Stratford-Upon-Avon to Cheltenham

One of the desires of the GWR was to have a direct connection between Birmingham and Bristol. Until 1907 GWR trains from Birmingham to Bristol had to go by Oxford, Didcot and Swindon, yet another example of the "Great Way Round". The GWR could get to to Stratford-Upon-Avon from Birmingham (and then onto Honeybourne) and from Cheltenham to Bristol (although this did rely on running powers on the Midland line from Standish Junction south of Gloucester to Yate, where GWR trains transferred to the South Wales Direct line). The missing link was provided in 1907 with a new double-track line from Honeybourne to Cheltenham and the doubling of the line from Honeybourne to Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Today most of the line has gone, with only two sections remaining, and only one of those in regular use for the public. The section from Honeybourne to Long Marston is still in place, but only a single line which is effectively a siding, and a rarely used one at that. The other section is from Laverton to Cheltenham Racecourse which is the current extent of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire railway. This section is more secure and plans are well underway to extend the line northwards towards Broadway, with trains now operating as far as Laverton as of the beginning of 2012, although there are no station facilities open north of Toddington.

As to the remaining sections, the GloucsWarks Railway intend to extend north from Broadway towards Honeybourne, to meet up with the Cotswold Line.   The section north of Long Marston is currently used as a cycleway as far as the Stratford Relief Road, and has been subject to several proposals to re-open the line, but nothing firm has been agreed at the time of writing.

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