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Final funding plea for heritage rail repair

Work to repair a collapsed embankment on the historic Gloucestershire Warwick Railway is about to get underway despite funding falling £170,000 short of the full £670,000 cost of the scheme.

The heritage rail operator is appealing for help with to meet the cost of remediating the embankment to the north of Winchcombe station in order to reconnect the rail line. The work involved reconstruction of the failed section and the use of soil nailing to stabilise other parts of the slope.

“Ground investigations showed that the embankment is built of a poor mixture of clay and other materials,” said GWR chairman Malcolm Temple. “Not only that, it was built over boggy and unstable land and, as a result, it has been giving problems since the 1920s. That was less than 20 years after it was first built by the Great Western Railway.

“In British Rail days, a freight train derailed here in 1976 because of movement in the embankment so the line was closed. It is a problem we have clearly inherited from previous owners.”

GWR took over the abandoned route in 1981 and has gradually been rebuilding the line since then.  It has so far rebuilt over 19km of the railway, between Cheltenham and Laverton. 

“With the benefit of modern technology, we believe that the problems that have dogged the railway for almost a century can be overcome for good,” said Temple. “Once this embankment repair is finished, we can once again concentrate on extending the line northwards from Laverton to Broadway and, eventually, to Honeybourne.”

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