Class 117

L420 Honeybourne 8 May 1982

L420 (51400, 59510 & 51358) arrives at Honeybourne station on 8 May 1982 with the 2A73 13:30 Hereford to Reading service. Honeybourne station was reopened the previous year, after having initially been closed to passengers in 1969. This is one of the few pictures I have featuring the bracket semaphore signal positioned in front of Honeybourne's disused island platform. The signal on the shorter arm controlled entry to the Long Marston branch, but since Honeybourne West signal box's demotion to ground frame status in 1971, the other arm was left permanently lowered for Cotswold Line trains. In March 1983 Honeybourne West box was replaced by a lever frame, and these signals were removed.

L420 Shipton 5 May 1984

L420 (51358, 59510 & 51400) is most unusually paired with a London Midland Region Class 116 unit (sadly unidentified) as it pulls away from Shipton station with the 06:24 Great Malvern to Oxford service on 5 May 1984. This was one of only two up trains to call at Shipton at the time and being a purely local all stations service often didn't even utilise a standard 3 car DMU, as most other service on the Cotswold Line did at the time. A Class 121 single car, sometimes with a trailer added was quite common, so this is definitely out of the ordinary! This view (now completely obscured by trees) gives a clear view of FWP Matthews flour mill, which is still a flourishing business.

L420 Froxfield 20 June 1984

Just as the sun starts to break through the early morning fog, L420 (51400, 59510 & 51358) passes Froxfield on 20 June 1984 with the 2A08 06:40 Bedwyn to Newbury service. Naturally this was the first local train of the day on the Berks & Hants line. Class 117s worked these local trains from the early 1960s, until replaced by the Class 165 & 166 Turbo units in the early 1990s.

L420 & 55028 Long Marston 22 June 1985

L420 (51358, 59510 & 51400) & Class 121 'Bubble Car' 55028 (L128) leave the army depot at Long Marston on 22 June 1985 with the Branch Line Society 08:55 Paddington to Hereford 'Cotswold Lion' railtour. The tour had arrived via the Cotswold Line from the Oxford direction, and after visiting Hereford, would return via Swindon. Note the army coach on the extreme right, converted for push pull use with the army's own locomotives.

L420 Evenlode 29 April 1986

With a wave from the driver, L420 (51400, 59510 & 51358) passes Evenlode on 29 April 1986 with the 2B60 16:40 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh service. This is one of my favourite Cotswold Line pictures, as although it is only of a humble DMU, the superb lighting and shadow free location make an excellent picture of this truly local 'all stations' train. In the 1980s I kept this location free of bushes, with particular attention being paid to the willow bush that can be seen in the lower left corner. Unfortunately pruning only encouraged it! There is no point it trying to prune it now, as the roadside hedge has completely obliterated this viewpoint.

L420 Stenson Junction 16 October 1986

What's all this then, a Thames Valley Class 117 at Stenson Junction in Derbyshire! L420 (51400, 59510 & 51358) is well off the beaten track as it heads north on 16 October 1986 with an Old Oak Common to Derby Litchurch Lane ECS move in connection with its repainting into Network SouthEast livery. This is therefore probably one of the very last pictures taken of this unit in its blue and grey livery, which it had worn since the late 1970s. Derby obviously did a swift job, as less than two months later it was spotted back on its old stomping ground, in its new colour scheme.

L420 Didcot North Junction 9 December 1986

In ex-works condition, L420 (51400, 59510 & 51358) approaches Didcot North Junction on 9 December 1986 with the 11:21 Oxford to Didcot service. It had only just emerged from repainting at Derby Litchurch Lane, which it had entered on 16 October 1986. New paint job, but the same old careless use of the destination blinds, with Oxford still displayed from the previous journey.

L420 & L402 Bicester Town 9 May 1987

The stick on 'headboard' explains it all here. L420 (51358, 59510 & 51400) & L402 (51335, 59487 & 51377) stand at Bicester Town station on 9 May 1987, having just arrived with the inaugural reopening special from Oxford. The wires above the DMU were attached to a blimp. Also, a parachute team was making a descent, which explains why the man on the left is looking skyward!

L420 & L402 Oddington 9 May 1987

L420 (51358, 59510 & 51400) & L402 (51335, 59487 & 51377) pass Oddington on 9 May 1987 with a special Bicester Town to Oxford Network SouthEast service, bringing passenger services back to the former LMS Oxford to Cambridge route after a gap of two decades.

L420 & L402 Oxford North Junction 9 May 1987

The former LMS Oxford to Cambridge line lost its passenger services in 1967, and for two decades the route survived in part purely as a little used freight line. However, passenger services were reinstated between Oxford and Bicester in 1987. A series of special trains was organised by Network SouthEast on Saturday 9 May 1987, utilising L420 (51358, 59510 & 51400) & L402 (51335, 59487 & 51377). With an appropriate 'Bicester Town joins the Network 9 May 1987' sticker on the front, one of the Bicester to Oxford specials is pictured at Oxford North Junction, with the last vehicle still negotiating the point for the Bicester line, which is largely hidden by the train itself and the bushes in the background.

L420 Radley 6 August 1989

L420 (51358, 59510 & 51400) passes through Radley station on 6 August 1989 with the 09:10 Didcot Parkway to Oxford Network SouthEast service. This 14 minute DMU journey was non-stop, not that there would likely to be many passengers wishing to travel from Radley this early on a Sunday morning! The station's car park has been considerably enlarged since this picture was taken.

L420 Iver 22 February 1990

Thames Valley local trains, 1990s style. L420 (51358, 59510 & 51400) approaches Iver on 22 February 1990 with the 2A26 08:30 Slough to Paddington Network SouthEast service, while an unidentified Class 119 unit heads in the opposite direction with the 2F22 08:00 Paddington to Reading. The Langley oil terminal dominates the background.

L420 Iver 22 February 1990

L420 (51400, 59510 & 51358) accelerates away from Iver station on 22 February 1990 with the 2F38 11:50 Paddington to Slough Network SouthEast service. I was always particularly pleased to see this particular unit, as it one of the few DMUs that can have claimed to have traversed the Fairford Branch

L420 Radley 15 May 1992

Network SouthEast days at Radley. If it moves paint it red, white and blue, and if it doesn't move paint it red! L420 (51400, 59510 & 51358) passes through the station in the last of the evening's light on 15 May 1992 with the 2C65 18:44 Banbury to Reading service. After over 30 years of service on Thames Valley local trains, the Class 117s were rapidly being replaced at this time by the then brand new Class 165s.

L421 Didcot North Junction 9 December 1986

L421 (51359, 59511 & 51401) approaches Didcot North Junction on 9 December 1986 with the 2A85 08:08 Hereford to Didcot Parkway Network SouthEast service. It's hard to believe now just how open this location once was. Quarter of a century later the lack of lineside maintenance by BR, Railtrack, and especially Network Rail, had changed the scene completely!

L421 Culham 12 May 1987

Neatly framed by the road overbridge at the south end of Culham station, L421 (51359, 59511 & 51401) calls at the station with the 09:42 Oxford to Reading 'all stations' service on 12 May 1987. This picture is taken from the A415 road which is well known for the good vantage point for northbound trains, but also provides this close up view of the old bridge. Hangars from the old Culham Airfield can just be seen in the background. This whole site was taken over by the UK Atomic Energy Authority in 1960.

