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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway to resume train services in August

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR), which operates steam and heritage diesel train services between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway, has announced that it will resume some operations from August 15.

The service will comprise pre-bookable trains on some days from Toddington station, which will operate a round trip with stops at Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway. Trains will not stop at Hayles Abbey Halt, Winchcombe or Gotherington.

Richard Johnson, the volunteer chairman of GWSR said: "We are planning to re-start services cautiously at a time when Covid-19 restrictions are progressively being lifted.

"However, we are very conscious that we will still need to maintain self-distancing and great care will be taken to ensure the safety of our visitors and volunteers.

"We will be using coaches that have an old-fashioned side corridor with compartments that have sliding doors. The idea is that visitors will be able to book a compartment for a minimum of two people and for family groups of up to eight.

"The trains will be thoroughly cleaned after every trip.

"It's a really exciting step towards resumption of services on our delightful railway. As one of over 950 volunteers, I must say that I can't wait to see trains running through the Cotswolds on our railway once again!"

After the longest shut down in the railway's 36-year operational history, many volunteers in operational roles, such as signalling, guards, train drivers and station staff will need to re-qualify for their certificates of competency. The GWSR is therefore planning to operate some 'ghost trains' in advance to ensure that when public services resume, they do so with the utmost safety in mind.

The landslip south of Gotherington being repaired

Volunteer staff are being invited back under controlled conditions to ensure their safety and the safety of visitors. They will initially be returning to ensure that locomotives, rolling stock, signalling and track are in tip-top condition ahead of resumption of services.

Meanwhile, the recent appeal to raise £250,000 to pay for urgent repairs to a landslip south of Gotherington, was closed at the end of May following its success in passing the target figure. As a result, repair work has now been completed.

"Our charitable organisation, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust, did an extraordinary job in publicising the appeal and I'm truly grateful to every one of the more than 1,300 people who contributed to help ensure the future of our railway," added Mr Johnson.

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