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Boost to extend Britain's railway heritage

Press Association logoPress Association 18/04/2017 Neil Lancefield

A steam railway line in will become "one of the best in the country" after receiving public funding for a three-kilometre extension, its head of finance has claimed.

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) raised STG1.25 million ($A2.07 million) to connect the picturesque Worcestershire village of Broadway to Cheltenham for the first time since mainline services were abandoned in 1960.

The project involves extending the line from Laverton and building a new Broadway station with a similar appearance to the original which was demolished soon after closure.

More than 100,000 passengers travelled on steam and heritage diesel trains on the railway last year, enjoying scenic views of the Cotswolds and the Malvern Hills.

Chris Bristow, the line's finance director, said the work will restore an important part of Britain's railway heritage and provide a vital boost to the area's tourism economy.

"Extending the track will enable the line to become one of the best in the country for steam services" he told the Press Association.

"It's hard to think of another heritage line that has the same kind of opportunities for future growth and development."

Bristow called for further investment via a share offer on gwsr.com before an April 30 deadline.

"We've got a major hurdle before the track reaches Broadway station as there is a high embankment that's unstable.

"Work is just starting on a STG400,000-plus project to remove inappropriate materials used for historic make and mend repairs, and stabilise the structure using modern techniques.

"It's rather more than we expected to have to spend, but the work must be done so that's why we welcome continued share applications."

The extension is set to be completed by March next year.

On Wednesday a steam train reached 100mph on Britain's mainline network for the first time in 50 years.

The Peppercorn class A1 steam locomotive Tornado clocked the speed during a test run on the East Coast Main Line between Doncaster and Newcastle.

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