50031 Hood speeds towards Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 20 October 1979 with the 09:23 Paddington to Cheltenham service. A typical misty autumnal morning has not helped with the photography and the limitations of the Praktica PLC2 camera are a little obvious. However, this is the only decent record that I have of Hood in unrefurbished condition and in original livery (discounting preservation repaints).
50031 Hood calls at Cheltenham station on 17 November 1982 with the 1V76 09:20 Liverpool Lime Street to Penzance InterCity service. A very dull day, requiring an exposure of 1/125sec f2.8 on Kodachrome 64, which explains the limited depth of field. This was originally Cheltenham Lansdown LMS station. The GWR's station was St James, a terminal station situated much closer to the town centre. Malvern Road station was situated between the two, but that closed, along with St James in 1966.
This is what you call a real train! In the 1980s Class 50s regularly worked 'Jumbo' trains of fourteen coaches to the west of England, but here 50031 Hood has eighteen (yes, eighteen!) Mk 1s in tow as it passes Bourton on 21 October 1983. Unfortunately I have been unable to identify the working. Presumably a special ECS working (5Z??), as the working timetable makes no mention of any westbound loco hauled train at around this time.
50031 Hood passes Hinksey Yard on 8 February 1986 with the 1F31 11:40 Oxford to Paddington service. The snow lies undisturbed in the deserted yard in the foreground, and across the former gasworks site in the background. The strange building in the background is the then fairly new Oxford Ice Rink.
50031 Hood passes Farleaze (near Hullavington) on 5 May 1986 with the 3A12 06:45 Milford Haven to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans. This location has changed considerably since this picture was taken, and I don't just mean by the absence of Class 50s and newspaper trains! The farmer has removed the shallow ditch that can be seen crossing the field in the background, and a wood has been planted on right hand side of the line. Recently an electrification depot has been established in the field on the left, which will no doubt take everyone by surprise when it floods, as the field does every winter!
50031 Hood passes Rangeworthy on 4 September 1986 with the 1S59 07:25 Taunton to Inverness InterCity service, which it would work as far as Birmingham New Street. Had the Class 50s continued to be used on such trains, instead of being principally allocated to Network SouthEast, they would presumably have been painted into the then new InterCity livery. As it happens, 50031 never even got to wear Network SouthEast colours, instead retaining its increasingly tatty large logo livery until it became unusual enough to justify a complete repaint into the same colour scheme.
50031 Hood pulls into platform 1 at Oxford station on 25 September 1987 with the 1V69 13:10 Birmingham New Street to Paddington Network SouthEast service. Most NSE trains from London terminated at Oxford, but the 1M20 09:17 from Paddington went all the way through to Birmingham, and this was its return working.
One of my least visited Cotswold Line locations, at least on the otherwise heavily photographed Wolvercote Junction to Moreton-in-Marsh section. 50031 Hood passes Evenlode on 24 April 1988 as it heads up the valley of that name with the 1B33 14:00 Paddington to Hereford service. Not only was this the first down train of the day on a Sunday, but one that could be relied upon to be formed of a complete rake of Network SouthEast stock. Already one of my most photographed Class 50s in 1988, 50031 would go on to become the most ubiquitous machine encountered on the Waterloo to Exeter line during my frantic coverage of the route in 1991. Then of course being a mainline registered preserved example, it would later get photographed even more!
Very weak evening sunshine at Radley on 30 June 1988, as 50031 Hood passes through the station with the 1F83 19:20 Banbury to Paddington Network SouthEast service. At this time the station had not yet become the busy commuter location that it is now, and yet ironically unlike today, both platforms had road access. Nowadays there is no public access to the road on the right.
The very last of the evening light on 7 September 1988 nicely illuminates 50031 Hood, as it passes Wolvercote with the 1F44 17:22 Paddington to Banbury Network SouthEast service. Although most of the train is in NSE's new colours, all that Hood has to identify its ownership is a discreet red, blue and grey flash on the former headcode box. In fact the loco would successfully resist any livery change, and would even get a complete large logo repaint a few years later.
At the very end of Class 50 operations on the Cotswold Line, 50031 Hood passes Lyneham on 5 February 1989 with the 1B31 13:45 Paddington to Hereford Network SouthEast service. The Sunday service was very poor on the line at this time, with this being the first down train of the day!
50031 Hood passes Didcot North Junction on 22 June 1989 with the 1F44 17:20 Paddington to Banbury Network SouthEast service. Not only are loco hauled Oxford commuter trains history, but so are coal trains traveling to the nearby Didcot Power Station (which closed in 2011). A rake of loaded HAAs can be seen behind the train, heading around Didcot's west curve.
Just six coaches is certainly not much of a taxing load for 50031 Hood, as it passes Kings Sutton on 17 March 1990 with the 1V96 11:18 York to Paddington InterCity service. Just a couple of months later it would be allocated to even less strenuous duties, as it was moved to the DCWA engineer's pool, working at no more than 60mph.
50031 Hood passes South Moreton (Didcot East) on 29 April 1990 with the 1F08 11:30 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. A little less than a month later Hood would be relegated to mundane , only to be reinstated to front line (this time on the Waterloo to Exeter route) the following year.
50031 Hood passes through Radley station on 13 May 1990 with the 1F11 16:10 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service. This was my last picture of Hood working a passenger train in the Thames Valley. Two weeks later it was transferred to the DCWA engineer's pool, and I was then able to photograph it on , until once again it became a passenger loco, but this time on the .
50031 Hood passes Puriton on 2 July 1990 with the 6C55 14:37 Bristol East to Exeter Riverside departmental working. The unmistakable landmark of Brent Knoll can be seen in the background, and if you look carefully in the bushes between the hill and the Class 50, the rusting remains of the branch line serving the MoD depot at Puriton can just be seen. This line has since been lifted. The junction with the mainline can also just be seen in the background. It is probably just as well that this working no longer operates with Class 50s, as I would cover an awful lot of mileage traveling down to this line every available sunny day!
50031 Hood passes Cowley Bridge Junction on 16 September 1990 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 Manchester Piccadilly to Barnstaple 'Taw Retour' railtour, passing the distinctive half timbered New Inn, with its seemingly ever present (at the time!) yellow Volvo 240 estate.
50031 Hood brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 Manchester Piccadilly to Barnstaple 'Taw Retour' railtour at Gunstone Mill on 16 September 1990. Because it is running on the single track Barnstaple branch, which just happens to be paralleling the single track line to Meldon at this point, it looks like a conventional approaching train. This is emphasised by the headlight being still on! The lead locomotive is in fact .
50031 Hood passes through Lapford station on 16 September 1990 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 'Tor Retour' railtour, being a re-run of the previous May's 'Taw & Tor Tourer'. The train, which started from Manchester Piccadilly, is here returning from Barnstaple. Note the sidings in the foreground (since removed). These were retained for a weekly fertilser train.
50031 Hood attracts some attention as it runs alongside the alongside the River Teign estuary at Shaldon Bridge on 16 September 1990 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 'Taw Retour' railtour, at this point running between Barnstaple and Heathfield. This was the only full sun picture of the day, with several near misses, lots of cloud, and a little very weak evening light.
DCWA allocated 50031 Hood brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 'Taw Retour' railtour, as it slowly heads up the Heathfield branch at Newton Abbot on 16 September 1990. The lead locomotive (also a civil engineer's machine), , has just disappeared behind the bushes. In the background is the former loading point for the East Gold clay works.
50031 Hood brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 Heathfield to Manchester Piccadilly 'Taw Retour' railtour at Exminster on 16 September 1990. is the lead loco, and will take the train as far as Bristol Temple Meads.
50031 Hood passes Flax Bourton with the 6C55 14:37 Bristol East to Exeter Riverside departmental working on 21 September 1990. This loco had been a regular around the Oxford area until May 1990, latterly in the NWRA Network SouthEast pool. After eight months working on undemanding engineers jobs such as the one pictured whilst in the DCWA pool, it was to finish its career back with NSE, this time in the NWXA West of England pool. Even then it always seemed to appear when I was out photographing on that line, so it was almost a case of 'Oh no, not 31 again!'
50031 Hood passes Exminster in extremely poor light on 14 November 1990 with a ballast train bound for Exeter Riverside Yard. 50031 was allocated to the DCWA engineers pool between 27 May 1990 and 25 January 1991, before returning to passenger use, although from 1991 it was used on the West of England Line, rather than working out of Paddington.
50031 Hood just manages to find a patch of sunshine, as it passes Grateley on 20 April 1991 with the 1V09 09:15 Waterloo to Exeter Network SouthEast service. This was running over an hour late, and presumably because of that I was expecting something more unusual, as I distinctly remember being very unimpressed when Hood turned up. Very difficult to believe now, but I had got thoroughly fed up with seeing it all the time on my visits to the West of England line!
Fresh from its repaint at Laira, 50031 Hood works its first passenger train in its new guise - the 1O86 11:05 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. The location is the eastern end of Buckhorn Weston Tunnel, and the date is 25 May 1991. After a lengthy period working the route in progressively tattier condition, the pristine roof, yellow axle box covers and white wheel rims certainly make an impression.
With Eymore Wood in the background, 50031 Hood crosses Victoria Bridge, whilst en-route from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth on 7 May 1993, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. The 200ft cast iron bridge, which spans the River Severn, was opened for traffic on 31 January 1861.
50031 Hood passes Northwood Lane with a Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala on 7 May 1993. 'Tranter's 50th Birthday' is certainly an original, and obviously unrepeatable headboard!
This is one Class 50 livery that I never did see on the mainline. The blue roofed version of the large logo livery was only applied to 50010 Monarch, purely because Landore depot didn't have any grey paint! It only carried this colour scheme for a short period, during which time I never saw it. However, the blue roofed colour scheme is one of the liveries that 50031 Hood has carried in preservation, and so this was my chance to get a picture at last. Hood approaches Foley Park Tunnel on 27 May 1995 with the 11:55 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster Severn Valley Railway service.
50031 Hood emerges from Foley Park Tunnel on 27 May 1995 with the 13:30 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth service. The loco is wearing the non-standard blue roofed version of the large logo livery, as worn by 50010 Monarch for a short while in 1983 and 1984. As I never saw Monarch in that livery, this recreation at the Severn Valley Railway was most welcome.
50031 Hood is pictured at Kidderminster on the Severn Valley Railway on 6 August 1994 while GWR 2-6-0 7325 leaves the station with the 10:25 service to Bridgnorth. Hood is parked on the connecting line that leads to the Railtrack (as it was then) main line, which can be seen on the right. At this time the loco was painted in the variation of 'large logo' livery with a blue roof, which during the class's main line career was only ever carried by 50010 Monarch for a short while during 1983 and 1984.
1 November 1997 was an important day for followers of Class 50s, as it marked the first mainline run of a preserved loco, bringing the class back to the national network after a gap of over 3½ years. As, like most other modern image railway photographers, I had photographed what we thought at the time would be the , I certainly wasn't going to miss their triumphant return. 50031 Hood passes Rangeworthy with the Past Time Rail 1Z50 05:50 Euston to Plymouth 'Pilgrim Hoover' railtour. Hood had taken over from 87101 at Birmingham International. The fog was quite thick when I arrived at this location, but luckily when the train arrived the sun was just starting to break through. The English Electric 16 CSVT racket seems to have disturbed the local bird life!
50031 Hood approaches Tiverton Parkway on 1 November 1997 with the Past Time Rail 1Z50 05:50 Euston to Plymouth 'Pilgrim Hoover' railtour. This was the first mainline outing for a preserved Class 50. I certainly wasn't going to miss this, despite the fact that I had almost got fed up of seeing Hood virtually every time I went to the West of England six years earlier!
Looking stunning in the autumn sunshine, immaculate 50031 Hood passes through Totnes station with the first mainline railtour to feature a preserved Class 50, the Past Time Rail 1Z50 05:50 Euston to Plymouth 'Pilgrim Hoover' tour on 1 November 1997.
