Class 117

L400 Box Tunnel 11 April 1982

L400 (51332, 59484 & 51374) emerges from the west portal of Brunel's Box Tunnel on 11 April 1982. Quite what it is doing traveling between London and Bristol is a mystery, as its usual area of operation would be London and the Thames Valley. Possibly a short term transfer to Bristol? This impressive view of the ornate tunnel entrance is not so easy now as the amount of vegetation on the right hand cutting side has increased considerably.

L400 Hinksey 28 July 1983

In pristine condition, after a recent works overhaul, L400 (51332, 59484 & 51374) passes Hinksey Yard on 28 July 1983 with the 2A13 13:40 Oxford to Paddington. During refurbishment the former headcode box has been permanently blanked off, rather than featuring a black insert that this unit carried after the cessation of headcodes in the late 1970s. Nearly three decades after this picture was taken this viewpoint has changed little, except that the trees in the background have grown considerably. Oxford's former power station, seen here on the extreme left is no longer visible from this spot. The forthcoming electrification will ruin this well known photographic vantage point forever.

L400 Charlbury 27 August 1983

L400 (51374, 59484 & 51332) arrives at Charlbury on 27 August 1983 with the 2B60 16:33 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh service. Quite why it is displaying Salisbury in the destination blind is a complete mystery. Class 117s would not normally go anywhere near Salisbury, and the London allocated ones definitely not. It is almost as if someone with too much time on their hands has deliberately wound the blind around until he found the most unlikely destination to display, just for a laugh!

L400 Evenlode 25 April 1984

The doyen of Class 117 Pressed Steel units, L400 (51332, 59484 & 51374) passes Evenlode with the 2B60 16:33 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh service on 25 April 1984. This and a similar service in the morning were the only trains to call at the smaller Cotswold Line stations: Combe, Finstock, Ascott-under-Wychwood & Shipton. Note that there is some slight inattention to detail here, as the destination blind displays Oxford, through which the unit had already passed nearly an hour previously!

L400 Oxford 11 July 1984

L400 (51374, 59484 & 51332) makes a typically smoky departure from Oxford station on 11 July 1984 with the 2A35 09:20 Oxford to Paddington service. The non stop loco hauled trains of this era did in the Oxford to London trip in well under an hour, but if you had opted for this train, the journey would have taken double that! At 1 hour 59 minutes, this was possibly the slowest way to get to London, calling at all stations en-route.

L400 & L422 South Moreton 12 September 1985

L400 (51374, 59484 & 51332) & L422 (59512, 51360 & 51402) pass South Moreton on 12 September 1985 with the 14:03 Reading to Oxford service. This used to be a very pleasant spot for an afternoon's photography, with only the occasional tractor crossing the farm occupation bridge, and the low bridge parapet acting as a handy seat. Unfortunately the brick bridge has been replaced with a hideous eyesore that has parapets that are way to high to see over. In addition, the electrification of the Great Western Mainline has covered this view in a mass of masts, crossbeams and wires. I suppose the rebuilding of the bridge doesn't really matter now, as no photographers will venture to this spot in the future!

L400 Charlbury 16 May 1986

Despite this being a picture of a humble DMU, this is one of my favourite Cotswold Line pictures. From a vantage point seldom used by other photographers, and with an uninterrupted view of Charlbury station in the background, L400 (51332, 59484 & 51374) pulls slowly away from the station with the 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Reading (or Reading General according to the 1960s destination blind) service on 16 May 1986. This was one of two early morning up local services calling at all stations.

L400 Moreton-in-Marsh 5 August 1986

L400 (51332, 59484 & 51374) arrives at Moreton-in-Marsh on 5 August 1986 with the 5A12 06:43 Oxford to Moreton-in-Marsh ECS. The unit would not immediately head back south as expected, but would use the crossover in the station to access the up line, and then set back into one of the two sidings (both since lifted), to await the arrival of the loco hauled train from Hereford. It would then follow this as the 2A12 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Reading.

L400 Moreton-in-Marsh 5 August 1986

This picture is not quite what it seems at first glance. Despite the red tail lights, and empty cab, this unit is actually travelling towards the camera at this point! L400 (51374, 59484 & 51332) had just arrived at Moreton-in-Marsh on 5 August 1986 with the 5A12 06:43 ECS from Oxford, and is here using the crossover from the down to the up line, in order to access the siding on the right. Although obviously there is nothing in the way, the train is being driven virtually blind, from the rear cab! It will wait in the siding on the right until after the 1A10 06:00 Hereford to Paddington has passed through, and will then form the 2A12 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Reading.

L400 Moreton-in-Marsh 5 August 1986

After arriving at Moreton-in-Marsh on 5 August 1986 with the 5A12 06:43 ECS from Oxford, L400 (51374, 59484 & 51332) backs into the up siding to wait for 47619 to pass, before heading back down the Cotswold Line with the 2A12 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Reading. It had just crossed over from the down main line, being driven from the rear cab.

L400 Moreton-in-Marsh 18 October 1986

L400 (51332, 59484 & 51374) arrives at Moreton-in-Marsh station on 18 October 1986 with the 2C72 09:23 Oxford to Hereford service. Although the bullhead track has gone, along of course with the Class 117 DMUs, virtually everything else in this view is largely unaltered, with just a few modern additions, such as travel information screens.

L400 Churchill Heath 23 April 1987

L400 (51332, 59484 & 51374) passes Churchill Heath on 23 April 1987 with the 2B60 16:40 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh Network SouthEast service. This was the evening local service, calling at all stations on the Cotswold Line. Just beyond the wood in the background there is a small quarry that runs alongside the railway, presumably used to excavate material when the railway was constructed by the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway ion the 1850s.

L400 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 13 May 1989

L400 (51374, 59484 & 51332) passes Walton Well Road, Oxford, on 13 May 1989 with the 2C19 07:59 Bicester Town to Oxford Network SouthEast service. This was the first time that I saw this particular unit sporting its new NSE livery, which judging by the clean condition (especially of the roof) hadn't long been applied. Nowadays this train would use the relief line on the extreme right, therefore completely keeping clear of the main line. As Oxford North Junction is located just past Aristotle Lane footbridge in the background, I'm surprised it took them another two decades after this picture was taken to implement this simple improvement.

L400 & L207 Islip 13 May 1989

Islip station, on the Bicester to Oxford line was reopened by Network SouthEast on 13 May 1989. L400 (51374, 59484 & 51332) & Class 101 L207 (51221 & 54396) are pictured departing from the station with the first up service - the 12:27 Bicester Town to Oxford. The station has probably never been as busy since, with numerous local people gathering on the platform to witness the event, which included several stalls and a group of Morris dancers! The station was originally opened by the LNWR, but closed on 30 December 1967, when all passenger trains on the route were withdrawn. Network SouthEast had reinstated the Oxford to Bicester service in 1987, but Islip had to wait a further two years before their station was reopened.

L400 Culham 29 April 1990

L400 (51332, 59484 & 51374) approaches Culham on 29 April 1990 with the 10:10 Didcot Parkway to Oxford Network SouthEast 'all stations' service. A misty morning, but whilst the background is disappearing into the haze, at least the foreground field of oilseed rape really stands out.

L400 Wolvercote Junction 11 June 1992

L400 (51332, 59484 & 51374) approaches Wolvercote Junction on 11 June 1992 with the 2C60 17:05 Reading to Banbury Network SouthEast service. After over three decades of working local trains in the Oxford area, L400, along with the rest of the 117s would shortly be ousted by the then new Class 165 Turbo units. L400 would first of all migrate to the Reading to Guildford route, and then, after losing its centre car and being renumbered L700, it would end its day's on the Bedford to Bletchley line.

L400 Wokingham 2 January 1993

L400 (51374, 59484 & 51332) accelerates away from Wokingham station on a slightly foggy 2 January 1993 with the 11:05 Reading to Guildford Network SouthEast service. I have got very few pictures of Class 117s on this route, as there was always a ready supply of them on the much nearer to home Cotswold Line, and on the Oxford to Paddington stopping trains.

L700 Kempston 24 December 1996

After being replaced on Thames Valley services by Class 165 & 166 Turbo units in 1993, L400 (51374, 59484 & 51332) found further employment working on the Bedford to Bletchley route. For this purpose it lost its centre car and was renumbered as L700. In this condition it is seen passing under the A421 Bedford by-pass at Kempston with 51374 leading on the 09:40 Bedford to Bletchley service on Christmas Eve 1996. Luckily the impending holiday ensured there wasn't the usual procession of lorries crossing the bridge! The redundant centre trailer car was scrapped at Gwent Demolition at Margam in 1995, and the two remaining vehicles pictured here were both withdrawn in April 1999 and almost immediately cut up at MC Metals, Glasgow.

L401 Goring 13 September 1986

Still accelerating away from Goring station (just around the curve in the background), L401 (51375, 59485 & 51333) heads up the Thames Valley on 13 September 1986 with the 07:49 Paddington to Didcot Parkway service. The next hourly local service did indeed go to Oxford, but the destination blind on L401 is a little optimistic!

L401 Cholsey 31 January 1987

There is still a little of the previous week's snow lying next to the tracks at Cholsey on 31 January 1987, as L401 (51375, 59485 & 51333) rattles along the up relief line with the 14:21 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. This train would run non-stop from Oxford to Didcot, and then become an 'all stations' service for the rest of its journey, taking over two hours to reach the capital. In contrast, the Class 50 hauled express services at the time did it under an hour!

L401 Hinksey 14 March 1987

It wasn't much use taking any notice of DMU destination blinds in the Oxford area in the 1980s! However this was probably understandable here as L401 (51333, 59485, & 51375) is forming a hastily organised Oxford to Reading relief service due to the late running of 47515 on an inter regional service. Even in normal circumstances it was quite common to see units displaying a destination that they had either just come from or was at least in the opposite direction! 14 March 1987.

