Ashchurch and Tewkesbury District Rail Promotion Group

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New website

Posted by ATDRPG Support Ashchurch station on March 31, 2017 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)
Our website is moving to After several years we feel the time is right for a change and hope to be able to provide more frequent updates and in a more accessible form. Don't forget to bookmark and follow the new site. If you have any questions please let us know.


Posted by ATDRPG Support Ashchurch station on February 28, 2017 at 5:20 AM Comments comments (0)




Welcome to the first edition of 2017 of ATDRPG Matters. Our next Open Meeting will be held on Friday 3rd March, 7pm for 7.30pm in the Elmbury Room at Tewkesbury Library GL20 5NX. Our Guest speakers for the evening will be Christian Wolmar, Broadcaster, Journalist, Author AND Nigel Harris, Editor of Rail Magazine. Non-members welcome.

Complimentary light refreshments to be served beforehand.



The last three months have been ones of progress and activity, with your committee remaining busy behind the scenes, continuing contacts with individuals/groups within the railway industry and other stakeholders. Some of the more important events were to date:

11 December – a new Sunday morning service began at Ashchurch for Tewkesbury station, 10.30 northbound to Worcester and 11.53 southbound for Bristol. Despite virtually no publicity, 10 people used the northbound service on the first day and 33 boarded the first southbound run!

11 January – Ken and John attended the latest WRUGA (Worcestershire Rail Users Group Association) meeting at Worcester County Hall, where we were given a presentation of forthcoming rail progress in the county and the hopes for future developments, including an hourly service south through Ashchurch.

17 January – John attended an RCTS presentation in Cheltenham by a senior sponsor of electrification for Network Rail. Whilst the predominating area covered was around Bristol, the presentation was notable for its depictions of the problems facing the railway in providing electrification to the GWR routes, it did however briefly mention wires between Bristol and Birmingham, albeit some years ahead.

4 February – our latest Footfall count was on a Saturday and figures continue to show ongoing support for services.

7 February – your group hosted its 5th Round Table meeting, attended by 20 important individuals from within the rail industry and local stakeholders. The three main threads of discussion were: a new service pattern of hourly throughout the day and half-hourly at peak times; the group’s proposal for changes at Ashchurch for Tewkesbury, potentially giving a third platform and greater flexibility on the route; and a desire for a non-cash ticket machine. There was general support for all to which we aspire and there was a momentum for the setting up of a group of relevant people to take matters forward. Your committee will be pushing this onward over the coming months.

Up & Coming-GWR are due, in the next week to install a bench on each platform. One of our long-held aspirations.

Sophie Taft (GWR) to visit the station and to view the garden and hear our proposals for extension, plus to discuss how the group sees the way forward. We will also seek potential GWR support for our 20th Anniversary celebrations.




There was much interesting discussion at the recent ATDRPG Round Table meeting about the need for loops at strategic locations (including Ashchurch) for fast express services to overtake slower ‘all stations’ and freight trains. With maximum train speeds varying between 75 and 125 mph, most of our passenger trains are capable of 90mph upwards and fuel economy considerations limit even high speed expresses to sub 100 mph speeds on most of the network, so it is the varied pattern of station stops rather than the maximum potential speed which looks like the major factor in limiting the potential of a pair of railway tracks to achieve a 5 or 10 minute headway between trains travelling in the same direction. For the present timetable through Ashchurch to work, we only need to provide space for 4 passenger trains (2 Bristol-Birmingham, I Cardiff-Nottingham Cross Country services and 1 Bristol -Worcester GWR) plus at most 2 slots for freight trains, empty stock or light engine transfers – so on average we could have 6 services, 10 minutes apart each hour in each direction. Cont’

Compare this with the track between Northfield and Birmingham (admittedly part of it 4 track and with a choice of routes into New Street at Kings Norton) which already copes with at least 10 passenger trains per hour (6 cross city electrics, our 3 Cross Country and a hourly Hereford, Worcester, Bromsgrove to New Street service) plus freight movements, or the London Underground system with trains regularly running 3 minutes apart (i.e. 20 per hour). Of course the Underground has the advantage that all trains travel at the same speed and stop at all stations all the time, but Ashchurchs’ 4 passenger trains per hour ought to be well within the capacity of the existing infrastructure as long as all rains run according to the agreed timetable. Instead of spending money on accommodating the failure of trains to keep to their timetables, the Japanese/Swiss/Chiltern Trains solution would be to spend money on infrastructure which guarantees right time running so that trains are presented at stations and intermediate junctions such as Abbotswood at the right time without fail.