50031 Hood passes Cockwood Harbour in failing light on 1 November 1997 with the Past Time Rail 1Z50 14:47 Plymouth to Euston 'Pilgrim Hoover' railtour. This was the return working of the first tour hauled by a preserved Class 50 on the mainline. This explains why I decided to wait here for the train, despite 15:45 not being the ideal time to take pictures in November!
50031 Hood accelerates away from Pontlottyn on 21 July 1998 with the 2R05 17:05 Cardiff to Rhymney service. Hard to believe now, but the preserved Class 50 was the booked traction on the route for a short period during the summer of 1998.
Viewed from the other side of the valley, 50031 Hood passes Brithdir with the 1Z10 09:55 Rhymney to Treherbert service on Sunday 9 August 1998. Cardiff Railways ran these additional services on three weekends to tap into the heritage traction enthusiast market. Numerous vantage points were available along the valley, but I chose this spot to place the train directly below this distinctive group of houses, with a telephoto lens used to bring up the mountain in the background.
50031 Hood accelerates away from Ystrad Rhondda station with the 1Z11 12:33 Treherbert to Merthyr Tydfil (via Cardiff Central) railtour on 9 August 1998. This was a railtour with a difference, as instead of a long ambitious route with multiple locos, the Cardiff Railway Company hit on the simple formulae of using classic traction for three trains up the Welsh Valleys using this four coach rake. The other two workings were the 1Z10 09:35 Rhymney to Treherbert and the 1Z12 14:38 Merthyr Tydfil to Rhymney.
Class 50 halted by a barrel! Whilst working the 1Z11 12:33 Treherbert to Merthyr Tydfil special on 9 August 1998, 50031 Hood encountered this obstruction on the approach to Merthyr Tydfil. After a short delay, a couple of members of the train crew removed three blue plastic barrels from the line. A quick lens change enabled this view of the action, before switching back to a more normal focal length, as I wanted to include the highly appropriate in the picture.
A very appropriate juxtaposition! 'Hoover' 50031 Hood passes the Hoover factory at Merthyr Tydfil on 9 August 1998 whilst working the 1Z11 12:33 Treherbert to Merthyr Tydfil special. This was one of a number of special trains organised by the Cardiff Railway Company, taking 50031 to pastures new in the Welsh Valleys.
With Castell Coch nestling in the trees in the background, 50031 Hood passes Morganstown on 9 August 1998 with the 1Z12 14:32 Merthyr Tydfil to Rhymney service, a special train organised by the Cardiff Railway Company to cash in on the enthusiast market. Full marks for imitative!
50031 Hood arrives at Caerphilly on 9 August 1998 with the 1Z12 14:32 Merthyr Tydfil to Rhymney service. This was one of a number of specials run by the Cardiff Railway Company, taking 50031 deep into the Welsh Valleys. I'm not quite sure why the car park only contains one car!
50031 Hood crosses Coldrenick Viaduct (between Saltash and Liskeard) with the Past Time Rail 1Z50 07:18 Paddington to Penzance 'Cornubian' railtour on 18 July 1998. I just about got away with the sun being out for this shot!
50031 Hood passes the old creamery at Lostwithiel, as it works the Past Time Rail 1Z31 15:35 Penzance to Paddington 'Cornubian' railtour on 18 July 1998. There is almost a brief glimpse of sunshine here, but there was better lighting on offer after a dash up the M5 to .
Superb (albeit very brief) late evening lighting at Edithmead on 18 July 1998, as 50031 Hood heads homewards with the Past Time Rail 1Z31 15:35 Penzance to Paddington 'Cornubian' railtour. The train had worked down to the Duchy as the 1Z50 07:18 from Paddington. Quite obvious headcodes in view of the traction! At the time Hood had only been back on the mainline for less than a year, and was still a novelty and in heavy demand for railtours.
50031 Hood & D444 pass Dorrington on 22 August 1999 with a Cardiff Central to Shrewsbury special. The 1872 built Dorrington signal box is switched out, so there was no help from the signals as regards when the train was approaching. However, a pair of 50s give plenty of warning of their approach! The pair returned .
In preparation for their the following day, 50031 Hood & D444 ran light engine from Cardiff to London on 3 September 1999. The English Electric pair are pictured passing Coedkernew, with Hood doing its bit for the environment!
50031 Hood & D444 (50044 Exeter running in its original unnamed 1960s condition) pass some fine Victorian architecture, as they speed through Mexborough station on 4 September 1999 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z90 08:14 Reading to York 'Hunslet Hoover' railtour.
50031 Hood & D444 (50044) speed down the East Coast Mainline at Great Heck on 4 September 1999 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z92 17:40 York to Reading 'Hunslet Hoover' railtour. Extreme side lighting is giving some odd shadow effects to the front end.
431 (50031) approaches Droitwich on 3 November 2001 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 06:51 Cardiff Central to Blackpool North 'Nor' By Nor' West' railtour. The low sun was making it difficult to find a decent shadow free location. However, this was certainly not a problem , when the train neared its destination!
You don't get many Class 50s here (at least not in recent times)! 431 (50031) passes Salwick in atrocious weather on 3 November 2001 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 06:51 Cardiff Central to Blackpool North 'Nor' By Nor' West' railtour. This surprisingly rural location is between Preston and Kirkham. In pre digital days and with only ISO 100 Fujichrome available, 1/250sec f2.8 was required, so it was a good job that the train wasn't going particularly fast!
431 takes the relief line at Challow, as booked, with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 06:54 Cardiff Central to Ashford International 'County of Kent' railtour on 1 December 2001. It was looped in order to allow a HST to overtake, but as the tour was running over half an hour late, this was obviously not the originally intended HST!
A Class 50 in very unfamiliar territory. 431 (50031 Hood on the other side) is in third rail land as it passes through Selling station (between Faversham and Canterbury) with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 06:54 Cardiff Central to Ashford International 'County of Kent' railtour on 1 December 2001. There is a surprising amount of autumn colour still evident on the trees on what is the first day of winter (from a meteorological point of view).
50031 Hood passes Sevington on 1 December 2001 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 06:54 Cardiff Central to Ashford International 'County of Kent' railtour. Unfortunately this was running 45 minutes late, which has resulted in the shadows creeping across the track just that bit too far! Note the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (High Speed 1) under construction in the background.
431 (50031) & 449 (50049) pass through Appleford station on 13 April 2002, running as the 0Z91 09:24 Kidderminster to Paddington. I don't normally bother photographing light engine moves, but this view also shows the Great Western Railway pagoda huts that survived at this station until quite recently.
I doubt if you will see many pictures taken from this location, and no I didn't arrange to have all the trees cut down to open up the view! It requires a long walk from the nearest road to get to this spot near Urchfont (between Westbury and Pewsey) and it is only of any use late in the afternoon and is even then backlit. However, on 13 April 2002 that hardly mattered as it was a very dull day, although there must be some light in the sky to the west to highlight the loco and coach roofs. 50031 & 50049 (running without names as 431 & 449) head east with the 1Z92 16:40 Westbury to Paddington railtour. This was in connection with a steam hauled Birmingham to Paddington railtour.
50031 Hood & 50049 Defiance arrive at Oxford on 13 July 2002 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 08:10 Reading to York 'Yorkshire Excursion' railtour. A pair of blue 50s without a headboard makes an excellent picture, although the harsh mid summer backlighting is not ideal. The bridge in the background is the Osney Lane footbridge, well known to photographers since the days of steam.
50031 Hood & 50049 Defiance accelerate away from Hellifield on 3 August 2002 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 06:10 Salisbury to Carlisle 'Settle & Carlisle Excursion' railtour. Although looking smart in rail blue livery, neither of these locomotives actually worked on BR in this condition, i.e. refurbished machines in all over blue. They would have course originally have been in blue pre-refurbishment (without headlight, etc), but following rebuilding they both emerged in large logo livery.
50031 Hood & 50049 Defiance run alongside the Towy estuary at Ferryside on 10 August 2002 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z51 18:19 Fishguard Harbour to Paddington 'West Wales Excursion'. As the railtour lacked a traditional witty name, the headboard from a tour that took place a few years earlier is being reused. 66092 is on the rear of the train.
Viewed from the lofty vantage point of the Kennet & Avon Canal's Dundas Aqueduct, near Limpley Stoke, 50031 Hood & 50049 Defiance head north with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 06:26 Slough to Llandrindod Wells 'Heart of Wales Festival' railtour on 24 August 2002.
50031 Hood passes the site of Bredon station in the gloom on 16 December 2003 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 11:05 Gloucester to Worcester via Shrewsbury and Hereford 'Christmas Diner' railtour. Classmate 50049 Defiance can just be seen on the rear of the train.
50031 Hood rounds the curve at Cheney Longville, on the approach to Craven Arms with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 11:05 Gloucester to Worcester via Shrewsbury and Hereford 'Christmas Diner' railtour on 16 December 2003. Hardly a railtour in the normal meaning of the word, as apart from pathing stops it didn't stop anywhere. As the name suggests it was purely a chance to enjoy a meal and watch the scenery go by!
50031 Hood & 50049 Defiance pass Upton Noble on 24 July 2004 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z91 05:36 Guildford to Par 'Eden Belle' railtour. There was a bit of a Noble theme to the day, as prior to the train's run round at Westbury, I had photographed it passing .
50031 Hood brings up the rear of the Steamy Affairs 1Z90 05:35 Kings Lynn to Bath 'Royal Sovereign' railtour at Amen Corner on 25 September 2004, passing a typical group of Southern Region lineside cabinets. has disappeared into the bushes, as it hauls the train towards Wokingham.
50031 Hood & 50049 Defiance pass Kempston on 9 October 2004 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 05:55 Sheffield to Alresford 'Alton Observer' railtour. A pair of 50s on the Bedford to Bletchley line is highly unusual, as is the use of a complete rake of Virgin liveried stock! The train worked into Victoria station, where 60001 was added to the rear to haul the train back out of the station, and on to the Mid Hants Railway. The 50s then worked the train back, with 60001 being detached at Woking.
My first picture of the Pathfinder Tours 'Monarch of the Glen' railtour on 5 March 2005, taken from an the top of the hill at Glenfinnan known as Torr a' Choit, reached after a very energetic climb, which itself followed a ten hour overnight drive from Oxfordshire! 50031 Hood brings up the rear of the 1Z23 10:20 Forth William to Mallaig, as 50049 Defiance approaches .
50031 Hood brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z23 'Monarch of the Glen' railtour at Beoraidbeg on 5 March 2005. can just be seen at the head of the train, weaving round the reverse curves on the approach to Mallaig.
With what seemed like all the chasing photographers crammed on the rock outcrop overlooking Loch Nan Uamh Viaduct, 50031 Hood catches a little sun during a shower of rain as it returns from Mallaig to Fort William with the Pathfinder Tours 'Monarch of the Glen' railtour on 5 March 2005. Note the rainbow in the top right corner of the picture. The tour was now running as the 1Z23, originally booked to leave Mallaig at 12:36, but now retimed to 13:27 due to the delays earlier in the day.
50031 Hood rounds the curve between Loch Eilt and Glenfinnan with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z23 'Monarch of the Glen' railtour on 5 March 2005, with on the rear. Luckily the road closely follows the line here, and various excellent vantage points can be had with only a short walk from the car, which is ideal when chasing a railtour! This spot is particularly good, as the sharp curve means the rear loco can clearly be seen.
50031 Hood passes Lochyside, on the approach to Fort William with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z23 'Monarch of the Glen' railtour on 5 March 2005, returning from Mallaig. Although a little brighter here, the sun was only out for short periods during the day, and usually while waiting for the train, rather than when it was actually in view!
Catching the very last rays of the setting sun at 17:40 on 6 March 2005, 50031 Hood powers past Murie (between Dundee and Perth) with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z24 10:30 Fort William to Dalmuir 'Monarch of the Glen' railtour. Not a particularly inspiring location, but with the sun at such a low angle the main criteria was finding somewhere that wouldn't be completely in shade.
In the pouring rain that was to set the scene for all three days of the tour, 50031 Hood is just about to enter Summit Tunnel at Calderbrook on the Todmorden route across the Pennines with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z40 06:55 Birmingham New Street to Kyle of Lochalsh 'Whistling Scotsman' railtour on 26 August 2005. Obviously the 50 was going to be replaced with 40145 (at Bradford), otherwise the tour would have been called the 'Hoovering Scotsman'!
