PASSENGER numbers on the recently extended Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway increased sharply in the first half of the year.
Some 72,000 passengers travelled on the heritage line between Cheltenham Racecourse and its newly-opened station at Broadway up until the end of June, compared to 46,500 during the same period last year.
On some days passenger numbers have been double the equivalent days last year.
Colin Fewell, volunteer commercial director of the railway said: “The Broadway effect is eclipsing our past success and records are tumbling one after the other.
“We have strengthened our trains to eight coaches this year with a capacity of around 400 seated passengers, but often popular trains are nearly full even on midweek days, especially the first train of the day out of Cheltenham Racecourse.
“Our railway now goes through more than 14 miles of glorious landscape from Cheltenham to arguably the most delightful of Cotswold villages, Broadway.
“Businesses in Broadway are telling us that they have noticed an increase in the number of visitors to the village since the station opened once again, 58 years after it was closed by British Railways.
“The popularity of the line since we opened Broadway station is simply astonishing!”
Last year, the railway also opened a halt at Hayles Abbey, a replica of the one that stood there until 1960, which has proved popular with people wanting to visit the nearby Cistercian Abbey.