Class 31

31101 Winwick 12 March 1990

The only two times that I saw 31101 on the national network, it was running light engine. Not usually worth a picture, but I thought this broadside view of the loco passing Winwick on 12 March 1990 was noteworthy, as it shows off the loco's unusual livery. The grey roof looks smart, but the red stripe only going as far as the cab doors looks a little odd. Also, the slightly truncated BR double arrow logo is even weirder!

31101 Ewood Bridge 10 June 1994

31101 entered preservation in 1994 in this variation of rail blue livery, a livery which it has since reacquired after a period in BR green. It is pictured here approaching Ewood Bridge on the East Lancashire Railway with the 10:00 Bury to Rawtenstall service on 10 June 1994, during the line's Diesel Gala. The loco originally entered service in October 1958 as D5518.

31101 Burrs 10 June 1994

31101 passes Burrs on 10 June 1994 with the 11:00 Rawtenstall to Bury service, during the East Lancashire Railway's Diesel Gala. The Peel Monument, on Holcombe Hill, dominates the background. It was erected in 1852 in memory of Sir Robert Peel, former British prime minister.

31101 & 31130 Carlton 19 September 2009

31101 & 31130 Calder Hall Power Station pass Carlton with the 12:00 Shackerstone to Shenton service on 19 September 2009, during the Battlefield Line's Diesel Gala. Although still quite bright, the sun dipped slightly just as this train passed, probably getting its own back for my earlier success with 56040!

31102 Gloucester 27 April 1993

31102 Cricklewood is picture on the curve between Barnwood and Horton Road Junctions, at Gloucester, with a very mixed train. This was on the 27 April 1993, nearly two years after the demise of Speedlink, when you didn't often see trains with such variety. I presume this must be the very late running 8V01 02:30 Bescot to Gloucester departmental working, as suggested by the Seacow ballast hoppers at the rear, however I'm not sure what the Class 08 is doing behind the train. The single Murco oil tank is an unusual colourful addition, and makes the train worth photographing, despite the awful weather. The vast bulk of Churchdown Hill looms out of the mist in the background.

31102 Gloucester 27 April 1993

31102 Cricklewood is pictured in the shadow of the gas holder at Horton Road, Gloucester, on the 27 April 1993, as it heads north from the city with a short engineer' train. The gas holder, which apart from the world famous cathedral, was probably Gloucester's most notable landmark, was demolished in 2012.

31105 Knighton 12 June 1983

Running 35 minutes late, 31105 passes Knighton on the balmy evening of 12 June 1983 with the 5C83 18:25 Paddington to Cardiff Canton ECS. The stock had earlier formed the 1A83 12:50 Milford Haven to Paddington, but I doubt if the venerable 31 had been employed on that. This picture is taken from the site of the former Knighton Crossing, which had been made redundant by a new underbridge in the early 1970s. At this time it was still possible to stand on the old roadway, which had yet to be securely fenced off from the line. Although not a particularly scenic location, it did give a nearly uninterrupted view of westbound trains on a late summer evening, albeit slightly impeded by the old PW hut and assorted lineside paraphernalia.

31105 & 47607 Lower Basildon 25 January 1986

On 26 January 1986, I thought I was going to get a nice picture of 31105 slowly trundling along the up relief line at Lower Basildon with a single wagon of track panels. Unfortunately travelling much faster from the other direction was 47607 Royal Worcester with the 1E63 09:40 Poole to Newcastle service. It could have been a lot worse, I suppose!

31105 Hinksey 31 July 1986

Running exactly to time, 31105 is just a few minutes into its journey, as it is pictured passing Hinksey Yard on 31 July 1986 with the 6M93 16:20 Morris Cowley to Bescot Speedlink. Two footbridges cross the yard. The more popular southern bridge can be seen in the background.

31105 & 31512 Hargrave 20 May 1995

Dramatic backlighting at Hargrave on 20 May 1995. 31105 Bescot TMD Bescot & Saltley Quality Assured & 31512 head eastwards with the 1T81 18:40 Chester to Crewe, one of the North Wales Coast Motive Power Day specials organised by the Crewe Rail Events Committee. The sunshine was only very brief and localised. Waverton church in the background is clearly under the cloud.

31105 & 31285 Portbury Dock 3 June 2007

Network Rail's 31105 & 31285 were the star attraction on the Railway Children 'Bristol Coal-Stone Haul' railtour on 3 June 2007. Here they are seen from the lofty vantage point of the M5 Avon Bridge as they approach Portbury Dock with the 1Z20 10:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Portbury Dock section of the tour. This is where the newly constructed line veers away from the former Portishead branch, which can be seen heading across the centre of the picture. Although heavily overgrown, the track is still in situ.

31105 & 31285 Portbury Dock 3 June 2007

31105 & 31285 bring up the rear of the Railway Children 1Z21 10:30 Portbury Dock to Bath Spa 'Bristol Coal-Stone Haul' railtour on 3 June 2007, as the train slowly departs Portbury Dock on 3 June 2007. 50049 Defiance can be seen at the front of the train.

31105 & 31285 Brentry 3 June 2007

31105 & 31285 pass Brentry on 3 June 2007 with the Railway Children 'Bristol Coal-Stone Haul' railtour, at this point running as the 1Z21 10:30 Portbury Dock to Bath Spa. On this occasion I was glad that there was no sun, as otherwise this angle would not have been possible.

31105 & 31285 Cattybrook 3 June 2007

31105 & 31285 storm out of Patchway Tunnel with the 1Z24 12:10 St. Andrews Road to Tytherington section of the Railway Children 'Bristol Coal-Stone Haul' railtour on 3 June 2007. Hiding on the rear of the train is 50049 Defiance. The photo is taken from the footbridge next to the brickworks at Cattybrook. The brickworks is still a thriving business today, but is chiefly noted for the fact that it supplied over 19 million bricks for the construction of the Severn Tunnel.

31105 & 31285 Wickwar 3 June 2007

31105 & 31285 approach the southern entrance to Wickwar Tunnel with the Railway Children 'Bristol Coal-Stone Haul' railtour on 3 June 2007, at this point running 45 minutes late as 1Z25 15:15 Tytherington to Bristol Temple Meads (via Gloucester and Chepstow). As the weather was deteriorating I decided to head home rather than continue on to Severn Beach.

31105 Steeple Aston 21 September 2013

31105 provides the power for the 3Q02 10:50 Eastleigh to Derby RTC test train on 21 September 2013, seen here passing Steeple Aston. DBSO 9702 is at the sharp end. Not bad for a going away shot, as there is neither a cloud of exhaust partially obscuring the loco, or any obvious evidence of a red tail light to spoil the picture. And no, I haven't Photshopped either out!

31106, 31296 & 31465 Old Linslade 14 January 1989

31106 (complete with mascot!) leads 31296 Amlwch Freighter & 31465 past Old Linslade on 14 January 1989. For once a light engine convoy actually makes a balanced composition, with the three locos neatly filling the gap between the bridge and the overhead catenary post.

31106 & 31102 Silverdale Colliery 27 August 1995

31106 The Blackcountryman & 31102 Cricklewood arrive at Silverdale Colliery on 27 August 1995 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1T56 15:30 Crewe to Silverdale 'Lyme Chordial' railtour. Despite the station being closed in 1964, it was retained for use by train crew working to the colliery. The colliery closed in 1998, and the track has now been lifted.

31106 & 31102 Madeley 27 August 1995

24 cylinders of English Electric racket attract the attention of the locals, as 31106 The Blackcountryman & 31102 Cricklewood pass Madeley with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1T56 16:45 Silverdale Colliery to Crewe 'Lyme Chordial' railtour on 27 August 1995. The tour had just visited the Silverdale Colliery branch, with 56049 working top'n'tail.

31106 Shorthampton 23 September 2009

31106 passes Shorthampton on 23 September 2009 with the 4Z10 07:50 Derby RTC to Bristol Kingsland Road Network Rail test train. The train had already passed this spot once with DBSO 9714 leading, now after a reversal at Oxford it is testing the newly realigned track between Charlbury and Ascott-under-Wychwood. The previously centered track had recently been slewed to the left in readiness for reinstatement of double track. Note the piles of shredded branches and the remains of tree stumps that indicate that this location was once heavily overgrown.

31106 Charlbury (Cornbury Park) 12 September 2011

In a very lucky few minutes worth of sunshine, 31106 leaves the recently reinstated section of Cotswold Line double track near Charlbury on 12 September 2011, as it heads slowly towards Oxford with the 3Z13 08:23 Derby RTC to Bristol Kingsland Road test train. This is my first picture of the new junction, and it is slightly ironic that the first picture should be something as out of the ordinary as this! Note how 31106 has a slightly lopsided appearance, due to having a much thicker window surround on the right hand window.

31107 Cossington 19 August 1985

With the impressively tall Sileby Brickworks chimney prominent on the right, 31107 ambles along the up relief line at Cossington on 19 August 1985 with 11 Seacow wagons loaded with ballast. With only 1,470 hp available, this is probably quite enough of a load for the venerable Brush Type 2!

31107 Lea Marston 26 September 1987

31107 passes Lea Marston on 26 September 1987 with the 4M78 11:09 Leeds to Rugby freightliner. This Saturday working brought this short portion down from Yorkshire to connect with another portion taken off the Lawley Street to Southampton liner at Bescot. This then connected with the Manchester to Tilbury working at Rugby. Note how open this location is. I now wonder why I didn't visit more often, before the trees grew up and hid the lake from view.

31108 Kimberley Park 5 April 2014

31108 rounds the curve at Kimberley Park in the very last of the day's sunshine on 5 April 2014 with the 1D10 13:35 Wymondham Abbey to Dereham service, during the Mid Norfolk Railway's Diesel Gala.

31109 Bourton 21 October 1983

31109 passes Bourton on 21 October 1983 with the 6E92 10:50 Severn Tunnel Junction to Ripple Lane Speedlink, on this occasion made up entirely of empty cartics. 31109 entered service (as D5527) in April 1959. It was withdrawn with accident damage in March 1988, and after a period in store at March, was sold to Booth Roe Metals, Rotherham, and was broken up the following year.

31109 Chinley 19 June 1984

31109 passes through Chinley station on 19 June 1984 with the 1M33 12:43 Cleethorpes to Manchester Piccadilly service. This should of course have been hauled by a Class 31/4, and indeed it started out from Cleethorpes behind 31432, but that failed, and was replaced by 31109 at Sheffield. What is absolutely amazing (certainly by today's standards) is that despite the loco change, it was only ten minutes late. The railways were a lot more resilient in those days. It may appear that the unusual working had attracted some 'in the know' photographers, but of course in those days there was no way that they could have known. The family group was just spending an afternoon viewing whatever happened to pass by.

