BR Steam

70000 Heyford 11 April 1993

7MT 4-6-2 70000 Britannia approaches Heyford with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z39 08:10 Cardiff Central to Stratford-upon-Avon 'William Shakespeare' railtour on 11 April 1993. The BR pacific had worked the tour from Didcot. Just visible behind the loco are the newly planted trees which soon obliterated the view of Rousham church which can be seen in the background gloom. A mere fourteen years later the location is hardly recognisable.

70000 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 25 July 1993

7MT 4-6-2 70000 Britannia finds a lucky patch of sunshine as it passes Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 25 July 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z41 08:10 Taunton to Worcester Shrub Hill 'Cotswold Venturer' railtour. The tour had worked up to Didcot behind 47573 an hour previously and was now retracing its steps, before heading to Worcester via the 'Golden Valley' route. Note the recently relaid but not yet commissioned down relief line. The up relief line which has also now been reinstated at this point had not yet been started at this time.

70000 Shipton 25 July 1993

7MT 4-6-2 70000 Britannia passes through Shipton station on 25 July 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z41 16:00 Worcester Shrub Hill to Taunton 'Cotswold Venturer' railtour. Britannia would hand over to a diesel loco at Didcot for the remainder of the journey to Taunton.

70000 Shrivenham 11 September 1994

7MT 4-6-2 70000 Britannia passes Shrivenham on 11 September 1994 with the Flying Scotsman Services 09:00 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill 'Cotswold Venturer' railtour. This wide viewpoint gradually disappeared over the years, as the lineside vegetation grew up. This was removed in 2016, just in time for the view to be ruined forever by the route's electfrication!

70000 Fenny Compton 12 March 1995

7MT 4-6-2 70000 Britannia swings round the curve at Fenny Compton on 12 March 1995 with the Flying Scotsman Services Paddington to Sheffield 'South Yorkshireman' railtour. Britannia worked the train from Didcot to Sheffield, and as a far as Derby on the return trip.

70000 Hinksey 7 April 2011

On 7 April 2011 there was the very unusual sight of an early morning southbound steam special originating from Oxford. Just getting into its stride, 7MT 4-6-2 70000 Britannia passes Hinksey with the Steam Dreams 1Z71 09:22 Oxford to Canterbury West 'Cathedrals Express' railtour. The slightly incongruous background is provided by the empty car carriers of the 4V40 03:49 Purfleet to Cowley service, which is waiting to gain access to the Cowley Branch at Kennington Junction.

70000 Bletchingdon 23 April 2011

7MT 4-6-2 70000 Britannia passes the site of Bletchingdon station on 23 April 2011 with the Steam Dreams 1Z41 17:00 Stratford-upon-Avon to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' railtour. This train was originally scheduled to run via the Chiltern Line, but engineering works saw it take the Oxford route instead. Of all the possible locations between Banbury and Oxford, this offers very nearly the best combination of 'sun on the nose' and freedom from shadows this late in the evening, but even here I was glad the train was on time, as the shadows were encroaching rapidly.

70000 Crofton 8 August 2015

7MT 4-6-2 70000 Britannia runs alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal near Crofton on 8 August 2015 with the Railway Touring Company 1Z70 08:06 Paddington to Minehead 'West Somerset Steam Express' railtour. This turned out much better than I expected, with a perfect exhaust that stayed well clear of the coaches.

70013 Yarnton Junction (site of) 7 July 2012 7MT 4-6-2 70013 Oliver Cromwell passes Yarnton in the rain on 7 July 2012 with the Railway Touring Company 1Z71 08:30 Euston to Worcester Shrub Hill 'Cotswold Venturer' railtour. The tall trees in the background on the left mark the site of Yarnton Junction, the junction for the Fairford Branch, the route of which ran between the grass covered mound and the buildings of the recycling plant on the right. The line closed for passengers in 1962 and freight in 1970.
70013 Compton Beauchamp 7 July 2012

7MT 4-6-2 70013 Oliver Cromwell passes Compton Beauchamp in atrocious light (but thankfully not the rain of earlier in the day) on 7 July 2012 with the Railway Touring Company 1Z72 16:10 Worcester Shrub Hill to Paddington 'Cotswold Venturer' railtour.