L421 Iver 22 February 1990

Another use for duct tape! The front of the redundant headcode panel of DMBS 51359 has been stuck on with the tape by some resourceful maintenance engineer. L421 (51359, 59511 & 51401) passes Iver on 22 February 1990 with the 2F40 12:20 Paddington to Maidenhead Network SouthEast service. Coincidentally, just twenty minutes earlier L420 had also passed this way.

L421 Hinksey 1 August 1991

L421 (51401, 59511 & 51359) passes the weed choked Hinksey Yard on 1 August 1991 with the 2C44 13:30 Reading to Banbury Network SouthEast service. This was several years before Hinksey once again became a working yard, rather than a convenient dumping ground for random surplus wagons.

L422 & 55034 Cholsey 14 April 1984

The farm occupation bridge over the chalk cutting at Cholsey offers an almost aerial view of passing trains. L422 (51402 & 59512) is paired with Class 121 'Bubble Car' 55034 (L134) on 14 April 1984, as it works the 2A13 13:40 Oxford to Paddington stopping service. Presumably L422's DMBS vehicle (51360) is undergoing repairs, hence the substitution of the single car unit.

C422 Bruern 2 July 1987

C422 (51360, 59512 & 51402) passes Bruern on 2 July 1987 with the 2A79 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford 'all stations' service. As can be seen from the crudely altered set number prefix letter, the unit has just been reallocated from its long term duties in the Thames Valley and has at least in theory migrated to Wales. L of course being the prefix for London sets (actually allocated to Reading) and C being the Cardiff allocation. This was only a very temporary measure, as very soon after this picture was taken the unit moved away from the former Western Region entirely, and spent the rest of its working life at Tyseley.

51360 & 52029 Toddington 18 June 2016

Freshly painted in BR blue, DMBS 51360 (formerly part of L422) stands with ex ScotRail Class 107 DMCL 52029 at Toddington on 18 June 2016. Fittingly, this photo was taken from classmate DMBS 51405, part of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's other Class 117 set, as it approached the station with the 11:55 Winchcombe to Toddington service. 51360 was withdrawn from BR in September 1993, but it would be another two decades before it arrived at Toddington, after spending time at the Mid Norfolk Railway and the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.

51360, 59515 & 51405 Hailes 2 January 2017

In late 2016, BR blue liveried DMBS 51360 (formerly part of L422) entered service on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, initially paired with 59515 & 51405, thus forming a complete Class 117 set. It is seen here passing Hailes in superb winter light on 2 January 2017 with the 10:55 Laverton to Cheltenham Racecourse service. Although I have some pictures of DMUs in this all over blue livery, all the Class 117s had received either the short lived white and blue, or the later blue and grey colour scheme by the time I had started taking pictures. Therefore this is a first for me!

51360, 59515 & 51405 Toddington 15 July 2017

51360 (formerly part of set L422) is paired with 59515 & 51405 (from set L425) at Toddington on 15 July 2017, the unit's original DMBS vehicle, 51363, being under repair. The train is the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's 11:16 Buckland to Winchcombe service. 

L423 Churchdown 14 August 1982

L423 (51361, 59513 & 51399) passes Churchdown on 14 August 1982 with the 11:48 Swindon to Gloucester service. As can be seen by the wide formation, there were once four tracks here. The additional lines, which were added during the Second World War, were removed during the 1960s.

L423 Hinksey 3 March 1984

Taken from the footpath crossing at the top end of Hinksey Yard (known locally as Tuckwell's Crossing), L423 (51361, 59513 & 51399) rattles underneath the signal gantry as it works the 2A21 14:50 Oxford to Paddington service on 3 March 1984. This location has totally changed since this picture was taken, and the cause of the change can be seen to the right of the train. Newly planted trees on the site of the then recently demolished Oxford gas works have now grown to form a complete wall of trees all along this stretch of line. The fact that some of the ground within the gas works site was allegedly contaminated doesn't appear to have stopped them growing!

L423 & L407 Ruscombe 28 May 1983

Just after a heavy rain shower on 28 May 1983, L423 (51361, 59513 & 51399) & L407 (51384, 59494 & 51342) pass Ruscombe with the 2A18 11:01 Paddington to Oxford 'all stations' service. At nearly two hours this train took nearly twice as long as the loco hauled direct services also running at the time! Different fates awaited these two units, with L423 being cut up at Mc Metals, Glasgow, whilst L407 survived into preservation.

L423 Kingham 17 May 1985

Both the driver and the guard of L423 (51361, 59513 & 51399) check to see that all the doors are closed, prior to the train departing from Kingham station on 17 May 1985. The unit is working the 2B60 16:35 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh service. Although all trains stop at Kingham, this was the only down train of the day at the time to call at the minor stations on the Cotswold Line: Hanborough, Combe, Finstock, Ascott-under-Wychwood and Shipton.

L423 Appleford 12 September 1985

L423 (51361, 59513 & 51399) was easily recognisable from a distance in the mid 1980s by virtue of the plated over headcode box on the front of DMBS 51361. The unit is seen here passing Appleford Crossing Signal Box (since demolished), and still accelerating away from the Appleford station stop with the 09:24 Oxford to Paddington 'all stations' service on 12 September 1985.

L423 Daylesford 3 June 1987

L423 (51361, 59513 & 51399) passes Daylesford on 3 June 1987 with the 2B44 17:30 Oxford to Moreton-in-Marsh Network SouthEast service. Amazingly, nearly three decades after this picture was taken, the view is still OK for photography, although trees in the background now obscure the houses in the village of Kingham, which can be seen in the background here. However, it is only some recent tree clearance in the foreground that has restored the status quo.

L423 Wolvercote 10 July 1987

L423 (51361, 59513 & 51399) passes Wolvercote on 10 July 1987 with the 2M60 17:50 Oxford to Banbury 'all stations' service. Not long after this picture was taken the bushes in the foreground grew into trees, and totally obscured the view. Over two decades were to elapse before Network Rail's reinstatement of the former down goods loop opened up the view once more.

L423 Waltham St Lawrence 5 March 1988

L423 (51361, 59513 & 51399) runs along the down relief line at Waltham St Lawrence on 5 March 1988 with the 2F33 10:49 Paddington to Reading Network SouthEast service. Disappearing into the distance is 47376 with a short engineer's train. Network SouthEast did not immediately apply their new livery to the entire Class 117 fleet, instead most units just received small stickers on the cab front, and the sides of each vehicle. L423's turn to finally be painted into the red, white and blue colour scheme came the following year.

L423 & L401 Bicester Town 2 May 1992

L423 (51399, 59513 & 51361) brings up the rear of the Oxon & Bucks Rail Action Committee 07:00 Oxford to Spalding (via Fenny Stratford and Bedford) special, as it approaches Bicester Town on 2 May 1992. Classmate L401 (51333, 59485 & 51375) is the leading unit. This location has changed considerably since this picture was taken. The green fields on the left have now been replaced by the Bicester Village shopping centre. Although at first sight this appears to be a double track line, the track on the right was at the time only a headshunt for the nearby MoD Bicester. Now the double track has been reinstated, and Bicester Town station (just visible in the background) has been rebuilt, and controversially renamed Bicester Village.

L424 Adlestrop 21 July 1984

L424 (51362, 59514 & 51404) approaches the site of Adlestrop station with the 2B60 16:35 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh service on 21 July 1984. This was the only train of the day in this direction to call at all of the local stations. During the 1980s there seemed to be a very casual attitude to the destination blinds on Cotswold Line DMUs. This one is quite clearly wrong, as the train has already passed through Oxford! The nineteenth century Daylesford church can be seen in the background.