31110 Roade 20 May 1991

31110 passes Roade on 20 May 1991 with a short rake of ballast empties. This is the point where the 'Northampton Loop' splits from the main West Coast Mainline, which can be seen in the background. I don't normally take pictures where the overhead wire gets in the way like this, but in this case the interesting location, with the impressive bridge take precedent.

31110 & 31185 Bucknall & Northwood 28 May 1994

31110 & 31185 pass the remains of Bucknall & Northwood station (closed in 1956) with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 07:58 Bristol Temple Meads to Caldon Low 'Leeky Pot' railtour on 28 May 1994. 31185 & 31302 are at the rear. This was just over a mile along the long and rambling Caldon Low branch, which as can be guessed by the state of the track, had not seen a train for a long time.

31110 & 31185 Endon Bank 28 May 1994

31110 & 31185 pass Endon Bank on 28 May 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 07:58 Bristol Temple Meads to Caldon Low 'Leeky Pot' railtour. 31145 & 31302 are bringing up the rear. The village of Endon can be seen in the background.

31110 & 31185 Ipstones 28 May 1994

Catching a rare bit of sunshine, on what was mostly a cloudy day, 31110 & 31185 slowly traverse the rusty and grass covered Caldon Low branch at Ipstones with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 07:58 Bristol Temple Meads to Caldon Low 'Leeky Pot' railtour on 28 May 1994.

31110 & 31185 Broomyshaw 28 May 1994

The Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 07:58 Bristol Temple Meads to Caldon Low 'Leeky Pot' railtour is only a few hundred yards from its destination, as it slowly passes Broomyshaw on 28 May 1994, led by 31110 & 31185. This was Pathfinder's farewell tour for the Caldon Low branch, following on from Hertfordshire Railtours 'Creamed Leek' tour from the previous month.

31110 & 31185 Oxley Chord 28 May 1994

31110 & 31185 traverse the sharply curved Oxley Chord on 28 May 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 14:56 Caldon Low to Bristol Temple Meads 'Leeky Pot' railtour. The chord connects the line from Stoke-on-Trent with the route to Shrewsbury, and was opened in 1983 to avoid the need for MGR trains to Ironbridge Power Station having to reverse.

D5528 & 31154 Brandon 21 August 1999

D5528 (31110) & 31154 pass through Brandon station on 21 August 1999 with the A1A Charters 1Z42 09:03 Kings Cross to Lowestoft 'A Farewell II Arms' railtour. The 31s worked the train as far as Norwich, from where 37513 & 37713 took over. D5528 would receive the name Traction Magazine at the East Lancashire Railway a few weeks later.

D5528 & 31154 Postwick 21 August 1999

D5528 (31110) & 31154 pass Postwick on 21 August 1999 with the A1A Charters 1Z43 16:10 Lowestoft to Liverpool Street 'A Farewell II Arms' railtour. D5528 looked absolutely stunning in its recently applied green livery, despite the gloomy weather.

D5528 Burrs 12 September 1999

D5528 (31110) Traction Magazine passes Burrs on 12 September 1999 with the 16:54 Bury to Ramsbottom service, during the East Lancashire Railway's 'EWS Classic Traction' event. The loco had been named two days earlier by Traction Magazine's editor David Brown.

31113 Oxford North Junction 20 July 1990

On the gloriously sunny evening of 20 July 1990, 31113 heads north past Oxford North Junction with a short rake of engineers wagons. Recent vegetation clearance had temporarily opened up this viewpoint, but it was destined not to last. Obviously a former Victorian rubbish dump, as the mud deposited on the bank on which I was standing was full of antique glass bottles.

31116 Combe (Grintleyhill Bridge) 31 March 1985

Viewed from the lofty heights of Grintleyhill Bridge, Combe, 31116 heads back to Hinksey with a train of recovered track panels and assorted engineers wagons from track relaying near Finstock on 31 March 1985. Although this is still an excellent location for southbound trains, these small lineside trees have grown considerably in recent years.

31116 Cossington 1 June 1985

31116 heads north past Cossington on 1 June 1985 with eight Rugby Cement PCA wagons. Unfortunately I seemed to have mistimed this slightly, with the train being perilously close to the edge of the frame. This was probably due to me not being used to the brand new Pentax 6x7 rollfilm camera, which I had bought from nearby Jessops in Leicester a few hours earlier!

31116 Hinksey 6 May 1988

The vans may be empty, but this is still a bit of a stagger for a 31! Just as the evening sun fades away, 31116 passes Hinksey Yard on 6 May 1988 with the 6V36 15:53 Longbridge to Morris Cowley car component empties. This was normally a Class 47 turn, but the 31 was doing well, and was running exactly to time. However, it was probably just as well that the train wasn't as long as when I photographed 47314 working it three years later.

31117 Denchworth 21 May 1983

31117 passes Denchworth on 21 May 1983 with the 3A40 14:55 Cardiff Canton to Old Oak Common newspaper empties. I don't know why I didn't visit this location more in the 1980s, before the huge signal gantry was erected, effectively blocking this view. I also don't know why I didn't photograph this train more often, and in better weather!

31117 Oxford 1 August 1986

31117 pulls away from Oxford station on 1 August 1986 with the 3V19 09:35 Oxford to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans. Note the slightly unusual inclusion of a Mk2 BFK coach near the rear of the train. I can't remember now why I didn't take this on my Pentax 6x7, so this 35mm Kodachrome 64 scan will have to suffice.

31120 Challow 3 December 1983

With a healthy load of 15 vans, 31120 passes the remains of Challow station on 3 December 1983 with the 3A21 11:25 Malago Vale to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans. This is the only time that I saw this particular locomotive, which was withdrawn in 1991. Before the reinstatement of the relief lines at this location in the 1990s, both old platforms were still in situ. Slightly unusually, the roadbridge crossed the centre point of the platforms, leading to interesting views in both directions.

31122 & 31282 Bourton 21 October 1983

A world away from what you would see at this location today! 31122 & 31282 amble slowly past Bourton on 21 October 1983 with the 8A27 09:00 Severn Tunnel Junction to Acton vacuum braked freight. This was principally a service bringing domestic coal to the capital, and various grades of coal can be seen in the equally varied rake of vintage wagons. On this occasion the train is also conveying several parcels vans and a couple of engineers wagons near the rear of the train. Non air braked revenue earning freight trains were already rare by this date, and would disappear altogether a few years later. Another thing to note is that there is barely any evidence of Swindon's expansion on the horizon, in contrast to the scene just fifteen years later.

31123 Didcot North Junction 9 December 1986

It is 9 December 1986, and 31123 is already expecting snow as it approaches Didcot North Junction with the 3V19 09:35 Oxford to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans. I haven't got many pictures of snowplough fitted 31s in BR service, and this is also the only time I saw this particular locomotive on the national network. However, I later photographed it extensively during its second career as a preserved locomotive on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. Unfortunately that was not permanent, and the locomotive was broken up in 2006.

31123 Toddington 9 July 1994

Newly arrived at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, 31123 stands in Toddington Yard on 9 July 1994, with evidence of some preliminary investigation prior to restoration. It would later be restored to full operation as D5541, but after several years use, it would unfortunately be sidelined, and eventually sold for scrap.

D5541, D9553 & D9539 Hailes 12 November 1994

The first train of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Autumn 1994 Diesel Gala was this impressive Class 31/14 combination. Complete with 'Cornishman' headboard,  D5541 leads Class 14s D9553 & D9539 past Hailes on 12 November 1994 with the 09:00 Toddington to Far Stanley service. Despite the atrocious weather, I have included this picture because of its historical significance. D5541 was subsequently scrapped, and both the 'Teddy Bears' have moved away from the line.

D5541 & 47105 Greet Tunnel 13 November 1994

A pair of preserved locomotives with very different futures ahead of them! D5541 & 47105 emerge from Greet Tunnel on 13 November 1994 with the 13:21 Far Stanley to Toddington service, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala. D5541 was scrapped in 2006, while happily 47105 lives on under the care of the Brush Type 4 Fund.

D5541 Hailes 18 March 1995

To prove that preservation should not be taken for granted, this immaculate Class 31, D5541 (31123) pictured at Hailes on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway in 1995, is now no more, having been cut up in 2006 after donating all useful components to other preserved Class 31s. It is working the 12:10 Toddington to Far Stanley service on 18 March 1995, during the line's Diesel Gala. proudly wearing a 'Cathedrals Express' headboard.

D5541 Toddington 18 March 1995

D5541 stands in the sunshine at Toddington station on 18 March 1995. This was one of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's earliest preserved diesels, but unfortunately it only had a very short life in preservation, being cut up in 2006, after spending many years out of use after a serious engine failure.

D5541 Toddington 7 August 1995

D5541 moves off from the headshunt at Toddington station on 7 August 1995, prior to working the 13:00 demonstration freight train to Far Stanley, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Week. I haven't got that many pictures looking north from this bridge, prior to the track being extended northwards, so this less than ideally lit picture serves as a record. Note the original BR signal post, with sighting board, on the right.

D5541 Toddington 7 August 1995

D5541 stands in Toddington station on 7 August 1995, prior to working the 13:00 demonstration freight train to Far Stanley, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Week. Unfortunately D5541's time as a preserved loco was cut short by a major engine failure. The loco was sold for scarp in 2005.

D5541 Hailes 7 August 1995

The one that got away. The now scrapped D5541 (31123) heads south past Hailes on 7 August 1995 with the 13:00 Toddington to Far Stanley freight, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Week. 1M60 is definitely not the correct headcode for this type of train!

D5541 Greet Tunnel 7 August 1995

D5541 (31123) emerges from Greet Tunnel on 7 August 1995 with a Far Stanley to Toddington demonstration freight. Unfortunately the day that D5541 was rostered for this train turned out to be mostly cloudy, unlike the rest of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's 1995 Diesel Week. Although obviously I had seen the train on the outward trip, the fact that it just fits in the available gap here is more by luck than judgement!

D5541 Winchcombe 8 August 1995

D5541 (31123) leaves Winchcombe on 8 August 1995, returning from Far Stanley to Toddington, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Week. It is passing Fowler 0-4-0DM 4210130, which stored at the end of a siding full of vehicles awaiting restoration.