70013 Shorthampton 6 October 2012

7MT 4-6-2 70013 Oliver Cromwell passes Shorthampton on 6 October 2012 with the Railway Touring Company 1Z71 08:05 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill 'Cotswold Venturer' railtour. Most locations on the southern end of the Cotswold Line are completely hopeless for a train running at this time of day, due to extreme backlighting. However, this section from Charlbury to Ascott-under-Wychwood is better than most, which explains why I have chosen this location yet again, after seeing a similar tour hauled by 60163 just a few months previously.

70013 Standish Junction 6 October 2012

The late afternoon shadows are lengthening at Standish Junction on 6 October 2012, as 7MT 4-6-2 70013 Oliver Cromwell takes the 'Golden Valley' route with the Railway Touring Company 1Z73 16:10 Worcester Shrub Hill to Paddington 'Cotswold Venturer' railtour. It will shortly be doing battle with the notorious Sapperton Bank.

71000 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 7 April 1990

After a protracted restoration from a derelict Barry hulk, confounding the critics who said it couldn't be done, 8P 4-6-2 71000 Duke of Gloucester made a triumphant return to the main line on 7 April 1990 when it worked the 'Red Dragon' railtour from Didcot to Derby. It is pictured here passing Oxford with a fine smoke effect. Note the smoke being pushed forward of the chimney lip, which seems to be a characteristic of this particular locomotive.

71000 Culham 29 April 1990

8P 4-6-2 71000 Duke of Gloucester approaches Culham on 29 April 1990 with the Great Western Society's Ealing Broadway to Derby 'Midlander II' railtour. Duke of Gloucester had taken over the train at Didcot, and was just getting in to its stride here, hence the customary heavy clag. This was only three weeks after its triumphant return to the main line. Didcot Power Station dominates the background, which in contrast to the locomotive is not emitting anything!

71000 Armathwaite 29 April 1995

8P 4-6-2 71000 Duke of Gloucester rounds the curve at Armathwaite, on the Settle & Carlisle line with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z29 12:40 Carlisle to Didcot Parkway returning 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' railtour on 29 April 1995. The Duke worked the tour between Carlisle and Crewe. A fine sight despite the gloomy weather!

71000 Brampton 16 December 1995

8P 4-6-2 71000 Duke of Gloucester tries its best to obscure the train with smoke at Brampton on 16 December 1995, but thankfully doesn't quite manage it! The train is the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 12:50 Carlisle to Didcot Parkway 'Festive Cumbrian Mountain Express' railtour, which the Duke worked as far as Crewe.

71000 Garsdale 16 December 1995

8P 4-6-2 71000 Duke of Gloucester turns golden as it basks in the setting sun at Garsdale on 16 December 1995, during a water stop whilst working the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 12:50 Carlisle to Crewe (with diesel onwards to Didcot Parkway) 'Cumbrian Mountain Express'. The long shadows in the foreground gives away the fact that there were quite a few photographers about!

71000 Panteg 28 May 2005

8P 4-6-2 71000 Duke of Gloucester drifts past Panteg with the Steamy Affairs Watford to Bristol (via Hereford) 'Welsh Marches Express' railtour on 28 May 2005. 71000 is deputising for the unavailable 60009 Union of South Africa. Pontypool's Folly Tower can just be seen on the hillside directly above the locomotive.

73096 Steventon 25 September 2004

Didcot Power Station's cooling towers dominate the background, as 5MT 4-6-0 73096 passes Steventon on 25 September 2004 with the Daylight Limited Railtours 1Z96 06:20 Alton to Avonmouth 'Avonmouth Adventurer' railtour. The terrible weather did at least mean that I could take this picture from the north side of the line, for a change of viewpoint.

75069 Sterns 14 October 1989

There was still a token steam service operating during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala on 14 October 1989. Here, BR Standard 4 4-6-0 75069 pulls away from the Sterns speed restriction with the 14:00 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service.