50031 Hood pulls away from Llanbradach station on 4 December 2005 with the 1356 Cardiff Central to Rhymney service, during Arriva Trains Wales 'Loco Hauled Farewell' day. 37411 can be seen on the rear of the train, ready to work the train back from the head of the valley.
I don't often bother with going away shots, but the snaking curves and changing camber of the train in this case makes a particularly interesting picture. 50031 Hood brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 05:58 Cardiff Central to Redmire 'Redmire Rambler' railtour on 25 March 2006, as it passes Harmby on the Wensleydale Railway. 50049 Defiance can just be seen at the front of the train heading for Redmire.
50031 Hood has just passed Harmby, and is about to pass under the A684 Bedale to Leyburn road, as it heads back along the Wensleydale Branch with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z28 14:20 Redmire to Cardiff Central 'Redmire Rambler' railtour on 25 March 2006. Unfortunately the weather was awful, but in this case it did allow this location on the north side of the line to be used.
50031 Hood is pictured near the quaintly named village of Ainderby Steeple on the little used Leeming Bar to Northallerton section of the Wensleydale Railway with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z28 14:20 Redmire to Cardiff Central 'Redmire Rambler' railtour on 25 March 2006. Note the vintage milepost and the poor state of the track (some sleepers had virtually rotted away).
My first chosen location for the Pathfinder Tours mammoth Scottish Class 50 'Orcadian' railtour was the small farm bridge at Bardrill between Blackford and Gleneagles, which considering it is an excellent location within easy reach of the A9 (seen here in the background), I assumed would be heaving with photographers. Not so! I was the only person here to witness the passage of 50031 & 50049 (masquerading as scrapped 50028 Tiger & 50012 Benbow respectively). This was Friday 16 June 2006, and at this point the train was running as 1Z27 06:40 Swindon to Inverness.
After over a two hour break in Perth, 50031 Hood & 50049 Defiance with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 06:40 Swindon to Inverness 'Orcadian' railtour approach Pitlochry on 16 June 2006. As it does for much of the way between Perth and Inverness, the railway runs close to the A9 here. A long lens was used here to bring up the hills in the background, and to be honest to clear an awkward bush in the foreground! Just before the train came the late evening sun came out, and as can be seen there is nothing on the right side of the line to cast shadows. Unfortunately I wasn't that lucky, and the only sun when it came was on the trees in the background.
Watched by a solitary disinterested teenager in the lineside picnic area, 50031 & 50049 (masquerading as scrapped 50028 Tiger & 50012 Benbow respectively) accelerate away from Kingussie with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 06:40 Swindon to Inverness 'Orcadian' railtour on 16 June 2006.
The marker lights in the former headcode box give an indication as to how dark it is, as the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 06:40 Swindon to Inverness 'Orcadian' railtour passes Slochd on 16 June 2006. At not far short of 22:00, even in Scotland it was virtually dark, necessitating an exposure of 1/500sec f2.5 at ISO1600. In the previous couple of hours the 50s had tackled two of the most fearsome gradients on the national network, the over six miles of continuous 1 in 70 to Drumochter Summit, followed by the 1 in 60 and 1in 70 climb to Slochd Summit.
Unfamiliar surroundings for 50031 Hood (pretending to be 50028 Tiger) on 17 June 2006. It waits in the pouring rain at Kyle of Lochalsh after arriving on the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 06:51 Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh 'Orcadian' railtour (50049 Defiance was leading). It would later depart (in only marginally better weather) with the 1Z19 18:00 Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness.
The avalanche shelter near Attadale looked to be a good vantage point to see the Pathfinder Tours 1Z19 18:00 Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness 'Orcadian' railtour on 17 June 2006. Unfortunately I couldn't see any way to climb up onto the top of it, so had to resort to this slightly lower vantage point half way up the bank on the approach to the shelter. 50031 Hood winds along between the A890 (yes, that really is a main road!) and Loch Carron, with Bad a Chreamha in the background. can just be seen on the rear of the train. Although by this time it had stopped raining, there was no prospect of the sun coming out.
50031 Hood arrives at Garve on 17 June 2006 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z19 18:00 Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness 'Orcadian' railtour. Traveling very slowly due both to the caution needed in approaching the level crossing and the stop required in the station to obtain the RETB token.
A very rare location for a Class 50! 50031 Hood stands at Wick on 18 June 2006, at the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z20 06:00 Inverness to Wick 'Orcadian' railtour, which had just arrived behind (masquerading as 50012 Benbow). That loco, and the first few coaches can just be seen underneath the iconic Sutherland and Caithness Railway train shed.
The landscape at the top of Scotland is surprisingly featureless, and there are very few good locations between Wick and Georgemas Junction. 50031 Hood crosses the low embankment near the head of Loch Watten at Quoynee with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z21 13:15 Wick to Thurso section of the 'Orcadian' railtour on 18 June 2006. There was almost a little sun here before the train came, but the grey clouds are a portent of the heavy rain that was to follow shortly.
50031 (renumbered on this side as 50028 Tiger) passes the oddly named, but descriptive settlement of Roadside with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z21 13:15 Wick to Thurso section of the 'Orcadian' railtour on 18 June 2006. This is just to the north of Georgemas Junction on the line to Thurso. Gorse seems to be a very common trackside weed in the north of Scotland!
Under dark grey skies and through the driving rain, 50031 Hood approaches the remote station at Scotscalder on 18 June 2006 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z22 17:00 Thurso to Wick and Inverness 'Orcadian' railtour. Scotscalder station serves no more than a few scattered farms and cottages and is situated amid very bleak moorland and rough grazing land.
50031 Hood (masquerading as 50028 Tiger) arrives at Brora on 18 June 2006 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z22 17:00 Thurso to Inverness 'Orcadian' railtour. Obviously station maintenance is a low priority here, as the up platform at least appears to be being taken over by gorse bushes!
50031 & 50049 (masquerading as long scrapped 50028 Tiger and 50012 Benbow respectively) cross Slochd Viaduct with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z23 08:15 Inverness to Swindon 'Orcadian' railtour on 19 June 2006. The weather was miserable, but at least the thick fog that I encountered on the A9 south of Inverness was beginning to lift a little. Note the Highland Stag emblems on the cab side of each loco.
Even allowing for the poor weather conditions, I was surprised I was the only person at this spot near Drumochter to witness 50031 Hood & 50049 Defiance pass with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z23 08:15 Inverness to Swindon 'Orcadian' railtour on 19 June 2006. Considering the location is a lay-by next to the A9, allowing chasing photographers to just stand next to their car to take the shot, I would have thought someone would be there!
Gleneagles station is a very grand design considering its remote location. Previously accustomed to wealthy patronage in connection with the world famous golf course, and formerly a junction for the Crieff branch (note the old platform on the left), it now sees very little use, but still retains all its original fittings. On 19 June 2006, 50031 Hood & 50049 Defiance speed through with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z23 08:15 Inverness to Swindon 'Orcadian' railtour.
50031 Hood & 50049 Defiance (masquerading as scrapped 50028 Tiger & 50012 Benbow respectively) head south round the reverse curves at Greenholme on 19 June 2006, going home after their marathon Scottish trip with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z23 08:15 Inverness to Swindon 'Orcadian' railtour.
50031 Hood leaves Kidderminster on 4 October 2012 with the 11:20 service to Bridgnorth, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. The loco's faded paintwork now makes it look very much like it did during its days as a allocated departmental machine.
50031 leaves the Severn Valley Railway's Kidderminster station in the rain on 20 August 2016 with the 09:45 service to Bridgnorth. This was the loco's first public passenger working since being painted into InterCity livery. No Class 50 ever carried this colour scheme in BR service, although had things worked out slightly differently, they almost certainly would have. Just before this livery became widespread, InterCity ceased using Class 50s, with the fleet instead ending up with Network SouthEast. The loco is nameless, pending its rededication as Hood at a special event on 17 September 2016, marking the 100th anniversary of the building, and the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the battlecruiser HMS Hood.
50031 Hood passes Foley Park on 17 September 2016 with the 13:30 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth service. Just over an hour earlier the loco had been rededicated at a ceremony at the Severn Valley Railway's Kidderminster station, where the Hood nameplates and ship's crests were unveiled. I was surprised that there were no other photographers here, as for a 13:30 departure this is just about the best location as far as the lighting angle is concerned. Also, I was extremely lucky to get full sun here, as there were some very large clouds all around.
50031 Hood just manages to catch a little weak sun, as it passes Eardington on 17 September 2016 with the 13:30 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth service. This was the loco's inaugural run after being rededicated at a ceremony at Kidderminster a couple of hours earlier. As this is one of the Severn Valley Railway's most well known photographic locations, I was astonished to be the only person in the vicinity, especially puzzling considering Hood's well publicised rededication.
The horse takes notice, as 50031 Hood passes Eardington on 17 September 2016 with the 15:40 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster Severn Valley Railway service. No sun here, but naturally there was as I was walking back to the car! This was the loco's first day back in traffic after having its nameplates and crests unveiled.
After taking a conventional picture of 50031 Hood passing with the 15:40 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster Severn Valley Railway service on 17 September 2016, I couldn't resist capturing this close up side view of the loco, as it shows off the 'what if' InterCity livery to perfection. Note the two different styles of loco number.
50031 Hood arrives at Kidderminster in failing light on 17 September 2016 with the 15:40 service from Bridgnorth. It is passing the Severn Valley Railway's recently opened diesel depot. Earlier in the day the loco had been rededicated at a ceremony organised by the Fifty Fund and the HMS Hood Association.
50031 Hood passes a fine crop of autumnal berries, as it passes Foley Park on 4 October 2018 with the 09:35 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala.
Looking fantastic in its non-authentic (for the class) InterCity Swallow livery, 50031 Hood emerges from Foley Park Tunnel on 4 October 2018 with the 14:20 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala.
50031 Hood arrives at Kidderminster on 5 October 2018 with the 11:14 service from Bewdley, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala. Not sunny like the previous day, but thankfully not raining like the following day!
50031 Hood leaves Kidderminster on 5 October 2018 with the 12:00 service to Bewdley, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala. This view makes an interesting comparison to the picture I took of the same loco, then in a more traditional colour scheme, .
Not a particularly good picture, but my only one showing 50032 Courageous in unrefurbished condition. It is pictured approaching Circourt Bridge, Denchworth with the 09:10 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington service on 20 October 1979. Whereas most railway locations tend to get more grown up over time, the reverse has happened here. Note the bushes on the left, which like the still extant ones on the right were situated next to shallow ponds, which presumably were excavated to provide material for the bridge embankments. The pond on the left has long since been filled in and the bushes removed. Note also the abundance of mainly dead elm trees in the distance.
The weak early morning sunshine is doing its best to break through the mist at Wolvercote Junction on 27 March 1982, as 50032 Courageous comes off the Cotswold Line with the 1A49 07:00 Worcester Shrub Hill to Paddington service. The line of trees in the background marks the course of the former LMS 'Yarnton Loop', a line that connected the Cotswold Line to the Oxford to Bletchley line. The line closed on 8 November 1965.
50032 Courageous takes a break from front line passenger work on 28 July 1983, when it works what is presumably the 6A50 13:56 Bicester to Morris Cowley Speedlink trip, seen here passing Hinksey Yard, near Oxford. I say presumably because 31233 which can be seen in the distance is also a likely candidate for that working! This was certainly a busy five minutes for freight traffic, as the 31 which is in the up loop was surprisingly let out in front of 56070 on a MGR coal train for Didcot Power Station which can just be seen standing on the up main line in the background. This then followed directly behind the 31. This kind of activity (to say nothing of traction variety!) would be unheard of today.
Two vintage modes of transport at Woodborough on 20 June 1984, one fondly remembered, one best forgotten! 50032 Courageous passes by with the 1A01 07:25 Plymouth to Paddington HST substitution. Despite having only 2700 hp to deal with eleven Mk1 coaches, instead of the HST's combined 4500 hp with just seven coaches, it was only twenty minutes late after nearly three hours of running. The other mode of transport is of course the Austin Allegro parked on the right. This truly awful piece of BL rubbish from the 1970s was badly designed and badly built. One of numerous poor British designs from the period which effectively opened the door to the foreign competition.
