Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway relaunches with summer season
RAIL enthusiasts are on track for a great summer after three years work to clear the track from a series of landslips.
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR), a volunteer-run heritage railway, has reopened for the new season.
And the line has now been extended from Cheltenham Racecourse to Laverton, creating a new 24-mile round trip for passengers.
Organisers behind the historic railway have planned a host of activities for the coming months – including a wartime re-enactment event in April – with 200 people turning up to the first day at the new tea room in Toddington station yesterday.
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Colin Fewell, commercial director with GWR, said: "For us, it is the big reopening after the landslips in the last three years.
"It has taken us a long time, and a lot of support to get the line back up again.
"We have now extended the line to Laverton, which will give us a 24-mile round trip."
Business owners from tourist attractions across the Cotswolds were invited to the event to help promote the GWR in their different businesses.
The railway has been ferrying passengers to and from the racecourse during Cheltenham Festival last week.
Four projects are currently being run by the group, including work to restore Broadway station, a new diesel shed in Toddington station, a shop in Winchcombe and rebuilding the second platform in the racecourse station.
The railway is run by more than 700 volunteers. It received an anonymous £1 million donation last year to help reopen the line after landslips in Gotherington and near Winchcombe station.
Adam Lillywhite, co-owner of Cheltenham Townhouse, said the railway provided a link from Cheltenham to other parts of the Cotswolds.
He added: "We try to encourage our guests to come and use it as much as they can. It is a fantastic opportunity to see the rest of the Cotswolds, and it's perfect to take someone out to Broadway maybe for dinner, and then come back to the hotel. The rail is a fantastic facility to have and a nice way to explore outside Cheltenham."
Mr Fewell said: "We are grateful for all the support we've had so far, but there is a lot of work left to be done."
Donations to the GWR can be made at http://www.gwsr.com/support-us.aspx.