L401 Oxford 20 August 1989

L401 (51333, 59485, & 51375) pulls away from a deserted Oxford station on Sunday 20 August 1989. Note the framework for the new station building being constructed on the right. This is a bit of a mystery working, and I can only assume it is a last minute DMU substitute for the 1F04 09:30 Oxford to Paddington loco hauled service, presumably cancelled due to a loco failure. In this instance the Didcot destination blind is correct, because it certainly didn't go the capital, as it was back in Oxford in time to work its next booked train - the 11:00 to Didcot.

L401 Oxford 20 August 1989

Oxford is justifiably world renowned for its fine architecture, but until the 1990s rail travelers from London were greeted with this as their first view of the city as their train arrived at Oxford station. A Hillman Avenger, Morris Marina, Mini and other 1970s cars meet their end in the scrapyard on the site of the old goods yard, as L401 (51333, 59485, & 51375) leaves the station with the 2C23 11:00 Oxford to Didcot Network SouthEast service on 20 August 1989. The cars at this location nowadays are hopefully in better condition, as it is now the station car park.

L401 Radley 1 May 1990

L401 (51333, 59485 & 51375) pulls away from Radley station on 1 May 1990 with the 17:56 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service. Radley station was formerly the interchange station for the Abingdon branch, which explains the disused platform face on the right of this picture.

L401 & L423 Bicester Town 2 May 1992

L401 (51333, 59485 & 51375) & L423 (51361, 59513 & 51399) approach Bicester Town station with the Oxon & Bucks Rail Action Committee 07:00 Oxford to Spalding (via Fenny Stratford and Bedford) special on 2 May 1992. In addition to a day out which took a pair of Class 117s well away from their home territory, this train was run to highlight the possibility of reopening the Oxford to Milton Keynes line for through passenger services. Finding a clear viewpoint that shows the whole train at 07:20 in the morning on the Oxford to Bicester line is not as easy as it would seem, and although this location from the then newly completed A41 Bicester southern bypass does provide an excellent position, it does unfortunately include Bicester sewage works in the background!

117724 Forders Sidings 17 September 1996

117724 (51333 & 51375) passes Forders Sidings on 17 September 1996 with the 08:40 Bedford to Bletchley Network SouthEast service. This unit had spent most of its working life working local trains out of Paddington, at which time it operated as a three car unit. Almost exactly ten years earlier I had photographed it on one such working near Goring.

117724 Ridgmont 4 June 1997

In the last rays of the setting sun, 117724 (51333 & 51375) arrives at Ridgmont with the 18:40 Bedford to Bletchley service on 4 June 1997. Formerly Thames Valley set L401, it was ousted from its Paddington duties by the arrival of the Class 165 Turbos in 1992. AT this point it lost its centre trailer and was renumbered 724. At the very end of its career, it was obviously decided to incorporate the class designation in the number, in a similar way to the units that had moved to the Provincial sector, therefore becoming 117724.

117724 Forders Sidings 12 December 1997

The level crossing barriers lift behind 117724 (51375 & 51333) as it passes Forders Sidings on 12 December 1997 with the 10:40 Bedford to Bletchley North London Railways service. 117724 was London allocated three car set L401 in a previous life.

L402 Ascott-under-Wychwood 17 June 1980

L402 (51335, 59487 & 51377) comes off the double track section of the Cotswold Line at Ascott-under-Wychwood on 17 June 1980 with the 5A09 19:15 (in theory!) Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford ECS. This was running almost an hour early, which meant that rather than waiting at Moreton for the booked 58 minutes, after arriving with the 2B48 15:29 Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh, it must have left straight away! Also, note that the guard appears to be standing up in the cab and displaying a red flag to the signalman. I've no idea this many years later what that was about.

L402 Yarnton Junction (site of) 15 April 1983

L402 (51377, 59487 & 51335) has just passed the site of Yarnton Junction on 15 April 1983, and is heading up the Cotswold Line with the 2B60 16:33 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh service. An idea of just how remote Yarnton Junction station was can be gauged from this view, as in the 1980s the area was relatively clear of trees. The Scots pines in the background mark the site of the station, and it is immediately apparent that there are no buildings anywhere near it. The station was purely an interchange point for the Fairford Branch, the route of which diverged to the right on the far side of the long grass behind the electricity pole.

L402 & L415 Marshfield 27 October 1984

A pair of Reading allocated Class 117s well away from their usual patch on 27 October 1984. L402 (51377, 59487 & 51335) & L415 (51351, 59503 & 51393) pass Marshfield with the late running 08:48 Cardiff Central to Weston-super-Mare service. Both of these units would normally operate Thames Valley services out of Paddington, with Bristol or Cardiff units being more normal in South Wales. Obviously there would be a number of people going to Bristol on a Saturday morning, but six coaches through to Weston in the autumn is probably an extravagance!

L402 West Drayton 6 November 1986

In sparkling ex-works condition, after its repaint into Network SouthEast livery, L402 (51335, 59487 & 51377) accelerates away from West Drayton station on 6 November 1986 with the 2A33 09:26 Slough to Paddington 'all stations' service. Just behind the builder's yard on the right is an earlier form of transport - the Grand Union Canal.

L402 & L420 Bicester Town 9 May 1987

L402 (51377, 59487 & 51335) & L420 (51400, 59510 & 51358) arrive at Bicester Town on 9 May 1987 with the inaugural Network SouthEast service from Oxford. After being a freight only line for two decades, this was the start of the passenger renaissance on this line, which now sees a half hourly service to London via the Chiltern Line, something that would have not seemed at all likely back in 1987. Note the wood yard on the right, totally unfenced, and right next to the running line!

L402 & L420 Oddington 9 May 1987

L402 (51377, 59487 & 51335) & L420 (51400, 59510 & 51358) pass Oddington on 9 May 1987 with the 13:25 Oxford to Bicester Town Network SouthEast special. This location has now changed out of all recognition, with the vintage bullhead track replaced by a reinstated high speed double line. The level crossing from which this picture was taken has been replaced by a bridge a little further to the north. Even before all this alteration, the scene had changed considerably, as trees were planted next to the line in the former crossing keeper's garden on the right.

L402 & L420 Oxford North Junction 9 May 1987

L402 (51377, 59487 & 51335) & L420 (51400, 59510 & 51358) approach Oxford North Junction on 9 May 1987 with the 15:25 Oxford to Bicester Town Network SouthEast special, one of a series of trains celebrating the reopening of the line to passengers.

L402 Oxford 25 September 1987

L402 (51377, 59487 & 51335) arrives at Oxford station form the carriage sidings on 25 September 1987, ready to form the 2C17 08:57 Network SouthEast service to Reading (despite what the destination blind says!). This was running a few minutes late, after having to wait for a late running train from Hereford.

L402 Waltham St Lawrence 8 April 1990

L402 (51377, 59487 & 51335) runs along the up relief line at Waltham St Lawrence on Sunday 8 April 1990 with the 2A34 09:15 Reading to Paddington Network SouthEast service. On this occasion it was not just the DMUs that were using the relief lines, as engineering work had closed the two fast lines on the left.

L402 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 8 September 1990

L402 (51335, 59487 & 51377) approaches Walton Well Road, Oxford, on 8 September 1990 with the 2C19 08:05 Bicester Town to Reading Network SouthEast service. In the background, 56043 gets underway with its loaded stone train, bound for the nearby Banbury Road stone terminal.

L402 Didcot Power Station 20 February 1993

L402 (51335, 59487 & 51377) comes off the flyash loop at Didcot Power Station on 20 February 1993, after traversing the site with the Branch Line Society's 'Thames & Chiltern Rambler' railtour. At least one tour participant is getting a picture of 60069 Humphry Davy waiting to leave with the 6E13 12:15 Didcot to Barrow Hill MGR empties. The railtour had originated from Bishops Stortford (a very unusual location for a Reading based DMU such as L402), and then travelled to the West London area, for the first freight branch highlight - the Park Royal Guinness branch. It then travelled via the Chiltern Line to the UKF fertilizer depot at Akeman Street, before coming to Didcot via the Bicester to Oxford line.

L402 Pangbourne 28 April 1993

L402 (51335, 59487 & 51377) accelerates away from Pangbourne station on 28 April 1993 with the 2C58 17:23 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service. This was an excellent location for photography, admittedly mainly for trains on the relief lines, but it has been many years since it was possible to access this spot.

L402 & L405 Winslow 1 May 1993

To mark the official closure of the already virtually disused Claydon Junction to Bletchley section of the Oxford to Bletchley route, the Oxford & Bucks Rail Action Committee in association with the Bucks Herald newspaper, ran a special train from Princes Risborough to Spalding on 1 May 1993. Although the destination was the famous flower festival, the main reason for the crowds seen here at Winslow was that local people were taking advantage of the last chance to travel by train from their local station. Unfortunately the station building, which had been derelict for a long time, was demolished just a few weeks previously. The tour was also billed as a Class 117 DMU farewell, as the units were rapidly being ousted by the newly built Class 165 & 166 Turbos. At 08:05 on a slightly mist morning, L402 (51335, 59487 & 51377) & L405 (51381, 59491 & 51340) arrive to pick up the waiting passengers.

L403 & L572 Culham 5 May 1984

L403 (51336, 59488 & 51378) & L572 (51082, 59540 & 51054) approach Culham on 5 May 1984 with the 2A36 13:01 Paddington to Oxford service. There was obviously some rostering variation in operation on this day, as instead of returning directly with the 2A21 from Oxford, that job was entrusted to L411. Also, while the formation of L572 is technically correct for the period, a quick glance at the original Kodachrome slide reveals too many door hinges on the centre trailer! Therefore it looks like 59540 has been temporarily replaced by a Class 117 trailer.

L403 Froxfield 20 June 1984

A misty morning at Froxfield on 20 June 1984, as L403 (51336, 59488 & 51378) runs alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal with the 2A08 06:39 Paddington to Bedwyn. As the canal was not yet open to through navigation at this time, there is little to disturb the rampant growth of the native Yellow Water Lily (Nuphar lutea).

L403 Moreton-in-Marsh 16 January 1985

L403 (51378, 59488 & 51336) stands in the snow at Moreton-in-Marsh station on 16 January 1985, after having arrived with the 2B72 16:35 'all stations' service from Reading. It would wait here for an hour before returning south as the 2A50 19:20 to Paddington.