I am not even sure that different calling patterns between Cheltenham and Birmingham are the problem. Non-stop trains on this route are scheduled to take 43/44 minutes southbound and 45/46 minutes northbound (presumably the Lickey incline explains the difference). Cardiff-Nottingham with up to 3 additional stops at Ashchurch, Bromsgrove and University average 43.7 minutes southbound and 45.5 northbound between Cheltenham and Birmingham, so as long as services start at least 5 minutes apart they ought to be able to keep out of each others’ way if they keep to the timetable. New trains and infrastructure may be sexy and headline-grabbing, but doing the simple things right every time with the existing tools is often the best solution. DEREK POTTER FEBRUARY 2017



Back in November I made a visit to Dorchester to see an exhibition of old railway posters. I travelled on the 07.05 from Ashchurch for Tewkesbury direct to Dorchester West station. Unfortunately, although the train is straight through, the type of rolling stock used (a Class 150 3 x 2 seat layout) is designed for shorter local journeys, and so by the time I reached Dorchester I was a little aching to say the least! Also, although the train is part of the service linking Bristol to the Dorset resort of Weymouth, no catering trolley is provided for any part of the journey. (Luckily I knew this in advance and so travelled well prepared with a flask of coffee and biscuits!).

I had arranged to meet up with a good friend and colleague with him joining the train at Bristol Parkway (having travelled from Swansea). In spite of the train consisting of four cars, which is its regular formation, on leaving Bristol Parkway it was full to overflowing, with standing passengers everywhere, and so it was only upon arrival at Bristol Temple Meads that my friend could locate me. Another interesting fact about this train is that although it consists of four cars from Worcester, two cars are detached en route to Weymouth at Westbury, a fact not indicated in the timetables. However, this is understandable as, since the train changes direction twice (once at Gloucester and again at Bristol Temple Meads), stating that “the rear two cars will be detached at Westbury” could lead to even more confusion, as the Gloucester to Bristol section of the journey the cars to be detached are actually on the FRONT of the train!

Arrival at Dorchester West station a pleasant surprise awaited us. Dorchester West is Dorchester’s secondary station, in spite of opening some years earlier than Dorchester South station. At my last visit the station was very dilapidated and run down. It has been well restored, and the buildings let as commercial units. Yet, in spite of Dorchester being Dorset’s County Town, the station is unstaffed and there is no ticket machine, leaving the conductor to issue a wide range of complex tickets on board the train. Worse still, on calling at Dorchester South station, which has a half-hourly electric train service to and from London Waterloo, we discovered that the ticket office there was closed during the afternoons as well. It does seem that train companies assume everyone buys tickets in advance and online, which effectively has no overhead costs to the company concerned!

On the return journey there were over 40 people waiting to catch the train towards Bristol. How a conductor is expected to check and issue tickets in the time available escapes me! Yet London and South East areas stations in the main are staffed from early morning until late evening with hardly anyone using the trains other than at peak times.

The exhibition of posters was fascinating and showed the effort put in, particularly during the 1930’s and 1950’s, by the old companies and by British Rail, to encourage people to travel and visit destinations. In particular the Great Western Railway, and the London and North Eastern Railway were very prolific in producing colourful posters promoting “Skegness is so bracing”, or using artistic licence to show how alike Cornwall and Italy were! Posters were produced promoting many inland locations as well, particularly places like Cathedral Cities.

Does anyone know if any were ever produced by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway or its predecessors, or even by BR to promote Tewkesbury? If not, maybe now is the time to persuade the modern Great Western to do so.


*Produced and Published in good faith by ATDRPG, as always please check all details before you travel. Contact details; web -; e-mail - [email protected]; facebook Tewkesbury Ashchurch Rail atdrpg. Thank you for reading, please consider the environment and redistribute. Rail related articles, letters etc. suitable for future issues welcome. Editors’ decision is final.


New Sunday Service

Posted by ATDRPG Support Ashchurch station on December 16, 2016 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Last Sunday saw the introduction of a new service, departing Aschurch at 10:30 for Worcester and 11:53 for Bristol Temple Meads. 33 people boarded the southbound train and 10 alighted. The photo below and others in our photo gallery are courtesy of Dan Day, Gloucester Echo.

