Class 43 HST

43002 Baulking 5 December 1981

The first production HST power car, 43002 is pictured at Baulking on 5 December 1981 working the 11:10 Cardiff Central to Paddington service. It has just passed the site of Uffington station, which was situated near the bridge in the background. This was the junction for the Faringdon branch, which curved away to the right by the trees. It closed to passenger traffic in 1951 and freight in 1962. In 1981 the view was completely unobstructed from Baulking to Uffington, with even the former Junction Hotel clearly visible.

43002 Little Bedwyn 22 October 1983

43002 passes Little Bedwyn on 22 October 1983 with the 1B72 12:45 Paddington to Plymouth service. St Michael's church, with its 600 year old spire, must have featured in thousands of railway pictures from the days of steam, to the present day. This picture is taken from the steps of a footbridge that crosses both the railway and the Kennet & Avon Canal.

43002 Gloucester 21 August 1985

The first production HST power car, 43002 received the name Top of the Pops on 30 August 1984, and the nameplate can clearly be seen in this view as it arrives at Gloucester with the 10:39 Manchester Piccadilly to Plymouth service on 21 August 1985. The train is just crossing over the Horton Road level crossing, a notorious traffic bottleneck, which this train will again traverse after reversing at Gloucester station, as all north to south services have to do. It will depart on the lines in the foreground.

43002 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 29 May 1986

43002 Top of the Pops leads the 18:05 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service towards the site of Ashbury Crossing at Shrivenham on 29 May 1986. The remains of the former unit number (253001) can just be seen under the driver's windscreen. The practice of referring to HSTs by a unit number was discontinued shortly after this revised livery was applied in the mid 1980s. Superb evening lighting here, in a picture which is taken from the north side of the line, an angle which is only possible on mid summer evenings or on a cloudy day.

43002 Aller 7 December 1988

43002 passes Aller on 7 December 1988 with the 1V42 07:45 Leeds to Paignton 'Devonian'. Unfortunately this view is no longer possible, as the farm occupation bridge that crossed the line here was demolished on Christmas Day 2013 in connection with the A380 road improvement scheme. This is the short four tack section of line between Newton Abbot and the Aller divergence, with the Paignton lines on the right, and the Penzance lines on the left.

43002 South Moreton (Didcot East) 24 October 1989

The remnants of 43002's former livery, which included yellow paint instead of grey around the windscreen, can be seen as it leads the 1A38 10:20 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington service past South Moreton (Didcot East) on 24 October 1989. As always it is the horse chestnut tree that starts off the autumn colour spectacle.

43002 Wantage Road 17 May 1992

43002 catches the evening sun as it passes the remains of Wantage Road station on 17 May 1992 with the 18:35 Paddington to Swindon service. Normally this train would have continued on via the Golden Valley route to Cheltenham, but that line was closed for engineering works. 43002's peeling paint shows traces of its former all yellow front end, an experimental livery carried by a handful of power cars during 1988. Didcot Power Station can just be glimpsed underneath the roadbridge in the background.

43002 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 25 November 1993

A few minutes of brilliant lighting conditions during an otherwise cloudy day luckily corresponded with 43002 Top of the Pops leading the 1A44 10:15 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington service past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 25 November 1993. This was running approximately 15 minutes late, which was very fortunate, as at the booked time the scene looked nothing like this! The dark clouds in the background certainly make the picture, but note that the hedges and trees in the distance are in the shade, emphasising how brief this superb lighting was.

43002 Bourton 25 July 1993

A picture containing two white horses. In addition to the one in the field, just about visible on the hill on the horizon is the 3,000 year old Uffington White Horse, which gives its name to the Vale. 43002 passes Bourton on 25 July 1995 with the 1B62 18:30 Paddington to Swansea InterCity service.

43002 Compton Beauchamp 8 September 2006

Just over thirty years since being introduced onto the Great Western Mainline, the first production HST power car 43002 was still going strong on 8 September 2006, when it was pictured approaching Compton Beauchamp with the 07:00 Swansea to Paddington service. The clear early morning autumn light prompted the use of a long lens to emphasize the reverse curves here, proving that Brunel's GWR main line is not completely featureless. The concrete footbridge in the background is on the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham.

43002 South Moreton (Didcot East) 12 November 2007

With the unmistakable background of Didcot Power Station, 43002 Techniquest passes South Moreton (Didcot East) on 12 November 2007 with the 1L42 08:29 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service. Not the mix of liveries throughout the coaches.

43002 Denchworth 16 September 2010

Still giving excellent service after 34 years in traffic (over double the length of time the 'Westerns' plied this route), the first production HST power car, 43002 heads west past Denchworth on an intermittently sunny 16 September 2010 with the 1C16 13:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. Admittedly now with a different engine, this power car must have clocked up an astronomical mileage, and surely makes the class one of BR's best value for money decisions ever.

43002 Chilson 4 May 2011

I hope the driver of 43002 isn't scratching his head because he thinks he's running 'wrong line'! Seriously, the pioneer HST power car leads the 1P21 05:34 Hereford to Paddington First Great Western service past Chilson on 4 May 2011, passing the recently re-laid, but not yet ballasted re-instated up line.

43002 Pewsey 23 August 2013

43002 races through Pewsey station on 23 August 2013 with the 1A74 05:53 Plymouth to Paddington First Great Western service. Although not obvious from this picture, there were numerous passengers waiting to board the following stopping service headed by 43023, which arrived a mere four minutes later.

43002 Shrivenham 29 November 2014

A wide angle view of the remains of Shrivenham station, taken on 29 November 2014. Note the Fat Dog pub in the background, with the former railwaymen's cottages in the background. 43002 races past with the 1A13 10:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service.

43002 Crofton 24 January 2015

A fatality in the Reading area caused the last minute diversion of certain First Great Western services via the Berks & Hants line on the morning of Saturday 24 January 2015. One such was the 1C10 10:27 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads, seen here running alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal near Crofton, led by 43002.

43002 Coates 16 May 2015

43002 is still accelerating away from Kemble station, as it passes the site of Coates goods station on 16 May 2015 with the 1G60 18:15 Paddington to Cheltenham Spa First Great Western service. Originally opened as Tetbury Road passenger station with the opening of the line in 1845, the station closed to passengers in 1882, being replaced by the junction station at Kemble (a short distance to the south). In 1908 it was renamed Coates. For over 80 years it operated as a purely goods station, being conveniently situated next to the Fosse Way (now the A433).

43002 Baulking 4 May 2016

Still looking pristine, just two days after it was unveiled to the public in its new 'old' livery, 43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes Baulking on 4 May 2016 with the 1A13 10:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. To celebrate 40 years of the iconic HST, the first production power car was chosen to be repainted into its original (and arguably the best) livery. Fittingly, it was named the train's designer, Sir Kenneth Grange, at the St Philips Marsh Open Day on 2 May. This picture makes an interesting comparison to my 1981 view of the same loco at the same spot. A lot has changed in 35 years, but now that 43002 is back in its original livery there is one constant. The steel piles either side of the track show that a monumental change is about to alter the view totally.

43002 Radley 5 May 2016

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange approaches Radley on 5 May 2016 with the 1P39 11:01 Oxford to Paddington GWR service. The immaculate blue and grey power car does look slightly odd with a rake of GWR's blue 'wavy line' coaches, but unfortunately the repainting of a matching set of stock was never really likely to happen. However, the 1970s retro liveried loco has become an instant hit, and is quite rightly photographed everywhere it goes. I've been saying for years that at least one power car should be repainted into this iconic colour scheme, and so I'm really pleased to see the first production power car honoured in this way. It's funny how few people gave it a second glance when it looked like this (minis nameplates) 40 years ago!

43002 Finstock 6 May 2016

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange leads the late running 1P65 15:14 Hereford to Paddington GWR service through the diminutive Finstock station on 6 May 2016. Finstock is served by only two trains a day, and in fact the only down train to call was delayed on this occasion, as 43002 and its train would have to clear Wolvercote Junction before the local could proceed onto the single line.

43002 Compton Beauchamp 8 May 2016

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange bursts out from underneath the road bridge at Compton Beauchamp on 8 May 2016 with the 1C28 19:27 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads GWR service. With the sun having long since disappeared into a bank of cloud, and the time being 20:23, to say the light was poor would be an understatement! In order to use the 1/2000sec shutter speed that this close up view required, I had to use ISO 6400 and the lens wide open at f2.8! 

43002 Stoulton 18 June 2016

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes Stoulton on 18 June 2016 with the 1P51 12:41 Great Malvern to Paddington GWR service. This was a very welcome surprise, as I hadn't checked up to see where this power car was. The bridge in the background marks the site of the derailment of the 1A75 07.05 Hereford to Paddington train on 30 November 1984, caused by a broken fishplate.

43002 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 14 September 2016

A sunny, but very misty morning at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 14 September 2016. 43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes underneath the half complete overhead catenary with the 1C06 08:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads GWR service.

43002 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 10 October 2016

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange brings up the rear of the 1B12 08:15 Paddington to Swansea GWR service at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 10 October 2016. Coincidentally, GWR's other heritage repaint, 43185 Great Western had passed by in the other direction just ten minutes earlier.

43002 Woodborough 11 October 2016

This must be deliberate! Both of GWR's recently repainted 'heritage liveried' power cars, sandwiching one of their rakes of green coaches. 43002 Sir Kenneth Grange leads the 1A83 10:00 Penzance to Paddington service past Woodborough on 11 October 2016, with 'InterCity Swallow' liveried 43185 Great Western bringing up the rear. Typically after standing around for over two hours in unbroken sunshine, just at the critical moment a cloud partially got in the way. I suppose we were lucky to get any sun, as earlier in the day it had been very foggy, and there was still a lot of cloud around, both to the north and south of this location.

43002 Standish Junction 12 October 2016

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes Standish Junction on 12 October 2016 with the diverted 1L82 15:28 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. 'InterCity Swallow' liveried 43185 Great Western is bringing up the rear, with Laira's LA16 set of green coaches completing the multi-coloured picture. This was the second day in traffic for this odd combination. After a reasonably sunny afternoon, the clouds were now building up big time, and the small rainbow in the background indicates that the Cotswolds are getting some rain. I know this for certain, as I drove through it on the way home!

43002 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 2 November 2016

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes underneath the newly installed steel eyesores at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 2 November 2016, as it heads towards the capital with the 1A19 13:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service.

43002 Steventon 5 January 2017

A superb end to a superb day's photography. 43002 Sir Kenneth Grange races past Steventon on 5 January 2017 with the 1C17 14:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads GWR service. Not having called at Didcot, this was going noticeably faster than some of the HSTs seen earlier in the day, although easily stopped with a shutter speed of 1/2000sec. Another one of the route's non-standard livered power cars, 43172 Harry Patch - The last survivor of the trenches is on the rear of the train.

43002 Steventon 1 March 2017

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes underneath Steventon roadbridge on 1 March 2017 with the 1C12 11:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads GWR service. This bridge is the subject of a bitter feud between the locals, who want to preserve it, and Network Rail who wish to demolish it. The cause of all this is the hugely delayed electfrication of the Great Western Mainline. Note the two concrete filled mast bases on the left, and also the white sighting patch on the bridge, a remnant from the days of semaphore signalling.

43002 Compton Beauchamp 13 May 2017

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes Compton Beauchamp on 13 May 2017 with the GWR 1Z67 15:55 Bishops Lydeard to Paddington 'Somerset Explorer' railtour. Newly repainted 43093 is on the rear of the train. Originally the train was booked to travel along the West Somerset Railway to Minehead, but gauging issues resulting in tour participants travelling to the town behind D1010 Western Campaigner insead. Normally I would I have travelled to Somerset to photograph this, but I had only just returned from the Isle of Man, so this backlit local picture will have to suffice.

43002 Challow 28 November 2017

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes Challow on 28 November 2017 with the 1A09 07:13 Taunton to Paddington GWR service. Earlier in the month 43002 had acquired a coupling cover from a blue liveried power car, giving it a very odd appearance. Naturally this was only going to be a short term fix, and I didn't manage to get a picture of it. However, this newly painted replacement looks a bit odd, being a darker shade of yellow, and with the set number in a non-standard small font.

43002 Grove 30 November 2017

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes Grove on 30 November 2017 with the 1L38 07:59 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. Strange as it seems, this location has actually got marginally more photogenic since the electfrication wires went up! Before the wires were installed, a high voltage electricity line crossed the railway here. It now goes underground, from the post seen on the extreme left of the picture. Whereas the catenary is a necessary eyesore on an electrified railway, the high voltage wires in an otherwise open landscape completely ruined the picture.

43002 Badgeworth 2 February 2018

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes Badgeworth on 2 February 2018 with the 1L58 12:36 Cheltenham Spa to Paddington GWR service. Note the darker coloured coupling cover, featuring an incorrectly small sized set number. This was fitted in late 2017, after the power car ran for a while with a First Great Western blue panel.

43002 Steventon 16 February 2018

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange passes Steventon on 16 February 2018 with the 1B46 14:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service. I had noted this on the rear of the 1A17 12:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington a couple of hours earlier, and therefore made sure I was in the best possible position to get a decent picture of this iconic power car in the perfect late afternoon winter light. Although this location is one of the few in the area that is not fully wired, the view still compares unfavourably with the same location a year earlier, when 43002 was also photographed here.

43002 Honeybourne 24 February 2018

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange arrives at Honeybourne station on 24 February 2018 with the 1W29 11:22 Paddington to Great Malvern GWR service. Definitely not the ideal photographic vantage point, but at least it is a clearly identifiable location.

43002 Hanborough 21 March 2018

43002 Sir Kenneth Grange pulls away from Hanborough station on 21 March 2018 with the 1W01 10:22 Paddington to Hereford GWR service. At 42 years, 43002 may now be considered old, but there is something even older in the background. Just visible in the doorway of the Oxford Bus Museum is City of Oxford Motor Services AEC Renown double decker FWL 371 E of 1967.

43003 Demchworth (Circourt Bridge) 8 May 1987

43003 leads the 1B30 13:00 Paddington to Swansea service past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 8 May 1987. It seems to be loosing its former set number 253001 piecemeal, with just the 253 left on the front end. By this time they had long since been regarded as locomotives, and were no longer kept in their original sets. In fact, I had seen 253001's former partner (43002) heading in the same direction on a another train approximately an hour earlier.

43003 Shrivenham 10 December 1987

43003 passes Shrivenham on 10 December 1987 with the 1C47 13:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service. Around this time it was quite common to see sets of blue and grey coaches working with the then new InterCity executive liveried power cars, and vice versa, but it was less common to see mixed liveries within the coaches. 

43003 Circourt 22 June 1988

Although it is well known that the buffer fitted surrogated DVT HSTs received a modified version of InterCity livery, with yellow around the windscreens, it is less well known that for a short period in 1988 several conventional power cars also carried this livery. Catching the last rays of the setting sun, 43003 approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 22 June 1988 with the 20:00 Paddington to Swansea service. Despite it being close to the longest day, this picture was taken so near to sunset that Kodachrome 200 was required, hence the poor technical quality.

43003 Didcot 31 July 1992

43003 takes the Oxford line at Didcot on 31 July 1992, as it pulls out of the station with the 17:10 Paddington to Hereford service. It is being closely followed by Class 117 unit L417 (just visible in the distance) with the 17:21 Reading to Oxford local service. As the HST was running late, the unit was now catching it up, although having to be held back while the HST weaved across from the fast lines in front of it has had a delaying effect. Note that apart from a couple of stone hoppers this end of the yard at Didcot is surprisingly empty.

