Class 50

50001 Oxford 2 April 1983

The good old days! What could be better than a rail blue Class 50 on a train of blue and grey stock complete with blue GUV, pictured in lovely soft early morning spring light. 50001 Dreadnought pulls away from Oxford station on 2 April 1983 with the 1A10 06:00 Hereford to Paddington service. The loco, which is surprisingly clean for a Class 50 at the time was the fourth of the class to be refurbished and one of only six to be released from Doncaster in the original livery. Note the crudely applied number one on the former headcode box. 

50001 Oxford 24 March 1984

50001 Dreadnought stands in the rain at the end of Oxford station's platform 1 on 24 March 1984, prior to working the 1A59 08:20 service to Paddington. A slightly different angle to normal, but this side view does give a clear view of one of the six Class 50s that were returned from refurbishment at Doncaster still painted in corporate BR blue. 

50001 Oxford 30 January 1985

50001 Dreadnought has just arrived at platform 2 at Oxford station on the evening of 30 January 1985 with the 1F38 17:30 service from Paddington. Whereas most Class 50 hauled trains did the run from London to Oxford in about an hour, because this one stopped at all stations between Reading and Didcot, it took nearly twice that! Dreadnought would shortly take the train the short distance to the carriage sidings, where it would wait for several more hours, before bringing the stock back to the station for the 1F51 23:05 departure for Paddington.

50001 Worting Junction 24 May 1986

50001 Dreadnought finds a lucky patch of sunshine, as it passes Worting Junction on 24 May 1986 with the 1V09 09:10 Waterloo to Exeter service. This is one of my earliest pictures of Class 50s on the former Southern Railway West of England route. At the time there was plenty of Class 50 action in my local area, and it was only because I was en-route to Croydon for non railway purposes that I called in here. It would be a different story a few years later, when in 1991, I would spend virtually every free moment photographing 50s on the route.

50001 Combe 4 October 1986

An easy race! 50001 Dreadnought runs parallel with a Mk2 Ford Escort estate on the approach to Combe with the 1A25 08:00 Hereford to Paddington service on 4 October 1986. Although by this date Network SouthEast had been launched, the Cotswold Line was still predominantly rail blue, with just one Inter City coach breaking up the uniformity here.

50001 Deepcut 28 August 1987

50001 Dreadnought passes Deepcut on 28 August 1987 with the 1O15 09:38 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. Probably because the class was so common in the Oxford area, this is one of the few occasions that I spent a day photographing 50s on the former Southern Railway route to the west, before the frantic activity of their last days in 1991. Dreadnought's large logo livery is getting a little tatty, and it wouldn't be long before it would be repainted into NSE red, white & blue. It would skip the first two versions of this livery and emerge in the final form.

50001 West Hatch 31 August 1987

50001 Dreadnought passes West Hatch (between Salisbury and Gillingham) on 31 August 1987 with the 1V11 11:10 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service. Just visible in the background is the crossing keeper's cottage at Tisbury Gates.

50001 Kingham 4 September 1988

50001 Dreadnought arrives at Kingham on 4 September 1988 with the 1A67 16:15 Hereford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. The passengers are in for a touch of luxury on this occasion, as the train is made up entirely of first class Mk2 InterCity stock. On the left in the background is the abutment of the bridge that carried the Banbury to Cheltenham route across the line.

50001 Combe 2 October 1988

50001 Dreadnought passes Combe on 2 October 1988 with the 1B31 13:45 Paddington to Hereford service. Only the rear coach spoils an otherwise completely uniform rake of Network SouthEast Mk.2s, the loco also being in matching NSE livery (the second version but before a darker a shade of blue was used). Ironically two years previously I had photographed the same locomotive in a very similar spot, but coming from the opposite direction.

50001 Whitchurch 17 June 1989

50001 Dreadnought pulls away from Whitchurch station on 17 June 1989 with the 1O16 06:45 Exeter to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. This is one of the few pictures that I took on this line before 1991. With the imminent demise of the 50s, 1991 turned into a mad panic year, with virtually every spare day spent photographing them on the route to make up for lost time!

50001 Potbridge 16 March 1990

50001 Dreadnought passes Potbridge (between Woking and Basingstoke) with the 1L09 12:15 Waterloo to Salisbury Network SouthEast service on 16 March 1990. The train is passing between a pair of Second World War pillboxes, part of an extensive network in the area, forming one of several invasion stop lines.

50001 Tisbury 2 February 1991

With the church of St John the Baptist prominent in the background, a filthy 50001 Dreadnought pulls away from Tisbury with the 1V09 09:15 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids service on 2 February 1991. I had taken very few photos on the Waterloo to Exeter line prior to this, but the impending withdrawal of the Class 50s meant that virtually all free time during 1991 was devoted to photographing them on this former Southern Railway route. Obviously in previous years there were plenty of 50s in my native Oxfordshire to keep me busy!

50002 Wolvercote Junction 27 March 1982

So filthy that you can hardly tell what colour it is, 50002 Superb leaves the Cotswold Line at Wolvercote Junction on 27 March 1982 with the 1A75 07:07 Hereford to Paddington service. In common with most railway locations at the time, the effects of the reduction of lineside vegetation clearance after the end of steam had yet to take effect. The sweeping curve of the first part of the Cotswold Line is visible all the way to the site of Yarnton Junction (just out of sight to the left), where the former Fairford line diverged.

50002 Hinksey 12 March 1983

50002 Superb doesn't really live up to its name here, as its tatty external condition matches the miserable weather conditions at Hinksey on 12 March 1983. It is passing the contaminated ground that marks the site of Oxford gasworks with the late running 2A85 11:05 Oxford to Paddington service. Superb's less than superb condition would soon be rectified, as before the end of the month it would be called to Doncaster Works for refurbishment, emerging later in the year in gleaming large logo livery.

50002 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 24 April 1984

50002 Superb approaches Walton Well Road, Oxford, on 24 April 1984. This is not quite what it appears, as it is in fact the empty stock off the 1A44 16:10 Paddington to Oxford service, which has just deposited its passengers at the station, just out of sight around the corner. A few minutes later the loco would cross over and propel the stock into Oxford's up carriage sidings.

50002 Heyford 14 September 1985

50002 Superb passes through Heyford station on 14 September 1985 with the 1O15 09:00 Manchester Piccadilly to Weymouth service, which it had taken over at Birmingham New Street. Laira didn't like to let its locos spend too long off region, and it had only worked up to the West Midlands a little earlier that morning with the 1E54 06:50 Paddington to Hull. Note the raised section of platform in the foreground and on the opposite platform, which was a temporary measure to combat the large gap resulting from the cant of the track. The corner of the station building can also just be seen. This was redundant at the time and has since been removed.

