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


  1. Hi Chris

    In item 5, does SLD=Steam Locomotive Department? If so, is this a workshop, machine shop, boiler facility, messing facilities or a combination of some or all of these?

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Bill,

      You are right about SLD! The facility is mostly mess room, changing, trining with a bit of extra machine shop.

      Thanks for your comment,


  2. In the above comment I neglected to say how encouraging this news is. It's great to see the railway in such excellent health and indeed very exciting to hear about the investment plans for next year. Well done!

  3. With regards to the over subscription to the extension share issue, should this money be spent on making Broadway station as complete as possible for the opening? A complete building, steps for the footbridge etc.

    1. I assume the extra money was swallowed up in the costs of the embankment repair near Childswickham, which were larger than anticipated.

      Brilliant to see such investment all over the railway though, and the wagon shelter was a bit of a surprise - will it be a heritage shelter for wagons, or a shelter for heritage wagons if you see what I mean? :D Definitely looking forward to seeing that develop though, along with everything else.


  4. I would have thought that the Steam Loco Dept. would be in dire need of messing and shower facilities, similar to BR loco sheds had. Showers are extremely necessary as footplate work is dirty and it would be nice for drivers and firemen to be able to feel clean at the end of their shifts. Regards, Paul.

    1. Paul,

      You are quite right and the facilities you mention will definitely be included!


  5. Good news all round, would have been nice to see a turntable on the list too.

    1. Back in the 1980s the fledgling GWR did actually have a turntable, or at least bits of one. It was salvaged from Ashford, as I recall - it was an SR type.

      But it was in very poor condition, to the point that making an entirely new turntable would have been easier. In any case, the big priority was to rebuild the line itself, and the stations - a turntable was very much an optional extra at the time. It was sold on a few years later, as I recall.

      I think a turntable is still an optional extra today. There's nowhere to put one at the Cheltenham or Broadway ends of the line, where loco turning facilities would logically be needed.

      The only place where there might be enough room is round the back of Winchcombe yard, and that space is earmarked for the carriage shed. Even if a turntable was squeezed in there somewhere, its location at the mid-point of the line would still mean locos would spend a lot of time running tender first.

      It's probably worth noting that the West Somerset Railway, which is the only heritage railway in the UK to have turning facilities at both ends (a triangle at Norton Fitzwarren, a turntable a Minehead) only turns its locos on special occasions such as steam galas. On most of the line's operational days, they just run the locos backwards for half the time. Their turntable doesn't make all that much difference to the line's day-to-day working.

    2. Parts of the turntable remain and are stored on wagons at Hunting Butts.
      My understanding was that one third was cut up, and other parts taken from it.

  6. Excellent news. I know money is always at the forefront but I do believe a carriage shed is a priority. Keep up the great work.