D5541 Winchcombe 8 August 1995

D5541 (31123) approaches Winchcombe on 8 August 1995, returning from Far Stanley to Toddington, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Week. At this time only one platform was in use at Winchcombe, which explains why it is taking the left hand track, and why the other line is rusty.

D5541 Greet Tunnel 8 August 1995

D5541 (31123) emerges from Greet Tunnel on 8 August 1995, whilst returning from Far Stanley to Toddington, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Week. Unfortunately this loco suffered a major electrical problem later in the year, and has subsequently been scrapped.

D5541 Toddington 11 November 1995

D5541 stands in Toddington Yard on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway on the night of 11 November 1995, in the company of Hymek D7017, 26403 & Class 14 D9533. It had recently suffered a major electrical failure during the line's diesel gala, and was out of action. After a long period languishing in the yard it was eventually sold to A1A Locomotives Ltd. After removal of all useable it was broken up at Booths scrapyard in Rotherham in 2006

D5541 & 20137 Greet Tunnel 27 December 1995

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway traditionally holds a diesel running day over the Christmas holiday period. On a bitterly cold 27 December 1995, D5541 (since scrapped) & 20137 emerge from Greet Tunnel, en-route from Far Stanley to Toddington. With temperatures well below freezing, and little prospect of any sun, I was one of the very few lineside photographers!

31125 Whitemoor 16 August 1988

31125 leaves Whitemoor Yard on 16 August 1988 with the 6P89 10:08 Whitemoor to Norwich Speedlink. By this date the huge former LNER marshalling yard was a mere shadow of its former self, and the railway was no longer the major employer in the town of March.

31127 & 31226 Circourt 5 January 1985

31127 & 31226 approach Circourt Bridge, Denchworth with the F&W Railtours Plymouth to Sheerness 'Kent Hopper' railtour on 5 January 1985. The bright conditions seen here didn't last, and the route had to be amended slightly in Kent due to heavy snow. Both these locomotives are no longer with us. 31127 being withdrawn with fire damage in June 1989 and cut up shortly afterwards at Vic Berry's. Leicester. 31226 had an even more spectacular end when it ran away with 31202 and ended up on top of that loco's roof on the North Circular Road in Cricklewood! Needless to say it was withdrawn, but wasn't cut up until 1991, at MC Metals, Glasgow.

31128 & 31180 Woburn Sands 28 April 1990

31128 & 31180 pass Woburn Sands on 28 April 1990 with the 6A13 13:40 Willesden to Forders Sidings spoil. This was material removed from the North Circular road widening works. Note the difference in livery between the original version of the Railfreight grey colour scheme, and the later 'red stripe' livery. Also note the mismatched and badly aligned cabside number on 31128.

31128 Trent 30 July 2004

31128 Charybdis brings up the rear of the 2V74 11:00 Weymouth to Bristol Temple Meads Wessex Trains service at Trent on 30 July 2004. 31454 is the lead locomotive. Although the nearby small town of Yeovil once had two stations (three if you include Yeovil Junction), Trent never possessed even a halt.

31128 Ley Court 18 September 2019

It's nice to see a BR blue Class 31 back on the mainline again. 31128 Charybdis passes Ley Court (between Oakle Street and Grange Court) on 18 September 2019 with the 5Z31 09:00 Burton upon Trent Wetmore Sidings to Cardiff Canton Sidings, conveying Anglia Railways liveried Mk2 coach 6042. This coach was being exchanged for two that had been used on the Cardiff to Rhymney trains. Entering traffic on 27 August 1959, this surely makes this sixty year old loco one of the oldest on the national network.

31128 Eckington 18 September 2019

Running over an hour early, 31128 Charybdis passes Eckington on 18 September 2019 with the 5Z32 14:28 Cardiff Canton Sidings to Burton upon Trent Wetmore Sidings, conveying Mk2 coaches 6024 and 9520. I had arrived at this location in plenty of time, as I suspected it might run early, and although it was only a few minutes early before Gloucester, it completely missed out its lengthy stop at Barnwood Junction. The coaches had been in use on the Cardiff to Rhymney trains.

31128, 37703, D4 & D182 Yarnton 3 May 2022

In 2022 there is just a solitary Class 31 registered for use on the national network, and even that sees little use. 31128 Charybdis is pictured here passing Yarnton on 3 May 2022 with the 0Z45 10:06 Butterley Midland Railway Centre to Swanage loco convoy, conveying 37703, D4 (44004) Great Gable & D182 (46045) for their appearance at the Swanage Railway Diesel Gala.

31132 Compton Beauchamp 15 December 1979

Praktica time again, with all the usual caveats with regard to image quality! 31132 passes Compton Beauchamp with the 4A21 11:55 Bristol Temple Meads to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans on a very gloomy 15 December 1979. The main interest here is the inclusion of several Great Western Railway designed (although BR built) Siphon G vans in the formation. By this time classed as NNV under the TOPS system, these vintage vehicles did not survive in service for much longer.

31135 Oxford 4 September 1982

It's amazing what small livery variation created interest amounts photographers during BR's rail blue years. 31135 was noteworthy, as its yellow front end extended back not only past the side windows, but also included the top part of the driver's door. It is pictured here coming through the middle road of Oxford station on 4 September 1982 with the 3V19 04:50 Banbury to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans.

31135 Gloucester 26 August 1984

Easily identifiable by its yellow front end extended past the cab side windows, 31135 drifts slowly past Horton Road shed, Gloucester, on Sunday 26 August 1984. In the background 50049 Defiance & 50044 Exeter front an interesting collection of locos stabled for the weekend. Coincidentally, both these Class 50s are now in the care of the Class 50 Alliance, and are based at the nearby Severn Valley Railway.

31135 Gloucester 26 August 1984

31135 leaves Gloucester on 26 August 1984 with the 3A16 14:00 Gloucester to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans. A couple of Class 117 DMUs are stabled in the background, B437 (51338, 59504 & 51380) on the right, and another who's identity is hidden by a VDA van.

31135 & 312787 Histon 14 September 1991

31135 slows to a crawl so that a member of the train crew can open the level crossing gates at Histon on 14 September 1991. The train is returning from Fen Drayton to Cambridge, during the Network Gala Day. Bizarrely the stock is 25kV EMU 312787. The neat line of sand deposited in the 'four foot' clearly indicates why this rural byway was kept open. Sadly it was not to last much longer, closing the following year. After lying abandoned for years, it is, a I type this (December 2010) just about to open as a guided busway - a remarkable and slightly dubious transition.

31142 Frisby-on-the-Wreake 8 December 1984

31142 basks in the golden winter afternoon light at is passes Frisby-on-the-Wreake with the 1M67 12:10 Cambridge to Birmingham New Street service on 8 December 1984. Booked for an ETH Class 31/4, the passengers are presumably feeling a bit chilly on this occasion! 31142 managed to survive to very nearly the end of general Class 31 usage on the main line, being withdrawn in 1999. It was cut up at T. J. Thompson's in Stockton in 2003.

31142 & 31512 Berkeley 10 April 1997

31142 & 31512 engage in a little shunting at Berkeley on 10 April 1997, prior to departing over an hour early with the 7M56 13:15 Berkeley to Bescot nuclear flasks. The flask loading crane can just be seen on the left.

31143 & 31463 Shippea Hill 20 September 1986

31143 & 31463 race through Shippea Hill with the 1P32 07:49 Leeds to Great Yarmouth service on 20 September 1986. Shippea Hill signal box was at the time propped up with huge baulks of timber against the rear of the building. As can be seen this had not been entirely successful in preventing the whole structure leaning backwards! In 2007 the signal box is in better shape, having been straightened up. Unfortunately the same can not be said of 31143, which was scrapped in 1989. 31463 has however survived into preservation.

31144, 47432 & 47555 Alstone 18 April 1992

I wouldn't normally bother to take a picture of a light engine convoy, but when the light is this good, and the loco's liveries are so varied, I definitely would! 31144 leads 47432 & 47555 ahead of the gathering storm at Alstone ( Cheltenham) on 18 April 1992.

31145 Oxford 1 December 1983

31145 rounds 'Cemetery Curve', on the approach to Oxford station with the as required Littlemore to Stanlow oil empties on 1 December 1983. All is now history. The oil depot at Littlemore (just a short distance down the Morris Cowley branch) is now closed and 31145 has been scrapped. Also this view has changed considerably, and not for the better! Plenty of evidence of change here, with new houses going up in the background. On the left, the former GWR goods shed has just been demolished, although for the time being one wall has been left standing.

31145 & 31302 Hednesford 28 May 1994

31145 & 31302 pass through Hednesford station on 28 May 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 07:58 Bristol Temple Meads to Caldon Low 'Leeky Pot' railtour. The station later acquired a second platform, when the passenger service was extended to Rugeley Town. The line reopened to passengers in 1989, after having been initially closed in 1965.

31145 & 31302 Bucknall & Northwood 28 May 1994

31145 & 31302 bring up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 07:58 Bristol Temple Meads to Caldon Low 'Leeky Pot' railtour on 28 May 1994, as it passes the site of Bucknall & Northwood station. 31110 & 31185 are at the front of the train. Like a lot of locations on the Caldon Low branch, this has become a complete jungle of trees since the track was lifted.

31145 & 31302 Endon Bank 28 May 1994

31145 & 31302 bring up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 07:58 Bristol Temple Meads to Caldon Low 'Leeky Pot' railtour at Endon Bank on 28 May 1994. 31110 & 31185 are hiding behind the hawthorn bush, at the front of the train.

31145 & 31302 Winkhill 28 May 1994

With the Caldon Low quarry buildings just visible in the background, 31145 & 31302 start to retrace their steps down the long winding branch line to Stoke-on-Trent with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 14:56 Caldon Low to Bristol Temple Meads 'Leeky Pot' railtour, seen here passing Winkhill.

31145 & 31302 Wall Grange & Longsdon 28 May 1994

When Pathfinder Tours ran their 'Leeky Pot' railtour along the Caldon Low branch on 28 May 1994, the line hadn't been used for over a decade, and although some vegetation clearance was undertaken, the line was so overgrown as to be nearly invisible in places. This picture is a good example, with some slight signs of pruning, but with just the two rails visible in the grass, and small trees growing on the old platform of Wall Grange & Longsdon station (closed in 1956). With the overhanging trees brushing the roofs of the coaches, 31145 & 31302 slowly negotiate the verdant scene with the 1Z18 14:56 Caldon Low to Bristol Temple Meads 'Leeky Pot' railtour.