43003 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 20 February 1994

43003 approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on Sunday 20 February 1994 with the 12:30 Paddington to Swansea InterCity service. This was a time of transition at this location. The relief lines had just been installed, and while the down line was in use, the up line had yet to be commissioned. Also new at this time was the Denchworth road bridge in the background, along with the adjacent signal gantry. 43003 was not quite so new, although being just 18 years old, it was still only a short way into its very long career.

43003 Ascott-under-Wychwood 23 October 2007

The second production HST power car, 43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel was one of the diminishing number of First Great Western HSTs to retain its Paxman Valenta engine at the end of 2007. It is pictured here leaning into the curve and catching the first rays of the early morning sun between Shipton and Ascott-under-Wychwood with the 1P26 06:09 Abergavenny to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' First Great Western service on 23 October 2007.

43003 Cholsey 12 November 2007

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel approaches Cholsey on 12 November 2007 with the 1A14 11:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service. Although by this time 43003 was one of the few power cars to retain this version of FGW's livery, there were still many more coaches to be repainted. Here we have a mixed rake.

43003 Patney & Chirton 11 May 2009

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel speeds past the site of Patney & Chirton station with the 1A81 08:42 Penzance to Paddington First Great Western service on 11 May 2009. Presumably the lilac tree in the background is a remnant of the long closed station. Despite the cloudless conditions, it was not that warm due to a near gale force wind.

43003 Didcot 10 December 2009

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel rounds the curve between Didcot North Junction and Didcot Parkway station on 10 December 2009 with the 1P43 12:31 Oxford to Paddington First Great Western service. Coincidentally I had photographed this same power car at this location 17 years previously, but on that occasion traveling in the opposite direction. Note the wagons of the Brentford to Appleford binliner stabled in the sidings.

43003 Wootton Rivers 22 June 2010

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel gleams in the early morning sunshine on 22 June 2010 as it passes Wootton Rivers with the 1A75 05:30 Plymouth to Paddington First Great Western service. Quite what the great man would say about having a HST power car named after him is uncertain, but he would probably state that it could go faster than 125 mph if there was more than 4 ft 8½ in between the rails!

43003 Frocester 9 June 2012

With a toot and a wave from the driver, 43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel passes Frocester on 9 June 2012 with the 1Z33 08:10 Bristol Temple Meads to York First Great Western staff special. This was taking some of the company's employees for a day out at the Railfest 2012 celebrations at the National Railway Museum. As an ambassador for FGW's highly successful HST fleet, the two original production power cars were chosen, 43002 being on the rear of the train. This section of line between Westerleigh and Standish Junctions is not the normal stamping ground for FGW HSTs, as the company's normal stock on this route is Class 150 or 158 DMUs.

43003 Patchway 21 July 2012

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel has just passed through Patchway station (just visible in the background), and is picking up speed after coming round the curve between Stoke Gifford and Patchway Junctions. The date is 21 July 2012, and the train is the 1B10 07:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. Note how the track is starting to split here, with the down line maintaining a higher level towards Patchway Tunnels. Also note the industrial units squeezed between the road and the railway, and the chimney on the Rolls Royce Aerospace site.

43003 Aynho 7 April 2013

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel passes Aynho on Sunday 7 April 2013 with the diverted 1Z15 06:50 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. Due to engineering works at Reading, trains were travelling to the west via a reversal at Banbury. This train was running 32 minutes late, which was unfortunate, as at the booked time it was a fine sunny morning, with the remnants of the overnight frost in the field. However, high cloud soon appeared leading to very flat lighting, which persisted for most of the rest of the day.

43003 Challow 30 July 2014

A pair of classic 1970s designs at Challow on 30 July 2014. 43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel speeds westwards with the 1C17 14:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service, while 56113 waits on the relief line with the 6V62 11:22 Tilbury Riverside to Llanwern steel empties. For some reason the driver of 56113 had stopped his train well back from the signal, rather than in the usual spot in the foreground of this picture. This did however enable this passing shot, which would have been impossible otherwise.

43003 Farleaze 10 September 2014

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel passes Farleaze (near Hullavington) on 10 September 2014 with the 1L51 10:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington First Great Western service. The temporary fencing is to protect the vegetation clearance workforce, who are just out of the picture to the right. This work was in preparation for the forthcoming electrification.

43003 Uffington 28 October 2014

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel runs along the great man's 'Billiard Table' Great Western Mainline at Uffington on 28 October 2014 with the 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service. With nearly four decades of loyal service on the route, the HSTs have without doubt been the most successful design of passenger train ever to run in this country.

43003 Bourton 20 April 2015

The horse in the field at Bourton has been startled by the blast from 43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel's horn, as it warns track workers of its approach with the 1B48 15:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central First Great Western service on 20 April 2015. Over the previous weekend the track on the up line was renewed and lowered, in preparation for the forthcoming electrification. Isambard Kingdom Brunel is an appropriate name for a loco passing this location, but I wonder what the great man would have made of his line's transformation into an electric railway.

43003 Appleford 30 June 2015

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel approaches Appleford on 30 June 2015 with the 1P61 15:20 Worcester Shrub Hill to Paddington First Great Western service. The train has just crossed over the River Thames. This is not a particularly pleasant spot to take pictures from, as the roadbridge is very busy, and there is not much room to stand away from the traffic.

43003 Steventon 29 September 2015

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel passes signs of impending (probably!) electrification at Steventon 29 September 2015. Not quite the run of the mill GWR HST passenger service, as this is in fact the 5L50 12:37 Cheltenham to Paddington ECS, working to a VSTP (Very Short Term Planning) schedule. Isambard Kingdom Brunel is obviously an apt choice of name for the location, but I wonder what the great man would make of what Network Rail are dong to his superbly engineered line. Presumably he would be impressed by the efficiency and technology of electrification, but like everyone else would be amazed at how badly organised and slow the whole process is!

43003 Compton Beauchamp 18 July 2016

Lengthening shadows at Compton Beauchamp on 18 July 2016, as 43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel speeds westwards with the 1B79 18:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service. Note the damaged and taped up window near the rear of the first coach. Just in front of the power car a couple of temporary safety handrails mark the site of one of the electrification mast piles, which once complete will render this viewpoint useless for photography.

43003 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 2 November 2016

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 10 October 2016 with the 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. It is of course entirely fitting that one of the HST fleet should be named after the Great Western Railway's original engineer, but what the great man would have made of the desecration of his superbly engineered route by the hideous electrification scheme, is open to question!

43003 Steventon 1 March 2017

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel passes the present limit of electrification wiring at Steventon on 1 March 2017, as it heads towards the capital with the 1L38 07:58 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. What would Brunel say about the desecration of his railway with all this ugly ironmongery, when he paid such attention to the aesthetics of his line?

43003 Adlestrop 15 March 2017

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel approaches the site of Adlestrop station on 15 March 2017 with the 1W25 12:21 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill GWR service. The church and houses of Daylesford can just be glimpsed through the trees in the background.

43003 Chilson 7 April 2017

43003 Isambard Kingdom Brunel passes Chilson on 7 April 2017 with the 1P26 06:42 Hereford to Paddington GWR service. A clean power car, and early morning spring sunshine make a perfect picture, but I would have preferred the '90 Glorious Years' vinyl covered 43027, which was on the rear, to have been on the front! It seems that the view across the Evenlode Valley will be obscured in years to come, judging by the newly planted trees in the field on the right.

43004 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 10 December 1986

43004 leads the 1B26 11:0 Paddington to Swansea InterCity service past the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, on 10 December 1986. By this date the Class 253 set numbers were being disbanded, so it presumably doesn't matter that the 253002 number on the front is incomplete.

43004 Aller 7 December 1988

43004 rounds the sharp curve at Aller on 7 December 1988 with the 1C16 08:10 Paddington to Penzance InterCity service. Just visible on the extreme right is the 10:50 Paignton to Cardiff Central Class 155 DMU approaching the junction from the south.

43004 Little Bedwyn 24 August 1996

43004 runs alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal at Little Bedwyn on 24 August 1996 with the 1C15 08:35 Paddington to Paignton service. Unfortunately this view is no longer possible, as that scrappy little beech hedge next to the line is now a fully grown photographic obstruction!

43004 Wolvercote Junction 14 August 1997

43004 Borough of Swindon slowly approaches Wolvercote Junction on 14 August 1997 with the 1B48 17:10 Paddington to Hereford Great Western Trains service. 43304 had been named a few months earlier to celebrate the creation of the Borough of Swindon, splitting it administratively from the rest of Wiltshire. It seems that a 'Merlin' liveried power car with a complete rake of InterCity stock was quite common on this train at the time. I saw exactly the same combination exactly one month earlier!

43004 South Stoke 27 May 1989

With their sleek streamlined front end, HST power cars are the ideal candidate for a spot of panning photography. 43004 speeds past South Stoke on 27 May 1989 with the 1B42 16:43 Paddington to Cheltenham InterCity service. Photo taken from the footpath between the villages of South Stoke and North Stoke, in the Thames Valley.

43004 Shrivenham 31 July 1999

43004 Borough of Swindon passes the site of Shrivenham station with the 09:32 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service on 31 July 1999. This is one of the very few picture I have of a Great Western liveried power car with a complete rake of stock in the later First Great Western 'fag packet' livery.  At around this time I was chasing all over the country seeking out freight workings hauled by heritage traction (especially Class 37s) prior to the decimation of services and the replacement of proper locos by Class 66s. Unfortunately this resulted in me neglecting my home patch and not getting as many pictures of the Great Western HSTs as I would have liked. Note that this power car has a modified livery, the whole front area under the lights being painted dark green.

43004 Crofton 21 July 2006

Before the general adoption of the rather bland blue livery to the refurbished First Great Western fleet, 43004 First for the future / First ar gyfer y dyfodol received the 'Neon' wavy line livery that later became the standard coach livery. It is seen here emerging from the fog at Crofton on 21 July 2006 with the 05:35 Plymouth to Paddington First Great Western service. The sun was already burning off the dense fog, as can be seen by the sunny patch crossing the wheat field in the background.

43004 Fairwood 11 September 2007

43004 passes Fairwood on 11 September 2007 with the 1A86 06:43 Penzance to Paddington First Great Western service. Although 43004 is in the later plain version of FGW's purple livery, all except the rear coach are in still in the first version of this colour scheme.

43004 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 23 May 2009

43004 First for the future / First ar gyfer y dyfodol approaches Oxford on 23 May 2009 with the 1P31 07:10 Hereford to Paddington First Great Western service. Note the green signal and feathers on the up relief line on the right. 165128 is signaled for the 09:27 Oxford to Bicester train.

43004 Kingston Lisle 17 April 2010

A wide view for a change. 43004 First for the future / First ar gyfer y dyfodol heads through the Vale of White Horse near Kingston Lisle on 17 April 2010 with the 1C21 16:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. The completely clear sky is not just the result of the sunny conditions, but also the total ban on aircraft movements due to the cloud of ash drifting across from the volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull (I've no idea how you pronounce it!) in Iceland.

43004 Denchworth 8 September 2014

43004 First for the future / First ar gyfer y dyfodol speeds past Denchworth on 8 September 2014 with the 1C12 11:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. A shutter speed of 1/2000sec is essential for this type of picture, and quick reactions!

43004 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 20 January 2016

43004 First for the future / First ar gyfer y dyfodol passes Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on the frosty morning of 20 January 2016 with the late running 1L28 07:07 Worcester Shrub Hill to Paddington GWR service.

43004 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 14 September 2016

43004 First for the future / First ar gyfer y dyfodol passes the partially completed catenary at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 14 September 2016, as it heads towards London with the 1L38 07:59 Swansea to Paddington GWR service.

43004 Steventon 5 January 2017

In superb winter afternoon light, and with the steam from the gas fired Didcot B Power Station almost emulating the output from the now demolished coal fired Didcot A, 43004 passes Steventon on 5 January 2017 with the 1B37 13:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central GWR service. This was one of the last mast free areas of the Great Western Mainline, but the much delayed electfrication finally caught up with even this location a few weeks later.

43004 Challow 6 April 2017

43004 speeds past Challow on 6 April 2017 with the 1A10 09:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. The view has already been ruined, but I thought it prudent to record the transitional scene, before the wires are attached, purely for the historic record.

43004 Uffington 11 April 2017

The view from the newly opened footbridge at Uffington on 11 April 2017. 43004 heads towards London with the 1L36 08:31 Cheltenham Spa to Paddington GWR service. In all the years that I have been photographing trains at the former footpath crossing, and from the field on the left, I cannot remember anyone else using the footpath. It was slightly ironic then that on my first visit to this new footbridge, a woman walking her dog used it. It seems that the bridge wasn't built just for me after all!

43005 Denchworth 23 June 1979

43005 passes underneath Denchworth road bridge on 23 June 1979 with the 1A49 11:45 Swansea to Paddington InterCity service. This brick bridge was replaced in the 1990s by a single span structure, with blue engineers brick parapet, and is almost as aesthetically pleasing as this Victorian original. Note how the lineside in the foreground appears to resemble a lush meadow, with plenty of long grass. This is in marked contrast to the overgrown mass of brambles, weeds and assorted bushes that prevails now, since Network Rail stopped maintaining the trackside.

43005 Oxford North Junction 2 May 1990

A reflected HST at Oxford North Junction on 2 May 1990. 43005 leads the 1M61 17:50 Paddington to Liverpool Lime Street InterCity service underneath the the Aristotle Lane footbridge, and alongside the recently dredged ditch that separated the main line from the route of the former down goods loop.

43005 Kemble 30 January 2008

43005 brings up the rear of the 11:48 Paddington to Cheltenham 'Cheltenham Spa Express' at Kemble on 30 January 2008. Although a going away shot, the perfect winter light, GWR water tower, and clean First Great Western power car make an excellent picture.

43005 Shipton 9 June 2008

This view shows how close the station at Shipton, on the Cotswold Line is to the premises of FWP Matthews, flower millers. On 9 June 2008, 43005 leads the 1W03 17:21 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service past the company's delivery lorries in the car park. The entrance to the flower mill can be seen on the extreme right, this also being the entrance to Shipton' s down platform, making the narrow path on which I am stood effectively the path to the station.

43005 Wantage Road 17 November 2009

In superb lighting, with the dark menacing clouds contrasting with the autumnal foliage, 43005 approaches the site of Wantage Road station with the 1G38 13:48 Paddington to Cheltenham First Great Western service on 17 November 2009. I was surprised at how much foliage was still left on the trees considering the gale force winds of the previous week and the very exposed position of this bank of trees. Needless to say this ideal combination of low sunshine and dark clouds did not last very long.

43005 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 7 January 2010

43005 speeds through the snowy landscape at Ashbury Crossing, Shrivenham on 7 January 2010 with what is presumably the 1C13 12:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. It is not that easy to positively identify HST services during periods of bad weather, when late running is the norm. First Great Western were actually canceling some services due to the weather. principally those going to Cardiff. Note how the caked on snow on the front end has mostly fallen off at some point in the journey.

43005 Chilson 8 March 2010

With the village of Chadlington just visible in the background, 43005 speeds past Chilson with the 1W02 10:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service on 8 March 2010. This is one location that hasn't succumbed to palisade fencing! In fact the vintage wooden post fence is definitely in need of repair. Note how the top wire has become completely detached from the posts as they drop down into the dip, and is now stretched tight well above the top of the posts.

43005 Shrivenham 9 April 2014

Two different forms of transport at Shrivenham on 9 April 2014. An agricultural fertilizer tanker crosses the roadbridge, while 43005 speeds underneath with the 1A10 09:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service. This bridge is due to be reconstructed as part of the Great Western Mainline electrification programme.

