The glorious age of steam on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
Once upon a time there was a way of getting around the country that did not involve roads and oil. This was the age of the steam train and although there is a certain amount of nostalgia surrounding the whole period, it must be said that they were not the most environmentally friendly form of transport as they burnt coal like it was going out of style. However, it has to be said that when Doctor Beeching declared that regional railways were to be scrapped and replaced with a huge road system he was never going to be seen in a popular light again especially as it proved to be the wrong choice given the amount of current congestion on our roads. Steam routes that recreate this glorious past are a popular visitor attraction and one of the finest is the Gloucestershire Warwickshire railway. It might even encourage you to look at living in the county and a trip to one of the many Gloucester Estate Agents would be a great place to start.
The route is a prime example of what Doctor Beeching wanted to end. It links Cheltenham and Stratford Upon Avon and called at several villages and small market towns along the way offering a service to all that used them for work and social purposes. This was then all removed so that people could get stuck behind lorries and caravans on the A435 and A46. The track no longer runs it’s original route, it would be impossible to do so, and now terminates at Toddington but it still represents a considerable part of the route for people to experience what it was like to take this journey every day. It also follows a very picturesque route that can finally be enjoyed in comfort rather than from a car.
The line was originally started in 1899 and it was finished in 1902. It was set up to rival the Midland line, which is still used today. The plan was that it would carry onto Gloucester but this never materialised and instead it expanded upto Wolverhampton in the North and East to link up with the main route to Norwich. This ran fine throughout the years until the slow decline from 1955 onwards. The line was not used as much and slowly services were cancelled and stops removed; buildings were demolished. By the end of the 1970’s the line was gone and it would not be started up again, with the help of charity donations and private funding to the line we have currently today.