L403 Oxford 1 August 1986

L403 (51336, 59488 & 51378) leaves Oxford station on 1 August 1986 with the 2A12 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Reading Network SouthEast service. This was one of two early morning trains that called at all of the Cotswold Line stations (including the diminutive former GWR wayside halts at Finstock and Combe). This gave these stations a 100% better service than they receive nearly three decades later!

L403 Kingham 2 August 1986

L403 (51378, 59488 & 51336) arrives at Kingham station on 2 August 1986 with the 2B20 17:15 Didcot Parkway to Moreton-in-Marsh Network SouthEast service. The disused platform on the left of this picture was used by Cheltenham to Banbury trains, the bridge giving access to the mainline to the south of the station.

L403 Kingham 10 September 1986

Shortly after sunrise on 10 September 1986, L403 (51378, 59488 & 51336) accelerates away from Kingham station with the 2B50 06:04 Reading to Worcester Foregate Street Network SouthEast service. I particularly like the way the very low sun is tinted the track red. Photo taken from a public footpath crossing. Unfortunately there is no way you could take a picture here this early in the morning nowadays, as trees now shade the line.

L403 Hinksey 27 September 1986

A view of Hinksey Yard on 27 September 1986, before it became the busy 'Virtual Quarry' ballast dump that it is today. It is also before the trees between the railway and the lake partly obscured the view of the spires of Oxford in the distance. L403 (51378, 59488 & 51336) passes by the lines of abandoned vans and ZHV open wagons, as it nears its destination with the 12:49 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service.

L403 & L576 Langley 6 November 1986

A Class 117 & 119 DMU combination at Langley on 6 November 1986. Pressed Steel Class 117 suburban unit L403 (51336, 59488 & 51378) is paired with Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Company Class 119 cross country unit L576 (51062, 59421 & 51090), as they work the 12:49 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service.

L403 Chilson 13 December 1986

Soft early morning winter light at Chilson on 13 December 1986. L403 (51378, 59488 & 51336) works the 2B52 09:23 Oxford to Hereford Network SouthEast service. Unfortunately this wide open view, with the village of Chadlington clearly visible in the background, is a thing of the past. Virtually no lineside bush clearance was done here with the reinstatement of double track, and therefore this location is now totally obscured by vegetation. So bad is it that one bush appears to be shaped in outline by the passage of trains!

L403 Chinnor 11 June 1988

A scene that is now history. Chinnor cement works in the background has now been demolished, and the former Chinnor station has been rebuilt near the passing loop in the middle distance, as the route is now a preserved line operated by the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway. On 11 June 1988, when the branch was still open for coal traffic to the cement works, L403 (51336, 59488 & 51378) & Class 121 trailer 289 (54289) leave the site with the RCTS 'Chinnor Railtour', which also visited the Brentford GLC Refuse Transfer branch and the Morris Cowley line at Oxford. Strangely, the two unpowered vehicles here (the Class 117 centre car and the Class 121 trailer) have survived, whilst both DMU power cars have been scrapped.

L403 South Moreton (Didcot East) 29 January 1992

L403 (51336, 59488 & 51378) passes South Moreton (Didcot East) on 29 January 1992 with the 2C33 12:45 Didcot Parkway to Reading 'all stations' Network SouthEast service. The DMU would soon be replaced on these trains by the new Class 165s. Didcot Power Station, which can be seen in the background, had slightly longer left, surviving for another two decades.

L404 Oxford 11 July 1984

L404 (51379, 59489 & 51337) arrives at Oxford on 17 June 1984 with the 2A28 06:19 Paddington to Oxford 'all stations' service. It is interesting to note that there are five operational lines in this picture, whereas now there are only three. The two lines on the left served the scrapyard, which was situated where the station's car park now is.

L404 Oxford North Junction 5 September 1984

L404 (51337, 59489 & 51379) passes Oxford North Junction on 5 September 1984 with the 2A79 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Didcot service. It is just crossing the well used footpath that leads from Aristotle Lane to the Trap Ground allotments, which can be seen on the left.

L404 Cassington 16 May 1986

L404 (51379, 59489 & 51337) passes Cassington on 16 May 1986 with the 2B60 16:40 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh service. It will shortly being calling at Hanborough station, and will then stop at all the Cotswold Line stations, therefore taking nearly 50 minutes to cover the 28 miles from Oxford to Moreton. The large white building visible in the distance is Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.

L404 Finstock 10 April 1987

Rush hour at Finstock on 10 April 1987! Six passengers get ready to board the 2A12 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Reading Network SouthEast service, worked by L404 (51379, 59489 & 51337). Although this diminutive wayside halt was only served by three trains a day in 1987, that is still 50% better than today's service of just one train in each direction. In 1987 there was an additional early morning southbound working - the 2A04 06:10 Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford. The station had just been reconstructed on the opposite side of the line, allegedly to avoid passengers having to cross the busy road bridge.

L404 Charlbury 8 May 1987

Charlbury station, pictured from a slightly unusual angle on 8 May 1987. L404 (51379, 59489 & 51337) leaves the station with the 2B52 09:27 Oxford to Hereford service. The car park is extremely full by 1980s standards, although nothing like the current situation, where the several times extended car park is full to capacity by early morning. Of note is the selection of now classic cars, including a Saab 99 and Sunbeam Alpine in the foreground. However, the Bentley in the background was very old even then!

L404 Kingham 18 June 1989

Class 117s had effectively been ousted from the Cotswold Line in 1988 by the arrival of the Class 155 Sprinters. It was therefore a surprise to see L404 (51379, 59489 & 51337) back on its old stamping ground on 18 June 1989. There was obviously a problem with the rostered 155, as L404 was noted working the 15:20 Great Malvern to Oxford service, running an hour late. It had managed to half that late running by the time it arrived back at Kingham with the 17:30 Oxford to Great Malvern return working, but obviously in the hurry to regain some lost time, changing the destination blind had been forgotten!

L405 Hinksey 14 June 1983

Shortly after sunrise on 14 June 1983, L405 (51340, 59491 & 51381) passes Hinksey Yard with the 2A35 05:50 Oxford to Paddington service. Early bird travellers on this train had a much better deal on a weekday, as the train completed the journey thirteen minutes quicker than it did on a Saturday. This was not due to additional stops being made at the weekend, but rather to the additional ten minutes wait at Reading, due presumably to some pathing requirement, but obviously very frustrating if you were waiting to get to London!

L405 Maidenhead 22 November 1986

L405 (51381, 59491 & 51340) passes in front of the former Great Western Railway goods shed at Maidenhead on 22 November 1986, as it arrives at the station with the 08:42 Didcot Parkway to Paddington Network SouthEast service.

L405 Hanborough 30 August 1987

L405 (51381, 59491 & 51340) passes Hanborough station, on the Cotswold line on 30 August 1987. These units were a regular sight on local trains on the line at this time, but here it is strangely working one of the few normally loco-hauled trains - the 1B40 16:10 Paddington to Hereford service. Note that the disused down platform makes an excellent vantage point for photography. This view would now be dominated by the Oxford Bus Museum which took over the former yard area, behind the train.

R405 Oxford 4 September 1987

R405 (51340, 59491 & 51381) accelerates away from Oxford station on the cloudless morning of 4 September 1987. There are two things that make this picture more interesting than a standard 1980s archive picture. Firstly, although clearly displaying Paddington in the destination blind, this is in fact the 2C15 08:57 Oxford to Didcot Parkway Network SouthEast service. After Didcot it would become the 5C15 09:25 Didcot to Reading DMU depot ECS, so anyone onboard hoping to get to London would be in for a surprise! Secondly, the set number on this end has been rather crudely altered to read R405 instead of L405, which does more correctly reflect the unit's Reading allocation, rather than the rather vague London designation. This was presumably a very temporary alteration, and it certainly wasn't on the other end, when the unit was photographed passing Hanborough a few days earlier.

L405 Lower Basildon 17 May 1992

Although nearing the end of its long career working local services along the Thames Valley, L405 (51381, 59491 & 51340) has had a repaint into Network SouthEast livery and positively gleams as it passes Lower Basildon on 17 May 1992 with the 2C66 18:00 Reading to Didcot Parkway service. The set number is positioned further inboard that used to be standard. Within a few months it would be replaced by Class 165 & 166 Turbo units. The lead vehicle has found a new life in preservation at Mangapps Farm Railway Museum, but the other two vehicles were not so lucky, both being cut up in the late 1990s. Strangely, as if to emphasise they had finally fled the Western Region, one was broken up in Scotland, the other in Wales!

L406 Finstock 22 August 1985

L406 (51383, 59493 & 51341) slows down for the Finstock stop whilst working the 2B60 16:35 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh service on 22 August 1985. This was the only down train to call at the station on a weekday at the time, a service pattern that remains much the same today. Although it still just about possible to take pictures from this bridge, you can no longer stand in this exact spot for a nice wide view. During the intervening years those little bushes on the right of the picture have grown considerably, and now the angle of view is much more restricted.

L406 Kingham 29 August 1985

Just a very slight trace of weak sunlight remains as L406 (51383, 59493 & 51341) pulls away from Kingham station on 29 August 1985. It is working the 2B60 16:35 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh 'all stations' service. As often happens after a hot summers day, the light just faded out into thin hazy murk, and this is only early evening!

L406 Evenlode 24 April 1986

Superb evening lighting at Evenlode on 24 April 1986. L406 (51341, 59493 & 51383) passes underneath the Evenlode to Broadwell roadbridge with the 2B60 16:35 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh service. The low viewpoint was deliberately chosen to accentuate the dark clouds.

L406 Cholsey 31 January 1987

L406 (51341, 59493 & 51383) accelerates away from Cholsey station on 31 January 1987 with the 2F38 12:49 Paddington to Oxford Network SouthEast service. The track of the then recently preserved Cholsey & Wallingford Railway can just be seen in the background, above the front of the unit.