43005 Uffington 10 March 2015

Carefully framed by the roadside tree and hedge at Uffington, 43005 heads eastwards on 10 March 2015 with the 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service. As is quite common, this was being held up by the 4L31 09:03 Bristol to Felixstowe North freightliner running in front of it.

43005 Avoncliff 18 April 2015

43005 passes Avoncliff on 18 April 2015 with the diverted 1C18 14:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. The River Avon is in the foreground, and the aqueduct carrying the Kennet & Avon Canal over the railway can just be seen in the background.

43005 Uffington 24 February 2016

A slightly different perspective on a familiar location. 43005 passes Uffington on 24 February 2016 with the 1B48 15:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central GWR service. Not only does the tree provide foreground interest, but it also hides the prominent radio mast!

43005 Bourton 17 March 2016

43005 passes through the recently cleared shallow cutting at Bourton on 17 March 2016 with the 1B40 13:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service. Unfortunately this clearance is paving the way for the forthcoming electfrication, which will ruin this location forever.

43005 Bourton 1 September 2016

My first picture of GWR's second green liveried HST set. 43005 leads the 1A10 09:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington service past Bourton on 1 September 2016. 43041 is the rear power car. At least by late summer the landscape is a contrasting colour to the train's dark green livery, but it still doesn't look right, especially as when clean, as here, it picks up the reflection of everything it is passing!

43005 Uffington 23 September 2016

GWR green 43005 leads the 5Z70 09:10 Landore to Old Oak Common ECS past Uffington on 23 September 2016, with 'Building a Greater West' liveried 43146 bringing up the rear. So much for keeping the green power cars with their matching coaches!

43005 Bourton 3 November 2016

43005 passes Bourton on 3 November 2016 with the 1L38 07:58 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. Note the pairs of mast bases on either side of the line near the front of the train. These have been in place for a year, but there is still no other sign here of the stalled electfrication project.

43005 Chilson 1 December 2016

43005 brings up the rear of the 1P47 12:06 Worcester Foregate Street to Paddington GWR service at Chilson on 1 December 2016. Theoretically the green power cars are supposed to be kept with their matching coaches, but despite what was mentioned at the time of repainting, that wasn't always going to happen!

43005 Steventon 5 January 2017

43005 passes Steventon on 5 January 2017 with the 1G29 11:36 Paddington to Cheltenham Spa GWR service. A bizarre coincidence resulted in this single green power car on an otherwise blue train being followed just three minutes later by the exact opposite, a blue power car on an otherwise green train!

43005 Uffington 11 April 2017

43005 passes the electfrication work site at Uffington on 11 April 2017 with the 1B20 09:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service. This is the view from the newly erected footbridge, which replaces the former footpath crossing. Uffington station, which closed in 1964, was situated near the road bridge in the background.

43005 Compton Beauchamp 13 May 2017

A final look at the classic view from the bridge at Compton Beauchamp, before the wires go up and ruin the location forever. The hawthorn is in full blossom, as 43005 speeds westwards on 13 May 2017 with the 1C24 17:30 Paddington to Weston-super-Mare GWR service. Note the two concrete filled steel piles in the foreground, and the masts surely only days away from spoiling the view.

43005 Bicester South Junction 17 September 2017

43005 brings up the rear of the diverted 1L53 10:24 Swansea to Paddington GWR service, as it climbs the steep curve between Gavray Junction and Bicester South Junction on 17 September 2017. As can be seen from the clouds in the background, sunshine was at a premium (at least until later in the day), and I was lucky that this corresponded with a short sunny period.

43005 Charlton-on-Otmoor 17 September 2017

Superb evening light at Charlton-on-Otmoor on 17 September 2017, as 43005 heads south with the diverted 1B59 15:58 Paddington to Swansea GWR service. The green power car with blue coaches almost recalls the days in the 1980s when the HSTs were often to be seen with mismatched formations. The difference is the original blue and grey, as well as the later Executive and Swallow liveries were photogenic, whereas the modern versions (especially GWR's uninspired drab green) certainly aren't!

43005 Uffington 22 September 2017

43005 leads the 1L38 07:59 Swansea to Paddington GWR service past Uffington on 22 September 2017. The Met Office was quite accurate with the forecast on this occasion, as they had predicted a completely sunny start, with cloud building up by mid morning. This is mid morning, and look what's approaching from the west in the background!

43005 Challow 28 November 2017

Green and blue at Challow on 28 November 2017. 43005 and its mismatched coaches race towards the capital with the 1L24 06:40 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. This trackside location is now the only photographic vantage point here, as the 25kV catenary completely ruins the former excellent view from the bridge in the background.

43006 Challow 20 October 1979

43006 passes Challow's long disused platforms on 20 October 1979 with the 1A01 08:05 Swansea to Paddington InterCity service. Note the old Langford & Sons coal office in the background. Photography from locations such as this was perfectly normal (and of course totally safe) in the 1970s. I even remember seeing an article in one of the magazines at the time saying that old platforms like this made excellent photographic vantage points. How times change!

43006 South Moreton 18 August 1991

The red flag across the up main line gives the game away as to what is happening here. With the main line closed for Sunday engineering work, 43006 has to weave across onto the relief line at South Moreton on 18 August 1991, as it works the 1A46 12:10 Swansea to Paddington InterCity service. 43006 is one of only a handful of the original Western Region allocated power cars that has not spent its entire life on the region. It later moved to the GNER fleet, finally being re-engined and renumbered 43206.

43006 Aldclune 12 April 2004

43006 Kingdom of Fife speeds past Aldclune (between Blair Atholl and Pitlochry) with the 1E12 07:55 Inverness to Kings Cross GNER 'Highland Chieftain' service on 12 April 2004. The bridge in the background carries the modern A9 road over the line, while I am stood next to the old A9, which used to pass through the villages of Killiecrankie, Aldclune, and Bridge of Tilt. 43006 has subsequently been fitted with a MTU engine and renumbered to 43206

43007 Bathampton 1 September 1985

43007 leads the 1B22 09:00 Paddington to Weston-super-Mare service past Bathampton on 1 September 1985. This Sunday train was booked to run via the Berks & Hants line, and travel via Hawkeridge Junction and Bradford-on Avon. The rear power car can just be seen leaving the Bradford-on-Avon line at Bathampton Junction.

43007 Foxhall Junction 31 July 1986

43007 approaches Foxhall Junction on 31 July 1986 with the 1A49 12:35 Swansea to Paddington service. Note the huge pile of coal in the background indicating that Didcot Power Station (just out of view to the right) was busy providing power for the national grid. The coal fired Didcot A plant was in use between 1968 and 2013.

43007 Milton 16 November 1988

43007 leads the 1C52 14:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service past Milton on 16 November 1988. This was late in the afternoon, and still the fog hadn't really cleared in the background, although it was any improvement on the middle of the day, when Didcot Power Station could hardly be seen through the murk. While this view could have been replicated until recently (albeit with increasing background vegetation), 43007 would not have been seen here in later years, as it moved to Cross Country, and then East Midlands duties.

43007 Claydon (Gloucestershire) 5 April 2007

On 5 April 2007 a Midland Mainline HST set substituted for a Virgin Voyager on the 1V05 06:05 Derby to Plymouth and 1E47 11:50 Plymouth to Newcastle Virgin services. The latter is pictured passing Claydon with 43007 leading (43072 was on the rear). I would not normally bother taking a picture with such severe backlighting, unless of course it was an evening glint shot, but as I was already waiting on the bridge anyway, why not!

43008 Llandenny 21 October 1985

Of the original batch of HST power cars that were introduced onto the Western Region in 1976, the majority have not strayed from the area. However, one that did move on to pastures new was 43008. It is seen here passing Llandevenny on 21 October 1985 with the late running 1A32 07:52 Milford Haven to Paddington service. After a spell working with Virgin CrossCountry in the 1990s, 43008 was fitted with a MTU engine in pace of the original Paxman unit, and in this guise works on the other side of the country, on the East Coast Mainline, between London and Scotland.

43008 Norton Fitzwarren 30 October 1991

43008 passes Norton Fitzwarren on 30 October 1991 with the 1C20 09:35 Paddington to Plymouth InterCity service. Taunton Cider's rail borne traffic had clearly survived the demise of Speedlink a few months earlier, but unfortunately it was not to last much longer.

43008 Fenny Compton 22 July 1999

Fenny Compton was a fascinating location with its bizarre mixture of upper and lower quadrant signals. The main line was converted to upper quadrant when it was transferred to the London Midland Region after nationalisation. However the sidings and branch to Kineton retained lower quadrant, old and new signals being right next to each other, as seen here. With low evening sun providing perfect lighting, although soon to be extinguished by the dark clouds rolling up from the south. 43008 approaches Fenny Compton with the 1M41 17:20 Bournemouth to Manchester Virgin Cross Country service on 22 July 1999.

43009 Fairwood Junction 18 April 1991

A solitary track worker heads off down the track with his shovel as 43009 takes the Westbury line at Fairwood Junction on 18 April 1991 with the 07:35 Plymouth to Paddington service. Compare this view with a very similar picture of 43036 on the equivalent train taken almost exactly three years earlier. Fairwood Farm can be seen in the background with Round Wood just behind.

43009 Ebbw Junction 15 February 2003

43009 leads the 1B26 13:00 Paddington to Swansea service past Ebbw Junction on 15 February 2003. Unfortunately I only have a limited number of pictures of HSTs in First Great Western's 'fag packet' livery, as I didn't realise at the time how short lived the colour scheme would be!

43009 Baulking 14 January 2010

43009 First Transforming Travel speeds past the pair of signal gantries at Baulking on 14 January 2010 whilst working the 1B35 12:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. I expect that when the First Transforming Travel nameplates were first unveiled the name had a bit of a hollow ring with the traveling public, as although FGW had certainly managed to transform travel, late running and chronic overcrowding were probably not exactly the transformation that they had in mind!

43009 Denchworth 16 September 2010

Although I took a lot of pictures at this spot near Denchworth prior to the line being electrified, they were usually in full sun. However, for just a change, here is a picture of 43009 First Transforming Travel heading west during a heavy, but fortunately very brief, shower of rain on 16 September 2010. It is working the 1B35 12:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service.

43009 Oxford 1 April 2015

43009 pulls out of Oxford station on 1 April 2015 with the 1P21 05:28 Hereford to Paddington First Great Western service. Although still free of the forthcoming overhead electrification wires, there are numerous other non photogenic additions to this viewpoint, since I first started taking photographs in the late 1970s.

43009 Denchworth 18 February 2016

A deliberately off centre picture of 43009 passing Denchworth on 18 February 2016 with the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington GWR service. This long lens view not only shows the works taking place on the left in connection with the forthcoming electfrication, but it also highlights the very poor state of the track on the down relief line!

43009 Challow 24 February 2016

43009 passes Challow on 24 February 2016 with the 1L24 06:28 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. A frosty morning, with the sun drifting in and out of some scattered fog patches. Luckily it was full sun for this one!

43009 Chalford 13 May 2016

43009 passes through the jungle that is the 'Golden Valley' line (Green Valley at this time of year!). The train is the 1L50 10:36 Cheltenham Spa to Paddington GWR service, and is pictured passing Chalford on 13 May 2016. It's not just the lineside vegetation that is nearly touching the train, but on the down line the ballast is almost completely covered in greenery!

43009 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 1 December 2016

43009 speeds past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 1 December 2016 with the 1A10 09:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. Note the location of the missing electfrication mast in the foreground, the installation of which will completely ruin this well known photographic vantage point.

43009 Finstock 6 March 2017

43009 speeds underneath the roadbridge at Finstock on 6 March 2017 with the late running 1W01 10:22 Paddington to Hereford GWR service. The bridge seems to be quite leaky, with water dripping down onto the ballast and forming a large pool. Just as the train came into view, a couple of pheasants were walking across the line a short distance down the track. Judging by the cloud of feathers swirling around in the train's wake, at least one of them didn't make it!

43009 Lyneham 22 May 2017

43009 passes Lyneham on 22 May 2017 with the 1W32 15:49 Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh GWR service. Coincidentally, just 15 minutes earlier, consecutively numbered 43010 passed by in the opposite direction with the 1P65 15:14 Hereford to Paddington service.

43010 Grange Court 18 April 1982

43010 leads the diverted 1C20 10:15 Paddington to Swansea service past the site of Grange Court Junction on 18 April 1982. The train's normal route via the Severn Tunnel was closed for engineering works. Formerly a junction for the cross country route to Ross-on-Wye, only the white painted building and the loop line remained in 1982, to indicate where the station was situated.

43010 Patchway 17 December 1983

Still showing its original set number 253005, 43010 speeds through Patchway station on 17 December 1983 with the 10:30 Swansea to Paddington service. This train called at all stations between Swansea and Cardiff, before running non-stop to Paddington, one of only three up limited stop services on the route at the time. Note the vintage Hillman Avenger police car in the car park!

43010 Cheltenham 21 August 1985

43010 slows down for the Cheltenham stop on 21 August 1985 whilst working the 08:33 Plymouth to York service. Largely ignored in 1985, the sight of a full HST rake in original blue and grey livery (if such thing existed) would cause great interest in 2008. Despite the multitude of liveries these trains have carried in recent years, I still think the original colour scheme was particularly inspired and suited the class well. Eventually I suppose one will be repainted into these 'heritage' colours!

43010 Duffryn 15 August 1987

43010 passes Duffryn on 15 August 1987 with the 1B16 09:30 Paddington to Fishguard Harbour 'Hibernian'. At the time this was one of only two through trains from the capital to the former Great Western Railway's Welsh Irish Sea port. As the other train ran during the night, with an arrival time at Fishguard of 02:35, this was the only photographable one! A typical late 1980s scene, with a pair of InterCity liveried power cards sandwiching a rake of blue and grey stock.

43010 Challow 11 January 1992

The late afternoon sun illuminates 43010, as it leads the 1C42 14:15 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service through the remains of Challow station on 11 January 1992. This bridge has since been replaced, but not before it got in a very poor state due to lack of maintenance. BR and latterly Railtrack and Network Rail didn't seem to realise that steel structures need to be regularly repainted to prevent corrosion, something that was done frequently in the steam era.

43010 Denchworth 14 March 1994

43010 speeds past Denchworth on 14 March 1994 with the 1C42 14:15 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads InterCity service. The trackside vegetation had recently been cleared for the reinstatement of the two relief lines. Note the fresh ballast and the rusty rails on the still to be commissioned up relief line on the left. Although nowadays most DSLRs have very fast top shutter speeds, this was not always the case in the 1990s. Most SLRs (including the rollfilm Pentax 6x7 that I used extensively) stopped at 1/1000sec. This would not have been fast enough to freeze the movement of this train travelling at 125mph, so for this picture I used the 1/2000sec shutter speed of my 1970s vintage totally mechanical, built like a tank, Canon F1.

43010 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 9 October 2003

With the news that First Great Western is going to go through another re-branding exercise, which involves painting the HST fleet in a new dark green livery, it seems fitting to remind ourselves what their previous green livery looked like. 43010 leads the 1C36 13:15 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 9 October 2003. At the time this was the outgoing colour scheme. The new order is represented by the fifth coach and the rear power car (43179).

43010 Moreton-in-Marsh 17 October 2008

Not quite the picture I had intended, but this has a certain novelty value, as it is the first time I have photographed a pair of HST power cars side by side on the Cotswold Line! 43010 leads the 08:37 Worcester Foregate Street to Paddington First Great service away from Moreton-in-Marsh on 17 October 2008, while an understandably unidentified classmate heads the 07:51 Paddington to Great Malvern train in the opposite direction. This quiet rural location is well away from any roads and meant that it was possible to hear both trains approaching from some way off, although it still wasn't clear until the very last moment which would appear first.