50032 Courageous passes the blossoming hawthorn hedgerows at Evenlode on Sunday 2 June 1985, as it heads north with the 1B40 16:10 Paddington to Hereford service. Class 50 timekeeping on the Cotswold Line was usually good, but for some reason this was running 50 minutes late.
50032 Courageous rounds the curve at Wolfhall on 2 July 1985 with the 13:40 Paddington to Penzance service. Note the embankment of the former Midland & South Western Junction Railway (closed inn 1961) which crossed over the Great Western main line at this point. There was formerly a pair of junctions here, allowing traffic to head south over the MSWJR from either direction off the GWR line, a facility that was used extensively during the Second World War.
50032 Courageous passes Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on a slightly misty 5 July 1985 with the 3A21 11:25 Malago Vale to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans. Just a couple of dead elm trees now survive on the horizon - the last reminder of the 1970s Dutch Elm diseases invasion.
In conditions that can at best be described as atmospheric, but more realistically as just plain dull, 50032 Courageous comes off of the Cotswold Line at Wolvercote Junction on 23 November 1985 with the 1A25 08:00 Hereford to Paddington service. The line of trees on the left marks the course of the Duke's Cut, a short canal that links the Oxford Canal to the River Thames.
50032 Courageous pulls out of Kingham station in crisp evening light on 26 May 1986 with the 1B56 18:07 Paddington to Hereford 'Cathedrals Express'. This was one of my favourite locations on the Cotswold Line in the 1980s, especially helpful when using a Pentax 6x7 with ISO 100 film, as the train's slow speed meant that a fast shutter speed was not required, therefore allowing an aperture that would give reasonable depth of field. Unfortunately this location is no longer accessible, and would not now offer a clear view anyway.
50032 Courageous passes West Drayton on 6 November 1986 with the 1F13 07:33 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. This photographic location no longer exists. The footbridge from it was taken was replaced in 2013, with the new bridge being slightly to the west. The problem is that this new bridge has an enclosed anti vandal cage fitted, making photography really difficult. Not that it matters, as this view has disappeared under a sea of electfrication masts and wires!
A grab shot over the station car park fence at Maidenhead! 50032 Courageous & 50003 Temeraire double head the 1F14 09:17 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service on 22 November 1986. Definitely not the most inspired choice of location, but pairs of 50s were not a common sight on the Western Region at the time (except on newspaper vans).
50032 Courageous has arrived ten minutes early at Oxford on 25 September 1987 with the 1F24 14:17 Network SouthEast service from Paddington. Given the limited number of stops and high performance of the Class 50s, early arrivals at Oxford were by no means uncommon. A classic 1980s scene, with Brutes stacked high with mailbags.
50032 Courageous passes Yarnton is soft evening light on 14 June 1988 with the 1F50 17:22 Paddington to Banbury Network SouthEast service. Not an ideal location, but this was many years before the footbridge was built at this location. On the plus side, it was also many years before the view was virtually obliterated by bushes!
50032 Courageous races past South Stoke on 27 May 1989 with the 1F75 17:00 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. I have not taken that many panning shots, as although the results can be good, with a real impression of speed, the use of a slow shutter speed for a moving subject just seems counter intuitive, and I am always afraid of messing it up!
50032 Courageous passes Hinksey Yard on 24 October 1989 with the 1F71 16:00 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. Ten coaches seems like luxury now, as nearly three decades later the equivalent train (from Great Malvern) is just half that - a Class 180 DMU!
50032 Courageous passes Waltham St Lawrence on 8 April 1990 with the 1F37 09:30 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. Courageous had only just over a month of front lime passenger work ahead of it, before being transferred to the sector, where it spent its last few months in traffic working engineer's trains around the Bristol and Exeter area.
Consecutively numbered 50032 Courageous & 50033 Glorious leave Oxford on an exceedingly dull 13 May 1990 with the 1F35 09:30 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. 50033 was restricted to a lower power rating, which explains the addition of 50032. It looks like the first coach is mostly full of Class 50 bashers enjoying the spectacle. By a strange coincidence, I had previously photographed another consecutively numbered pair of 50s (30 digits less - ) at this location, only in much better light.
50032 Courageous is still wearing the original version of Network SouthEast livery, albeit in extremely scruffy condition as it passes Willand with the 6C55 14:37 Bristol East to Exeter Riverside departmental working on 1 August 1990. At the time It was the only member of the DCWA fleet to wear this inappropriate livery. Just beyond the bridge in the background is the site of Tiverton Junction, where the branches from Tiverton and Hemyock joined the main line. The station remained open after the branch lines closed but was finally closed in 1986 and replaced by new station a few miles to the north close to the M5 called Tiverton Parkway.
50032 Courageous passes Gunstone Mill (near Crediton) on 16 September 1990 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 Manchester Piccadilly to Barnstaple 'Taw Retour' railtour. is on the rear of the train. Both these locos were DCWA allocated civil engineers machines at the time, which explains the very poor external condition!
50032 Courageous runs slowly along the Heathfield branch at Newton Abbot on 16 September 1990 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 'Taw Retour' railtour. is on the rear, hidden by the old goods shed. The ramshackle collection of buildings in the foreground has now been replaced by a modern industrial estate. I wonder what happened to Mr Video!
50032 Courageous passes the disused signal box at Exminster on 16 September 1990 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 Heathfield to Manchester Piccadilly 'Taw Retour' railtour. is on the rear. The headboard is being reused, having previously been carried by four months earlier.
50033 Glorious approaches Collins Lane level crossing, near Purton, at the very moment that the setting sun starts to drop below the horizon on 29 October 1983. The train is the 1B18 16:27 Paddington to Cheltenham. I particularly like the cloud effect, and the vintage telegraph poles (already redundant by this date).
50033 Glorious speeds past Little Langford on 8 March 1986 with the 1V11 11:10 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids service, diverted via Westbury due to engineering works on the normal route via Sherborne and Honiton. Although obviously there was plenty of audible warning of this train's approach, it was still a tense moment waiting to fire two cameras at exactly the right moment as it shot out from underneath the bridge!
The setting sun gives a golden glow to 50033 Glorious as it passes Claydon with the 1V90 14:15 Edinburgh to Cardiff Central service on 1 July 1986. The 50 would have taken over from an electric loco at Birmingham New Street, and as is often the case with these long distance trains, was running 35 minutes late at this point.
50033 Glorious slowly rounds the curve past Ascott-under-Wychwood's down advanced starter signal on 6 December 1986 with the 1A25 08:00 Hereford to Paddington service. As can be seen from the signal, Glorious would soon have to come to a stand to let the 2C68 09:23 Oxford to Hereford clear the single line section. This was not really a problem, as at the time this train oddly called to pick up passengers (if there were any!) at Ascott-under-Wychwood. Shipton-under-Wychwood church can just be seen in the background.
50033 Glorious was still accelerating away from Kingham station (just out of sight under the bridge), when I photographed it passing Churchill Heath on 12 April 1987 with the 1A25 16:15 Hereford to Paddington service. This used to be one of my favourite Cotswold Line locations in the 1980s, but unfortunately in later years it became totally overgrown.
50033 Glorious accelerates away from Ascott-under-Wychwood with the very last up loco-hauled 1A18 07:00 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' service. The date is Saturday 9 May 1987, and HSTs took over the service on the following Monday. The train is gaining speed after coming off the double track section of the Cotswold Line, which finishes by the signal box and level crossing which can just be seen in the background.
50033 Glorious races through Radley station on 16 August 1987 with the 1F01 08:45 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. The loco's bodyside is reasonably clean, but the front end needs a wash to get rid of the thousands of dead flies!
50033 Glorious approaches Dunstall Bridge, near Moreton-in-Marsh, on 27 March 1988 with the 1B33 14:00 Paddington to Hereford service. This was the last full year of Class 50 operations on the Cotswold Line, and I was taking every opportunity to photograph the locos, often regardless of the weather. I didn't imagine that three decades later I would be doing the same with the HSTs, only in this case, with many more workings, I didn't have to venture out on indifferent days, such as this!
The early morning mist is only just clearing as 50033 Glorious crosses Souldern No.2 Viaduct on 17 August 1988 with the 1V10 06:51 Leamington Spa to Paddington Network SouthEast service. This was the only up loco hauled service over the Chiltern Line at the time. Although in theory the sun should have been well up by 07:25 at this time of year, it was only shining very weakly through the mist.
50033 Glorious passes the now notorious level crossing at Ufton Nervet on 1 October 1988 with the 1A40 10:25 Paignton to Paddington service. This train was booked to run non-stop between Exeter and London. Although clearly an InterCity service, this train regularly used a rake of Network SouthEast liveried Mk1s. No way can Paignton be classed as being in the south east!
50033 Glorious just catches the last of the afternoon sun, as it arrives at Kingham station on 2 October 1988 with the 1A67 16:15 Hereford to Paddington service. As often seemed to be the case around this time, the entire train is made up of first class Mk2 air-con stock.
A slightly different angle on a familiar location. A head on view of 50033 Glorious leaving Oxford station on 21 October 1988 with the 1F35 09:25 non-stop service to Paddington. The area to the north of the station is still shrouded in autumnal fog.
A fine display of autumn colours at South Moreton (Didcot East) on 16 November 1988. 50033 Glorious heads towards the capital with the 1F55 13:00 Oxford to Paddington. The ARC stone empties seen disappearing into the distance is the 6V17 10:00 Allington to Stoke Gifford, hauled by . The poor technical quality of this picture is due to my brief experimentation with colour negative film. I reasoned that in a Pentax 6x7 it would be OK. Despite being a professional film (Fujicolor NSP160) the results from the big negative are not as good as 35mm Kodachrome!
50033 Glorious passes the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, on 18 March 1989 with the BR InterCity 08:30 Paddington to Weston-super-Mare 'Avalon' railtour. Admittedly this was a miserably dull day, but it seems that very few others photographers went out to see it, as to date I have not seen any other pictures, or indeed any mention of it, other than the notice in Rail magazine at the time.
50033 Glorious passes Waltham St Lawrence on 2 June 1989 with the 1F21 07:00 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. This passed just five minutes after another large logo livered Class 50 - , working the 1F17 07:19 Didcot to Paddington.
50033 Glorious pulls out of Oxford station on Sunday 23 July 1989 with the 1F35 09:30 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. Supposedly this was booked for a double header, using the locos off the previous day's 1F82 21:00 Paddington to Oxford, and 1F84 22:15 Paddington to Oxford. No such luck on this day, but at least 50033's tatty large logo livery made a change from the ever advancing tide of NSE red, white and blue!
Snowplough fitted 50033 Glorious passes Cholsey on 18 February 1990 with the 1F78 14:45 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service. At the time I knew that the Class 50s only had a few more months left in traffic in the Thames Valley, but I would never have imagined that a quarter of a century later this location would itself become history, at least from a photographic point of view. There was certainly no prospect in the 1990s of the Great Western Mainline ever being electrified, but in 2015 the masts are already despoiling this view.
50033 Glorious (with its nameplate cunningly repositioned to read Glorious Network SouthEast) speeds past Iver on 22 February 1990 with the 08:20 Exeter St Davids to Paddington InterCity service. This train ran on a bizarre selection of dates. Every Monday, but a random selection of other days of the week throughout the winter timetable. At the time in the Thames Valley there was a steady procession of Class 50s on NSE stock and Class 47s on InterCity stock, but here we have the wrong traction for the stock!
50033 Glorious passes White Waltham on 8 April 1990 with the 1F45 11:30 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. With the fast lines closed for Sunday engineering work, everything was using the relief lines, which was much better from a photographic point of view. The houses in the background run along the delightfully named Cherry Garden Lane, which became a no through road after the building of White Waltham Airfield in 1928.