50002 Grateley 19 April 1986

50002 Superb approaches Grateley on 19 April 1986 with the 1O10 09:38 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo service. In my opinion this is probably just about the best livery to be applied to a Class 50. The 'Large Logo' colour scheme, but with the replacement of the light grey roof with a much more practical black, and the addition of red buffer beams. Surprisingly this is still an excellent photographic location, perhaps even better now as the background trees have grown, but the present use of Class 159s on the route is hardly an improvement!

50002 Shipton 19 July 1986

50002 Superb passes FWP Matthews flower mill at Shipton with the 1A18 07:00 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' on 19 July 1986. The lamp posts on the right indicate the presence of Shipton station, but neither this nor most of the other services on the line stop at this diminutive halt. Apart from the vehicles (both road and rail!) this view is pretty much the same nowadays, if only one could see it, as uncontrolled tree growth has now obstructed this viewpoint. However, FWP Matthews is still a thriving family owned business producing high quality organic flower.

50002 Yarnton Junction (site of) 19 September 1986

The large logo livery applied to the Class 50s was considerably enhanced on some machines by the addition of a black roof. This side view of 50002 Superb passing the site of Yarnton Junction on 19 September 1986 shows this to good effect. The train is the 1B46 17:00 Paddington to Hereford service. I am standing in the 'v' of the former Junction with the 22 mile long Fairford Branch, the actual junction and station being a couple of hundred yards to the right of this picture.

50002 & 50003 Oxford 26 July 1987

Consecutively numbered 50002 Superb & 50003 Temeraire are pictured leaving Oxford with a ridiculously easy load on 26 July 1987. They are working the 3A88 09:00 Oxford to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans, a working that was booked for double headed Class 50s purely as a balancing move, as such a featherweight load is obviously a waste of the use of even a single 50. This is one of my favourite pictures of the many I took at this location in the 1980s. Note the two signal engineers attending to the outermost signal on the gantry. Close inspection of the original 6x7 transparency shows that they have got the back off the up through road 'feathers'.

50002 Winchfield 28 August 1987

50002 Superb certainly lives up to its name as it races through Winchfield on 28 August 1987 with the 1V15 15:10 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service. Although a bit of a shock at the time, the original version of Network SouthEast livery was certainly impressive on the Class 50s, and in my view preferably to the later version. It has to be said the inclusion of so much white in the livery was bound to show up the dirt, but at least the roof was painted black!

50002 & 50034 Kennington Junction 30 August 1987

A picture that can best be described as atmospheric! 50002 Superb & 50034 Furious emerge from the fog at Kennington Junction on Sunday 30 August 1987 with the 3A88 09:00 Oxford to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans. I certainly wouldn't bother to take a picture of a modern day Class 66 hauled train in such poor conditions, but the prospect of a pair of Network SouthEast liveried 50s on the usual ridiculously short load of just four vans was certainly worth the effort. This is also taken from a location that is no longer accessible, although it has to be said that the fog does hide the pylons that cross the line in the background. The dull conditions required the use of the very grainy (but sharp) Kodachrome 200.

50002 Wilmington 6 July 1991

50002 Superb passes Wilmington on 6 July 1991 with the 1V15 15:15 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service. For some odd reason, this is the only occasion that I visited this spot whilst spending what like seemed like the majority of 1991 pursuing the Class 50s on the Waterloo to Exeter line.

50002 Winchfield 21 July 1991

50002 Superb passes through Winchfield station on 31 July 1991 with the 2V13 12:55 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service. Nice, but I much prefer the view of the same loco at the same location four years earlier, when it was in the original NSE livery, on the main line, and the bushes weren't so intrusive!

50002 Sherborne 15 August 1991

50002 Superb arrives at Sherborne station on 15 August 1991 with the 1V11 11:00 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service. The NSE red lamp posts have not weathered well, with all except the very base of the one on the left turning almost to salmon pink!

402 Kingswear 20 June 1992

Making its preservation debut at the Dartmouth Railway's Diesel Gala Weekend on 20 June 1992, 402 arrives at Kingswear station with the 10:20 service from Paignton. The loco had be withdrawn from mainline use the previous September, and was immediately purchased by the Devon Diesel Society.

402 Paignton 20 June 1992

402 (50002) leaves Paignton on 20 June 1992 with the 16:40 demonstration freight to Kingswear. The loco had just received a repaint into BR blue, with early 1970s pre TOPS numbers, and was taking part in the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Gala Weekend.

402 Greenway 20 June 1992

With the farmer baling hay in the background, 402 (50002) passes Greenway on 20 June 1992 with the 16:40 Paignton to Kingswear freight, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Diesel Gala. The loco had just entered service on the railway, being the first Class 50 to be preserved.

402 Maypool Viaduct 20 June 1992

Completely dwarfed by the landscape, 402 crosses Maypool Viaduct on 20 June 1992 with the 18:11 Kingswear to Churston freight, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Diesel Gala. The Britannia Royal Naval College can just be seen amid the trees on the far bank of the River Dart.

50002 Goodrington (Waterside) 19 June 1993

50002 Superb lives up to its name, as it passes Waterside caravan park, near Goodrington, on 19 June 1993 with the 17:20 Kingswear to Paignton service, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Diesel Gala. The family enjoying the sunshine by their caravan don't seem too bothered by the noisy machine behind them!

50002 & D400 Hookhills Viaduct 16 October 1993

50002 Superb & D400 accelerate away from Hookhills Viaduct on 16 October 1993 with the 10:15 Paignton to Kingswear service, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Class 50 Day. Superb is living up to its name, having recently been painted BR blue, whilst D400 is looking slightly tatty after over two years of use since it was repainted into blue at the behest of Rail magazine.

50002 Churston 16 October 1993

50002 Superb pulls out of Churston station on 16 October 1993 with the 11:00 Kingswear to Paignton service, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway's Class 50 Event. The locomotive workshop that dominates this view had only just been completed when this picture was taken.

50002 Goodrington 16 October 1993

50002 Superb climbs Goodrington Bank with the 16:30 Paignton to Kingswear service on 16 October 1993, whilst taking part in the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway's Class 50 Spectacular. Perfect low autumnal lighting, waves on the beach, and a blue almost unrefurbished (if you ignore the headlight) Class 50, what more could you ask for? Perhaps the Goodrington Water Park in the background above the train doesn't exactly add to the view, but otherwise an excellent picture.

50002 Goodrington 25 May 1996

50002 Superb climbs Goodrington Bank with the 17:52 Paignton to Kingswear service on 25 May 1996, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Heritage Weekend. Ironically less than three years before I had photographed the loco at the same location, albeit when it was different livery, and from a slightly different angle.

50003 Ruscombe 28 May 1983

Immediately recognisable by its unpainted window surrounds, 50003 Temeraire passes Ruscombe in the rain on 28 May 1983 with the 1A21 11:15 Oxford to Paddington service. With ten coaches of air conditioned luxury, this proves that not everything has improved in the last three decades!