31145 & 31302 Fenton 28 May 1994

31145 & 31302 slowly pass Fenton on 28 May 1994 with the 1Z18 14:56 Caldon Low to Bristol Temple Meads 'Leeky Pot' railtour. The train would shortly traverse the sharp curve that leads to the junction with the mainline at Stoke-upon-Trent station. The grassy area in the foreground, which was once occupied by sidings, has now been planted with trees.

31145 & 31302 Madeley Junction 28 May 1994

After having visited Ironbridge Power Station, 31145 & 31302 rejoin the mainline at Madeley Junction on 28 May 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z18 14:56 Caldon Low to Bristol Temple Meads 'Leeky Pot' railtour. Ironbridge was merely a bonus, as the long closed Caldon Low branch was the highlight of the tour.

31146 Milton Fen 4 November 1986

31146 passes Milton Fen, to the north of Cambridge on 4 November 1986 with two twin car DMU sets, presumably from Norwich Crown Point. This picture would be impossible to replicate today, as not only has the locomotive been cut up (at C. F. Booths of Rotherham), but also the view is obstructed by vegetation, and also by the overhead wires and masts of the late 1980s electrification, which have completely ruined the location.

31149 Hinksey 14 June 1983

31149 passes Hinksey Yard on 14 June 1983 with a Wolverton to Old Oak Common ECS. This was one of the occasional movements of refurbished stock from Wolverton via the Bicester line. Unfortunately, as it ran 'as required', and there was little information readily available in those days, I only have a few pictures of it.

31152 & 31236 South Moreton 29 May 1982

31152 & 31236 pass South Moreton on 29 May 1982 with an unidentified westbound working. Terrible high overhead backlighting, but I haven't got many pictures of pairs of Class 31s working a passenger train, except of course for railtours. All the usual information sources have failed to provide any information on this train, so any information would be gratefully received.

31154 & 31106 Honeybourne 2 May 1993

31154 & 31106 The Blackcountryman come off the Long Marston branch, and rejoin the Cotswold Line on 2 May 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1T50 14:05 Long Marston to Worcester Shrub Hill 'Saucy Slapper'! railtour. 37019 & 37218 are on the rear of the train. Note the single line token machine visible through the open door of the Honeybourne Ground Frame hut.

31154 & 31308 Forders Sidings 12 October 1998

31154 & 31308 stand at Forders Sidings on 12 October 1998, prior to leaving with the 4C51 10:45 binliner empties to Cricklewood. As I like to make sure my pictures are level when working in Photoshop, this initially proved a bit of a puzzle, until I realised that the brickworks chimney must be completely upright, and that therefore the floodlight gantry is obviously leaning one way, and the signal box the other!

31155 Oxford 21 October 1988

31155 passes through the centre road at Oxford station on 21 October 1988 with the 6A50 13:56 Bicester to Morris Cowley Speedlink, a working which survived the death of Speedlink in 1991 (albeit re-routed to Didcot), becoming what it basically already was - a dedicated MoD stores train.

31158 Hinksey 14 June 1983

Oh no, which way do I look! A worrying moment at Hinksey on 14 June 1983 as a Class 31 approaches from one direction, while a pair of Class 50s come from the other direction. Luckily there was just enough time to get both pictures. 31158 had just gone up to Oxford South Yard light engine and is now returning with a short rake of cartics, destined for Morris Cowley. Obviously a Z headcode working, as this is not in the working timetable. Heading in the opposite direction are 50004 St Vincent & 50034 Furious with the 1A22 08:50 Paddington to Oxford service.

31158 Narborough 20 October 1984

31158 approaches Narborough on 20 October 1984 with the 1E72 10:20 Birmingham New Street to Norwich service. Photo taken from a long since removed farm occupation crossing. Judging by the clouds in the background, I was quite lucky to get this in the sun!

31159 Newton Longville 15 November 1986

31159 passes Newton Longville, on the Oxford to Bletchley freight only line with the 6B20 10:20 Akeman Street to Bletchley UKF fertiliser empties on 15 November 1986. All is now history, as the fertiliser traffic no longer runs and consequently and through lack of any other traffic on the route, the line is now closed. 31159 was cut up in 1996 and even the distinctive PWA pallet vans are no longer in use. This is the only time I managed to photograph this train in good light.

31160 Ascott-under-Wychwood 4 May 1986

Under gloomy skies, 31160 waits in the engineering possession at Ascott-under-Wychwood on 4 May 1986. Although parked in a rather difficult position for photography, it does show the village of Ascott-under-Wychwood in the background, which is not normally visible in railway pictures taken from the more conventional viewpoints. Someone (possibly during the lengthy periods in the engineering occupations when nothing seems to be happening) has decided to start cleaning the large BR double arrow on the bodyside, but obviously lost interest half way through! Luckily the weather had improved by the time the train headed back to Oxford in the afternoon.

31160 Charlbury (Cornbury Park) 4 May 1986

In a brief patch of sunshine, 31160 passes Cornbury Park on the Cotswold Line, with an engineer's train returning from track relaying work at Ascott-under-Wychwood on Sunday 4 May 1986. This location is just south of Charlbury station, and the tower of St. Mary's church in Charlbury can be seen on the horizon. This loco was to gain minor celebrity status three years later when it was adorned with the hand painted name Phoenix whilst wearing Railfreight Distribution livery.

31160 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 26 May 1990

31160 Phoenix was the only member of its class to receive Railfreight Distribution livery. In this guise it is seen here at Walton Well Road, Oxford, on 26 May 1990 with another refurbished LUL underground unit en-route from Crewe to West Ruislip. Unfortunately at 07:35 the sun is not yet on the front of the train at this location, and the shadows are still a problem. However, it certainly makes an interesting historic picture.

5580 Wansford 16 January 2000

With a fisherman caught in the act of catapulting ground bait into the River Nene in the foreground, 5580 arrives at Wansford with the 12:00 service from Peterborough on 16 January 2000, during the Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. The loco was celebrating its 40th anniversary at the time. Unfortunately the English rural scene is slightly spoiled by the foreign coaching stock.

5580 Wansford 16 January 2000

5580 crosses the flood arches next to the River Nene, as it leaves at Wansford with the 13:00 service to Peterborough on 16 January 2000, during the Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. The loco is in early 1970s condition, in BR blue livery, but still with its old number, albeit without the original D prefix.

5580 Castor 16 January 2000

5580 catches the last of the weak afternoon sun, as it passes Castor on 16 January 2000 with the 13:45 Peterborough to Wansford service. It's not often you get an opportunity to photograph vintage diesels on a heritage line in mid January!

5580 Castor 19 March 2000

5580 passes Castor on 19 March 2000 with the 15:00 Peterborough to Wansford service, during the Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. The weather beaten remains of the steam age telegraph pole may match the early 1970s condition of the locomotive, but the foreign coaches are slightly out of place!

5580 Toddington 23 August 2008

Viewed from a train approaching Toddington station, 5580 heads a line up of locomotives at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's headquarters on 23 August 2008. The other locos in the line are: 47701, 37324, 47105, 24081 & 37215, with 47376 Freightliner 1995 on the left.

5580 Hailes 5 April 2009

For me the highlight of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala on 5 April 2009 was the use of 5580, which is on loan to the railway. As I had not previously got a picture of this loco on the line, I was annoyed when the sun had virtually disappeared by the time of its first run. Luckily however, a small patch of sun appeared just as it passed me at Hailes with the 11:25 Toddington to Winchcombe service.

5580 Winchcombe 5 April 2009

5580 opens up as it passes Winchcombe's home signal on 5 April 2009 during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala. It is rounding what is locally known as 'Chicken Curve' whilst working the 11:55 Winchcombe to Toddington service. The use of this loco fits in well with all the other rail blue locos on the line. In fact the only non rail blue loco is use over the Diesel Gala weekend was Class 20 D8137. Some matching coaching stock would be nice now!

5580 Winchcombe 5 April 2009

5580 crosses over the B4632 Winchcombe to Toddington road, as it pulls away from Winchcombe station on 5 April 2009 with the late running 13:56 Winchcombe to Toddington service, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala. This picture could very easily have been ruined by some brightly coloured lorry coming under the bridge at the critical moment, or even worse by one blocking out the foreground! Note the building materials reclamation yard on the left.

5580 Southam 5 April 2009

5580 has just passed Cheltenham Racecourse's fixed distant signal and is passing near the village of Southam on 5 April 2009, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala. It is working the late running 15:20 Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse service.

5580 Southam 5 April 2009

Sunday 5 April 2009 had started sunny but the latter half of the day was cloudy and by late afternoon it was very gloomy. However, just as the late running 16:15 Cheltenham Racecourse to Toddington service was about to depart a small hole opened up in the clouds. Although it would have been a lot more helpful if this lighting had happened when 5580 arrived from Toddington a few minutes earlier, this extreme backlighting with dark clouds is certainly effective. The train is pictured approaching Southam, with Cheltenham Racecourse visible on the horizon.

5580 Eardington 19 May 2016

5580 passes Eardington Crossing on 19 May 2016 with the 12:06 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. The residents of Eardington Crossing Cottage certainly have an excellent view of passing trains from their patio!

5580 Bewdley 19 May 2016

5580 leaves Bewdley on 19 May 2016 with the late running 15:08 Bewdley to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. The line curving away to the left is all that remains of the former line to Stourport-on-Severn, now possibly considered for reopening.

D5581 Bledlow 21 April 2013

D5581 passes Bledlow in the spring sunshine on 21 April 2013 with the 2T03 09:45 Chinnor to Thame Junction service, during the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway's Diesel Gala. Obviously no one is paying much attention to what headcode is being displayed, as 2T15 wasn't due to run for over another four hours!

D5581 Bledlow 21 April 2013

After one of the coldest and latest springs on record, the sycamore buds are finally starting to open, as D5581 passes Bledlow on 21 April 2013 with the 2C04 10:16 Thame Junction to Chinnor service, during the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway's Diesel Gala. As the sun would not yet be on the front of a southbound train at this time of day at this location, I opted for a more unconventional and distant viewpoint. Searching around for something to add foreground interest, I noticed this tree, and although it meant standing on a stepladder almost in the middle of the hedge in order to get just the right viewpoint, I think it was worth the effort.

97205 Kiddermimster 16 May 2019

Two class 31s were renumbered into the 97xxx series in BR days, and painted into the striking Derby Research colour scheme. 97203 (the former 31298) only had a short live in this guise, before it was withdrawn with fire damage. It was replaced by 31236, which became 97204. Now there is a third one, as the Chinnor & Princes Risborough have repainted their 31163, as the next in the series, 97205. It was the star attraction at the Severn Valley Railway's spring 2019 Diesel Gala, and is seen here leaving Kidderminster on 16 May with the 11:23 service to Bridgnorth.

