Toddington shapes up for return of steam

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The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway had a practice run before the general public return. Pictured: Fireman, Clive Norton and Engine driver, Ben Evason prepare to depart on GWR-built 7820 Dinmore Manor. Photo submitted.

THE Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway Railway ran ’shakedown’ trains at the weekend as it prepares to resume public services this coming weekend after a five month break.

Trains start this Saturday, 15th August and run three days a week – Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays – for the time being. Tickets are only available online.

Commercial director Graham Radband said: “It’s such a joy to see steam trains running once again and volunteers have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to bring our wonderful railway back to life.

“Many staff had their competency certificates expire during lockdown so inspectors were busy re-assessing operational staff, such as signalmen, footplate crews, guards and station staff.

“In addition, we were able to rehearse management of visitors, to ensure social-distancing and the safety of both our passengers and visitors.

Staff were able to use the trial weekend to prepare for the return of the public. Photo submitted

“Now we are ready to welcome the public back.”

The journeys on offer are limited to a single round trip in a pre-booked seat or compartment, starting and finishing at Toddington station.

Each train is made up of six coaches – including five compartment coaches with a side corridor for parties of a minimum of two and up to six people. The other is available for individuals or couples at designated seats to ensure social-distancing.

The Flag and Whistle Tea Rooms at Toddington station will be open, but the cafés at Winchcombe and Broadway and on-train buffet cars won’t be available.

Pre-packed snacks and drinks or a picnic lunch can be reserved when booking and this will be given to travellers at their seats, while hot drinks will be available at Cheltenham Racecourse station.

The timetable is modified to either two or four departures from Toddington each day.

Full details of fares and how to book are available at www.gwsr.com