GLOUCESTERSHIRE Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) has almost reached its goal of raising £250,000 in its appeal to help pay the cost of repairing a landslip that threatened to close the popular Cotswolds heritage railway.

The appeal, organised by the charitable Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust (GWRT) has now passed £225,000, which means that the first big invoice for the works being carried out, nearly £190,000, can be paid. This is added to a substantial contribution the Trust had already made.

Because of the coronavirus lockdown, work on the embankment had to stop, although contractors have now moved back in as restrictions have eased.

Glyn Cornish, trust chairman, said: “The response to our appeal has been extraordinary and we have nearly met our goal – so if anyone has been thinking about donating then now is the time to do it!

“The landslip happened over the winter and had been progressively worsening to the extent that the railway had to call in contractors to stabilise the affected 115-year-old earthworks, half a mile south of Gotherington station.

"But the coronavirus lockdown meant that the railway stopped train services and cancelled special events so had no income to pay for the repairs.

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“Words just aren’t adequate to say how much we appreciate the really overwhelming response to our appeal – hundreds of donations have been made from just a few pounds to four-figure sums and at a time when many families are facing their own difficulties.

“Every penny is helping: not only to ensure that the embankment repair costs can be met, but to secure the railway’s future too.”

Details of the appeal can be found at

It is unclear when services over the popular volunteer-run steam and diesel heritage line can resume.

Mr Cornish added: “Although restrictions are easing on the national network, it is still too early to say when we can think about running train services between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway again.

“As a result, the railway’s Board has sadly concluded that it has no choice but to cancel all remaining special events this year – including the popular Santa Specials.

"I know this will disappoint hundreds of families but we just don’t know when we will be able to start operating again. And, given that many of our volunteers are in the ‘at risk’ age category, we may find that there are too few volunteers to operate a full service, never mind run events.”