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 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