50033 Glorious passes through Radley station on 1 May 1990 with the 1F66 17:48 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service. Note the careful positioning of the nameplate so that it reads Glorious Network SouthEast! This was shortly before a tall radio mast was positioned right in the foreground of this view, completely ruining the picture.
50033 Glorious passes Baverstock on 6 July 1991 with the late running 1V09 09:15 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service. The footpath crossing seen here links the remote St Edith's church at Baverstock with the houses on the B3089. This section of the West of England line was singled in 1967.
50033 Glorious arrives at Crewkerne station on 6 July 1991 with the 1O38 14:22 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. The abandoned platform in the foreground clearly shows that this was formerly double track.
50033 Glorious passes Worting Junction on 29 July 1991 with the 1O31 06:11 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. Although there had been earlier trains heading to London from Salisbury, this was the first train of the day to travel from Devon.
This is either a very lucky passing shot, or a partially ruined picture, depending on your point of view! 50033 Glorious passes East Grimstead on 10 September 1991 with the 5R03 14:00 Eastleigh to Salisbury ECS. This was prior to working the 1L18 15:13 Salisbury to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. Heading in the opposite direction is with the 7O83 12:03 Whatley Quarry to Fareham ARC stone.
50033 Glorious passes St Dennis Junction en-route to Newquay with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z37 00:30 Manchester Piccadilly to Newquay 'Valiant Thunderer' railtour on 23 November 1991. The sidings on the right are the truncated remains of the Meledor Mill branch. Out of sight round the corner in the gorse of Tregoss Moor, were on the rear of the train (hence the tour's name).
50033 Glorious brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z37 14:20 Newquay to Manchester Piccadilly 'Valiant Thunderer' railtour at Tregoss Moor on 23 November 1991. The lead locomotives, have already disappeared underneath the B3274 Roche to Tregonetha road bridge.
Still going strong when virtually all the rest of the class had been withdrawn, 50033 Glorious arrives at Salisbury on 19 March 1992 with the 1L05 10:00 Waterloo to Salisbury Network SouthEast service. With most of the trains now in the hands of Class 47/7s, it would only be a few short weeks before 50s were ousted completely from the route.
50033 Glorious & D400 pass Duffryn on 4 April 1992 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 06:05 Manchester Piccadilly to Ebbw Vale 'Hoovering Druid' railtour. Unfortunately the sunshine did not last, and the Welsh Valleys were negotiated in thick cloud.
50033 Glorious & D400 pass Pencoed on 4 April 1992 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 06:05 Manchester Piccadilly to Ebbw Vale 'Hoovering Druid' railtour. The photo is taken from the new roundabout on the A473. The old road and bridge can be seen in the background.
50033 Glorious & D400 head up Cwm Garw at Tylagwyn on 4 April 1992 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 06:05 Manchester Piccadilly to Ebbw Vale 'Hoovering Druid' railtour. Here the line is sandwiched between the A4064 Llangeinor to Pontycymer road and the Afon Garw. This section of line closed a few years later, and the track here is presently being overtaken by vegetation.
50033 Glorious & D400 pass Pant-y-Gog on 4 April 1992 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 06:05 Manchester Piccadilly to Ebbw Vale 'Hoovering Druid' railtour. The train is heading for Pontycymer, at the head of the valley. can just be seen on the rear of the train.
50033 Glorious & D400 stand at Pontycymer on 4 April 1992, having just arrived with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 06:05 Manchester Piccadilly to Ebbw Vale 'Hoovering Druid' railtour. This was the end of the freight only line from Tondu, although originally the line continued for another mile to Blaengarw Colliery. Much has changed in this view. The track the locos are standing on has been lifted, and a tennis court now stands where the first coaches are. However, the fledgling Garw Valley Railway preservation group has a base a short distance past the large white industrial building. The chapel and houses on the right have also been demolished.
A brief burst of sunshine just manages to light up the front of the train, as 50033 Glorious & D400 pass Aberthaw on 4 April 1992 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 06:05 Manchester Piccadilly to Ebbw Vale 'Hoovering Druid' railtour. can just be seen on the rear of the train.
An almost aerial view of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 06:05 Manchester Piccadilly to Ebbw Vale 'Hoovering Druid' railtour at Aberbeeg on 4 April 1992, as 50033 Glorious & D400 head up the valley towards Ebbw Vale. The area of wasteland on the right was once an extensive yard, with many sidings serving the numerous collieries in the area.
50033 Glorious & D400 round the sharp curve at Aberbeeg on 4 April 1992 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 06:05 Manchester Piccadilly to Ebbw Vale 'Hoovering Druid' railtour. This was formerly a junction, with a line going straight on under the bridge above the third coach, to Abertillery, and originally, Brynmawr.
The photographers get their pictures of 50033 Glorious & 50007 Sir Edward Elgar, as they pass through Church Fenton station on 7 November 1992 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z42 15:32 York to Eastleigh 'Minster Marauder' railtour.
8,100 hp attacks the Lickey Incline! 50033 Glorious, D400 & 50007 Sir Edward Elgar storm past Vigo on 5 June 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z41 05:30 Minehead to York 'Bishops Triple' railtour. Sir Edward Elgar was left at York, leaving to return with the then slightly misnamed tour. The West Somerset Railway section of the train was worked by LMS 2-8-0 8F 48773 in the morning, and Hymek D7018 on the return, arriving back at Minehead after midnight.
50033 Glorious & D400 pass through the semi-derelict Okehampton station on 25 September 1993 with the BR sponsored Meldon Quarry to Plymouth 'Atlantic Coast Express' railtour. Still very much in use by ballast trains, the well maintained line on which the 50s are travelling contrasts markedly with the disused track in the yard. The rusty double slip certainly adds interest to the scene.
50033 Glorious & D400 race past Exminster on 25 September 1993 with the BR sponsored Meldon Quarry to Plymouth 'Atlantic Coast Express' railtour. A featherweight load for a pair of Class 50s (or even a single one!), this train used the stock off a service relief train worked in from Paddington by 47484. Exeter can just be seen in the background, beyond the trees.
A location that I had always been impressed by from various railway publications, was the view from the field overlooking Bodmin Parkway station. Unfortunately I left it a little late to get a picture of a Class 50 at this classic location. This was my final chance to get the shot, and despite the difficult (or atmospheric!) lighting, I did manage the added bonus of three Class 50s in the picture! 50033 Glorious & 50007 Sir Edward Elgar pull away from the station with the BR InterCity 1Z50 16:15 Penzance to Plymouth 'Royal Duchy' railtour on 26 September 1993. By special arrangement 50042 Triumph stands in the Bodmin & Wenford Railway's bay platform with a connecting service.
Lazy Bones at Britannia Crossing, on the River Dart. Not the nickname for 50033 Glorious, but the name of the boat in the centre of the picture! Glorious approaches Britannia Crossing in superb autumnal light on 16 October 1993 with an unlikely looking freight train - the 14:25 Paignton to Kingswear, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Class 50 event.
50033 Glorious & D400 pull out of Churston station on 16 October 1993 with the 15:45 Kingswear to Paignton service, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Class 50 Event. Upon arrival at Paignton they would head back to London with an . On the right of this picture is Churston's resident Class 03 - .
After travelling down to the West Country for the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Class 50 Event on 16 October 1993, 50033 Glorious & D400 returned to London with an InterCity Paignton to Paddington special, seen here passing Aller, lit by the setting sun. The bridge from which this picture was taken has now been demolished.
50033 Glorious & 50007 Sir Edward Elgar pass over the summit of the Lickey Incline at Blackwell on 30 October 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z44 06:35 Bristol Temple Meads to Seaforth Docks 'Merseyman' railtour. Despite having just conquered the grueling gradient, they weren't going that slowly, and 08:25 on a dark October morning was pushing the limit of what could be taken on Fujichrome 100. This picture was taken with Canon's top of the range 1970s camera, the 'built like a tank' F1 with a 50mm lens at 1/500sec f1.4.
With the Granada TV studios dominating the background, 50033 Glorious & 50007 Sir Edward Elgar pass Ordsall Lane Junction, Salford on 30 October 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z44 06:35 Bristol Temple Meads to Seaforth Docks 'Merseyman' railtour. can just be seen on the rear of the train. Between 1992 and 1994, the remaining three Class 50s (the other being D400) were regularly used on railtours to various parts of the country, this being the 'railtour only' period between the end of regular passenger work in May 1992 and total withdrawal in March 1994.
50033 Glorious & 50007 Sir Edward Elgar cross the River Weaver at Frodsham on 30 October 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z44 06:35 Bristol Temple Meads to Seaforth Docks 'Merseyman' railtour. Unfortunately the earlier good weather had disappeared, and the blustery conditions had prevented the hoped for reflection.
Apologies for the hackneyed location, but Class 50s haven't been at all common here since the early 1970s. 50033 Glorious & 50007 Sir Edward Elgar pass Winwick on 30 October 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z44 16:23 Seaforth Docks to Bristol Temple Meads 'Merseyman' railtour. It is an appropriate choice of location, as the loco's birthplace (English Electric's Vulcan Foundry) can just be seen to the right of the pylon above 50007.
In typical Settle & Carlisle weather, with the clouds hanging low over the fells, D433 (50033) & D400 (50050) cross Smardale Viaduct with the 1Z42 Class 40 Appeal 06:58 Birmingham New Street to Glasgow Central 'Midland Scotsman' railtour on 5 February 1994. This was one of numerous Class 50 hauled railtours in early 1994, just before the class was finally withdrawn from traffic.
50033 Glorious & 50007 Sir Edward Elgar head west along the Great Western Mainline at White Waltham on 19 February 1994, as they work the Class 40 Appeal Crewe to Exeter St Davids 'Class 50 Western Memorial' railtour. The reversal at Paddington easily allowed enough time to get to this location, after initially seeing the tour at .
50033 Glorious crosses Tregoss Moor on the early morning of 19 March 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 21:15 York to Penzance 'Cornish Caper' railtour. The train is returning from Newquay. The severe hump in the track is where the line crosses the A30 Bodmin to Redruth road. This severe change of gradient, along with an equally sharp curve, is virtually hiding 50050 Fearless & 50007 Sir Edward Elgar on the rear of the train.
I don't normally take going away shots, but with an archetypal derelict Cornish tin mine in the background, I couldn't resist this one, despite the loco being veiled in its own exhaust. 50033 Glorious brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 21:15 York to Penzance 'Cornish Caper' railtour at Scorrier on 19 March 1994. are the lead locos.
50033 Glorious hugs the coastline at Carbis Bay, as it heads for St Ives on a very cold and dull 19 March 1994. It is working the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 21:15 York to Penzance 'Cornish Caper' railtour. are out of sight around the corner on the rear of the train.
Enthusiasts get their pictures of 50033 Glorious & in the rain at Penzance on 19 March 1994, after the loco's arrival with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 'Cornish Caper' railtour. This tour had started at York the previous evening, and had visited both the Newquay and St Ives branches.
50033 Glorious & 50050 Fearless sweep round the reverse curves at Buckshead (near Truro) with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 (naturally!) 'Cornish Caper' railtour on 19 March 1994, just one week away from their final railtour on the national network. This mammoth tour had left York the previous evening at 21:15 and traveled as far as Bristol Temple Meads behind two different 47s (47716 to Birmingham New Street and then 47503 onwards). 50007 Sir Edward Elgar & 50050 Fearless then took over for the run to Cornwall, where 50033 Glorious was added to top'n'tail the train over the Newquay and St Ives branches, leaving the immaculate large logo pair to work the tour back to York.
After a completely dull day, a little weak sun finally struggles to break through the clouds as 50033 Glorious & 50050 Fearless pass Cockwood Harbour on 19 March 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 13:10 Penzance to York 'Cornish Caper' railtour. This was just one week before the final BR Class 50 railtour. Both locomotives had been repainted into large logo livery especially for these farewell tours.
50033 Glorious is in unaccustomed territory as it arrives at Scarborough on 20 March 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1G50 12:51 York to Scarborough 'Glorious Sunset' railtour. This was officially its last day in traffic, before being moved to the National Railway Museum. Although Falsgrave signal box still survives, colour lights have now replaced the impressive signal gantry seen here.