L406 Oxford North Junction 20 July 1990

Viewed from the footpath leading to the Trap Ground allotments, L406 (51383, 59493 & 51341) passes under the Aristotle Lane footbridge and approaches Oxford North Junction as it works the 2C70 19:23 Oxford to Banbury all stations local Network SouthEast service on 20 July 1990. It will be calling at Tackley, Heyford and Kings Sutton en-route. The Aristotle Lane footbridge gives access from the Oxford suburbs to Port Meadow.

L406 Shottesbrooke 5 September 1992

Even during their final months in the Thames Valley someone obviously cared enough to authorize the repainting of a number of Class 117 units. L406 (51383, 59493 & 51341) ambles along the relief line at Shottesbrooke with the 10:12 Reading to Paddington Network SouthEast service on 5 September 1992. By this date Class 165 Turbo units were rapidly being introduced to replace these elderly Pressed Steel units which had held sway on the route since the early 1960s.

L406 Wanborough 17 July 1993

L406 (51341, 59493 & 51383) approaches Wanborough on 17 July 1993 with the late running 2V13 17:30 Guildford to Reading Network SouthEast service. It is passing one of the characteristic Southern Region substations, that supplies 750V DC to the third rails. Wanborough station is actually in the village of Flexford.

L406 Blackwater 17 July 1993

L406 (51383, 59493 & 51341) calls at Blackwater station on 17 July 1993 with the 2O42 18:05 Reading to Guildford Network SouthEast service. Although the small industrial building on the left still exists, the larger one on the right has been replaced by a multi-storey car park.

L407 Wolvercote Junction 27 March 1982

L407 (51342, 59494 & 51384) is accelerating away from Wolvercote Junction in this 27 March 1982 view, and is just over a mile from its destination, as it works the 2A79 07:50 Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford service. I doubt if you will see many pictures taken from this vantage point, and there is certainly no possibility now, as the public footpath from which it was taken was closed decades ago. Also, the whole area is now a jungle of trees. As can be seen here, in the early 1980s a clear view of the 1930s built A40 bridge was possible, with the brick building visible through the arch marking the location of Wolvercote Junction, where the Cotswold and Banbury lines meet. Note that in 1982 the up relief line was still laid with vintage 95lb per yard pre-war bullhead track.

L407 Shipton 12 June 1982

L407 (51384, 59494 & 51342) arrives at Shipton station on 12 June 1982 with the Cotswold Line Promotion Group's Oxford to Matlock 'Cotswold - Derwent Special'. This was the second of the CLPG's very successful railtours, and while the sight of a Class 117 unit stopping at Shipton was commonplace at the time, the same could certainly not be said of Matlock! The diminutive waiting shelter with its slightly over the top awning disappeared shortly after this photo was taken, as did the GWR concrete name board posts. Although impossible to see from this angle, the one on the left still retained the large 'Shipton for Burford' sign at this time.

L407 & 55034 South Moreton (Didcot East) 1 December 1983

The Pressed Steel company produced two classes of DMU during the late 1950s and early 1960s at their factory at Linwood, in Scotland - the three car Class 117s and the single car Class 121s. The Class 121s were effectively a Class 117 DMBS vehicle with a cab at both ends. As both types were allocated to the Western Region, there were various occasions when they operated together. Such was the case on 1 December 1983, when Class 117 L407 (51342, 59494 & 51384) and Class 121 L134 (55034) worked the 2A57 11:55 Oxford to Paddington service, seen here passing South Moreton (Didcot East).

L407 Hinksey 3 March 1984

L407 (51342, 59494 & 51384) passes Hinksey on 3 March 1984 with the 2A65 12:35 Oxford to Paddington service. It's hard to believe now that in the 1980s the footbridge over the line at the north end of Hinksey Yard offered such a completely uninterrupted view of the Oxford skyline. Note the crane in the background, at work on the construction of Oxford's ice rink.

L407, L121 & L413 St George's 20 April 1985

L407 (51342, 59494 & 51384), Class 121 L121 (55021) & L413 (51391+59501+51349) pass St Georges on 20 April 1985 with the Monmouthshire Railway Society 'Maerdy Gras' railtour. As the name suggests, this tour visited Maerdy Colliery, a well as Cwm Colliery, Blaengarw, Onllwyn, Aberpergwm and Cynheidre. This is a type of railtour that has all but disappeared from the national network. The use of lengthy DMU formations to traverse branch and freight only lines was an ideal low cost solution, although of course not very popular with haulage enthusiasts!

L407 Radley 27 August 1987

L407 (51342, 59494 & 51384) pulls out of Radley station on 27 August 1987 with the 2C68 17:45 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service. It is notably how few passengers there were in the 1980s compared to today's rejuvenated station. Apart from the NSE red lampposts, little investment had taken place at the station for years, and by 1987 it was looking quite run down. The dog seems happy enough though! This view clearly shows that the down platform was formerly an island, with the west face serving the Abingdon Branch.

L407 Aldington 3 October 1987

L407 (51342, 59494 & 51384) passes Aldington with the 12:26 Oxford to Worcester Shrub Hill service on 3 October 1987. This is one of the very few railway pictures that I took on what was at the time regarded as the finest quality 35mm colour transparency film - Kodachrome 25. Apart from the fact that ISO 25 is a ridiculously slow speed for use with a moving subject, I could only detect the tiniest improvement in quality over the much more usable Kodachrome 64. Of course if you really wanted an improvement in quality in those days, you used a large format camera, which is why a lot of the pictures on this website are taken with a Pentax 6x7.

L407 Coates 4 October 1987

L407 (51384, 59494 & 51342) passes the site of Coates goods station on 4 October 1987 with the 2B49 14:58 Swindon to Worcester Shrub Hill service. In the 1980s the wide open area that was once the location of a goods shed and quarry siding, was often used as a sort of unofficial place to watch trains go by, which explains the family group in the background. The station originally opened as Tetbury Road passenger station in 1845, but closed to passengers in 1882 with the opening of nearby Kemble station. It survived as a goods only station until 1963.

L407 Waltham St Lawrence 5 March 1988

L407 (51342, 59494 & 51384) passes Waltham St Lawrence on 5 March 1988 with the 2F29 09:49 Paddington to Reading Network SouthEast service. For many years these Paddington local trains were covered by table 117 in the national railway timetable, which was highly appropriate, as generally they were worked by these Class 117 DMUs.

51384 & 56287 North Weald 24 September 2017

The Epping Ongar Railway's hybrid Class 117/121 unit arrives at North Weald station on 24 September 2017 with the 2E02 10:03 Epping Forest to North Weald service, during the line's Diesel Gala. The leading vehicle is Class 117 DMS 51384, with Class 121 DTS 56287 behind. Note the incorrect use of a M prefix to the number. This vehicle was part of Western Region set L407, and would have carried the number W51384.

51384 & 56287 North Weald 24 September 2017

51384 & 56287 stand at North Weald station on 24 September 2017, having just arrived with the 2E02 10:03 Epping Forest to North Weald service. The second day of the Epping Ongar Railway's Diesel Gala was blessed with an almost completely sunny day.

51384 & 56287 North Weald 24 September 2017

After having arrived with the late running 2E18 13:23 service from Epping Forest, Class 117/121 hybrid unit 51384 & 56287 prepares to swap platforms at North Weald station on 24 September 2017, prior to working the 2E21 14:00 departure to Epping Forest, during the Epping Ongar Railway's Diesel Gala.

L408 Oxford 4 September 1982

More DMU misinformation at Oxford on 4 September 1982. L408 (51343, 59495 & 51385) enters the station from the carriage sidings, ready to form the 2A75 07:45 departure to Reading. I hope the driver changed the Paddington destination to Reading before the train left, although it would seem logical to alter it before coming into the station. The brief burst of sunshine is illuminating the old water tower in the background, which at this time was one of the last vestiges of the old Oxford (81F) depot.

L408 Hinksey 8 February 1986

L408 (51343, 59495 & 51385) passes Hinksey Yard on 8 February 1986 with the 2A36 12:49 Paddington to Oxford service. This panoramic view of the north end of the yard gives a good view of the fan of sidings. In the 1980s this location was unobstructed by trees, which would now cause a February view such as this to be largely in shade. Also, the vegetation in the background has now grown considerably, mostly blocking this view of Hinksey Lake and New Hinksey church.

L408 & 55027 Moreton-in-Marsh (Dunstall Bridge) 20 August 1986

L408 (51343 & 59495) & Class 121 55027 (L127) head away from Dunstall Bridge, Moreton-in-Marsh on 20 August 1986 with the 2A56 16:46 Hereford to Oxford service. With two DMBS vehicles, there would have been plenty of potential bike storage, unlike the virtually non-existent provision on the Cotswold Line's current Class 800 DMUs.

L408 Moreton-in-Marsh 7 August 1988

L408 (51343, 59495 & 51385) waits for passengers at Moreton-in-Marsh on Sunday 7 August 1988 prior to working a revised shuttle service to Oxford, the line to the north of Moreton-in-Marsh being closed for engineering work. Someone obviously is a keen gardener here. The well stocked flower border and the GWR seat in the background adds to the nostalgic scene, although the Network SouthEast livery of the DMU brings the scene back to the 1980s!

L408 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 23 June 1989

L408 (51385, 59495 & 51343) heads north from Oxford on 23 June 1989. There are a couple of unanswered questions here. Why is the destination blind showing 'Oxford', when it has clearly just left Oxford (the station can just be seen in the background). Also, what exactly is the working? There is nothing in the working timetable, either passenger or empty stock, anywhere near this time. It could possibly be the extremely late running 2H60 17:56 Oxford to Banbury Network SouthEast service, but that was specifically booked for a Class 101 at the time, having a note in the working timetable to that effect. Also note that although there are three Class 47s in the remains of Oxford shed, all the carriage sidings, on both sides of the lines, are completely empty.

