It is wonderful to hear the sound of steam engines once again in Cheltenham. Read on to find out the reaction from visitors and locals to Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) reopening...

GWSR ran its first post-lockdown public train service today (15 August) – five months to the day since services were brought to an abrupt halt after the last train of the 2020 season, on 15 March.

It was a triumphant occasion for the railway’s volunteers, who the previous weekend (8-9 August) had rehearsed the new, socially-distanced arrangements and timetable.

Foremarke Hall dramatically bursts beneath the Dixton bridge 9 August 2020

All images by Ian Crowder, GWSR

The first train of the ‘new-normal’ season departed from Toddington promptly at 10am, and was sold out.

Graham Radband, the railway’s commercial director commented: “You could tell that every one of our volunteers and visitors was smiling, despite the required face covering.

“We’ve had so many positive comments.  Like ‘So good to be back and seeing steam again!’ or ‘I hadn’t realised how much I’ve missed the railway!’

“Everyone entered into the spirit of the occasion.  And although it was strange seeing everyone masked up, it’s vital that do our utmost to ensure that our railway is safe, whether coming to enjoy a ride through the Cotswolds or as a volunteer welcoming our visitors or working behind the scenes.” 

Train guard wearing mask at GWSR

The railway has marshalled its compartment coaches which are reached through sliding doors from a side corridor, which means a family group of up to six people is effectively isolated on the train in their own social ‘bubble’. 

Adds Graham Radband: “These old-fashioned coaches have really come into their own and meet the need for social distancing admirably! It has all worked so well today. It is such a joy to see the railway back in business after so long!”

GWSR train in Cheltenham

Everything you need to know about riding by steam train in Gloucestershire this summer

The GWSR is running trains on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the time being.  Tickets can only be booked online through and may be printed at home or downloaded onto a smartphone. 

The journey is a 28-mile round trip from Toddington, via Cheltenham Racecourse, then back through Toddington to Broadway, and return.

A one-way system on to and off the trains is in operation, as well as on to and off the platforms.

Social distanced GWSR station staff enjoy a joke at Toddington


Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
Steam Railway
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

The friendly line in the Cotswolds offers a unique opportunity to sample train travel from 50 years ago...



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