Thomas and Friends chuffing to the Cotswolds!

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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 who wrote the first of his timeless railway stories 70 years ago this year – takes over the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway over the weekend of 21 and 22 September 2013.

The cheeky blue tank engine will be up to his antics on the heritage railway, which will be running an intensive service of trains between Cheltenham and Toddington over the weekend, changing trains at Winchcombe where much to the action takes place.

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 amazing 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 be keeping a close eye on Thomas and his friends during the weekend to make sure he they get into any mischief. And when one of Thomas or one of his friends runs short of water, you can even help fill his tanks.”

Apart from Thomas, a London Routemaster Bus will be giving rides and racing Thomas between Toddington and Winchcombe.. ‘Daisy’ the diesel railcar, ‘Diesel’ and one of the railway’s other steam engines will be also be busy pulling the trains over the busy weekend.

As well as the trains there will be plenty of other attractions to enjoy, including face painting, the ‘imagination station’, Punch & Judy and lots more – all are included in the ticket price.

Tickets cost £18 for adults, £16 for senior citizens and £10 for children and discounted family tickets. They give unlimited rides throughout the day so the earlier you get there, the better value the ticket is!

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.

There is plenty of free car parking at Cheltenham Racecourse station (access via the main racecourse entrance from the Evesham Road roundabout). There will be no car parking at Winchcombe station on the day and limited free car parking at Toddington station.

The first train departs from Cheltenham Racecourse at 09.45 and the special timetable can be downloaded from the railway’s website.

The Rev. W Awdry, (1911-1997) wrote his first Railway Series book for his son, Christopher, 70 years ago: in 1943. Since then, more than 30 books have been published and 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. The railway is expanding and will shortly launch an appeal to help repair bridges that will then allow the railway to extend to Broadway.

For news, information and train times visit

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