43010 Little Haresfield 6 April 2012

Running slowly under adverse signals, 43010 passes Little Haresfield on 6 April 2012 with the 1L36 08:31 Cheltenham to Paddington First Great Western service. It will shortly diverge from the main line at Standish Junction, to travel across the Cotswolds via the 'Golden Valley' route to Swindon.

43010 & 221134 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 13 July 2013

The possibility of getting a perfect passing shot on the national network is usually purely a matter of chance. However, at Walton Well Road, Oxford, on 13 July 2013, I realised that 221134 was stopped at a red signal in exactly the right spot for such a picture. An added bonus was that an up train would be slowing down for the Oxford station stop, so allowing the picture to be taken at exactly the right moment. So here is 43010 leading the 1P31 07:10 Hereford to Paddington First Great Western service, passing 221134 on the 1M30 07:45 Bournemouth to Manchester Piccadilly CrossCountry service. The problem was the failure of an axle counter on the Cotswold Line, delaying both Cotswold Line trains, and following CrossCountry services.

43010 Wootton Bassett 10 July 2014

The rail worker has a chat with his colleagues in the site office at Wootton Bassett, as 43010 passes by with the 1A15 11:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service on a swelteringly hot 10 July 2014. This is the site of Wootton Bassett Junction station, which closed in 1965.

43010 Uffington 28 October 2014

43010 passes Uffington on 28 October 2014 with the 1C15 13:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. If the rear of the train appears to contain two power cars, that is because the 1A18 13:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington is passing by in the background. The blue sky in this picture is very deceptive, as a huge mass of black cloud was approaching from the west, and just a few minutes after this picture was taken, the sun disappeared for the rest of the day.

43010 Challow 18 February 2015

Running under adverse signals, 43010 leads the 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service underneath the huge signal gantry next to the new road bridge at Challow on 18 February 2015. It was running at reduced speed, as it was catching up with 66540, which had strangely not been looped here, as booked. Note that although the new bridge has been open for some time, the temporary footbridge on the other side is still in place, which explains the odd structure visible underneath the span.

43010 Steventon (Stocks Lane) 10 March 2015

43010 leads the 1L55 11:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service over Stocks Lane level crossing, Steventon, on 10 March 2015. This crossing, one of two in the village, is a constant source of complaint from the locals, with the barriers often being down for considerable lengths of time, effectively cutting the village in two.

43010 Whitehill 24 September 2015

Clematis vitalba (variously known as Old Man's Beard and Traveller's Joy) seems to be the dominant lineside vegetation at Whitehill (between Combe and Finstock), with most of the lineside bushes covered with the climbing shrub. 43010 heads up the Cotswold Line on 24 September 2015 with the 1W02 10:22 Paddington to Hereford GWR service.

43010 Steventon 29 September 2015

Signs of impending electrification at Steventon on 29 September 2015. 43010 leads the 1B31 12:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central GWR service past a couple of catenary piles, one of which has been partially inserted into the ground, with the other just lying in the grass.

43010 Moreton-in-Marsh 6 June 2016

43010 pulls out of Moreton-in-Marsh station on 6 June 2016 with the 1P26 06:42 Hereford to Paddington GWR service. The flat grassy area on the right was formerly occupied by sidings, principally used in later years for stabling engineering trains.

43010 Lyneham 22 May 2017

43010 leads the 1P65 15:14 Hereford to Paddington GWR service past Lyneham on 22 May 2017. With no chance of a conventional picture due to various trackside bushes, I opted for this 'train in the landscape' picture, with the gate as a bold foreground object. After over 30 years of use on the Cotswold Line, the era of HSTs on the route will soon end, to be replaced by Hitachi built Class 800 bi-mode units.

43010 Charlton-on-Otmoor 17 September 2017

43010 passes Charlton-on-Otmoor on 17 September 2017 with the diverted 1B51 14:58 Paddington to Swansea GWR service. The concrete track provides access to Holts Farm, replacing the former level crossing, which was situated near the rear of the train. As this just about the best photographic location between Bicester and Oxford, and given the rarity of HSTs over this route, I was surprised to be the only photographer present!

43011 Oxford North Junction 13 May 1987

Just managing to find a small patch of sun at Oxford North Junction on 13 May 1987, the ill fated 43011 leads the 1A75 07:04 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' towards its next booked stop at Oxford. 43011 was of course the power car that was written off in the Ladbrooke Grove crash twelve years after this picture was taken. Note the short formation in use here, with only six coaches. The omission of a trailer first at this end of the train seems particularly odd for a Cotswold Line service, which has slightly higher than average first class usage.

43011 Charfield 13 March 1989

A slightly ironic picture, that shows 43011, the power car that was written off in the 1999 Ladbrooke Grove crash, passing the site of Charfield station, which was the location of a serious accident in 1928. The date is 13 March 1989, and the train is the late running 09:14 Edinburgh to Paignton service. The 1928 accident saw wreckage pile up against the bridge in the background. Three trains were involved, with fire caused by the ignition of the gas used for carriage lighting causing many fatalities.

43011 Little Bedwyn 23 April 1998

43011 heads through the rain at Little Bedwyn on 23 April 1998 with the 1C36 12:35 Paddington to Penzance Great Western Trains service. Despite the terrible lighting, I think this picture works quite well, not only because of the scenic location, but also because the menacing sky and reflections of the wet surfaces is so typical of British weather! This picture is also noteworthy for another reason. The following year 43011 became only the second HST power car to be written off in an accident, when it was involved in the Ladbrooke Grove crash on 5 October 1999, which also resulted in the loss of Turbo unit 165115. After the crash investigation 43011 was cut up by Sims Metals at Crewe Works in June 2002.

43012 Challow 3 December 1983

43012 speeds through the remains of the long closed station at Challow on 3 December 1983 with the 1A23 07:35 Pembroke Dock to Paddington InterCity service. Well over a quarter of a century later, 43012 is still passing this spot on regular basis, albeit now painted in the uninspiring First Great Western blue livery. Whilst 43012 is still with us, I doubt if the same can be said for any of the assorted vehicles being dealt with at Challow Station Garage. The garage itself has now been replaced by a modern building, and both the former station's platforms, which are still largely intact in this view, have also been removed.

43012 Shaldon Brodge 15 September 1991

43012 passes between the construction site and the River Teign estuary at Shaldon Bridge on 15 September 1991, as it pulls away from the Teignmouth stop with the 1C28 09:20 Paddington to Plymouth InterCity service.

43012 Culham 13 May 1992

A dramatic low level shot of 43012 leading the 1B58 18:20 Paddington to Hereford 'Cathedrals Express' past Culham on 13 May 1992. It is passing one of the surviving Second World War hangars at the former RAF Culham.

43012 Bradford-on-Avon 9 January 2000

The sun glints off the diverted 08:00 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service as it crosses the River Avon at Bradford-on-Avon on Sunday 9 January 2000 with 43012 leading. Not quite a perfect reflection in the water due to a slight breeze, but at least it is recognisable. The train has traveled via the Berks & Hants line, and taken the freight only Heywood Road Junction to Hawkeridge Junction chord near Westbury to head up the Avon Valley.

43012 Challow 17 April 2010

The blackthorn is in full bloom at Challow on 17 April 2010 as 43012 speeds past the site of the old station with the 1A13 10:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service. Although the station is long gone, business is booming on the site, with various new buildings having recently been built on the industrial estate. This view makes an interesting comparison to the same power car passing this spot over 26 years earlier.

43012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 27 April 2010

A different perspective on a familiar photographic viewpoint. 43012 speeds underneath Circourt Bridge, near Denchworth with the 1L34 07:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service on 27 April 2010. The picture is taken from the little used footpath that runs between the villages of Denchworth and West Challow. Unfortunately, although the path is only a short distance from the road at Circourt, there is no public right of way linking directly to it.

43012 Little Somerford 6 March 2012

43012 speeds past Little Somerford cemetery on 6 March 2012 with the 1B28 11:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. The cemetery is on the opposite of the line to the village. The train is just passing over the road underbridge that connects Little Somerford to Great Somerford.

43012 Hinksey 16 April 2013

43012 passes Hinksey Yard with the 1W07 17:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service on 16 April 2013. Forthcoming electrification will forever ruin this vantage point, which has always been a good spot to photograph northbound trains in the evening. It used to be even better years ago, when there wasn't anything in the yard to cast a shadow across the track!

43012 Uffington 19 November 2013

43012 speeds past Uffington on 19 November 2013 with the 1C10 10:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. Presumably this will be one photographic location that will survive the onslaught of the electrification masts - time will tell!

43012 Chipping Sodbury Tunnel 10 July 2014

43012 emerges from Chipping Sodbury Tunnel on 10 July 2014 with the 1B46 14:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. Note the strange patchwork of different shades of paint above the windscreen.

43012 Denchworth 28 September 2015

Yet another First Great Western (or GWR as they have now rebranded themselves) special liveried HST power car. 43012 leads the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington service past Denchworth on 28 September 2015. The ex-works power car is sporting 'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' vinyls, bit with out the white front end of the other the otherwise similar 43126.

43012 Compton Beauchamp 12 October 2015

No.12 pictured on the 12th! 43012 leads the 1L42 07:30 Carmarthen to Paddington GWR service past Compton Beauchamp on 12 October 2015. This is the second HST power car to have 'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' vinyls applied over the First Great Western blue livery. However, this one is not quite so easy to spot in the distance, as the white area does not extend underneath the nose area, unlike 43126. Had it been that one, it would have been immediately obvious as soon as it appeared underneath Ashbury Crossing bridge in the background, over a mile away!

43012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 23 December 2015

'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' liveried 43012 leads the 1G21 09:36 Paddington to Cheltenham GWR service past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 23 December 2015. Just a couple of days away from the shortest day, this is one of the few locations in the area (without a long walk across the fields!) that is free of shadows.

43012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 20 January 2016

43012 approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 20 January 2016 with the 1L34 07:28 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. It was certainly a morning for colourful HSTs coming from Swansea, as an hour earlier I had photographed 43172 Harry Patch - The last survivor of the trenches.

43012 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 18 February 2016

A couple of months into 2016 and 43012 is still sporting its 'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' vinyls. It is pictured passing the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, on 18 February 2016 with the 1B35 12:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service. Two piles for the forthcoming electrification can be seen poking out of the grass to the right of the first coach, while a third one lies discarded on the trackside.

43012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 7 March 2016

It may be several years late, but the Great Western Mainline electrification scheme finally reached the iconic location of Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, in early spring 2016. 'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' liveried 43012 heads west with the 1B10 07:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service on 7 March 2016. Just a few masts have been erected, already spoiling the view compared with the scene just a couple of months earlier, when 43012 was previously photographed at the same spot.

43012 Challow 21 March 2016

43012 passes Challow on 21 March 2016 with the 1L42 07:30 Carmarthen to Paddington GWR service. Coincidentally, one other 'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' liveried power cars had also passed by, two and half hours earlier.

43012 Baulking 1 April 2016

'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' liveried 43012 leads the 1L42 07:30 Carmarthen to Paddington GWR service past Baulking on 1 April 2016. The four steel piles visible here clearly indicates that this location is going to be totally ruined from a photographic point of view.

43012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 23 February 2017

43012 Exeter Panel Signal Box 21st Anniversary 2009 approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 23 February 2017 with the 1L38 07:58 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. 43012, which was formerly one of the power cars in the 'Bristol 2015' livery, now carries the name that was originally bestowed on 43163.

43012 Uffington 22 September 2017

43012 Exeter Panel Signal Box 21st Anniversary 2009 passes Uffington on 22 September 2017 with the 1A09 07:13 Taunton to Paddington GWR service. The painfully slow electrification progress is evident here, with only the cross members and one return wire being added since I was last here in early May.

43013 Standish Junction 22 August 1987

I was lucky to get this one in the sun! 43013 University of Bristol leads the 1V76 13:27 Leeds to Cardiff Central (via Bristol Parkway) InterCity service past Standish Junction on 22 August 1987. A scene very typical of the period, with executive liveried power cars sandwiching a complete rake of blue and grey stock.

43013 Wickwar Tunnel 3 September 1987

Long before its days as the yellow buffer fitted power car that forms part of Network Rail's New Measurement Train, 43013 University of Bristol emerges from Wickwar Tunnel on 3 September 1987 with the 1V73 07:30 Aberdeen to Plymouth InterCity service.

43013 Heyford 13 March1995

Perfect reflections in the Oxford Canal at Heyford on 13 March 1995, as buffer fitted 43013 heads south with the 1O04 05:17 Manchester Piccadilly to Bournemouth InterCity service. Needless to say, due to Network Rail's total lack of lineside vegetation control, this viewpoint no longer exists.

43013 Eckington 26 June 1995

Buffer fitted 43013 leads the 15:50 Exeter St Davids to Sheffield InterCity service across the River Avon at Eckington on 26 June 1995. On this occasion the Pentax 6x7 did not cause problems with uneven exposure at the very necessary 1/1000sec shutter speed used here. The clear blue sky would immediately show this up, usually by a much darker area near the right edge. A very irritating fault that would seemingly come and go at will!

43013 Duffryn 9 August 1998

400kV pylons follow the railway to the south of Newport, and form the backdrop to this view of 43013 CrossCountry Voyager passing Duffryn on 9 August 1998 with the 1B30 14:00 Paddington to Swansea Great Western Trains service. It looks like driving a HST is thirsty work!

43013 Gossington 5 March 2010

43013 brings up the rear of the 1Z20 05:56 Old Oak Common to Derby (via Swansea) Network Rail New Measurement Train, as it passes Gossington on 5 March 2010 led by 43014. This wasn't the shot I had intended to take, but it was running early and I was taken by surprise. Not having enough time to swing round and take the conventional shot, I opted for this going away version, which of course because of the angle of the light is much better lit anyway!

43013 Combe (Grintleyhill Bridge) 15 July 2010

The New Measurement Train made one of its regular appearances on the Cotswold Line on 15 July 2010. Viewed from the lofty Grintleyhill Bridge, near Combe, 43013 leads the 1Z15 09:00 Derby to Derby (via Oxford) test train towards its reversal point at Oxford North Junction. On a day of intermittent sunshine and heavy showers, I had hoped for either a sunlit shot (unlikely) or an atmospheric picture in heavy rain. As the train came in a drizzly period between downpours, I got neither!

43013 Upper Heyford 23 March 2011

Still looking clean after a recent repaint (note the red buffer beam), 43013 leads the New Measurement Train past Upper Heyford on 23 March 2011. Sister power car 43014 is hiding behind the tree at the rear of the train. The NMT's usual path over this line is an afternoon northbound run and a very late evening southbound trip. Therefore this working (1Q16 13:42 Derby RTC to Old Oak Common) was an ideal opportunity to get a picture in more favourable light.

43013 Shorthampton 17 July 2014

43013 leads the New Measurement Train past Shorthampton on 17 July 2014 with the 1Q15 09:05 Derby RTC to Derby RTC (via Oxford). As Realtime Trains was showing the normal path for this HST working as cancelled, and replaced by an identically timed supposedly loco hauled working, I expected either a 31 or 37. It has been pointed out to me that this alteration may because on this occasion the formation includes some Mk 2 vehicles and the OHLM test coach (formerly Test Car 3 Mentor).

