15 April 2004
GWR'S 'Steamiest Weekend Ever' Coming Up!
There's a real steam feast in store at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) over the weekend of 7th, 8th and 9th May.*
The GWR will have up to FIVE locomotives in steam,* including two new visitors. And all were built at the Great Western Railway's famous locomotive works at Swindon - the earliest in 1919 and the most recent in 1949
"We're calling the event 'A celebration of Swindon steam'," says Ian Crowder, the railway's commercial director. "Visiting engines arriving at Toddington over the next few days will be no. 7903 Foremarke Hall - which has just completed a 20-year overhaul at the Swindon & Cricklade Railway. This big, green engine arrives literally straight from the paint shop and will certainly be an impressive sight.
"Also visiting will be no. 5199 from the Llangollen Railway in Wales. This is a 'suburban tank' locomotive - engines of this type were fast and efficient and used to handle commuter traffic in and around London and Brimingham before diesels came along."
Also in the all-steam, star-studded show will be two of the Great Western Railway's most powerful locomotives, heavy freight engine no. 3822 which is on loan from Didcot Railway Centre and Pop Idol Pete Waterman's chunky black tank engine, no 5224. The GWR's resident Cornish china clay freight tank locomotive no 4247 completes the line up.
"We want to give visitors a taste of how things used to be in the days of steam," says Ian.
"We'll be running a special early-morning train on Saturday and Sunday, 8th and 9th May using Foremarke Hall, departing from Toddington at 09:10. This is a rare chance to ride a non-stop 'express' that will pass straight through Winchcombe station on its way to Cheltenham. It then forms a 10:00 departure from Cheltenham Race Course station back to Toddington."
The GWR plans to swap engines around at Winchcombe; people will have a chance to visit engine cabs and there will be demonstration goods trains operating between Toddington and Winchcombe too.
"There will be lots going on - it will be our busiest and steamiest weekend this year," says Ian. "It should capture a little of what life used to be like on the railways of the 1940's and 1950's. And, as an added attraction, the North Gloucestershire narrow-gauge railway will be in steam at Toddington, too"
The GWR's standard fares apply - £9 for adults, £7.50 for seniors and children and £24 for a family ticket (up to two adults and three children). Tickets entitle visitors to travel on as many trains as they wish during their visit.
*All locomotives subject to availability or change without notice.