The GWSR’s four operational steam locomotives and three heritage diesel locomotives will be operating to an intensive timetable at a ‘showcase’ event this weekend (October 29-30).
In addition, a diesel multiple-unit railcar will also be operating at the Mixed Traction Gala, while there will be a mixture of passenger and demonstration goods trains working over the line between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway.
An exciting feature is the opportunity to ride in the goods brake van at either end of the goods train and experience what life was like for goods train guards back in the days of steam – intending passengers should buy their ticket from the guard’s van at Toddington or Cheltenham Racecourse (the cost is an additional £10). And, on the diesel front, the visiting ‘Deltic’ class 55 locomotive, No. 55003 Royal Highland Fusilier, once one of the mainstays of express services between London King’s Cross/Newcastle/Edinburgh, including the ‘Flying Scotsman’ service, is working for the last time before leaving the GWSR following its extended loan from owner The Deltic Society.
During the weekend the doors of the locomotive workshops at Toddington and the carriage and wagon works at Winchcombe will be open, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse of this busy heritage railway. In the sheds at Toddington will be information/sales stands representing owning groups of locomotives that are currently being restored or overhauled, while a diesel locomotive will be parked in the car park at Toddington giving access to the driving cab.
Steam operating both days are: Merchant Navy class Pacific No. 35006 Peninsular & Oriental SN Co; Modified Hall class No. 7903 Foremarke Hall; Manor class no. 7820 Dinmore Manor; and GW heavy freight 2-8-0T tank locomotive No. 4270 (built in 1919, this the oldest operating steam loco at present on the GWSR. It is shortly to retire for its 10-year overhaul).
Diesels operating both days are: Class 55 Deltic No. 55019 Royal Highland Fusilier; and Class 117 diesel railcar, which will additionally be making stops at Hayles Abbey Halt.
Diesels operating on Saturday are: Class 47 No. 47105; and Class 47 No. 47375 Freightliner 1995
Diesels operating on Sunday are: Class 37 No. 37215; and Class 20 No. 20137.
Some trains will be double-headed, and each day there will be a non-stop run between Broadway and Cheltenham Racecourse. Tickets are still available online in advance or can be bought from the railway’s main station ticket offices on the day. Free car parking is available at Cheltenham Racecourse and Toddington, and there is a pay and display car park at Broadway. A free bus service is operating on Saturday between Queens Road (outside Cheltenham Spa Network Rail station) and Cheltenham Racecourse GWSR station, via Royal Well bus station (timetable here).
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