For the first time since 1979, rails have been laid into the county, marking a significant milestone in the extension’s progress towards the Cotswolds town. The line is now within sight of Broadway station, approximately three-quarters of a mile away.
Lee Alibone, the GWSR’s permanent way director, said: “Crossing the county boundary is a huge boost for the railway and especially for our volunteer permanent way gang. They've been working flat-out to lay countless concrete sleepers, each weighing nearly a quarter of a tonne, then clipping the rail to them and welding the joints together.”
In October, the railway took delivery of its third of three orders for brand-new steel rail, purchased from the British Steel rolling mill at Scunthorpe. With ex-Network Rail concrete sleepers already in stock, it has sufficient track materials to complete this year's work programme, getting ever closer to Broadway.
Mr Alibone went on to say: “We are certainly well on target to complete the extension by 2018.
“Given the progress we are making, you might expect us to finish the job sooner. However, the current share issue must reach its £1.25m target to ensure this, while there remains a huge amount of work to do before trains can run.
“But the work we have completed so far, to the highest professional standards, just shows what can be achieved by volunteers with good planning and determination.”
According to the railway’s Finance Director, Chris Bristow, the total amount raised by the share issue, launched seven months ago, now stands at over £880,000 and is on target to top £900k by Christmas.