43014 South Moreton (Didcot East) 11 December 1991

Buffer fitted 43014 runs along the up relief line at South Moreton (Didcot East) on a bitterly cold 11 December 1991 with the 1O09 08:18 Manchester Piccadilly to Poole 'Pines Express'. 43014 was one of two HST power cars that were fitted with buffers for surrogate DVT use at Derby, the other being 43123. The remainder of the conversions (43013, 43065, 43067, 43068, 43080 & 43084) were undertaken at Stratford.

43014 Tackley 27 March 1993

43014 speeds round the reverse curves at Tackley on 27 March 1993 with the 1O10 08:40 Newcastle to Bournemouth service. Just a trace of weak sunshine illuminates the scene, although only in the foreground - note the dark fields in the background.

43014 Kemble 5 June 2008

43014 passes through Kemble station on 5 June 2008 with the 1Z22 06:48 Derby to Cheltenham (via Hereford and Swindon) Network Rail New Measurement Train. Running 30 minutes early, it has just traversed the single track section from Swindon in a just about adequate gap in the timetable, instead of the easier path it would have had if running to the correct time. Note that the little used siding on the left is obviously sufficiently useful to have been re-laid in the last few years.

43014 Charlbury 15 January 2009

On a very dull 15 January 2009, 43014 speeds through Charlbury station with the 1Z15 09:00 Derby to Derby Network Rail New Measurement Train, with 43062 John Armitt bringing up the rear. The train has just reversed at Oxford as is following right behind the 11:22 Paddington to Great Malvern First Great Western service. Any delay would mean the 12:06 Worcester Foregate Street to Paddington train would have to be held at Ascott-under-Wychwood while this special clears the single line. Luckily there were no problems this time as it was running exactly to time

43014 Combe (Grintleyhill Bridge) 15 July 2010

43014 leads the New Measurement Train past Grintleyhill Bridge, Combe on 15 July 2010 with the 1Z15 09:00 Derby to Derby (via Oxford) test train. Combe station is just out of sight around the corner, behind the bushes. Although lineside vegetation has restricted the angle of view possible, this occupation bridge still provides excellent views in either direction.

43014 Kings Sutton 4 May 2016

43014 The Railway Observer brings up the rear of the 1Q16 16:14 Derby RTC to Old Oak Common Network Rail test train at Kings Sutton on 4 May 2016. 43062 John Armitt is leading. Note the newly applied 'Improving Your Railway' wording. Why do they have to keep telling us that?

43014 Joan Croft Junction 2 October 2017

43014 The Railway Observer approaches Joan Croft Junction at full speed on 2 October 2017 with the 1Z07 10:10 York to Derby RTC Network Rail test train. Classmate 43062 John Armitt is on the rear. Although there seems to be a just few small clouds in this scene, there were in fact many much larger ones behind me, and it was fortunate that this came in one of the ever diminishing sunny spells. Eggborough Power Station can just be seen in the distance.

43014 Defford 25 October 2017

43014 The Railway Observer leads the 1Q16 03:15 Landore to Derby RTC Network Rail test train past Defford on 25 October 2017. Classmate 43013 is on the rear. This was very nearly ruined by thick smoke from a bonfire drifting across the railway. Luckily (although not for road users) it had started to drift across the road instead just as this came along.

43014 Badgeworth 2 February 2018

43014 The Railway Observer passes Badgeworth on 2 February 2018 with the 1Z20 05:09 Reading Triangle Sidings to Derby RTC Network Rail test train, with 43062 John Armitt bringing up the rear. If you are familiar with this location, you will know how busy the road is. I was having to keep a very careful eye on the approaching traffic, as a quick dash over the road was required, as 66751 Inspiration Delivered - Hitachi Rail Europe was approaching from the other direction!

43015 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 7 June 1980

A very brief and unexpected burst of sunshine on 7 June 1980 provides dramatic lighting for 43015 as it speeds eastwards at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth with the 09:45 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington service. This wider than usual view of what is now a well known viewpoint shows that in the 1980s there were trees on both sides of the line. These had grown up around small ponds, which were themselves remnants of quarries used to provide material for the bridge embankment, when it replaced the former level crossing.

43015 Honeybourne 25 April 1987

43015 passes the site of Honeybourne South Loop Junction and starts the long climb up Campden Bank with the 13:14 Great Malvern to Paddington 'Cotswold & Malvern Express' on 25 April 1987. At the time this and the earlier balancing working were the only HST services on the Cotswold Line. However, this was all to change just a couple of weeks later when HSTs took over from Class 47s & 50s on the morning and evening peak trains.

43015 Feeder Bridge Junction 10 April 1997

43015 passes Feeder Bridge Junction, Bristol on 10 April 1997 with the 1C42 14:15 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads Great Western Trains service. The feeder canal links the River Avon with Bristol Harbour, and was once a busy industrial waterway.

43015 Uffington 2 November 2006

43015 catches the last of the afternoon sun on 2 November 2006 as it speeds past Uffington with the 1C19 15:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. This was shortly before a lofty communications mast was erected here, completely spoiling this photographic viewpoint.

43015 South Marston 11 December 2007

The last rays of the setting sun illuminate 43015 as it heads west past South Marston on 11 December 2007 with the 1G38 13:48 Paddington to Cheltenham First Great Western service. The appalling condition of the paintwork shows that its call to Brush for refurbishment can not come a moment too soon. In fact it left for Loughborough just a few days later. Note the unusual short formation of just six coaches.

43015 Baulking 24 March 2009

43015 speeds past Baulking with the 1G38 13:48 Paddington to Cheltenham First Great Western service on 24 March 2009. Even in 2009, long after the rest of the fleet received their new colours, the catering vehicle in many FGW sets still retains the old livery, as can be seen near the rear of the train here. Although only a partly sunny day, for once the trains conspired to arrive in the sunny periods and it was also noticeable how much better the light was than the hazy light during the previous weeks period of settled high pressure

43015 Wolvercote 22 July 2012

Rosebay Willowherb flowers on the recently cleared course of the former down goods loop at Wolvercote on 22 July 2012, as 43015 slows down prior to taking the Cotswold Line route at Wolvercote Junction, with the 1W08 17:42 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service.

43015 Compton Beauchamp 24 March 2014

A beautiful spring day at Compton Beauchamp on 24 March 2014. 43015 heads towards London with the 1A09 07:13 Taunton to Paddington First Great Western service. I was making the most of this location, as it was shortly to be desecrated by the installation of overhead catenary, although luckily as far as photography is concerned, several years behind schedule.

43015 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 15 April 2014

Springtime at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth. 43015 heads westwards with the 1B40 13:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service on 15 April 2014. A pity the set wasn't the other way round, as then the Singapore Airlines advertising 43163 would be leading.

43015 Charlbury (Cornbury Park) 29 July 2014

On 29 July 2014, 43015 leads the 1P26 06:42 Hereford to Paddington First Great Western service off the double track line at Cornbury Park, Charlbury, and onto the long single track section to Wolvercote Junction. Although sections of the Cotswold Line were redoubled in 2011, this bottleneck still remains, at least for the present.

43015 Steventon 9 December 2015

43015 approaches Steventon on 9 December 2015 with the 1A12 07:40 Paignton to Paddington GWR service. The partially ploughed field makes an interesting foreground, and the birch coppice provides an ideal background.

43015 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 23 December 2015

Superb early morning winter light at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 23 December 2015. 43015 heads towards London with the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington GWR service. This location, which I have known since the early 1970s, would soon be ruined by the installation of overhead line equipment.

43015 Churchill Heath 21 April 2016

Not a picture I would normally take, with a bush partly in the way, and on a dull day. However, the superb display of blackthorn blossom in the foreground makes up for the other shortcomings. 43015 passes Churchill Heath on 21 April 2016 with the 1W25 12:21 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill GWR service.

43015 Standish Junction 12 October 2016

43015 takes the Swindon line at Standish Junction on 12 October 2016 with the diverted 1L71 14:28 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. Clearly at this time of day only trains on the Swindon line are photographable, although that is only partly the result of the cutting. Years ago, before all the bushes grew up, the sun stayed in the cutting much longer into the afternoon.

43016 Bekley 21 February 1987

In a welcome patch of sun, 43016 speeds past Berkley on 21 February 1987 with the late running 10:10 Paddington to Plymouth InterCity service. Unfortunately, this once excellent viewpoint has now been completely ruined by a large communications mast and associated equipment box being positioned right in the foreground.

43016 Stonehouse 25 April 1990

43016 passes Stonehouse on 25 April 1990 with the 06:33 Newcastle to Weston-super-Mare InterCity service. Note the rusting sidings of the former Stonehouse coal depot, which had closed a few years earlier. On my last visit the sidings were still there, but now totally engulfed in vegetation, which has effectively ruined this viewpoint.

43016 Kemble 21 May 1996

Springtime at Kemble. 43016 arrives at the station on 21 May 1996 with the 1B46 17:03 Paddington to Cheltenham service. The Grade II listed station building, and fine display of flowering shrubs make a perfect background. Despite the fact that there is nobody visible in this picture, the station is very well used, with passenger usage approaching 400,000 per annum.

43016 Great Cheverell 9 April 1999

A reminder of just how stylish the original Great Western Trains livery was. 43016 sweeps round the curve at Great Cheverell on 9 April 1999 with the 1C40 13:35 Paddington to Taunton service. The many curves on the 'Berks & Hants' route means that the HSTs cannot fully exploit their 125mph top speed, as they can on the Bristol line, but they have still been the staple power on the route since the 1980s.

43016 Crofton 21 July 2006

With the sun trying to break through and clear the early morning mist, 43016 Peninsula Medical School sweeps round the curve at Crofton with the 1A84 05:05 Penzance to Paddington First Great Western service on 21 July 2006. 43016's name was unveiled at Plymouth station on 14 August 2002 by Professor John Tooke, Dean of the Peninsula Medical School.

43016 Kintbury 2 April 2007

43016 Peninsula Medical School swings round the curve at Kintbury on 2 April 2007 with the 1C85 13:05 Paddington to Plymouth First Great Western service. The grassy bank in the foreground is a narrow strip of land between the railway and the Kennet & Avon Canal.

43016 Little Bedwyn 25 June 2010

Two modes of transport at Little Bedwyn with (theoretically) a 121 mph difference in top speed. 43016 heads east alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal at Little Bedwyn on 25 June 2010 with the 1A73 05:46 Exeter St Davids to Paddington First Great Western service. While the HST has a top speed of 125 mph (although not on this stretch of line), users of Britain's canals have to make do with an upper limit of 4 mph!

43016 Kemble 9 January 2011

43016 arrives at Kemble on 9 January 2011 with the 1L54 11:25 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service. Normally Sunday trains on this route would be purely local Cheltenham to Swindon DMUs, but on this occasion the closure of the Severn Tunnel for signaling work had upgraded the local trains to diverted HST services.

43016 Bruern 25 May 2012

The oilseed rape is in full flower at Bruern on 25 May 2012, as 43016 heads southwards with the 1P26 06:44 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express'. First Great Western's blue livery can look very plain at times, but it certainly makes a bold contrast with the mass of yellow in this view.

43016 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 26 February 2014

Immaculately clean 43016 passes Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 26 February 2014 with the 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service, while the 1G21 09:36 Paddington to Cheltenham Spa train can be seen disappearing into the distance.

43016 Challow 27 February 2014

43016 races past the site of Challow station on 27 February 2014 with the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington First Great Western service. Unfortunately this view will be ruined by the forthcoming electrification, as the catenary needed to span four tracks is sure to be extremely visually intrusive.

43016 Bourton 1 July 2014

With Swindon in the background still completely enveloped in fog, 43016 passes a sunny Bourton on 1 July 2014 with the 1A03 06:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service. Only during mid summer is it possible to get sunlit shots on the north side of the line at this location.

43016 Grove 14 July 2014

43016 leads the 1L34 07:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service past Grove on 14 July 2014. This photo is taken from Cow Lane bridge, which is on what was once a road (of sorts!) between the villages of Grove and East Hanney.

43016 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 1 October 2015

The Vale of White Horse! 43016 speeds past one of the resident horses at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 1 October 2015 with the 1B37 13:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central GWR service. Obviously it would be a simple matter to cheat with Photoshop, but there was no need here, as the horse was ideally positioned as the train passed.

43016 Upper Moor 25 November 2017

43016 passes Upper Moor on 25 November 2017 with the 1P51 12:13 Hereford to Paddington GWR service. I wouldn't normally take such a head on shot, but I couldn't resist the superb autumn colours in this view.

43016 Challow 28 November 2017

Two years after GWR unveiled their dark green livery, mismatched sets are now seemingly more common than complete HSTs in one colour. Green 43016 leads an almost complete blue rake past Challow on 28 November 2016. Only the last coach is in the green colour scheme. The train is the 1L32 06:58 Swansea to Paddington service.

43017 Challow 12 August 1980

A vintage scene at Challow on 12 August 1980. 43017 passes the redundant platforms of the long closed station with the 08:18 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington service. The lorry body from the nearby scrap yard leaves no doubt as to the location, while apart from the removal of the station building, not a lot else has changed since the days of steam. As the loops were also removed, there was no need to demolish the platforms, so both still remain totally intact here, passenger less and growing a good crop of grass. Note also the range of railway related buildings and huts at the back of the former coal yard.

43017 Bourton 18 November 1984

43017 leads the 1A31 07:55 Swansea to Paddington service past Bourton on 18 November 1984. Apart from the rear power car, the entire train is in the original livery, which even today still looks smart and modern. I hope that when they finally reach the end of their life, at least one set is repainted into this iconic colour scheme by which ever operator is still using them. By that time I expect the blinkered attitude of many enthusiasts towards these fine trains may well have softened, and I expect we will see the usual chasing around for pictures of the last ones by people who have hitherto ignored them! Personally I would rather see a well lit picture of a HST (especially in this livery), than yet another picture of a Class 66 hauled freight in rubbish light.

43017 Swindon 15 July 1989

43017's ex-works livery is slightly marred by the addition of a dead pigeon on the front end. It is arriving at Swindon on 15 July 1989 with the 09:30 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington service. The track curving away to the right in front of the train is the route to Gloucester via the 'Golden Valley'. Somebody already seems to have an argument with the newly installed one way system sign!

43017 Baulking 26 April 2007

Just how much lineside vegetation has been allowed to grow at certain railway locations is exemplified here, in the formerly completely open cutting between Uffington (now invisible behind the bushes) and Baulking. 43017 speeds past with the 11:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington First Great Western service on 26 April 2007. For an indication of what this spot was like 27 years previously, have a look at 43039. Although not taken from quite the same angle (impossible now!), the two small trees on the right and the large tree in the background identify the location.

43017 Ruscombe 17 April 2008

43017 passes Ruscombe with the 06:48 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington 'Bristolian' First Great Western service on 17 April 2008. Even though all FGW's power cars and the vast majority of coaches have been refurbished, there are still instances of catering vehicles in the old (relatively speaking!) livery, such as the third coach in this train. In early spring 2008 numerous trees were felled in the cutting at Ruscombe, opening up the view considerably and highlighting the new spring growth on the few remaining bushes.

43017 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 15 April 2014

Profuse blackthorn blossom at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 15 April 2014. 43017 leads the 1L51 10:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington First Great Western service eastwards in the warm spring sunshine. The last spring before the wires go up and ruin the location forever.

43017 Chilson 7 August 2015

A Cotswold Line First Great Western meeting on the sunny morning of 7 August 2015. 43017 Hannahs discoverhannahs.org leads the 1P26 06:42 Hereford to Paddington past Chilson, while 180108 with the 1W12 06:52 Paddington to Great Malvern disappears into the distance. This location was single track from 1971 until 2011, with up trains often having to be held at Ascott-under-Wychwood (behind the trees in the background), waiting for a late running down train to clear the long single track section from Wolvercote Junction.

