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First steam train in Broadway for 58 years





A 1949-built locomotive, no 7903 Foremarke Hall, on the platform of the new Broadway Station. Photo: Jack Boskett.
A 1949-built locomotive, no 7903 Foremarke Hall, on the platform of the new Broadway Station. Photo: Jack Boskett.

THE first steam train to stop at Broadway station in almost exactly 58 years arrived without pomp or ceremony on Friday.

It was a test run for the grand opening of the new station to the public on Good Friday, 30th March.

The 1949-built locomotive, no 7903 Foremarke Hall,arrived from Toddington with an eight-coach gauging train to ensure that no adjustments are needed ahead of the opening by Lord Richard Faulkner of Worcester, president of the Heritage Railway Association and a patron of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR).

This is the engine that will proudly take the first public service out of Broadway station at 09.40 on Good Friday, 30th March.

The new station has been built by GWSR volunteers to a similar design as the 1903 origina station. The last train left it on 7th March, 1960.

Most of the stations on the former Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham line were closed by British Railways in 1960 and the railway closed completely in 1976, with track and infrastructure removed by 1979.

Richard Johnson, chairman of the GWSR, said: “The railway’s volunteers have gradually been rebuilding the railway from scratch since 1981, when we took occupation of Toddington station.

“In 1984 we ran our first train over a few hundred yards of track at Toddington and have gradually extended since then, painstakingly replacing track, building stations, signalboxes and other infrastructure, repairing bridges, embankments and drainage systems as well as restoring carriages and locomotives.

“The line reached Cheltenham Racecourse to the south in 2003.

"Now with the opening of Broadway station to the north, following a highly successful share offer that raised over £1.3m to finish the work, our line is nearly 15 miles long.

“This places the GWSR firmly among the UK’s premier heritage railways.”

Lord Richard Faulkner added: “It underlines what can be achieved by the astonishing determination of well-coordinated and visionary volunteer effort.

"This is a railway that has come a long way in every sense, since the first moves to preserve it back in 1979.

“These volunteers have rebuilt a former main line that back in the early 1980s, many thought was an impossible dream.”

The GWSR operates services between Toddington and Cheltenham Racecourse.

It reopened for its 2018 season on Saturday, with chartered race train specials during the Cheltenham Festival. Cheltenham Racecourse station was opened in 1912 specifically to serve race meetings.

The last race specials used the station in 1976, just before the line closed completely.



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