50033 Glorious pictured in unfamiliar surrounds at Scarborough on 20 March 1994, having arrived with the Pathfinder Tours 1G50 12:51 York to Scarborough 'Glorious Sunset' railtour. Unfortunately it was not a very glorious sunset, as the loco was destined for the National Railway Museum. They did not take very good care of the loco, and it deteriorated considerably whilst in their charge. Thankfully it has now been rescued again.
50033 Glorious passes Seamer West Junction in miserable weather on 20 March 1994 with its final working on the national network - the Pathfinder Tours 1G50 14:45 Scarborough to York 'Glorious Sunset' railtour. There was a lot of ill feeling at the time, as this fully operational loco was handed over to the National Railway Museum, who then sadly neglected it for many years.
50033 Glorious approaches Foley Park Tunnel on 4 October 2018 with the 09:29 Bewdley to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala. For £5 visitors to the gala could write whatever slogan they fancied on the side of the undercoat covered loco, to raise money for its repaint. As this is near the start of the gala, there is only a little writing on the loco in this picture. It would look a lot different towards the end of the event!
50033 Glorious passes Foley Park on 4 October 2018 with the 10:15 Kidderminster to Bewdley service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala. Glorious last worked a passenger train in 2004, but prior to that it was famous for being one if the last three railtour dedicated locos on the national network, which was then followed by a shameful period when it was sadly neglected whilst in the 'care' of the National Railway Museum.
50033 Glorious passes Foley Park on 4 October 2018 with the 11:14 Bewdley to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala. The loco's unfinished state even extends to missing roof hatches, with the top of the English Electric 16 CSVT engine clearly visible!
With the twin peaks of Clee Hill dominating the background, 50033 Glorious approaches Foley Park Tunnel on 4 October 2018 with the 14:44 Bewdley to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala. The four coach train neatly fits in the gap between the trees. I couldn't resist taking of the short train as it got nearer.
A side view of the 14:44 Bewdley to Kidderminster service, as it approaches Foley Park Tunnel on 4 October 2018, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala, led by 50033 Glorious. A few seconds I had taken a more conventional shot, with Clee Hill in the background.
A loco that received a lot of attention at the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala was 50033 Glorious, not just because it was running in undercoat, but because for a fiver, visitors could decorate the loco with whatever message they chose to raise money for its repaint. The bizarre looking apparition is picture emerging from Foley Park Tunnel on 4 October 2018 with the 15:30 Kidderminster to Bewdley service.
50033 Glorious catches the late afternoon sun, as it passes Bewdley's down distant signal, shortly after emerging from Foley Park Tunnel on 4 October 2018 with the 17:15 Kidderminster to Bewdley service. Glorious was one of the stars of the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala, and attracted a lot of attention due to its increasing graffiti covered appearance. In an excellent piece of marketing, the Class 50 Alliance allowed visitors to write whatever they wished on the undercoat painted loco, to raise money for its repaint. The various massages clearly stand out in this wideangle view.
50033 Glorious arrives at Kidderminster on 5 October 2018 with the 10:35 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala. With nearly every inch of the bodyside covered in sponsored graffiti, it looks like a substantial amount of money will have been raised towards its repainting.
50034 Furious is surrounded by Cotswold dry stone walls as it passes Coates (between Stroud and Kemble) with the 09:15 Gloucester to Swindon parcels on 30 April 1983. Despite the line having been converted to colour light signalling many years before, the steam age telegraph poles still survived into the 1980s at this location.
50034 Furious just manages to catch the sun at Culham on 12 June 1983, as it heads north with the 1A20 09:40 Paddington to Oxford service. The lush grass in the foreground field contrasts sharply with the state the field has been in during the last few years.
50034 Furious passes Hay Lane, on the approach to Swindon, with the 3A21 11:25 Malago Vale to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans on 16 June 1983. This is still an excellent location for photography (until the overhead wires arrive!), although the lineside bushes have now grown tall enough to hide Upper Studley Farm, which can be seen in the background here.
The trouble with photographing engineering trains employed in Sunday track possessions is that they often don't move for hours on end, and are sometimes in nearly unphotographable positions! Such was the case on 10 June 1984, when 50034 Furious was being employed in a track relaying possession at Combe, on the Cotswold Line. High up on an embankment, with bushes in the way, the only way to photograph it was with a long lens from a nearby hillside. However, despite the fact that the view is still partly obscured by bushes, this is a very interesting picture, as although Class 50s were common on the Cotswold Line at the time on passenger trains, it was an unusual choice (and a slightly overpowered one!) to be used on a train of just five vacuum braked open wagons and a brake van. Combe church can be seen in the background.
50034 Furious just manages to dodge the shadows as it emerges from Wickwar Tunnel on 10 August 1985 with the 1V90 10:45 Glasgow Central to Penzance service. Furious worked the train south from Birmingham New Street, after having earlier in the day worked up to the West Midlands with the 1M14 11:40 from Poole.
50034 Furious arrives at a very snowy Charlbury station on 8 February 1986 with the 1A18 07:00 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' service. The line here is due to have the second track reinstated as I type this (December 2010), to ease some of the late running problems caused by the lengthy single track sections. Interestingly, despite the single track, the bad weather and the supposedly temperamental traction seen here, this train was running exactly on time. This is a feat which the railway finds very difficult to achieve even in normal weather today!
In superb late afternoon lighting, 50034 Furious speeds underneath the road bridge at Evenlode with the 16:10 Paddington to Hereford Network SouthEast service on 5 April 1987. 50034 was an early recipient of the original Network SouthEast livery, but this was my first sighting of it in its new colour scheme. It retained this livery until the autumn of 1989 when inevitably it was repainted into the somewhat less flamboyant revised NSE colours. Evenlode was one of my favourite Cotswold Line locations in the1980s, with good views from the bridge and the nearby fields. Unfortunately most of these viewpoints have now been lost due to uncontrolled tree growth.
50034 Furious crosses Frampton Mansell viaduct on 11 April 1987 with the 1A22 08:36 Cheltenham to Paddington service. Sadly not only has the traction disappeared, but the view has also pretty much gone, with just a glimpse of the viaduct now possible from this viewpoint.
In the very last rays of the setting sun, 50034 Furious is about to cross the bridge over the River Evenlode on the approach to Charlbury station with the 1B56 18:07 Paddington to Hereford 'Cathedrals Express' service on 14 April 1987. This was a very interesting period on the line as you never knew what combination of liveries would turn up, with large logo and Network SouthEast Class 50s or Class 47s in a variety of liveries (mostly blue, large logo or InterCity) with stock in either blue / grey, NSE or InterCity. Happy days!
50034 Furious approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 8 May 1987 with the 3A12 06:44 Milford Haven to Old Oak Common newspaper empties. This was always a lengthy train, and although not officially diagrammed for a class 50 at the time (unlike the working from Malago Vale), it was usually 50 hauled. However, the Network SouthEast livery is hardly appropriate for a train that has come from the far west of Wales!
50034 Furious approaches Moreton-in-Marsh on 4 July 1987 with the 1B56 18:12 Paddington to Hereford InterCity service. This was one of those typical summer days when the sun gradually fades out into high cloud. By the time this came into view (19:50) there was just a trace of weak light giving a pink tint to the ballast.
In dull foggy autumnal conditions that were so bad that it was only just about possible to take the picture on Kodachrome 200 (hence the poor quality!), 50034 Furious & 50035 Ark Royal approach Woodborough at high speed with the 08:25 Paddington to Newquay special on 4 October 1987. This advertised was the final local hauled train to Newquay, as track rationalisation would later remove the passing loop. Amazingly two 'ordinary' passengers had boarded this train by mistake at Reading thinking it was going to Paddington! They therefore ended up traveling from Reading to Paddington via Exeter! It was certainly a weekend for taking pictures of railtours in poor light, as the previous day's also ran in poor conditions.
For once a railtour without an intrusive headboard! 50034 Furious & 50033 Glorious pass Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 22 October 1988 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z26 Birmingham New Street to Liverpool Lime Street 'Pennine Fifties' railtour. Hang on a minute, I hear you saying, if its going from Birmingham to Liverpool what's it doing in Oxfordshire! The tour's devious route first took it south to Bristol, then via Melksham to Swindon, before heading to London and then up the East Coast Mainline to Doncaster. The tour then lived up to its name by crossing the Pennines via Huddersfield in order to get to Liverpool.
On 7 May 1989, in the very last weeks of booked Class 50 haulage on the Cotswold Line, 50034 Furious arrives at Kingham with the 1A65 16:15 Hereford to Paddington service. Just a single blue and grey coach breaks up the uniform Network SouthEast colour scheme, although after just a couple of years in the livery, 50034 is already in need of a repaint! Note that both lines were still laid with vintage 95lb per yard bullhead rails at this time.
50034 Furious approaches Oxford North Junction on 19 August 1989 with the 1M01 07:05 Paddington to Wolverhampton service. Banbury might have been the northern limit of the Network SouthEast area, but Wolverhampton? Nevertheless a full set of NSE liveried coaches with matching loco were booked for this train, all the way to the Black Country!
50034 Furious approaches Didcot North Junction on 26 November 1989 with the 1F37 09:55 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. This train was booked for a pair of Class 50s, and I remember being disappointed at the time that it wasn't double headed. Time has modified this view, and I wouldn't mind seeing a single NSE 50 on matching stock now! Although booked for a pair, a single loco was just as common, as was a 47/50 combination.
50035 Ark Royal arrives at Moreton-in-Marsh station on 8 May 1982 with the 09:06 Worcester Shrub Hill to Paddington service. Three decades later there is no longer any need to weave across from the single track section, as double track has been reinstated on the section from Evesham. On the minus side there is now no chance of Class 50 haulage on the route!
50035 Ark Royal prepares to move off from Charlbury station on 15 April 1983 with the 1A51 05:55 Hereford to Paddington service. At this time Charlbury was not the busy station that it is now and the four cars that can be seen parked by the station building probably represent about half of the total left at the station on a Saturday morning. The car park has since been extended way past where I am stood to take this picture, as well as in the other direction. Despite this you would be lucky to find a vacant spot nowadays.
You can just imagine the racket that this was making! After being held for over ten minutes at the signal at the end of the double track section in the far distance, 50035 Ark Royal accelerates away from Ascott-under-Wychwood on 15 June 1985 with the 1A17 07:00 Hereford to Paddington service.
A close up view of 50035 Ark Royal, as it waits to leave Kingham station on 23 July 1985 with the 1B56 18:07 Paddington to Hereford 'Cathedrals Express'. This service had only just reacquired the 'Cathedrals Express' name. However, unlike in steam days, it did not carry a headboard, so the only change was some subtle wording in the timetables, and train window stickers!
50035 Ark Royal rounds the curve near Aldermaston on 25 January 1986 with the 1A45 11:05 Paignton to Paddington 'Torbay Express'. Very backlit, but the shot is not now repeatable. Although it may one day be possible to recreate the picture if the preserved Ark Royal is ever main line registered, the location has now been completely ruined by the installation of overhead catenary.
In sub zero conditions, 50035 Ark Royal passes under the signal gantry at Hinksey North, as it accelerates away from Oxford with the 1F33 13:00 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service on 17 January 1987. Despite the terrible weather conditions there appears to be a Class 50 basher risking frostbite by hanging out of the window of the leading Mk 1 coach to enjoy the sound. Just standing around waiting for the train to appear was bad enough, I certainly wouldn't want to be leaning out of an open window once the train got up to speed! Despite the snow lying on the ground acting as a reflector, the light level was very low, as indicated by how bright the marker lights in the former headcode box are.
The north end of Hinksey Yard (Hinksey North as it was known in the days of mechanical signaling) before the trees grew up in the 1990s. 50035 Ark Royal nears its destination on 14 March 1987 with the 1A38 14:17 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service. Far fewer passengers traveled by rail in the 1980s, yet here we have an eight coach loco hauled train on a service that would now be a three car DMU. That's progress!
