new main-line steam locomotive to be built in Britain
since the 1950s.
The award is made on an occasional basis and is presented in memory of the
long-serving chairman of the Association of Railway Preservation Societies –
predecessor of the present-day Heritage Railway Association.
In addition, the GWR has been ‘highly commended’ for its presentation of Winchcombe Station in the ‘Modern Railways’ magazine Restoration Award. This is in recognition of sympathetic station restorations whether on the national network or on heritage railways. The winner was a half-million pound Network Rail project to restore Melton Mowbray station.
Malcolm Temple, chairman of the GWR said: “This couldn’t have been a better Christmas present for the railway after such a struggle to overcome the serious embankment collapse problems we have gone through.
“Not only have we managed to raise over £1 million to pay for restoration of
the collapsed embankments at Gotherington and then just north of Winchcombe station but the works have been completed to the highest possible standards, on time and under budget.”
The railway reopened the newly rebuilt link over the most recent collapse at Winchcome, on 30 October 2012.
“Last year we won the Ian Allan Publishing Heritage Railway of the Year.
For 2013 we have an exciting timetable and an outstanding series of special events and will continue pressing on with restoration of the railway towards Broadway and beyond,” Mr Temple said.
The railway now offers a 24-mile round journey and is still operated by
volunteers. Other works planned during 2013 include replacement of the
missing platform at Cheltenham Racecourse, construction of a new carriage
restoration and painting facility at Winchcombe and improvements to the
David Page locomotive works at Toddington.
“Not only that, volunteers have made extraordinary progress in building the
platforms at Broadway station site, ready for then the railway gets there,”
Mr Temple added.
He also took the opportunity to thank the railway’s volunteers for their
dedication during the GWR’s lowest period of its 32-year history.
“If it wasn’t for their ‘grim determination’ recognised in the award, not
just in keeping the railway going but in single-mindedly concentrating on
raising £1 million needed, I’m pretty sure the railway wouldn’t be here
“It has been achieved against all the odds and the Award recognises that.
“I feel very proud right now, to be Chairman of this wonderful volunteer-run
The annual Heritage Railway Association Awards will be presented on 9 February 2013 in London, following the Association’s Annual General Meeting. The Heritage Railway Association represents the majority of heritage and tourist railways, tramways and railway preservation groups within both the UK and Ireland.
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway was formed in 1977 to restore as
‘much as possible of the former Stratford upon Avon to Cheltenham Railway’
and took a lease on Toddington Station site in 1981. It has steadily grown
since then and now operates between Cheltenham Racecourse and Laverton, two miles north of Toddington. It is extending towards Broadway and has plans to continue extending northwards to form a connection with Network Rail at Honeybourne.
Full information at www.gwsr.com where the full 2013 timetable and events programme can be downloaded.
Source: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway