Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Cotswolds Tourism Awards 2014

As a fitting conclusion to our most successful year ever, I have received confirmation that we have won the silver prize in the 2014 Cotswolds Tourism Awards - in the Tourism experience of the year category. A press release will be issued by Cotswolds.com (and ourselves) and the results will be announced in the January edition of Cotswolds Life Colin Fewell

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. Thank you to all of our members, volunteers, shareholders, employees and other supporters who have contributed to this year's success. Let's hope for an even better year in 2014.

Don't forget that we are running trains from Boxing Day through to New Year's day. Why not pay us a visit.

Richard Drewitt.

Santa specials

Just a quick note to thank everyone who in any way helped with this year's Santa Specials. A record number of visitors and great feed back - our final numbers were about 10% up on last year's record year. Colin Fewell

Monday, 23 December 2013

Bridges to Broadway share Issue - just £240,000 left to raise

With Christmas fast approaching, as expected, applications have slowed though we are still receiving a healthy stack of envelopes daily. Each application helps the railway move closer to letting the contract for the Bridges - moving us one step closer to Broadway. As promised all applications received by the 18th December were processed and Share Certificates were posted, first class, on the Wednesday evening. As we move towards the start of 2014 we will need to continue making people aware of our wonderful railway and this Share Issue if we are to raise the £240,000 needed to reach our £500,000 target. If you are considering the offer and have any questions or would like to receive the offer document please contact Maxine Hawkins on 01242 621905 or development@gwsr.com

December Boardroom News

I promised to post updates after each Board meeting and apologise for this one being later than intended. At our Board meetings we often approve an action but cannot report it until after it has been implemented. First some changes at Board level - Richard Drewitt has taken on the role of Resources Planning Director - this is a new role in response to our need to produce more detailed plans for our development so as to take account of our rapidly moving expansion to Broadway and our further aspirations. When we reach Broadway we will need three train sets to maintain a reasonable schedule - this means more locos, more coaches and, most importantly the volunteers and resources to support them. This year has been a great year - I am told that it is our best ever! I congratulate everyone on their contributions in making this possible. We can now look with confidence to our future and Richard has been tasked with producing a detailed 5-year plan so that all aspects of the railway can be assessed and proposals put forward to ensure our readiness for the future. Also we have been aware for some time that there is confusion caused by the titles of our two engineering directors, Darren Fairley and Andrew Goodman. To better describe their roles, they titles have been changed respectively to Civil Engineering Director and Permanent Way Director. Their respective activities continue unchanged. Secondly we have looked at the ever growing role of the Administration Dept. We need to be able to cope with a vast range of queries relating to not only our regular activities but all our special events and the many secondary activities we now provide. Richard Warner and his team have fielded an ever expanding range of enquiries reflecting the importance of the Admin team. We felt that the time has come to give more support to Admin and also relieve some of the load on Richard who now spends so much time looking after the on-line systems that have been developed over the last few years and now handle a lot of our event and advance bookings. To this end we have appointed Maxine Barton-Hawkins as Office Manager to handle the on-site Admin activities, leaving Richard to look after the on-line business as well as his Share Registrar role. A transition period of the month of January 2014 has been set for the hand-over. Richard fully supports this action and has emailed all the Admin team notifying them of this change. I will be making further updates to the Boardroom blog as they come to fruition so keep watching this blog! In the meantime I am helping the Santa Specials team and am about to set off for Cheltenham to be an on-train helper - looking out of the window at the rain I just wish that it had held off for a couple more days! So far this year's Santa has proved to be a great success and will round off a very good year. I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and look forward to another great year with our railway even better prepared for our future enjoyment. Alan Bielby

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Planning ahead...

The Board have now agreed my new role and I thought that I would let you know what you can expect in the coming months. With recognition of my planning skills and my experience with the company as the longest serving member of the current Board, I have been asked to take on the portfolio of Resource Planning.

In brief, the role involves working with all departments across the railway to determine what actions are required to extend and develop the railway and then document these in the form of detailed development plans. This process will be undertaken in close consultation with all department heads and with many other members of staff. Therefore, your departments can expect visits from me in the coming weeks and months. Before then, I will be in touch with department heads to start gathering information on what planning is already in place and to capture current thinking on development that will support the growth and extension of the railway.

The planning process is very complex and will therefore be both challenging and time consuming. Given that work on the Broadway extension has already commenced, the timescale for analysis and detailed planning to ensure the support of the existing railway whilst at the same time rising to the challenge of opening the extension is rather short. We must ensure that we are ready to deliver a sustainable operation over the extended railway when Broadway opens.

Based on the above, I would like to invite any existing volunteers who have an interest in detailed planning to come forward to join a small planning group. The purpose of creating a group is to make this process inclusive for those who are interested in helping to map-out the strategic development of the company. The strategic objectives will not be determined by this group, those will be set by the Board. The planning group will determine what must be done in order to achieve those objectives and inform the Board accordingly. This information will enable realistic timescales to be set, taking into account the need for additional volunteers, training, investment in infrastructure and other resources. It will involve capturing existing information, validating it through close working with the relevant departments, documenting, identifying dependencies and identifying the critical path with an assessment of the risks to delivering the plan.

If you are interested in supporting the planning process, either at your departmental level or in a wider role, please get in touch. The only prerequisites are that you must be computer literate with strong experience of e-mail and Microsoft Excel as well as having some previous planning experience.


Thank you

Richard Drewitt
Resource Planning Director

Friday, 6 December 2013

Bridges to Broadway Share Issue reaches the half way mark!

I am very pleased to tell you that the Bridges to Broadway share issue has reached just over £250,000 a remarkable achievement in a little over 2 months.  

If you are think about investing and have yet to complete your form now might be the time to put pen to application, an early Christmas present to yourself perhaps  - it would be great to reach 300,000 before the end of the year.

Posters will be appearing on the Santa Trains and in local newspapers spreading the message that this is a great Christmas present of that special person who has everything.

If you are considering the offer and have any questions or would like to receive the offer document please contact Maxine Hawkins on 01242 621905 or development@gwsr.com

Sunday, 1 December 2013

I wish I'd had my camera!

A good first day of Santa Specials with a large number of families enjoying a November visit to Santa. My highlight of the day was when Santa walked up the platform to wave to the children. He had just gone past the final carriage with anyone in it, when his trousers fell down. Total embarrassment and laughter all round. Thank goodness no children saw him and that it was after the Gloucestershire Echo photographer had left!
Colin Fewell

Friday, 29 November 2013

Bridges to Broadway Share Issue

The latest figure for the appeal is approx. £245,000. This is still £5,000 short of our aim of half way by the end of November so you have to be quick if you want to help us meet this magnificent goal!
Now we are working on ways to attract more investors - there will be flyers on the Santa trains and the train teams will be offering the brochure to anyone who is interested as a last minute present for 'the man (or woman) who has everything'.

I took a railway stand to the NEC last weekend along with Dave Staniforth and John Mayell to attend what is probably the largest model railway exhibition of the year - the organisers had around 12,000 people through the door on Saturday alone. We had a lot of interest shown and by the end of the day were losing our voices from non-stop talking. Sunday was a little quieter and we were actually able to take some time to see the exhibits. For those who like red engines, the new-build Patriot was on display - yes the real thing not a model. Of course we handed out hundreds of the new 2014 timetables and many share brochures so hopefully we will see a good return from this effort. My thanks go to Dave and John for their much welcomed support.

I must also record the fact that the report in 'Heritage Railway' suggesting the amount raised was nearing £300k is over optimistic. Robin very generously extrapolated a month old figure but unfortunately the response to such appeals doesn't follow a straight line basis!

Alan Bielby

"Classic Hospitality"

Alan Bielby and I had a meeting with Classic Hospitality yesterday. They are the company that organises all the race specials during Gold Cup week. Interesting to hear them say several times that they particularly like working with us because everyone is so friendly and helpful. "There is always a buzz of enthusiasm on the trains"
Colin Fewell

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Santa Specials

Frightening how the year goes by, but in 5 days time we start our Santa Specials! Yesterday a group of volunteers decorated the cafe at Winchcombe, cleaned and tidied up the grottos and the "elf centre" and put tinsel up in our two sets of carriages.
Looking at the latest statistics, we have so far sold just over 6000 tickets, as against 4800 at the same point last year. This will of course level off as numbers on the train are fixed, but it does mean people are buying their tickets much earlier this year. Perhaps part of this is the quality of the presents which I can assure everyone are just as good as ever.
Trains will, as always, be quite empty next weekend but after that, it all picks up!
I haven't counted up the number of volunteers who will be helping santa this year but in addition to train and station staff it looks about 100.
Colin Fewell

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Broadway Signal Box Construction Starts

On Monday we received from the Wychavon Planning Department the discharge of conditions attached to the planning approval for the station buildings. The Broadway team were all geared up and ready for this with the result that piling work for the signal box foundation started today Wednesday! Construction will now continue, weather permitting, to completion - funded by the joint fund raising efforts of the Broadway Group and the Trust with a top up by the Plc. This is a tremendous step towards our goal of seeing Broadway Station resurrected and we hope will add further impetus to our share appeal to repair the Bridges to Broadway.

Alan Bielby

Bridges to Broadway Share Offer Update

Dear all, 

 A quick update on the Bridges to Broadway Share Issue - it now stands at just over £230,000! If you are think about investing and have yet to completed your form now might be the time, it would be great to reach the half way mark before the end of the month.

If you are considering the offer and have any questions or would like to receive the offer document please contact Maxine Hawkins on 01242 621905 or development@gwsr.com

Maxine Barton-Hawkins

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Bridges to Broadway share issue reaches £200,000 in a little under 6 weeks!

Dear all, 

Bridges to Broadway Share Issue reaches £200,000! 

I am very pleased to tell you that the Bridges to Broadway share issue has reached the £200,000 mark in a little under 6 weeks. That's great news! 

Peter Muir and John Balderstone from Darren Fairley's Civil Engineering team have decided that they will work from south to north starting with Bridge 5 Little Buckland. They are now busy with design work and the preparation of a tender which they anticipate will be completed in January. This is followed by a tendering period and then vetting of tenders forecast to be completed in February/March. The contract, probably for all 5 bridges, should be awarded at the end of March with work starting early in May. 

It would be great to have enough funds in to cover Bridges 4 Peasebrook Farm, £46,000, and Bridge 3 Pry Lane, £18,000 before the year end so, if you have yet to invest in our railway, now's the time! 

Some other points to mention; 

For any volunteers, members and supporters of the railway who do not want to buy shares but would like to make a donation, then that would be equally welcome particularly as the railway is able to claim gift aid on donations from UK tax payers. Payments to GWRT please not the PLC.

When you are next at the railway consider getting some extra copies of the share issue document from our Admin office and handing them to friends who might be interested in buying some shares. The document is great publicity for the railway but the shares are also a great offer! Buying the minimum £100 worth of shares, less the £30 tax rebate, costs the shareholder £70. For this they get 3 free tickets each year currently worth £15 each. That's a great deal! 

See you at the volunteers meeting. 

Chris Bristow 

GWSR PLC Finance Director

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Direct marketing

Pleased to report from a meeting last Saturday that we now have about a dozen volunteers working with Graham Radband, Marketing Manager, to increase the distribution of our timetables and flyers next year. This is in addition to the arrangement we already have with 3 major leaflet distribution companies.

They have all agreed to ensure these leaflets are circulated as widely as possible  in areas near where they live or work. Our aim is to cover at least a  30 mile radius around the railway.

We are almost there but we do still need more help particularly to the south of the region so if you can help please let me know.

In addition to distributing leaflets, they will also keep a constant watch for ways we can enhance our presence in these towns through local media contact, specific targeted promotions, local advertisements, and  competitions etc etc.
Colin Fewell

Sunday, 3 November 2013

2014 timetable

The printers proof for next years timetable has been signed off. 350,000 copies are now being printed and hopefully will be available within 2 to 3 weeks. And Steve George has now got this also up on our website.
Colin Fewell

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Cornishman magazine wins HRA award

On Sunday morning editor of The Cornishman, Steve Standbridge, accepted the Heritage Railway Association’s (HRA) 2012 award for ‘Best Magazine’, presented by the Association’s president, Lord Richard Faulkner of Worcester.
The judges said that the magazine is ‘jam packed with content, well presented and to a very professional standard.”

Lord Faulkner, president of the HRA and also a patron of the GWSR, presented a plaque to Mr Standbridge, saying that the GWR can be justifiably proud of its magazine. 

“It provides what any magazine should aspire to – a good read that leaves the reader wanting more.

“The magazine is in the forefront of promoting any railway; it provides the glue – for many, it is the only contact with the railway and it’s a vital one.”

A beaming Steve Standbridge, editor of The Cornishman said: “I have almost lost count of the number of photographs I have looked at and stories I have edited over the past 20 years.

“Receiving this award is, of course, a huge honour.

“The HRA’s award acknowledges the great contribution that magazines like this make in maintaining good communication with those who freely give of their time and money to ensure that the railways they support go from strength to strength.”

Mr Standbridge pointed out that The Cornishman has recorded the progress of the GWR from its earliest years.

“From humble beginnings the railway has achieved great things, as well as suffering setbacks such as the two embankment collapses over the past three years.

“Now the growing GWR is knocking on the door of Broadway and the magazine will record the huge achievement of our volunteers in reaching that and other major milestones in the future.”

Mr Standbridge said that he regarded the award as being for the GWR Trust, which is the charitable arm that provides the volunteer support for the railway.

“I certainly wouldn’t be able to record the railway’s news in the way that I do, without the strong support and encouragement of all of our volunteers – so really, this is as much for them as it is for me,” he added.

The Award plaque will be displayed in the ‘Flag & whistle’ tea rooms at Toddington station.

David Locke

Latest on Share Offer

The rate at which share investment in the Bridges to Broadway appeal has been very encouraging – as at Monday 28th October the Bridges to Broadway share offer stood at £176,000, a great start.   We are about to call for tenders for repair of the bridges and they will be tackled in the most efficient manner, whether as one contract or separately.

If you are considering the offer and have any questions or would like to receive the offer document please contact Maxine Hawkins on 01242 621905 or development@gwsr.com

Santa numbers

As at last Saturday, we have had over 2500 on line bookings - 25% up on the same time last year. This means we have already sold one third of all the tickets available, so all the signs are we will have a busy 8 days.

As you know, this is one of the biggest earners for the railway - and great fun for everyone involved -  so we really do need support from as many volunteers as possible. At present, we are still very short of help in all areas - mainly a lack of "santas" but also other helpers - on the train, in the coffee shop and as "elves" to work with santa.
So please can you help? Let me know as soon as possible if you can spare some time.
Many thanks
Colin Fewell

Monday, 21 October 2013

Membership & Volunteers are GO

Members & Volunteers are GO

It’s good new week

Many of you will know that the GWR does not normally announce our figures for membership and recruitment of volunteers until the Spring Cornishman to show the figures for the previous year.

However, things are going so well in 2013 that I thought you might like an up-date.

GWR Trust membership is now at an all time high of 3747 as at 30th September.   This is some 200 more than at the end of 2012 and I am assured by the Membership Secretary that more applications are coming in every week.

Volunteer numbers are also increasing very rapidly.   These again are at an all time high of 778 plus 14 joining us from the Dinmore Manor group.   Will we crack 800 by years end?  You bet we will.

The Recruitment Director tells me that we have inducted 37 new volunteers in the last quarter:

P’way 1, Shop 4, TTI 3, C&W 7, OTC 4, Diesel 3, Signal 1, Booking Office 1, Broadway 2, Cheltenham 2 and Steam 9.
We also have 5 new recruits for the November Induction course and 27 others in the paperwork stage.
This is very good news indeed and when they are all on stream will ease the burden that so many of you have borne for the last 2½ years.

This rate of recruitment is far in excess of any losses.   Most of this years losses (32) have been on the grounds of age, ill health or moved away from area.   Only 2 have resigned for reasons unknown.   The loss rate is slightly below the norm for the GWR.  

Some of you will no doubt have seen the Trust Recruitment Stand out and about this year and plans are well advanced for it to be out on the GWR on no less than 16 days in 2014 as well as other outside venues.

All this is extremely good news for the GWR and bodes well for the future.

Onwards & Upwards.

Kindest regards


Sunday, 20 October 2013


Many will already have heard of the resignation of our Chairman and Finance Director Malcolm Temple. He has worked extremely hard during his time as chairman and has seen the railway through two extremely challenging years of landslip problems, has greatly contributed to the raising of the one million pounds needed to restore it to a working railway and now has enjoyed a most successful year of full operation .His contribution is greatly appreciated by the volunteers and the Board.

At the Board meeting last Friday, we were faced with appointing both a Chairman and a Finance Director and it was unanimous that Chris Bristow be appointed Finance Director and I as Chairman. The Board will continue unchanged on its objectives of building on the successes of the railway this year to ensure an even better year for 2014. We also look forward to an early return to service of one of our mainstay locos, Foremarke Hall, from its 10 year overhaul as well as the imminent introduction of P&O to operating condition.

I am also happy to report that the following items were approved at the meeting:
- Flag & Whistle Franchise - A franchisee has been selected and an agreement will be finalised
- Elegant Excursions - The terms of a new contract have been approved and the new contract is now being finalised

In addition we will be welcoming Richard Summers to the Board as the second Cross-Board Director from the GWRT and, we also now have a new Volunteer Director, Chris Sparkes, to ensure that we identify our needs for new volunteers and ensure that all existing volunteers have good means of communication. Chris will work closely with the GWRT Volunteer Director in these areas.

Alan Bielby


For those interested in statistics, we are currently 23% up in visitor numbers compared with the same point in our best ever year 2009.
Santa tickets are selling well with 2000 having been sold as at last night. This is about 15% up on the same date last year and represents just under 30% of the total number of tickets available.
Colin Fewell

Friday, 18 October 2013

Bridges to Broadway share appeal off to a flying start!!!!!!

Bridges to Broadway share appeal off to a flying start!!!!!!

I’m sure all volunteers will be delighted to know that, including cheques in today’s post, Friday 18th October, our share offer has reached £143,000! That’s a fantastic amount only 19 days after the appeal’s launch.

Furthermore, the November editions of the two magazines in which we have editorials and advertisements, Steam Railway and Railway Magazine, have only just hit the streets and we are beginning to receiving requests for the share issue document from their readers. Judging by the enthusiastic response in the past from their readers and the railway public we should all be getting excited that a major element of the railway’s key objective of reaching Broadway is getting very real!

Those of you who have subscribed before the last couple of days should have received your share certificates and travel vouchers as we are meeting our commitment of having these in shareholder’s hands within 10 working days.

Stand by for further updates!


Chris Bristow


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

B2B Meets First Target!

Delighted to report that my target was achieved

Receipts to Monday am (excluding Monday and Tuesday's post) were £107,000

If you haven't purchased yet, we're waiting


Friday, 11 October 2013

Latest on Share Offer

The total share sales to Friday 11th are £74,000

Lets try to make it £100,000 by Monday


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Bridges to Broadway

We are off to a tremendous start

As of close of play on Wednesday 9th shares to the value of £45,000 have been purchased

This is in the context that most received their Offer Document on Thursday or Friday of last week

The Shares Hotline is 01242 621905 if you want an Offer Document or have a question

Every penny raised by this Offer will go towards the Railway reaching Broadway and if you are a tax payer, purchases qualify for 30% tax relief


Friday, 4 October 2013

2014 timetable

As you may recall, I asked volunteers a while ago for their comments and suggestions for the 2014 timetable. I received almost 100 e mails, all of which were very helpful and gave lots of useful information. Many thanks for everyone's input.
 As with any exercise like this, some people argued against some of the recommendations put forward by others, and a number of the proposals just aren't possible to implement because of time restrictions, the single line or pure cost considerations. I also have to bear in mind visitor requirements and our own budgetary demands. Taking all of these into consideration, we are now almost ready to go to print with the new timetable. Broadly speaking, the timetable will be similar to this year, but I thought I would set out the major changes.

  1. No public trains will run in January, February, the beginning of March, or for most of November
  2. We will use the same colour coding for the timetable as this year
  3. We will run a public service on 171 days as against 184 in 2013
  4. The blue timetable will be revised such that the first train departs at 10:00 and there is a lunch break built in. There will be more "blue" days and slightly less "green" days.
  5. The red/green timetable will be retimed at the end of the day to ensure the final DMU meets the Cheltenham bound train.
  6. The printed timetable will be more "user friendly".
  7. The steam gala - named the Cotswold Festival of Steam - will run for 3 days at the end of May as against 4 this year. The diesel gala will run for 3 days at the end of July.
  8. The Friday Scenic rail cruises by DMU will run on most Fridays in July as well as all of August.
  9. After Christmas there will be a mixed traffic gala on 29th and 30th December.
  10. The autumn real ale weekend is to be retimed to mid August.
Colin Fewell

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Thomas was a great success - now it's time to plan for Santa Specials!

My colleague David Miles david.miles@live.co.uk sorts out the highly complicated roster for the 10 Santa Special days. He is now starting this process. We need all the help we can get to cope with the 1000 visitors we get each day so if he hasn't already contacted you, could you get in touch with him please? Everyone is more than welcome - if you can afford the time, please help us.
Colin Fewell

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Cornishman Award

This is the plaque Steve Standbridge (the Editor) was presented by the HRA

Where to display it is now the challenge for GWRT

Monday, 23 September 2013

EGM outcome

I am please to report that the three resolutions required to regularise shares management were adopted unanimously at the EGM this evening

The Bridges to Broadway share offer will therefore go ahead on 30th September as planned


Thomas Result

The Thomas results I hope will help make all the efforts and patience of so many justified.

The income budget was £30,000

In the event there were some 3,100 visitors who paid a total of £39,000 of which £22,000 was cash on the days

Another tremendous event result and another important brick in our post "embankments" recovery

The Board's respect to all who organised and delivered


An early indication of the Thomas figures

In June, 50% of our ticket sales were sold on line in advance. On the gate that weekend, we sold tickets to 641 Saturday and 643 Sunday.
This September, we sold on the gate 787 Saturday and 977 Sunday. I am awaiting the on line advance sales information but it looks as though we had a brilliant weekend.
All seemed to go well and all the volunteers I spoke with said they were enjoying it.
I would also add that all the visitors I spoke with as well said how much they were enjoying the day out - very much due to the friendliness and helpfulness of GWR "staff"

Very many thanks to everyone for their support.
More details to follow
Colin Fewell

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A wedding and Thomas

Those of you on duty at Saturday's Thomas event will have seen the strange spectacle of a newly married couple - the bride in a long white dress - being photographed next to "Henry". They had booked two carriages for a one way trip from CRC to Winchcombe where they had drinks and pizza slices before going off to another celebration. All of this took place whilst they were surrounded by young families enjoying all the noise and activities of the Thomas weekend. Certainly a first for the railway!
Colin Fewell  

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Last weekend

The efforts of the Steam and Real Ale weekend and Classic Vehicle Day organisers and  volunteers were well justified in terms of passengers

Saturday saw 526 with fare income of £6,000 and Sunday 733 with £7,500


Monday, 16 September 2013

The Loop

I was also asked why the timetable doesn't feature regular steam to Laverton

Considerable time was spent on this during timetable planning

The problem is that allowing for 20 minutes run round time for the loco, it was just not possible to produce a model that would accommodate three round full line journeys a day. The best was two and a half  and achieving that  would restrict crew rest periods.

If we reduced train frequency there would be long gaps at stations without trains which wouldn't be popular with visitors who are very complimentary about the integrated DMU service

However, if anyone can make a timetable work please lets us have details


Close Season 2014

Talking to a group of volunteers on Saturday,  concern was expressed as to the duration of the coming pause in operations. This was seen as both to achieve essential maintenance and to provide a break for volunteers following the intensive activity this summer.

I am pleased to advise that it is planned to be non operational from immediately following the New Year until broadly the second week in March.

Discussion and evaluation is on going but during that time Property plan major repairs to the bridge at JJ Farms and if we can get the finance sorted, P Way plan a major track replacement at Hailes.

For those concerned over work load may I also remind that other than Race trains, no operations are planned for this coming November


Thursday, 12 September 2013

More TCB

The usual comment "you are quiet on the Blog" hit me several times yesterday so if its of interest...

I spent nearly 10 hours on Monday working to satisfy demands to obtain the Verification Certificate required under Section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 before the Bridges to Broadway share offer can proceed. It arrived at 5.50 pm

As a result the Offer will be launched on 30th September on the bridge at Broadway Station. We hope that tv, radio  and press will be in attendance to maximise on publicity. There will be colour adverts in two of the railway magazines to add to this and we hope for a feature article.

All shareholders holding £99+ worth of shares and all GWRT members who are not shareholders will receive a copy of the Offer Document through the post. These will be posted on 30th and this should ensure all volunteers have a copy by the end of the week.

Tuesday was spent on GWR financial matters plus I met with a new volunteer who I think has some special skills that might help us. More as time goes on.

Yesterday I met with Friends of Winchcombe Station to discuss their resources, work needed and to gain their take on potential improvements to a now busy station.

The afternoon wasn't as pleasant since it was the annual meeting with our insurance broker to discuss the insurance renewal due 1st October. Every year we discuss claims in the year. new assets for cover, disposals, risk control  and the level of cover for the various business activities. Not simple.

The news wasn't that good. We have had a poor claims record in recent years and the price of our increased activity feeds into premium levels. Two examples are the building site cover for Broadway and the increased  volume of tickets sales this year which impact on business interruption cover and then onto public liability.

I await the final quote for submission to the Board but it looks as if it will be over £60,000 (for a year) for the first time. This compares with £35,000 four years ago and is another explanation to a regular question "where does the money go?"

Incidentally for those who think I either don't know or don't understand what's happening on the Railway I also met with Peter Muir who updated me on Property issues and the Operations Manager (a minimum weekly discussion) to be advised as to the operational and safety state of the Railway. I learnt for example of the continuing problem with goats on the line at Townsend Farm.

Whilst at Winchcombe I dropped in on the new building. The windows are now in and C&W are doing a magnificent internal painting job - see their Blog for pix

Finally,  I think a word on the Broadway BAG upset might be appropriate. I have kept my head down since I might have to act as referee.

Can I make it clear that there is no criticism whatsoever of what BAG are doing and have achieved at the Station. Its frankly magnificent. The issue is about fund raising etc and who is responsible/approves what. Unfortunately words were exchanged (aren't e mails dangerous) and some deep offence taken. There is to be a meeting next week to hopefully repair the cracks and give BAG clearer guidance for the future.


Monday, 2 September 2013

A General Meeting of the Plc

We have to call a GM (General Meeting) of the shareholders of the Plc

This will be at 7.30pm on Monday 23rd September at Toddington. Agendas are being posted today

The reason is that an error (dating back many years we sense) has been identified in the shares management procedure of the Plc

Whilst shareholders have  authorised a share capital ceiling of £3 million, there has been no  approval for the directors to allot (issue) shares

This is a technicality but an important one that we must clear and demonstrate to the CPA before we can proceed with the new share offer "Bridges to Broadway" planned for launch on 30th September

All will be clear when you see the proposed resolutions in the agenda

This is important but I recognise its short notice and an evening. If you are a shareholder and cant make it, please complete and return the proxy vote paper that will be with the agenda

If you have concerns please contact me one way or another.

The Board looks for your support in this matter


And we are there

100,000th visit was at 10.01 am on Monday 2nd

Was it you?

Thanks for the great messages I've received about this Blog. Its actually great fun to do


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Makes the Point

When I muted setting up this Blog several told me it wasn't worth the effort and there would be little interest.

Nevertheless we set up in March of this year

Tomorrow (Monday) one of you readers will mark  100,000 visits  since that time

I think our Blog Network on the GWR provides a most comprehensive view of what's happening (or not) and I hope it makes all feel involved and informed


Saturday, 31 August 2013


At last evening's Board the Commercial Director reported on the need to improve facilities at Winchcombe Station  in the light of the increasing off train use of the station

He illustrated school based activities which have increased from 8 school visits in 2010 to 47 this year. With so many children,  the limited W toilet facilities present a significant problem as they do for Beer festivals, Thomas etc

We also discussed the desirability of an information centre and more permanent cover for activity on platform 2

The Board has decided, subject to consultation and involvement of all relevant parties,  to draw up two schemes:

The first to extend or build separate additional toilets on Platform 1

The second to broadly double the size of the Platform 2 waiting room

A project and design group is to be chaired by Alan Bielby Projects Director and an early task will be to talk to planners

On finance once viability and cost has been established,  the idea is to approach GWRT for a grant from the Tim Mitchell legacy


Friday, 30 August 2013

Another major step

I am delighted to report that Alan Bielby was able to advise the Plc Board this evening that planning consent has now been received for Broadway Station

The actual consent is to construct three Broadway railway station buildings to replace the original ones demolished by British Railways

There are 8 conditions none of which are a major challenge but we do have to submit full details of soft landscaping works before building can commence.

We will also of course have to square with Building Regulations but this is a major step.

Its now down to the Development Foundation to find the money

My personal congratulations to Alan, Bill Britton and the BAG members for their inspiration, effort and patience


Elegant Excursions - Some Facts

I understand that there is gossip as to the future of this dining train on the GWR

Perhaps some facts will help since there is no plan to remove EE from the Railway

The present agreement with EE expires on 31st March 2014

The Plc Board has discussed  this and instructed that there should be negotiations for a renewal from 1 April 2014

A first meeting was held with an EE representative this week when revised draft terms were tabled

In addition practical issues were discussed including potential time table paths in 2014, appearance and safety

Why don't people ask instead of tittle tattling?


Thursday, 29 August 2013


For those interested in numbers we carried 555 visitors last Saturday, 620 Sunday and 503 bank holiday Monday. Last year was 429, 446, 292 respectively. In 2009, our previous best year, numbers were 603, 560, 618. So not our best bank holiday weekend ever but very nearly!
However over the 7 day period ending with the Monday we had 2777 visitors this year as against 2329 in 2009. Our midweek trains are now busier than at weekends.
One other point I find interesting is that in each of the past 5 years the numbers of visitors tailed off immediately after the bank holiday Monday - presumably everyone going home and getting ready for school!
The Friday evening rail cruises continue to attract a good number - 84 two weeks ago and 78 last Friday. One more to go.
Colin Fewell

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Name rank and number

Having had to delete two comments today, may I remind that you need to give your name when posting - and not just Bill. Bill who?



Nothing major to announce at present

Met with the Co Sec yesterday to discuss the Board meeting on Friday evening and several legal issues that are on going. These might hint where we met:

Other things

Whilst at CRC I noted that the fencing of the GWR parking area kindly undertaken by the Racecourse is now complete. We are now looking at ways of encouraging more efficient parking

The Bank Holiday was tremendous for ticket sales with the Friday to Tuesday period producing £22,639. 2013 is now the most successful season ever in financial terms. This has really stabilised the Railway's future

The new Bridges to Broadway Share Offer document has now completed its compliance audit and will go to Board for final adoption on Friday. Launch will be on 30th September with a press etc ceremony on Evesham Road Bridge at Broadway

In preparation for the associated new share records required our new CRM  data base software (financed by a Big Lottery Grant) is being customised. In addition all present share holding data is being uploaded so that future administration of shares will be much simplified and data more readily accessed

OTC will be acquiring a commercial dish washer for installation at Winchcombe. This should ease the end of day burden

There has been 12 requests for the info pack re the Flag & Whistle franchise. Closing date for bids is 30th September

Elsewhere there is a question as to how the Development Foundation is doing. This is always difficult to quantify since it is a moving feast. This is a taste and its not always easy to say what might have happened without the Foundation. Money comes to the Plc and GWRT as appropriate. We have 5 year giving covenants of £24,775, Appeal Board and Patrons have donated £29,000, Members £10,000, Grants £26,968 and Legacies of £516,260. That should indicate why I am so excited at the concept and what is being achieved. In addition Chris Bristow and Maxine Barton-Hawkins have done all the preparation work for the new share offer. The document is stunning and I think will become a railway collectors item

GWR has agreed to a 10 day extension to the Broadway planning application deadline. This is to enable the District Council to complete its consultations delayed because of the holiday period


Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Bookings are looking good which raises the usual issue of a need for far more support from volunteers to help over the weekend of September 21st and 22nd. We are VERY low on support at the moment. I know Thomas isn't everyone's favourite, but we can't just rely on the usual band of supporters. We need far more! In a year when we need to replenish our financial reserves, it is a good moneyspinner. We exceeded budgeted income in June and hopefully this will be repeated in September. Please, any help you can give - even if it is just for a few hours, would be gratefully appreciated. Please contact Mike Parsons at parsonsm@hotmail.co.uk. Many thanks
Colin Fewell

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Not sexy but so important

I am regularly asked by enthusiasts in particular what we are doing to improve drainage

There has been tremendous activity since our problem with a curvaceous chicken - check out the new link to  the Drainage Team site on this page

Another almost unseen activity that is quietly helping the Railway grow stronger

We are also moving to letting two more repair/improvement contracts at Gretton


Nice to read

May I acknowledge a tremendous letter of encouragement from Alisdair McNicol of Wallasey

Every GWR volunteer will be keen to read this  quote from the letter:

Having kept abreast of the GWSR's recent "near death" experience, I was and am heartened by the way adversity is seemingly being turned to advantage and that you guys have come out fighting, seeking to push on to Broadway at best speed. Accordingly, I was keen to see how things are "on the ground" and what the general atmosphere was like. Answer? Damned impressive!

I am getting a letter or so like this most weeks. The hard work is so worth it . Well I think so anyway


Friday, 16 August 2013

Diesel Dept Blog

There is now a new blog for the diesel dept


Thursday, 15 August 2013

A negative comment

I have been approached on two occasions by volunteers this week who said they were appalled to hear two volunteers shouting and swearing at one another on the station platform. Although there weren't many visitors about, it was clear to them that this altercation was heard by more than one passenger. This is unacceptable. We all have disagreements on occasions with one another but any such arguments must be carried out away from the public gaze. We are the "friendly line" after all!
Colin Fewell

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The man who collapsed on the train last Thursday

For those on the choc and cream last Thursday, you may like to know that the gentleman's  son came to the railway today to collect his car. Apparently he was treated as an outpatient at Cheltenham General, discharged and on leaving the hospital suffered a second minor attack as a result of which they kept him in overnight. He is now back home and very grateful for all the support he received.
Colin Fewell

Friday, 9 August 2013

It's August so it must be Santa time

Several of us spent much of yesterday selectiing the 7000 or so presents for Santa to dish out this Christmas. We expect a record number of children and as each one gets 2 presents, hopefully we have bought enough and won't have the same panic as we did in mid December last year!      
Colin Fewell

Thursday, 8 August 2013

And more changes

Also from the Board Away Day was an acceptance that we need to be planning operational resource requirements for when we open to Broadway

We are talking people, locomotives, carriages. maintenance etc

The Board are determined not to blunder in and so have moved experienced Director Richard Drewitt to this important role

The Operations Manager will now be responsible for the Loco Department  and I will come back on C & W when I have talked


Evening rail cruises

Just to let you know we had 33 paying visitors last Friday and 12 free children. Not a bad start
Colin Fewell

New guide book and new rambling book

There are two new GWR books available.
Courtesy of Chris Bristow, Howard Parker and colleagues, we now have a brand new glossy Guide book  on sale in our shops, booking offices and at the Flag and Whistle. I am sure you will agree this is a brilliant publication and certainly from personal experience yesterday, it will sell like hot cakes.
The second publication is our first Rambling book setting out a dozen walks from our stations. Again, this is already selling well - don't be put off by the cover photo!
Colin Fewell

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The times they are a changing

Purchase Orders (POs) have always been a pain to those who manage purchasing for the Railway

Not only is there the issue of completion but copies have to be sent to the Finance Team and getting a new order book pad is hard going

From the Finance side we are always hesitant because the way it works at the moment there can be uncertainty that good or services have been received or  are satisfactory and at times, the level of our unsettled financial commitments is unclear

So we are moving up. Neil Carr and Danny Scroggins have done some excellent work to design and create an electronic PO system that will operate as part of HOPS

Its at rollout stage and over the next few months users by Department will be offered access and guidance


Sunday, 4 August 2013

New director position

The main topic of discussion at the Board Away Day was people and the GWR. We particularly had in mind the pressures arising from our continuing success and the forward requirements in connection with operations to Broadway.

A major decision arising is the creation of a new Plc Director post to lead in all aspects of  policy, recruitment, placing, training, personal development, promotion,  job satisfaction, legal compliance and communication with GWR People (that is volunteers - all of us)

With people being our most important asset the Board thought this an overdue development

A role description will be developed and a formal advert issued in due course

Meantime if you fancy the task please do talk to me. Keep in mind that being a director carries important responsibilities, is time consuming and a director is expected to contribute to the whole arena of management and strategy development as well as duties assigned


Saturday, 3 August 2013

The fruits of sucess for C & W

It was the Board Away Day today.

One of the pleasant aspects we were able to consider is the excellent financial performance this year with both normal timetable services and all special events  coming  in at or above income target.

As a result the Board was able to authorise an additional £10,000 expenditure for C & W to purchase an unique stock of steam heating fittings to support coach refurbishment with Broadway in mind and two storage containers for the fittings and other C & W stock


Thursday, 1 August 2013

This Friday evening

This is a reminder that we have our first Friday evening DMU run this week. No idea how popular it will be as we have never done it before. Why not come along and have an enjoyable evening out?
Colin Fewell

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Flag & Whistle

If you are interested in submitting a bid for a 3 year franchise to operate the Flag, the tender document is now available and can be obtained from Max Barton - Hawkins at her Toddington Office.


Monday, 29 July 2013

We Need YOU and your PALS

As a result of our success as a major tourist attraction and the fact that we are a growing organisation we have an on-going need to make sure that we have sufficient volunteers to fill daily operational positions.

There is a pressing need for more volunteers in some departments more than others particularly in OTC and the Shops. To help boost our volunteer numbers urgent action has been taken to get more volunteers interested.

Philip Young the newly appointed Director of Recruitment for the Trust has taken steps to help fill these gaps at a quicker pace than we normally take. This weekend he has appeared in an interview with Radio Winchcombe (being repeated on Tuesday) in order to raise awareness with local people of the vacancies available. In addition to this there will shortly be a leaflet drop in the Cheltenham, Winchcombe/Greet and Toddington areas. The GWRT recruitment stand is now a regular feature at GWR railway events.

However your help is needed to help us identify new volunteers so if you can spare some time and would like to explore a new role or you know of family, friends or neighbours that would be interested, then please do not hesitate to let us know. A very warm welcome awaits.

Please contact Philip Young, via  http://www.gwsr.com/contact-us/contact-form.aspx selecting volunteering from the list, to see how you can help us.


Diesel Gala - that was quick

And I have the final takings:

Sales in advance £3.475. On the days £28,430

That's a total of £31,905

Budget was £24,800 so £7,105 or 28% up



Diesel please ya!

First indication of Gala total income shows it at least 15% over the Budget of £24,800

Final info as soon as to hand

Well done to organisers and all those who worked across a busy weekend


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Coming in September

Cover of the new Share Offer document which is presently going through the mandatory FCA approval process


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Can you hear me Mother?

I am advised that the station PA system at Toddington has been renewed

Sound is now audible on both platforms (no escape when on Thomas duty then) but the car park speaker is in need of a little more tlc


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Its happening!

Am back with mince pies at about 80%

Early pic delights me.

John Crawford of the Broadway team on with the first brickwork at CRC Platform 2

The Board very much appreciates what the team are doing


Friday, 19 July 2013

At Home to Safety

On Wednesday 17th the Heritage Railway Association Operations and Safety Committee held their meeting at the GWR.  The committee occasionally hold their meetings on site at a heritage railway to gain experience of what is actually happening out in the field.  I acted as tour guide and GWR representative for the day and attended their meeting.

Ten delegates were given a tour of the Toddington sheds and workshop before taking the bubble car to Winchcombe.  The party then had a brief tour of carriage and wagon and some members of the party had a look at Winchcombe signal box.  Our visitors then returned to Toddington on the steam service (7903), had a look around the shop and then had a trip to Laverton and back on the bubble before taking lunch at the flag and whistle.  The afternoon consisted of the actual meeting, which took place in our boardroom.  Tea and cakes were provided by Val in the F&W.  After the meeting one or two of the delegates took a ride to CRC and back behind 47 376.

All the delegates had a good time, commented on how well the railway was doing and at least one of them has already sent back a completed membership form.  All in all a good bit of public relations for the GWR.

