Class 31

31400 Ashchurch 7 August 1988

31400 passes Ashchurch on 7 August 1988 with what is presumably the 07:55 Bristol Temple Meads to Birmingham New Street service, deputising for an unavailable HST. 31400 was converted from 31161 earlier in the year after 31401 sustained serious accident damage. As there was a shortage of ETH 31s at the time, the equipment was salvaged from 401 and used in the conversion. It should really have been numbered 31470, but the non-standard 31400 was chosen to keep it in the same batch as similarly equipped locos. This view of Ashchurch has changed considerably since this photo was taken. Not only has the station been reopened (between the rear of the train and the bridge), but all the semi-rural area to the right has been completely redeveloped.

31401 Paddington 22 November 1986

Class 31s had a long association with empty stock workings between Paddington and Old Oak Common, and indeed apart from a brief and unsuccessful period of use on the Cotswold Line, that was their principal use on the Western Region for many years. On 22 November 1986, 31401 waits in Paddington station with another ECS working to Old Oak Common. 31401 was the original ETS (ETH as it was called then) conversion, being converted from D5589 in 1973.

31403 & 31455 Badgeworth 5 August 1989

31403 & 31455 pass Badgeworth on 5 August 1989 with 1V45 09:18 Manchester Piccadilly to Paignton service. Although of course the traction is much more interesting than anything you would get nowadays, what passed for livery variation in 1989 was having an all over grey Class 31 in addition to an all over blue liveried one!

31404 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 10 December 1986

31404 plods westwards past the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham in soft winter light on 10 December 1986 with a rake of vintage vacuum braked sixteen tonne open wagons. Even then, with the much greater variety of traffic and traction, this was a definite photographic bonus. Exactly one year later I again photographed this locomotive just a few hundred yards to the west of this location, heading in the opposite direction past the site of the old station.

31404 Shrivenham 10 December 1987

Shrivenham sunset. The setting sun gives a golden glow to 31404 and its train of eight GUVs and a single BG, as it passes the remains of Shrivenham station on 10 December 1987 with the 1A94 13:43 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington parcels. The frost clearly picks out the coping stones of the old down platform in the foreground, which along with the former up platform on the right, survived demolition after the station was closed in 1964, because the loop lines were also removed at the same time. By a bizarre coincidence, I had photographed this same locomotive exactly one year earlier, at the footbridge just a few hundred yards to the east of this location.

31405 Chilson 24 September 1989

On 24 September 1989, 31405 deputised for a Class 47 on the 08:10 Paddington to Manchester Piccadilly service, seen here on the Cotswold Line at Chilson. On Sundays various inter-regional trains ran via the Oxford to Worcester line, giving local passengers a far wider choice of destinations than on a weekday! Class 31s were used as regular motive power briefly on the Cotswold Line after the withdrawal of the Hymeks, but were quickly removed due their low power. 31405 was doing commendably well on this occasion, passing Chilson only 15 minutes down on the schedule.

31405 Stoke Edith 5 May 1991

31405 Mappa Mundi catches a very brief patch of sunshine as it passes Stoke Edith on 5 May 1991 with the 11:30 Hereford to Ledbury special. This was one of a number of special trains run in connection with the Hereford Rail Festival. The immaculate condition of the locomotive is explained by the fact that it has just had its Mappa Mundi nameplates unveiled by the Dean of Hereford Cathedral. The Hereford Mappa Mundi is of course one of the most famous maps in the world, and a rare medieval survival.

31405 Berkeley Road 30 January 1997

Traveling slowly along the last few yards of the Sharpness Branch, 31405 Mappa Mundi approaches Berkeley Road, and prepares to rejoin the mainline with the 7M56 Berkeley to Bescot nuclear flask on 30 January 1997. It was always best to take the departure time from Berkeley with a very large pinch of salt. The working timetable shows this to be 13:15, however, this picture was taken at 11:55!

31405 & 33202 Eskmeals Viaduct 8 February 1997

31405 Mappa Mundi & 33202 The Burma Star cross Eskmeals Viaduct, just south of Ravenglass with the A1A Charters 1T54 05:10 Wolverhampton to Heysham Port 'North By North West' railtour on 8 February 1997. Having seen the tour pass Ravenglass heading towards Workington, a trip was taken on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, before the short drive to this location for the return working.

31406 Chinley 19 June 1984

Chinley station in the 1980s was a scene of utter dereliction. 31406 passes the weed choked platforms on 19 June 1984 with the 1M38 15:48 Sheffield to Manchester Piccadilly service. It was a pity I didn't visit this location the previous week, as on a couple of occasions this train was worked by Class 40s.

31407 Oxford 21 October 1988

31407 arrives at Oxford station on 21 October 1988 with the very late running 1E35 12:03 Poole to Newcastle 'Northumbrian' service. Obviously a Class 31 was not the usual traction for this train, and I was very surprised to see it coming, which explains the not very imaginative end of platform picture. 47638 had failed shortly after leaving Poole, and the train was rescued by 73133 & 73139, which would have made an even more interesting picture. The reversal at Reading was the opportunity to replace the electro diesels with some slightly more powerful traction.

