Stratford-Upon-Avon to Cheltenham
In light of various circumstances, including suspension of services due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway has launched an appeal to raise funds to keep the line open and repair infrastructure damage caused by severe rainfall earlier in the year. The author of this site has made a significant contribution to this appeal, and would ask visitors to this site to consider doing the same if they have enjoyed this work, or have found it useful (Click here to visit the appeal page).
One of the desires of the GWR was to have a direct connection between Birmingham and Bristol. Until 1907 GWR trains from Birmingham to Bristol had to go by Oxford, Didcot and Swindon, yet another example of the "Great Way Round". The GWR could get to Stratford-Upon-Avon from Birmingham (and then onto Honeybourne) and from Cheltenham to Bristol (although this did rely on running powers on the Midland line from Standish Junction south of Gloucester to Yate, where GWR trains transferred to the South Wales Direct line). The missing link was provided in 1907 with a new double-track line from Honeybourne to Cheltenham and the doubling of the line from Honeybourne to Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Today most of the line has gone, with only two sections remaining, and only one of those in regular use for the public. The section from Honeybourne to Long Marston is still in place, but consists only of a single line which is effectively a siding leading to a storage facility. The other section is from Broadway to Cheltenham Racecourse which is the current extent of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire railway.
As to the remaining sections, the GloucsWarks Railway might possibly extend north of Broadway to Honeybourne to join the main line there. The railway has however decided that an extension south into Cheltenham on the existing trackbed is no longer viable due to encroaching developments that have occurred since closure.
The section north of Long Marston is currently used as a cycleway as far as the Stratford Relief Road, and has been subject to several proposals to re-open the line, but nothing firm has been agreed at the time of writing.
Stratford-Upon-Avon To Cheltenham Googlemap
Red lines/Markers - Lines/Stations currently not operating
Blue lines/Markers - Main Lines/Stations currently operational
Green lines/Markers - Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway line/stations currently operational
Most of the trackbed of this line is either still being used as a railway or relatively undeveloped, making it relatively easy to trace. The only major development on the trackbed is the first mile or so south of Stratford-upon-Avon, which as I see it, makes re-opening the line completely very difficult, if not impossible. This doesn't seem to stop suggestions that it be done, though.
[Please note that no rights of way or public access are inferred by this diagram].