THE Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway is laying on its annual festival of steam over the late May Bank Holiday when eight locomotives will be running over the 14-mile Cotswold line between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway.

The event has become one of the most popular in the railway’s calender and attracted nearly 6,000 visitors last year, when the railway extended its operation to Broadway.

Among the visitors to the event is the sole surviving Caledonian Railway tank locomotive, no. 419, loaned by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, which is painted in a Perth Blue livery – bringing a bright splash of colour to the Cotswolds.

The other northerner is an LNER B1 class no. 1264, loaned by the Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. This design was developed during the second World War when there was a huge demand for new locomotives.

Neither engine has ever visited the GWSR before and are likely to be very appealing features of a very busy weekend.

The third visitor is making a return visit to the GWSR – the Didcot Railway Centre’s King class no. 6023 King Edward II - which was the star of the Back to Broadway event last year.

It was the most powerful express passenger locomotive to run on the Great Western Railway and the most powerful of its type in the UK. It is finished in the blue livery adopted by British Railways in the early 1950s for express passenger locomotives

Railway chairman Richard Johnson said: “If you have even the slightest interest in steam engines and trains then this is the event for you. You’ll find eight engines running, subject to availability, offering fantastic variety.

“Not only are all of our own fleet of five engines operating but the three visitors – two from the North – will add interest and colour.

“Tickets are available online at or on the day. There is plenty of free car parking at Cheltenham Racecourse which is perhaps the best place to start your day; and there is parking at Toddington and Broadway too."

Full information about the event, the engines running, connecting free bus services into Cheltenham and to Broadway as well as all other attractions can be found at