43017 Lyneham 18 April 2018

43017 Hannahs discoverhannahs.org passes Lyneham on 18 April 2018 with the 1W02 17:22 Paddington to Hereford GWR service. This is history repeating itself, as in 2018 I am taking every opportunity to photograph HSTs on the Cotswold Line before they disappear forever, whereas three decades earlier I was doing the same thing with Class 50s!

43018 Keynsham 14 May 1988

43018 leads the 1A03 15:05 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington service past Keynsham on 14 May 1988. Just visible through the heat haze in the background is the world famous Somerdale Fry's (later Cadburys) chocolate factory. Controversially, this closed in 2007, with production being moved to Poland.

43018 Patchway 23 July 1993

On 23 July 1993 the 1/2000 sec top shutter speed on my Canon F1 was needed to freeze 43018 as it sped through Patchway station with the 13:32 Swansea to Paddington service. It would shortly be turning left at Patchway Junction with the next stop Bristol Parkway. The signal with the feathers indicating the various routes at this junction can just be seen in the background. Although undoubtedly very smart when newly applied, the InterCity 'Swallow' livery was very prone to weathering on the front of HSTs, as seen here.

43018 Hayle 26 March 1994

43018 is nearing journey's end on 26 March 1994, as it passes the karting track at Hayle with the 1C36 12:35 Paddington to Penzance InterCity service. The train is just starting to slow down for the stop at St Erth, its final calling point before Penzance.

43018 Hinksey 22 June 1998

With an unintentional yet perfectly balanced livery combination of Great Western power cars and central coach separated by three InterCity liveried vehicles, 43018 leads the 18:20 Paddington to Hereford 'Cathedrals Express' Great Western Trains service past lines of decaying civil engineers wagons at Hinksey Yard (near Oxford) on 22 June 1998. Very soon after this picture was taken the virtually moribund Hinksey Yard was to be revitalised, becoming a large 'Virtual quarry' ballast dump.

43018 Baulking 12 October 2006

43018 The Red Cross passes Baulking with the 1B46 14:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service on 12 October 2006. This was during one of the many periods of livery transition, with most of the train in the second version of FGW's purple livery, but with three coaches scattered throughout the length of the train in the next version of their corporate colours.

43018 Hinksey 9 January 2010

43018 passes a very snowy Hinksey Yard on 9 January 2010 with the late running 1W29 11:21 Paddington to Great Malvern First Great Western service. Just one train seems to have used the yard since the snow fell three days previously, as can be seen by the clear line of rails on the right.

43018 Swindon (Hay Lane) 10 July 2014

43018 passes Hay Lane (near Swindon) on 10 July 2014 with the 1L34 07:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service. The livery may be bland, but at least FGW keep their trains clean (on the outside at least)!

43018 Brimslade 1 April 2015

43018 passes Brimslade in soft spring light on 8 April 2015 with the late running 1A82 11:30 Paignton to Paddington First Great Western service. The Berks & Hants line parallels the Kennet & Avon Canal for a considerable distance. It is just out of sight behind the bushes on the right.

43018 Charlbury 24 May 2016

43018 arrives at Charlbury station on 24 May 2016 with the 1P21 07:10 Moreton-in-Marsh to Paddington GWR service. Despite being extended a few years earlier, Charlbury's up platform is still not long enough to accommodate a full HST.

43019 Denchworth 21 May 1983

43019 pulls away from an unexplained signal stop at Denchworth on a very rainy 21 May 1983. It is working the 1A85 15:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington service. Virtually everything in this picture has now changed. The line is now four tracks, and the two signals have been replaced by a large gantry. Circourt Bridge, visible in the background, has been replaced by a much more visually intrusive structure, and even 43019 is no more, having been written off in the Ufton Nervet accident in 2004.

43019 South Moreton (Didcot East) 1 December 1983

43019 heads east from Didcot and approaches South Moreton on 1 December 1983 with the late running 12:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington service. A very ordinary scene at the time, but there is added significance to the picture now, as this is one of the HST power cars that has been withdrawn due to accident damage. It was involved in the fatal level crossing crash at Ufton Nervet in November 2004, and was subsequently scrapped at Sims Metals, Beeston. Note that in 1983 it still carried its (by then abandoned) set number 253009.

43019 Cheltenham 21 August 1985

43019 approaches Cheltenham on 21 August 1985 with the 07:00 Plymouth to Newcastle InterCity service. This was nearly two years after the introduction of the InterCity 'Executive' livery, but the pace of repainting was slow, and only the rear power car in this set has been repainted. 43019 was written off in the tragic level crossing incident at Ufton Nervet in November 2004.

43019 South Moreton (Didcot East) 8 November 1986

The ill fated 43019 leads the 1A11 10:05 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington service past South Moreton (Didcot East) on 8 November 1986. This power car was written off in the tragic level crossing accident at Ufton Nervet in November 2004. Coincidentally, I had also photographed 43019 at this same location three years previously.

43019 Ufton Nervet 3 March 1990

How's this for a spooky coincidence. 43019 was written off in a terrible accident at Ufton Nervet level crossing in November 2004. Fourteen years earlier I took this picture of it at the very same location. On 3 March 1990 it worked the 09:40 Paddington to Plymouth service, and is pictured here passing the location of its eventual destruction.

43019 Corsham 20 April 1995

Unlucky 19! 43019 Dinas Abertawe / City of Swansea was written off in the Ufton Nervet accident in 2004. Nearly a decade earlier, it is pictured here approaching Corsham on 20 April 1995 with the 1C38 13:15 Paddington to Weston-super-Mare service.

43020 Bourton 16 February 1984

43020 slowly leads the 1A43 11:57 Cardiff Central to Paddington service from the up line onto the down line via the crossover at Bourton on 16 February 1984. It will now proceed 'wrong line' as far as Uffington. The Great Western Mainline is fully bi-directionally signaled, but this is one of the few times that I have seen it in use. The up line was closed for emergency repairs after a freight train derailment the previous day between the site of Knighton Crossing and Uffington. The fog had just started to lift, leaving all the trees and bushes covered in ice.

43020 Ashchurch 6 May 1989

43020 leads the 06:56 Cardiff Central to Newcastle service past Ashchurch on 6 May 1989. It's transition time here, with several new industrial buildings being constructed on the right. However, it would be some years before Ashchurch station would be rebuilt, the site being between the end of the relief line, and the MoD siding in the background.

43020 Corsham 20 April 1995

43020 John Grooms passes Corsham on 20 April 1995 with the 1A53 13:15 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington InterCity service. Note the eight coach formation, with half of the vehicles having first class accommodation.

43020 Starcross 29 June 2002

Due to chasing the last loco hauled passengers trains around the country in 2002, I have unfortunately got very few pictures of First Great Western HSTs in this short lived livery with the white area around the front end. So although technically not brilliant (35mm Fujichrome), here is a picture of 43020 John Grooms in a little weak sun at Starcross on 29 June 2002. It is working the 1C27 11:30 Paddington to Penzance 'Royal Duchy'.

43020 Circourt 8 September 2005

43020 John Grooms speeds past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth with the 1C15 13:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service on 8 September 2005. Although seemingly an everyday scene, such is the pace of change with First Great Western's liveries, that to get a complete train in one colour scheme can sometimes be something of a challenge, as it seems that no sooner do they get the whole fleet repainted into one colour scheme than they launch yet another variation!

43020 Uffington 14 April 2008

43020 passes the footpath crossing near the site of Uffington station on 14 April 2008 with the 1L36 08:31 Cheltenham to Paddington First Great Western service. The wide trackbed here which marks the site of the former freight loops is already being invaded by the inevitable bramble bushes. No doubt Railtrack would like to close this little used footpath, which incidentally crosses a much earlier form of transport a short distance further on - the disused Wilts & Berks Canal.

43020 Challow 19 December 2013

43020 MTU Power Passion Partnership passes Challow on 19 December 2013 with the 1B31 12:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central First Great Western service. In preparation for the forthcoming electrification, the lineside vegetation has been removed here, opening up the view nicely. This leaves just a short window of opportunity to get some pictures before the dreaded masts go up.

43020 Cholsey 28 April 2015

The early morning sun illuminates Didcot Power Station's three remaining cooling towers on 28 April 2015, as 43020 MTU Power Passion Partnership leads the 1L05 03:52 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service past an oilseed rape field near Cholsey. At least this viewpoint should still be available after electrification, although of course by then the only sign of Didcot Power Station on the horizon will be the two small chimneys on the left, belonging to the gas fired Didcot B Station.

43029 Steventon 19 January 2016

The low winter sun gives a golden glow to the scene, as 43020 MTU Power Passion Partnership passes Steventon on 19 January 2016 with the 1B42 14:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central GWR service. In the background is the tall chimney of the disused Didcot Power Station.

43020 Compton Beauchamp 8 June 2016

43020 MTU Power Passion Partnership passes Compton Beauchamp in superb evening light on 8 June 2016 with the 1C25 18:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads GWR service. Other than some welcome lineside vegetation clearance, there is still very little evidence here of the Great Western Mainline's hugely delayed and over budget electrification scheme.

43020 Wolvercote 28 August 2017

43020 MTU Power Passion Partnership passes Wolvercote on 28 August 2017 with the late running 1W02 17:22 Paddington to Hereford GWR service. On the right is the abandoned trackbed of reinstated down relief line. After much vegetation clearance, the track was relaid in 2015, and then promptly taken up again! The sleepers that a year ago were supporting rails on the newly laid ballast, are now stacked up against the fence, covered in brambles! More money wasted due to Network Rail's incompetence.

43020 Oaksey 1 September 2017

43020 MTU Power Passion Partnership races past the site of Oaksey station on 1 September 2017 with the 1L36 08:31 Cheltenham Spa to Paddington GWR service. This photo is taken from a recently upgraded public footpath crossing, which explains the fence in the foreground. Whereas for years rural foot crossings were often nothing more than a stile in either hedge, now a guided walkway with signage at what is known as the 'Decision Point' is required.

43020 Chilson 21 March 2018

43020 MTU Power Passion Partnership passes Chilson on 21 March 2018 with the 1P18 06:42 Hereford to Paddington GWR service. This is booked to pass the 1W14 06:52 Paddington to Great Malvern Class 800 at Shipton, but on this occasion that train was running a few minutes late, and was right behind me, just a few seconds away from ruining this picture!

43021 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 22 April 1986

Just before the lights went out! A really threatening black sky heralds an approaching storm as 43021 leads the 13:12 Great Malvern to Paddington 'Cotswold and Malvern Express' between Aristotle Lane and Walton Well Road, on the approach to Oxford on 22 April 1986. The relief lines here were laid during the second world war and both originally extended as far as Wolvercote Junction. The down relief has now been cut back to Aristotle Lane footbridge, visible in the background.

43021 Fairwood 14 October 2009

In superb golden evening light with Westbury White Horse standing out clearly on the hillside and dark clouds in the background, 43021 David Austin - Cartoonist passes Fairwood with the 1C87 16:06 Paddington to Penzance First Great Western service on 14 October 2009.

43021 Baulking 9 December 2010

With Baulking Grange Farm just visible through the gap in the trees, 43021 David Austin - Cartoonist approaches Baulking on 9 December 2010 with the 1C14 12:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service.

43021 Baulking 4 March 2011

43021 David Austin - Cartoonist speeds past Baulking on 4 March 2011 with the 1C15 13:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. This location (on a public footpath) is adjacent to a small wood, and so is shaded for much of the time in winter.

43021 Uffington 24 October 2013

The field of maize makes an excellent foreground foil for 43021 David Austin - Cartoonist, as it speeds past Uffington on 24 October 2013 with the 1A10 09:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service. The power car is named after the British artist David Austin (1935 – 2005) who was famous for his work in the Guardian and Private Eye.

43021 Compton Beuachamp 17 October 2016

My last morning's visit to the classic location of Compton Beauchamp, which was ruined shortly afterwards by the installation of overhead electfrication masts. 43021 David Austin - Cartoonist heads towards London on 17 October 2016 with the 1L34 07:28 Swansea to Paddington GWR service.

43022 Challow 12 August 1980

43022 leads the 09:15 Paddington to Swansea service past the site of Challow station on 12 August 1980. Note how both platform faces have survived completely intact, due to the removal of the loops shortly after the station was closed. With the reinstatement of the relief lines in the 1990s, these overgrown remnants of the steam age were bulldozed into oblivion. In addition to the sadly missed original HST livery, the other thing that immediately identifies the era in which this picture was taken is the bizarre sight of lines of leafless trees in high summer. This is of course the product of Dutch Elm Disease which decimated the country's elm trees during the 1970s.

43022 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 8 May 1987

43022 speeds past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 8 May 1987 with the 1C47 13:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads InterCity service. Apart from the fact that there are only two tracks, instead of the present four at this location, another feature that identifies this as a scene from times past is the lax attitude to health & safety. A rail contractor (one hopes!) wanders casually back to his Ford Cortina pickup truck, parked on the ballast next to the 125mph running line. This is obviously well before the era of high visibility clothing, as he is wearing a 'low visibility' black jacket!

43022 Clay Mills (Hargate) 15 May 1987

There was a fashion for stick on 'headboards' for DMUs and HSTs in the 1980s, especially for the latter as fixing a conventional headboard is difficult. However, the downside is that they didn't come off very easily, leading to some inappropriate usage. 43022 passes Clay Mills (Hargate) on 15 May 1987 with a 'Cornishman' headboard, complete with happy surfer. Unfortunately this isn't the 'Cornishman'. Although presumably added to 43022 to promote the named train at the start of the summer timetable a few days earlier, this is in fact the 06:37 Plymouth to Leeds service, rather than the 'Cornishman' (07:30 Penzance to Newcastle), which would have passed by approximately 2½ hours later.

43022 South Moreton 9 February 1991

With compacted snow and icicles on the front end, 43022 heads through the snowy landscape at South Moreton (near Didcot) with the late running (not surprisingly!) 09:32 Swansea to Paddington service on 9 February 1991. It takes considerable effort to take pictures in these conditions, not just the treacherous road conditions whilst getting there, but also standing about for ages in freezing conditions!

43022 Briton Ferry 15 April 1991

43022 sweeps round the curve at Briton Ferry on 15 April 1991 with the 1A84 17:32 Swansea to Paddington InterCity service. The line from Baglan Bay leading into the then still busy Briton Ferry yard can be seen in the foreground.

43022 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 19 July 1993

The well known location of Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, pictured during the short period when it was a three track mainline. On the left is the newly reinstated down relief line, but there is as yet no sign of the up relief line, which was installed the following year. 43022 passes by with the 1A41 09:32 Swansea to Paddington InterCity service on 19 July 1993.

43022 Compton Beauchamp 25 June 1996

High summer on the Great Western Mainline at Compton Beauchamp. 43022 speeds westwards on 25 June 1996 with the 1B56 18:03 Paddington to Cheltenham service. During mid summer the sun has travelled round so far by the late evening that it is possible to take perfectly lit pictures of trains from the north side of the line at this point.

43022 Milton 15 April 1997

Under a threatening sky, 43022 passes Milton on 15 April 1997 with the 1A29 08:30 Cheltenham to Paddington Great Western Trains service. Note how only 43022 retains the InterCity swallow livery, with the rest of the train in Great Western's unfortunately short lived green and white colour scheme. Although offering a good view for eastbound trains, this location has two problems. It is totally impossible to get a picture of westbound trains without moving round to the adjacent bridge, and this is taken from the A34 bridge, where although there is a wide area of concrete to stand on, there is no official footpath. Although I haven't experienced it, I feel sure a visit from the boys in blue would result if you stayed there for any length of time!