97205 Bledlow 1 April 2022

Running half an hour late, 97205 (31163) passes Bledlow on 1 April 2022 with the 1P03 10:05 Chinnor to Princes Risborough service, during the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway's Diesel Gala. Unfortunately the sun disappeared just as it came into view!

97205 Bledlow 1 April 2022

An extremely unusual combination of motive power and rolling stock! 97205 (31163) passes Bledlow on 1 April 2022 with the late running 1P05 11:05 Chinnor to Princes Risborough service, during the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway's Diesel Gala. The Railway Technical Centre liveried Class 31 is hauling Class 411/9 3-CEP EMU 1198, with visiting DATS HST power car 43066 bringing up the rear.

97205 Horsenden Lane 2 April 2022

The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway's Railway Technical Centre liveried 97205 powers away from Horsenden Lane on 2 April 2022 with the 1C04 10:55 Princes Risborough to Chinnor service, during the line's Diesel Gala.

31165 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 27 October 1982

31165 heads west past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 27 October 1982 with a short test train. The leading coach is the Mk2 High Speed Track Recording Coach DB999550, easily distinguished from a distance by its red bodyside stripe. Note the dead elm trees on either side of the line, victims of the 1970s outbreak of Dutch Elm Disease.

31165 Middleton Towers 14 September 1991

31165 Stratford Major Depot leaves Middleton Towers on 14 September 1991 with the 2G53 17:00 Middleton Towers to King's Lynn special, one of a number of trains run under the banner of the 'Network Gala Day 1991'. The stock unusually consists of EMU 312715, and hidden behind the stop board protecting the level crossing in the background is 31196. 31165 was an obvious choice of motive power, as its repaint into original green livery, complete with pre TOPS D5583 number, had given it minor celebrity status.

31166 Berkeley Road 27 April 1993

31166 runs along the Sharpness Branch, on the approach to the junction with the mainline at Berkeley Road on 27 April 1993. This is the 7B73 13:00 Berkeley to Gloucester New Yard working. The customary single nuclear flask is sandwiched between two barrier vehicles, with a brake van on the rear. The train's ultimate destination would be the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield.

31167 Tockenham Wick 29 October 1983

31167 climbs Dauntsey Bank at Tockenham Wick on 29 October 1983 with the 3A03 13:40 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington premium parcels service. Not exactly 'premium' in terms of speed, as this train took approximately twice as long to complete its journey as a passenger train at the time. A good load for a 31 (depending on what's in the parcels, of course!), this would have been making quite a racket as it tackled the 1 in 100 bank.

31170 Bletchingdon 17 June 1983

31170 passes the site of Bletchingdon station on 17 June 1983 with the 4M32 16:25 Morris Cowley to Bescot car train, containing a colourful selection of British Leyland's product. As well as the woeful Austin Maestro, the train also contains a selection of Triumph Acclaims, the one car in the 1980s BL range that was properly engineered, and that was because it was basically a licence built Honda Ballade! The train was running 30 minutes early, as was often the case at the time.

31170 & 31110 Yarnton 26 June 1983

On a scorchingly hot 26 June 1983, 31170 & 31110 amble along the Oxford to Banbury line near Yarnton with a load of ballast to be used a little further up the line during track relaying works. Although not obvious here, single line working is in force, with a gang of workers working on the up line a few hundred yards further on. This location has changed considerably and certainly not for the better. It is no longer possible to get this wide open viewpoint. The footpath crossing in the background was replaced by a bridge approximately twenty years after this picture was taken.

31170 & 25058 Natton 24 April 1986

31170 & 25058 pass Natton on 24 April 1986 with the 7M14 09:35 Severn Tunnel Junction to Bescot Speedlink. This was running 165 minutes late, which means that the lighting is only terrible, rather than completely hopeless, that it would have been at the booked time! Despite the severe backlighting, it was worth recording for the Class 31/25 motive power combination.

31170 Swanbourne 20 February 1988

31170 passes Swanbourne in atrocious light on 20 February 1988 with the 6M18 10:40 Akeman Street to Bletchley UKF fertiliser empties. This section of the former Oxford to Bletchley line was mothballed in 1993. Just 35 minutes earlier 56045 had passed by with the 6M24 07:25 Whatley to Wolverton ARC stone train.

31175 & 31323 Cossington 19 August 1985

31175 & 31323 pass Cossington on 19 August 1985 with the 6E69 12:30 Langley to Humber empty oil tanks. This was running 15 minutes early, presumably therefore it had not been held for the booked 16 minutes at the nearby Syston North Junction.

31179 Cheltenham 17 November 1982

At least the people in the coach are warm! 31179 pulls into Cheltenham Spa station with an inspection saloon on 17 November 1982, with plenty of evidence that the steam heating is working. 31179 was equipped with electric train heating and renumbered to 31 435 a couple of years after this picture was taken. It has since been preserved and is now to be found at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, wearing its original green livery and carrying its original number D5600.

31180 Ashchurch 28 June 1987

31180 approaches Ashchurch on 28 June 1987 with the 3V36 20:18 Leeds to Bristol Temple Meads parcels. This train had an extremely easy schedule, leaving Leeds on Saturday evening, and not booked to arrive a Bristol until 09:32 on the Sunday morning.

31181 South Moreton 12 September 1985

31181 passes South Moreton on 12 September 1985 with a complete rake of refurbished Mk 3 HST coaches, en-route from BREL Derby Litchurch Lane to Old Oak Common. Surprisingly routed along the main line, the 31 was struggling to regain speed, after weaving across from the relief line near Didcot.

31184, 31296 & 31276 Melton Ross 21 August 1992

Having just been brought out of their weekly storage at Immingham, ready for some weekend engineering work, 31184, 31296 & 31276 pass Melton Ross on 21 August 1992. Another very similar convoy had passed by a short while earlier.

31185 & 31554 Spetchley 15 September 1996

The main Birmingham to Bristol line is temporarily reduced to a single track, as weekend engineering work takes place on 15 September 1996 to replace the down line. 31185 & 31554 are in attendance at Spetchley, standing in the work site, while various machinery is at work on the course of the down line.

31185 & 31554 Defford 15 September 1996

31185 & 31554 pass Defford on 15 September 1996 with a Spetchley to Bescot spoil train. As the locos were facing south in the engineering possession at Spetchley, they had to travel to Gloucester to run round, so two hours later they were back, in reverse formation.

31188 & 31205 Clay Mills (Hargate) 4 September 1991

Just imagine the racket this pair are making! 31188 & 31205 pass Clay Mills (Hargate) on 4 September 1991 with the 6M57 09:48 Humber to Kingsbury oil tanks. Although this pair look a bit scruffy, most of the times that I photographed 31s on this working they looked a good deal worse. Although whenever I used to visit this location in the 1980s and early 1990s it was always referred to as Clay Mills, nowadays it seems to be known as Hargate, after a former signal box, but you trying finding any mention of Hargate on the OS map!

31188 & 31163 Ravenhead 17 September 1994

31188 & 31163 pass Ravenhead (near St Helens) on 17 September 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1T70 17:24 Liverpool Lime Street to Wigan Wallgate section of the multi-traction 'Lancastrian' railtour. This section of line is now electrified.

31189 Long Marston 6 September 1984

31189 stands in Long Marston army depot on 6 September 1984 with a train of Royal Engineers bridging equipment. I did take a conventional picture of the train leaving, but this 200mm lens view gives a much better view of the depot, with its various MoD stock, including several rakes of wooden bodied open wagons. A pair of Thomas Hill MoD shunters can be seen in the distance. Note the complete lack of hi-vis clothing on the rail workers walking alongside the train.

31189 Long Marston 6 September 1984

31189 leaves Long Marston army depot on 6 September 1984 with a lengthy train of Royal Engineers bridging equipment. As with most MoD traffic at the time, this would travel on to Worcester, rather than reversing and heading down the Cotswold Line to Oxford. This explains why I have very few pictures of these trains, plus of course the sporadic nature of the traffic. The track of the former line to Stratford-upon-Avon had not long been lifted when this picture was taken, and shows up as a line of clean ballast visible all the way to the site of Long Marston station in the distance.

31189 Hinksey 4 July 1985

Always a safe bet for Class 31 haulage in the 1980s, the 3V19 04:50 Banbury to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans passes Hinksey Yard on 4 July 1985, with 31189 in charge. Booked to lay over in Oxford until 09:35, it therefore ran at an ideal time for photography south of the city, although on this occasion the train was running over an hour late.

31189 Portway 19 August 1985

31189 passes Portway on 19 August 1985 with the 4D51 12:18 Lawley Street to Nottingham freightliner. The working timetable unusually indicates that this should be worked by a Class 25, which if it had actually happened would have doubled my total of Class 25 freightliner pictures! A Class 31 is an adequate substitute, but a few more boxes at the front of the train would have been nice!

31190 & 31224 Black Bank 20 May 1991

31190 & 31224 head east across the flat fenland landscape at Black Bank on 20 May 1991 with a loaded ballast train, composed of vintage vacuum braked 16 ton open wagons. Note that three wagons have been spruced up with the application of the then current 'Dutch' departmental livery.

31190 Dolwyddelen 27 August 1994

31190 passes Dolwyddelen on 27 August 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 07:07 York to Trawsfynydd 'Trawsfynydd Trekker' railtour. For once the weather has behaved itself and provided sunshine at the critical moment. The slightly elevated viewpoint gives an excellent view of the area, with Pont y Llan Bridge being just in the right position for a perfect picture. Dolwyddelen station can just be seen underneath the bridge, behind 31327, which is on the rear of the train.

31190 Cydnerth 27 August 1994

31190 passes Cydnerth (between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd) with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 07:07 York to Trawsfynydd 'Trawsfynydd Trekker' railtour on 27 August 1994, with 31327 bringing up the rear. Although the lighting angle is not ideal for the train, the sudden burst of sunshine was most welcome, especially with the bulk of Manod Bach and Manod Mawr still largely under clouds in the background. The sheep don't seem too impressed, and are eager to get away from the train!

31190 Maentwrog Road 27 August 1994

31190 brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 14:58 Trawsfynydd to York 'Trawsfynydd Trekker' railtour at Maentwrog Road on 27 August 1994. The former station at Maentwrog Road was well over two miles from the village of Maentwrog.

31190 Teiliau 27 August 1994

The Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 14:58 Trawsfynydd to York 'Trawsfynydd Trekker' railtour on 27 August 1994 negotiates one of the many sharp bends on the Blaenau Ffestiniog to Trawsfyndd branch. 31190 brings up the rear at Teiliau, while out of sight at the front of the train is 31327.

