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There is light at the end of the tunnel for railway
A VITAL project to repair a collapsed embankment on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) is almost complete.
Contractors have finished their work on the ‘Chicken Curve’ part of the line to reconnect the severed heritage railway just north of Winchcombe station.
Volunteers are now working hard laying track over the embankment to reconnect the two separate halves of the railway, which should be finished in the next couple of months. The collapse, which happened at the beginning of January last year, was one of a number of setbacks to plague the volunteer- run enterprise, including the loss of about £60,000 in revenue after heavy snow in 2010 and repair work to a similar embankment collapse at Gotherington.
A £1 million emergency appeal to fund the repair work on the Chicken Curve was launched by Pete Waterman in 2010 and has almost reached its target, with just £24,000 left to raise.
Malcolm Temple, chairman of the GWSR, said: “The generosity of so many people, organisations and the heritage railway movement in general is truly breathtaking.
I think that this fact has come home to a lot of people who want to see the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway succeed.
“Our disaster underlines that the embankments and cuttings on not just ours, but other railways including the national network, mostly date back over 100 years and are affected by time, nature and the weather.”
The appeal has also had a welcome boost from Steam Railway magazine which raised £40,000 from its own campaign.
“It’s also clear that many, many people have a deep affection for the line,” added Mr Temple.
“That goes for the wonderful appeal run by Steam Railway magazine too, whose readers have been extraordinarily generous.
“We will never forget that generosity. We were facing the abyss; now we have a bright and vibrant future ahead of us for everyone to enjoy.”
The GWR took over the abandoned route in 1981 and since then has gradually been rebuilding the line. For details or to make a donation, visit gwsr.com.