GWSR Diesel Gala 2023

The Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway hosted its latest Diesel Gala in early July 2023. This took place on their 14 mile railway between Broadway, Worcestershire and Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire.

It included the visiting Class 25 locomtove D7659 couresey of Peak Rail and the Waterman Railway Heritage Trust. This loco was built by Beyer Peacock & Co in its Gorton Works in Manchester, and entered service on the London Midland Region in July 1966. This was the last loco built at that works before all future locos were built at BR's Derby works.

From the home fleet their were several locos in operation including a Class 20 (20137) a Class 24 (5081), two Class 37's (37215 & D6948), a Class 45 (45149) and a couple of Class 47s (47105 & 47376). 47376 was in Freighliner colours with 47105 being in tradition BR Blue and yellow which in the 1970s was a mainstay out of London Euston on the West Coast mainline to Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow amonst others.

The images from this event can be viewed at Image Gallery

On the Saturday and Sunday a Diesel Multiple Unit was in operation between Todington and Winchcombe.

Along the line at the stations their were several interesting options for the visiting crowds. 

At Cheltenham Racecourse there was the opportunity to visit the cabs of the locos as well as picking up a bacon roll as well as taking in the scenery. There was also a free bus service to and from Cheltenham Spa BR station, at the beginning and end of both days.

At Gotherington you can take a look at a preserved station which is privately owned as well great views of the Cotswold countryside. It was a shaort lived station only in operation with BR from 1906 to 1940.

At Winchcombe as well as the station cafe the station itself is a busy station being double tracked and a good place to see the track tockets being handed out to drivers as they pass into the station.

In the Tim Mitchell building there was  the Abbotswood & Norton 00 gauge model railway in operation.

Also open during the gala was the Carriage & Wagon workshops where rolling staock is repaired and re-pinted before going back into service. This included an almost ready Santa's Grotto carriage which is hoped to be ready for the end of 2023.

At Toddington the Diesel shed was open for visitors including getting into the Freightliner Class 47 loco, just before it went out into service. Also available to view and view into the cab were a Class 20 (20228) and a Class 24 (D5343).

I was also allowed to visit the stem engine repair shop, with thanks to The 2874 Trust, where it along with 2807 and 3850 were being re-built.

At the GWSR's newest station, opened in 2018 in Broadway in Worcestershire, the new signal box was open for visitors. It is hoped that this will be connected and commisioned by March 2024, which will allow the line to go away with the use of tockens and instead use the signal boxes tracking systems for safe and successful service.

The events will continue at the Steam Railway with both Steam and Diesel in operation with the Diesel Gala returning in 2024.

GWSR Diesel Gala 2023
WiderView Visual Media, Chris Roberts 8 July 2023
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