Volunteers have taken occupation of a new welfare building at Toddington station thanks to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust.
The building is an extension of the former GWR goods shed at Toddington station.
The £500,000 project offers two floors, and a yet to be fitted out extension on the ground floor. Funding for the project came from a £371,000 grant from the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust, and £20,000 has been raised by volunteers.
The Goods Shed, as it is now known as, has a sign-on lobby with noticeboards, male and female toilets, changing rooms and showers.
The first floor has meeting and training rooms for improvement sessions as well as a medical room, office, washing facilities and a mess room with a kitchen, fridge, microwave and dishwasher.
Local businesses were involved in the construction, including main contractor Middicott & Rodway as well as sub-contractors ABS Heating, Buzz Electrical, AJ Furniture and Steelway Fensecure Ltd.
Although mainly for steam and diesel locomotive departments, the facility, which replaces a former Mk1 coach used since the 1980s, is open to all volunteers.
The building is around a year overdue thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
The official opening of The Goods Shed is planned for later in 2021.
John Cruxon, Steam Locomotive Department Chairman commented: “This is a game-changer for the railway and it is a testament to the volunteers who have provided a significant amount of funding for the fitting out of the building.
“It is an exciting time for our railway as it emerges from lockdown restrictions and this facility must be one of the, if not the, best of its type on any heritage railway, providing outstanding standards of welfare and hygeine. Our regulator – the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) – is rightly taking in increasing interest in the welfare of volunteers on heritage railways and The Goods Shed certainly more than satisfies such requirements.”
Added Glyn Cornish, GWRT Chairman: “This type of project is exactly what the Trust is there for. I would particularly like to thank all those volunteers who have contributed to help fund this facility to reach such a high standard, especially as we have been able to recover Gift Aid from their donations. ‘The Goods Shed’ provides an exceptional standard of welfare accommodation and it does great credit to our railway.
“Above all it recognises the importance of our railway’s 950 or so volunteers by giving them the facilities they deserve which can only enhance their enjoyment.”
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