31407 & 31466 Stone 3 May 1997

31407 & 31466 accelerate away from Stone on 3 May 1997 with the Pathfinder Tours 1T71 11:35 Liverpool Lime Street to Crewe 'Crewe Cut' railtour. This was part of a multi traction tour that originated from Eastleigh. The 31s worked between Stafford and Crewe, which unfortunately meant they would be travelling under the wires all the way.

31407 & 1001 Manton Junction 27 September 1997

31407 passes Manton Junction signal box on 27 September 1997, hauling Hastings DEMU 1001, as the 'Rutland DEMU' railtour. 31465 is hidden on the rear of the train. 31407 lead the train from Corby to Leicester (via Melton Mowbray), then both the 31s led the train back to the London area, where they left, leaving 1001 to head back to Tunbridge Wells on its own.

31407, 31465 & 1001 Ashwell Junction (site of) 27 September 1997

31407 & 31465 haul Hastings DEMU 1001 past the site of Ashwell Junction on 27 September 1997 with the Hastings Diesels 'Rutland DEMU' railtour. This was the return leg, with the pair of 31s leading from Leicester. The wide area on the right is the site of the exchange sidings for the Cottesmore branch, which served an ironstone quarry.

31407, 31465 & 1001 Egleton 27 September 1997

Class 31s may once have been a common sight in the area, but a Hastings DEMU certainly never was! 31407 & 31465 haul 1001 pass Egleton (just to the south of Oakham) on 27 September 1997 with the Hastings Diesels Leicester to Tunbridge Wells 'Rutland DEMU' railtour.

31410 & 31439 Settle Junction 19 July 1992

Immaculate 31410 Granada Telethon & 31439 approach Settle Junction on 19 July 1992 with the 16:00 Carnforth to Clitheroe 'Granada Telethon Pullman'. This was just one section of an all day tour of the north west to raise money for Granada Television's 'Telethon '92' event. The train had initially started out from Liverpool Lime Street at 09:00, and would finally arrive at Manchester Victoria at 22:05 (in theory). The overhanging tree at this location is a bit of a nuisance for a train coming from the Giggleswick direction, but luckily this five coach train just fits in the gap!

31410 & 31439 Blackburn 19 July 1992

31410 Granada Telethon & 31439 pull away from Blackburn station on 19 July 1992 with the 19:15 Blackburn to Bolton section of the 'Granada Telethon Pullman'. This all day tour of the north west started from Liverpool, and visited Wigan, Southport, Blackpool, Preston, Morecambe, Carnforth, Clitheroe, Blackburn, Bolton, Rochdale and Oldham Mumps, before terminating at Manchester Victoria. Lengthy stops at each station allowed plenty of time to raise money for Granada Television's 'Telethon '92' event. I'm glad the train was running to time, as the shadows in the foreground were advancing rapidly towards the running line.

31411 Chinley 19 June 1984

31411 approaches Chinley on a very warm 19 June 1984 with the 1E36 10:41 Manchester Piccadilly to Sheffield. A four coach train was ideally suited for a Class 31, as any more would start to affect the performance, as the ETH conversion effectively robbed nearly a third of the available power from what was already a modestly powered locomotive.

31413 & 31429 Nuneaton Abbey Junction 3 October 1987

31413 & 31429 round the curve between Nuneaton Abbey Junction and Nuneaton North Junction on 3 October 1987. They are working the 1E66 08:20 Birmingham New Street to Great Yarmouth service. This section of line links the Birmingham to Leicester route with the West Coast Mainline. The direct line crossing the West Coast route via a flyover can be seen in the background, with Abbey Junction signal box just visible near the bridge. Note how the 25kV wires extend for a short distance round the curve, but only on the westbound line.

31417 White Waltham 8 April 1990

31417 passes White Waltham on 8 April 1990 with the 9X03 West Ruislip to Crewe LUL underground stock for refurbishment. This was a regular Sunday working during 1989 and 1990, and was certainly an odd sight, moving slowly up the relief line to Didcot, where it was staged overnight. White Waltham is an interesting location if your interest extends to other forms of transport, as the bridge at this location overlooks White Waltham airfield, which often has some unusual light aircraft types on view.

31417 Sleaford West Junction 24 August 1991

31417 passes Sleaford West Junction on 24 August 1991 with the 1E85 09:57 Sheffield to Skegness service. A filthy departmental grey locomotive doesn't quite match the neat InterCity liveried rake of coaches. The line diverging to the right heads towards Lincoln via a very sharp curve that almost turns through 180 degrees around the town of Sleaford.

31417 Aller 7 January 1995

31417 passes Aller in miserable light on 7 January 1995 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z61 06:46 Wolverhampton to Buckfastleigh 'Teign Dart' railtour. As if haulage by a single Class 31 wasn't excitement enough, the tour also featured another moderately powered locomotive class, more commonly used in pairs, when D8110 hauled the train over the South Devon Railway.

