Wednesday 21 March 2018

Return to Broadway

This was it then, the first day of passenger services into Broadway, and out again. Today was the first of two days of passenger services, with 8 trains reserved for volunteers and shareholders. The actual launch date for fare paying passengers is March 30th, but for us volunteers, this was it. Broadway with a train load of passengers milling around it. At last!

Here is 35006 P&O drawing into the station with a packed, 8 coach train. Note the special headboard. Seconds later, 400 people were milling about the platforms, admiring the beautiful booking office, the rivetted canopy, peering hopefully into the 'REFRESHMENT ROOM' and trying out the new loos. We can reveal that more loo paper was already needed at the end of the day, so they do work and are being used intensively.

After running round and a brief, 20 minute stop, P&O set off again, filmed by the BBC and recorded by local radio.

After the train had left again, silence descended on to the station. The railway's stationmasters were coming up bit by bit to get to know the new station, acquaint themselves with the alarms and keys, and find out how everything was going to work.

Here is a bunch of them by one of our replica lamp posts.

What would you call so many stationmasters all in a group? A gaggle? A covey? A flock? A murder? How about a 'whistle' of stationmasters?

Here and there, last minute preparations for next week were still going on. Steve was spreading and rolling 20 tons of ballast up and down the drive and, we have to say, it was all looking pretty good. It's a temporary measure of course, before we have it tarmaced, but we do need to bring up the levels anyway, and in this way we could cover up the bumps and potholes the drive had acquired over the many years.

Even the PWay department was on a job, levelling ballast at Broadway north.

Inbitially there were 4 of them, although by the time the camera caught up with them, there was only one left. Here Robert is cleaning out the web of the rail. It looks so much better, and is a reprieve from the shovelling they did 15 mins earlier. A nice, relaxing job in the sun.

Then the train pulled out of the station - isn't it fabulous? Even the sun smiled upon us, on an otherwise grey and blustery day.

If you'd like to see a video of one of the departures, here is the link:

P&O slowly pulled past us and headed south along the new rails. Eight coaches is nothing for this magnificent beast of course, but the horses had to be reined in until they were past the 10mph speed limit by Childswickham Road bridge. From the steam blowing sideways you can see how windy it was too.

In between trains, we spent a further half day assembling the last of three 3 legged GWR scripted benches. Here you can see them all in a row, the same as in 1904. The original wooden one is in front. That stood on P2 in 1904, so we will have to be patient with putting it back in its original place.

The last train of the day was diesel hauled by our green class 37. It was lovely to have a change of traction, although most people preferred steam and came on one of the first three trains.

As it pulled into the station, it was greeted by stationmasters Dave, Roger and Hilary. It was a great feeling to have such a rumbling beast draw into the station. Having helped lay the track on which it rolled into the station, it was with a great sense of pride that your blogger saw it glide smoothly past the platforms.

Here is the class 37 about to set off again, seen from the other side of the road bridge. We have a video of its departure, which we will post at an early opportunity (given the slow upload speed, the steamer departure taking priority)

Here is a video of the class 37 hauled train leaving the station with the last train of the day.

Finally, a quick shot of the booking office interior. It's pretty much finished now, and isn't it wonderful? On the platform we were accosted by a lady demanding to know where we got the tiles from - she wanted them for her house!

This is how we found the kit to make it look so real:

- Ticket hatches inspired by Yardley Wood
- TICKETS found in a member's estate in Willersey
- IN donated by a friendly supporter, OUT copied from it by the nameplate foundry
- Two original posts found on site, battered but useable. Shotblasted and powder coated by a local firm, which also arranged for the new disks underneath.
- Two more posts cast by a friendly foundry in Banbury.
- Carved, wooden tops by our very own C&W department.
- Floor and wainscoting inspired by Kidderrminster station.

What else could be build for the railway in this style?


  1. Congratulations to all concerned. Through fair weather and foul you have produced a MASTERPIECE!

  2. Jo, how wonderful to see Broadway station truly live again, with a platform full of passengers, and probably the busiest it has been since that first excursion train in 1904 perhaps?
    As for continuing the style of the booking hall elsewhere, surely the Refreshment Room floor and counters could also be constructed in this style? It would look gorgeous along with the slate fireplace.
    Btw, I had no idea that the wooden bench was actually the Broadway original. How amazing to find it back home again! I have raised a glass (or 3) to all of you on the team this evening.

    1. Sorry, I didn't make that quite as clear as it might have been, it is a similar all wooden bench. Many stations had them, under the canopy, but they deteriorate if left outside and this one was in a bad state until it received the attentions of our C&W department. They made a grand job too.

  3. I raise my glass as well... hopefully when phase two starts I can provide some physical labour as well as moral support.

  4. There appears to be a lot of raising of glasses going on, so not to be a spoil sport, I've joined in.

    Thank you very much for the wonderful pictures. What a sight to see in Broadway. Those pictures of 35006 hauling its train were something quite magical. Picture #6 (was it no. 6 ? I lost count) of the train pulling out of Broadway is reminiscent of the Cornishman steaming through.