Neil Carr, Operations Manager.

Thursday, 18 July 2013


You may have seen Steve Oddy's note about us reaching the level of 300 groups booked so far this year. This is an incredible achievement. In 2009 - before the landslips - we reached 233 for a whole year which shows just how much we have grown. Many thanks to everyone for this.
Yesterday there were two groups and I managed to talk to all of them. One genuinely remonstrated on us not having air conditioning, another complained that his beer had foam on the top of it - you should have seen how he was pouring it! - and several others just went off to sleep. One of the coach drivers said he had had nothing but complaints on his coach  as some wanted the aircon on and some wanted it off.
This hot weather is obviously having a large effect on our passenger numbers and demonstrates even more clearly how important pre-booked groups are to us.
Cooking bacon baps yesterday was murder - I can't imagine how hot the driver and fireman were!
Colin Fewell

Sunday, 14 July 2013

GWR on Facebook

Colin is right. Its excellent

Link added on this page under "About Me"



A reminder that our facebook site is managed by Reuben Grace who used to be one of our young members group. If you haven't looked at it, please do. He does a great job in keeping it up to date on a daily basis.
Colin Fewell

Friday, 12 July 2013

Broadway Application Viewing

Please see the Comments on my recent post below re the Planning Application. These advise how to access the application details online if you are keen to see the detail


2014 timetable

Just a quick note to thank the 75 or so volunteers who have sent me suggestions for the 2014 timetable. There are some very interesting comments and a fair amount of consensus that what we have this year isn't far off the best we can do. Of course with this number of replies there are lots of comments that argue against what other people are saying so not every recommendation can be taken on board.. More information shortly.
Colin Fewell

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

BBC filming

At fairly short notice, Boundless Productions came to the railway today to film an episode for "Escape to the Country" which is likely to be shown towards the end of the year. The presenter was Jonnie Irvin and he rode on the footplate of 2807 and operated the signals at Toddington. The crew of 4 spent about 4 hours at the railway and with such glorious weather I hope they will have some excellent shots. Although they took half a day over the filming, it is likely that the final segment will be just a few minutes. When I know the date of broadcast, I will let everyone know.
Colin Fewell

Monday, 8 July 2013

Good and bad news

The wedding celebration went off well on Saturday evening with about 150 attendees including the Caldicot male voice choir hiring their own steam train.

Less successful was the 60's weekend. Unfortunately we were unable to get enough support to organise the event. Although we downplayed what was on offer, many visitors expected much more.

The Visit England annual assessment report has now been sent to me and is highly encouraging. I will now get this available to volunteers through the website.

Colin Fewell 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Quiet Time

People keep saying there are few new posts here.

Its a quiet time for action, directors are away and there was no Board meeting at the end of June.

My diary shows that next week the BBC will be with us doing a bit for a TV programme on Tuesday. Neil and I have a meeting with the HSE that day as well and on Thursday we meet with the new Race Course management to discuss renewal of the access and car parking lease they kindly grant.

Progress is good on the Paint Shop and I'm told it should be clad by the end of the month and we will then look to fitting out etc.

Ticket sales continue to do well against Budget and I must say the Railway looks fantastic in this beautiful weather. I had a sublime hour at Winchcombe with a mug of tea on Thursday just sitting watching the trains and chatting.

Richard Summers and I took the chance to chat on OTC equipment needs and I think there will be good news there shortly. We face a dilemma with volunteer availability and OTC for the rest of the season - unless we can get more temporary help,  we will have to turn coach parties wanting cream teas away. From what I see a day with OTC is tiring but wonderful fun in terms of team spirit and meeting people. Can you give some time? Please?

I am delighted with the new Admin office  layout which is good for working and gives such a good impression to visitors.

Work on the new share issue led by Chris Bristow is proceeding. Our Offer document text is now with lawyers for review but has been type set and beautifully illustrated by our graphic design consultant Mike Weaver who does our leaflets, booklets etc.

The following week a meet to decide the format for tendering of the Flag & Whistle franchise and then the first of my well trailed eye ops which I am told will keep me quiet for a while.


Friday, 5 July 2013

Help Feed the Hungry Masses

A significant part of the railway’s income comes from coach and private party bookings.  In many cases the availability of special catering (cream tea, tea and cakes or fish and chips) dictates whether we get this business.  The On Train Catering dept. volunteers are struggling to cover all of these duties and extra help is urgently needed.  If you can spare an hour or two to help serve on these trains it might avoid us having to turn customers away.  You would be working as part of a team laying up the tables, serving the refreshments and then clearing away.  This usually only involves being on the train for one or sometimes two return journeys.  

If you think this might be an area where you can contribute to the railway’s success whilst being part of a friendly team of volunteers or would like to know more about what is involved please give me a ring on 01793 726351 or e mail me on  Richard.summers@homecall.co.uk


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Asking the man

I am pleased to advise that the planning application for Broadway station was submitted to Wychavon District Council yesterday.

The application is to the revised concept with toilets in the Platform 1 building.

A separate application for the car park will be submitted in due course.


Friday, 28 June 2013

And Another Award

It is with great pleasure that I am able to tell you that I have been informed by the Heritage Railway Association (HRA) that the GWR Trust has been awarded the HRA Publications & Media Award for best Magazine for 2012 for the "Cornishman".

Heartiest congratulations to our editor Steve Standbridge.

Many of you will not know that Steve has been editior for some 15 years or so and was assistant editor for some time before that.   For the last few years Steve has worked entirely without help to produce the Cornishman which makes this achievement simply stunning.   If anyone out there would be willing to assist Steve, your help would be much appreciated (contact either Steve or myself).

I should also like to say "thank you" on behalf of all the members, to all our contributors without whom the magazine would not be possible.

Well done everyone

At the Trust AGM last evening, I mentioned that we have received some request for the Magazine to become all colour and available electronically.   The Trust would appreciate your opinions.


Henry Howard

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The really useful crew ......

Some excellent news on the Thomas weekend

Income Budget was £30,000

Actual takings - cash and £14,205 sold on line were £30,012

I'm a very happy FD

Congratulations to Andy Smith and his organising team and plaudits to all who were on duty


Sunday, 23 June 2013

They keep coming

Returning from holiday I had one letter of complaint (parking at the Steam Gala) and a string of complimentary ones.

This from a chap from South Staffs who signs himself as "Member and share holder of the SVR" is typical:

"Having recently visited the GWR at Toddington, my wife and I wanted to compliment you on a most enjoyable day out. We visit Heritage Railways throughout the country and found GWR staff most friendly and obliging. The ride during the journey was most comfortable and enjoyable. especially being hauled by the Stanier 8F engine.

The day was enhanced by a very tasty and well presented meal in the light and airy restaurant.

A first class day out!"

I can only say well done to all.