31419 Glazebrook 2 September 1987

31419 passes Glazebrook on 2 September 1987 with the 1M30 11:22 Sheffield to Liverpool Lime Street service. With hindsight I should have travelled to the Manchester area more often to get pictures of these Class 31 hauled trains during the 1980s. At the time I was more concerned with getting pictures of Class 50s, and they were much nearer to home!

31420 Kemble 28 August 1982

31420 waits in Kemble station with the lengthy 09:15 Gloucester to Swindon parcels train on 28 August 1982. Needless to say the 31 had not climbed Sapperton Bank on its own with such a load, and 47220 had just been detached from the front of the train when this picture was taken. The 31 then carried on towards Swindon, whilst the 47 made its way back to Gloucester light engine. This close up viewpoint, made necessary by the fact I was right at the very end of the platform, reveals plenty of nice modeling detail, including the original oval Brush works plate.

31420 & 31405 Hemington 2 November 1996

31420 & 31405 Mappa Mundi pass Hemington on 2 November 1996 with the A1A Charters 1Z63 07:06 Preston to Retford 'Merry Men' railtour. If the dark clouds in the background look ominous, it is hardly surprising, as this is the brightest it was all day!

31420 & 31466 Roebuck Farm 28 June 1997

Having detached pilot locomotive D7523 at Williton, 31420 & 31466 head back down the West Somerset Railway at Roebuck Farm with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z52 16:00 Minehead to York 'Minehead Mariner' railtour on 28 June 1997. With its sweeping curves, this location is an excellent photographic vantage point, but so far I have only ever been there in miserable light!

31422 & 37168 Margaretting 8 May 1985

31422 & 37168 pass Margaretting on 8 May 1985 with the 8C35 10:17 Marks Tey to Mile End loaded vacuum braked sand hoppers. This train was booked for a pair of 31s, one of which was often an ETH 31/4, taking a break from local parcels duties. However, what I didn't expect was this Class 31/37 combination. A nice surprise, which corresponded with the only short spell of weak sunshine during the entire day.

31428 Glazebrook 2 September 1987

No problem with the identification of this loco! Someone has crudely scrawled 428 on the front end of 31428, seen here passing Glazebrook on 2 September 1987 with the 1E36 09:45 Liverpool Lime Street to Sheffield service, a working that in previous years would have worked through to Hull. These trains went over to unit operation shortly afterwards, and once again with hindsight more effort should have been put into photographing them before it was too late.

31430 Fairwood Junction 11 March 1986

I don't normally take pictures of light engine convoys, but had to make an exception in this case! 31430 hauls two unidentified Class 50s around the Westbury avoiding line, and approaches Fairwood Junction on 11 March 1986. At exactly this moment, brand new 59003 was travelling in the other direction with the 10:03 Merehead to Eastleigh stone train. Three different classes in one picture, but no time to get the Class 50's ID. It's a long shot considering how long ago it is, but does anybody know which 50s they are?

31432 & 31429 Black Bank 20 May 1991

31432 & 31429 pass Black Bank (between Ely and March) on 20 May 1991 with the 4M09 Norwich to Birmingham vans. Not only are traditional van trains a thing of the past, but so too are both these locomotives. 31432 was withdrawn in 1996, and broken up in 2001. 31429's end came even sooner, being withdrawn a few months after this picture was taken, and cut up in 1994.

31434 & 37896 Chirk 28 February 1998

31434 & 37896 cross Chirk Viaduct on 28 February 1998 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z88 05:50 Reading to Crewe 'Rex Ham' railtour. 31434 was a most welcome last minute replacement for 37680, which had been pinched to work a freight. This location, with the Llangollen Canal aqueduct in the foreground, was the obvious choice for this picture, despite the fact that had the sun decided to come out it would be have been hopeless. Although there was a glimmer of brightness, the precedent had already been set for a generally cloudy day.

31439 Pilning 11 October 1986

31439 descends into the Severn Tunnel at Pilning on 11 October 1986 with the 1V62 12:10 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central service. Although booked for a Class 33, it wasn't that unusual for Class 31/4s to turn up at the time. But given the excellent autumn lighting, it was definitely a welcome bonus. It would certainly have been a day out to the seaside for this loco, as the day's diagram saw it visiting Southampton and Weymouth, as well as Portsmouth!

31439 & 31465 Abergele 9 August 1995

31439 North Yorkshire Moors Railway & 31465 slow down for the their next stop at Abergele on 9 August 1995, whilst working the 1K58 07:39 Holyhead to Crewe service. Although 37s dominated the service at the time, the sight of a pair of Regional Railways liveried 31s with matching coaching stock, although not unusual, was certainly a bonus on such a sunny morning.