L408 South Moreton (Didcot East) 24 October 1989

L408 (51385, 59495 & 51343) passes South Moreton (Didcot East) on 24 October 1989 with the 2C27 12:15 Oxford to Reading Network SouthEast service. Not much survives from this view. The DMU has been scrapped, the gas holder has gone, and Didcot Power Station was closed in 2013. More importantly, the view itself has disappeared under a sea of 25Kv wires.

L409 Hinksey 28 November 1981

L409 (51386, 59496 & 51344) passes the south end of Hinksey Yard on 28 November 1981 with the 2A57 11:55 Oxford to Paddington service. This wide view shows just how open the view towards Oxford was in the 1980s. The footbridge across the yard visible in the background can barely be seen from this location now.

L409 Finstock 22 August 1985

A perfect length train for this particular vantage point! L409 (51386, 59496 & 51344) passes Finstock station on 22 August 1985 with the 2B68 16:10 Oxford to Hereford service. This view shows the diminutive station as it existed from 1971 until 1986, with the former up platform serving the single track. The remains of the down platform can clearly be seen in the foreground, with the overgrown ash covered surface, and sleeper built edging. A year after this picture was taken, the track was slewed into the centre of the formation, and a new platform built on the west side of the line. There was no thought in the 1980s that the line would ever be redoubled, so all this work would have to be done again if the this section of the line was ever to redoubled.

L409 Lyneham 4 April 1986

L409 (51344, 59496 & 51386) passes the resident Shetland Ponies at Lyneham on 4 April 1986, as it accelerates away from its last stop at Shipton station with the 2B60 16:35 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh 'all stations' service. Although the ponies in the foreground make for an ideal photographic composition, the fact that they are black, and standing in an unfortunate area of shadow does not really help! I would have liked to have taken this picture with my Pentax 6x7 for improved quality, but there is no way that the medium format camera's limited depth of field would have allowed me to get both the train and the foreground in focus!

L409 Chilsoon 26 April 1986

L409 (51386, 59496 & 51344) runs over newly laid track at Chilson on 26 April 1986 with the 2B52 09:23 Oxford to Hereford service. This is yet another case of a completely useless destination being displayed. Not only is it going the wrong way for Didcot to be the destination, but it hasn't even come from there! A similar viewpoint to this three decades later would consist primarily of bushes, and virtually no railway! The almost completely clear grassy banks seen here have been replaced by a thicket of vegetation, that due to Network Rail's utter neglect, has become almost shaped to the loading gauge by the passing trains!

L409 Brimpton 12 May 1987

L409 (51344, 59496 & 51386) passes Brimpton on 12 May 1987 with the 14:43 Reading to Newbury Network SouthEast service. This location is actually nearer to the village of Midgham than Midgham station is. The station actually being in the village of Woolhampton!

L409 Oxford 24 July 1990

L409 (51386, 59496 & 51344) slowly moves off from platform 2 at Oxford on 24 July 1990 with the 2C66 17:35 Reading to Bicester Town Network SouthEast service. All three vehicles of this set are no more, although each met its end at a different location. 51386 was initially preserved, but was cut up at Dereham in 2002, likewise 59496 was at first saved, but then was cut at Rotherham as late as 2008. 51344 was disposed off at MC Metals, Glasgow in 1999. Note the newly completed station building and footbridge (which replaced the original subway).

L409 Didcot 31 July 1992

An interesting historic DMU view at Didcot on 31 July 1992, showing two Class 117 sets, both unusually running as two car units. This was at the very end of the Class 117's domination of the Thames Valley services out of Paddington, with the then new Class 165s rapidly taking over. L409 (51386 & 51344) pulls out of the station with the 2C60 17:05 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service, whilst directly behind it, L411 (51388 & 51346) arrives with the 2C57 17:22 Oxford to Reading. Note how L409 is displaying Reading, instead of Oxford on its destination blind. 47323 is parked in the yard, with the Great Western Society's Didcot Railway Centre in the background.

L410 Ascott-under-Wychwood 6 June 1979

A late summer evening at Ascott-under-Wychwood with the setting sun giving an orange tint to the clouds. L410 (51387, 59497 & 51345) comes off the double track section after being held for the 1C74 18:00 Paddington to Hereford service, worked by 50038. The unit is working the early running 5A09 19:15 Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford (not Paddington, as displayed in the windscreen!) empty stock, with the guard obviously enjoying the view from the front! It had earlier worked to Moreton-in-Marsh as the 2B48 15:29 ex Paddington, which at the time was an unbalanced working. The date is 6 June 1979 and this is one of my very few pictures of a Class 117 (or any other type of DMU!) in the short lived white with blue stripe livery.

L410 Oxford 7 January 1984

L410 (51387, 59497 & 51345) stands at platform 2 at Oxford station on 7 January 1984, having just arrived with the 2A76 09:09 Reading to Oxford service. Taking nearly an hour to cover the 27 miles between the two towns, and stopping at every station, this train was obviously to be avoided if you wanted a speedy journey to Oxford! The platform awning behind the unit dates from the 1971 rebuilding of the station.

L410 Honeybourne 22 June 1985

The guard already has his door open as L410 arrives at Honeybourne on 22 June 1985 with the 2A62 09:01 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill service. Normally this unit would comprise vehicles 51345, 59497 & 51387, but quite clearly the centre car has been replaced by a Class 101 trailer. These substitutions were usually only very temporary, often lasting no more than a couple of weeks, until the defective coach could be repaired.

L410, L425 & 55029 West Drayton 6 November 1986

An impressive Pressed Steel DMU combination at West Drayton on 6 November 1986. L410 (51387, 59497 & 51345), L425 (51405 & 59515) & 55029 (L129) heads towards London with the 2A15 07:14 Reading to Paddington Network SouthEast service. Ordinarily this would be two three car Class 117 units, but as L425's DMBS vehicle (51363) is obviously undergoing repair, 'Bubble Car' Class 121 55029 is deputising. Not much difference really, as a Class 121 is essentially a Class 117 DMBS with an extra cab! 47100 can be seen in the background, waiting to follow, light engine.

L410 West Drayton 6 November 1986

L410 (51387, 59497 & 51345) accelerates away from West Drayton station on 6 November 1986 with the 10:14 Maidenhead to Paddington Network SouthEast Service. On the right can be seen the Grand Union Canal which runs parallel with the railway for over a mile at this point. The canal predates the railway by several decades, opening (as the Grand Junction Canal) in 1805.

L410 Langley 6 November 1986

L410 (51345, 59497 & 51387) runs along the down relief line at Langley on 6 November 1986 with the 2F42 14:03 Paddington to Maidenhead Network SouthEast service. It has just called at Langley station, which can be seen in the background. The large building on the right is Clare House, a large brick built office building, which the letting agent says was constricted in 1989. It looks pretty solid in this 1986 view!

L410 South Moreton (Didcot East) 8 November 1986

L410 (51387, 59497 & 51345) passes South Moreton (Didcot East) on 8 November 1986 with the 12:42 Didcot Parkway to Paddington Network SouthEast service. All this is now history. The power station, the DMU and even the viewpoint have all been consigned to history. Interestingly, the three vehicles of this particular unit were broken up in three completely different locations: East Ham, Margam and Glasgow!

L410 Lyneham 7 May 1987

The sheep are undisturbed, as L410 (51345, 59497 & 51387) rattles past Lyneham on 7 May 1987 with the 2B60 16:40 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh all stations service. Surprisingly, this location is still relatively clear of vegetation, although a conifer plantation has been planted on the other side of the line, and this now dominates the background.

L410 Kingham 8 May 1987

L410 (51345, 59497 & 51387) leaves Kingham station on 8 May 1987 with the 2B60 16:23 Oxford to Hereford service. Unfortunately this excellent viewpoint is no longer accessible, and in fact most things in this picture have now changed beyond recognition. The car park has been extended, and an industrial estate is now situated between the station and my viewpoint. The GWR corrugated iron hut just visible above the DMU has gone, as has the GWR footbridge, replaced by a more modern design. The track is no longer vintage jointed bullhead rail, and the trees on the left have grown a lot higher. Also, the white Vauxhall Cavalier, which was my car at the time, expired spectacularly the following year later at 137,000 miles.

L410 Culham 12 May 1987

The oilseed rape field makes a dazzling foreground to this view of L410 (51345, 59497 & 51387) approaching Culham on 12 May 1987 with the 2C16 07:30 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service. This was unusually running 20 minutes late, something that would become a lot more common three decades later, under franchise operator's GWR tenure!

L410 Hinksey 6 May 1988

L410 (51387, 59497 & 51345) passes Hinksey Yard on the evening of 6 May 1988 with the 2C64 17:10 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service. It is just crossing one of several streams that link the Hinksey Stream (a backwater of the River Thames) with the main course of the River Thames. This whole area is criss-crossed by numerous small streams, which explains why the locality is so prone to flooding.

L410 Oxford 16 May 1990

L410 (51345, 59497 & 51387) arrives at Oxford on 16 May 1990 with the late running 2C66 17:35 Reading to Bicester Town Network SouthEast service. This view has now been completely obliterated by trees. Even in 1990 the vegetation along the edge of the graveyard on the right was becoming a nuisance. In the early 1970s there was a clear low angle viewpoint from the cemetery of trains leaving the station and passing under the footbridge. Unfortunately this was before I took up photography!

L410 Culham 4 July 1990

L410 (51387, 59497 & 51345) approaches Culham on 4 July 1990 with the 2C27 10:48 Oxford to Reading Network SouthEast service. Typical British summer weather, but with so much of interest happening in those days, days off work had to be used for photography wherever possible, despite the conditions!

L410 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 7 September 1991

Temporarily running as a two car unit, L410 (51387 & 51345) gets the 'feathers' for the Bicester line, as it heads north from Oxford on 7 September 1991 with the 2C32 10:30 Reading to Bicester Town Network SouthEast service. Oxford North Junction is just beyond the Aristotle Lane footbridge in the background, and the unit will diverge off into the trees on the right.