L424 Hungerford Common 3 September 1984

L424 (51362, 59514 & 51404) accelerates away from Hungerford station (just visible in the background), and passes Hungerford Common on 3 September 1984 with the 2A08 14:30 Bedwyn to Reading service. The Kennet & Avon Canal can just be seen ion the right.

L424 Moreton-in-Marsh 18 June 1986

L424 (51362, 59514 & 51404) makes a typically smoky departure from Moreton-in-Marsh on 18 June 1986 with the 2A62 19:18 Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford service. This view, from a bridleway bridge approximately half a mile south of the station, used to offer clear views in both directions, from both sides of the line. Whist the view of northbound trains is still OK, this wide view of a southbound train has now been compromised by tree growth.

L424 Woodley 14 June 1987

L424 (51404, 59514 & 51362) passes Woodley (near Reading) on Sunday 14 June 1987 with the 2A35 08:45 Didcot to Paddington service, which according to the destination blind is terminating at Maidenhead, presumably due to engineering work further east. Note that on a Class 117 unit the first class accommodation is in the centre of the train (half of the centre coach), whereas their replacements have the small first class sections directly behind the driver at one end (Class 165) or both ends (Class 166) of the train.

B425 Kingham 19 January 1985

Whiteout conditions at Kingham on 19 January 1985. B425 (51363, 59515 & 51405) arrives with the 09:07 Didcot to Hereford service. The fog is limiting visibility to less than 100 yards and with packed snow underfoot and the temperature well below freezing the photographic conditions are certainly not ideal! Note the newly erected HST stop board just under the bridge, a consequence of these trains (which had just been introduced to the route) being too long for the platforms.

L425 Stonesfield 25 January 1986

With the village of Stonesfield as a backdrop, L425 (51363, 59515 & 51405) heads north with 09:23 Oxford to Hereford service on 25 January 1986. The village of Stonesfield was once a centre for the production of stone roof tiles, which split naturally by the action of frost. The last slate mine closed in early years of the twentieth century.

L425 Chilson 26 April 1986

The track on the section of the Cotswold Line between Charlbury and Ascott-under-Wychwood was still laid with vintage bullhead rails until early 1986. During April it was relaid with continuous welded flat bottom track, bringing it up to current mainline standards. With evidence of the weekend engineering possession on the left, L425 (51405, 59515 & 51363) passes over the newly installed track at Chilson on 26 April 1986 with the 08:08 Oxford to Moreton-in-Marsh service.

L425 & 55029 West Drayton 6 November 1986

The 07:48 Reading to Paddington 'all stations' service pulls away from West Drayton station on 6 November 1986. L425 has had its DMBS vehicle (51363) replaced by Class 121 55029 (L129). Both being Pressed Steels products, they are effectively identical apart from the number of vehicles in a set. 51405 & 59515 lead the interloper past the timber yard, as they head eastwards.

L425 Charlbury 9 May 1987

Charlbury station, pictured when it was a sleepy Cotswold station, with fairly infrequent trains, and moderate patronage. L425 (51405, 59515 & 51363) pulls out of the station with the 2B60 17:15 Didcot Parkway to Moreton-in-Marsh service on 9 May 1987, it's passengers either walk off towards the town, or get in their cars for more distant destinations. The car park has yet to be extended (twice since this picture was taken), yet there is still plenty of room for me to park my white Vauxhall Cavalier (long before pay and display!). This DMU survives intact in preservation, and can now be seen just a few miles to the west, on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.

L425 Brimpton 12 May 1987

L425 (51363, 59515 & 51405) passes Brimpton on 12 May 1987 with the 2B25 14:15 Newbury to Reading Network SouthEast service. Its amazing just how open this location was in the 1980s, with an uninterrupted view all the way to Colthrop Paper Mill in the background. Also, the house in the fields was still clearly visible. Even before the electfrication masts ruined the location, it had already become very overgrown.

L425 Oxford 4 September 1987

Heritage DMU heaven at Oxford on 4 September 1987. L425 (51363, 59515 & 51405) pulls out of the station with the 08:39 Oxford to Reading service, while another Class 117 set, with the addition of a Class 121 Bubble Car, have just arrived with the 07:30 service from Reading. Close inspection of the original 6x7 Ektachrome slide reveals more units stabled in the carriage sidings to the north of he station, with another Bubble Car nearest the station.

L425 Hinksey 17 August 1988

L425 (51405, 59515 & 51363) passes Hinksey Yard on 17 August 1988 with the 2C45 14:30 Oxford to Reading Network SouthEast service. Two years into NSE's rebranding of Thames Valley services, and the only visible change here is a little three colour sticker on the front of the unit! L425 did however acquire the new 'toothpaste' livery the following year.

L425 Hinksey 24 October 1989

The last of the afternoon's sun highlights the autumnal colours at Hinksey Yard on 24 October 1989 as L425 (51363, 59515 & 51405) completes the last mile of its journey with the 16:10 Reading to Oxford Network SouthEast service. Always a good location for late afternoon photography due to the open nature of the location, it was even better in 1989 than now owing to the fact that at the time there was virtually nothing stored in the yard that would cause a shadow.

L721 Kempston 12 October 1998

L721 (51405 & 51363) passes Kempston on 12 October 1998 with the late running 07:50 Bletchley to Bedford service. Happily this unit lives on in preservation and can be seen at the Mid Hants Railway. With the addition of centre car 59515, this was originally Reading allocated set L425.

51405 Soldridge 9 February 2008

Somebody obviously appreciates Class 117 traction! Two thirds of former set L425 (51405 and trailer 51915) leads Class 122 55003 on the 12:50 Alton to Alresford service, seen passing Soldridge on the Mid Hants Railway on 9 February 2008. 51405 looks splendid after a recent repaint, but at the moment does not carry any numbers (at least on this side). The DMBS vehicle from former set L425 (51363) is also preserved on the Mid Hants Railway.

51405 & 51363 Soldridge 2 January 2010

On 2 January 2010, 51405 & 51363 amble past Soldridge on the Mid Hants Railway with the 10:50 Alton to Alresford service. Along with centre car 51915 this used to form Western Region set L425. This view would not have been possible originally, as one of the typical Southern Railway concrete permanent way huts can bee seen in the foreground, although completely collapsed, with just the roof resting on the ground. Railway photographers have a reputation for lineside clearance, but a reinforced concrete hut is surely beyond the capabilities of even the most determined!

51363 & 51405 Bishop's Sutton 2 January 2010

51363 & 51405 pass Bishop's Sutton on the Mid Hants Railway with the 11:43 Alresford to Alton service on 2 January 2010. The first couple of days of the new year were completely sunny, although where the sun didn't reach (as in the shade of the hedge here) it remained frosty all day. 51363 is carrying the mid 1960s livery with small yellow warning panel, which superceded the original front end whisker design. Unlike 51405, it carries neither British Railways logo nor running number (at least on this side).

51405 & 51363 Chawton 2 January 2010

51405 & 51363 emerge from the shadows at Chawton on 2 January with the 12:50 Alton to Alresford service. At this point the Mid Hants Railway runs very close to Jane Austen's house, where the novelist lived between 1809 and 1817. The only thing that spoils the mid 1960s atmosphere of this picture is the centrally placed headlight on the front end of the unit, a fitting from its Network SouthEast days when it used to work between Paddington and Oxford.