75069 Kemble 2 March 1985

Mass trespass at Kemble on 2 March 1985! No evidence of modern health & safety rules as 4MT 4-6-0 75069 blasts out of the station with the SLOA Newport to Swindon 'Red Dragon' railtour. A few minutes earlier the 8 coach tour had climbed up the Golden Valley route from Gloucester, entering Sapperton Tunnel with some wheel slip at 13mph. This tour was a prelude to a number of steam specials over the route later in the year in connection with the GW150 celebrations.

75069 Purton 2 March 1985

Just a few miles into its return journey, BR Standard 4 4-6-0 75069 passes Purton in failing light on 2 March 1985 with the SLOA Swindon to Newport 'Red Dragon' railtour. The group of people (and especially the dog) make this picture, but given the fact that the line is right next to the road, and there is nothing other than a low fence in the way, I cannot understand why some people have chosen to view the train from the wrong side of the fence!

75069 Bremell Sidings 1 September 1985

BR Standard 4 4-6-0 75069 is just getting into its stride as it passes Bremell Sidings on 1 September 1985 with the 15:55 Swindon to Gloucester GW150 special. This was the final day of special workings over the route, which had for obvious reasons been mostly worked by Great Western locos. Quite what connection 75069 has with the GWR is unclear.

76084 Holt 30 May 2014

4MT 2-6-0 76084 stands at Holt station, on the North Norfolk Railway, shortly after arriving with the 11:14 service from Sheringham on 30 May 2014. Built in 1957, 76084 had just over a decade of service on BR, before being consigned to Barry scrapyard in 1968. It was the final BR standard 2-6-0 to be withdrawn.

80072 Hailes 26 May 2013

4MT 2-6-4T 80072 rounds the curve at Hailes on 26 May 2013 with the 11:55 Laverton to Cheltenham Racecourse service. It was taking part in the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's 'Cotswold Steam Celebration' event. This loco is one of the many that were saved from Dai Woodham's scrapyard at Barry. It was restored to working order at the Llangollen Railway.

80079 Arley 4 July 1987

Plenty of prospective passengers at Arley on 4 July 1987 as 4MT 2-6-4T 80079 rolls in with a Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service. This archetypical country station lost its passenger service in 1963, being reopened by the Severn Valley Railway in 1974.

80079 & 80080 Cockwood Harbour 2 May 1994

4MT 2-6-4Ts 80079 & 80080 lay a smoke screen over Cockwood Harbour on 2 May 1994 as they head homewards with the Paignton to Exeter 'Torbay Explorer' railtour, which was run in connection with the Exeter Rail Day. From Exeter they would work the 'Semper Fidelis' railtour as far as Bristol Temple Meads.

80079 & 80080 Cullompton 2 May 1994

4MT 2-6-4Ts 80079 & 80080 race the M5 motorway traffic at Cullompton on 2 May 1994 with the Flying Scotsman Services 1Z48 18:10 Exeter St Davids to Paddington 'Semper Fidelis' railtour, which they worked as far as Bristol Temple Meads. This was (an surprisingly still is) an excellent location for northbound trains in the evening, as there is nothing to shade the line.

80080 & 80079 Tiverton Parkway 1 May 1994

The sheep scatter as 4MT 2-6-4Ts 80080 & 80079 approach Tiverton Parkway with the Flying Scotsman Services 1Z47 08:30 Paddington to Exeter St Davids 'Semper Fidelis' railtour on 1 May 1994, which was steam hauled between Bristol Temple Meads and Exeter St Davids, 47484 having worked the tour from Paddington. An easy location to get to if you are chasing something, as it is right next to Junction 27 on the M5 motorway.

80080 & 80079 Exminster 2 May 1994

4MT 2-6-4Ts 80080 & 80079 have just passed underneath the M5 motorway at Exminster on 2 May 1994, as they head south with the Exeter to Paignton 'Torbay Explorer' railtour. This was one of a number of special trains run in connection with the Exeter Rail Day.

80104 Corfe Common 13 May 2012

Filling in for the missing visiting diesel locos at the Swanage Railway's Diesel Gala on 13 May 2012, 4MT 2-6-4T 80104 passes Corfe Common with the 09:15 Norden to Swanage service. The convoy conveying a Deltic, Warship and two Class 20s failed near Gloucester, and instead of heading to the coast, they were towed back to the Severn Valley Railway by 50049!

