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GWSR - Cheltenham Spa and possible extensions

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by JMJR1000, May 11, 2012.

  1. Stuart666

    Stuart666 New Member

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    Certainly I agree with the poster who suggest Broadway will generate significant traffic. It is a miles walk from the village which means I think we have to be realistic that it wont be as much as if it was on top of it, but yes, its in the area and it will be popular Im sure. So of course will connecting up to Honeybourne, particularly if the Stratford on Avon connection comes to pass.

    So yes, it strikes me that whichever direction they go in they cant really lose, they are all good options. I still think that the Cheltenham end, the longer they leave it, the less potential it has to be viable. After all, that field that would be such a good connection to the national network at racecourse station looks awfully inviting for a housing estate doesn't it? A cutting might be viable, but I cant really ever see a tunnel in that direction being cost effective.

    As for affording it, ive got a novel idea thats wholly sadly unworkable. Set up half a dozen wooded huts, and sell 'navvy weekends' at say 100 quid each to tourists, where teams are paid in beer and steaks for progress in making a cutting. Give them all a pick axe, flat cap and a wooden wheelbarrow and tell them to get on with it. Sadly I think the inevitability of 'elf and safety' would scupper any such idea, but Its cheapness would have much to commend it. After all, it worked for 3 quarters of the rest of the UK network. :)
     
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  2. GeoffS75

    GeoffS75 New Member

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    Is the Stratford connection realistically possible given that a busy road is now on the formation? I seem to recall a study had been made which showed a realigned track could be squeezed in but it seemed less than ideal. Also, if Cheltenham to Stratford does come to be that would be 30 miles of track which strikes me as a lot for what is a predominantly volunteer run organisation to maintain let alone run. I still can't see that the pros outweigh the cons of going beyond Broadway to Racecourse unless a third party (Racecourse/Local Authority/rich benefactor) stumps up a lot of cash.
     
  3. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    I guess it depends what your definition of massive is. The overwhelming majority of those staying in the hotels and visiting the area will have got there by car.
     
  4. Stuart666

    Stuart666 New Member

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    Well the Stratford connection regularly gets written off, but there is a very good simulation that looks plausible of one option on the Stratford Line promotion group website. No reason why it would stop steam specials using it either that I can see.


    http://www.shakespeareline.com/notices.htm

    Given how much has already been spent redoubling track on the North Cotswold line, it looks a no brainer. Particularly as there was a report in I think either Rail magazine or possibly railway magazine that yet more track redoubling is being projected on that line. Looked at like that, I think it inevitable that its going to happen sooner or later.

    Quite what impact that will have on the GWSR if it ever happens Ive no idea, but Id be surprised if the idea of steam specials coming in from Tyseley to run over the line to Cheltenham racecourse hasn't at least occurred to them. If it happens of course, it wont be a GWSR operation, but that doesnt mean that it will prove impossible for them to make use of it. After all, I seem to recall the NYMR has limited running powers over Network Rail metals.
     
  5. std tank

    std tank Member

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    Yes, they will have got to Broadway by car, but a trip on the railway will be another must do during their visit.
     
  6. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    My point being, if they arrive by car, they can already drive the relatively short distance to the existing railway. So you are only making it attractive to those who will visit Broadway because the railway now goes there ; and those who will go to the railway now that it goes to Broadway but for some reason didn't before despite it being close by prior to the extension. I'm not sure these will amount to a "massive" number of people. However, we shall see when it opens.
     
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  7. GeoffS75

    GeoffS75 New Member

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    The simulations are impressive and show it can be done but as I stated before that isn't going to be done by a volunteer organisation. If Network Rail/A.N.Other want to take it on and reopen to Honeybourne then good luck to them and if that does happen then it certainly makes Broadway to Honeybourne more attractive to the GWSR.

    Taking the point about specials from Tyseley - somewhere to turn the locomotive would be useful so perhaps a double chord connection to make a triangle at Swindon village is needed :) (although that then offers a return northwards up the Midland line).
     
