THE Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway picked up two major accolades at the Heritage Railway Association awards ceremony in Birmingham on Saturday night.

Both awards were for extending the railway line to Broadway and building a new station there, which opened last March.

The awards were the association’s award for large groups, and the Steam Railway magazine award, chosen by readers of the magazine.

The Steam Railway award was presented by magazine editor Nick Brodrick and the HRA annual award by Pete Waterman OBE, guest speaker and GWSR president.

Mr Waterman described the ‘incredible achievements’ of heritage railway and preservation groups throughout the UK, with many of the most outstanding represented at the awards ceremony.

He pointed out Broadway station as an example of what can be achieved by volunteers, where a brand new station following original Great Western Railway plans has been created so that it looks as if it has always been there.

GWSR chairman Richard Johnson, who accepted the awards, said: "This is a wonderful testament to the volunteers who have, over the past decade, recreated a country railway station in a beautiful Cotswold village, that saw its last train back in 1960.

“Not only that, the opening of Broadway station boosted the railway’s passenger numbers during 2018, by 44 per cent to more than 144,000.

“I pay tribute to every single volunteer on the GWSR. I feel very proud of all that they have achieved and to be part of the extraordinary unfolding story of the our beautiful 14-mile Cheltenham Racecourse to Broadway railway. It is a considerable honour to collect these prestigious Awards on their behalf and I am humbled by this national recognition of what we have achieved.”

The awards comprised a glass Steam Railway trophy and a large brass plaque for the annual award, which will go on display at Broadway station.