What it does make me realise is that all the hard work we've all put in over the last few years is paying dividends. We present quality and value for money, bookings are well up. we have our largest capital programme ever and are now in a sound financial position.  This must give every volunteer satisfaction that their hobby is a worthwhile activity in terms of preserving and operating a heritage railway.


Friday, 21 June 2013

Paint Shop snaps

Latest photos of Paint Shop build:

 Paint shop side

 Looking north

Workshop side - north then south

A holiday snap for me to remember!


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Room to manouevre

One of the Board's present priorities is the floor of the David Page Loco Shed at Toddington. The plan is for a  concrete surface, an indoor inspection pit with the external approaches also concreted.

To fund we having been looking to a grant from GWRT from the recent major Mitchell legacy. They are in turn dependent on the sale of a bungalow which is part of the legacy and whilst this is moving, progress has not been as quick as hoped.

However the success of the recent Steam Gala has given us some financial room to manoeuvre and the Board has today authorised  an immediate start on the surfacing of the  roads 8 and 9 areas in the Shed. These are those not involved with the pit and comprise broadly 50% of the internal area. Completion is planned for end of November.

It is hoped that the grant will be available by then and the other half can be completed after the loco winter maintenance period.

So whilst the Gala delighted our visitors, impressed the heritage industry and gave us all a lot of fun, it also moved a major improvement of the Railway forwards


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Changes at Todd

I was at Todd today to get an update on the changes that are in hand to the  Offices and storage for OTC and the Shops

The background is that some months ago a vehicle was backed into the Admin Office. The structural damage was such that repair was more expensive than replacement

Link this with the need for expanded Admin facilities, improved storage, a central office location for the Operations Manager and easier access to supplies for OTC and the Board decided on a revamp

A replacement Admin office been purchased. This will be better fitted out and will include a separate desk for hot desk working, an expanded post box facility and importantly a new and further meeting table etc that will be available to all

A new office has been purchased to accommodate the Ops Manager and a custom storage facility which will include the present plan storage drawer which is presently  kept at W in poor conditions

Finally the Development Manager's Office has been relocated

The site will be subject to landscaping etc when complete

The OTC and Shop storage has been moved to adjacent to the pod accommodation and OTC will have a quick access store directly on the platform in the former gents (which has been properly sealed off!)

It will take a week or so to finalise so please bear with us. If you are looking for your post box in the meantime, its in the Boardroom

Another set of signs that our Railway is moving forward



I have received an excellent message from Nick Jones FD of loco 5542 in connection with a special train run for the owning company on the evening of Saturday 15th June:

"We just wanted you to know how much all who travelled on our special train last evening on the extended line enjoyed their trip!

There were very many compliments to the railway from amongst our 120 or so passengers, many of whom are not railway enthusiasts. The turnout of our loco. the coaches and the whole railway. together with the friendly helpfulness of the volunteer staff were greatly appreciated."


Shedding the delay

Back from Florida to learn we have good news on the Paint Shop construction:

The present block work build will continue on most days until complete

The first floor and stairs are being delivered on Friday 21st June. There will be no vehicle access beyond the signal box on that day

Cladding will commence on 12th July until completed and will be followed by window installation

C & W and B &S will have access from early August to start interior works and painting


Monday, 10 June 2013

What the public think of us

Have a look at Tripadvisor.
Last Thursday I spoke with a number of visitors, and comments ranged from "by far the best heritage railway" to "a vast improvement" to "clean trains" to " friendly and helpful staff". No negative comments at all. Trouble is - it can't go on like this!! Are we riding for a fall??
Colin Fewell

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The view from the carriage window - part 2

Dear fellow volunteers,

My previous posting on 'the view from the carriage window' inadvertently stirred up some controversy and I want to answer Bob Mac's points.

Firstly, however, I note that the photos of the steam loco department's mess coach I intended to attach were not included so I am attaching them here.

Another small project which the Wednesday gang from the steam loco department undertook was to sheet down the derelict LMS coach at Winchcombe pending its departure from the railway. The group in the photo had just emptied Andy Goodman's brake coach of seats and stored them in another vehicle so that Andy's vehicle can leave the railway in the next week or two.


I think these three actions improve the view our customers have of our railway and seem to me to be an example of the three things we can do, i.e. restore, cover up or remove.
Without wishing to stir up further controversy about the Rbr I do feel it necessary to say here and now that its sale was never anything to do with my efforts to improve the view. This was confirmed in an email from the Chairman to Richard Johnson in which he attached the relevant board papers and board minutes. Anything else to the contrary is incorrect.
There seems to me to be lots to do at Winchcombe which could improve railway operations, make things easier for carriage and wagon and, yes, improve the view that our customers get. Perhaps you would email me at cdbristow51'gmail.com and we can meet at a day we are both on duty and discuss.
Kind regards,

Father Brown

I see this series is being repated early evening on BBC2 for anyone that missed it first time around.
Colin Fewell

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Daily and Sunday Telegraph promotion

I've just agreed that we will be part of a major promotional drive by the Daily and Sunday Telegraph from 20th - 23rd June in association with the HRA and Visit England. There will be vouchers (2 for 1) and we will have a couple of photos and a small amount of text in the newspaper.
Colin Fewell

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Tourist attraction assessment

You may know we were visited today by the senior assessor for the Visit England  VAQAS (Visitor attraction quality assurance scheme). This is an annual visit to determine whether we merit the "English Tourist Council" quality assured "rose" emblem which we display at our sites and on our timetable. It is an extremely thorough assessment  following which he debriefed me on his findings. I am pleased to say that in his words we " get better each year". He was particularly impressed by the friendliness and helpfulness of all the volunteers, the general cleanliness of the trains and buildings, the phone answering service, the website and the facility of being able to travel on different trains. There were a few minor issues which I will deal with separately but all in all, he was very impressed. A full report will be available in 2 weeks.
Colin Fewell

Friday, 31 May 2013

Improving the view from the carriage window

Dear all,
As you are probably aware, I am very interested in improving the view our customers get of our railway when they are riding in the trains.

I believe that our customers expect to see a nostalgic scene evoking the steam age and they certainly get this from our superb stations and well dressed and friendly staff. Where we need to improve is to enhance the view in the station yards and this can be done by sheeting down unrestored vehicles, by repainting those which need to be by the line side and positioning restored stock, mostly wagons, where they can be seen.

I expect everybody who has ridden the railway in the last month will have noticed that the very rusty coach at Winchcombe has been sheeted down and this was the subject of a blog posting last month.

The next job on the list is the steam loco department's mess coach and this was nearly finished in time for the Steam Gala. I hope you agree that the 'after' photo represents an improvement over the 'before'. 

I thought the freight train at the Steam Gala was the star of the show and I'm working to get the restored GWR wagons on the siding next to the steam loco department's mess coach thus evoking the spirit of a real GWR goods yard. I think they'll make a great sight as well as being potentially available for Fire and Drive activities.

As always your feedback is welcome particularly about any opportunities you have identified for improving the railway's presentation.

Kind regards,

Chris Bristow