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Gloucestershire Business News

Heritage railway gets on track for future plans

Business, enterprise and government was called aboard the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) when it hosted a networking event to swap ideas.

First reopened in 1984 between Toddington and Hayles Abbey, the GWSR now operates 14 miles of track as a heritage railway attraction operating between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway. 

In 2018, the not-for-profit company raised £1,38m to complete its reach to Broadway and offer visitors a 28-mile round trip using steam and heritage diesel locomotives, the track following part of the former Great Western main line from Birmingham to Cheltenham.

Key representatives from local businesses, associations, councillors and Cotswold MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown accepted the invitation to find out more about the railway and discuss ways to boost its support through closer ties with the local community.

Richard Johnson, GWSR PLC Chairman, said: "It was excellent to see so many local businesses join us and understand our railway and how we operate. Networking with individuals from a variety of backgrounds helps us promote the railway with the local community and forge stronger relationships. We look forward to many more opportunities in the future.

"Guests were transported between Cheltenham Racecourse and Winchcombe aboard First-Class coach 'Mary', hauled by visiting locomotive BR Standard Class 4 No. 75014 'Braveheart'. At Winchcombe, a presentation was given in the Tim Mitchell Building."

The event, attended by some of the GWSR PLC's directors, offered guests the opportunity to share ideas, information and to ask questions in relation to increasing ties and possible future events. For the return journey to Cheltenham, one guest the chance to ride aboard the footplate of 75014."

Looking ahead, GWSR has a long-term aim of extending a further six miles from Broadway to the national rail network at Honeybourne (where one half of an island platform has since been partly rebuilt for future use).

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