THE opening of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway’s (GSWR) extension to Broadway at Easter must surely rank as one of modern preservation’s greatest achievements, not only in terms of physical construction, but also for the effect it has already brought to the Cotswold line.
Up until the end of May the GWSR had carried 42,000 passengers compared with 25,900 by the point last year; an astonishing 62% increase.
This is even more remarkable when you consider these are just ordinary ticket sales, and exclude special services such as the Cheltenham race trains, fish & chip specials, and driver experience days.
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A breakdown of the figures shows the year-on-year increases are not isolated and in fact are consistent across events.
The Easter period, for example, following the opening to Broadway, saw numbers up 92% year-on-year, with other ordinary running days in April being up by 86%. The annual Wartime in the Cotswolds event was up by 11%, while the May Day weekend saw
a staggering 127% increase.
The line’s second annual Steam and Bricks (Lego) was up by 47% compared to the first event last year, and the Real Ale and Steam weekend was up by 69% on last year. This latter event took place on the same weekend as the Royal wedding, begging the question: What would it have been if there had not been the Windsor Castle attraction on the Saturday?
Read more in the July issue of The RM – on sale now!