Class 118

P461 Shipton 18 September 1982

A stranger on the Cotswold Line. Laira allocated P461 (51318, 59470, & 51303) rounds the curve on the approach to Shipton station on 18 September 1982 with the 15:53 Worcester Foregate Street to Oxford service, despite it saying Didcot on the destination blind! Class 118s were infrequent visitors to the Cotswold Line, with services normally being worked by the outwardly similar Pressed Steel Class 117s or the Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. Class 119s. Ascott-under-Wychwood's signal 200 is effectively the distant signal for Bruern Crossing.

P461 Stoke Orchard 21 July 1984

P461 (51318, 59470, & 51303) is a long way from its Laira base as it passes Stoke Orchard on 21 July 1984 with the 16:25 Gloucester to Worcester Shrub Hill service. P461 was reduced to a two car set in 1987 and then withdrawn the following year. The two power cars were cut up at Vic Berry's at Leicester, while the centre car although withdrawn earlier managed to survive until 1991, when it was disposed of at Mayer Parry, Snailwell.

L579 & L418 Sharpness 26 October 1985

L579 (51319, 59424 & 51065) & L418 (51355, 59507 & 51397) arrive at Sharpness on a very dull 26 October 1985 with the Monmouthshire Railway Society 08:10 Cardiff Central to Portishead 'Sharpness Shunter' railtour. Whilst the rear unit is a complete Class 117 set, the leading Class 119 set has had the front vehicle replaced by a Class 118 DMS vehicle. The original coach (51093) was scrapped earlier in the year. The Class 118 vehicle (51319) comes from the disbanded set P462, the other driving car of which had also been scrapped earlier in the year.

L579 & L418 Sharpness 26 October 1985

The railtour participants eagerly wander along the side of the track at Sharpness on 26 October 1985, having just disembarked from the Monmouthshire Railway Society 08:10 Cardiff Central to Portishead 'Sharpness Shunter' railtour. The tour was formed from Class 118/119 hybrid set L579 (51319, 59424 & 51065) & Class 117 L418 (51355, 59507 & 51397).

L579 & L418 Sharpness 26 October 1985

Branch line railtours, 1980s style! Very little health & safety concerns here, as the passengers from the Monmouthshire Railway Society 08:10 Cardiff Central to Portishead 'Sharpness Shunter' railtour have climbed down onto the track and wandered freely all over the trackwork at Sharpness on 26 October 1985. They are seen here heading back to the train, with one or two grabbing one last photo. The train comprises Class 118/119 hybrid set L579 (51319, 59424 & 51065) & Class 117 L418 (51355, 59507 & 51397). 51319 is nearest the camera.

B464 Oxford 25 September 1987

Class 118s were not particularly common in the Oxford area, but on 25 September 1987 Bristol allocated set B464 (51321, 59473 & 51306) was used on the 08:10 Oxford to Reading service. It is pictured arriving at Oxford's platform one after making the short smoky trip from the up carriage sidings (visible in the background on the right). This train would run non-stop to Didcot, from where it would become an all stations service to Reading.

B465 Purton (Collins Lane) 4 August 1980

B465 (51307, 59474 & 51322) approaches Collins Lane level crossing, near Purton on 4 August 1980 with the 13:37 Cheltenham to Swindon service. A brief burst of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day was a welcome bonus. A short while later I pictured the same unit returning to Cheltenham from the bridge in the background.

B465 Purton 4 August 1980

One of the very few pictures that I have of a Western Region DMU in the rather drab all over blue livery that was applied during the late 1960s and early 1970s, after the green livery that the units were delivered in and before the ubiquitous blue and grey livery. B465 (51322, 59474 & 51307) approaches Purton on 4 August 1980 with the 15:00 Swindon to Cheltenham service. Collins Lane level crossing can be seen in the distance in a view that has changed considerably in subsequent years. The steam age telegraph poles have long gone and the inevitable growth of lineside trees and bushes has completely transformed this view.

C465 Oxford 4 September 1987

C465 (51322, 59474 & 51307) leaves Oxford on 4 September 1987 with the 07:35 Oxford to Reading 'all stations' Network SouthEast service. The Valley Train branding and Welsh red dragon logo are hardly appropriate for a NSE train, and indeed Cardiff allocated Class 118s were distinctly thin on the ground in the Oxford area. Not even the destination blind is correct, showing Hereford and Llandaff. Presumably as the correct destination wasn't available, somebody just left it set between two inappropriate places!

P468 Gunstone Mill 22 April 1988

P468 (51325 & 51310) passes Gunstone Mill (near Crediton) on 22 April 1988 with the 12:45 Exmouth to Barnstaple service. The unit's centre trailer (59471) had been withdrawn the previous month, and immediately cut up at Vic Berry's, Leicester. P468 would survive as a two car unit for just over another year.

