Full steam ahead for the biggest railway festival

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The organization of the Cotswold Festival of Steam on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (Cheltenham Racecourse – Broadway) is almost complete.

The event takes place from Friday June 3rd to Sunday June 5th, during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and is the celebratory event of GWSR.

The timetable is set, the first of five visiting locomotives have arrived and the event is shaping up to be a wonderful tribute to the old and late Somerset & Dorset Railway which once ran through the Mendips between Bournemouth and Bath. This event was originally scheduled for 2020 but was canceled due to lockdown.

Two of the visiting locomotives worked this magnificent railway, a victim of the infamous Beeching Cuts, closed in March 1966. But well-known express trains such as the ‘Pines Express’ (Manchester-Bournemouth) will be recreated over the weekend -end. .

The Cotswold Festival of Steam is the railway’s biggest annual attraction and takes place after a three-year absence, thanks to the Covid pandemic.

In all, nine locomotives will be steam powered and will work on the magnificent Cotswolds heritage line. Perhaps the most notable will be 9F 2-10-0 no. 92203 Black Prince: This is a welcome return to GWSR for the first time in 10 years. It was purchased in 1968 directly from British Railways by the late wildlife artist David Shepherd, who visited GWSR frequently during the ten years he was based in Toddington. The locomotive is now owned by the North Norfolk Railway. No. 92203 was for a time owned by British Railways, based in Bath to run trains on Somerset and Dorset.

Other weekend features include the opportunity to ride the demo freight train brake van; “behind the scenes” tours of the locomotive workshops in Toddington and Carriage & Wagon Works in Toddington; non-stop trains along the entire length of the line; shunting at Winchcombe station using an original ‘Sentinel’ steam locomotive (a type that once worked on coal mine sidings and lines at Radstock); and a beer tent and refreshments.

The private Gotherington station will be open with a chance to try the ‘pump cart’ on the private siding here; exhibits, model trains and much more.

A visit to Julian Birley with his Bentley Mk 6 car, once owned by renowned railway photographer Ivo Peters, who took several hundred photos of trains on the Somerset & Dorset route, will be of interest to many enthusiasts.

An event not to be missed with fun for the whole family! Tickets are available online or on the day at the Railway’s booking offices at Cheltenham Racecourse, Winchcombe, Toddington and Broadway.

Full information about https://www.gwsr.com/enthusiasts/major_events.html

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