31439 Rowington 24 February 1996

In miserable lighting conditions and just after a heavy shower of rain, 31439 North Yorkshire Moors Railway passes Rowington with the A1A Charters 1T70 07:38 Preston to Stratford-upon-Avon 'Jewel In The Crown' railtour on 24 February 1996. Many railtours use a variety of traction during the day, but this one just collected additional locos, adding 37207 for the Stratford-upon-Avon to Worcester Shrub Hill section, and then adding 20128 for the Worcester Shrub Hill to Stafford leg.

31440 Chinley 19 June 1984

Chinley station in the 1980s had an air of unkempt dereliction, with weed grown platforms, and the foundations of demolished buildings visible everywhere. 31440 speeds through this once important location with the 1M19 07:37 Cleethorpes to Manchester Piccadilly on 19 June 1984. Although always happy to see a 31, I remember that at the time I was regretting not have visited this location on more occasions when the stylish Class 124 DMUs operated these services! Locos replacing DMUs was a bit novel at the time. Sadly it went completely downhill shortly afterwards.

31442 Stenson Junction 14 November 1988

31442 approaches Stenson Junction on 14 November 1988 with the 2P86 08:09 Crewe to Derby service, substituting for an unavailable Sprinter. This was of course in the so called 'bad old days' of British Rail, when allegedly there was much inefficient use of resources. It did however mean that a loco and coaches could be found at short notice to cover for emergencies, rather than today's only option of train cancellation.

31447 March West Junction 4 November 1986

31447 accelerates away from March station on 4 November 1986 with the 1M67 11:30 Norwich to Birmingham New Street service. It is passing March West Junction, where the sharply curved line to March depot, Whitemoor Yard and the Wisbech line (all still active at this time) diverges to the north. Class 31s were long associated with these East Anglian cross country trains, but unfortunately I only managed to get a few pictures before the advent of Sprinterisation, just a couple of years after this picture was taken.

31450 & 31229 Spetchley 15 September 1996

31450 & 31229 are pictured at Spetchley on Sunday 15 September 1996, during an engineering possession of the Bristol to Birmingham mainline. The pair are waiting to head off wrong line towards Gloucester with a train of spent ballast.

31452 Kempston 12 October 1998

No lack of power here! With just two coaches in tow, 31452 passes Kempston on 12 October 1998 with the 09:46 Bedford to Bletchley service, with classmate 31468 on the rear, ready for the return working. The use of Class 31s on this route was a short term measure by Silverlink to cover a shortage of DMUs.

31452 Millbrook 12 October 1998

31452 approaches Millbrook on 12 October 1998 with the 11:46 Bedford to Bletchley service, during the short period when Fragonset 31s were drafted in to cover for a shortage of Silverlink DMUs. 31468 is on the rear. Even without any assistance from 31468, there would be no shortage of power for this train!

31452 & 31468 Old Denaby 13 February 1999

31452 & 31468 pass Old Denaby on 13 February 1999 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z31 06:20 Westbury to York 'Yorkian Gargoylian' railtour. To prove that Class 31s can quite often be relied upon, the tour was only running the customary (for all traction) few minutes late at this point!

31452 Flax Bourton 11 August 2007

31452 Minotaur approaches Flax Bourton with the 1Z135 11:10 Minehead to Bristol Temple Meads 'Butlins Express' on 11 August 2007, with classmate 31454 on the rear. A positive development by Victa Rail and the West Somerset Railway in connection with Butlins has seen the these holidaymaker's trains return to the rails after a gap of nearly thirty years.

31452 Uffington 28 October 2014

An easy job for DCR's green liveried 31452 on 28 October 2014. The veteran loco is seen here passing Uffington with the 5Z34 10:13 Bristol Barton Hill to Wembley, conveying ex-works Chiltern Railways Mk 3 coach 12623. Not only does the non-standard green colour scheme look a little unusual, but the fact that the yellow front end on the lower section doesn't line up with the rest of it, gives the loco an odd appearance.

31452 Hinksey 11 February 2016

31452 runs between Hinksey Lake and a line of ballast wagons in Hinksey Yard, as it heads south on 11 February 2016, running as the 0Y57 09:00 Derby to Eastleigh. A light engine is not very photogenic, but worth recording as the amazing thing from a 2016 perspective is that just 14 minutes later another Class 31 would pass this way. Most of the mainline registered fleet passing one spot within a few minutes!

31452 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 27 April 2016

31452 runs along the up relief line at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 27 April 2016 with the 5Z34 06:11 Bristol Barton Hill to Wembley ECS, conveying a refurbished Chiltern Railways Mk 3 coach. At 07:40 the lighting is very head on at this location (as it is everywhere else in the locality), but I thought head on with guaranteed sun at this early hour was a better bet than the return 5Z35 working just after midday, when it was forecast to be mostly cloudy.

31452 Compron Beauchamp 5 May 2016

31452 passes Compton Beauchamp on 5 May 2016 with the 5Z34 06:11 Bristol Barton Hill to Wembley ECS, conveying yet another refurbished Chiltern Railways Mk 3 coach. The vegetation clearance is very noticeable when compared with the same view a year earlier, when incidentally, I thought that by this time the electrification would be complete!