50003 Kngham 4 June 1983

50003 Temeraire could always be recognised from a distance in the early 1980s by its white window frames. It is seen here arriving at Kingham on 4 June 1983 with the 07:05 Hereford to Paddington service. This was the time before Kingham became a busy commuter station and well before the era of the full properly surfaced pay and display car park! Note the old bridge abutment in the background, which was an excellent spot for photography in the 1980s, prior to the rampant tree and bush growth of recent years.

50003 Goring 5 November 1983

Someone is obviously enjoying the haulage by 50003 Temeraire at Goring on 5 November 1983! The loco is working the 2A36 13:01 Paddington to Oxford. This is a very humble duty for a Class 50, as after Reading it took on the role of a local train, calling at most stations. Here it is still accelerating away from Goring & Streatley, and will have hardly got up to speed before having to slow down for the next stop at Cholsey. It almost seems that someone is celebrating Guy Fawkes Night a little early, as smoke from a bonfire drifts across the track in the background, adding to the already misty atmosphere.

50003 Kingham 23 July 1985

It may only be an archetypal platform end grab shot, taken by leaning over the wire fence at Kingham, but the amount of detail visible on the original 6x7 slide is stunning. Every dead insect on the front end is clearly visible! Exactly on time, 50003 Temeraire gets the green flag and is about to set off with the 1B46 17:05 Paddington to Hereford service on 23 July 1985.

50003 Yarnton Junction (site of) 29 June 1986

50003 Temeraire passes the site of Yarnton Junction, where the former Fairford branch line diverged from the Oxford to Worcester 'Cotswold Line'. The train is the 1B40 16:10 Paddington to Hereford on 29 June 1986. The loco carries the modified version of large logo livery, complete with black roof and red buffer beams, arguably the smartest and certainly the most practical version of this livery. The bank of rubble on the left is the site of the former station platform.

50003 Charlbury 31 August 1986

50003 Temeraire pulls away from Charlbury station on 31 August 1986 with the 1A25 16:15 Hereford to Paddington service. Although it would usually be needed now, the provision of a nine coach train on a Sunday in the 1980s was probably a little generous. No overcrowding on this train!

50003 Weybridge 3 September 1988

50003 Temeraire speeds through Weybridge on 3 September 1988 with the 1V17 17:10 Waterloo to Exeter Network SouthEast service. The loco is wearing the revised NSE livery, but in its first form, with a lighter shade of blue than the final repaints.

50004 Stoke Orchard 13 March 1982

50004 St Vincent speeds past Stoke Orchard with the 1V72 09:00 Leeds to Penzance service on 13 March 1982. Bredon Hill can be seen on the right above some of the old orchards from which the nearby village is obviously named. This is near the site of Cleeve station, so called to avoid confusion with Bishops Cleeve station on the nearby former GWR Cheltenham to Stratford line. The village of Bishops Cleeve is located between the two routes.

50004 & 50034 Hinksey 14 June 1983

50004 St Vincent & 50034 Furious pass Hinksey Yard on 14 June 1983 with the 1A22 08:50 Paddington to Oxford non-stop service. Very much a grab shot, as I was more intent on getting a picture of 31158, which was rapidly approaching from the other direction. Although Hinksey Yard is obviously much depleted since it wartime heyday (note the grass covered area directly above the locomotives), it is still fairly busy in this view. It would later become more or less completely deserted, prior to its recent renaissance.

50004 Wolvercote 17 June 1983

50004 St Vincent passes Wolvercote on a very dull 17 June 1983 with the 1A51 05:55 Hereford to Paddington service. It appears that the number is in a slightly thinner than standard typeface, something which had obviously been corrected by the end of the year.

50004 South Moreton (Didcot East) 1 December 1983

50004 St Vincent passes the site of Moreton Sidings, between South Moreton and Didcot with the 11:15 Paddington to Oxford service on 1 December 1983. Before the obsession with health & safety, and the modern day security worries, it was quite common for enthusiasts to park on the site of the sidings to watch trains go by, just as the man in the white car is doing here. If you tried this now of course you would be evicted by the first Network Rail employee that turned up!

50004 Gloucester 6 July 1985

50004 St Vincent leaves Gloucester station on 6 July 1985 with the lengthy 3B42 09:15 newspaper empties to Swindon. Judging by the clouds, I was lucky with the sun here, doubly so, as a few minutes earlier, classmate 50006 Neptune had also been photographed in full sun.

50004 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 29 December 1985

50004 St Vincent passes the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, on 29 December 1985 with the 1C17 08:05 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service. I have used a slightly wider than usual viewpoint here, in order to include the frozen floods in the foreground. It's a pity there wasn't a bit more water in the field, as then I might even have got a reflection of the loco!

50004 Radley 27 August 1987

The last of the evening sunshine illuminates 50004 St Vincent as it passes through Radley station with the 1M42 17:52 Paddington to Wolverhampton InterCity service on 27 August 1987. A rare escape into the Midland Region for a Class 50 at the time. 50004 would have spent most of the day shuttling between Oxford and London, and after reaching the Midlands, would promptly return with the 1V20 20:00 Wolverhampton to Oxford, in readiness for the mornings Thames Valley duties.

5004 Yarnton Junction (site of) 10 April 1988

50004 St Vincent glints in the last rays of the setting sun on 10 April 1988, as it speeds past the site of Yarnton Junction with the 1A67 16:15 Hereford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. This is my final picture of this particular locomotive, despite the fact that in remained in service for another two years. It was transferred to the DCWA engineers pool a month after this picture was taken, and thereafter completely eluded me.

50005 Cam & Dursley 29 October 1983

50005 Collingwood approaches what is now Cam & Dursley station, but was then (29 October 1983) just called Coaley Junction. It is working the 1V76 09:20 Liverpool Lime Street to Penzance service. Quite why I have cropped the picture so tightly I cannot now recall, possibly I didn't see it coming, but surely I would have heard a Class 50!

50005 Hungerford Common 3 September 1984

50005 Collingwood rounds the curve past Hungerford Common on 3 September 1984 with the 1A71 09:32 Penzance to Paddington service. Hungerford station can just be seen in the background. Unfortunately lineside vegetation has now made this viewpoint all but impossible.

50005 Evenlode 16 February 1985

50005 Collingwood passes Evenlode on 16 February 1985 with the 1A75 07:05 Hereford to Paddington service. This is on the double track section of the Cotswold Line just south of Moreton-in-Marsh. The snow had been around for several days, but hadn't completely disappeared by the time the weekend came, and luckily the sun came out creating these ideal photographic conditions.

50005 Kingham 17 May 1985

The driver of 50005 Collingwood watches me take a picture of his loco from the end of the car park at Kingham station on 17 May 1985. The train is the 1B46 17:05 Paddington to Hereford service. This rough gravel area is now part of the massively extended car park, but in the 1980s it merely led down to where British Rail kept one of their vans. The car park now has space for 150 cars, but in the days of the Class 50s there was usually less than ten cars, and sometimes just mine and one or two others!

