Monday, 9 May 2016

Rebirth of a railway station....

Over the last few years I have been an avid follower of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's various excellent websites.  They must be one of the few preserved railways who have sites for pretty much every department.  One of the sites I have especially enjoyed reading has been the one charting the rebuilding of Broadway station in Worcestershire.

In terms of history the existing GWSR line is part of the former line that used to run between Stratford-on-Avon and Cheltenham.  The line remained open until 1976 when a serious freight train derailment resulted in the permanent closure of the line as British Rail decided that the line was beyond economic repair.  The track was finally lifted in 1979 before the GWSR bought part of the trackbed between Cheltenham and Broadway.  Preliminary services began in 1981 on a short section of track and the railway has continued to grow since then.  The current line runs between Laverton in the north and Cheltenham Racecourse in the south with stations at Toddington, Winchcombe, Gotherington and Cheltenham Racecourse.  Further stations are due to be opened at Broadway (pictured above) and Hayles Abbey Halt (also under construction) and these are really exciting times for the railway.  During the last month the "Broadway - the last mile" fundraising share scheme has resulted in £430,000 being raised in just 4 weeks since its launch and hopefully it won't be too long until the target of £1.2 million is achieved.  When trains return to Broadway in 2017/18 it will be 57 years since trains ceased to stop at the old Broadway station.  Hopefully it will then give the railway the additional funds and momentum to reconnect to the Oxford to Hereford (Cotswold Line) at Honeybourne and thus establish a main line connection once more.

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