43022 Shrivenham 22 September 2002

43022 kicks up the dust from the recently reballasted track at Shrivenham on 22 September 2002, as it passes through the remains of the old station with the 08:19 Cardiff Central to Paddington First Great Western service. Unfortunately First Great Western decided to abandoned this colour scheme almost as soon as it was introduced, presumably as the amount of white in the colour scheme made it difficult to keep clean.

43022 Charlbury 1 June 2007

43022 arrives at Charlbury with the 06:43 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' First Great Western service on 1 June 2007. The 'Cathedrals Express' has a long pedigree as a named train on the Cotswold Line, originally being introduced in 1957. Initially in steam days a headboard was carried, but when the name was re-introduced in 1985, the headboard only appeared on the first day. Of course, since the introduction of HSTs a headboard is not practical even if such things were still considered as a marketing tool. I had originally intended taking this picture at Finstock, but the location (which used to be fine in the days of the Class 50s) was completely overgrown, so a quick drive to Charlbury was needed.

43022 Callow Hill 1 September 2007

With the town of Wotton Bassett visible on the horizon, 43022 passes Callow Hill on 1 September 2007 with the 1B25 10:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. The M4 motorway can be seen cutting across the picture in the distance.

43022 Patney & Chirton 11 May 2009

43022 passes the site of Patney & Chirton station with the 1C85 14:06 Paddington to Penzance First Great Western service on 11 May 2009. Note the reconstructed bridge in the background, with its inelegant concrete parapet atop a vintage brick arch. Presumably all the Armco barriers on the road date from the time of the bridge rebuilding.

43022 Evesham 29 October 2009

43022 arrives at Evesham on 29 October 2009 with the 1W00 08:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service. The centre pivoting semaphore signal in the foreground will soon be swept away once the complete resignalling of the line gets underway, while the post to its right has already succumbed to the local vegetation. There seems to be a surprising amount of evening primrose plants growing on the cutting sides and even on the edge of the ballast - not your average trackside weed!

43022 St Andrews Road 25 September 2010

This HST is certainly well off the beaten track! 43022 slowly approaches St Andrews Road station, on 25 September 2010 with the Pathfinder Tours 'Brunelian' railtour, at this point running as the 1Z44 13:45 Swindon to Portbury Dock (via Avonmouth). The tour had earlier started from Paddington as the 1Z43 09:15 departure for Swindon, traveling the long way round via Newbury and Melksham. The lines of stabled coal hoppers on the right are for working off the nearby Avonmouth terminal, principally to Didcot Power Station.

43022 Lodway 25 September 2010

You don't get many HSTs here! 43022 gingerly negotiates the Portbury Dock branch on 25 September 2010 with the Pathfinder Tours 'Brunelian' railtour, at this point running as the 1Z44 13:45 Swindon to Portbury Dock (via Avonmouth). This view from the M5 Avonmouth Bridge shows the line near its destination, with the houses of Lodway in the background. Note the houses built in the flood plain of the River Avon, with only a minimal earth bank for protection! The railtour had earlier started from Paddington as the 1Z43 09:15 departure for Swindon, traveling the long way round via Newbury and Melksham.

43022 Challow 25 September 2010

Very unusual lighting conditions at Challow on 25 September 2010. HSTs pass this spot with monotonous regularity, but they are not usually booked to move onto the normally freight only relief line. Therefore, despite the late hour, I wanted a picture of 43022 leading the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 18:14 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington 'Brunelian' railtour. Just before it was due the setting sun was shining straight into the lens with no possibility of a picture, but at the booked time the sun had actually set, leaving a pink glow in the sky. Luckily the train was on time, as there was only a few minutes of these conditions before the colours vanished and it became pitch black! Incidentally, although obviously this picture has required considerable work in Photoshop, the sky colour has not been enhanced at all, and the strange halo effect around the trees is not the result of some incredibly amateurship Photoshop work, but is purely the result of the lighting.

43022 Aynho 7 April 2013

43022 passes Aynho station (closed in 1964 and now a private residence) with the diverted 1C11 09:50 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service on 7 April 2013. A little earlier the train had crossed the flyover in the background, having worked up from London via the Chiltern Line. FGW HSTs are strangers to both the Chiltern and the Banbury to Oxford lines.

43022 Compton Beauchamp 20 April 2015

Superb spring light at Compton Beauchamp on 20 April 2015, in what is presumably the last year of electrification clutter free views at this iconic location. 43022 heads for the capital with the 1L32 06:58 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service.

43022 Challow 24 February 2016

The rebranding of First Great Western as GWR has been extremely half hearted, certainly with regard to the HST fleet. Just a single set was repainted in dark green in September 2015. Several  months later,43022 had acquired a new coat of the old livery. The ex-works loco leads the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington service past Challow on 24 February 2016. The suitably pristine power car received the name The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary 1956-2016 a few weeks later.

43022 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 27 April 2016

43022 The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary 1956-2016 approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 27 April 2016 with the late running 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington GWR service. I have deliberately placed the train at the bottom of the frame, to emphasise the dramatic sky.

43022 Bourton 24 June 2016

43022 The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary 1956-2016 passes Bourton on 24 June 2016 with the 1A02 05:29 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. Note the poppies growing around the electrification mast base in the foreground. Requiem for this photographic location?

43022 Compton Beauchamp 17 October 2016

43022 The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary 1956-2016 passes Compton Beauchamp on 17 October 2016 with the 1L46 09:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington GWR service. Note the single protruding electfrication mast pile, the only real sign here of Network Rail's totally mismanaged Great Western Mainline electfrication scheme.

43022 Uffington 11 April 2017

43022 The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary 1956-2016 passes Uffington on 11 April 2017 with the 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. This is the view from the newly opened footbridge situated a short distance to the west of the site of the old station. It replaces the footpath crossing, which can be seen in the foreground of this view. Although it's nice to see the building of a bridge, rather than just closing the crossing, it does show that the installation of the dedicated foot crossing, along with its gravel approach path was a waste of money. These were only installed a couple of years ago, after the crossing being nothing more than a sign either side of the line, presumably since the line opened!

43022 Steventon (Stocks Lane) 8 November 2017

43022 The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary 1956-2016 approaches Stocks Lane, Steventon, on 8 November 2017 with the 1C16 13:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads GWR service. Both the structures in the background are living on borrowed time. The tall chimney of Didcot's disused power station is due to be demolished, and the same fate is in store for the roadbridge if Network Rail get their way, although not without a fight from the locals.

43023 Frampton Mansell 7 March 1982

43023 climbs Sapperton Bank on 7 March 1982 with the 1A75 10:50 Swansea to Paddington service. South Wales trains were diverted this way on Sundays throughout the winter timetable. The location is the footpath crossing near the village of Frampton Mansell, with the valley of the River Frome on the right. Note the vintage telegraph poles, which as they ran along the south side of the line, severely compromised some otherwise excellent viewpoints. The poles have now gone, but so too have all the viewpoints!

43023 Charlton 22 April 1988

43023 leads the 1A32 07:30 Plymouth to Paddington InterCity service past Charlton on 22 April 1988. The distinctive building in the background is an engine house on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. It was built in 1926 to pump water into the canal from the nearby River Tone. Just visible in the far distance, partly hidden by a tree, is the tower of Creech St Michael church.

43023 South Stoke 10 July 1990

A photographic technique that I have rarely employed, but which can be very effective in conveying speed is panning. By using a slow shutter speed and following the train in the viewfinder the result is a pin sharp train against a blurred background. This doesn't tend to work that well with slab fronted diesel locos, but HSTs with their streamlined front ends look very effective. Also, choice of location is important, with an uninterrupted foreground and a plain background preferable. 43023 County of Cornwall speeds past South Stoke with the 18:45 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service on 10 July 1990.

43023 Rodbourne 6 August 1992

The cows graze contentedly in the filed as 43023 sweeps past Rodbourne on 6 August 1992 with the late running 1B38 16:00 Paddington to Swansea service. This particular viewpoint, being on the north side of the line, is only really of any use on late summer evenings, and even here the sun isn't far enough over for the perfect picture.

43023 Little Bedwyn 9 February 2008

The growth of the beech hedge between the railway and canal has done little to enhance the classic viewpoint at Little Bedwyn. On 9 February 2008, 43023 runs alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal with the late running 1C74 08:18 Paddington to Exeter St Davids First Great Western service.

43023 Milton 13 September 2012

A view that is soon set to change completely. While many would argue that the imminent demolition of Didcot Power Station's chimney and cooling towers will improve the view, unfortunately the electrification of the Great Western Mainline will have the opposite effect, and this viewpoint will disappear. 43023 leads the 1C15 13:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service past Milton on 13 September 2012.

43023 Pewsey 23 August 2013

43023 arrives at Pewsey station on 23 August 2013 with the 1A75 05:30 Plymouth to Paddington First Great Western service. Such is the volume of passengers using this train, that an enterprising individual has started selling hot drinks and snacks from the back of a car. The open hatchback can just be seen near the building on the down platform.

43023 Blagrove 14 May 2014

43023 passes Blagrove (on the western edge of Swindon) with the 1L24 06:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service on 14 May 2014. The trees neatly hide a large industrial estate from view, while just around the corner in the background is the bridge carrying the M4 motorway over the line.

43023 Shrivenham 29 November 2014

With a passing speed in excess of 200mph, a pair of First Great Western HSTs pass through the remains of Shrivenham station on 29 November 2014. 43023 leads the 1L38 07:58 Swansea to Paddington, while 43160 brings up the rear of the 1Z10 09:05 Paddington to Cardiff Central additional. I hope it isn't true, but it does look like the driver of 43023 is asleep, with eyes closed, mouth open, and head drooping to one side!

43023 Oxford 1 April 2015

43023 leaves Oxford station on 1 April 2015 with the 1P26 06:42 Hereford to Paddington First Great Western service. The small group in the car park are photographers, presumably discussing LNER 4-6-0 B1 4-6-0 61306 Mayflower, which had just left the station with a special train to Kingswear.

43023 Challow 11 February 2016

Immaculately clean 43023 Sqn Ldr Harold Starr One of the Few passes the site of Challow station on 11 February 2016 with the 1L42 07:30 Carmarthen to Paddington GWR service, running 25 minutes late. The naming commemorates one of Swindon's Battle of Britain heroes, Squadron Leader Harold Starr. Appropriately the nameplate was unveiled at Swindon on 15 September 2015. Note the light blue background to the nameplate, and the unusual shape - a copy of the plates fitted to the Southern Railway 'Battle of Britain' 4-6-2 steam locomotives.

43023 Uffington 25 February 2016

The solitary tree in the field near Uffington makes for an interesting composition, as 43023 Sqn Ldr Harold Starr One of the Few heads towards London on 25 February 2016 with the 1L34 07:28 Swansea to Paddington GWR service.

43023 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 18 January 2018

43023 Sqn Ldr Harold Starr One of the Few approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 18 January 2018 with the 1G29 11:36 London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa GWR service. This was running 47 minutes late due to the down main line being closed at Didcot, meaning it had to pass through Didcot station on the relief line. This wasn't the end of the passenger's woes, as the train didn't reach Cheltenham, as it was terminated at Gloucester due to a points failure.

43023 Aston Magna 5 April 2018

43023 Sqn Ldr Harold Starr One of the Few rounds the sharp curve at Aston Magna on 5 April 2018 with the 1P31 12:09 Hereford to Paddington GWR service. This was running five minutes late, but its next booked stop at Moreton-in-Marsh was for ten minutes, so it was able to get back on time again.

43024 Circourt 27 October 1982

Something you very rarely see nowadays - a HST power car running under its own power on the main line with just a barrier vehicle for company. On 27 October 1982, 43024 passes Circourt Bridge, Denchworth en-route from Bristol to Old Oak Common. At this time the power cars still carried their set numbers (253012 in this case), but they soon came to be regarded as individual locos rather than multiple units, with consequent mixing of various set formations.

43024 Wolvercote Junction 19 June 1998

What a difference a bit of white makes! Whilst the latest GWR livery of all over dark green looks drab and uninspired, the original privatisation livery of Great Western Trains, which used much the same shade of green, but with contrasting white areas, looked superb. 43024 approaches Wolvercote Junction on 19 June 1998 with the late running 1B48 17:10 Paddington to Hereford service.

43024 Edithmead 18 July 1998

43024 brings up the rear of the 1C62 17:15 Paddington to Taunton First Great Western service at Edithmead on 18 July 1998. This is on the western edge of the Somerset Levels, an area characterised by numerous small fields, intersected by ditches, and very prone to flooding.

43024 Crofton 21 July 2006

43024 rounds the curve at Crofton on 21 July 2006 with the 1A78 06:43 Penzance to Paddington First Great Western service. Note the flange lubricators, which are obviously very necessary on such a tight curve on a high speed line.

43024 Mickleton 6 March 2009

Preliminary work for the redoubling of the Cotswold Line is underway at Mickleton on 6 March 2009, as 43024 passes by with the 1W02 10:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service. At least work was going on a few minutes before, but as this is just after midday, I presume all the workers are eating lunch in their van, which can just be seen in the background! The tractor was employed in vegetation clearance, while the new concrete troughing for the signal cables can be seen stacked up on the left.

43024 Charlbury 9 May 2009

43024 pulls away from Charlbury station on 9 May 2009 with the Cotswold Line Promotion Group's 1Z30 06:30 Worcester Shrub Hill to Paignton 'Cotswold Torbay Express' excursion. Unfortunately unlike the CLPG's previous tours, the use of a HST and consequence difficulty of fitting a headboard means that this just looks like any other passenger train on the Cotswold Line. This probably explains the constant station announcements warning 'normal' passengers not to board it!

43024 Oaksey 14 November 2009

43024 passes through the long closed station at Oaksey in the drizzle on 14 November 2009 with the 1G21 10:15 Paddington to Cheltenham First Great Western service. As can be clearly seen here, both platforms survive at Oaksey, complete with their coping stones. This of course is purely because the track was singled and realigned into the centre of the formation, well away from the former platform faces.

43024 Chipping Sodbury 31 August 2013

43024 Great Western Society 1961-2011 Didcot Railway Centre passes through the deep cutting at Chipping Sodbury on 31 August 2013 with the 1L55 11:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service. This is a location that I had been meaning to revisit for some time, and one that will obviously be completely ruined when the wires go up.

43024 Bourton 2 July 2014

43024 Great Western Society 1961-2011 Didcot Railway Centre passes Bourton on 2 July 2014 with the 1C16 13:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. This view was formerly obstructed by a large bush.

43025 Kingham 5 April 2007

43025 accelerates away from Kingham station, on the Cotswold Line with the 15:51 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill First Great Western service on 5 April 2007. The train is crossing the Bledington to Kingham footpath crossing. When up close like this, it is noticeable how quiet the re-engined HST power cars are when accelerating hard, compared with the ear splitting whine from the original Paxman Valentas.

43025 Wantage Road 2 February 2012

43025 The Institution of Railway Operators heads westwards with the 1C14 12:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service on 2 February 2012. It is pictured near to the site of Wantage Road station at the remote but delightfully named Butterfly Lane Crossing (merely a footpath crossing).

43025 Cholsey 15 November 2013

After the 1L52 10:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western HST came to a stand near Cholsey station with brake problems on 15 November 2013, the following services started to stack up behind it. Here we see 43025 The Institution of Railway Operators leading the 1A17 12:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington, unusually running along the up relief line, in order to overtake 43189 which is stopped at signals with the 1L54 11:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington.

