Landlip cuts off Cheltenham Racecourse
18 December 2008
Christmas ‘Santa’ trains on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway are full and the railway’s post Christmas special event plans are going ahead – despite a landslip on an embankment near Cheltenham Racecourse which has stopped services from reaching the Racecourse station.
Although the slip has not affected the track, the line has been closed as a precaution while civil engineers start work to repair the damaged embankment, which is between the racecourse and Southam Lane. The cost of repairs is estimated to be around £250,000, which is being met by the GWR’s insurers.
“This is a disappointment and has forced us to change our plans for the post-Christmas train services,” says operations director Neil Carr.
“Our very popular Santa Specials are not affected as they run between Toddington and Winchcombe stations.
“But we have re-planned our special diesel day on 27th December and our Christmas Cracker steam gala on 29th and 30th December. These events are going ahead as normal but trains will terminate at Gotherington instead of continuing to Cheltenham Racecourse station.”
The railway’s normal service trains will be running on Boxing Day, 28th and 31st December and New Year’s Day, again only between Toddington and Gotherington and on these days travellers will be able to claim a free cup of tea or coffee from the on-train buffet. Remaining dining train services will now start at Toddington instead of Cheltenham and customers will be contacted by the operator, Elegant Excursions.
Neil Carr adds: “The services will bring the interesting prospect of running trains with a locomotive at each end of the train in ‘top and tail’ fashion as the new signalbox and run-round facility at Gotherington isn’t yet operational. This will be a rare experience and well worth visiting the GWR for on these days!”
The GWR is asking travellers to park at Toddington station where additional parking will be provided close to the station. The Cheltenham Racecourse station ticket office will be closed but AA signs will direct visitors to Toddington.
Says Neil Carr: “I think the trains will be quite a spectacle and on 29th and 30th December we plan to turn out five steam locomotives. “But of course, tickets are valid for as many trips on the trains as people want on all days, including the special event days on 27th, 29th and 30th December.”
Full details on www.gwsr.com or telephone 01242 621 405
Media contact: Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or firstname.lastname@example.org