B469 Ponthir 4 September 1986

B469 (51326, 59479 & 51311) passes Ponthir on 4 September 1986 with the 16:55 Newport to Hereford service. Presumably this set had previously worked the 15:10 Cardiff to Chepstow and 16:05 Chepstow to Newport, which would explain why the destination blind still reads Chepstow! This is one of a number of Class 118 sets of which I only have a single picture, and there certainly wouldn't have been much opportunity to get any further pictures, as the set was disbanded a few months later. The two powered vehicles were withdrawn and moved to Vic Berry's yard at Leicester for cutting up, but the centre car managed to stay in traffic for a further year before finally succumbing to the cutter's torch at Mayer Newman's at Snailwell.

C470 Portskewett 4 September 1986

C470 (51328 & 51313) pass Portskewett (between Newport and Chepstow) with the 10:54 Newport to Chepstow service on 4 September 1986. C470 had slightly less than a year left in traffic, and had already lost its centre car (59478) when this picture was taken. Both the vehicles seen here ended their days at Mayer Newman, Snailwell in 1988. At this time various Welsh allocated units were enlivened with the Welsh Dragon on the yellow front end, along with a thin red line recalling the original 'speed whiskers' of the 1960s.

B472 Sapperton Tunnel 28 June 1980

B472 (51315, 59482, & 51330) emerges from Sapperton Tunnel on 28 June 1980 with the 17:22 Swindon to Cheltenham service. This unit is of course working down the gradient, but the sight of this tunnel portal was probably not welcome by the crews of steam hauled trains toiling up the bank. Although the gradient eases from a fearsome 1 in 60 to 1 in 90 near the entrance, any slight water ingress in the tunnel was certainly going to make life more difficult for up trains!

B472 Hinksey 4 July 1985

B472 (51315, 59482, & 51330) passes Hinksey Yard on 4 July 1985 with the 09:53 Oxford to Reading service. 47202 waits in the up loop, prior to crossing into the yard with the 6V19 06:05 Bescot to Didcot Speedlink.

B472 Oxford North Junction 13 May 1987

Making a change from the more usual Class 117 or 119 units on the route, B472 (51315, 59482, & 51330) passes Oxford North Junction on 13 May 1987 with the 2A85 08:08 Hereford to Oxford service. Although I have fewer pictures of Class 118 units than the other Western Region allocated classes, this particular unit was the one that seemed to appear all the time, and was a more common visitor to the Cotswold Line than its classmates.

B473 Kingham 23 April 1983

B473 (51331, 59483 & 51316) stands at Kingham station on 23 April 1983 with the 2B08 06:06 Reading to Worcester Foregate Street service. This is one of the very few pictures I have of Western Region DMUs in the all over blue livery. The more numerous Pressed Steel 117s had all received either the mostly white, or later blue & grey livery by the time I started taking photos, but the 118s did seem to hang on to their blue livery for a lot longer.

B473 Standish Junction 7 July 1984

B473 (51316, 59483, & 51331) approaches Standish Junction on 7 July 1984 with the 08:48 Swindon to Worcester Foregate Street service. The Swindon lines (left) and the Bristol lines (right) are at the same level at this point being just a few yards from the actual junction, but as the lines curve round to the left in the distance the difference in level becomes marked, until the Swindon line peels off to the left towards Stonehouse at a considerably higher level.

B473 Kingham 20 May 1987

B473 (51316, 59483, & 51331) accelerates away from Kingham station on 20 May 1987 with the 17:30 Oxford to Moreton-in-Marsh all stations local service. Never as common on the Cotswold Line as the Class 117 and 119 units, B473 was however a more frequent visitor than most, by virtue of its Bristol allocation. B473 was withdrawn in July 1993, and was scrapped almost immediately at M C Metal Processing, Glasgow.

C480 Daylesford 6 August 1987

The Pressed Steel Class 117s were much more common on the Cotswold Line than the very similar Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company Class 118s. However, on 6 August 1987 the first down train of the day was worked by a 118. C480 (51312, 59479 & 51327) passes Daylesford with the 2B50 07:00 Oxford to Hereford Network SouthEast service.

B480 Quedgeley 6 May 1988

B480 (51312, 59479 & 51327) passes Quedgeley on 6 May 1988 with the 2B09 06:36 Swindon to Worcester Shrub Hill service. The highest numbered of the Western Region's 15 Class 118 sets (B460 - B473 & B480), B480 entered service in June 1960, and would not quite make 30 years in service, being withdrawn in October 1989, although it had been reduced to a two car unit for its last tear in traffic. It had also spent a lot of time in the early 1980s operating without its centre car. Note the over optimistic Birmingham destination blind!