43025 Shrivenham 2 March 2015

43025 The Institution of Railway Operators speeds through the remains of the long closed Shrivenham station on 2 March 2015 with the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington First Great Western service. 1/2000sec shutter speed and quick reactions required for this one!

43025 Ascott-under-Wychwood 23 March 2016

43025 The Institution of Railway Operators speeds through Ascott-under-Wychwood station at the head of the 1W02 10:22 Paddington to Hereford GWR service on 23 March 2016. This view clearly shows the new up platform and associated access ramp, that was installed in 2011 as part of the redoubling of this section of the Cotswold Line. Impressive facilities, but this new platform is used by just a single train each day. Also, because it is on the opposite side of the level crossing to the village, prospective passengers have to make sure they arrive in good time, in order not to be stuck on the wrong side of the line, and having to watch the only train of the day arrive and depart without them!

43025 Compton Beauchamp 18 July 2016

For decades I have used the minor road bridge near Compton Beauchamp for a pleasant summer evening's photography. Even after several years reprieve due to Network Rail's bungled Great Western Mainline electrification scheme running years behind schedule, it does look like 2016 will be the last year that photography is possible here. So, here is 43025 The Institution of Railway Operators heading west on 18 July 2016 with the 1B69 17:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service.

43025 Fladbury 1 April 2017

43025 The Institution of Railway Operators passes the site of Fladbury station on 1 April 2017 with the 1P51 12:13 Hereford to Paddington GWR service. Fladbury station closed in 1966. Prior to the Second World War there was a siding that connected nearby Springhill Farm to the railway. This was used for fruit traffic and was initially horse worked, with tractors being used later.

43025 Charlton-on-Otmoor 17 September 2017

The Oxford to Bicester line is mainly operated by DMUs, so the HST diversions over the route on 17 September 2017 were definitely worth photographing. Two for the price of one here, as 43025 The Institution of Railway Operators brings up the rear of the 1A22 11:01 Penzance to Paddington GWR service at Charlton-on-Otmoor, while in the distance 43088 approaches with the 1C21 15:32 Paddington to Penzance.

43026 Moreton-in-Marsh 20 April 2009

In superb late evening light, 43026 approaches Moreton-in-Marsh on 20 April 2009 with the 1W07 17:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service. The newly cultivated field in the foreground contrasts markedly with the bright green spring foliage and the blue livery of the train to make an excellent picture. This was always one of my favourite locations for pictures of northbound trains in the evening on the Cotswold Line, but unlike virtually all the other formerly used locations on the route, it is still an excellent spot.

43026 Denchworth 27 July 2012

43026 speeds past Denchworth on 27 July 2012 with the 1C17 14:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. Note the broken horn grill, a common occurrence, usually the result of a bird strike. It is not easy to get pictures of fast moving HSTs exactly right at this location. Very fast reactions and a shutter speed of 1/2000 sec are required!

43026 Challow 10 October 2013

43026 speeds past Challow on 10 October 2013 with the 1B28 11:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. In preparation for the forthcoming Great Western Mainline electrification, a lot of lineside vegetation has been removed here, and a new (and thankfully very low) fence installed.

43026 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 7 August 2014

A slight livery variation seems to exist on 43026, with the panel containing the headlights and horn grille being in a slightly lighter shade of blue. Presumably this is the result of fading paint and a partial repaint, but the effect is certainly noticeable here. On 7 August 2014, 43026 leads the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington First Great Western service past the site of Ashbury Crossing, Shrivenham. The old platform of Shrivenham station can just be seen beneath the bridge in the background, but is the lone Scots Pine tree on the right another remnant of the GWR? Although not in the usual station approach position, the Great Western made frequent use of Scots Pines where any tree planting was required.

43026 Uffington 22 April 2015

The day before it was named Michael Eavis at Paddington station, 43026 passes Uffington on 22 April 2015 with covered nameplate and Glastonbury crest, as it heads westwards with the 1C16 13:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. The naming was to celebrate Michael Eavis's involvement with the music industry, especially the world famous Glastonbury Festival, held every year at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset. With this picture I was trying to include the oilseed rape, blackthorn blossom, and the bush on the left.

43026 Compton Beauchamp 12 May 2015

A wide angle view of the graceful brick bridge over the Great Western Mainline at Compton Beauchamp, pictured in lovely evening light on 12 May 2015. 43026 Michael Eavis rushes underneath with the 1C25 18:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. Note the extremely rustic fence in the foreground.

43026 Steventon 26 March 2017

Not quite the mundane HST passenger service that it appears to be. This is in fact the 5Z27 14:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads ECS, with 43026 Michael Eavis leading. It is pictured passing the still mast free Steventon on Sunday 26 March 2017, with the remains of Didcot Power Station in the background. I had hoped to photograph the 6C03 13:19 Southall to Severnside Sita binliner here, but that was cancelled. While an ECS HST may not be quite as interesting as a refuse train, the motive power is certainly more photogenic than a Class 66!

43026 Moreton-in-Marsh (Dunstall Bridge) 7 January 2018

Cotswold Line HST sunset? The setting sun illuminates 43026 Michael Eavis, as it approaches Dunstall Bridge, near Moreton-in-Marsh, on 7 January 2018 with the 1W39 13:42 Paddington to Worcester Foregate Street GWR service. Nearly three decades after I photographed the last of the Class 50s working over the Cotswold Line, I am now repeating the experience with Class 43s! I'm not quite sure how a five coach DMU can be seen as an improvement over an eight coach HST, but the Class 800s will soon be the normal motive power on this line. That's progress!

43027 Shrivenham 24 December 1994

A superb frosty Christmas Eve scene at Shrivenham. Although the frost has started to melt on the grass, there is still plenty left on the trees and in the field, as 43027 Glorious Devon heads westwards with the 1B24 11:50 Paddington to Swansea service. 24 December 1994.

43027 Wolvercote Junction 13 August 2003

43027 Glorious Devon approaches Wolvercote Junction on 13 August 2003 with the 1B48 17:12 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service. Even as late as the early 1990s this location was reasonably vegetation free, but that was before the era of Railtrack and Network Rail, neither of whom did any regular lineside maintenance.

43027 Pembrey & Burry Port 15 July 2006

The First Great Western 10:05 Pembroke Dock to Paddington 'Pembroke Coast Express' led by 43027 Glorious Devon departs from Pembrey & Burry Port on 15 July 2006. The lines in West Wales still retain many period features, including semaphore signalling as seen here. Most services over this line are operated by Arriva Trains Wales, with only a couple of daily services provided by First Great Western and utilising HSTs.

43027 Little Haresfield 19 January 2011

43027 Glorious Devon passes Little Haresfield on 19 January 2011 with the 1L50 10:31 Cheltenham Spa to Paddington First Great Western service. Photo taken from a public footpath crossing. The farm occupation bridge in the background is a much better known photographic vantage point.

43027 Uffington 16 April 2014

43027 Glorious Devon leads the 1L46 09:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington First Great Western service past a very photogenic tree at Uffington on 16 April 2014. The train is just approaching the site of Uffington station (closed in 1964), which was formerly a junction for the Faringdon branch.

43027 Denchworth 19 September 2015

43027 Glorious Devon passes Denchworth on 19 September 2015 with the 1C17 14:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. The following day First Great Western was rebranded as Great Western Railway, as if that will make any difference!

43027 South Marston 15 July 2016

Running 23 minutes late, '90 Glorious Years' Queen's birthday vinyl liveried 43027 passes South Marston on 15 July 2016 with the 1A29 18:08 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington GWR service. It is passing the junction for the short branch into the South Marston Euro Terminal. This was constructed in 2002, but has seen very little use, and none at all recently, as can be guessed by the rusty state of the track.

43027 Daylesford 13 February 2017

At last, I've finally managed to get a decent sunlit picture of 43027 with its '90 Glorious Years' vinyls commemorating the Queen's 90th birthday. I don't seem to have any problem photographing the other special liveried Great Western HSTs, but this one mostly seemed to have eluded me. It is seen here passing Daylesford with the 1W27 13:22 Paddington to Worcester Foregate Street GWR service on 13 February 2017.

43027 Lyneham 13 February 2017

43027 brings up the rear if the 1P63 15:50 Worcester Foregate Street to Paddington GWR service at Lyneham on 13 February 2017. As I knew that this '90 Glorious Years' liveried power car would be on the rear, after having seen it a little earlier at Daylesford, it was worth the short detour on the way home to get this picture of it in the last of the afternoon's light.

43027 Stoulton 15 August 2017

'90 Glorious Years' liveried 43027 passes Stoulton on 15 August 2017 with the 1P57 14:25 Great Malvern to Paddington GWR service. Unfortunately the dramatic sky in the background indicates that this sunny spell didn't last much longer! Photo taken from a public footpath crossing.

43027 Honeybourne 25 August 2017

'90 Glorious Years' liveried 43027 arrives at Honeybourne station on 25 August 2017 with the 1P57 14:25 Great Malvern to Paddington GWR service. The Royal Standard and the Union Flag are the only clues that the wording refers to her majesty the Queen.

43027 Grove 30 November 2017

'90 Glorious Years' liveried 43027 passes Grove on 30 November 2017 with the 1L46 09:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington GWR service. This is my first visit to this particular location, a spot that was previously completely ruined by high voltage overhead wires (of the non railway variety)!

43027 Ascott-under-Wychwood 16 December 2017

Ascott-under-Wychwood station does not normally have a Saturday service, but in the lead up to Christmas, the normally non-stop 1P31 07:10 Hereford to Paddington GWR HST is booked to call. 43027 is seen here pulling away from the station on 16 December 2017. If I had known that this was going to be hauled by the '90 Glorious Years' liveried power car, I might have opted for a more conventional viewpoint to show off the livery. An extremely long lens is required here to clear foreground shadows. The flock of pigeons flying across just as the train was approaching was certainly not expected, but I suppose it makes the picture a little different. On the plus side, the sun was out, but just a couple of minutes later the sun disappeared behind a massive bank of dark clouds!

43027 Dorn 12 March 2018

With the track glistening after recent rain, 43027 passes the distinctive retaining wall at Dorn (near Moreton-in-Marsh) on 12 March 2018 with the 1W01 10:22 Paddington to Hereford GWR service. As well as the '90 Glorious Years' liveried power car at the front of the train, GWR's other one-off liveried power car, 43172 Harry Patch - The last survivor of the trenches was on the rear.

43027 Moreton-in-Marsh 16 April 2018

43027 brings up the rear of the 1W00 08:21 Paddington to Hereford GWR service, as it leaves Moreton-in-Marsh on 16 April 2018. Leading power car 43193 is already underneath the roadbridge. The '90 Glorious Years' livery was applied to 43027 to mark HRH The Queen’s 90th Birthday in 2016. The large building in the background is a Budgens supermarket.

43028 Radley 8 October 2009

In superb late afternoon autumnal light, 43028 speeds through Radley station on 8 October 2009 with the 1P61 14:34 Great Malvern to Paddington First Great Western service. At some point in the journey it has picked up a non fare paying passenger, but I don't think the pheasant stuck to the leading bogie is in any position to pay the penalty fare!

43028 Finstock 17 January 2013

43028 speeds through the frost covered landscape at Finstock on 17 January 2013 with the late running 1W02 10:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service. The train had left London on time, but encountered delays at Reading, and by the time it passed me it was running sixteen minutes behind time. All was not lost however, as after Moreton-in-Marsh it clawed back some time, and in fact managed to arrive at Hereford one minute early!

43028 Baulking 23 April 2015

43028 passes Baulking on 23 April 2015 with the 1B42 14:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central First Great Western service. I wonder what the driver is leaning forward and staring at, as it certainly isn't the photographer standing on the bridge!

43028 Bourton 25 July 2016

After a lengthy cloudy period, just before sunset on 25 July 2016, the sun dropped out of the dark cloud at Bourton to provide a few minutes of this amazing lighting. 43028 heads west with the 1C28 19:27 Paddington to Weston-super-Mare GWR service. Just visible (at least on the hi-res version) is the famous Uffington White Horse, on the left edge of the sunlit hill in the background.

43028 Challow 20 January 2017

43028 passes underneath the massively over engineered catenary at Challow on 20 January 2017, as it speeds westwards with the 1C17 14:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads GWR service. This crude looking infrastructure looks more like something from the 1950s Woodhead electfrication, rather than something from the 21st century!

43029 Frampton Mansell 28 August 1982

43029 crosses Frampton Mansell viaduct on 28 August 1982 with the 1A67 07:40 Cheltenham to Paddington service. This was a classic photographic location in steam days, with trains working hard up Sapperton Bank. The tree growth has long since obliterated this view. 

43029 Malago Vale 5 April 1990

43029 passes the long disused and weed choked Malago Vale carriage sidings in Bristol with the on 10:25 Liverpool Lime Street to Plymouth service on 5 April 1990. The yellow speck in the distance is 31276 & 31217 with the 7M53 Bridgwater to Sellafield nuclear flasks. I don't usually seek our urban locations, but have used this spot a number of times, as it offers good views in both directions from a quiet footbridge with easy parking nearby.

43029 Wolvercote Junction 12 July 1994

43029 accelerates away from Wolvercote Junction on 12 July 1994 with the 1A14 05:56 Hereford to Paddington InterCity service. The bridge in the background is the A40, and presumably the Williams lorry has had an early start from Wales!

43029 Chalford 21 April 2002

43029 heads through the dappled shade of the Golden Valley as it passes Chalford with the diverted 1B24 12:00 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service on 21 April 2002. This is the first version of First Great Western's blue livery, with large areas of white paint which were evidently considered too difficult to keep clean. Unfortunately I haven't got many pictures of this version of the livery, as after so many livery changes I got rather blasé about taking pictures, until they had all disappeared.

43029 Challow 6 December 2008

The low winter sun shows up the rust on the bridge at the site of Challow station as 43029 speeds through with the 1C12 11:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service on 6 December 2008. The large bank of earth in the foreground marks the site of the down platform. The huge signal gantry that can be seen looming above the bridge effectively prevents photography of westbound trains from the bridge, except with a very long lens.

43029 Compton Beauchamp 1 August 2013

43029 catches the evening sun as it passes Compton Beauchamp on 1 August 2013 with the 1C24 17:30 Paddington to Taunton First Great Western service. For decades I have visited this location on summer evenings, but the lack of any freight traffic in recent years has curtailed my visits. However, the forthcoming electrification prompted this return for a few last pictures.

43029 Compton Beauchamp 7 July 2014

43029 leads the 1A10 09:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service past Compton Beauchamp on 7 July 2014. This will be the last summer that this picture is possible without an unsightly mass of overhead wires getting in the way.

43029 South Marston 18 August 2014

With a mass of dark clouds rolling in from the west, threatening to put an end to the day's photography, 43029 speeds past South Marston on 18 August 2014 with the late running 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service.

43029 Denchworth 8 September 2014

43029 speeds past Denchworth on 8 September 2014 with the 1B37 13:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central First Great Western service. In those days there was just this signal gantry providing an uninvited frame for the picture, now the 25KV overhead wiring provides more than that, and this view is no longer possible.

43029 Uffington 22 January 2017

Signs of impending electfrication at Uffington on Sunday 22 January 2017. 43029 heads towards the capital with the 1A14 11:05 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. Although midwinter, it was quite pleasant standing in the sunshine, as there was not a breath of wind.

43029 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 13 March 2017

43029 approaches the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, on 13 March 2017 with the 1C17 14:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads GWR service. It is passing between two ominous signs of impending electrification: a rusty steel pile on the left, and a newly installed mast on the right.