31452 Compton Beauchamp 27 May 2016

31452 speeds past Compton Beauchamp on 27 May 2016 with the 5Z35 13:00 Wembley to Bristol Barton Hill ECS, conveying another Chiltern Railways Mk3 coach for refurbishment. 31452 presents an odd appearance, with its strange greeny-black livery, and patch painted yellow front end.

31452 Stoulton 18 June 2016

31452 passes Stoulton in an unexpected brief patch of sunshine on 18 June 2016, as it runs along the Cotswold Line with the 6Y31 08:26 Derby to Long Marston, conveying a Railvac unit for the forthcoming 'Rail Live 2016' rail industry exhibition.

31454 Upton Noble 24 July 2004

31454 passes Upton Noble on 24 July 2004 with the 2O86 08:28 Bristol Temple Meads to Weymouth Wessex Trains service, with 31128 bringing up the rear. This was an ideal location for Class 31 enthusiasts at the time, as it was followed twenty minutes later by an even more colourful classmate.

31454 Flax Bourton 11 August 2007

31454 Heart of Wessex passes Flax Bourton with the 1Z39 14:06 Bristol Temple Meads to Minehead 'Butlins Express' on 11 August 2007. One can't complain about the use of heritage traction on the mainline, but the Fragonset liveried 31452 on the rear of the train does spoil the otherwise complete Intercity Mainline livery consist! Just beyond the bridge in the background is the former rail served oil depot.

31454 Aldington 29 October 2009

On 29 October 2009, 31454 passes Aldington with the 1Z06 09:00 Derby RTC to Long Marston stock move, conveying a single Mk 3 HST coach from the Network Rail New Measurement Train sandwiched between a couple of similarly liveried barrier vehicles. I was not too impressed that literally a minute before the train appeared someone decided to light a bonfire in a field off to the left. In the event the drifting smoke wasn't too much of a problem. The bright yellow crop visible in the field on the right is the local specialty, asparagus, which when left to go to seed in the autumn turns a brilliant golden colour.

31454 Long Marston 29 October 2009

31454 arrives at Long Marston on 29 October 2009 with the 1Z06 09:00 Derby RTC to Long Marston stock move, conveying a Mk 3 HST coach from the Network Rail New Measurement Train and associated barrier vehicles. I had chased the train from Aldington, arriving just as it was coming into view around the corner. I would have arrived earlier, but the driver of the horsebox I was following decided to stop and chat to his mate going in the opposite direction in a Land Rover, therefore blocking the road! The 31 had to wait a few yards further on as there was nobody to open the gate into the depot.

31455 March West Junction 4 November 1986

31455 passes March West Junction signal box on 4 November 1986 with the 1E72 10:30 Birmingham New Street to Norwich service. In the background is the Norwood Road level crossing, with the March bypass bridge in the far distance. It looks like the signalman is busy entering 31455's details into the train register.

31459 Harbury 26 June 1991

31459 climbs through the cutting at Harbury on 26 June 1991 with a short engineer's train. A classic location that became more and more overgrown during later years. The train is nearing the summit of over five mile of continuous gradient from near Leamington Spa.

31459 Queen Camel 24 August 2002

31459 Cerberus passes the oddly named village of Queen Camel (between Castle Cary and Yeovil) with the 09:30 Westbury to Weymouth service on Saturday 24 August 2002, with classmate 31602 Chimarea on the rear. Six years later a similar service was in operation with Class 67s, but there is no way I would travel down to the Bristol area to photograph a couple of 'skips'.

31459 Severn Tunnel Junction 22 February 2003

This is certainly luxury coaching stock for a rugby special! 31459 Cerberus leads a fine collection of vintage vehicles past Severn Tunnel Junction, just as the sun is setting on 22 February 2003. Wales were playing England at the Millennium Stadium, and there were several special trains heading to Cardiff for the event. This is the 1Z85 13:15 Waterloo to Cardiff Central. 31452 is the rear locomotive. Unfortunately 16:20 on a misty February afternoon is not really compatible with taking pictures with a Pentax 6x7, even using Fujichrome 400. This is taken with the lens wide open at 1/500sec, so it's a good job that it wasn't running any later!

31460 & 31454 Little Haresfield 24 June 1989

31460 & 31454 speed past Little Haresfield on 24 June 1989 with the 1V46 09:33 Stockport to Paignton service. Luckily only a six coach train, so in the not at all unlikely situation of one of the 31s deciding that it had had enough for the day, at least its mate ought to be able to get the train to its destination!

31462 & 31402 Launton 30 December 1989

In atrocious light on 30 December 1989, 31462 & 31402 pass Launton with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z39 07:15 Wolverhampton to Thames Haven 'Thames Haven Refiner' railtour. St Edburgh's church at Bicester can just be seen in the gloom in the distance behind the train, whilst on the right preparatory work has just started for the new A4421 Bicester bypass, which now crosses the line, bizarrely for a brand new road, via a level crossing.