50005 Chilson 31 August 1986

A work stained 50005 Collingwood passes Chilson with the 1B16 09:55 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill service on 31 August 1986, running approximately 20 minutes late. This location, which is incidentally the site of Charlbury water troughs, has become progressively more grown up since this photo was taken, although the dead elm tree in the background had gone by the following year. It used to be a favourite photographic spot of mine, as it is one of the few locations on the Cotswold Line where the sun is on the nose as early as midday (as here) for northbound trains. 

50005 Shorthampton 8 May 1988

One of the very few occasions on which I saw a Class 50 in the revised version of Network SouthEast livery on the Cotswold Line. 50005 Collingwood passes Shorthampton on a very gloomy 8 May 1988 with the 1B33 14:00 Paddington to Hereford Network SouthEast service.

50005 Chilson 22 May 1988

50005 Collingwood passes Chilson with ballast empties returning from Sunday Cotswold Line engineering work on 22 May 1988. The loco was not officially allocated to the DCWA engineers pool for another two months. I only ever saw two Class 50s used on engineering work on the Cotswold Line, 31s & 47s being more normal motive power for the extensive work carried out on the southern section of the line in 1984-6. The later version of Network SouthEast livery on a loco employed on an engineers train is certainly noteworthy.

50006 Kingston Lisle 21 June 1980

50006 Neptune heads east along the Great Western Mainline near Kingston Lisle on 21 June 1980 with the 1A01 08:31 Cheltenham to Paddington service. Despite appearances, this is taken from a public footpath crossing. Despite the poor quality (Praktica PLC2), I have included this view as it shows Neptune in its recently refurbished condition, with a blanking plate where the central headlight would later be positioned. Note also the line of dead elm trees in the background, a legacy of the Dutch Elm Disease outbreak of the 1970s.

50006 Challow 12 August 1980

50006 Neptune passes the site of Challow station on 12 August 1980 with the 1A01 08:31 Cheltenham to Paddington service. 50006 was the first Class 50 to be refurbished, and in common with the first few released to traffic was outshopped in plain blue livery and with the position for the new headlamp covered with a blanking plate, allegedly due to shortage of parts. It is seen in this condition here. Long before the reinstatement of the relief lines, the remains of Challow station are gradually being taken over by nature, and the well known local scrap and recycling firm Haynes of Challow were still using the old station site to store their vehicles.

50006 Kingham 17 April 1982

50006 Neptune arrives at Kingham station with the 15:00 Paddington to Hereford service on 17 April 1982. All was not well with the loco, as it was misfiring badly. The explosive banging noise as it departed in a cloud of blue smoke was something I have never heard before or since from a loco in normal service (possibly a stuck exhaust valve?). Although still in rail blue livery, the loco is in refurbished condition (note the headlight and lack of sand fillers on the bodyside). It was in fact the first Class 50 to be refurbished, returning to traffic in November 1979.

50006 Oxford 2 April 1983

50006 Neptune pulls away from a signal check on the approach to Oxford station on 2 April 1983. It is working the 1M37 09:50 Paddington to Liverpool Lime Street service, which it would work as far as Birmingham New Street. This view is virtually unrecognisable now. Not only are Class 50 hauled passenger trains unfortunately a thing of the past, but this formerly open location has been compromised by rampant tree growth. The Great Western goods shed on the left has also long since gone.

50006 Croome 14 May 1984

50006 Neptune passes Croome on 14 May 1984 with the 1S71 07:30 Penzance to Glasgow Central service, which it would work as far as Birmingham New Street. A very misty day, with hardly any detail visible on Bredon Hill in the background.

50006 Gloucester 6 July 1985

50006 Neptune darkens the sky as it leaves Gloucester with the 1S61 07:47 Cardiff Central to Edinburgh service on 6 July 1985, which it would work as far as Birmingham New Street. Classmate 50004 St Vincent can be seen on the right waiting to follow it out with the 3B42 09:15 Gloucester to Swindon newspaper empties. Gloucester cathedral dominates the skyline in the background.

50006 Moreton-in-Marsh 18 June 1986

50006 Neptune approaches Moreton-in-Marsh on 18 June 1986 with the 1B56 18:07 Paddington to Hereford 'Cathedrals Express' service. One of my lesser photographed Class 50s, this was in fact the last time I saw it in action, even though it was to survive in traffic for nearly another year. After being withdrawn due to a main generator defect, it was dragged around the country a fair bit before finally ending its days at Vic Berry's at Leicester. From Laira it was taken to Crewe for component recovery, before being towed back down to Bristol, before heading north again!

50007 Hanborough 20 February 1982

Not a very good quality picture, but my only sighting of 50007 Hercules on the Cotswold Line prior to its transformation into green liveried Sir Edward Elgar. On 20 February 1982 it speeds through Hanborough station with the 12:50 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill service. Note the recent felling of the steam age telegraph poles. This location is now a complete tunnel of trees, but here the view of Hanborough station (complete with disused down platform) is uninterrupted.

50007 Oxford 4 September 1982

A very poor picture of 50007 Hercules, but included for its historically interest. Just a matter of days before it was called to Doncaster Works for refurbishment (and not a moment too soon judging by the deplorable state of the bodywork), Hercules pulls into platform 1 at Oxford station with the ECS for the 08:10 departure for Paddington on 4 September 1982. Despite the fact that there was only a few minutes to wait until departure time, the driver shut down the engine once he had reached the end of the platform. Perhaps the loco was in such poor condition that it wasn't the driver who shut it down!

50007 Oxford 2 April 1983

A busy moment at Oxford on 2 April 1983. 50007 Hercules departs with the 1V68 08:20 Liverpool Lime Street to Paddington service, which it had worked from Birmingham New Street. 47559 has just arrived at platform 2 with the 1M50 09:00 Brighton to Manchester Piccadilly, whilst an unidentified Class 121 'bubble car' waits in the down carriage siding with its trailer 54281 (L281). This is the only picture I have of 50007 in large logo livery. It is still looking reasonably clean here, having only been released from Doncaster Works a few weeks previously. This colour scheme was relatively short lived on this loco, as the following year it received a repaint into green, and lost its Hercules name in favour of Sir Edward Elgar.

50007 Marshfield 28 April 1984

Just over two months after being repainted into GW150 green livery and renamed Sir Edward Elgar, 50007 (formerly Hercules) passes Marshfield on 28 April 1984 with the Lea Valley Railway Club 1Z30 07:00 Paddington to Fishguard Harbour 'Pembroke Coast Freighter' railtour. To justify the tour's name, it also visited Waterston and Robeston oil terminals, as well as the Trecwn and Coedbach freight only branches.

