02 November 2016
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway crosses county boundary into Worcestershire
- Railway's Broadway extension extends into Worcestershire
- 'Broadway: The Last Mile' share offer passes £880,000
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway's extension towards Broadway has reached another significant milestone – this time a geographical one, as track laying has crossed Gloucestershire's boundary with Worcestershire, near Little Buckland.
In October, the railway took delivery of its third of three orders for brand-new steel rail, purchased from the recently-renamed (formerly Tata) British Steel rolling mill at Scunthorpe. With ex-Network Rail concrete sleepers already in stock, it has sufficient track materials to complete this year's work programme, getting ever closer to Broadway.
Lee Alibone, the railway's permanent way director, said: “Crossing the county boundary is a huge boost for the railway and especially for our volunteer permanent way gang. They've been working flat-out to lay countless concrete sleepers, each weighing nearly a quarter of a tonne, then clipping the rail to them and welding the joints together. Now, we are literally within sight of Broadway stationapproximately three-quarters of a mile away!
“The line is being laid to the highest possible standards. Not only are we using brand-new, flat-bottomed rail exactly the same as on the national network, but we are continuously welding it which will reduce maintenance and future-proof the line for generations to come.
“We are also using thousands of tonnes of stone ballast which comes from a Forest of Dean quarry. And we are using track aligning and levelling equipment provided by specialist contractors, to make the line ready for trains. It's exactly the same kind of kit that is used on Network Rail.”
Three years ago, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – or 'Honeybournel Line' – refurbished the five bridges between Laverton, the then northern extent of the line, and Broadway at a cost of over £500,000.
Meanwhile, construction of the new station building at Broadway by the Broadway Area Group of volunteers is also pressing ahead a quickly as possible to make sure it is ready when the track reaches the town.
Mr Alibone continued: “We are certainly well on target to complete the extension by 2018.
“Given the progress we are making, you might expect us to finish the job sooner. However, the current share issue must reach its £1.25m target to ensure this, while there remains a huge amount of work to do before trains can run.
“But the work we have completed so far, to the highest professional standards, just shows what can be achieved by volunteers with good planning and determination.
“When it’s finished it will bring a huge economic boost to the region.
“This is such a worthwhile project that will put Broadway firmly back on the railway map. For the first time since 1960, Broadway people will be able to catch a train to Cheltenham!”
The railway is planning a grand opening of Broadway station in Spring 2018.
Meanwhile, the special 'Broadway: The Last Mile' share offer remains open until April 2017.
Mr Alibone adds: “A share in our remarkable railway might be the perfect answer for anyone stumped for Christmas gift ideas - or as a treat for yourself!
“Our website, www.gwsr.com has full details including the offer document and an application form.
“Our fantastic shareholders don't just own a special piece of the railway, but they get to have a say in how it is run – and have free travel opportunities, too! We are really grateful for their continued strong support”
Ian Crowder and Lee Alibone