31190 Bethania 27 August 1994

With the mountains rising up behind the houses of Blaenau Ffestiniog in the background, 31190 brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 14:58 Trawsfynydd to York 'Trawsfynydd Trekker' railtour at Bethania on 27 August 1994. Although the earlier sunshine had unfortunately disappeared, I still like this picture, especially the way the curved line of houses on the other side of the field mirrors the curve of the train.

D5613 Bishops Itchington 14 November 2009

D5613 (31190) has full power applied as it struggles northwards at Bishops Itchington on 14 November 2009 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z22 06:07 Eastleigh to Donnington Freight Terminal 'Boot and Hoot' railtour. It had taken over from 66139 at Fenny Compton, approximately two miles away, and as a 31 isn't exactly overpowered when hauling a nine coach train, no speed records were being broken. In fact a CrossCountry Voyager was following right behind at reduced speed, with a Wrexham & Shropshire service directly behind that, both being held up by this vintage loco!

31190 Honeybourne 7 February 2013

With its engine switched off, and no crew members anywhere around, 31190 sits on the back road at Honeybourne station on 7 February 2013, with a short rake of flat wagons forming the 6Z31 Long Marston to Stoke Marcroft Engineering. The booked departure time from Long Marston was 14:20, whereas it actually left at 12:45, hence the long layover at Honeybourne. Note the copy of Rail magazine behind the centre windscreen!

31190 Badsey 7 February 2013

Passing a row of dilapidated sheds that seem to be gradually collapsing into the lineside vegetation, 31190 (D5613) passes Badsey on 7 February 2013 with the 6Z31 Long Marston to Stoke Marcroft Engineering wagon move. This was booked to leave Long Marston at 14:20, but left over ninety minutes early, and therefore spent a long time at Honeybourne, waiting for its path to Worcester. Despite the dreadful light, and the uninspiring load, I wasn't going to miss the chance of getting a picture of a green Class 31 on the Cotswold Line.

D5613 Heyford 31 July 2013

D5613 (31190) passes Heyford in miserable conditions on 31 July 2013 with the 6Z31 08:16 Eastleigh to Washwood Heath wagon transfer move. Despite the awful weather (at least it had stopped raining!), I wasn't going to miss the chance of getting a picture of some proper vintage traction on the mainline. With just three wagons, the train easily fits in this somewhat restricted viewpoint. It is hard to believe now that this spot wasn't always as overgrown as this. In fact, twenty five years earlier there was an unobstructed view across the fields to the nearby village of Rousham.

D5613 Yarnton 12 May 2015

Making a good old fashioned English Electric racket, D5613 (31190) passes Yarnton on 12 May 2015 with the 5Z31 09:23 Eastleigh Works to Crewe Carriage Sidings ECS move. Despite there being nowhere in the Oxford area that wasn't backlit, I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to photograph a green Class 31 with carmine and cream, and chocolate and cream Mk1 coaches, something that it certainly not an everyday sight on the national network, and this isn't even a railtour! For those interested, the coaches are: 35469, 3097, 21272, 1813, 3149 & 1699.

31191 & 31117 Bourton 13 July 1985

31191 & 31117 approach Bourton on 13 July 1985, heading west. Unfortunately I have no details of this working, so if anyone can help, that would be much appreciated. The previous day 31191 had worked a Paddington to Swansea relief, so I am guessing that this could possibly be the returning ECS of a Wales to London special in connection with Live Aid at Wembley.

31191 Postwick 29 August 1992

The 1L93 08:50 Birmingham New Street to Great Yarmouth Regional Railways service was worked by Railfreight Class 47s during the summer of 1992. However, on 29 August the train was entrusted to Civil Engineer's 31191, which is seen here passing Postwick with a lengthy freshly painted rake of Regional Railways Mk2s.

31191 Great Yarmouth 29 August 1992 Having arrived with the 1L93 08:50 Birmingham New Street to Great Yarmouth Regional Railways service on 29 August 1992, 31191 runs round the stock at Great Yarmouth, prior to working the ECS to Norwich Crown Point. In the background is 47462 Cambridge Traction & Rolling Stock Depot, which is waiting to leave with the 1P31 14:10 departure for Liverpool Street.
31196 & 31165 Waterbeach 14 September 1991

31196 & 31165 (D5583) Stratford Major Depot pass through Waterbeach station on 14 September 1991, hauling Class 312 EMU 312715 as the 2G31 09:08 Cambridge to King's Lynn 'Network Gala Day Special', one of a number of specials operated by Network SouthEast on this day.

31199 Warrington 25 March 1993

During the mid 1990s, Trainload Coal Class 31s were employed as MGR drawback locos at Warrington Arpley. 31199 is pictured returning to its siding at Warrington on 25 March 1993, after another brief burst of activity.

31200 Standish Junction 27 June 1991

31200 approaches Standish Junction on 27 June 1991 with the 7M53 14:08 Bridgwater to Sellafield nuclear flasks. This was at a time when it was considered safe enough to run a nuclear flask train with a single locomotive, and a not always 100% reliable Class 31 at that!

31201 & 31450 Slindon 15 May 1997

During their last years as EWS locomotives, the Class 31s were in a terrible state, as witnessed here on 15 May 1997 at Slindon by 31201 & 31450 on the 6S44 Willesden to Mossend Enterprise service. 31201 doesn't look like it has had a wash in years, and also has been repaired with a cab door from a blue liveried loco, while 31450 is clearly not in the best of health, as it appears to be boiling over, with coolant spewing out of the roof and streaming down the side. Already running 25 minutes late, I presume this delay only got worse!

31203 Patney & Chirton 9 April 1999

During early 1999, a series of vacuum brake driver refresher specials took place along the Berks & Hants line, using either a Class 31 or 37 locomotive. Unfortunately when ever I went out for it the weather was usually poor. On 9 April 1999 it was the turn of 31203, and it is seen here passing the site of Patney & Chirton station (closed in 1966) with the 09:57 West Drayton to West Drayton (via Westbury). At least one of the drivers in the cab appreciated being photographed, as there was a fanfare of horns as it passed me!

31204 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 17 August 1978

31204 passes Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 17 August 1978 with the 4A21 12:05 Malago Vale to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans. Apologies for the very poor quality of this image, but it is one of my very earliest railway photos, and the combination of a Praktica PLC2 on a dull day is not a recipe for high quality! Despite Class 31s regularly working these trains, and the reasonably frequent premium parcels services, I have got very few pictures of them.

31206 Shallowford 12 August 1989

31206 catches a brief sunny spell amid the clouds, as it ambles past Shallowford on 12 August 1989 with a single ZDA civil engineer's wagon. The location is just south of Norton Bridge, not far from the quaint half timbered Izaak Walton's Cottage Museum.

31215 & 31161 Newton Longville 15 November 1986

A very poor picture, but such a massively rare working that I just had to include it here. 31215 & 31161 pass Newton Longville on 15 November 1986 conveying one of the three London Transport Central Line 1986 tube stock prototypes. Two of these units were built by Metro Cammel, but this is unit B, constructed by BREL at Derby. It is seen here on its delivery run, en-route to Neasden. The three units only lasted in service for a few years, with no follow up orders, although they did lead to the development of the 1992 stock. I was certainly not expecting this train, as I had gone to this location to photograph 31159 on the UKF fertiliser empties, and was astonished to see another pair of 31s approaching from the opposite direction! Normally I would regard the sun breaking through the early morning fog as the train approached as being a miracle, but here it was a nuisance, as the shot from the north side of the line allowed a much clearer view. I hadn't considered the trackside bushes would be a problem here, as I wasn't expecting anything from this direction!

31217 Engine Common 5 July 1990

31217 passes Engine Common on 5 July 1990 with the 7M53 14:00 Bridgwater to Sellafield nuclear flasks. This loco had a working life of 33 years, being new to Finsbury Park depot in 1960, and being withdrawn after a traction motor fire at Stockport in 1993.

31224 & 31190 Whittlesea 20 May 1991

Viewed from the B1093 level crossing at the western end of the station, 31224 & 31190 approach Whittlesea on 20 May 1991 with a rake of spoil wagons. The locos would return later in the day with a different set of wagons.

31224 & 31190 Black Bank 20 May 1991

A pair of red stripe Railfreight liveried Class 31s in perfect evening light - things don't get much better than this! 31224 & 31190 head north across the Cambridgeshire Fens at Black Bank (near Ely) with a train of ballast hoppers on 20 May 1991.

31233 Oxfird North Junction 28 July 1983

31233 waits at Oxford North Junction on 28 July 1983, prior to heading to Bicester with a single brake van. The loco returned later with the Speedlink trip, but 50032 Courageous also seems to have visited Bicester, as the brake van returned with its train. All very odd!

31233 Hinksey 28 July 1983

31233 passes Hinksey Yard on 28 July 1983 with what I would ordinarily think was the 6A50 13:56 Bicester to Morris Cowley Speedlink trip, but as 50032 Courageous had passed by just five minutes earlier with a similar train, I'm not so sure. 31233 returned an hour later. Class 50s and 31s on mixed freights five minutes apart - those were the days!

31233 Hinksey 28 July 1983

31233 passes Hinksey Yard on 28 July 1983, returning from Morris Cowley with a Speedlink trip, possibly heading for the West Midlands, although this is not the normal 4M32 16:25 Morris Cowley to Bescot, which ran a couple of hours later.

31233 Northwood Lane 7 May 1993

31233 was named Severn Valley Railway at Crewe Diesel Depot on 6 May 1993, prior to its use at the eponymous line's Diesel Gala the following day. It is seen here passing Northwood Lane on 7 May en-route from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster. The trackbed in the foreground is the course of the former line to Tenbury Wells.

31233 Northwood Lane 7 May 1993

Newly named 31233 Severn Valley Railway passes Bewdley's banner repeater signal at Northwood Lane on 7 May 1993, as it works a Kidderminster to Bridgnorth train, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala.

31233, 37419 & 37415 Great Roacks 9 August 1995

37419 & 37415 Mt Etna apparently failed prior to working the 7F50 16:24 Tunstead to Oakleigh stone train on 9 August 1995. The errant pair are pictured at Great Rocks being dragged away by 31233 Severn Valley Railway. The train eventually left behind 37108 & 37416.