51405, 59515 & 51363 Toddington 28 January 2012

Newly arrived on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, former Western Region set L425 (51405, 59515 & 51363) poses underneath Toddington station's footbridge on 28 January 2012 during an EMRPS photo charter. Although based for a long time in the London area, it is possible that this unit worked on this line during BR days.

51405 Toddington 28 January 2012

A slightly different angle on 51405 during the EMRPS photo charter at Toddington on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway on 28 January 2012. Neatly framed not only by the footbridge, but also by the trees and the vintage lamp, this makes an interesting picture, which also shows off the unit's interior. Luckily this was an absolutely still night, as can be seen from the pin sharp leaves, which haven't moved at all during the fifteen second exposure. 51405 forms part of the former L425 set, along with 59515 & 51363.

51363, 59515 & 51405 Toddington 28 January 2012

22:15 at Toddington station on 28 January 2012. 51363, 59515 & 51405 (the former Western Region set L425) makes a splendid picture as it stands at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's immaculately restored station during an EMRPS photo charter. The bridge that carries the Toddington to Stow-on-the-Wold road over the railway can just be seen in the background.

51363, 59515 & 51405 Toddington 24 March 2012

Sure to be a popular destination, if only it was true! In reality this DMU is not going anywhere, least of all 'To The Pub', as it is parked in Toddington station's platform 2 on 24 March 2012. Former Western Region set L425 (51363, 59515 & 51405) is taking a break while 55003 provides the day's services on the northern half of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.

51405, 59515 & 51363 Toddington 23 August 2012

Former Western Region set L425 (51405, 59515 & 51363) arrives at Toddington on 23 August 2012 with the 14:15 Toddington to Laverton service. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is effectively operating as two railways, and this unit had just travelled south as far as the site of Hailes Abbey Halt, and is now preparing to head to the present northern limit at Laverton.

51363, 59515 & 51405 Toddington 23 August 2012

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's resident Class 117 unit (51363, 59515 & 51405) arrives back at Toddington station on 23 August 2012 after first of all heading south the Hailes and then north to Laverton, with the 14:25 Toddington to Laverton service.

51363, 59515 & 51405 Toddington 6 May 2013

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Class 117 unit (51363, 59515 & 51405) heads north from Toddington on 6 May 2013 with the 15:25 Winchcombe to Toddington (via Laverton) service. Note the profusion of cowslips growing on the cutting sides.

51405, 59515 & 51363 Hailes 26 July 2013

With a correct destination blind, but incorrect headcode, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's resident Class 117 DMU, 51405, 59515 & 51363 (the former Western Region set L425) passes Winchcombe's fixed distant signal near Hailes on 26 July 2013, as it works the 2L52 09:30 Cheltenham Racecourse to Laverton service, as part of the line's Diesel Gala.

51405, 59515 & 51363 Bishops Cleeve 25 July 2014

51405, 59515 & 51363 (formerly Reading allocated set L425) approaches Bishops Cleeve on 25 July 2014 with the 2L58 09:30 Cheltenham Racecourse to Laverton service, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala. This was its only complete trip over the line during the day, the rest of the time it was confined to local shuttles.

51405, 59515 & 51363 Hailes 25 July 2014

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's resident Class 117 DMU, 51405, 59515 & 51363, passes Toddington's fixed distant signal at Hailes on 25 July 2014 with the 2L66 12:52 Winchcombe to Laverton service, during the line's Diesel Gala.

51363, 59515 & 51405 Southam 27 July 2014

Former Reading allocated set L425 (51363, 59515 & 51405) passes Southam on 27 July 2014 with the 1C51 08:50 Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse service, the first train of the day during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala. Its travelled a little further than its Winchcombe destination blind would indicate!

51405, 59515 & 51363 Southam 27 July 2014

Former Western Region set L425 (51405, 59515 & 51363) passes Southam on 27 July 2014 with the 2L58 09:30 Cheltenham Racecourse to Laverton (or 'To The Pub' if the headcode is to be believed!) service. This was the first northbound departure from Cheltenham, on the final day of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala.

51363, 59515 & 51405 Stanton 4 July 2015

Former Western Region set L425 (51363, 59515 & 51405) passes Stanton on 4 July 2015 with the 11:07 Laverton to Winchcombe service, although as there are no passenger facilities at Laverton, it is in reality the 10:56 Toddington to Winchcombe, via a reversal at Laverton. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway makes extensive use of its DMUs on the northern extension to Laverton, prior to the reinstatement of track to Broadway, when a more comprehensive service will operate.

51363 & 51405 Greet Tunnel 25 July 2015

Former Western set L425 (running as a two car set 51363 & 51405) emerges from Greet Tunnel on 25 July 2015 with the 1C51 08:50 Winchcombe to Cheltenham Racecourse service, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala. This early morning trip was the only occasion the DMU travelled over the southern section of the line during the three days of the gala, the rest of the time it was used between Laverton and Winchcombe..

51363 & 51405 Hailes 6 September 2015

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Class 117 unit is pictured running as a two car set on 6 September 2015, seen here passing Hailes with the 11:07 Laverton to Winchcombe service. With centre trailer 59515 removed, the former Western Region set L425 is formed of just 51363 & 51405. This was running seven minutes late, which was very fortunate, as at the booked time the sun was behind a big black cloud. Just look at all that cloud in the background, on what the Met Office had forecast as a completely sunny day. Admittedly it got a lot better once I was back home!

51405, 59515 & 51363 Toddington 31 May 2016

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's former Western Region set L425 (51405, 59515 & 51363) pulls into platform 1 at Toddington on 31 May 2016, prior to working the 10:45 service to Laverton. The almost deserted platform is most untypical, with large crowds arriving later in the day, despite the gloomy weather.

51405, 59515 & 51360 Winchcombe 2 January 2017

On the last day of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's operating season (2 January 2017), the 12:00 Cheltenham Racecourse to Laverton service arrives at Winchcombe. This set is composed of DMS 51405 & TC 59515 from former set L425, and DMBS 51360 from set L422. Exactly seven years earlier, on a similarly sunny day, I photographed this unit (or at least 51405) when it was still resident on the Mid Hants Railway.

L426 Ascott-under-Wychwood 13 March 1982

L426 (51364, 59516 & 51406) approaches Ascott-under-Wychwood station on 13 March 1982 with the 2C72 09:15 Oxford to Hereford service. This view has now changed totally. The coal siding is long gone, but on a more positive note, the track is now double again. The open view of the fields has now disappeared, as bushes and trees now line the track on both sides, all the way to the bridge in the background.

B426 Sapperton Tunnel 4 September 1983

Unusually, Sapperton Tunnel has short open section part the way along its length. This is conveniently situated near a main road, and in the early 1980s it was possible take a picture as a train emerged from the long (1864 yards) tunnel, and just before it disappeared into the short (352 yard) tunnel. On 4 September 1983 B426 (51406, 59516 & out of sight in the tunnel, 51364) emerges briefly into the light with the 16:30 Cheltenham to Swindon service. As can be seen here, the vegetation was luxuriant even then and got worse, to the point where photography was impossible. Happily clearance work has now completely removed everything.

B426 Clink Road Junction 11 May 1985

B426 (51364, 59516 & 51406) slows down on the approach to Clink Road Junction on 11 May 1985 with the 2O58 13:10 Westbury to Weymouth service. It is about to take the Frome line, which diverges to the right just past the bridge I am standing on. Rather than displaying the wrong destination, as was often the case with these heritage units, the driver is taking no chances here, and is not showing anything at all!