31463 Moreton-in-Marsh 27 June 1987

31463 passes slowly through Moreton-in-Marsh station on 27 June 1987 with the Southern Electric Group's Waterloo to the West Midlands 'Walsall Concerto' railtour. 31463 was a last minute replacement for 50023, which had failed at Reading. This was a bonus, as although I have obviously got lots of pictures of Class 50s on the Cotswold Line, Class 31s were far less common.

31463 Long Marston 27 June 1987

Dramatically dark clouds over Long Marston on 27 June 1987, as 31463 leaves the Army depot with the Southern Electric Group's Waterloo to the West Midlands 'Walsall Concerto' railtour. 31463 was a last minute substitution for 50023, which had failed at Reading. However, its moment of glory didn't last long, being replaced by 50031 at Worcester.

31463 Broad Marston 27 June 1987

Somebody is obviously enjoying themselves as 31463 very slowly rounds the curve at Broad Marston with the Southern Electric Group's Waterloo to the West Midlands 'Walsall Concerto' railtour on 27 June 1987. The tour had just visited Long Marston Army Depot. 31463 had earlier in the day replaced 50023, which had failed at Reading. Although the sun is not quite out here, it certainly bright in comparison to the extremley dark skies in the direction of Long Marston.

D5830 Woodthorpe 12 September 2009

D5830 passes Woodthorpe on the Great Central Railway with the 2A05 09:40 Loughborough to Leicester North service, during the line's Diesel Gala on 12 September 2009. The loco's gold ochre livery is not strictly accurate, as D5830 never carried this distinctive colour scheme in mainline service. However, one member of the class did for a time in the 1960s. Unfortunately that locomotive (D5579, latterly 31400) was cut up in 1993. D5830's final TOPS classification was 31463. Gold ochre on a train of green coaches - some colour combination!

D5830 Quorn & Woodhouse 19 March 2017

D5830 arrives at Quorn & Woodhouse station on 19 March 2017 with the 2D09 11:09 Rothley to Loughborough service, during the Great Central Railway's Diesel Gala. Nice to see the correct headcode being displayed, something that doesn't always happen at other line's galas.

31465 & 31405 Little Haresfield 24 June 1989

1989 was a good year for the use of Class 31s on passengers trains to the west country. On summer Saturday's three pairs were normally in action, with sights such as this commonplace - a pair of tatty blue departmental allocated 31s hauling Mk 3 coaching stock (plus the obligatory Mk 1 BG!). On 24 June 1989, 31 465 & 31405 pass Little Haresfield (near Gloucester) with the 1M37 08:40 Paignton to Manchester Piccadilly service, which the 31s worked as far as Birmingham New Street.

31465, 1001 & 31407 Harringworth 27 September 1997

With Harringworth church and village in the foreground, the Hastings to Corby 'Rutland DEMU' railtour crosses the 82 arch Harringworth Viaduct on 27 September 1997. This unusual train consists of 31465 leading Hastings DEMU 1001, with 31407 bringing up the rear. The DEMU was used on the first part of the tour to the London area, and then the 31s were employed in both multiple and top'n'tail modes on various sections of the tour.

31465 & 31466 Cholsey 27 June 1998

1998 was the golden year for rare locomotive haulage on Virgin CrossCountry trains. With low Class 47 availability, all sorts of inappropriate traction often turned up. One such occasion was on Saturday 27 June 1998, when 31465 & 31466 worked the 1O38 09:10 Edinburgh to Bournemouth from Birmingham New Street. This was too good an opportunity to miss, so I headed out to Cholsey to catch the return working. Unfortunately, despite it being near the longest day, the shadows were lengthening by the time it arrived, necessitating a long lens. However, here are consecutively numbered 31465 & 31466 storming through Cholsey with the 1M81 18:14 Bournemouth to Manchester Piccadilly.

31465 Bucknell 16 November 2010

31465 emerges from the fog at Bucknell on 16 November 2010 with the 2Q08 05:39 Derby RTC to Ipswich (via Acton, Banbury and Acton again!) test train. 31602 is bringing up the rear. Running ten minutes early after a short layover at Banbury, the train is here retracing its route back down the Chiltern Line. If you are going to photograph a train in such miserable weather conditions, this is obviously the ideal type - short and brightly coloured!

31466 Langley 6 November 1986

31466 runs along the down relief line at Langley on 6 November 1986 with a lengthy engineers train. I only ever visited this location once, and whilst there were good views in both directions at the time, there is no point going back now, as along with numerous other locations on the line, the Great Western Mainline electrification programme will make photography virtually impossible.

31466 & 31420 Brent Knoll 28 June 1997

31466 & 31420 pass Brent Knoll at a very respectable 85mph with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z52 05:15 York to Minehead 'Minehead Mariner' railtour on 28 June 1997. An interesting train, taking the 31s the full length of the West Somerset Railway, but unfortunately not a glimpse of the sun all day!