50035 Ark Royal weaves through Harbury cutting with the 10:10 Birmingham New Street to Paddington service on 25 April 1987. It was a fine warm day, but as it typical with settled high pressure, it was very hazy with a very flat look to the lighting. At least the original Network SouthEast livery on 50035 is in clean condition and adds a spot of colour to the otherwise drab scene.
An fine early autumn evening at Moreton-in-Marsh on 13 September 1987, as 50035 Ark Royal arrives with the 1A57 16:15 Hereford to Paddington service. As this is long before the construction of the Budgens supermarket on the left, the only thing that would cast a shadow as the sun set in the west was the down platform!
50035 Ark Royal passes Lyneham on 22 May 1988 with the 1A65 16:15 Hereford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. This was my second picture of a NSE liveried Class 50 on the Cotswold Line on this particular day, although the first one was much more interesting, as it was on an .
The narrowboat owners on the Oxford Canal get a grandstand view of 50035 Ark Royal on 4 May 1990, as it speeds northwards past Wolvercote with the 1F44 17:20 Paddington to Banbury Network SouthEast service. There were just a couple of months to go for Class 50 haulage on this route, after which the final locomotives were transferred to the West of England line to work services out of Waterloo. I had visited this location exactly one year before, when consecutively numbered just happened to be working this train.
50035 Ark Royal passes Hinksey on 13 May 1990 with the 1M03 15:13 Paddington to Wolverhampton InterCity service. With just a couple of months to go before the end of Class 50 haulage in the Thames Valley, every effort was made to catch the final workings, despite the often poor weather.
50135 Ark Royal pulls away from Kidderminster station on 4 October 2012 with the late running 09:55 service to Bridgnorth, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. 50135 is of course in reality 50035, but was renumbered into the 50/1 series when it was repainted into Loadhaul livery. Whilst non authentic, this could actually of happened if the railfreight experiment with 50149 had been more successful, and the class had lived on into the privatisation era. For one reason or another, 50135 had eluded me since being repainted, and I am now glad to have a decent picture of it in this livery, which certainly looks very smart on the class.
50135 Ark Royal approaches Foley Park Tunnel on 4 October 2012 with the late running 12:01 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Autumn Diesel Gala. After a sunny start, the clouds were rapidly building from the west, and shortly after this picture was taken the lights went out! Despite being slightly backlit, I think the combination of the bracken in the foreground, and the menacing dark clouds in the background makes an excellent picture.
Looking and sounding fantastic in the autumn sunshine, 50035 Ark Royal approaches Foley Park Tunnel on 2 October 2015 with the 11:18 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala.
The area around Foley Park looks completely different to the rest of the Severn Valley Railway, with modern industrial units dominating the scene. 50035 Ark Royal passes the stark warehouses on 2 October 2015 with the 14:35 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth service, during the line's Diesel Gala.
The sheep take no notice as 50035 Ark Royal passes Eardington on 2 October 2015 with the 14:35 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. The loco has been cosmetically restored to it's unfreburbished late 1970s condition.
Superb late afternoon light at Eardington, as 50035 Ark Royal rolls down the bank with the 16:54 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service on 2 October 2015, during the Severn Valley Railway's Autumn Diesel Gala. Nice to see a BR blue Class 50, even if the coach liveries pre-dates it by over a decade!
50035 Ark Royal erupts into life at Kidderminster on 17 April 2016. So much smoke is being produced on this cold morning, that the Severn Valley Railway's brand new diesel depot building is almost being totally obscured!
50035 Ark Royal leaves Kidderminster station on 17 April 2016 with the late running 09:45 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth service. This was only the second train of the day on the Severn Valley Railway, but already the clouds were building up, way ahead of the time the Met Office had predicted. Luckily one of the first clouds to block the sun had just cleared out of the way in time for this picture! GWR Manor Class 4-6-0 7812 Erlestoke Manor can just be seen in the background.
With the low sun giving a warm glow to the early autumn colours, 50035 Ark Royal emerges from Foley Park Tunnel on 4 October 2018 with the 16:45 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Class 50 Golden Jubilee Gala.
50036 Victorious arrives at Honeybourne station on 22 June 1985 with the 1A25 08:05 Hereford to Paddington InterCity service. Unlike today, when the station is heavily used, there is not a single passenger waiting to board this train.
50036 Victorious approaches Didcot North Junction on 9 December 1986 with the 1A18 07:00 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express', which after serving the major stations on the Cotswold Line, would run non-stop from Oxford to Paddington. It was booked to take 54 minutes to do this, which still compares very favourably with the equivalent trains a quarter of a century later.
50036 Victorious approaches Oxford North Junction on 13 May 1987 with the 1M17 11:17 Paddington to Birmingham New Street InterCity service. By this date very few Class 50s ventured north of Oxford station (just out of sight around the corner in the background), the remaining Cotswold Line services having gone over to HST operation just a few days earlier.
50036 Victorious rounds the curve at Deepcut on 28 August 1987 with the 1P15 09:25 Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour Network SouthEast service. Just around the corner is Pirbright Junction, where the West of England liner diverges from the route to Aldershot and Alton.
50036 Victorious approaches Bremell Sidings (between Kemble and Swindon) with the 3A16 15:40 Gloucester to Paddington empty vans on 19 June 1988. Virtually everything in this picture has changed. 50036 has been scrapped, van trains no longer run, and the line has been redoubled. Even Bremell Sidings oil depot (just behind me) has lost its rail connection!
50036 Victorious passes under the lofty Grintleyhill Bridge, near Combe with the 1B31 13:45 Paddington to Hereford service on 13 November 1988. The loco is just about to cross the River Evenlode, which the Cotswold Line encounters numerous times en-route to Moreton-in-Marsh. Note the red buffer beam. This was normally only a feature of the locos in the large logo with black roof colour scheme, and although the roof looks black here, that is just the inevitable result of four exhaust ports! As can be seen from the former headcode box it does in fact have a grey roof.
50036 Victorious passes Wolvercote in fading evening light on 4 May 1989 with the 1F44 17:22 Paddington to Banbury service. This would soon be calling at Tackley and Heyford stations, making a change from the normal infrequent DMUs at those places. It would not however call at Kings Sutton, as returning evening commuters from London could travel to that station via the Chiltern Line. Coincidentally, I photographed at this location exactly one year later, on the same train.
50036 Victorious passes Waltham St Lawrence on 2 June 1989 with the 1F17 07:19 Didcot to Paddington Network South East service. This morning peak working stopped at all major stations once past Reading. It is in fact here accelerating away from Twyford station (just beyond the bridges in the background). This was a bit of a strange diagram at the time, as the train started from Oxford at 06:45, but ran ECS to Didcot as the 5F17. After arrival at the capital, it did nothing all day until the 1F60 18:20 Paddington to Maidenhead, followed by more ECS mileage - the 5F60 onwards to Oxford. Easy work for a Class 50, especially with load six.
50036 Victorious passes Didcot North Junction on 22 June 1989 with the 1F66 17:48 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service. This train was not booked to call at Didcot Parkway, and was consequently travelling at some speed, as it has just traversed Didcot's east curve. This makes an interesting comparison to the same loco pictured at the same location the , on a train that did call at Didcot, and therefore approached from the lines on the right.
50036 Victorious passes through Radley station on 20 July 1989 with the 1F44 17:20 Paddington to Banbury Network SouthEast service. In contrast to today's overflowing extended car park, the only two cars visible here seem to be either photographers (not me!) or dog walkers vehicles, judging by the casual way they are parked. The platform face next to the blue car formerly served the Abingdon Branch, which closed to passengers in 1963, and freight in 1980.
50036 Victorious speeds past Radley with the 1F35 09:30 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service on 6 August 1989, a working which was officially booked for a pair of Class 50s at the time. The uniform rake of Network SouthEast Mk 2 coaches is slightly mismatched with the tatty large logo livery of the locomotive, although the red buffer beam does add to the colour scheme and did make 50036 instantly recognisable from a distance during the late 1980s.
50036 Victorious passes Iver with 1F18 12:15 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service the on 22 February 1990. Although it is hauling a full rake of Network SouthEast liveried stock, the loco itself only has the addition of a NSE flash on the former headcode box to proclaim its ownership. 50036 was transferred to the DCWA engineers fleet a few months after this picture was taken, and then in early 1991 was withdrawn after a brief resumption of passenger work on the Waterloo to Exeter line.
50036 Victorious pulls slowly away from Radley station on 1 May 1990 with the 1F52 18:04 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service. This train stopped at all stations after Reading, and consequently the Reading to Oxford section of the journey took over an hour, whereas a normal Class 50 hauled trip from the capital to Oxford (with just a couple of stops) could be completed in under an hour!
50036 Victorious passes Didcot North Junction on 3 May 1990 with the 1F44 17:20 Paddington to Banbury Network SouthEast service. The green fields in the background are now totaaly covered by the Ladygrove housing estate.
50036 Victorious accelerates away from Oxford station on 16 May 1990 with the 1F83 18:00 Network SouthEast service to Paddington. This is just a few days before the loco was transferred to the DCWA engineers fleet, although it was still working Thames Valley services right up to the official transfer date (27 May). There was obviously a slightly more relaxed attitude to health & safety in 1990, as the loco's headlight is not working, a fault which would result in the loco's (or at least the bulb's) replacement nowadays. However, any track workers will have had plenty of warning of this train's approach, as a Class 50 at full chat makes a lot of noise!
50036 Victorious passes Puriton on 2 July 1990 with the 7C56 13:35 Meldon Quarry to Bristol East ballast. 50036 was only in the DCWA engineer's pool for a comparatively short time, between May 1990 and January 1991. Consequently, I only saw it working these menial trains on two occasions.
With Bredon Hill dominating the background, 50037 Illustrious passes Croome on 9 April 1983 with the 1M85 08:05 Penzance to Liverpool Lime Street service. Note what appears to be repaired accident damage to the front end, complete with lighter coloured yellow paint around the ETH box. Also note the 20mph speed restriction sign discarded on the extreme left of the picture.
A working that I have only got this one picture of, for obvious reasons, as it involves getting up very early! 50037 Illustrious passes Hinksey Yard just as the sun is rising on 14 June 1983 with the 1A12 04:00 Paddington to Oxford newspapers. Two BG vans are obviously sufficient capacity for all of the Oxford area's papers.
50037 Illustrious passes Hinksey Yard on 14 June 1983 with the 1A59 07:38 Oxford to Paddington service. This would shortly be providing the passengers from the diminutive stations at Radley, Culham and Appleford with the luxury of a proper loco hauled train to the capital, instead of their normal diet of DMUs.
Hazy high summer backlighting at Woodborough on 20 June 1984. 50037 Illustrious heads west with the 1C27 09:40 Paddington to Penzance service. Thirteen coaches with a proper buffet car, the civilized way to travel to Cornwall!
50037 Illustrious passes milepost 87¼ near Adlestrop on 21 July 1984 with the 1C56 17:05 Paddington to Hereford service. I cannot now remember why I have cut the back of the train off, but it is otherwise an excellent picture of Illustrious at full speed.
Now this is what you call proper winter weather! 50037 Illustrious emerges from the freezing fog, and comes to a halt at Kingham station on 19 January 1985, with the 1A75 07:05 Hereford to Paddington service. With local roads in a treacherous state, with packed snow and patches of black ice, it is interesting to note that this train was running exactly to time. Somehow I doubt whether First Great Western would be able to achieve that nowadays. More likely the train would be cancelled!
50037 Illustrious just manages to avoid the shadows at Shipton on 20 December 1986 as it heads towards Oxford with the 1A25 08:00 Hereford to Paddington service. This is not bad for a morning shot on virtually the shortest day of the year. It wouldn't be long before this location became virtually impossible due to the growth of the lineside bushes.
With a little bit of snow still lying on the ground, 50037 Illustrious approaches Grintleyhill Bridge, Combe on 31 January 1987 with the 1A18 07:00 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express'. Unlike so many trains on the Cotswold Line twenty years later under the aegis of private operator First Great Western, this train, like the majority of the loco hauled trains I photographed on the line in the 1980s was running exactly to time. Admittedly this long section of single line doesn't help when things go wrong, but it is not in itself a cause of late running as First Great Western would have us believe.
