SPONSORED by Heritage Railway publisher Mortons, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway’s Cotswold Festival of Steam is set to be the biggest and best ever – with BR Britannia Pacific No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell joining the action.
As reported last month, the Great Central Railway-based ‘Brit’ has been given an extension to its boiler ticket so it can run on heritage lines until December 31.
At the May 26-28 Spring Bank Holiday festival, which has the theme Give My Regards to Broadway, following the line’s hugely-successful recently-opened extension into the Cotswold tourist honeypot, Oliver Cromwell will be joined by three other star guests – blue-liveried GWR 4-6-0 No. 6023 King Edward II from Didcot Railway Centre, USATC S160 2-8-0 No. 5197 from the Churnet Valley Railway and GWR 0-6-0PT No. 6430 from the Llangollen Railway. For the first time, the railway will be able to run four passenger sets (including the DMU) plus a freight set.
The last Britannia to run over the GWR Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham route was also the penultimate steam-hauled train on the line, on September 4, 1965. No. 70045 Lord Rowallan hauled the 10.05am Kingswear-Wolverhampton service which stopped at Cheltenham Malvern Road around 2.45pm before proceeding via Toddington and Broadway to Wolverhampton. The next and final train was the 12.30pm Penzance-Wolverhampton, headed by the last surviving Castle in BR ownership, No. 7029 Clun Castle, which was specially requested for the occasion.
Read more in Issue 241 of HR – on sale now!