50007 & 47240 Hungerford Common 3 September 1984

A meeting of two classic loco classes at Hungerford Common on 3 September 1984. 50007 Sir Edward Elgar heads west with the 09:40 Paddington to Penzance, while 47240 passes with the what is presumably a HST substitute on the 06:28 Penzance to Paddington. Of course if such a situation arose today with a rail blue 47 approaching from one direction and a green 50 from the other, there would be some hesitation as to which to photograph. In 1984 it was simple, Sir Edward Elgar was green, and virtually everything else was blue!

50007 Moreton-in-Marsh 16 June 1985

50007 Sir Edward Elgar leaves Moreton-in-Marsh station on 16 June 1985 with the 1A25 16:15 Hereford to Paddington service. Compared with today, its amazing just how open this view is. Todenham Road crossing keeper's cottage on the former Shipston-on-Stour tramway can be seen in the background, in the centre of the picture, directly in front of the trees.

50007 Oxford 2 July 1985

50007 Sir Edward Elgar arrives at Oxford on 2 July 1985 with the 1E54 06:50 Paddington to Hull service, which it would work as far as Birmingham New Street. Nowadays it seems odd that you could catch a train from London to Hull that would leave from Paddington and travel via the Thames Valley and the Midlands! Even as late as the mid 1980s this view looks remarkably tidy and free of the rubbish (to say nothing of the lineside vegetation) that would appear later.

50007 South Moreton 12 September 1985

50007 Sir Edward Elgar passes South Moreton on 12 September 1985 with the 1O15 09:00 Manchester Piccadilly to Poole service, which it had taken over at Birmingham New Street. Earlier in the day it had worked to Birmingham with the 1E54 06:50 Paddington to Hull. Note the provision of two BG vans at the head of the train.

50007 Ascott-under-Wychwood 10 September 1986

50007 Sir Edward Elgar weaves onto the single track section of line at Ascott-under-Wychwood with the 1A18 07:00 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' on 10 September 1986. There is a rail enthusiast cat in this picture, which although not very obvious here, can clearly be seen on the original 6x7 Ektachrome slide. Sitting on the end of the wall on the left of the picture a tabby watches as the loco passes by. Usually the racket from a Class 50 sends most animals scurrying for cover, but this cat just sat and watched the train go by!

50007 Frampton Mansell 20 June 1987

50007 Sir Edward Elgar passes Frampton Mansell on 20 June 1987 with the BR InterCity 09:00 Paddington to Hereford 'Elgar' railtour. With a name like that, it was obvious what was going to be the booked loco for this train! Unfortunately finding a location was a problem, as the train would be severely backlit all the way, and with a high summer sun to contend with as well. Whist this view does show the Golden Valley in the background (although hardly golden at this time of year), bushes are unfortunately obscuring Frampton Mansell Viaduct, at the rear of the train. This was a relatively common viewpoint in steam days, but I have not seen any pictures taken here in the last couple of decades.

50007 Winchfield 28 August 1987

50007 Sir Edward Elgar speeds past Winchfield on 28 August 1987 with the 1O18 12:18 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. A year after the launch of Network SouthEast, just the first two coaches give any clue to the new organisation.

50007 Pilning 13 March 1989

A far cry from its glory days as a passenger loco or its present day role as a preserved loco, 50007 Sir Edward Elgar ambles down the relief line at Pilning on 13 March 1989 with a train of track panels destined for South Wales. It is about to be overtaken by an HST before resuming its journey through the Severn Tunnel. 50007 was only allocated to the DCWA engineers pool for a short while (8 October 1988 to 14 May 1989), so pictures of it on such mundane duties such as this are not common. This is the only picture I have of it on anything other than a passenger train while in BR service.

50007 Staines Moor 10 December 1989

An unusual and undemanding load for 50007 Sir Edward Elgar on 10 December 1989. As part of the Windsor & Eaton Gala Day, a number of specials were run on the Staines to Windsor line. This is the 13:13 Staines to Windsor & Eaton Riverside, seen passing Staines Moor. The train is formed from Class 438 4-TC trailer set 8018. Unfortunately this was a miserably dull day, so this is a good old grainy 35mm Kodachrome 200 transparency.

50007 Shaldon Bridge 16 September 1990

50007 Sir Edward Elgar runs alongside the River Teign estuary at Shaldon Bridge on 16 September 1990 with the 1O41 14:45 Plymouth to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. Very dodgy lighting, but still worth a picture while I was waiting for 50031 Hood, which was coming from the other direction with the Pathfinder Tours 'Taw Retour' railtour.

50007 Baverstock 6 April 1991

50007 Sir Edward Elgar is just about to dive under the B3089 Salisbury to Dinton road at Baverstock on Saturday 6 April 1991, whilst working the 1O35 10:20 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. Strangely, I have only ever taken two pictures at this location.

50007 Buckhorn Weston Tunnel 14 April 1991

50007 Sir Edward Elgar emerges from Buckhorn Weston Tunnel on 14 April 1991 with the 1O37 13:30 Yeovil Junction to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. Until January this train had started from Exeter, and from the week after this picture was taken, it would commence from Honiton.

50007 Old Basing 28 April 1991

50007 Sir Edward Elgar passes Old Basing with the 09:55 Honiton to Waterloo service on 28 April 1991. This celebrity loco was withdrawn a few months later, but was reinstated with the engine from 50046, and so lived on until the end of the class on the mainline in 1994. This section of line is virtually dead straight all the way from Basingstoke to Farnborough and was well known for fast running in the last days of Southern steam.

50007 & D400 Aynho Junction 11 April 1992

50007 Sir Edward Elgar & D400 have just passed Aynho Junction with the Rail / Network SouthEast Waterloo to Carlisle 'Carlisle Fifty Farewell' railtour on 11 April 1992. The sun finally having come out, after hiding behind banks of mist for much of the morning. This however, was not a taste of things to come, as the weather was just plain dull later in the day at Greenholme!

50007 & D400 Greenholme 11 April 1992

The solitary sheep in the field at Greenholme pays no attention whatsoever as 50007 Sir Edward Elgar & D400 sweep past with the Rail / Network SouthEast Waterloo to Carlisle 'Carlisle Fifty Farewell' railtour on 11 April 1992. Network SouthEast stock on the West Coast Mainline - whatever next!

50007 & D400 Seaton Junction 24 May 1992

On the final day of Class 50 working on the Waterloo to Exeter line, 24 May 1992, 50007 Sir Edward Elgar & D400 speed through the abandoned Seaton Junction station with the 10:55 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service. Despite being closed in 1966, much of the railway infrastructure survives at Seaton Junction, including two convenient concrete footbridges, from one of which this photo was taken.