31233 & 31201 Winwick 17 August 1996

With a baler at work in the field on the right, 31233 Severn Valley Railway & 31201 passes Winwick on 17 August 1996 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z69 13:40 Crewe to Crewe (via Chester) 'Crewe - Chester Flyer' railtour. This was a mini-tour in connection with a special train from Exeter.

31233 & 31201 Rowton 17 August 1996

31233 Severn Valley Railway & 31201 passes Rowton on 17 August 1996 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z69 13:40 Crewe to Crewe (via Chester) 'Crewe - Chester Flyer' railtour. This was a mini-tour in connection with the main tour from Exeter, which would shortly be heading back to Devon behind 37010 & 37042. I didn't realise it at the time, but whilst waiting for this train, along with several other photographers, I was myself photographed!

31233 Burton Salmon 19 January 1998

31233 Severn Valley Railway runs light engine past Burton Salmon on 19 January 1998. This view clearly shows the raised cowl around the radiator fan, which was fitted to some Class 31s in an attempt to improve the cooling efficiency.

31233 Manea 11 March 1999

One other photographer was on hand at Manea on 11 March 1999, to witness 31233 Severn Valley Railway pass through the station with the 6G30 11:40 Brandon to Chirk loaded timber train. This short train carrying logs in OTA wagons, was regularly worked by one of the dwindling number of Class 31s. Unfortunately it did not run for very long, and I didn't manage to get a well lit picture of it. Therefore this poor weather example will have to serve as a record.

31233 Harrowden Junction 11 January 2014

A golden glint lights up 31233 at Harrowden Junction on 11 January 2014, as it heads out of the early morning sun with the 3Z05 06:28 South Acton to Derby RTC Network Rail test train. DBSO 9708 was bringing up the rear. The junction visible here is the connection between the main line and the bi-directional relief line in the foreground.

31233 Hinksey 11 February 2016

Definitely travelling at its booked 90mph, despite being just about the oldest locomotive on the national network, 31233 races past Hinksey Yard on 11 February 2016 with the 1Q04 09:52 Derby RTC to Derby RTC (via Reading) Network Rail test train. 97301 is bringing up the rear. As this is an easily accessible location with a perfect angle for the sun, I was surprised that there wasn't the usual crowd of photographers here.

31235 Danemoor Green 24 March 2002

31235 passes Danemoor Green on 24 March 2002 with the late running 13:50 Wymondham to Dereham service, during the Mid Norfolk Railway's Diesel Gala. 50019 Ramillies & 47309 can be seen on the rear of the train. This section of the line now looks very different, with the installation of double track.

31246 Oxford 1 December 1983

31246 leaves a dull and slightly misty Oxford on 1 December 1983 with the 3V19 04:50 Banbury to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans. If you are wondering how it is possible to have a daylight picture of a train with this early a departure from Banbury in nearly midwinter, it is simply explained by the train's booked layover time at Oxford from 05:22 to 09:35. It is here leaving the customary five minutes early, after having had more than ample time to attach the required vans in Oxford's bay platform. The loco is long gone, and so is the carriage of newspapers by rail.

31250 Whittlesea 20 May 1991

31250 passes Whittlesea station on 20 May 1991 with a lengthy rake of spoil wagons. 31250 was new to Finsbury Park (as D5678) in December 1960. It spent most of its working life on the Eastern Region, only moving to Toton in 1994, shortly before it was withdrawn. It was cut up at T.J.Thomson at Stockton in 2000.

31255 Manea 4 November 1986

31255 approaches Manea station in an extremely lucky brief patch of sunshine amid the dark clouds on 4 November 1986. The train, which was running exactly to time, is the 9H77 13:34 Whitemoor to Cambridge departmental working, which on this occasion was also conveying six coal hoppers (5 HBAs and a single HAA).

31256 Ruscombe 28 May 1983

31256 heads west through the rain at Ruscombe on 28 May 1983 with the BR Exhibition Train. I have seen very few pictures of this distinctive train, even fewer of it on the move, so I am quite pleased with this, despite the dire weather conditions. There was a whole series of these exhibition vehicles, whose numbers ran in the 996xx series. The livery varied over time. Note the inclusion on this occasion of a standard blue and grey restaurant coach.

31257 Cheddington 28 April 1990

I clearly wasn't stood in the ideal position to photograph this train, but I seem to remember that I was at the other end of the station when I saw it approaching, so had to run down the platform in order to get any kind of picture at all! 31257 heads north through Cheddington station on 28 April 1990 with an interesting collection of rolling stock, including a couple of BR Exhibition Train vehicles. The only time I remember seeing the distinctive liveried second vehicle was in 1983, coincidentally hauled by 31256.

31259 South Moreton (Didcot East) 16 September 1978

One of my earliest railway photographs, taken with a Praktica PLC2, which explains the mediocre quality. 31259 passes South Moreton (Didcot East) on 16 September 1978 with the 3A03 12:50 Swansea to Paddington premium parcels service, running exactly to time. This is hardly surprising, given the train's easy schedule, and light load.

31259 & 31117 Purton 4 April 1982

31259 & 31117 pass the site of Purton station on 4 April 1982 with the 3A16 Gloucester to Old Oak Common empty vans. There is still some evidence of the old station, with a GWR corrugated iron lamp hut visible in the middle distance. It is interesting to note that all the vehicles visible in this picture were manufactured in Britain. The Class 31s (Loughborough), Hillman Imp (Linwood), Jaguar XJ6 (Coventry) & Reliant Scimitar (Tamworth). Unfortunately if such a scene was repeated today I don't think there would be many British products on view!

31259 & 31286 Shrivenham 25 October 1985

A welcome surprise at Shrivenham on 25 October 1985. Instead of the usual Class 56, a pair of Class 31s were rostered to work the 6V38 11:52 Wolverton to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. 31259 & 31286 are pictured passing Shrivenham in the weak afternoon sunshine. Previously worked by pairs of 37s, by 1985 the stone trains on this route were either worked by 47s or 56s, so this was definitely a welcome bonus. It is the only time that I saw 31s on this duty.

31260 & 31222 Weston-on-Trent 16 October 1986

What a dilemma. A pair of 31s coming from one direction, and a pair of 20s from the other! Luckily there was just time to get both pictures. 31260 & 31222 pass Weston-on-Trent on 16 October 1986 with the 6M57 09:57 Lindsey to Kingsbury oil tanks, while 20126 & 20122 head in the other direction with MGR empties. Ratcliffe Power Station dominates the background.

31268 Basingstoke 27 September 1987

31268 on display at the Basingstoke Rail Show on 27 September 1987. The red stripe Railfreight livery suited his class well, as although it is not quite as obvious as on the Class 20 and 58 locos that also carried this livery, there is a clear dividing line where the solebar meets the body, giving a natural edge to the red stripe.

31269, 31194, 31211 & 31265 Swindon 25 October 1982

The economic downturn of the early 1980s resulted in numerous BR locomotives being put into store, especially older types such as Class 31s. On 25 October 1982, a line of stored 31s is pictured in front of Swindon Works. At the front is 31269, with an extremely faded, almost white front end. Behind it are: 31194, 31211 & 31265. Although it seemed at the time that the end was imminent for these locos, that was far from the case, as they were all overhauled and fitted with ETH. 31269 became 31429, 31194 became 31427, 31211 became 31428 & 31265 became 31430 (and later 31530). Some printed sources suggest that at least two of these locos left Swindon for Doncaster on 19 October. They clearly didn't! Of note is the fact that there is no sign of any movement in the track workers, despite the žsec exposure required for this 200mm lens view.

31270 Kidderminster 20 May 2023

31270 Athena leaves Kidderminster station on 20 May 2023 with the 08:45 service to Bridgnorth. With a Colas Class 56 in the background, and a GWR HST on the left, there is no mistaking that this is during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala.

31270 Foley Park Tunnel 20 May 2023

With a train full of passengers clearly enjoying the English Electric 12SVT thrash, 31270 Athena approaches Foley Park Tunnel on 20 May 2023 with the 10:30 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's very successful Spring Diesel Gala.

31271 & 31301 Woburn Sands 28 April 1990

31271 & 31301 pass through Woburn Sands station on 28 April 1990 with the Forders Sidings to Willesden spoil empties. This short term contract was in connection with the North Circular road widening. Unfortunately the vintage wooden platform shelter, and the bracket semaphore signal have both since been removed. The only really modern elements in this picture are the red Network SouthEast seats and lamp posts!

31271 Castor 1 March 2008

31271 Stratford 1840-2001 passes Castor on the Nene Valley Railway with the 2E47 11:33 Wansford to Peterborough service during the line's Diesel Gala on 1 March 2008. After a sunny start, the cloud built up rapidly during the day, leading to some anxious moments as the trains came into view. The long stretches of straight track and the 25mph speed limit mean you keep watching the train expectantly as the clouds pass across the sun! Luckily all was well with on this occasion.

31271 Llangollen 9 July 2023

31271 Stratford 1840-2001 arrives at Llangollen station on 9 July 2023 with the 11:50 service from Corwen. The loco carries Trainload Construction livery and a Stratford Cockney Sparrow depot plaque, and apart from now being named Stratford 1840-2001, is in the same condition as when I saw it at work on the national network 33 years earlier.

31273 Knighton 17 August 1978

31273 passes the site of Knighton Crossing (near Uffington) on 17 August 1978 with the 3C07 15:33 Paddington to Swansea premium parcels. This is one of my very earliest railway pictures, which explains why I took it from the wrong side for the light! At least it was taken on Kodachrome 64, rather than the awful Perutz C18 film that the camera shop sold me with my first camera!

31273 Oddington 26 April 2018

31273 passes Oddington on 26 April 1984 with what is presumably the very late running 9M44 05:45 Old Oak Common to Wolverton ECS. These empty stock workings were somewhat erratic, and this is one of the very few pictures that I managed to get of it on the Oxford to Wolverton line.

31276 & 31217 Malago Vale 5 April 1990

31276 Calder Hall Power Station & 31217 passes the derelict Malago Vale carriage sidings, near Bristol on 5 April 1990 with the 7M53 14:00 Bridgwater to Sellafield nuclear flasks, running early as was usual at the time. Both locomotives were allocated to the Crewe FHAC pool at the time, and carry Trainload Coal livery. In reality of course it was nuclear material rather than fossilised trees that they spent their time ferrying about.

31277 South Moreton 12 September 1985

31277 passes South Moreton on 12 September 1985 with an interesting but short train, comprising what appears to be a breakdown train coach, and a research department vehicle. In those pre gen days it was very difficult to find the details of such trains. I am guessing Old Oak Common to Bristol.

