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Gloucestershire Business News

Diesel power will reign supreme on the GWSR

Where: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, Toddington

When: July 26-28

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway's (GWSR) annual Heritage Diesel Gala and the ever-popular Bus Rally join forces this year - offering a colourful variety of action on both road and rail.

The Heritage Diesel Gala (July 26-28) transports visitors back to the immediate post-steam era when British Rail ran diesel locomotive-hauled trains throughout the UK - a sight that has now largely disappeared from the national network as electric, hybrid and multiple-unit trains take over.

The railway will be running no fewer than eight locomotives including visiting class 50 no. 50035 Ark Royal which is normally based on the Severn Valley Railway and appears by courtesy of the Class 50 Alliance.

Sunday July 28 will see the railway's annual Bus Rally taking place at Toddington station when up to 30 vehicles are expected to attend, from the early 1950s to relatively recent examples.

The event is bound to trigger as much nostalgia as the Diesel Gala as visitors 'of a certain age' remember when they used buses to get to work, college or school - or enjoyed days out during the glorious days of coach travel.

Peter Smith, one of the small team organising the event comments: "Heritage diesel locomotives have a special appeal and this event offers an opportunity for visitors to enjoy the variety of designs that used to operate in the UK, of which very few remain in national service.

"Many people lamented diesel power displacing steam, but these diesel classes often had a sadly short life as modernisation gathered pace. This event celebrates the special place that diesel traction has in British railway history.

"It's also a wonderful testament to the skill and dedication of volunteers on the GWSR who have restored and operate restoring these often highly complex but always impressive machines."

David Martin, another of the event organisers added: "The Bus Rally and Heritage Diesel Gala offer a unique opportunity to enjoy diesel power both on and off the rails.

"Diesel fuel is gradually being phased out on both road and rail and in time, it will be events like these that, similar to steam, will provide the chance to experience transport that was familiar to our parents."

The event will see up to ten trains each day with a 45-minute frequency over the 14-mile GWSR between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway, through the glorious landscape of the Cotswold escarpment.

A timetable for each day that includes the locomotive allocations, can be downloaded from the event pages on www.gwsr.com.

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