L410 Islip (Mill Lane) 7 September 1991

The old order at Mill Lane, Islip on 7 September 1991. L410 (51387 & 51345) passes over the little used level crossing with the 2C37 11:57 Bicester Town to Oxford Network SouthEast service. The venerable Class 117 units were replaced by Turbo units the following year, but the road user operated level crossing survived for another couple of decades. With the rebuilding of the line as a through route to London via Bicester, this crossing was permanently closed, and a footbridge provided a short distance to the north.

L411 Blackwell 20 March 1982

L411 (51346, 59498 & 51388) crests the summit of the 1 in 37 Lickey Incline at Blackwell on 20 March 1982, as it works the 2M72 12:44 Hereford to Birmingham New Street service. Trains were descending the bank just as slowly as the ones coming up on this occasion, due to the very obvious recent track replacement.

L411 Chilson 23 March 1982

The driver of L411 (51388, 59498 & 51346) rolls a cigarette, as the unit passes Chilson on 23 March 1982 with the 2A79 07:50 Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford service, although the destination blind has other ideas! Although colour light signals had been installed as far as Ascott-under-Wychwood in 1973, the steam age telegraph poles survived here for a number of years, although by 1982 they had been felled. Several of them can be seen lying in the grass by the side of the line.

L411 Culham 5 May 1984

L411 is pictured at Culham on 5 May 1984, with just 51346 of 51346, 59498 & 51388 visible in this view. It is working the 2A21 14:50 Oxford to Paddington service, which should in theory have been formed of L403 & L572. Although this picture might give the impression of a local train stopped in the station, it is in fact a non-stop service, so considerable luck was required to press the shutter at exactly the right moment, with very little warning of its approach!

L411 Kingham 23 July 1985

L411 (51388, 59498 & 51346) stands at Kingham station on the sunny evening of 23 July 1985 with the 2A50 19:14 Moreton-in-Marsh to Didcot service. Three decades later, the bullhead track, Class 117 DMUs and the original GWR footbridge have all gone.

L411 Ascott-under-Wychwood 19 July 1986

L411 (51388, 59498 & 51346) passes Ascott-under-Wychwood's leaning down starter signal on 19 July 1986 with the 2B55 09:23 Oxford to Hereford service. This was Ascott-under-Wychwood's sole remaining semaphore signal at the time.

L411 Radley 13 May 1990

L411 (51388, 59498 & 51346) leaves Radley station on 13 May 1990 with the 2C60 16:55 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service. The following year a huge radio mast was placed near the end of the down platform, completely ruining this photographic vantage point. In the background is Lock Wood, which is on the steep escarpment on the south side of the River Thames. It is now slightly misnamed, as there hasn't been a lock in the area since the eighteenth century.

L411 South Moreton 15 August 1991

L411 (51346, 59498 & 51388) runs through the cutting at South Moreton on 15 August 1991 with the 2C56 16:30 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service. The bridge in the background was replaced in 2009, and in 2016 this view was lost due to the Great Western Mainline electfrication programme.

L411 Didcot North Junction 31 July 1992

L411 (51388 & 51346) passes Didcot North Junction on 31 July 1992 with the 2C56 16:30 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service. It is unusually running without its centre trailer (59498), and for some reason has had the front set number over painted in non-standard white characters.

51388 & 51346 Sheringham Golf Course 2 May 1998

The former Western Region set L411, minus the centre trailer composite coach is seen here in use on the North Norfolk Railway on 2 May 1998 with DMS 51388 leading and DMBS 51346 at the rear. It is passing Sheringham Golf Course with the 16:00 Sheringham to Holt service. Subsequently the unit moved to the Swanage Railway. It is pictured here repainted into late 1960s condition with a small yellow warning panel replacing the original 'speed whiskers' and the roof all over black instead of the original white ends.

51388 & 51346 Sheringham 2 May 1998

Former Western Region set L411 (now running as a two car unit with just 51388 & 51346) accelerates away from Sheringham on 2 May 1998 with 17:00 Sheringham to Holt service. It's new home on the North Norfolk Railway is certainly well away from anywhere it would have visited whilst in BR service. Note the signal with route indicator and high mounted shunt signal.

L412 Chilson 23 March 1982

The early morning fog on 23 March 1982 has just started to clear (at least in the foreground), as the first northbound passenger train of the day over the Cotswold Line passes Chilson. L412 (51389, 59499 & 51347) is working the 2B08 06:04 Reading to Great Malvern service. The only thing that survives in this view, apart from the actual route of the line, is the rear DMBS vehicle, 51347. The PW hut, dead elm tree, and recently chopped down telegraph poles have all disappeared, and the single track of bullhead rails has now been replaced by two lines of continuously welded rails. Most importantly, the view no linger exists, due to Network Rail's total lack of lineside maintenance. The bushes now brush the sides of the trains at this point! 

L412 Evenlode 16 February 1985

L412 (51347, 59499 & 51389) passes through the snowy Cotswold landscape near Evenlode on 16 February 1985 with the 2B06 08:08 Oxford to Moreton-in-Marsh service. Despite this train only operating for a short distance over the southern section of the Cotswold Line, it was not a truly local service, as it did not call at any of the smaller stations, stopping only at Charlbury and Kingham.

L412 Hinksey 8 February 1986

On a bitterly cold 8 February 1986, L412 (51347, 59499 & 51389) passes the site of Hinksey North signal box at the north end of Hinksey Yard, near Oxford with the 2A62 09:01 Paddington to Oxford 'all stations' service, while in the background L416 (51353, 59505 & 51395) heads towards the capital with the 2A87 10:15 Moreton-in-Marsh to Paddington service, also an 'all stations' train. It is worth noting that despite the atrocious weather both these trains were running exactly to time, something which is very unlikely to happen on today's railway in such conditions! Note the crudely applied spot welded panel on the former headcode box on the front of L412.

L412 South Moreton 6 July 1988

L412 (51347, 59499 & 51389) runs through South Moreton cutting under a cloudless blue sky on 6 August 1988 with the 2C46 15:10 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service. This was a perfect location to photograph trains in those days, with a bridge parapet that was so low that it provided a convenient seat. The replacement bridge has ridiculously high parapets.

L412 Lower Basildon 11 February 1989

L412 (51347, 59499 & 51389) passes Lower Basildon on 11 February 1989 with the 2C27 12:24 Oxford to Reading 'all stations' Network SouthEast service. This was one of those fortunate days when there was masses of clouds about, but all the trains came in sunshine. If only that happened all the time!

412 Oxford 26 May 1990

412 (51389, 59499 & 51347) leaves Oxford station on 26 May 1990 with the 2C27 10:48 Network SouthEast service to Reading. Unusually the unit is not displaying the normal L prefix to the set number, indicating it was a London allocated set (actually based at Reading).

L412 Wolvercote Junction 20 June 1991

L412 (51389 & 51347) approaches Wolvercote Junction on 20 June 1991 with the 2C70 19:20 Oxford to Banbury Network SouthEast service. Despite it being just a day away from the longest day, the sun has all but faded out into high cloud in the west. L412's centre coach (59499) is obviously away undergoing repair, but a two car unit is usually sufficient for the Banbury service, as can be seen from the number of empty seats on this occasion.

51347 & 51401 Castor 19 March 2000

This DMU is formed from vehicles from two different former Western Region sets. DMBS 51347 (seen leading here) came from set L412, and DMS 51401 came from set L421. Whereas the other two vehicles from set L412 have been scrapped, all three vehicles of set L421 are still in existence. 51347 & 51401 are pictured passing milepost 42, on the Nene Valley Railway near Castor with the 10:40 Wansford to Peterborough service on 19 March 2000.

L413 Ascott-under-Wychwood 2 January 1983

L413 (51349, 59501 & 51391) comes off the double track section of the Cotswold Line at Ascott-under-Wychwood on 2 January 1983 with the 2A75 09:32 Worcester Shrub Hill to Reading service. At this time the Cotswold Line was a relative backwater, with low passengers numbers and the sparse train service principally operated by these DMUs. Few could have foreseen the dramatic increases in passengers numbers in the following decades. 

L413 Appleford 12 September 1985

L413 (51391, 59501 & 51349) passes Appleford Crossing Signal Box on 12 September 1985 with the 2A85 08:05 Hereford to Paddington service. Concead behind the unit is the junction for the line to Appleford Sidings. This is now a stone terminal, but in 1985 was also a destination for containerised waste trains from London.

L413 Daylesford 8 May 1986

L413 (51349, 59501 & 51391) passes underneath the farm occupation bridge at Daylesford on 8 May 1986 with the 2A62 19:20 Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford service. The spring of 1986 was very cold, and plant growth was very late as a result. With hardly any signs of spring greenery, this pictures looks more like it was taken in early April, or even late March!

L413 West Drayton 6 November 1986

L413 (51349, 59501 & 51391) and another unidentified Class 117 unit accelerate slowly away from West Drayton station on 6 November 1986 with the 2A21 09:20 Reading to Paddington local service, and are rapidly being overtaken by the 1A21 06:00 Milford Haven to Paddington HST.

L413 Shottesbrooke 26 March 1992

Network SouthEast trains, both slow and fast, at Shottesbrooke on 26 March 1992. L413 (51391, 59501 & 51349) runs along the down relief line with the 2F39 12:17 Paddington to Reading service, while 47838 is rapidly gaining on it with the 1F20 12:30 Paddington to Newbury train. Normally of course this would be a NSE allocated Class 47/4 or 47/7 with appropriate coaches, but on this particular occasion an InterCity liveried Class 47/8 and matching stock is being used.

L414 Hinksey 28 July 1983

L414 (51392, 59502 & 51350) passes Hinksey Yard on 28 July 1983 with the 2A56 15:01 Paddington to Oxford service. There are two principal differences between this view, and the same scene over 30 years later. Firstly, in the 1980s the yard was usually completely empty, and secondly, the grassy area where the tracks diverge hadn't become an impenetrable jungle of bushes!

L414 Charlbury 22 July 1986

L414 (51350, 59502 & 51392) arrives at Charlbury on 22 July 1986 with the 2A56 16:46 Hereford to Oxford service. This location is now once again double track, after the 2011 reinstatement of the second track undid the early 1970s rationalisation of the Cotswold Line.