31466, 31420 & D7523 Bishops Lydeard 28 June 1997

Upon arrival at Bishops Lydeard, the West Somerset Railways resident Class 25, D7523 was attached inside 31466 & 31420 for the journey onwards to Minehead with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z52 05:15 York to Minehead 'Minehead Mariner' railtour on 28 June 1997. Crowds are seen here milling around waiting for departure time.

31466, 31420 & D7523 Roebuck Farm 28 June 1997

The unusual combination of the West Somerset Railway's Class 25 D7523 & Class 31s 31466 & 31420 round the curve at Roebuck Farm (near Crowcombe) on 28 June 1997 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z52 05:15 York to Minehead 'Minehead Mariner' railtour. You don't often see this combination of liveries all on one train!

31466 Upper Forge 26 September 2009

As I somehow managed to miss photographing 31466 in EWS livery when it was actually owned by that company and operating on the mainline, I took advantage of the Dean Forest Railway's Diesel Gala on 26 September 2009 to finally get a picture. Here it is passing Upper Forge with the 13:13 Lydney to Parkend service.

31466 Whitecroft 26 September 2009

31466 passes Whitecroft Stores and Post Office with the 13:51 Parkend to Lydney service on 26 September 2009 during the Dean Forest Railway's Diesel Gala. The 10mph speed restriction approaching the manually operated level crossing gates by the Post Office proved to be really irritating when the sun was about to disappear into a cloud! Luckily the train just made it into a photographable position in the very nick of time. Just look at the shadows creeping up in the background,

31467 & 31420 Bishopton 16 August 1997

31467 & 31420 pass Bishopton on 16 August 1997 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z62 08:25 Victoria to Stratford-upon-Avon 'Spin Doctor' railtour. They are just passing Stratford's fixed distant signal. The tour had earlier employed 58024 as far as Bedford St Johns, and would later feature 56055 and between Reading and London, a pair of EDs (73106 & 73138).

31468 Aspley Guise 12 October 1998

31468 arrives at Aspley Guise on 12 October 1998 with the 12:50 Bletchley to Bedford service, with classmate 31452 bringing up the rear. Heritage traction and heritage manually operated wooden crossing gates, all now unfortunately gone.

31468 & 47701 Tram Inn 5 May 2003

31468 Hydra & 47701 Waverley approach Tram Inn on 5 May 2003 with the Green Express Railtours 1Z64 06:05 Carnforth to Bath 'Georgian Bath Explorer' railtour. Both locos carry the rather drab Fragonset Railways livery. Fragonset was a spot hire company that acquired quite a large pool of locomotives from the late 1990s, until it ceased trading in 2006.

31512 & 31142 Standish Junction 10 April 1997

The track workers working on the remodeled Standish Junction pause from their work, as 31512 & 31142 pass by with the 7V71 06:27 Bescot to Berkeley nuclear flasks on 10 April 1997. The new ladder junction had just replaced the previous diamond crossing.

31530 Radley 9 July 1991

When I first started taking pictures in the late 1970s, Class 31s were regular visitors to the Oxford area. Unfortunately this was no longer the case by 1991, so this was a welcome sight at Radley on 9 July 1991. 31530 Sister Dora passes through the station with the 7V81 Bescot to Reading departmental working.

31546 & 31524 Honeybourne 26 April 1993

With the closure of Wendesbury spoil tip in early 1993, trains started running to Honeybourne instead, initially with pairs of 31s and then often with an unusual Class 20/37 combination. Regrettably I never did get a picture of those, and I only ever managed a few pictures of the 31s. On a very gloomy 26 April 1993, 31546 & 31524 have just rejoined the mainline at Honeybourne, and head back to Bescot with the empties from the spoil tip, which is situated a little way up the Long Marston branch. Honeybourne station has been completely rebuilt since this picture was taken, and with the redoubling of the line, the platform on the left is now back in use.

31554 & 31112 Chelford 13 July 1996

31554 & 31112 sit in Chelford Loop on 13 July 1996 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z37 07:24 Bristol Temple Meads to Doncaster 'Yorkshire Doodle Dandy' railtour. They were booked to stop here for 20 minutes, but in the event they remained there for nearly double that time, which allowed me to wait for one of the very brief sunny spells in order to take this picture. There was no chance of any sunshine later in the day, with steady rain setting in during the afternoon.

31554 & 31112 Copy Pit Summit 13 July 1996

31554 & 31112 pass Copy Pit Summit in the rain on 13 July 1996 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z37 07:24 Bristol Temple Meads to Doncaster 'Yorkshire Doodle Dandy' railtour. Unfortunately the earlier good weather had soon disappeared, and although I saw the tour ascend the Lickey Incline behind 37603 & 37601 in good light. the rest of the day was a wash out.

31556 & 31144 Penmaenmawr 9 August 1995

31556 & 31144 pass Penmaenmawr on 9 August 1995 with the 6D02 06:06 Edge Hill to Penmaenmawr. This is supposedly an empty ballast working, but here we have most of the wagons going back to the quarry still filled with stone!

