Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Diesel gala

An excellent weekend marred a little by the weather. Visitor numbers were down on last year's record number but still up quite a lot on 2015. Talking to people, they all seemed to be enjoying it and several blogs have commented on this being the best diesel gala around. Congratulations to all who were involved in the organisation.
Colin Fewell

Friday, 21 July 2017

Visitor numbers

After last year's  13% increase in passengers, we are assuming in all our planning that this year, numbers will not increase any further  before the expected surge in 2018. In actual fact, numbers are continuing to rise  although at a much slower pace. For instance in June we were 3% up and for the year so far about 2%.

One area where growth seems to continue unabated is in our group bookings which so far this year are about 15% up.

The classic vehicle day attracted almost 1000 people some of which just came to admire the cars.
Colin Fewell










Tour of Britain cycle race

 On Saturday September 9th, cyclists will be racing past our railway resulting in road closures etc.
 The information I have is as follows:
 TODDINGTON
At about 13:45 the Stow Road from the Toddington roundabout will be closed so there will be no entry or exit from the station.
Cyclists will ride though from 14:18 until about 15:00 when the road will be re-opened.
 WINCHCOMBE
At about 14:00 the road outside the station entrance will be closed so there will be no entry or exit from the station entrance.
Cyclists will ride through from 14:31 until about 15:10 and the road will be re-opened about 5 minutes later
 CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE
At about 14:20 the A 435 will be closed into town and there will be no entry or exit from the racecourse roundabout

Cyclists will ride through from 14:51 until 15:32 when progressively the road will be re-opened.

Colin Fewell

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Bus Rally

Another successful event with a record number of over 700 visitors. Thanks to all who were involved in the tremendous organisation
Colin Fewell

Friday, 7 July 2017

Thomas

I realise nor everyone loves Thomas the Tank Engine, but his popularity seems to remain at a high level amongst young families. The event a couple of weeks ago was as successful as in the past with almost 2500 paying visitors. The actual number was only a few  down on the 2016 record. Interestingly about 70% of these bought tickets in advance on line through the Thomas website. Everyone seemed to have a great time and apart from a minor problem with the loco on Sunday morning, it all went well. Thanks as always to all who participated.
Colin Fewell

Monday, 3 July 2017

Some points from my presentation at the AGM

For those unable to make the AGM I thought I would summarise some of what I said in my presentation.

2016
We had the best year ever making it two years in a row with record passenger numbers. In 2016 we saw just over 100,000 visitors which was 13% up on 2015. Note however we ran on 9% more days. This increase in days running was deliberately to get us into position for 2018.
Every event was successful and record breaking except for the September Thomas which unfortunately fell on the day of the Cheltenham half marathon which clogged up all the approach roads. That won't happen this year as this has been put back a week following our request.
It is important to recognise that every special attraction last year was successful and not just the main events so congratulations to all the organisers. Of special mention was the new Food and Drink fayre which will be repeated this autumn.
It is also worth saying that numbers of visitors on "ordinary" days increased

2017
This year is looking good with photo charters and more recently the BBC filming a whole episode of Father Brown at Toddington and Gotherington stations. I think it is important to say that we aren't expecting any dramatic increase in passenger numbers this year but are budgeting on the same number as 2016. Numbers can't keep increasing and  we hear from lots of people "see you in 2018"
Another great achievement this year has of course been the opening of Hayles Abbey Halt which has co-incidentally come in the same month as the opening of Hailes Abbey museum. It is interesting to see how many passengers are buying tickets to the Halt. (And what railway can boast they opened two railway stations within the period of 1 year?)
Last but not least of course we have the new Tim Mitchell building at Winchcombe which will be used for various exhibitions, and  for our special events and of course it will be available for volunteer training.

And 2018!
A reminder - if any was necessary - that we open to Broadway on Good Friday 30th March. We will run service trains the preceding three weekends from Toddington to Cheltenham Race Course.
There will be two train timetables - one for 2 trains (whether they be 1 steam and 1 DMU or 1 steam, 1 diesel or 2 steam) and one for 3 trains.
We have volunteers currently working on a new guide book and a second book of walks - concentrating on Broadway and Hayles Abbey Halt - and hopefully we will have a new DVD or two available.
We are also working on special trains during March for our working volunteers but more of that anon.
Colin Fewell

Sunday, 4 June 2017

GWSR hosts visit from NRM leaders on Friday 2 June

Dear GWSR Supporters,

I am pleased to advise you that the NRM's Director, Paul Kirkman, and the Head Curator, Andrew McLean, visited our railway on Friday.

Ably assisted by Glyn Cornish and Maxine Barton-Hawkins and volunteers at each station, I escorted them from Cheltenham CRC via Winchcombe, where they could admire Foremarke Hall on the Fire and Drive experience day, through Hayles Abbey to Toddington and finally on to Broadway.

I think we all explained our railway's values and objectives and I believe they were impressed by what a largely volunteer run railway can achieve.

The photos speak for themselves! Thanks to all the volunteers who helped to make this day a success.