Monday, 26 December 2016

Santa specials

Now everything is starting to calm down, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped in any way to make this santa special season the biggest and best on record.  We saw an increase of 13% in visitor numbers, partly of course due to running more more trains on the first weekend and increasing the number of DMU trains from Toddington. However even taking this into account, we still filled nearly every train and this increase is staggering. We are now up to our maximum!
Lots of happy families and good wishes from people with many of the comments focussing on the friendliness and helpfulness of everyone.
A great success - thanks so much for your hard work
Colin Fewell

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all our Supporters!

Dear Supporters of the GWSR

The following letter was posted to GWSR PLC Shareholders this week - too everybody reading this we extend our best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!

December 2016

Dear Fellow Shareholder,

This letter is from the volunteers on the GWSR to thank you for your generous support in the year now drawing to a conclusion and to wish you and your families all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year!
It has been another record year on the railway which you own and a number of important milestones have been passed!

All the railway’s special events this year attracted more visitors and the normal operating days were also busier. In the annual report which accompanied last year’s financial statements I reported that our passenger numbers were 88,500 (for the year ended 31 January 2016). At the end of October this year we had carried more than 80,000 passengers (69,000 at the same time last year) and, with Santa bookings strongly up, and the normal busy services between Christmas and the New Year, I would not be surprised if passenger numbers for the year exceed the magical six figures for the first time ever!

The other highlights of this year’s operations were a return to traffic of both Foremarke Hall and P&O, the latter after a 31 year restoration. Both locos looked magnificent as all of you who visited the railway will know and are a huge credit to their owning groups and our steam loco department.

We added one new event this year, the Food and Drink Fayre, and this was enormously popular with travellers and traders alike and will be repeated next October - but in a bigger format!

Turning to next year, the 2017 timetable is out (see and we are adding one new event to our programme of special events being a Lego Bricks and Trains weekend in May. The chartered race trains for the Cheltenham Festival are proving so popular that an extra coach is being added in March to both trains. Wartime in the Cotswolds  in April was so popular last year that reinforcements are being called in for this year, and so it goes on! 2017, our last full year before the opening of Broadway station to the public on Good Friday 2018 is going to be a busy one on the running line.

But so too will it be on the extension to Broadway as the time for opening draws ever nearer!
The share issue ‘Broadway – the last mile’ has gone very well with some £925,000 of the £1,250,000 appeal raised at the time of writing. As soon as we reach the £1,000,000 point I think we will be able to see the end in sight but we will need all of the rest of the cash by the close of the appeal on 30 April 2017.

The funds raised have been put to good use as you are probably well aware. The Permanent Way gang now have the rail laid as far as Peasebrook Farm and will commence work on the station site in the New Year. 

Recent picture from railhead looking north - yes! That's Broadway goods shed in the middle distance less than 1/2 mile away!

The Broadway construction team have pushed on with the station dramatically in the last 12 months. The footbridge is in place and the brickwork of the station building has risen to above window level with all the specialist bricks we paid so dearly for looking marvellously authentic and worth every penny!

It is remarkable what volunteers can achieve!

Again, all good wishes to you and yours for the festive season and visit the railway as often as you can in 2017!
Chris Bristow

GWSR PLC Finance Director

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Santa specials

The santa specials started last weekend and right from the start, were almost full! Ticket sales have been buoyant this year at about 10% above last year's record number so we must be doing something right! This is a very labour intensive event with about 60 volunteers on duty per day. And once we start running the DMU santas next weekend, this number will swell to about 80. We run santa specials over 11 days, so you can see the number of volunteers needed to make this event so successful.
On Sunday, we were pleased to welcome Zara Tindall and family on the train. No-one really recognised them and  they appeared to be having a great time.
Colin Fewell