91,000 passengers last year

Posted by ATDRPG Support Ashchurch station on December 7, 2016 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The latest figures show that a 4.1% increase in passengers using Ashchurch for Tewkesbury station. 91,000 per annum is the official estimate, based on ticket sales. More details here

Latest Newsletter

Posted by ATDRPG Support Ashchurch station on December 2, 2016 at 3:55 AM Comments comments (0)





Welcome to the November edition of ATDRPG Matters. This will the last issue of 2016 so therefore we would like to this opportunity to wish you and your family a Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

Our next Open Meeting will be held on Friday 2nd December 7 for 7.30 in the Elmbury Room at Tewkesbury Library GL20 5NX. Our Guest speaker for the evening is Richard, Lord Faulkner of Worcester introducing his latest book ‘Disconnected’– looking at lines /routes that have been lost and some of the political games behind the scenes.

Complimentary light refreshments to be served beforehand.




In the three months since the last meeting, there has been actual progress and promise of future developments. Your committee has remained busy behind the scenes, not least with preparations for a leaflet regarding possible changes at the station and, also, for the building of a shed/signal box at the garden. Here are some of the more important events:

9 September 2016 – the judge finally came to look at the station garden for ACoRP’s competition. A little late in the season but our bed holders had all worked hard to make sure that their planters were still looking good and he seemed suitably impressed. They are again to be congratulated on their efforts and continued enthusiasm.

29 September 2016 – John and Richard attended ACoRP’s Awards Dinner in Southport, to discover whether we had won anything from our garden’s entry. GWR had sponsored our presence at the dinner and the overnight accommodation and we are very grateful to them for that support. We were honoured to be on GWR’s table, along with Mark Hopwood, the company’s MD. We were pitted against 16 other entries and we were delighted to receive a Silver Award. The certificate for this is on show at the station and in our notice board at Cheltenham Spa station.

13 October 2016 - the footfall count was on a dull and chilly Thursday, but it was pleasing to see the numbers rising from recent counts and the day still showed numbers in excess of the official ones for the station. As several our regulars were away, for various reasons, it was gratifying to have two of our time slots filled by new volunteers. They all survived (!) and we look forward seeing them again. Perhaps this might encourage others to also take part in future. The next one is on Friday, 9 December.

16 October 2016 – four individuals leading the project to construct a shed in the form of a signal box, at the northern end of the garden, visited Oddingley box, on the Bristol-Birmingham main line, that was due to close two weeks later. Various measurements and photographs were taken to aid the project.

17 October 2016 – the first meeting was held on site at the garden, by the four individuals leading the signal box project, to discuss the practicalities and needs of the proposed project. The way forward was beginning to take shape.

Looking ahead – February 2017 –A Roundtable meeting arranged to meet with industry and other stakeholders.

3 March 2017 – the next meeting’s speaker has not yet been finalised, but we are working on several avenues for an interesting evening. Thank you.



Cause for Concern? We have received a "consultation document" from Cross Country Trains which details some significant changes to their services from December 2017. They propose to withdraw all calls on their services at Bromsgrove. This affects commuters who use the "split ticket" option for journeys between Ashchurch for Tewkesbury and University / Birmingham New Street. We shall be objecting to these proposals, as among the "small print" is the information that the 17.30 service from Birmingham New Street which is currently a 3 car train, will be just two cars, totally unsuitable for a peak hour commuter service from Birmingham to Ashchurch for Tewkesbury, Cheltenham Spa and Gloucester. More details will be provided at our meeting.


Even before the enormity of my revelation that the average train fare is only £5.47 (annual revenue £9.3 billion for 1.7 billion passenger journeys) has sunk in, the explanation has emerged – courtesy of ‘You and Yours’ on BBC 4. Apparently there is a conspiracy to bring down the Government and destabilise the economy by flooding the country with forged rail tickets. So not only can we not trust the currency to be genuine but the cut-price rail ticket bought on-line for a fraction of its true price may turn out to be a fake. According to the BBCs fake ticket expert, the forgeries look quite realistic but do not have the metallic strip which should enable them to be read at ticket barriers (no they haven’t got to Ashchurch for Tewkesbury Station yet). This should mean that holders of forged tickets are detained at the barrier where the deception will quickly be detected and the miscreant apprehended. However so many valid tickets also get rejected by the barriers that the staff who man them generally wave passengers through and the BBC reporter (who had of course purchased both a forgery and the appropriate genuine ticket before “testing the system”) was never challenged when presenting a fake for manual examination.

When asked about the revenue loss caused by forgeries, a figure of £200 million was suggested by the industry spokesman. If this is based on numbers of tickets actually inspected, we can reasonably assume the true total to be significantly higher since most tickets spend their entire life unexamined. The people behind the forgeries claim they are not doing it for financial gain but to bring the railway back into public ownership so we have to take them seriously. Clearly we must either move quickly to hologramed plastic tickets with iris or finger print recognition software, or do away with physical tickets altogether in favour of a virtual, online permit to travel which will start debiting your bank account the moment you board a train and only stop when you either get off or run out of money.