L426 Kingham 16 April 1987

L426 (51364, 59516 & 51406) stands in Kingham station on 16 April 1987 with the 2A50 15:44 Great Malvern to Didcot Parkway Network SouthEast service. It's hard to believe now just how open Kingham station was in the 1980s, as nowadays it is surrounded by trees and bushes.

B427 & B439 Bathampton 1 September 1985

B427 (51407, 59517 & 51365) & B439 (51390, 59500 & 51348) pass Bathampton on 1 September 1985 with the 09:50 Bristol Temple Meads to Swindon service. These two sets met very different fates. All the vehicles of B427 survived into preservation (albeit in different locations), whilst all three vehicles of B439 were scrapped.

L427 Hinksey 27 September 1986

L427 (51407, 59517 & 51365) passes a varied assortment of wagons in Hinksey Yard on 27 September 1986, as it heads south with the 14:21 Oxford to Didcot Network SouthEast service. Most Oxford to Didcot DMUs called at the intermediate stations, but this one was a 14 minute non-stop journey.

51365 & 51407 Sandplace 31 May 1993

Former Tyseley set T304 (51365 & 51407) was back on the Western Region in 1993 working the Cornish branches in place of the disgraced Class 142 Pacers (branded Skippers in Cornwall). On 31 May 1993 it arrives at Sandplace in the rain with the 15:10 Looe to Liskeard Regional Railways service. This unit had started life as a 3 car set with centre trailer 59517, working local services out of Paddington, and eventually acquiring the set number L427, which changed to B427 when it moved to the Bristol area in 1984. Along with a number of the Bristol allocated sets it moved to Tyseley in 1987. This unit was withdrawn with minor accident damage in late 1993, but is happily now preserved not from this spot, at the Plym Valley Railway.

51407 & 51365 Stanton 9 April 2011

With the Cotswold Hills in the background, two thirds of the former Western Region set B427 (51407 & 51365) passes Stanton with the 10:30 Toddington to Laverton service, on the second weekend of operations over the new extension (9 April 2011). The unit is on loan from the Plym Valley Railway for the 2011 season, as the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is effectively split into two by a landslip near Winchcombe. While a steam service operates from Winchcombe to Cheltenham. This DMU shuttle operates over the new extension.

51365 & 51407 Stanton 9 April 2011

51365 & 51407 (the former B427 set) head back to Toddington past Stanton on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway with the 10:30 Toddington to Laverton round trip on 9 April 2011. The train has just reversed at the present limit of the line, a little way past the Stanton Fields Bridge, seen in the background here. This unit is on loan from the Plym Valley Railway to work services over this newly opened extension. This unit's original centre car (59517) is now on the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway.

51365 & 51407 Stanton 9 April 2011

51365 & 51407 (formerly Western Region set B427) passes under the B4632 Toddington to Broadway road near Station on 9 April 2011 with the 11:30 Toddington to Laverton round trip, returning to Toddington. This is on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's newly opened northern extension. Note the continuously welded rail. Set B427 left the Western Region in 1989 and became Tyseley set T304, before returning to the West Country at the very end of its main line career. It is preserved at the Plym Valley Railway, who have kindly loaned it to the GWR to operate their northern extension, while steam trains work between Winchcombe and Cheltenham, a landslip near Winchcombe having prevented through running between Toddington and winchcombe.

51365 & 51407 Stanton 9 April 2011

A perfect spring day at Stanton on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's recently opened northern extension, as 51365 & 51407 rattle their way back to Toddington with the returning 12:30 Toddington to Laverton round trip. The date is 9 April 2011, the second weekend of operations over the new line. The unit is on loan from the Plym Valley Railway.

L428 Oxford 6 October 1979

L428 (51408, 59518 & 51366) leaves Oxford station on 6 October 1979 with the 14:00 Oxford to Paddington service. There is plenty of historical interest in this picture. In addition to the DMU being in the short lived white with blue stripe livery, the disused Oxford Station South signal box can be seen in the background. This was made redundant with the abolition of semaphore signalling in the area in 1973. On the left is a new pre-cast bridge section, which was being prepared for installation over the Botley Road, adjacent to the old signal box. Note the threaded fixings sticking up from the deck. These allowed the track to be fixed directly to the bridge, allowing slightly increased headroom for road traffic underneath. Virtually everything in this view has now changed, with the notable exception of the two dilapidated sidings in the foreground.

L428 Mickleton 23 January 1982

L428 (51408, 59518 & 51366) and an unidentified Class 119 unit climb Campden Bank near Mickleton on 23 January 1982 with the 13:30 Hereford to Reading service. This section of the Cotswold Line was a severe test for locomotives in the days of steam, with a continuous gradient of 1 in 100 for four miles.

L428 Adlestrop 17 April 1982

L428 (51408, 59518 & 51366) passes the site of Adlestrop station on 17 April 1982 with the 13:30 Hereford to Reading service. Adlestrop station was closed in 1966, but it is forever immortalised by Edward Thomas in his poem Adlestrop. The preserved nameboard from the station is now located in the village's bus shelter, along with a copy of the poem. Of course this location is nothing like as open as this nowadays, with lines of trees on both sides of the line. However, here we can see the course of the station approach road, with the pile of stones marking the approximate location of the station building, while the base of the goods shed can be seen just above the roof of the DMU.

B428 Bescot 10 March 1984

On my one and only visit to Bescot station, I was very surprised to see one of my local Western Region DMUs working the local passenger service, instead of the expected EMU. Bristol allocated B428 (51366, 59518, 51408) pulls into the station on 10 March 1984 with the 12:10 Walsall to Birmingham New Street service.

B428 Bruern 10 June 1984

B428 (51366, 59518 & 51408) passes Bruern on 10 June 1984 with the 2A75 09:32 Worcester Shrub Hill to Ascott-under-Wychwood service. This would normally of course continue on to Didcot, but track relaying near Combe resulted in passengers transferring to buses at Ascott for the journey on to Charlbury and Oxford. It would be a few years yet before the vintage bullhead track seen here was replaced.

B428 Ascott-under-Wychwood 10 June 1984

On Sunday 10 June 1984 the Cotswold Line was closed for track relaying in the Combe area. Consequently, trains from the Worcester direction were terminating at Ascott-under-Wychwood, turning this normally little used country station temporarily into a relatively busy rail hub! B428 (51366, 59518 & 51408) is pictured at Ascott, after having arrived with the 2A75 09:32 Worcester Shrub Hill to Ascott-under-Wychwood service. The passengers had been ferried to their destinations in a fleet of coaches.

B428 Whitehill 22 August 1985

B428 (51408, 59518 & 51366) passes Whitehill (between Combe and Finstock) on 22 August 1985 with the 14:28 Oxford to Great Malvern service. Unfortunately this remote location has become progressively more grown up, but in the mid 1980s a clear view was possible all the way to the village of Combe, which cam just be seen on the horizon in the centre of the picture.

L428 Ascott-under-Wychwood 18 June 1986

L428 (51366, 59518, 51408) accelerates away from Ascott-under-Wychwood with the 2A12 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Reading service on 18 June 1986. This was one of two early morning up services that called at Ascott, along with the other local stations on the line at that time, although strangely there was only one corresponding down evening service. The unit has just started on the 14 mile single track section to Wolvercote Junction, the double track ending the other side of the level crossing seen in the background. The coal yard is obviously still thriving, but the siding that served it had just been removed.

