A Visit to the Cotswold Festival of Steam at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway

No.6023
No.6023 "King Edward II" Rests at the Coaling Point while No.70013 "Oliver Cromwell" waits to be Uncoupled from its final train of the Gala // Credit Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent

On Monday the 28th of May, I made a visit to the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) for their biggest steam gala of the year, the Cotswold Festival of Steam.

Starting the Day

No.7820 "Dinmore Manor" and No.2807 Shunt Coach Sets at Toddington ready for the First Train of the Day // Credit Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent
No.7820 “Dinmore Manor” and No.2807 Shunt Coach Sets at Toddington ready for the First Train of the Day // Credit Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent

Although the newly-built Broadway Station was closer to me, I decided to start my days running at Toddington Station. As well as having an on-site car park, I managed to catch 7820 “Dinmore Manor” and 2807 shunting a Set of Coaches ready for the day’s trains.

I caught the first train, 9.00 am from Toddington behind 6023 “King Edward II” in Coach Set 1 to Cheltenham Racecourse.

On the way down I bought a Bacon Roll and Hot Chocolate on the train for my breakfast which was delicious, good way to start the morning. At Cheltenham Racecourse I departed the train to take some photos of the King before it took us back to Toddington. Like many people, I had come to see 6023 amongst other guests and home fleet engines, so I had to wait a while to get a nice shot! Once boarding the train again, I rode the whole line to Broadway Station.

Broadway Station

No.35006 "Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co." Waiting to Leave Broadway // Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent
No.35006 “Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co.” Waiting to Leave Broadway // Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent

As many of our followers will know, a new Broadway Station has recently been built, opening to the public 2 months ago. Although there is still some work to complete, such as the footbridge, the station looks fantastic! It makes a lovely addition to the already brilliant line with 6 other stations and halts. Broadway Village has lots of activities to do and places to grab a bite to eat and drink. For this gala, a vintage red double-decker bus was running between the station and village centre, although the 10-minute walk was alright, a good bit of exercise to burn off the croissants I had for lunch. Once back at Broadway Station I took a few pictures of 35006 “Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co.” before boarding the train back to Toddington Behind the Merchant Navy.

Toddington Station

No.6023 “King Edward II” Resting in the Coaling Area // Credit Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent

After lunch out in Broadway Village, I decided I would explore more of Toddington Station. As the Head Quarters of the GWSR, most of the gala’s activities took part here, such as Steam Traction Engines on display and Trade Stands. The Flags & Whistle Cafe provided a range of meals, ice cream, snacks and drinks. Hog roast sandwiches were also being sold outside the Cafe in a marquee.

The coaling point can be seen from the car park, where at the time the King was taking a rest. The line’s locomotive sheds are also based here, where all the engines are maintained. A narrow gauge line also runs passengers trains down a short stretch of track. The station has a footbridge, so I could swoop sides to see different engines pass easily. After my wonder about and photos taken, I took the train down to Cheltenham Racecourse Station.

Cheltenham Racecourse Station

No.6430 Moving Coaches at the End of the Day // Credit Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent

As the name suggests, the station is next to Cheltenham Racecourse and is visible from the train on the approach to the station. There are basic station buildings here, with a small marquee serving food and drink. Although there are 2 platforms, there is no footbridge, only a crossing over the track. I believe a bus was being run between the GWSR and Mainline station, but I never ventured out of the station.

Gotherington and Winchombe

No.5197 at Toddington // Credit Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent
No.5197 at Toddington // Credit Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent

With more time I would have visited these stations, but the chance of missing the last train back to Toddington meant I stayed on my train and watched from the window. Gotherington is privately owned, with the GWSR using a smaller platform opposite the station’s main one. The station and surrounding ex-railway buildings and track have been preserved well. Passengers could have a look around Signalbox and Platelayer’s hut and have a go on the Pump Trolley.

Winchombe is owned by the railway and is home to the line’s Carriage and Wagon works, open for tours during the event. Cab viewings were also available, with a model railway layouts on display and a beer tent open too. The station also has its own cafe.

End of the Day

No.6023 "King Edward II" Rests at the Coaling Point while No.70013 "Oliver Cromwell" waits to be Uncoupled from its final train of the Gala // Credit Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent
No.6023 “King Edward II” Rests at the Coaling Point while No.70013 “Oliver Cromwell” waits to be Uncoupled from its final train of the Gala // Credit Jamie Duggan, RailAdvent

Whilst most people ventured home after the last trains arrived back at Toddington, I hung about to catch to final photos while fewer people were about. The evening sun also provided a different look to some of the photos.

The gala was a very enjoyable day, being made special with the addition of Broadway, allowing further places to enjoy and take photos from. The guest line up was brilliant, with 70013 “Oliver Cromwell” and 6023 “King Edward II” being the popular engines. Was also nice to see 6430 pulling the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU), recreating a common scene in the 1960s and one not often seen these days.

I would highly recommend a visit to the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway, there’s plenty to do and see, definitely a line you could spend a few days exploring, as well as the surrounding area.

Jamie Duggan avatar
Since I was a child, I have been a big fan of steam locomotives. This enthusiasm has been become greater in recent years, leading to me becoming involved in a society restoring a standard gauge locomotive. Joining the RailAdvent team in 2017, I help Michael produce articles.