50007 & D400 Tisbury 24 May 1992

Complete with suitably large headboard, 50007 Sir Edward Elgar & D400 pull away from Tisbury on 24 May 1992 with the final Class 50 hauled service train - the 1V17 16:55 Waterloo to Exeter Network SouthEast service, which the 50s worked from Salisbury. The locos would be retained for another two years for railtour use.

50007 & D400 Lostock Gralam 13 June 1992

The middle of June is not the best time for photography, as in addition to the sun being too high in the sky, everything in the countryside is the same shade of green. So what's the best colour of locomotive to be heading a train in such conditions? Even the Class 50 is getting in on the green act as 50007 Sir Edward Elgar leads a more conventionally liveried D400 past Lostock Gralam on 13 June 1992 with the SRR/TV50G 1Z36 08:09 Waterloo to Chester 'Court Chester' railtour.

50007 & D400 Gobowen 13 June 1992

50007 Sir Edward Elgar & D400 approach Gobowen on 13 June 1992 with the SRR/TV50G 1Z36 15:58 Chester to St Pancras 'Court Chester' railtour. The train actually left Chester over half an hour late, but had already made up a lot if time, being just ten minutes behind time here. Unfortunately a diversion after Stafford resulted in some much more serious delays later on.

50007 & 50033 Water Orton 7 November 1992

On a very gloomy 7 November 1992, 50007 Sir Edward Elgar & 50033 Glorious pass the disused (and since demolished) signal box at Water Orton with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z42 05:17 Eastleigh to York 'Minster Marauder' railtour. By this date all the Class 50s with the exception of the two machines pictured here and pioneer locomotive D400 had been withdrawn from service. These three locos were then used for railtours until final withdrawal in March 1994.

50007 & 50033 Toton 7 November 1992

50007 Sir Edward Elgar & 50033 Glorious speed past Toton on a miserably dull 7 November 1992 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z42 05:17 Eastleigh to York 'Minster Marauder' railtour. I felt I had to include this picture, despite its very poor technical quality (poor weather and Fujichrome RF50 is not an ideal combination!), as a pair of Class 50s passing Toton depot was at the time an extremely unusual occurrence. Also, the sheer quantity of classic traction in the view is amazing, with various examples of Class 08, 20, 31, 37, 56, 58 & 60 all clearly visible, to say nothing of the pair of 50s in the foreground. Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station can be seen in the gloom in the background.

50007 & D400 Knighton (Powys) 23 January 1993

23 January 1993 turned out to be one of the worst days on which I have photographed a railtour, with virtually constant rain. 50007 Sir Edward Elgar & D400 worked the Pathfinder Tours 1Z36 05:46 Manchester Piccadilly to Knighton tour, appropriately called the 'Knighton Horse'. As the light levels dictated high speed B&W film for the action shots, the only colour record I have of the tour is this picture taken during the lengthy stop at Knighton.

50007 & D1962 Colton Junction 30 August 1993

Unfortunately running ten minutes late, which meant the best of the light had gone, as the sun had started to sink into some cloud near the horizon, 50007 Sir Edward Elgar & D1962 (47833) Captain Peter Manisty RN pass Colton Junction on 30 August 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z44 17:10 Scarborough to Paddington 'North Yorkshireman Explorer' railtour. Most of the tour was worked by D1962 on its own, 50007 only being added at York, and detached at Reading.

50007 & 50033 Carlyon Bay 26 September 1993

50007 Sir Edward Elgar & 50033 Glorious pass the golf course at Carlyon Bay on 26 September 1993 with the BR InterCity 1Z50 13:30 Plymouth to Penzance 'Royal Duchy' railtour. The smoking chimneys of the china clay dries at Par can just be seen in the extreme distance on the right.

50007 & 50033 Hookhills Viaduct 16 October 1993

After working an InterCity charter from Paddington, 50007 Sir Edward Elgar & 50033 Glorious worked the 11:45 Paignton to Kingswear service on 16 October 1993, as part of the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Class 50 Day. Making a superb sight and sound at Hookhills Viaduct, the visiting pair are seen here in charge of a selection of Great Western coaching stock, which includes an autocoach directly behind 50033.

50007 Britannia Crossing 16 October 1993

50007 Sir Edward Elgar approaches Britannia Crossing on 16 October 1993 with the 13:45 Kingswear to Paignton freight, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Class 50 event. 50007 was briefly in the DCWA engineer's pool, but would never have worked such a short mixed train!

50007 Britannia Crossing 16 October 1993

50007 Sir Edward Elgar cautiously approaches Britannia Crossing on 16 October 1993 with the 15:05 Paignton to Kingswear service, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway's Class 50 Event. A whole day of Class 50 action amid the spectacular Devon scenery, and all in full sun. Definitely worth the 350 mile round trip! I am particularly pleased with this picture, with the boats and swan in the foreground making an ideal composition.

50007 Goodrington (Waterside) 16 October 1993

Nicely lit by the very low late afternoon sun, 50007 Sir Edward Elgar passes Waterside Caravan Park, Goodrington, on 16 October 1993 with the 16:30 Kingswear to Paignton service, during the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway's Class 50 Day. This fantastic event featured 50007, D400 & 50033 from BR, as well as preserved 50002 & 50042.

50007 & D400 Fishguard Harbour 8 January 1994

50007 Sir Edward Elgar & D400 stand at Fishguard Harbour station in the rain on 8 January 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 'Dyfed Dub Dub' railtour. Having already visited various West Wales freight installations, including the now closed Waterston Branch, the tour participants were now given an hour to sample the delights of the remote Welsh outpost of Fishguard, where there was probably very little to do on a wet January afternoon! The train would soon depart as the 1Z16 16:09 Fishguard Harbour to Crewe.

50007 & 50033 West Ruislip 19 February 1994

50007 Sir Edward Elgar & 50033 Glorious approach West Ruislip on 19 February 1994 with the Class 40 Appeal Crewe to Exeter St Davids (via Paddington) 'Class 50 Western Memorial Railtour'. A very hazy morning, and the weather had only got marginally better by the time the train headed out of Paddington, along the Great Western Mainline.

50007 & 50050 Totnes 26 March 1994

After reversing at Exeter St. Davids, the Pathfinder Tours '50 Terminator' railtour is seen here passing through Totnes, hauled by 50007 Sir Edward Elgar & 50050 Fearless, running as the 1Z07 13:17 Exeter St. Davids to Penzance on 26 March 1994. This was the farewell tour to the Class 50s on the mainline. Ironically I turned up at this spot to see 50031 Hood return to the mainline in Autumn 1997 in similarly perfect sunny conditions.

50007 Bewdley 2 October 2004

50007 Sir Edward Elgar approaches Bewdley on 2 October 2004 with the 10:25 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. Authentically tatty green paint, just like I remember it on the Waterloo to Exeter route in 1991!

