Cheltenham Spa railway station is a railway station serving the town of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, located on the main Bristol-Birmingham line. The station is managed by First Great Western and is about one mile from the town centre.
The first railway to Cheltenham was the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway (C&GWUR), part of the broad gauge system, which was authorised by Act of Parliament in 1836, and opened between Cheltenham and Gloucester in 1840. In the same year the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway (B&GR) opened its line between Cheltenham and Bromsgrove, from whence trains ran on mixed gauge tracks to Gloucester. Both railways had virtually their own station in the town, although the principal one - with the title Cheltenham Spa (Lansdown), named from the principal road in the area - is the single one remaining, although without its secondary title.
The C&GWUR was taken over by the Great Western Railway in 1844, and the B&GR by the Midland Railway in 1846. Within the town there were three other passenger railway stations: Malvern Road, St James's and Cheltenham South and Leckhampton; there was also the Racecourse Platform, only open on Race Days.
Cheltenham Spa Malvern Road West Signal Box, and its "east" partner, possessed the longest namesigns on the GWR.
First Great Western operate an hourly Cheltenham-Swindon with two-hourly extensions to London Paddington. These services operate on the Golden Valley Line via Stonehouse, Stroud and Kemble. First Great Western also operate local 2-hourly Bristol-Cheltenham services (every other hour they terminate at Gloucester), all of which are extended to and from Worcester and some to and from Great Malvern in the north, and Westbury in the south, with some continuing on to Weymouth and Brighton.
CrossCountry serve the town with services to Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance to the south, and Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, York, Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow among other destinations to the north.
From December 2008, London Midland will be operating a 2-hourly (6 trains per day) Worcester to Gloucester service to fill the gaps inbetween the First Great Western services. Early online timetables on the National Rail ticket booking facility show that southbound trains are spaced to fill the gaps inbetween First Great Western services, however northbound trains have a 40-minute turnaround at Gloucester, leaving the London Midland and First Great Western services only about half an hour apart.