With St Edward's church at Evenlode dominating the skyline, 50037 Illustrious heads south with the 1A57 16:15 Hereford to Paddington service on 5 April 1987. This was a classic photographic location in the 1980s before the bushes took over and there was plenty of warning of a trains approaching from this direction. Obviously a Class 50 could be heard leaving Moreton-in-Marsh over two miles away, but just in case a 47 was being used you could walk a few steps to the left and then actually see Moreton-in-Marsh station at the end of the long straight (binoculars helped!).
50037 Illustrious passes Wolvercote on 10 July 1987 with the 1V87 16:32 Wolverhampton to Paddington InterCity service. Although there was a booked Class 50 to Wolverhampton at this time, this wasn't it, and it was a bit of a welcome surprise to see Illustrious instead of the expected Class 47. By 1987 there was limited scope to get pictures of Network SouthEast liveried 50s hauling blue and grey and InterCity liveried Mk2 air-cons. The houses of Wolvercote Green can just be glimpsed on the right.
50037 Illustrious in original Network SouthEast livery with matching Mk 1 coaches, makes a fine picture as it passes under the farm occupation bridge at Walcot (near Charlbury) with the 1B33 14:00 Paddington to Hereford Network SouthEast service on 10 April 1988. Strangely this is the only photo I have ever taken at this location!
50037 Illustrious heads north past the vegetable fields in the Vale of Evesham near Bredon's Norton on 7 August 1988 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 Swindon to Scarborough 'Yorkshire Venturer' railtour. The 50 worked the train as far as York, where it handed over to 9F 92220 Evening Star, it then traveled light engine to Hull to take over the tour for the return to Swindon.
A fine spring afternoon at Motcombe on 14 April 1991, as 50037 Illustrious heads west with the 1V13 12:55 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service. I have not been back to this location since, but as I suspected a quick glance at Google Maps shows that this view is no longer possible!
By 1991 virtually all of the remaining Class 50s were confined to the Waterloo to Exeter line, so appearances at Bristol were rare. 50037 Illustrious brings a touch of Network SouthEast blue to the Bristol area on 16 April 1991, as it passes Narroways Hill Junction, en-route to Cardiff Canton for tyre turning.
50037 Illustrious speeds past Potbridge on 28 April 1991 with the 1L08 10:24 Salisbury to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. Note the variation in livery between the loco and coaches, with the loco sporting the later darker blue, whereas the coaches retain the original lighter shade of NSE blue. Potbridge was an ideal location for observing Class 50s (or anything else) on the West of England route, as the view is reasonably unrestricted in both directions. A few minutes after taking this picture, appeared from the opposite direction.
Before all the lineside bushes grew up and a new signal gantry obscured the view, the road bridge just to the west of Winchfield station was an excellent vantage point to view westbound trains. 50037 Illustrious speeds through the station on 28 April 1991 with the 1V15 15:15 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service.
50037 Illustrious emerges from Fisherton Tunnel, and passes Salisbury Tunnel Junction on 27 July 1991 with the 1O35 10:20 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo Network SouthEast service, while an unidentified Class 155 disappears into the tunnel with the 11:10 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central.
50037 Illustrious passes Old Basing with the 1O35 09:45 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo Network SouthEast service on 29 July 1991. Not only was this my only visit to this location during the last days of loco haulage on the route, but this is also my final picture of 50037, which was withdrawn from service less than a month later. I also managed to miss getting a picture of it in 'Laira Blue' livery a few years previously, but as it did virtually no work whilst in that livery and was quickly repainted, I was not alone in missing it and pictures of it in that condition are very rare.
50038 Formidable passes Ascott-under-Wychwood on 6 June 1979 with the 1C74 18:00 Paddington to Hereford service. It has just traversed the 14 mile single track section from Wolvercote Junction and has held up Class 117 traveling in the opposite direction with a Moreton-in-Marsh to Paddington ECS. Despite this picture being taken from the 'wrong' side for the sun, it is still one of my favourite Cotswold Line Class 50 pictures, as it is one of the very few shots I managed to get of an unfreburbished 50 on the route. Also, it shows the now lifted siding, that extended alongside the platform. In addition to all that the lighting is superb. Good old Praktica PLC2 and Kodachrome 64 combination!
50038 Formidable stands at Kingham station on 26 September 1982 with the 1C48 16:33 Paddington to Hereford service. The driver seems intently interested in something on the track. Either that or he is daydreaming prior to getting the green flag from the guard!
50038 Formidable passes Hinksey Yard on 14 June 1983 with the 1A51 05:55 Hereford to Paddington, running exactly to time (as was usually the case in those days). In the background an unidentified Class 08 shunts the wagons from the 6V19 06:32 Bescot to Oxford Speedlink, which had been brought in by .
Long suffering passengers wait to board the 1A89 08:22 Cheltenham to Paddington service at Stonehouse on 29 October 1983, as it finally rolls in half an hour late behind 50038 Formidable. The 2B12 08:48 Swindon to Great Malvern DMU is unfortunately running exactly to time, and therefore preventing me from getting the ideal shot of 50038. Although taken from the 'wrong' side, at least it does show the curve approaching the station, and the waiting passengers.
50038 Formidable passes Bredicot on 18 June 1984 with the 1V92 13:10 Edinburgh to Swansea InterCity service. Unlike a lot of my favourite photographic locations, this hasn't changed a great deal in the last few decades. Coincidentally, I visited this spot exactly 31 years after this picture was taken, in order to see on the 6Z34 15:10 Chaddesden to Cardiff Tidal scarp train.
Under a perfect blue sky, 50038 Formidable emerges from under the road bridge at Chilson on 26 April 1986 with the 1A18 07:00 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' service. I suppose it does give the impression of a parcels train, rather than a passenger service, with the GUV being the only vehicle completely visible. A standard feature of the Cotswold Line loco hauled trains at the time, the GUV provided plenty of storage for bicycles, etc. Although effective at framing the picture, I am always worried about getting this type of picture right, as the potential to cock it up is always there. Not being able to see the train until it appears under the arch (although with a Class 50 you could certainly hear it!), means that lightning reflexes are called for. Naturally a 1/1000sec shutter speed is essential. Today I would probably use an even higher speed, but the venerable Pentax 6x7 only went up to 1/1000sec!
50038 Formidable passes West Drayton on 6 November 1986 with the 1F11 07:08 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. I only ever visited this location a couple of times, but on this occasion perfect autumn light and a procession of interesting trains yielding a large number of pictures, including lots of Class 50s.
50038 Formidable bursts out from beneath the road bridge at Evenlode while working the 1A18 07:00 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' on the misty morning of 25 April 1987. Although with a Class 50 there is always plenty of audible warning of its approach, this type of picture where you can't see the train until the last second is always a worry, as your timing has to be so exact.
50038 Formidable arrives at Kingham station on 28 April 1987 with the 1B46 17:00 Paddington to Hereford service. Just a single passenger waits to board the train, and probably only a few alighted, as this was well before the station became the busy rural commuter hub that it is now.
50038 Formidable passes Bourton on 1 August 1987 with the 1A27 07:05 Carmarthen to Paddington service. It was running five minutes early, passing here at 10:21, the exact time that it should have been passing through Swindon (non-stop). This train was not booked for a Class 50 at the time, so this was a definite bonus.
Just after sunrise on 7 August 1987, 50038 Formidable passes Hinksey Yard with the 1F03 06:54 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. In those days the early morning commuters had the luxury of comfortable Mk1 coaches, rather than being squeezed into an overcrowded DMU!
50039 Implacable passes through Pilning station in the gloom on 28 May 1984 with the late running 1A34 09:10 Cardiff Central to Paddington service, a train which had just gone over to Class 50 haulage a couple of week earlier. The footbridge seen here was demolished on Guy Fawkes night in 2016, as part of Network Rail's plan to close the station by stealth. The station currently only has a couple of stopping trains on a Saturday, but because of the ludicrous situation of not now being able to access the down platform, passengers for Wales now have to travel towards Bristol, change at Filton Abbey Wood, and then head back from whence they came!
50039 Implacable passes Hinksey Yard on 4 July 1985 with the 1E54 06:50 Paddington to Hull InterCity service. Implacable would work the train as far Birmingham New Street. Only half of this train would reach Hull, as the train was spilt at Sheffield, with the other portion going on to Leeds.
Transition time at Finstock. A temporary scaffold built addition is in position against the up platform prior to the single platform changing sides. The remains of the former down platform can be seen in the foreground, as 50039 Implacable rushes through with the 17:05 Paddington to Hereford service. Another temporary platform was later constructed on this side, before the platforms were finally switched over. All this for just the handful of passengers that use the station each day! 22 August 1985.
50039 Implacable passes Langley on 6 November 1986 with the 1F20 12:17 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service. One of my lesser photographed Class 50s, and certainly one of my least visited photographic locations - just this one occasion!
50039 Implacable is pictured at Charlbury with the 1B46 17:07 Paddington to Hereford service on 9 May 1987. The only evidence of nearly a year's Network SouthEast operation of the route are some discreet stickers on the coaches, otherwise it is a classic Cotswold Line train, mainly composed of Mk 1 stock, with the obligatory GUV on the rear. This was before the extension to the platform, which could only accommodate less than half of this train. What would present day health & safety make of this, with a train too long for the platform and no central locking!
50040 Leviathan approaches Shipton in sub-zero temperatures on 16 January 1982 with the 10:50 Paddington to Worcester service. 50040 was renamed Centurion in 1987 upon the withdrawal of 50011. This view is no longer possible due to rampant lineside vegetation, which has also also ruined a number of other locations on the Cotswold Line.
50040 Leviathan propels a rake of Mk1 stock into the up carriage sidings at Oxford on 23 August 1985. A few moments earlier it had picked up the stock from the down carriage sidings (visible in the background), and shunted them across the main running lines.
50040 Leviathan passes Bledington Heath on 11 April 1987 with the 1B46 17:07 Paddington to Hereford service. The very poor quality of the image is explained by being taken late on a dull spring day, but also by the fact that for some reason I pressed the shutter way too soon, so this has had to be pulled up from a small section of the original Kodachrome 64 transparency, However, this is the only occasion that I visited this location until very recently, and as it looks nothing like this now, due to three decades of tree growth, the picture has some historic interest. The lack of trees means that the houses in Meadow Way and New Road in Kingham can be seen in the background.
50040 Leviathan heads south from Moreton-in-Marsh with the 1A25 08:00 Hereford to Paddington service on 25 April 1987. The view from the bridge in the background is a little restricted for southbound trains, so I decided to go for a more arty picture, by including the tree as a foreground frame. It was a very hazy morning, but the weak sun is just about casting shadows by the time the 50 appeared under the bridge.
A ridiculously easy load for a Class 50! 50040 Centurion passes Yarnton on 14 June 1988 with the 4M17 20:23 Oxford to Birmingham New Street parcels. Unfortunately I have got very few pictures of this interesting working, although that is not too surprising in view of the fact that it was only possible to photograph it during a few days in mid summer. The use of a Type 4 locomotive on this diminutive train is not as stupid as it would appear, as after working the 1F52 17:32 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service, the loco's next passenger diagram was the 1O81 23:14 Birmingham New Street to Reading, so a single coach mail train is better than a light engine movement!
How's this for something completely different! There can't have been many occasions when a Class 50 worked with an Ethel (ex Class 25 locomotive), in fact this is probably the only one! 50040 Centurion passes through Oxford station on 5 November 1988 with a motley collection of coaching stock and brake vans, with 97250 Ethel 1 (the former 25310) at the head of the formation. It is working from Oxford Carriage Sidings to Old Oak Common, as part of a move from Etches Park to Marylebone. The original move had been on 26 October, but for some reason this was terminated at Oxford. Once 97250 got to Old Oak nothing happened to it, and in 1991 it was moved to Inverness, where again nothing happened. It was finally scrapped in 1994. I was lucky to get this shot, as I was originally on Walton Well Road bridge, to the north of the station, and it was only when I saw 50040 getting ready to depart that I noticed the 25. A quick drive round to the Osney Lane bridge proved to be just in time. It's a good job there isn't much traffic in Oxford on a Saturday morning!