50007 Woodthorpe 12 September 2009

'A symphony in green' (with apologies to the late Sir Edward Elgar). Elgar never got around to writing a green themed symphony, slightly surprisingly considering the pastoral nature of much of his music. I'm not sure what he would have made of this either, and I don't mean the odd combination of a green Class 50 on green Southern stock, running through the Leicestershire countryside! 50007 Sir Edward Elgar passes Woodthorpe on the Great Central Railway with the 2A10 11:00 Loughborough to Leicester North service on 12 September 2009, during the line's Diesel Gala. This is the first time that a Class 50 has visited this line.

50007 Quorn & Woodhouse 12 September 2009

50007 Sir Edward Elgar approaches Quorn & Woodhouse with the 2A30 14:25 Loughborough to Leicester North service, during the Great Central Railway's Diesel Gala on 12 September 2009. This loco was probably the highlight of the event, as the railway has never played host to a Class 50 before.

50007 Crownthorpe 5 April 2014

The highlight of the Mid Norfolk Railway's spring Diesel Gala over the weekend of 4-6 April 2014, was the return to traffic of 50007, freshly repainted into original BR blue, and with reinstated Hercules nameplates. Looking superb (no, hang on, that's 50002!), 50007 Hercules passes Crownthorpe on 5 April 2014 with the 1W09 12:39 Dereham to Wymondham Abbey service, with 31108 on the rear. Unfortunately the day's earlier sunshine had disappeared, although a little bit of brightness was just breaking through the clouds.

50007 Kimberley Park 5 April 2014

50007 Hercules rounds the curve at Kimberley Park on 5 April 2014 with the 1D12 14:35 Wymondham Abbey to Dereham service, during the Mid Norfolk Railway's Diesel Gala. Although it's always nice to see a Class 50 working, and the finish is excellent, I was not one of those people who objected to 50007 being in green livery as Sir Edward Elgar. Non authentic it may have been, but it did look smart. To be pedantic, this isn't authentic either, as the loco is in refurbished condition (headlight, plated over sand fillers, etc). 50007 was never in this condition in BR blue livery, only 50001, 50006, 50013, 50017, 50019 & 50047 ever wore BR blue livery after refurbishment.

50007 Danemoor Green 5 April 2014

Looking immaculate after its recent repaint into BR blue livery, 50007 Hercules passes Danemoor Green on 5 April 2014 with the 1W15 15:30 Dereham to Wymondham Abbey service, during the Mid Norfolk Railway's Diesel Gala.

50007, 50017, 37905 Brentingby 31 March 2016

50007 (D407) Hercules, 50017 Royal Oak & 37905 (D6836) pass Brentingby on 31 March 2016 with the 5Z50 12:10 Leicester to Dereham stock move, heading for the Mid Norfolk Railway Diesel Gala. Behind the 37 are three prototype liveried HST coaches, the prototype power car 41001, and 50050 Fearless (D400) bringing up the rear. Unfortunately, after a sunny morning, this passed by under a very large dark cloud. What a pity, as the sun would have been perfect at this location.

50007 & 50050 Kimberley Park 2 April 2016

50007 Hercules & 50050 Fearless pass Kimberley Park on 2 April 2016 with the 14:20 Wymondham to Dereham service, during the Mid Norfolk Railway's Diesel Gala,. The locos carry their pre TOPS numbers (D407 & D400) at the other ends.

50007, 50050 & 47749 Standish Junction 30 April 2016

50007 Hercules, 50050 Fearless & 47749 pass Standish Junction in superb light on 30 April 2016 with the 0Z50 10:43 (in theory!) Washwood Heath to Bristol St Philips Marsh loco move. This was in connection with the May Bank Holiday St Philips Marsh Open Day. This was running 38 minutes early, although earlier in its journey its early running had been double that. Note the covered nameplates on 47749. It would be named City of Truro at the open day.

D407 & D400 Wolvercote Junction 11 June 2016

D407 Hercules & D400 Fearless pass Wolvercote Junction on 11 June 2016 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z50 04:48 Derby to Swanage 'Purbeck & Bomo Explorer' railtour. The locos are carrying their TOPS numbers (50007 & 50050) on the other side, which is obviously more appropriate for named Class 50s. I had particularly wanted to photograph this train here, as although I have various pictures of Class 50s coming off the Cotswold Line, for some reason I never took a picture of a Class 50 approaching Wolvercote Junction from the Banbury direction. Given the identifiable location, I was a little surprised to be the only person at this particular spot.

50008 Ufton Nervet 16 September 1978

A real blast from the past! 50008 Thunderer approaches Ufton Nervet level crossing on 16 September 1978 with the 1B74 12:23 Paddington to Paignton service. The loco had only been named two weeks previously, and was to wait another year before the ship's crests were added. It is still in unrefurbished condition, and at this time less than half way through its career on the national network, having being transferred from the London Midland Region to the Western Region two years before as a replacement for the Class 52 'Westerns'. This was one of my earliest railways photos, taken using a Praktica PLC2 and Kodachrome 64 film.

50008 Shipton 13 October 1979

A damp and gloomy autumn morning at Shipton station on 13 October 1979. 50008 Thunderer approaches the diminutive Cotswold Line station at speed with the 1A07 08:08 Hereford to Paddington service. The old loading dock can be seen in the foreground, whilst just visible to the right of the train are the foundations of the goods shed. This was a substantial timber built structure, that survived until the cessation of goods services in 1965.

50008 Frampton Mansell 28 August 1982

Its hard to believe now, but there was once an almost completely unobstructed view of Frampton Mansell Viaduct from the nearby field. On 28 August 1982, 50008 Thunderer crosses the viaduct with the 1A89 08:24 Cheltenham to Paddington service. Unfortunately I have few pictures of Class 50s on this line, as I spent most of my time photographing them on the other route across the Cotswolds - the Oxford to Worcester line.

50008 Combe (Grintleyhill Bridge) 17 September 1983

50008 Thunderer approaches Grintleyhill Bridge, near Combe with the 08:05 Hereford to Paddington service on 17 September 1983. A typical late summer day that had started sunny but soon started to cloud up. Judging by the ominously dark clouds in the background and the fact that Whitehill Bridge in the background is already in shade, I think I was lucky to get this picture in the sun. This section of track was singled in 1971 and even now (2009) is not included in the Cotswold Line re-doubling plans.

50008 Stonesfield 8 June 1984

50008 Thunderer races along the single track section of the Cotswold Line to the south of Charlbury, passing near to the village of Stonesfield with the 1A73 07:05 Hereford to Paddington service on 8 June 1984. Obviously fairly fresh from a repaint, the light grey roof is still reasonably clean apart from around the four exhaust ports. The inclusion of a GUV at the head of the train was typical for the period, giving far more storage for bicycles and other bulky items than is available on the equivalent train today!

