RECORD producer Pete Waterman has officially launched a £1.25million share scheme to fund the 'last mile' of a steam railway's dream to reach Broadway.

The scheme, which already has realised £100,000 towards the total, will provide the capital required for Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway's ambitious extension to the village, putting it on the railway map for the first time since 1960.

Further ambitious plans could eventually see a connection with Honeybourne.

The capital raised will go towards buying steel rail and ballast to close the one-mile gap, fencing materials, drainage and culvert repairs and additional civil engineering work as well as complete the station building, platforms and platform furniture.

A new station is currently being built on the same site as the one demolished when the station was closed, while a signal box has already been completed.

The railway’s present limit of track is at Little Buckland, a mile short of Broadway. Success of this tax-efficient offer, named Broadway: The Last Mile, will see trains running in to Broadway station by 2018 and increasing track length to 15 miles from Cheltenham.

However, once finished, the railway has it long-term sights set on other major projects including extending south from the present Cheltenham Racecourse terminus into the town itself.

The line could also be extended a further four miles to the north, to meet the Network Rail North Cotswold Line at Honeybourne.

Mr Waterman, president of GWSR, told guests who had gathered at the Broadway site on Wednesday, April 6, that he was impressed with what had already been achieved by the volunteer-led railway.

“The £1.25 million target is entirely achievable,” he told guests including senior local councillors from Broadway, Worcestershire, Wychavon, Tewkesbury, Cheltenham and Gloucester. “Opening Broadway station will be the jewel in the railway's crown.

“It will not just bring a huge boost to the railway but to this delightful town of Broadway, which is renowned the world over as a tourist destination. And the train will be able to bring visitors from Cheltenham without their cars.”

Last year the 900-strong volunteer team at the railway was awarded the Queen's medal for volunteers.

At Broadway station itself, launch guests saw the remarkable progress that has already been made entirely by volunteers. Two eight-coach long platforms are substantially complete. The steel frame of the new station building is also complete while the footbridge span, from Henley-in-Arden, was installed only two days before the launch event.

Volunteer chairman of GWSR Plc Alan Bielby emphasised the importance of preserving the Great Western Railway heritage of the line.

He pointed out that the station building, while using modern building methods, would be almost indistinguishable from the original while other materials were either originals recovered from elsewhere, including the footbridge and thousands of bricks sourced from former railway sites or close copies of original designs.

The heritage railway operates over part of the former Great Western Railway Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham line. Most of these stations closed in 1960 and the line was closed entirely by British Rail in 1976 with the track and infrastructure removed three years later.

The embryonic Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway took over a derelict Toddington station yard in 1981 and had laid sufficient track to start running a modest 'out and back' train service from the station in 1984.

Today it carries around 90,000 passengers per year on steam and heritage diesel trains, making a significant contribution to the local tourist economy.

The share offer is organised under HM Revenue & Customs' Enterprise Investment Scheme, which enables UK taxpayers to recover 30 per cent tax relief.

Minimum investment is £100. The share offer document and an application form can be downloaded from the railway's website at