Trains are once again in full service on a historic rail line after volunteers raised £1m to repair the route.
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) has re-opened the
full-length line from Cheltenham Racecourse to Laverton, which takes in
Gotherington, Winchcombe and Toddington.
The collapse of two century-old embankments in Gotherington and near
Winchcombe had caused three years of disruptions on the volunteer-run
railway, which dates back to 1904.
From this weekend steam engines will operate between Cheltenham
and Winchcombe, with diesel trains running between Winchcombe and
This means there is a service from Cheltenham to Laverton for the first time since 1979.
Passengers can travel the full 12-mile route by changing trains
at Winchcombe, and from next year there will be an intensive service
running along the whole line.
GWR chairman Malcolm Temple said he was "overwhelmed by the generosity" of people who had made a donation to repair the line.
He said: "That includes individuals who have put anything from a
pound or so in a collection bucket to donating significant sums,
including those who signed up as '300 Club' members by contributing
£1,000 or more."
Mr Temple added: "Other railways have really rallied round to
help and we'll never forget the very significant contribution that so
many heritage railways have made.
"I'd especially like to acknowledge the contribution made by
readers of Steam Railway magazine, who have put their hands in their
pockets to the tune of £70,000 to what is, after all, restoration of an
The embankment at Gotherington collapsed in March 2010, while the
'Chicken Curve' part of the line was damaged by a landslide in January
GWR took over the route in 1981, following the removal of the track and closure of the line by British Rail in 1976.
From 1984, GWR volunteers have steadily restored the line,
building signal boxes, station houses and replacing lost signalling and