Sunday, 22 October 2017

Food and drink fayre

If you didn't come to this, you missed something special! Almost 1800 visitors travelled on the trains over the 2 days - about 300 up on last year, plus of course the many hundreds of other people who just came to the fayre itself. So congratulations to John Mayell and his small team for all their hard work. The variety of stalls selling all kinds of local produce was amazing. And 46% proof gin as well! Even "Brian" couldn't dampen everyone's enthusiasm.
Colin Fewell

Friday, 13 October 2017

Passenger numbers

As at the end of September the number of visitors was up by about 4% on last year. Bearing in mind our increase of 13% last year, this is a fantastic achievement. What is particularly encouraging  is that we are seeing the largest increase on "normal" days rather than just at special events.

Our September Thomas event went smoothly as did the October diesel weekend although in both cases passenger numbers were slightly down on 2016. As always, the weather plays a significant part

Colin Fewell

Santa specials

Half way through October and we are already sold out on some trains!
Ticket sales this year are almost 50% up as at the same date last year. We must be doing something right! What is especially pleasing is the increase in the sales of the Toddington based DMU santas. If you remember, these started a few years ago to supplement our steam santas on extra busy days. Now we are finding that the more relaxed atmosphere with santa walking the train is proving attractive particularly to families where children are perhaps frightened of walking into a dark grotto.
Colin Fewell

Thursday, 5 October 2017

GWSR Board approves a significant Capital Expenditure programme for 2018

Dear supporters of the GWSR,

GWSR Board approves a significant Capital Expenditure programme for 2018 budget year

As the running season draws to a close (where did yet another year go?) I am pleased to tell you that the finances of our railway are in excellent shape. This is due to three factors;
Firstly, as you know, the share issue was over-subscribed to the tune of £80,000 and we have the privilege of having thousands of new shareholders from both near and far.
Secondly, the running season has again been a great success. Passenger numbers at this time are slightly ahead of last year and, as I believe I reported before, there has been a healthy rebalancing of passengers away from special events and on to normal service days.
Thirdly, we have enjoyed massive support from the Trust (GWRT) for both the extension to Broadway and the Tim Mitchell building, the latter now being very much a part of the landscape at Winchcombe.
Regarding the extension to Broadway, all is very much on track for the planned opening on Good Friday next year, 30th March 2018.
As you know, the railway’s funds, coming from the above sources, are used exclusively for investment in the railway and its infrastructure.
Taking the satisfactory nature of your railway’s finances together with the high degree of confidence that our Broadway project will be achieved on time, the Board met this week to review the current cash position and our projected cash inflows and from this information determine which capital projects should be undertaken in 2018.
In its deliberations, the board concluded that the Broadway station building would open for business in March with a functioning booking office and toilets, but that other expenditure at Broadway, however desirable, would be deferred in order that pressing projects relating to other aspects of the railway could move ahead expeditiously in 2018.
The projects the board approved are as follows;
1. Sufficient funding to allow the completion of the booking office and toilets at Broadway, prior to the opening on 30th March 2018
2. A 5 metre wide concrete roadway in Winchcombe yard, from the security gate to C&W – no need to explain to C&W volunteers why this is necessary!
3. Secure storage at Winchcombe primarily for Permanent Way Department stores and vehicles
4. Security cameras and associated equipment at vulnerable locations
5. A proposed new facility for the SLD at Toddington – this is easily the biggest of these projects at around £300,000 and may well not be completed in the calendar year
6. A 2 Road Carriage shed – subject to agreeing a location
7. A new facility for S&T at Winchcombe
8. Heritage wagon shelter at Winchcombe – this will be the Heritage group’s next project and reflects the Board’s confidence in this group following their excellent work on recreating Hayles Halt
Items 1, 2 and 7, by the way, have already been the subject of a quotation process and require no further approval – they are shovel ready!

I hope you will agree with me that the above makes exciting reading and reflects the confidence that we all share in this superb volunteer run enterprise!

All good wishes,
Chris Bristow

Finance Director