Steam Railway helps out Marchants

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) has helped out Marchants, the 70-year-old Cheltenham-based family coach and holiday travel firm, as the Covid crisis set in. The railway offered storage space for some of the firm’s 40 vehicles – and in exchange, the bus company offered some free ‘bus back’ advertising on some of its Optare Spectras.

The dramatic ads, which are on five buses in daily use, show one of the railway’s trains forging through the Cotswold countryside in a photograph taken by volunteer John Lewis and will be in place for the next 12 months.

Craig Robb, Marchants Transport Manager, said: “Earlier this year, at a time when the Covid crisis started to really bite, we had to take several of our vehicles off the road as business dried up. At the same time, the rent for our Cheltenham depot was doubled to a figure that we simply couldn’t afford.

“We needed to move out quickly but the GWSR – with whom we have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship – stepped in and offered secure space on the former garden centre site at their Toddington station.

“It was a really kind gesture which has made a big difference to our business. For the coach travel industry, two lockdowns and the continuing crisis has led many firms to go under but the GWSR is helping us through. Providing some free advertising space is the least we can do!”

Richard Johnson, the volunteer chairman of GWSR Plc, said: “We have a close relationship with Marchants and they have certainly helped us out on occasion. It’s a highly respected local company that we’re proud to be associated with. As the Coronavirus pandemic has stopped us from developing the garden centre site we were delighted to be able to help them in their hour of need.”

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