L414 Wolvercote Junction 7 April 1988

It's hard to believe that the view south from the A40 roadbridge at Wolvercote Junction was ever as open as this! L414 (51392, 59502 & 51350) heads north on 7 April 1988 with the 2M71 17:50 Oxford to Banbury service. Not only was this an excellent viewpoint, but there was a view of southbound trains from the footpath crossing that can just be seen in front of the A34 Oxford bypass bridge in the background. That crossing was deemed too dangerous and was closed many years ago.

L414 Windsor and Eaton Central 6 January 1991

Windsor Castle forms the impressive backdrop, as L414 (51350, 59502 & 51392) pulls out of Windsor and Eaton Central station on 6 January 1991 with the 2C37 13:01 departure for Slough. As it was a bitterly cold day, I can't quite see why the local youth population should be so keen to be hanging out of the windows! Unfortunately I took very few pictures on the Thames Valley branch lines in the first generation DMU era.

L414 Hinksey 5 July 1991

L414 (51350, 59502 & 51392) passes the south end of Hinksey Yard on 5 July 1991 with the 2C21 09:02 Bicester Town to Reading Network SouthEast service. DMBS 51350 seems to have had a window modification, with what looks like yellow paint applied to the upper section, presumably as some kind of permanent sun visor.

L414 Charlton-on-Otmoor 5 July 1991

L414 (51350, 59502 & 51392) trundles along the former LMS Cambridge to Oxford line at Charlton-on-Otmoor on 5 July 1991 with the 2C35 11:51 Bicester Town to Oxford Network SouthEast service. This location has changed out of all recognition since this picture was taken. What was then a sleepy backwater, with just a few freight trains, and the infrequent Oxford to Bicester DMU shuttle, has now been transformed into a highly engineered mainline with a soon to be instigated intensive passenger service. Gone is the vintage bullhead track, to be replaced by double track, with some major engineering works, including several new bridges.

L415 Charlbury (Cornbury Park) 26 April 1984

L415 (51351, 59503 & 51393) accelerates away from Charlbury station on 26 April 1984 with the 13:30 Great Malvern to Oxford service. This viewpoint is from the road that leads to Cornbury Park, a large 17th century country house in extensive parkland on the edge of Wychwood Forest. Charlbury church can be seen on the horizon, and yes it does appear to have a slight lean to the right when viewed from this spot! Note the recently relaid track.

L415 Worcester Shrub Hill 24 November 1984

L415 (51393, 58503 & 51351) passes the splendid set of lower quadrant signals at Worcester Shrub Hill on 24 November 1984, as it arrives at the station with the 2M28 11:58 Great Malvern to Birmingham New Street service. Amazingly, these signals are not only still in place over 30 years later, but are not scheduled to be replaced until after 2040!

L415 & L425 Maidenhead 22 November 1986

A once commonplace Western Region suburban scene at Maidenhead, as a pair of Class 117 DMUs meet on 22 November 1986. L415 (51351, 59503 & 51393) waits in the bay platform with the 10:14 Maidenhead to Paddington 'all stations' service, while on the left L425 (51405, 59515 & 51363) & hidden from view on the rear, L130 (55030) arrive with the 09:54 Reading to Paddington, which will now only call at Slough and Ealing Broadway en-route to the capital. This is very early Network SouthEast days, with all the units still in blue and grey livery, but with the distinctive bright red lampposts already in evidence.

L415 Didcot North Junction 9 December 1986

L415 (51351, 59503 & 51393) approaches Didcot North Junction on 9 December 1986 with the 2C07 08:47 Oxford to Didcot Parkway Network SouthEast service. The work stained appearance of this DMU is in marked contrast to the following 2A85 08:08 Hereford to Didcot Parkway service.

L415 Ascott-under-Wychwood 15 February 1987

L415 (51351, 59503 & 51393) passes Ascott-under-Wychwood on 15 February 1987 with the 2A32 09:32 Worcester Shrub Hill to Oxford service. Although not immediately apparent from this angle, the train is just moving from the double to the single track section of the Cotswold Line. The point rodding can be seen in the foreground, leading to Ascott-under-Wychwood Signal Box.

L415 Kingham 8 May 1987

A picture that for me suns up the Cotswold Line in the 1980s. L415 (51351, 59503 & 51393) leaves Kingham station on 8 May 1987 with the 2B60 16:40 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh 'all stations' Network SouthEast service. The lack of cars, even in the then very small car park is evident, as is the lack of passengers. There are however quite a few spectators, including a family group near the old lamp hut on the left. The father's choice of viewpoint for his young son, on top of the signal cabinet, would certainly be frowned on today! The large area of rough grass in the foreground is now an additional car park.

L415 South Moreton (Didcot East) 28 August 1987

A golden DMU. L415 (51351, 59503 & 51393) passes South Moreton (Didcot East) on 28 August 1987 with the 2C49 18:20 Bicester Town to Reading Network SouthEast service. This is one of my better glint pictures, as often either the glint doesn't show up enough, or the sun gets so low that something partly shades the train. With this one I particularly like the way the unit stands out amid the dark surroundings.

L415 Radley 30 June 1988

L415 (51393, 59503 & 51351) pulls out of Radley station on 30 June 1988 with the 2C67 19:25 Oxford to Reading Network SouthEast service. A standard going away shot, but why are the marker lights not showing red? Although the upper of the two bulbs in the DMU's light housing normally displayed red, they are clearly not here! With Oxford showing in the destination blind, a casual glance might indicate a wrong line working, although of close inspection reveals no driver!

L415 Theale 30 September 1989

L415 (51393, 59503 & 51351) stands at Theale station on 30 September 1989 with the 2B13 07:57 Bedwyn to Reading Network SouthEast service. Theale station is a little way south of the village, and is now completely surrounded by industrial estates, some evidence of which can even be seen in this 1980s view.

L415 White Waltham 6 January 1991

L415 (51393, 59503 & 51351) passes White Waltham on 6 January 1991 with the 2F33 10:40 Paddington to Reading Network SouthEast service. 1991 would be the last full year that these venerable Pressed Steel units had the virtual monopoly of these trains. Introduced over three decades earlier, they had spent their entire life on the route. Originally in green livery, they were later painted blue, white and blue, blue and grey, and they finally ended up in this colourful paint scheme.

L415 Radley 9 July 1991

L415 (51393, 59503 & 51351) approaches Radley on 9 July 1991 with the 2C66 17:35 Reading to Bicester Town Network SouthEast service. The wide area of ballast in the foreground marks the course of the former Abingdon branch line, which ran parallel  with the mainline for over half a mile, from its junction at Radley station.

L416 Hinksey 12 February 1985

L416 (51395, 59505 & 51353) passes the southern end of the snow covered Hinksey Yard on 12 February 1985 with the 2C19 14:45 Oxford to Didcot service. You would expect a short distance local service like this to call at all stations, but this one didn't, it was non-stop Oxford to Didcot.

L416 Hinksey 22 October 1985

L416 (51353, 59505 & 51395) passes Hinksey Yard on 22 October 1985 with the 2A53 14:06 Oxford to Paddington service. The dark green colour of the containers parked in the foreground immediately gives away the fact that this is an MoD train, although the 'Royal Corps of Transport' lettering on the sides leaves no doubt! The containers are part of the 6A50 13:56 Bicester to Morris Cowley Speedlink working, which would later be split, with non military traffic going to Cowley, and these vehicles heading for Bicester army depot.

L416 Radley 7 December 1985

L416 (51395, 59505 & 51353) leaves Radley station on 7 December 1985 with the 2B62 09:01 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill service. This was a seriously slow journey, taking 3 hours 17 minutes, with numerous stops. Either the Cotswold line was closed for engineering work on this occasion, resulting in the train terminating at Oxford, or more likely the Oxford destination blind is a red herring, as was often the case in the first generation DMU era, After all, I have pictures of trains on the Cotswold Line showing Salisbury and Radyr in their destination blinds!

L416 Charlbury 8 February 1986

L416 (51395, 59505 & 51353) leaves Charlbury station on 8 February 1986 with the 2B56 08:08 Oxford to Moreton-in-Marsh service, which means that the Reading being displayed in the rear windscreen is neither the destination or the point of origin! Admittedly this is a going away shot, but I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity of a picture in the sunshine and snow.

L416 Hinksey 8 February 1986

L416 (51395, 59505 & 51353) passes Hinksey on 8 February 1986 with the 2A87 10:15 Moreton-in-Marsh to Paddington service. The area of waste ground behind the rusty fence is the site of the former Oxford gas works, operated by the Oxford Gas, Light & Coke Co. This was rail connected, and employed its own small saddle tank locomotives.

L416 Oxford 1 August 1986

L416 (51395, 59505 & 51353) arrives at Oxford on 1 August 1986 with the 2B50 06:04 Reading to Worcester Foregate Street Network SouthEast service. The inaccurate destination blind is not at all unusual, although in this case the train does actually call at Oxford. On other occasions I have seen DMUs on the Cotswold Line displaying such unlikely destinations as Salisbury and Radyr! The unit is approaching Oxford station along the up relief line, so that it can call at platform 1, as per the working timetable.

L416 Honeybourne 25 April 1987

L416 (51395, 59505 & 51353) approaches Honeybourne with the 14:28 Oxford to Hereford service on 25 April 1987. At this time there were only five trains in each direction on this line on a Saturday, something the single track railway could easily cope with. However, traffic levels increased over the years to the extent that in 2009 work was started to reinstate the double track at this point, although the scheme is bizarrely leaving sections of single track at either end of the route.

L416 Finstock 6 July 1987

L416 (51353, 59505 & 51395) arrives at Finstock station on 6 July 1987 with the 2A12 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford Network SouthEast service. This was the only up train of the day to call at this diminutive station, and considering the village is some distance away, it seems to be attracting a reasonable number of passengers. Note the new platform, which had recently been built on the site of the old sleeper and ash built down platform. Until 1985 the former up platform had been in use.