L428 Hallen Marsh Junction 15 August 1987

L428 (51366, 59518, 51408) passes Hallen Marsh Junction on 15 August 1987 with the 18:37 Severn Beach to Bristol Temple Meads service. Of course this is nowhere near the area covered by Network SouthEast at the time, and so this livery is totally out of place here. However, careful inspection of the original 6x7 transparency reveals the L in the set number is painted over the top of a B, indicating a former Bristol allocation. Therefore in its days as a blue and grey unit, it may well have passed this way before. A three car unit is not often justified on this line and indeed the more usual Class 121 single unit was also running on this day. Unfortunately the mass of semaphore signals at this location has long since been removed.

L428 Wolvercote Junction 11 July 1990

L428 (51366, ????? & 51408) approaches Wolvercote Junction on 11 July 1990 with the 2C60 17:05 Paddington to Banbury Network SouthEast service. Obviously there is a problem with L428's centre vehicle (59518), as it has clearly been replaced by a Class 119 trailer. A fairly common practice (although less so on the Western Region), this shows the versatility of first generation DMUs.

B429 Collins Lane Purton 21 October 1983

Catching the last rays of the setting sun, B429 (51409, 59519 & 51367) approaches Collins Lane Level Crossing near Purton with the 16:42 Swindon to Cheltenham service on 21 October 1983. The telegraph poles indicate that well into the 1980s some evidence of the steam age infrastructure still survived on secondary lines.

B429 Appleford 12 September 1985

B429 (51409, 59519 & 51367) approaches Appleford level crossing on 12 September 1985 with the 2C19 09:53 Oxford to Reading service. This train was non-stop between Oxford and Didcot, and then it became an all stations service to Reading. The signal box on the left of this picture has since been demolished.

B429 South Moreton 12 September 1985

B429 (51409, 59519 & 51367) passes South Moreton on 12 September 1985 with the 12:57 Oxford to Paddington 'all stations' service. Admittedly this is a Bristol set, unusually operating in the Thames Valley, but surely it must have had Paddington on the destination blind. It is almost as if someone has wound it round looking for the most inappropriate destination to display. I hope no passengers were misled, as it clearly purporting to be going to Exeter St Davids. It's not even going in the right direction!

L429 Hinksey 21 June 1986

L429 (51367, 59519 & 51409) passes Hinksey on 21 June 1986 with the 16:20 Paddington to Oxford service. The relief line on the right gives access to Hinksey Yard, whilst just visible in the far distance is Kennington Junction, where the Morris Cowley line diverges to the left.

L429 Aynho 15 September 1990

L429 (51367, 59519 & 51409) passes Aynho on 15 September 1990 with the 2C23 09:15 Banbury to Reading 'all stations' Network SouthEast service. On the left is the former Aynho station building, while in the background the bridge carrying the Chiltern line over the Banbury route can be seen. A pair of upper quadrant semaphore signals complete the scene.

B430 Croome 14 May 1984

Before its days as a celebrity GWR 150 chocolate & cream repaint, B430 (51410, 59520 & 51368) passes under the roadbridge at Croome on 14 May 1984 with the 14:05 Worcester Shrub Hill to Cheltenham service. Many thousands of photos have been taken from the roadside by this bridge of trains coming under the occupation bridge visible in the background, but this is a slightly different viewpoint, which works especially well with a short train such as this.

B430 Badgeworth 16 February 1985

B430 (51368, 59520 & 51410) passes Badgeworth on 16 February 1985 with the 2A58 11:52 Cheltenham to Swindon service. This picture has been deliberately taken with a slightly off centre composition, in order to show more of the snowy landscape on the right. Shortly after this picture was taken this unit was repainted in chocolate & cream livery, as part of the GW150 celebrations.

B430 Hinksey 21 June 1986

Looking superb in its GWR 150 chocolate & cream livery, B430 (51410, 59520 & 51368) passes Hinksey on 21 June 1986 with the 2B60 17:15 Didcot to Moreton-in-Marsh service. In true 1980s DMU tradition the destination blind is showing where it has come from, rather than where it is going to! Whilst the pseudo Great Western livery looked particularly good on this unit, the light grey roof was hardly very practical, considering the blackening effect that the output from four BUT engines can produce!

B430 Moreton-in-Marsh 3 July 1987

In 1985 Bristol based set B430 (51410, 59520 & 51368) was repainted into Great Western chocolate & cream livery as part of the GW150 celebrations. It is certainly pictured at an appropriate location here, as it leaves Moreton-in-Marsh with the 2A79 07:45 Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford service on 3 July 1987. This station retains much of its GWR character, with original station building and semaphore signalling. This train was the second of the two daily up local services, calling at all stations between Moreton and Oxford.

B430 Claydon (Gloucestershire) 4 August 1987

Looking a little weather-beaten after over two years in its GWR 150 chocolate & cream livery, B430 (51368, 59520 & 51410) passes Claydon (Gloucestershire) on 4 August 1987 with the 2B09 06:36 Swindon to Worcester Shrub Hill service. With no way of knowing in those days which particular unit would be working this train, it was a definite bonus to get a picture of the only Class 117 to wear this colour scheme.

T305 Moira West Junction 5 June 1988

Now this is what you call a real multiple unit train! In dismal weather T305 (51410, 59520 & 51368) heads an impressive nine coach formation past Moira West Junction with a Derby to Coalville shuttle on 5 June 1988 during the Coalville Open Day. This was my first picture of the erstwhile B430 set after its transfer off the Western Region to Tyseley. You can just make out a darker shade of yellow where the front end has been patch painted and the set number T305 applied.

117305 Portway 5 June 1993

117305 (51410, 59520 & 51368) passes Portway on 5 June 1993 with the 15:56 Nottingham to Birmingham New Street service. This was formerly Bristol allocated set B430 and was repainted into this attractive chocolate and cream livery to mark the 150th anniversary of the Great Western Railway in 1985. Its unique livery didn't help it once it was withdrawn a few years after this picture was taken, with both power cars going for scrap and only the centre trailer finding its way into preservation.

117305 Branston 5 June 1993

117305 (51410, 59520 & 51368) passes Branston on 5 June 1993 with the 17:46 Nottingham to Birmingham New Street service. The unmistakable Burton-on-Trent skyline emphasises how out of place the unit's pseudo GWR chocolate & cream livery is! This semi-rural view has changed somewhat in the ensuing two decades, with large conifers now growing alongside the fence on the right, and the inevitable new housing estate encroaching on the fields in front of the wood in the background.

L431 Radley 28 November 1981

L431 (51411, 59521 & 5369) pulls away from Radley station on 28 November 1981 with the 2A12 12:09 Ealing Broadway to Oxford service. This view just proves that you shouldn't build a waiting shelter directly underneath a footbridge, unless you want the local yobs to pound it with rocks!

B431 Little Haresfield 16 April 1983

B431 (51369, 59521 & 51411) passes Little Haresfield on 16 April 1983 with the 12:45 Cheltenham to Swindon service. What is particularly interesting about this picture is the missed opportunity that it highlights. In the background can be seen a farm occupation bridge (incidentally of the same cast iron design as the one from which the picture is taken). Unfortunately this bridge was demolished shortly after this picture was taken and I never managed to investigate what would presumably have been an excellent photographic viewpoint in both directions. The bridge had certainly been removed by 1986 and even here it looks like there is fencing by the tree on the left blocking off access.