    And the lovely chocolate and cream coaches, and the happy crowds in the dappled sunlight shining through the iconic pine trees. Wonderful.

    As to the Booking Office, Wow ! It's quite superb. I am going to read and re-read this blogpost. What a treat !

    I didn't know you'd be tackling the roadway in Station Approach. I had thought that would be a job for contractors. Or maybe what you're doing is pro tem ? Good luck with it. We want Lord Faulkner to see things at their best !

    And thank you again.


    1. An afterthought.

      A collective noun for a group of stationmasters ? Well, how about a seniority of stationmasters ?


  5. Such a credit to all involved. The booking office is amazing. Do you have a station clock to hang under the canopy ? ... it’s just going to get better as you add more and more, like a few enamel signs and luggage trollies etc.
    I really hope Bill Britton gets to see it all, he was such an enthusiast in the early days of the platform builds and I enjoyed reading his blogs. Well done all, and thank you in advance for my experience to come their, it’s going to be great when I visit in the summer. The armchair financial supporters, and everyone who contributed great and small.

    1. Bill and his wife were on the first train - of course!

  6. Building, booking hall and platform 1 all look fabulous!
    Well done to all who did the physical work!
    Saw Midlands Today report just now and it was a fantastic advertisement!
    Now we have to pray for a snow-free Easter weekend!

  7. Was the criterion for travelling on the trains tomorrow having a certain threshold value of shares?
    As a smaller value shareholder I would love to travel, but not to worry as I’ll be there ASAP!

    1. I think the threshold was £2000, either that or being a working volunteer.

  8. Excellent photography. the station, the train, the people, the setting, the sunshine! All make it an equivalent to a Rembrandt or maybe a Turner - (If a picture of an engine on a table - maybe...)
    Hope everyone enjoyed the experience in person as much as I did by watching the security camera! Western Region coloured coaches DO look good in sunshine. That is probably why the GWR equivalent of mark 1's were called Sunshine stock!
    Wonderful is just a word that goes nowhere near to how good it is to see Broadway open.
    Whole hearted regards, Paul.

  9. We must admit that there were tears of joy in our home last night, watching and rewinding to watch again the report on TV. How fabulous our new "Lady" looks. We just cannot wait to get to Broadway to look around to see the finished article. A toast to all was raised last night! ( all supporters are beginning to sound like alcoholics!)Jo please ensure that the pictures and reports keep going for the foreseeable future. What a site to see the trains in the stations. And sunshine on the station, no wonder it is called God's Wonderful Railway!
    Paul & Marion.

    1. My lady guest and I were fortunate enough today (22 March) to travel on the noon Shareholders' & Volunteers' special behind 35006 (we'd already had our celebratory drinks the previous evening in a lovely Broadway pub!) and I renewed acquaintances with some old GWSR friends including Garry Owen and Richard Johnson to name but two. Trust me, what has been achieved so far and so well "blogged" by the various Broadway bloggers is really excellent when seen "in the flesh", especially considering some of the hurdles that have had to be overcome. The work is far from finished but the station is ready to start business and, once the refreshment room is completed, it will be outstanding. The sun was a little shy today but it was still one of the best days of my life. Thank you GWSR.

  10. Absolutely brilliant work.
    Well done to you all, fantastic day.
    Looking forward to my trip on Good Friday.

  11. Jo - a fantastic day! And what a good report from the BBC Midlands Today team. Mind you, those bare walls need a few adverts for Bovril, Fry's Chocolate etc to give a bit more of the Edwardian ambience! Congratulations to all the volunteers who made it possible - you should feel justifiably proud of your achievement.

    1. The bare walls were, in 1904, filled with GWR poster boards, and no doubt we will replicate that. I have not seen any picture of Broadway with enamel signs, however.

    2. Agreed. I think poster boards with reproduction GWR posters would be great.

  12. Totally inspiring. I wish the team had been responsible for Kenilworth's new station. It would have been finished and opened by now if you had !
    Incidentally, why is there a 10mph speed restriction next to the Childswickham Road Bridge? Will it be lifted in time?

    1. I think it's the loop points, it probably extends out to the bridge because that's how far a train would need to get to be clear of them. Not sure about the other way though.

  13. I can only echo the words above, such a fantastic achievement by all concerned. We the arm chair fans and hopefully not critics really appreciate all that has been done for us and the future generation who will marvel at what can be done by a dedicated and hard working team.
    This will hopefully inspire others to achieve their dreams.

  14. Congratulations to everyone, on and off site, who has worked so hard over the years to bring this dream into a reality. I hope to get down, from Cumbria, later in the year to see it for real.
    Thanks for the Blogs Jo, watched avidly every week to follow progress.

  15. Some time ago someone suggested a piece of music would be a fitting accompliment for some of the images of the station. After looking at these, I would say:

    yes...yes it would....

  16. Absolutely fabulous, enjoy your wonderful achievement and onwards and upwards!

  17. I am lost for words. Well done to one and all.