L417 Hinksey 5 July 1980

L417 (51396, 59506 & 51354) leads an unidentified classmate, which is still in the white with blue stripe 1970s livery, past Hinksey Yard on 5 July 1980 with the 2A72 10:59 Paddington to Oxford service. A loaded rake of MGR hoppers is the only occupant of the yard. These were sometimes staged here en-route to Didcot Power Station in the early 1980s. The most noticeable thing about this picture is how open the view is, with hardly any bushes yet growing on the disused parts of the wartime marshalling yard.

L417 Ascott-under-Wychwood 17 September 1983

L417 (51354, 59506 & 51396) calls at Ascott-under-Wychwood in dramatic lighting on 17 September 1983. It is working the 16:33 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh local service, one of only two down trains to call at the station at that time. With such a complete covering of dark clouds I was fortunate that the unit's arrival corresponded with the sun dropping out of the cloud into a small gap just above the horizon. An excellent piece of timing, which given the infrequency of trains on the Cotswold Line (certainly in the 1980s) was very lucky indeed!

L417 Radley 1 December 1983

Bridge repairs at Radley on 1 December 1983 require traffic lights to be in place, but there are minimal signs of health & safety fencing alongside the railway, unlike what would be required today. L417 (51396, 59506 & 51354) passes through with the 2A39 09:55 Oxford to Paddington service

L417 Hungerford Common 3 September 1984

L417 (51354, 59506 & 51396) comes out of the shadows and into the light, as it passes Hungerford Common on 3 September 1984 with the 09:52 Bedwyn to Newbury service. Note the position of the former down loop on the left, which at this time had been truncated to the short siding visible in the background.

L417 West Drayton 22 June 1991

Under the watchful eye of a rail worker, L417 (51396 & 51354) crosses from the up relief to the down relief line at West Drayton on 22 June 1991. Both relief lines were closed for engineering works to the east of this point, and so local trains from the west were terminating at West Drayton. This train would ordinarily have been the 2A48 13:01 Maidenhead to Paddington Network SouthEast service, but after it has reversed, and the points have been clipped, it will be heading back to Reading. Note that the unit is running without its centre car (59506).

L417 Didcot 31 July 1992

L417 (51354, 59506 & 51396) departs from a seemingly deserted Didcot station on 31 July 1992 with the late running 2C62 17:21 Reading to Oxford 'all stations' Network SouthEast service. With the coming of the then new Turbo units, L417 would lose its centre trailer and become L720, and start working Gospel Oak to Barking services.

L418 Evesham 20 March 1982

L418 (51355, 59507, & 51397) arrives at Evesham station on 20 March 1982 with the 2C72 09:05 Oxford to Hereford service. The brick bridge which carries the High Street over the railway makes an excellent frame for the picture, and avoids having lots of blank featureless sky in the view.

L418 Ascott-under-Wychwood 15 June 1985

A going away shot that neatly illustrates the limited capacity of the Cotswold Line in the 1980s. L418 (51397, 59507, & 51355) approaches Ascott-under-Wychwood on 15 June 1985 with the 2B56 08:08 Oxford to Moreton-in-Marsh service. This was running ten minutes late, which has resulted in the 1A17 07:00 Hereford to Paddington being held at the signal in the background. The yellow cab of 50035 Ark Royal can just be seen sticking out from the bushes in the far distance.

L418 & L579 Sharpness 26 October 1985 L418 (51397, 59507 & 51355) & L579 (51065, 59424 & 51319) prepare to depart from Sharpness on 26 October 1985 with the Monmouthshire Railway Society 08:10 Cardiff Central to Portishead 'Sharpness Shunter' railtour. The rail employee walks back along the length of the train to unclip the points after it has left, before heading off home on his motorbike. I can't remember now why I only photographed this tour at Sharpness (unless it was the dire weather), as it also visited Sudbrook, Caerwent, Tytherington, Gloucester Docks and Portishead!
L418 Combe (Grintleyhill Bridge) 7 December 1985

Viewed from the very tall Grintleyhill Bridge, L418 (51355, 59507, & 51397) passes Combe on 7 December 1985 with the 2B60 09:01 Didcot to Hereford service. This is an interesting view, as it shows much more of the surrounding countryside than can be seen today. Just visible in the background where the track disappears from view is the wooden platform of Combe Halt (which the train has not called at). Combe Mill, which houses a Victorian steam sawmill, and is now open to the public, is in the background, and the River Evenlode completes the scene, as it meanders through the fields in the middle distance.

L418 Reading 22 November 1986

The driver of L418 (51397, 59507, & 51355) gives the window a quick clean whilst sat in the bay platform at Reading on 22 November 1986. The unit is about to work the 2A69 08:54 service to Paddington, which I rode on as far as Maidenhead. This of course is in the good old pre-privatisation days, which probably explains why the station lights are still on despite it being a bright sunny day. BR having as about as much financial accountability as the MoD!

L418 Ascott-under-Wychwood 30 June 1987

L418 (51397, 59507, & 51355) pulls away from Ascott-under-Wychwood station on 30 June 1987 with the 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Reading local service. Presumably the unit later worked on to Paddington which would make the destination blind correct, and yet the timetable shows it as a Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford service, with a separate working onwards to Reading. The prominent 75mph restriction sign applies to the double track section which commences near the signal box in the background. The single line from here to Oxford is cleared for 90mph running.

L418 Radley 11 December 1991

L418 (51355, 59507, & 51397) prepares to stop at Radley station with the 13:15 Banbury to Reading Network SouthEast service on 11 December 1991. At this time the station still retained its original GWR footbridge, although minus its canopy. In December 2007 a new footbridge was installed in a slightly different position, after an intervening period when an ugly temporary footbridge was in use

L419 Wolvercote Junction 27 March 1982

L419 (51356, 59508 & 51398) passes Wolvercote Junction on 27 March 1982 with the 2V60 07:53 Banbury to Reading service. It has been a long time since its been possible to take an unshaded morning picture of a southbound train like this here! The bridge that the unit is crossing is over the Duke's Cut - a short canal linking the Oxford Canal to the River Thames.

L419 Charlbury 27 August 1983

L419 (51398, 59508 & 51356) pulls away from Charlbury station on 27 August 1983 with the 2C78 16:25 Oxford to Hereford service. If you think displaying Oxford in the destination blind is stupid when you are going to Hereford, just look at this. A good selection of classic 1970s cars can be seen in the car park, which at this time had yet to be extended. In 1983 this probably represents very nearly the busiest that Charlbury station ever got. Nowadays it would never be this quiet!

L419 Kingham 19 January 1985

White out conditions at KIngham on 19 January 1985. L419 (51356, 59508 & 51398) arrives at the station with the 2B06 08:08 Oxford to Moreton-in-Marsh service. Note to modern train operators - despite the sub-zero temperatures and fog, along with the use of vintage rolling stock (even then), this train was running no more than a couple of minutes late.

L419 Moreton-in-Marsh 16 June 1985

L419 (51398, 59508 & 51356) pulls away from Moreton-in-Marsh station on Sunday 16 June 1985 with the 2A81 15:55 Worcester Shrub Hill to Oxford service. Surprisingly, a quarter of a century later not much has changed here, and although no longer working on the national network, all three vehicles of this DMU survive in preservation. Apart from the bushes in the background growing taller, the only significant changes are the replacement of the footbridge and the signal box windows. Even all this vintage bullhead track has survived!

L419 South Moreton (Didcot East) 8 November 1986

L419 (51398, 59508 & 51356) rattles along the up relief line at South Moreton on 8 November 1986 with the 10:21 Oxford to Paddington 'all stations' service. Although the Network SouthEast brand had been in use since the summer, virtually no DMUs had received the new colour scheme at the time this picture was taken. Most acquired the discreet stickers that can just bee seen on the centre trailer of L419, but it would be a long time before there were substantial numbers of units in NSE livery.

L419 Chilson 22 March 1987

L419 (51398, 59508 & 51356) passes Chilson on 22 March 1987 with the 2A32 09:32 Worcester Shrub Hill to Oxford service, which was the Cotswold Line's first up train of the day on a Sunday at this time. This was definitely one of those occasions when the going away shot was the one to take. Not only is the lighting angle better, but the sunlit foreground contrasts markedly with the dark background. It seems like the Charlbury area is about to get some rain!

L419 Oxford 21 October 1988

L419 (51356, 59508 & 51398) stands at Oxford station's platform 1 on 21 October 1988, prior to working the 2C39 15:21 Network SouthEast service to Reading. Note the two styles of platform awning. The modern one behind the DMU dates from the 1971 rebuilding, while the one in the background is a GWR original.

L419 Culham 10 July 1991

L419 (51398, 59508 & 51356) accelerates away from Culham station (just visible on the extreme right) on 10 July 1991. It is working the 2C66 17:35 Reading to Bicester Town Network SouthEast service. This location gives a good view of the some of the buildings on the former wartime Culham airfield (now an industrial estate). Note the two different types of hangar. The larger ones are the Pentad type, with two smaller blister types in front.

L702 Woburn Sands 29 August 1998

After its displacement from Thames Valley services in the early 1990s, L419 (51356, 59508 & 51398) had its centre car removed and acquired the set number L702. In this form it is seen accelerating away from Woburn Sands station with DMBS 51356 leading on 29 August 1998. It is working the 09:50 Bletchley to Bedford service. This picture demonstrates one of the main problems with the Pentax 6x7 camera when used with a 200mm lens. The unit is absolutely pin sharp, but the level crossing in the background isn't due to the very limited depth of field.

L702 Millbrook 29 August 1998

A scene full of vintage infrastructure at Millbrook on 29 August 1998. L702 (51356 & 51398) arrives with the 11:50 Bletchley to Bedford service. Note the signalman waiting by the ground frame, ready to manually close the level crossing gates behind the DMU.

L702 Millbrook 29 August 1998

L702 (51398 & 51356) leaves Millbrook on 29 August 1998 with the 11:50 Bletchley to Bedford service. After taking a picture of the unit approaching the station, I couldn't resist this going away shot, as it includes the two semaphore signals in the background. These, along with all the others on the route have since been removed.