Sunday 25 September 2016

A walk from Broadway to Little Buckland

With the railhead slowly edging nearer, it's now become practical to walk down to it from the Childswickham road. Here's what you can see, walking south.

A few steps south of the Childswickham Road bridge gives you this view of the long curve that starts at Peasebrook Farm and goes all the way through Broadway station (where the platforms continue the same curve). On the right is the sewage farm, accessed by Pry Lane (bridge 3).

From Pry Lane bridge in the foreground, you can see further towards Peasebrook farm, located next to the tall trees.

Arriving at Peasebrook Farm bridge (bridge 4) we find the start of the ballasted section. This is the target for the next spurt of track laying. In the distance is the curve that continues over Little Buckland bridge (bridge 5).

Did the PWay Saturday gang manage to lay any track yesterday?

Yes they did! They have crossed Little Buckland bridge, and quite a few yards beyond. Brilliant!

Once again we see the beauty of the Cotswolds, for which our line is famous.

Not only have approximately 200 sleepers been laid, but 8 pairs of rails too.

The PWay supply train has been moved up, and the rail wagons have crossed to this side of the bridge.

The stretch over Little Buckland bridge has been fitted with lighter weight hardwood sleepers, very neat looking.

A view over the newly laid track from the sleeper wagon
The rail wagon is now beyond the bridge, with about a quarter of the new supply of rails laid. Once this pair of wagons is exhausted, another order will be delivered.

Passing Little Buckland bridge is a real milestone in the advance towards Broadway.

The track laying train is now also visible form the road, we have a presence here now.

The first of the two rail wagons is now nearly half empty, as the sleepers come to the end of the curve.
120 sleepers remain on the two sleeper wagons, and they should be consumed by the next day's laying. They will be resupplied from the stockpile at Gotherington.

The last picture shows the view from the end of the ballast bed at Peasebrook Farm, the current target. Broadway goods shed can just be made out in the trees in the distance.

Will be get there? The share issue has made a good start, but we are still £450.000 short of funding the extension. Please help if you can. A link to our share prospectus is here:

According to the 'track' on the page, the appeal stands at £812.000 out of £1.250.000 required, as a minimum.


  1. Its really good,to see the track,steadily advancing towards Broadway!.The funding,is still coming in steadily too!.As a shareholder,myself,I hope the target is reached!.

  2. It's wonderful to see track laid on a private railway endeavour. It looks so peaceful where the bogie flats have been stabled (not the word STABLED, not parked), soon to be replaced by steam engine hauled trains of happy passengers, also enjoying the scenery. Great photos again Jo. Soon have track in Broadway. Regards, Paul.

  3. I'd be tempted to move the marker on the map Jo, it's nearly halfway to Broadway now!

  4. I'd be tempted to move the marker on the map Jo, it's nearly halfway to Broadway now!

  5. I'd be tempted to move the marker on the map Jo, it's nearly halfway to Broadway now!

    1. OK, I think I've got the message :-)

    2. Sorry, not sure what happened there! Keep blogging (:-)

    3. Sorry, not sure what happened there! Keep blogging (:-)

    4. Looks like a severe case of trigger finger there, Billy :-)

      A Hayles update has just been published, covering today's work.

    5. Marker on the map moved to the location of the current railhead.

  6. is the bridge loading so restrictive that timber sleepers are required to reduce weight?
    Andrew Harris (ontario)

    1. No, the bridge has just been refurbished.
      It's common practice to use wooden sleepers on a bridge to reduce the dead load.
      Our line had 800 ton iron ore trains on it before it closed in 1976.

  7. The new housing estate road near the Prince of Wales Stadium at Prince Regent Avenue, Cheltenham has sliced through the railway embankment. Is this on the section owned by the GWSR? Will a bridge be built there to carry the line towards Cheltenham Spa one day? Who will pay for it?

    1. My personal understanding is (and I do not speak for the company)that the GWSR ownership ends just before the new access road.
      It would be lovely to return to Malvern Road, but there are a number of missing bridges, a cycle path on the long embankment, and a low bridge replacement along the way.
      If you want to see pictures, check out my Flickr page with the trackbed walks.

      The link is here:

      That will tell you exactly what the line beyond our ownership looks like today.

    2. As it happens I was in Cheltenham recently and took the opportunity to have a look at the railway between Hunting Butts tunnel and Pittville.

      A public footpath crosses the line just south of the tunnel, so access to the trackbed is easy. It seems people have been using the Hunting Butts - Pittville section as a footpath for a long time, because there's a well-established, although completely unofficial, path along the line.

      The path is obviously being maintained by someone. Towards Pittville the overgrowth has been trimmed and the grass has been neatly mown. Curiously, the mown path veers off the trackbed at Pittville and heads across the adjacent park. Lineside fences here have vanished.

      It looks almost as if the Council (or their contractors) have taken it upon themselves to incorporate this part of the railway line into the park. Does this mean a public right of way has been established over the GWSR trackbed?

      The limit of GWSR ownership is marked by a steel security fence across the embankment, although in the absence of fences alongside the line it's a bit of a token gesture.

      Fences where the railway runs alongside the new estate have been recently removed (I saw the dismantled panels piled up on the ground). Parts of the GWSR-owned embankment inside the fence line have been dug away, re-graded, and covered with topsoil.

      This looks like a landscaping effort on the part of the developers - but I wonder if the board knows that the railway fences have been removed and railway earthworks are being altered?

      As we've had a few problems with embankment slips I don't like the thought of random people digging in to railway earthworks. If the embankment slips onto the new houses, I wonder who will be held responsible?

      Beyond the limit of GWSR ownership, part of the embankment has indeed been scooped away so the access road to the new housing estate can go through. It's a pity the developers were not required to make passive provision for a bridge (for example, by building suitable abutments, as I believe was the case with the Waitrose bridge further down the line). It would still be possible to reinstate the railway, but it's another expensive obstacle in the way.

      Cheltenham Town Council has said some encouraging things over the years about the possibility of one day bringing the railway back. It's just a pity they don't do anything practical to keep the option open...

      Meanwhile, I do think the GWSR should assert its ownership of the Hunting Butts - Pittville section, make sure fences are present and intact, and check that nobody is taking liberties with railway land.

      The footpath along the trackbed doesn't really do any harm, but in my view it should be officially designated a 'Permissive' path, with signs to that effect, to prevent it becoming a public right of way. And someone really should look at those excavations. It's all very well landscaping the embankment so it looks nice for the residents of the new houses, but that won't help if it slips!

  8. The loco famous for going where no loco has gone for 40 ish years, the class 73..... Do you think we could have a picture of it crossing little buckland bridge ? A momentous occasion !

    1. Maybe when the ballast is put down. I'll see what I can do.

  9. Steam on the bridge would also look great.