31286 & 31154 Kingsbury 11 September 1990

Having propelled their train out of Kingsbury oil depot, across the crossover, and back past the signal, 31286 & 31154 get under way again at Kingsbury on 11 September 1990 with the 6E59 Kingsbury to Lindsey empty oil tanks. This manoeuvre, with the wagons snaking out over the pointwork looks dangerous, and in fact there have been several derailments over the years.

31288 Wantage Road 20 January 1979

31288 emerges from the fog at Wantage Road on 20 January 1979 with the 4A21 11:55 Bristol Temple Meads to Old Oak Common newspaper empties. The filthy state of the loco matches the gloomy weather. Although taken on Kodachrome 64, the poor light and the Praktica PLC2 camera have not helped the quality, however it does give a feel of the general drabness of the 1970s railway. Also, it clearly shows another aspect of railway photography in those days, as it is taken from the old platform at Wantage Road station, which was not really fenced off at all. Although perfectly safe, anybody attempting to take pictures from such locations nowadays would soon get apprehended. In the 1970s it was considered totally normal, and nobody bothered you!

31288 Oxford 1 August 1986

31288 passes through the centre road of Oxford station on 1 August 1986 with the 6V19 06:32 Bescot to Didcot Speedlink. Presumably the cartics will be dropped off at Morris Cowley, before the other two wagons are tripped onwards to Didcot. 31288 was withdrawn in May 1991, and cut up the following year at Booth Roe Metals, Rotherham.

31289 Hinksey 8 May 1985

On a very gloomy 8 May 1985, 31289 pulls slowly out of Hinksey Yard with the 6M93 16:20 Morris Cowley to Bescot Speedlink. It had called at the yard purely to be overtaken by 58016 on a northbound coal empties. As can be seen by the deserted sidings in the background, this was the period when Hinksey Yard was effectively disused

31289 Harbury 5 August 1991

31289 passes Harbury on 5 August 1991 with the 4V16 09:40 Washwood Heath to Morris Cowley car body panels. I wish I had taken more pictures at this location. I made several visits during 1991, but was horrified when I returned over a decade later to find that this classic view had been lost due to Network Rail's total lack of any kind of lineside vegetation management.

31290 South Moreton 18 March 1990

31290 passes South Moreton on 18 March 1990 with the 9X03 West Ruislip to Crewe LUL underground stock for refurbishment. This will stable overnight at Didcot. There is plenty of brake van provision here, with one at the front, and two at the rear, in addition to the two barrier wagons.

31293 Abbotswood 6 July 1985

31293 passes Abbotswood on 6 July 1985 with the 12:55 York to Swansea relief. Not only is the sight of a Class 31 on a rake of blue and grey Mk 1 coaches now a thing of the past, but also the provision of relief services to cope with unexpected seasonal demand is also something that today's railway is ill-equipped to provide. It didn't really help much in this case however, as the 31 failed at Miskin. It was probably tempting fate by only using one anyway!

31294 & 31231 Oxford 5 July 1980

I have a few pictures of Class 31s on the Cotswold Line, but not of a double headed passenger train. However, if I had been in a different place on 5 July 1980, I could have got one. Instead, I was at Oxford station when most unexpectedly 31294 & 31231 rolled in with the 1B30 08:00 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill service. Unfortunately the sun was behind a cloud as it entered the station, so I had to make do with the close up view as it waits at the end of platform 2.

31294, 31215 & 31282 Melton Ross 21 August 1992

By mid 1992, a lot of Class 31s had been demoted to weekend use only, being put into store on a Monday, and resurrected each Friday for use on weekend engineering works. This led to the commonplace sight of cavalcades of locos heading away from Immingham on a Friday. Here we see 31294, 31215 & 31282 passing Melton Ross on 21 August 1992. A short while later there was another very similar convoy.

31296 Ufton Nervet 16 September 1978

31296 approaches the level crossing at Ufton Nervet on 16 September 1978. There were formerly loops on both sides of the line here, but the up loop was removed even prior to the removal of the semaphore signalling in the mid 1970s. As can be seen here, the down loop was still clearly in use, as it is today.

31296 Swindon 25 October 1982

31296 passes through Swindon station on 25 October 1982 with a train of Grampus wagons loaded with spent ballast. The trackwork has been altered since this picture was taken, with the removal of the trap point, and the extension of what was at this time a parcels loop, to form the new down main line.

31301 Long Marston 19 December 2007

The 5Z85 10:05 Gloucester to Long Marston stock move on 19 December 2007 brought four Class 31s for storage, from their previous storage site at Meldon Quarry. 31437, 31423, 31301 & 31439 are pictured arriving at Long Marston hauled by 47237. While 31437 just looks like a normal tatty Dutch liveried 31, and both 31423 & 31439 have received a coat of blue paint (at least on the sides), 31301 is a fine example to all modellers that you can never have too much weathering! This is what nearly ten years in open storage does. Amid all the rust, graffiti and remnants of the Railfreight red stripe livery, traces of the earlier rail blue livery can also bee seen.

31302 Wickwar Tunnel 10 August 1985

31302 emerges from Wickwar Tunnel at 15:55 on 10 August 1985 with what is presumably a relief, or special working to Bristol. Unfortunately I have been unable to find out any more details, so any information would be gratefully received. I can only assume it was heading for Bristol, as it returned 75 minutes later.

31302 Wickwar Tunnel 10 August 1985

With eleven Mk1s in tow, 31302 approaches Wickwar Tunnel on 10 August 1985, heading north from Bristol with an unidentified working. This was only 75 minutes after the same ensemble passed by in the opposite direction.

31302 & 31255 Barrow upon Trent 26 June 1991

31302 & 31255 pass Barrow upon Trent on 26 June 1991 with the 6E54 11:40 Kingsbury to Humber oil empties. With hindsight I should have made more of an effort to photograph this train, as it was booked for a pair of 31s at this time. However, in 1991 there was so much to photograph in other parts of the country!

31304 Narroways Hill Junction 3 March 1994

31304 passes Narroways Hill Junction on 3 March 1994 with the 7M53 14:03 Bridgewater to Sellafield nuclear flasks. As was often the case, this was running early. In the 1990s even a single Class 31 could be trusted with a flask train, rather than the pointless double heading of today!

31305 Baulking 3 May 1985

31305 passes Baulking on 3 May 1985 with the 3C07 15:50 Paddington to Swansea premium parcels services. I suppose the modern equivalent to this is a fleet of private parcel carrier's vans clogging up the motorway!

31306 Eckington 9 April 1983

I don't normally take pictures of light engines, but couldn't resist this one. 31306 heads south over the River Avon at Eckington on 9 April 1983. A pity the breeze has slightly spoiled the reflection, but it could have been a lot worse! Note the huge tree trunk that has managed to get itself impaled on the right hand pier, now well above the water line.

31308 & 31202 Whitemoor 16 August 1988

31308 & 31202 are pictured at the southern end of Whitemmor Yard on 16 August 1988. This huge marshalling yard just to the north of March was once the largest in Britain, but by 1988 had given up the northern end of the site for the construction of Whitemmor Prison.

31308 & 31202 Horsemoor 16 August 1988

31308 & 31202 run alongside the March to Hook road at Horsemoor on 16 August 1988 with the 6Y41 14:23 Redland stone train from March, destined for either Barham or Kennett. While 31308 would carry on working for many years, 31202 would be written off in spectacular fashion a couple of months later. It ran away whilst coupled to 31226 at Cricklewood on 28 October 1988, and crashed through the buffer stop at the end of the siding, dropping a considerable distance onto the North Circular Road. That was bad enough, but 31226 then landed on top of it, instantly rendering it banana shaped!

31308, 31271 & 31514 Banbury 10 August 1996

31308, 31271 & 31514 approach Banbury on 10 August 1996 with the 33111 Charters 1Z63 06:44 Preston to Kensington Olympia 'Multiple Marauder' railtour. With plenty of power available, this ensemble nearly reached the magic 100mph in the Thames Valley, but unfortunately 31514 then decided to thrown in the towel, and afterwards became a dead weight until the loco change at Kensington Olympia, which saw three Class 33s take over for the 1Z20 12:10 Kensington Olympia to Kensington Olympia (via Cambridge, Ipswich and Chelmsford).

31308 & 31154 Kempston 12 October 1998

31308 & 31154 pass Kempston on 12 October 1998 with the 6A61 08:00 Cricklewood to Forders Sidings binliner. Just look at the size of those rusty holes on the front of 31308! Obviously it was in much better mechanical shape than it was cosmetically, as it managed to survive in traffic for another year.

31315 Great Hale 11 August 1984

With the spire of St Andrews church, Heckington visible in the background, 31315 passes Great Hale on 11 August 1984 with the late running 1D20 09:00 Leeds to Skegness service. A relic from the steam age, Heckington goods shed can just be seen in the background. Equally ancient are the telegraph wires, once a common feature often getting in the way of good railway photography.

31320 & 31467 Firsby 17 September 1988

31320 & 31467 reduce speed to little more than a crawl, as they approach the extremely sharp curve at Firsby (a relic of the junction with the former line to Louth) with the 1D22 10:42 Skegness to Leeds service on 17 September 1988. This was the second double headed working within half an hour, 20005 & 20048 having passed by a little earlier.

31327 & 31294 Rylstone 27 October 1990

31327 & 31294 approach Rylstone on 27 October 1990 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z38 06:25 Swindon to Rylstone 'Rylstone Cowboy' railtour. As the actual destination was the Tilcon quarry at Swinden, this was a Swindon to Swinden train!

31327 & 31294 Rystone (Swinden Quarry) 27 October 1990

31327 & 31294 are dwarfed by the lime coated buildings of Swinden Quarry, at Rylstone on 27 October 1990. They have just arrived with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z38 'Rylstone Cowboy' railtour from Swindon. This deliberately distant viewpoint was chosen to show how small the train appears amid the industrial setting.

31327 Teiliau 27 August 1994

31327 passes Teiliau on 27 August 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 14:58 Trawsfynydd to York 'Trawsfynydd Trekker' railtour. 31190 is bringing up the rear. This line was kept open to serve the nuclear power station, but finally succumbed in 1998.

31327 Blaenau Ffestiniog 27 August 1994

Surrounded by the grey slate spoil heaps of the Gloddfa Ganol Slate Mine, 31327 slowly approaches the entrance to Ffestiniog Tunnel on 27 August 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 14:58 Trawsfynydd to York 'Trawsfynydd Trekker' railtour. 31190 can be seen on the rear of the train. This whole area around Blaenau Ffestiniog shows signs of the former slate quarrying industry.