B431 Honeybourne 22 June 1985

B431 (51411, 59521 & 51369) arrives at Honeybourne station under a threatening sky on 22 June 1985 with the 2A61 09:39 Hereford to Didcot service. In the 1980s the reopened Honeybourne station was on the south side of the line, with the disused up platforms slowly succumbing the weeds.

B431 Kingham 20 May 1987

B431 (51369, 59521 & 51411) approaches Kingham on 20 May 1987 with the 2A56 16:50 Hereford to Oxford service. It is passing between the abutments of the former Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway. This cross country route originally stared out as two purely local lines branching out from Kingham to Chipping Norton to the east, and Bourton-on-the-Water to the west. These were then extended to meet up with the GWR at Kings Sutton, and Cheltenham. Although most trains still called at Kingham, a direct line was constructed, crossing the Cotswold Line via a wide girder bridge. Naturally this was removed for scrap shortly after the route closed in 1962, and now these abutments (much more overgrown now than in this view) are all that remains.

B432 Cassington 30 August 1983

B432 (51370, 59522 & 51412) passes Cassington on 30 August 1983 with the 2A81 15:53 Worcester Foregate Street to Oxford service, unusually running half an hour late. Burleigh Farm can be seen in the background, with Burleigh Wood beyond. This section of the Cotswold Line was singled in 1971, and escaped the recent redoubling of the line, remaining as an operational bottleneck.

B432 Charlbury 14 April 1984

The last passenger climbs aboard as Ernie Akers, the Charlbury stationmaster watches from the shadows on 14 April 1984. B432 (51412, 59522 & 51370) prepares to leave Charlbury with the 2A77 06:24 Great Malvern to Oxford service. Plenty of details for the modeller here. Note the missing grab rail below the driver's window and the crudely touched up patches on the yellow front end. The glass in the headcode box could also do with some repairs.

B432 Quedgeley 18 August 1984

Another hilarious heritage DMU destination blind error! Presumably fresh from Bristol area duties, B432 (51370, 59522 & 51412) is clearly displaying Severn Beach as its destination, as it passes Quedgeley on 18 August 1984 with the 2B12 08:48 Swindon to Worcester Foregate Street service.

B432 Hinksey 8 February 1986

A brief burst of sunshine at Hinksey on 8 February 1986, as B432 (51370, 59522 & 51412) passes the snow covered yard with the 2A13 13:40 Oxford to Didcot service. The Oxford Ice Rink (opened two years earlier) is prominent on the right. Designed by the well known architect Nicholas Grimshaw, it was certainly a daring design for Oxford at the time, and locally acquired the nickname 'Cutty Sark' due to its ship like appearance.

B432 Croome 15 June 1986

With just a casual glance, it might almost have been possible to mistake this for the GW150 chocolate and cream liveried B430, such is the filthy state of B432 (51412 & 51370), seen passing Croome on 15 June 1986 with the 15:55 Worcester Shrub Hill to Swindon service. It is running as a two car set, its centre trailer (59522) presumably having been removed for maintenance.

T307 Bearley 16 April 1990

Bristol disposed of its Class 117 units long before they disappeared from the Thames Valley area. They mostly went to Tyseley, and here we see T307 (51412, 59522 & 51370), which in its former existence was set B432. It is just about to pass under the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal aqueduct at Bearley with the 14:22 Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham New Street service on 16 April 1990.

B433 Finstock 22 August 1985

B433 (51413, 59509 & 51371) approaches Finstock station with the 15:40 Great Malvern to Oxford service on 22 August 1985. Although I have a large collection of Class 117 pictures, this particular unit seems to have evaded me, and this is one of just a handful of pictures I have of it. This picture is taken from the remains of the former down platform, disused since the line was singled in 1971. Notice how the up platform appears to be too far away from the track. When the line was relayed shortly before this picture was taken, the line was slewed towards the middle of the formation, and a temporary platform extension was added to the up platform. Subsequently a new platform was constructed on the down side. Presumably this is why the scheduled re-doubling of the line is not going to reach this far, as the station would have to be rebuilt yet again with two platforms and the level of traffic certainly doesn't warrant that!

117308 Rowington 28 July 1992

One of the very pictures that I have of a Class 117 unit in Regional Railways colours. Displaced from their former Thames Valley duties by Class 165 units, they had a brief stay of exception in the Midlands, before they themselves were replaced by Class 150 units. 117308 (51371, 59509 & 51413) runs alongside the M40 motorway at Rowington on 28 July 1992 with the late running 17:24 Leamington Spa to Birmingham New Street service.

B434 Standish Junction 11 October 1986

B434 (51372, 59490 & 51414) takes the 'Golden Valley' route at Standish Junction on 11 October 1986 with the 10:34 Cheltenham to Swindon service. Its hard to believe now that this was once a completely open location, with just a few small lineside bushes to create shadows!

B434 Berkley 21 February 1987

Dark clouds over Westbury on 21 February 1987, as B434 (51414, 59490 & 51372) passes Berkley with the 2O58 13:10 Westbury to Weymouth service. Note that the destination blind reads 'Weymouth Town', just in case anyone thought it might be going to Weymouth Quay. The DMU destination blinds in the 1980s had not been updated for many years.

B434 Standish Junction 22 August 1987

B434 (51414, 59490 & 51372) takes the Swindon line at Standish Junction on 22 August 1987 with the 2A68 18:28 Cheltenham to Swindon service. The setting sun was just managing to stay clear of the edge of the dark clouds that were rolling in from the north, resulting in some superb lighting, although by this time only the track the train is on is actually lit. 

T309 Wetmore Sidings 11 August 1990

Tyseley set T309 (formerly B434, comprising 51372, 59479 & 51414) passes Wetmore Sidings on 11 August 1990 in company with one of Tyseley's Class 116 four car sets, as it heads for the seaside with the 08:48 Tamworth to Skegness service. Well over three hours of rattling and shaking probably meant that the holidaymakers were looking forward to some sea air when they arrived. Lets hope the return trip didn't have an effect on all those fish and chip lunches! 08829 can be seen in the background, engaged in a spot of MGR wagon shunting.

T309 Albrighton 4 September 1991

After transfer away from the Western Region, the former Bristol set B434 (51372, 59479 & 51414) became Tyseley set T309. In this guise it is pictured approaching Albrighton with the 13:51 Chester to Wolverhampton service on 4 September 1991. The leading DMBS vehicle has survived into preservation but the centre trailer (a Class 118 vehicle) and the DMS coach at the rear have both been scrapped.

B435 Aldington 3 October 1987

With the town of Evesham just visible in the background, B435 (51415, 59486 & 51373) passes Aldington on 3 October 1987 with the 2A30 12:20 Worcester Shrub Hill to Oxford service. It's a good job that no intending passengers paid any attention to the destination blind, as that rather optimistically indicates the unit is going to Bristol Temple Meads!

B436 Chilson 17 April 1984

B436 (51376, 59500 & 51334) passes Chilson on 17 April 1984 with the 2A79 07:43 Moreton-in-Marsh to Didcot stopping service. It has just called at Ascott-under-Wychwood station (behind the trees in the background). Despite the high voltage power lines, this is one of my favourite Cotswold Line locations, as in the 1980s it offered uninterrupted views in both directions. Unfortunately there is now no longer any view at all for westbound trains (at least when the sun is out), but this view is still possible, although its been a long time since such a wide angle has been possible. The rustic lineside fence pictured here has now been supplemented by a selection of not very photogenic, and very tall bushes!