31601 Ridgmont 27 September 1999

31601 Bletchley Park Station X approaches Ridgmont station on 21 August 1999 with the 08:50 Bletchley to Bedford service, during the period when Fragonset Class 31s were covering for a shortage of Silverlink DMUS. 31468 Hydra can just be seen on the rear of the train.

31601 Upton Noble 24 July 2004

Shocking pink! 31601 Bletchley Park Station X passes Upton Noble on 24 July 2004 with the 2O87 08:58 Bristol Temple Meads to Weymouth Wessex Trains service. A slightly more conventionally coloured 31452 can be seen on the rear. Perhaps Wessex Trains were looking through a paint chart until someone said "There's a colour that hasn't been used on a loco yet"!

31601 & 31190 Dunston 29 January 2011

31601 & 31190 (D5613) storm past Dunston on 29 January 2011 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 06:17 Bristol Temple Meads to Deepcar 'Rother-Don Rambler' railtour. Two dark green locos (of different shades) are not really the best liveried machines to photograph on a dull day such as this, but Class 31 hauled railtours are a bit thin on the ground nowadays, so a quick trip north of Birmingham was made for this one picture.

31601 & 31190 Little Haresfield 25 June 2011

31601 & 31190 (D5613) pass Little Haresfield on 25 June 2011 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z20 05:22 Tame Bridge Parkway to Penzance 'Mazey Day Cornishman' railtour. I am not having much luck with the weather when photographing this pair of locomotives, as five months earlier I saw them in equally dire light.

31601 & 50008 Castor 11 April 2015

31601 & 50008 Thunderer pass Castor on 11 April 2015 with the 2M42 09:30 Peterborough to Wansford service, during the Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. It had just stopped raining, but as the sun was yet to appear, I initially wasn't going to bother with this shot. However, a 31 and 50 combination on foreign rolling stock has a certainly novelty value!

31601 Castor 11 April 2015

31601 passes Castor on 11 April 2015 with the 2M49 13:30 Peterborough to Wansford service, during the Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. After a dull start, it turned out to be a sunny day, but with plenty of cloud still floating about. Luckily, most of the time the trains passed during the sunny periods!

31601 Denchworth 28 September 2015

DC Rail's 31601 Devon Diesel Society passes Denchworth on 28 September 2015 with the 5Z34 10:05 Bristol Barton Hill to Wembley, conveying newly refurbished Chiltern Railways Mk3 coach 10274. I had carefully planned this picture, with the hawthorn bush on the left providing an ideal counterpoint to the very short train, which I knew would fit the location nicely. Short trains such as this often look odd from a more conventional viewpoint. This is my first picture of 31601 in its smart new paintwork.

31602 Banbury 17 August 2009

In the very last rays of the setting sun and running 15 minutes early, 31602 Driver Dave Green passes Banbury stone terminal on 17 August 2009 with the 1Q06 17:11 Derby to Selhurst Network Rail Structure Gauging Train. I had correctly identified this location as the most likely local spot where shadows wouldn't be a problem, but of course you can never predict what's coming on the other line! An errant Voyager very nearly gets out the way, but just obscures the rear locomotive, 31465.

31602 & 31601 Fiddington 23 August 2012

Dark clouds are hanging over the Cotswold Hills in the background, as 31602 & 31601 pass Fiddington on 23 August 2012 with barrier coaches 6330 & 6348. After having worked down to Devon the previous day with the 5Z20 08:58 Kilmarnock to Laira, conveying refurbished First Great Western coach 42513 (taking over from 20314 & 20311 at Washwood Heath), the pair are pictured here heading back north with the 5Z56 12:09 Laira to Washwood Heath return working.

31602 & 31601 Up Hatherley 4 September 2012

Almost like the good old days, with a pair of Class 31s working a real freight train on the mainline. 31602 & 31601 pass Up Hatherley in atrocious light on 4 September 2012 with the 6Z69 13:20 Cardiff Tidal to Chaddesden scrap empties. As I knew that the yellow 31 would be leading, I decided that this was worth recording despite the grim weather. It might have been a different story if 31601 had been leading, as the DCR livery looks drab at the best of times, and of virtually indeterminate colour in this kind of light. As 31602 is now part of the Devon & Cornwall Railways stable, it will presumably loose its former Network Rail livery shortly, making it even more important to get this picture.

31970 Gloucester 17 September 1989

A couple of Class 31s received the striking red, white and black Derby Railway Technical Centre livery, 97203 (the former 31298) and its replacement, 97204 (the former 31326). The latter was later renumbered back into the 31 series, becoming 31970. In this guise it is seen at Gloucester on 17 September 1989. It was an exhibit at the Gloucester Rail Day, and is seen here in the company of 'Deltic' D9000 Royal Scots Grey and 'Western' D1013 Western Ranger. It is hardly surprising that I didn't manage to get this loco's predecessor in this distinctive colour scheme, as it caught fire and was condemned just a month after being repainted! 31970 didn't have a particularly long life as a research loco either. and the only other time I saw it was again at the 1990 Gloucester Rail Day, in equally dull conditions!