DEREK POTTER November 2016

Passenger Count/Information Day. The next scheduled ‘passenger count’ day is for Friday 9th Dec. when members and supporters will be in attendance offering group information and travel advice too.


***New addition to the timetable-come and join us***

On Sunday 11th December the new service from Bristol Temple Meads to Worcester Shrub Hill will be calling at Ashchurch for Tewkesbury station at 10.30. We are inviting potential passengers to join us on its inaugural journey to Worcester. Group Save prices would apply.


It is with regret that we inform you that since the last edition, the group has lost two much respected supporters.

Councillor and former Chairman of Northway Parish Council, Steve Cooper passed away in October. Always willing to get involved in any activity and support the Groups aims.

Mr Peter Kearney passed away in November. Peter played a major part in the campaign for the opening of a station for Tewkesbury at Ashchurch, almost 20 years ago, for that we give thanks.


*Produced and Published in good faith by ATDRPG, as always please check all details before you travel. Contact details; web -; e-mail - [email protected]; facebook Tewkesbury Ashchurch Rail atdrpg. Thank you for reading, please consider the environment and redistribute. Rail related articles, letters etc. suitable for future issues welcome. Editors’ decision is final.


Open Meeting

Posted by ATDRPG Support Ashchurch station on November 16, 2016 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Our next meeting will be on Friday 2 December at 19:30 in the Elmbury room at Tewkesbury Library. The guest speaker will be Richard, Lord Faulkner, of Worcester.

Hope to see you there.

Silver Garden

Posted by ATDRPG Support Ashchurch station on October 2, 2016 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

On Thursday, 29 September 2016, John Stretton and Richard Dunn travelled to Southport, to represent Ashchurch, Tewkesbury & District Rail Promotion Group (ATDRPG) at ACoRP's Awards Dinner. They were there to discover whether the Group had been successful in their entry of the station garden in the national community rail 'It's Your Station' category.

One of 17 entries in this section, ATDRPG were delighted to receive a Silver Award for their efforts in creating a vibrant community garden. This was a most satisfactory outcome after 3 1/2 years of hard work and is in addition to the constant highly complimentary comments received from visitors to the station, not least passengers and drivers of the locals trains! The evening was rounded off with very positive discussions with GWR over future developments at the station.


The garden was also 'mentioned in despatches' for the Gold Award to Tewkesbury In Bloom in the 'Heart of England In Bloom' competition.


The Group would like to thank all the various volunteers over the past 3 1/2 years for their support, commitment, grit and determination! This award is a credit to all of them.

Latest Newsletter

Posted by ATDRPG Support Ashchurch station on August 31, 2016 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Available here

Meeting on Friday

Posted by ATDRPG Support Ashchurch station on August 31, 2016 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Our next meeting is on Friday 2 September in the Elmbury Room at Tewkesbury Library, 19.00 for 19.30.

our Guest Speaker for the evening will be


GWR Regional Development Manager

Matt Barnes

Complimentary light refreshments to be served beforehand


Open To All - New Members Welcome

.*The Next Passenger Count Will Be Held On Thursday 13th October. Information Will Be Available All Day and Volunteers Are Needed For the Rota Please.


e-mail - [email protected]om

join us on facebook – Tewkesbury Ashchurch Rail atdrpg


New Sunday Service

Posted by ATDRPG Support Ashchurch station on August 31, 2016 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

ATDRPG have received the encouraging news that included in the forthcoming December timetable will be an additional Sunday Morning service. Leaving Bristol Temple Meads at 9.20 the Great Western Train service will call at Filton Abbeywood, Bristol Parkway, Yate, Cam and Dursley, Gloucester, Cheltenham Spa arriving at Ashchurch for Tewkesbury at 10.30 and onward to Worcester Shrub Hill for 10.51. The service will offer connections to Birmingham (arriving 11.37) and the North, Malvern and the Cotswold Line. The additional south bound journey will depart from Worcester 11.38, from Ashchurch for Tewkesbury at 11.53 arriving at Bristol Temple Meads for 13.09, offering onward connections if required. Cotswold Line Promotion Group (CPLG) have been pressing for this improvement for over five years The priority still remains to push for an improved weekday service and to reduce the disproportionate fares between Worcester and Gloucester.