80104 Harmans Cross (Quarr Farm) 13 May 2012

Not a wisp of steam or smoke as 4MT 2-6-4T 80104 passes Quarr Farm, near Harmans Cross on 13 May 2012 with the 11:30 Norden to Swanage service. The loco was helping out during the Swanage Railway's Diesel Gala, due to the non-arrival of most of the visiting diesel locos.

80104 Harmans Cross 13 May 2012

4MT 2-6-4T 80104 makes a spirited and very noisy departure from Harmans Cross on 13 May 2012 with the 14:05 Norden to Swanage service. It was helping out during the Swanage Railway's Diesel Gala, due the non-arrival of most of the booked diesel locos.

80104 Corfe Castle 13 May 2012

4MT 2-6-4T 80104 is getting into its stride after departing from Norden with the 16:45 train to Swanage on 13 May 2012. However, it is already approaching Corfe Castle, and will shortly be stopping at that station. The loco was helping out during the Swanage Railway's Diesel Gala.

92203 Hailes 20 December 1998

David Shepherd's 9F 2-10-0 92203 Black Prince round the curve at Hailes on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway on 20 December 1998 with the 12:15 Toddington to Winchcombe Santa Special. Built in 1959 this loco had a ridiculously short life with British Railways, being withdrawn in November 1967 after having seen less than nine years use hauling the heavy freight trains for which the class was designed.

92203 Toddington 29 October 2005

9F 2-10-0 92203 Black Prince engages in a spot of shunting, during a brief sunny spell at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire's headquarters at Toddington on 29 October 2005. In the background, Toddington Signal Box is looking in better condition than when I photographed it in 1979.

92203 Greet 24 May 2009

David Shepherd's 9F 2-10-0 92203 Black Prince rounds Chicken Curve near Greet on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway with the 11:47 Winchcombe to Toddington freight train on 24 May 2009, during the line's 'Cotswold Festival of Steam'. Certainly more appropriate than the passengers trains it normally operates, but I don't think in BR days a 9F would have been used on quite such a featherweight load!

92203 Gotherington 3 June 2010

This low viewpoint at Gotherington only goes to emphasise the size of 9F 2-10-0 92203 Black Prince as it arrives with the 12:25 train from Toddington on 3 June 2010, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's GWR 175 Festival of Steam. Although of course a BR design, the 9F is assured honorary GWR status by virtue of having been built at Swindon.

92212 Ropley 2 January 2010

9F 2-10-0 92212 pulls away from Ropley station on the Mid Hants Railway with the 11:55 Alton to Alresford service on 2 January 2010. I had carefully planned this picture to include the tree on the left, which I thought would balance the column of exhaust which I assumed would go up to an equal height, given the fact that there was very little wind. With the typical contrariness of steam locos the exhaust stayed low, leading to a slightly unbalanced composition. At least the sky is blue!

92214 Toddington 31 May 2016

Photographs of steam locos taken from the rear are usually unsatisfactory because of the tender, but what if the tender is removed? The tender of 9F 2-10-0 92214 has just been separated from the loco in Toddington car park on 31 May 2016, prior to the loco being collected by a low loader, and taken to the Epping & Ongar Railway, for their steam gala. The loco had been visiting the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway for their 'Cotswold Festival of Steam' over the May Bank Holiday weekend. 92214 is incorrectly wearing lined BR green. The only 9F to wear this colour scheme was the final loco of the class, and the last steam loco to be built by BR, 92220 Evening Star.

92220 Wolvercote 22 May 1982

My only picture of 9F 2-10-0 92220 Evening Star at work on the mainline. On a very dull 22 May 1982 it is pictured passing Wolvercote with the Didcot to Dorridge 'Salopian' railtour. Evening Star was of course the final steam locomotive constructed by British Railways, being named at Swindon Works on 18 March 1960 by Keith Grand of the British Transport Commission. Along with most of the class it had a criminally short life, lasting just five years. An earlier form of transport can just be glimpsed through the bushes beyond the field of buttercups. The Oxford Canal runs quite close to the railway from this point right into the city.