B437 Lower Basildon 25 January 1986

B437 (51338, 59504 & 51380) passes Lower Basildon on 25 January 1986 with the 10:15 Moreton-in-Marsh to Paddington all stations service. Anyone contemplating the whole journey could look forward to over three hours of stopping at every station, including all the minor stations on the Cotswold Line! Generally speaking most Thames Valley DMU turns were operated by the Reading allocated sets (L400 et al), but occasionally a train off the Cotswold Line would bring a Bristol interloper such as this to the area.

B437 Shippea Hill 20 September 1986

A Western Region Class 117 set far from its home territory! B437 (51338, 59504 & 51380) leads another unidentified DMU through the remote station at Shippea Hill, in the flat fenland between Ely and Brandon. The date is Saturday 20 September 1986, and I can only assume that this is an unadvertised relief service (remember those?). Presumably heading for Norwich or the Norfolk Coast, the train has obviously come from the Western Region. Had this been a loco hauled train someone would have a record of the working, but as a lot of enthusiasts just ignore DMUs, I don't hold out much hope of an identification, although I look forward to being proved wrong!

B437 Evenlode 3 October 1987

B437 (51380, 59504 & 51338) passes Evenlode on 3 October 1987 with the 2A50 15:44 Great Malvern to Oxford service. At this point the railway is running between the village of Evenlode (amid the trees in the background), and the infant River Evenlode (just a few yards to the left).

B438 Shipton 29 December 1984

The sun struggles to make an appearance as B438 (51382, 59492 & 51339) accelerates away from Shipton station after calling briefly with the 10:55 Worcester Foregate Street to Oxford service on 29 December 1984. In the 1980s this was an excellent photographic location, but unfortunately tree growth has made this view impossible today.

B438 Chilson 16 June 1985

B438 (51339, 59492 & 51382) passes Chilson on the long section of single track between Ascott-under-Wychwood and Wolvercote Junction with the 09:32 Worcester Shrub Hill to Oxford service on 16 June 1985. This was the first service over the Cotswold Line on a Sunday at the time.

B438 Little Haresfield 24 April 1986

B438 (51339, 59492 & 51382) passes Little Haresfield on 24 April 1986 with the 10:55 Bristol Temple Meads to Worcester Shrub Hill service. Just visible through the mist in the background is Standish Junction, where the Swindon line diverges from the Bristol route.

B438 Churchdown (M5 Junction 11) 3 January 1987

B438 (51339, 59492 & 51382) crosses the M5 at Junction 11 (near Churchdown) on 3 January 1987 with the 2A58 11:40 Worcester Shrub Hill to Swindon service. An ideal length train to fit in the available space, although split second timing was required. It is a testament to the quality of the Canon FD 200mm prime lens that was used for this photo, that it was possible to read the very small vehicle numbers in order to identify the unit. Of course the fine grain of Kodachrome 64 also helped. Although the DMU survives in preservation, a quick check on the DVLA's website reveals that the three nearest cars (and probably all the others) are no longer on the road.

B438 Frampton Mansell 11 April 1987

The unobstructed view of Frampton Mansell viaduct, familiar to generations of steam photographers, but not familiar to anyone now, as it has become completely obscured by vegetation. B438 (51339, 59492 & 51382) heads away from the camera on 11 April 1987 with the 07:32 Warminster to Worcester Shrub Hill service. Most DMUs operating on this line were (and still are) working to and from Swindon, so the Warminster starting point is a bit of an odd one. This unit was unidentified at the time, but scanning the original 35mm Kodachrome slide at 6400dpi revealed its identity.

B438 Frampton Mansell 20 June 1987

B438 (51339, 59492 & 51382) runs down the valley of the River Frome, at Frampton Mansell on 20 June 1987 with the 2B29 11:10 Swindon to Cheltenham service. It has just crossed the well known Frampton Mansell Viaduct, which is hidden behind the bushes near the vintage tractor.

B439 Stonesfield 17 September 1983

In crisp early autumnal light, B439 (51390, 59500 & 51348) is pictured in the Oxfordshire countryside near Stonesfield on the Cotswold Line with the 11:20 Great Malvern to Oxford service on 17 September 1983. This unit had a relatively short life as B439, previously being allocated set number 453, and after only a few years as a three car unit the centre car was removed, before it became one of the first 117 units to migrate away from the Western Region, when it was allocated to Tyseley.

B439 Kemble 20 August 1985

B439 (51348, 59479 & 51390) arrives at Kemble on 20 August 1985 with the 2B49 15:42 Swindon to Gloucester service. The man with the umbrella on the bridge in the background gives a clue as to what the weather was like!

L450 Daylesford 19 February 1983

L450 (51394, 59547 & 51352) was immediately recognisable from the rest of its classmates by the fact that its centre trailer was a Class 101 vehicle. The clean roofline without any ventilators can clearly be seen in this view as it passes a very misty Daylesford with the 11:00 Oxford to Worcester Shrub Hill service on 19 February 1983. Although I took a few pictures from this spot in the 1980s, looking at this wonderfully open location with various vantage points along the trackside I regret not using the location more before it became hopelessly overgrown.

B450 Abbotswood 17 March 1984

The unique Class 117/101/117 hybrid ser B450 approaches Abbotswood on 17 March 1984, whilst working the 09:42 Gloucester to Worcester Shrub Hill. As there were only 39 Class 117 TCL trailers built, in contrast to 42 each of the DMS & DMBS driving cars, there was always going to be a problem forming up the entire class into three car sets. Although DMBS 51357 was written off as early as 1968, and DMS 51403 was withdrawn in 1982, this still left a shortfall of two centre cards. Therefore B450 (51394, 59547 & 51352) utilised a Class 101 trailer, whilst B439 had a Class 118 centre car (much less obvious to the casual observer). 

B450 Lyneham 28 June 1986

Clearly showing off its Class 101 centre car, B450 (51394, 59547 & 51352) passes Lyneham on 28 June 1986 with the 17:07 Paddington to Hereford service. Not a lot changed in the foreground of this view during the following decades, but the background certainly looks a little different now!

B450 Moreton-in-Marsh 2 July 1986

A 'thumbs up' from the driver of B450 (51394, 59547 & 51352), as it arrives at Moreton-Marsh on 2 July 1986 with the 2B60 16:40 Reading to Moreton-in-Marsh stopping service. It would shortly back up, and move across to the up bay platform, prior to working the 2A71 19:18 Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford service.

B450 Moreton-in-Marsh 2 July 1986

A spot of DMU shunting at Moreton-in-Marsh on 2 July 1986. B450 (51394, 59547 & 51352) had arrived a few minutes earlier with the 2B60 16:40 local service from Reading, and in order to get it out of the way until it was due to work back to Oxford with the 2A71 19:18 departure, it is being moved into the up bay. It has already used the crossover in the foreground, and is now moving into the bay. The driver obviously doesn't think it worthwhile to change the lights, as it is still displaying red tail lights, despite moving forwards.

117311 Greenhill Lower Junction 27 April 1998

One of my photographic regrets is not having made more of an effort to photograph the former Western Region Class 117 units after they had moved away from their former home region. In the case of the ones that went to Scotland, that was partly excusable by the distance involved! Unfortunately therefore this is the only picture that I have of a ScotRail operated 117. On 27 April 1998, 117311 (51352, 59500 & 51376) approaches Greenhill Lower Junction with an empty stock working. The lead vehicle (51352) is a replacement for the then recently withdrawn 51334, hence the hastily painted last figure of the set number. The original 117311 was the former WR set B436, with the new DMBS coming from former set B450.