The severing of Toddington left the railway with only one option: to temporarily move base to Winchcombe where the carriage works are. Therefore, the steam locos made their way by road to Winchcombe and have remained there since. Throughout 2012 the trains have operated over the remaining section, with the work on Chicken Curve being completed; thanks to heavy internal & external fundraising; about 2 weeks ago. The GWSR will however continue "as timetabled" between Winchcombe and Cheltenham Racecourse for the rest of the year. Toddington to Cheltenham will reopen for the 2013 running. So, in the Saxo, todays destination was Winchcombe. I had booked us on the lovely GWSR Fine Dining Train, operated by the company known as "Elegant Excursions". We were asked to dress smartly and joined the steam-heated train on Platform 2 at Midday, following a very wet sprint along the A46 and down muddy country lanes. We were given a glass of chilled Bucks Fizz and were shown politely to our Table for Two aboard one of the three Dining Cars.
The atmosphere was lovely. There was tranquil music playing, it was cosy, warm and very comfortable. The warmth of the train was certainly very welcome and was a stark contrast to the horrid, dreary weather outside. The train departed behind the awe-inspiring Turkish 8F 2-8-0 at 12:30, bound for Chelentham Racecourse. The meal was 3 courses starting with a Scottish broth soup and then followed by a tasty Roast Dinner and a large slice of Chocolate Cake with Cream. The meal was topped off with a cup of a tea and after dinner mint: very civilised! The 8F steamed effortlessly along the line as the passengers enjoyed the views across the Cotswold countryside from the coaches. Train Manager and Company Operator Robin gave an interesting commentary as the Turkish '8' chugged along and the friendly staff dished out the various drinks and courses.
|Maisie Choosing From The Wine List|
We left Winchcombe for home straight after the run following a very enjoyable trip. I felt it was very good value for money, brilliant food and a great atmosphere. I am very tempted to travel Elegant Excursions again in the near future. You can't beat a dining train! Thanks very much for reading folks. Best Regards, Sam.