  8. Stuart666

    Stuart666 New Member

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    No, and I wouldnt suggest that it would be the GWSR that would do it. But as I point out, with plans to further redouble the Cotswold line, and the call for the reopening of the stratford link continually being put forward, it seems to me far more likely to ask when, not if its going to happen at Network Rail hands After all, the existing link of Stratford to Oxford is hardly ideal, and tourism seems to be taking off on the North Cotswold judging by how they keep replacing since with bilingual Japanese ones. So a link between the two lines clearly makes sense to my mind.

    I idly wonder if/when the link reopens it may be a good idea to put at least a stabling point, perhaps even a shed, in the Honeybourne triangle. Ive never really looked to see if there would be enough room.
     
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  9. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I'm inclined to agree with Simon on this one. Extending to Broadway is not going to be the catalyst that was the BB extension to East Grinstead or the NYMR running to Whitby. With regard to the latter, it has largely been growth of people going to Whitby and not people going from Whitby, which I don't think was expected to be the case. However, this may be due to the constraints of the existing T/T, which only provides one morning departure from the coast.
     
  10. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    Is the general consensus here then that neither direction will be worth it, and that the GWSR will never be quite as popular and draw in the kind of passenger numbers that these other big heritage line names do?

    I do find it somewhat disconcerting that people do have a habit of downgrading the line's current and potential future success, like it's always going to be treated like some second rate Heritage Railway that can never aspire to be as great as the others, the premier league of lines if you will.

    I know that's not everyone's intention but there are times when I get the impression that generally people don't really consider the GWSR with all that much high regard. Nothing meanspirited, just overlooking it often to the more established and sort of higher pedigree lines.
     
  11. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I think that the popularity of the Cotswolds as a tourist destination is being underestimated.
     
  12. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    I don't think your post follows on from what has been posted above. Personally I was just trying to establish a degree of realism about the size of the traffic increase that could be expected.
    I think the railway is a good one, but I share others' worries about extending and the financial and other resource cost of doing so (on this and other lines).
     
  13. GeoffS75

    GeoffS75 New Member

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    An interesting post. From a personal point of view I have watched the GWSR grow from when I used to visit as a boy and a single coach would be hauled Cadbury No.1 or John for half a mile or so and then back. What has been achieved since then is fantastic and on the basis that the SVR/NYMR/KWVR were already established at that time, for the GWSR to now be close to matching those railways is quite some achievement. There are undoubtedly exciting times ahead with the opening to Broadway, 35006 to appear along with 44027 and 7903 to return which will all only enhance the railway and it's standing further. However, where does the railway go beyond that and does it need to? As this thread shows there are options north and south but which (if any) suit the railway and the operation that it is.
     
  14. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    ....and many by coach. National Holidays and Shearings are just 2 of many coach operators who include Broadway on their holiday visit schedules. Broadway is one of the most visited tourist sites in England. In December 2014, on Tripadvisor, Broadway Playground ranked at No 15 out of 154 attractions in the Cotswolds (the GWSR ranks higher at No 10) with Gloucester Cathedral at No 1.
     
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  15. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Doesn't matter how the people get there, the railway's presence in Broadway will give visitors another thing to add to their "to do" list. Broadway could turn out to be an excellent shop window for the GWSR.
     
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  16. John Stewart

    John Stewart Well-Known Member

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    Being practical doesn't mean making one's dreams impossible by abandoning protection of the right-of-way. There is a tendency to nibble at urban alignments on the basis that "there is still room to get a line through". This happened at Galashiels and look at the squashed job we now have to live with. It was the same, I believe at Tunbridge Wells and Cheltenham could go the same way. If the GWSR is able to reach Honeybourne after the reinstatement as national rail project of the route to Stratford, then limiting ambitions to Cheltenham Spa High Street and allowing the route to Lansdown to be obliterated would be tragic. Would anyone really feel proud of the GWR route from Birmingham to Cheltenham Spa being re-created - except for the last kilometre?
     
  17. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    See my later post for expansion on my point
     
  18. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Eh? I quoted your message in full. And what's selectric mean? :p
     
  19. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    true, but if people want to go on the railway they can already.

    What is car parking like at the station site?
     
  20. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not a lot at the moment, but hopefully one for 100 cars and some coaches will be applied for soon.
     

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