50008 Somerton 22 October 1985

With North Aston Hall Farm just visible in the haze on the horizon, 50008 Thunderer speeds past Somerton on 22 October 1985 with the 1O15 09:00 Manchester Piccadilly to Poole service. Large logo livery with a black roof and red buffer beams is probably the livery that suited Class 50s the best, although strangely the black roof was not a standard feature. The more common light grey roof was obviously going to end up mostly black anyway! This picture is taken from the public footpath that links Somerton village to Somerton Crossing.

50008 Radley 16 August 1987

50008 Thunderer speeds through Radley station with the 3A88 09:00 Oxford to Old Oak Common empty newspaper vans on 16 August 1987. Although the load of four empty vans may seem a ridiculous use of a Class 50, this train was actually booked for a pair of 50s, and indeed this is one of the few occasions I saw a single loco on it. The use of two locos was purely to get them back to Old Oak Common for the Monday morning rush hour trains. 

50008 Oxford 21 October 1988

50008 Thunderer leaves Oxford with the 1F45 11:00 Network SouthEast fast service to Paddington on 21 October 1988. Strangely 50008 had been allocated to the DCWA engineers pool a couple of months prior to this picture and should therefore have been restricted to low speed departmental workings. Admittedly this was the last day that I saw it operating regular passengers trains, although of course in 1991 it was repainted into 'Laira Blue' and became a railtour locomotive. Note the revised shape crest above the nameplate, which was applied in 1986.

50008 Oxford 21 October 1988

50008 Thunderer waits at Oxford station on 21 October 1988. It has just arrived from the up carriage sidings and will shortly be working the 1F71 16:00 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service. This view shows Oxford station after the 1971 modernisation, which saw the construction of a range of flimsy wooden buildings on the up platform, hardly better than the ramshackle GWR buildings they replaced. The canopy above the first three coaches dates from this time, while in the background can be seen the truncated remains of the original Great Western canopy. In 1990 the station was rebuilt again, this time with a footbridge replacing the former subway.

50008 Worle 25 April 1990

A ridiculously easy job for a Class 50! 50008 Thunderer heads north past Worle on 25 April 1990 with an inspection saloon (probably DB999509). Just two days earlier Thunderer came to the aid of the 09:22 Penzance to Glasgow HST, which had failed at Bristol Temple Meads. The 50 dragged the errant HST to Sheffield, where the train was terminated. Whether any notice was taken of the 60mph maximum speed restriction of the DCWA allocated 50 is an interesting question! Whilst this picture of Thunderer on an inspection saloon is interesting, how much more interesting would a picture of it dragging a HST be, especially in the Sheffield area. Ah well, another one that got away!

50008 Lympsham 25 April 1990

50008 Thunderer passes Lympsham on 25 April 1990 with the 6C55 14:37 Bristol East Depot to Exeter Riverside departmental working, on this occasion it is hauling a Plasser & Theurer RM 62 Ballast Cleaner (all now scrapped), rather than the usual rake of ballast hoppers. Thunderer spent the whole of 1990 allocated to the DCWA engineer's pool, but with very limited information about its day to day workings, it was difficult getting many pictures.

50008 Willand 1 August 1990

Unfortunately severely backlit, but a DCWA Class 50 at work was always worth recording. 50008 Thunderer trundles past Willand on 1 August 1990 with the 7C56 13:35 Meldon Quarry to Bristol East ballast. These were certainly the good old days, as within half an hour a similar working was photographed heading in the opposite direction behind 50032.

50008 Burngullow Junction 26 January 1991

In appalling light on 26 January 1991, 50008 Thunderer comes off the Drinnick Mill line at Burngullow Junction with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 'Cornish Centurion' railtour. The loco had been freshly painted into this unusual variation of Rail Blue (later to be dubbed 'Laira Blue') especially for this tour. Since this picture was taken this section of the Cornish mainline has been redoubled.

50008 Luxulyan 26 January 1991

50008 Thunderer traversed the Newquay line as far as Bugle on 26 January 1991 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 'Cornish Centurion' railtour. It is seen here passing Luxulyan. Just out of sight around the corner on the rear of the train is 50015 Valiant, waiting to work the train back to Par.

50008 & 50015 Penzance 4 May 1991

50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant draw admiring glances both from the railtour passengers on the platform, and passers by on the road above, as they wait at Penzance on 4 May 1991, prior to working the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 'Cornish Centurion 2' railtour, returning to Manchester Piccadilly.

50008 & 50015 St Blazey 4 May 1991

50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant approach St Blazey on 4 May 1991 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 'Cornish Centurion 2' railtour. The train had just traversed the Newquay line as far as Bugle, led by 37673. The tour was supposed to have visited the Falmouth branch, but this was omitted due to late running.

50008 & 50015 Royal Albert Bridge 4 May 1991

With the houses of Saltash in the background, 50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant slowly negotiate Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge on 4 May 1991 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 'Cornish Centurion 2' railtour. The tour was heading back to Manchester Piccadilly, after having visited Drinnick Mill, Carne Point and Plymouth. The 50s would work the train as far as Bristol. The tour was a re-run of the 26 January 1991 train, which followed much the same route and used the same locomotives.

50008 & 50015 Cullompton 4 May 1991

Easily outpacing the traffic on the nearby M5 motorway, 50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant approach Cullompton on 4 May 1991 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 Penzance to Manchester Piccadilly 'Cornish Centurion 2' railtour. This was a re-run of the hugely popular 'Cornish Centurion' railtour than ran four months earlier, and saw both of these locomotives appear in public for the first time in these distinctive liveries. Thankfully this second train was blessed with much better weather.

50008, 50015, 31511, 37904, & 37889 Coalpit Heath 25 May 1991

I do not normally bother photographing light engine convoys, but with one of my favourite Class 50s providing the power this one just had to done, despite the gloomy weather. Passing the site of Coalpit Heath station on 25 May 1991, celebrity pair 50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant haul 31511, 37904, & 37889 from Bristol Bath Road to Coalville, where all the locos would be on display at the open day. At this time both 50s were in the NWXC (Network SouthEast reserve) pool. In June 1991 they were both transferred back into the DCWA departmental pool, from which they had both been taken to be repainted into these one off liveries in January 1991. However, in their second time in the DCWA pool they did virtually no departmental work.

50008 & 50015 Wrenbury 12 October 1991

50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant pass Wrenbury with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 07:00 Hereford to Carlisle 'Wye Knot' railtour on 12 October 1991. Apologies for the poor technical quality of this picture, caused by the atrocious lighting conditions, which was really stretching the capabilities of the colour films of the time. However, every working of Thunderer whilst it was in 'Laira blue' livery is worth recording. For those interested this picture was taken with a Canon A1 on Kodachrome 200 at 1/1000sec f1.4, so obviously nothing at all in reserve if it got even slightly darker!

50008 & 50015 Chilson 19 October 1991

50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant pass Chilson on 19 October 1991 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 07:58 Paddington to Cardiff (via Worcester and Swindon) 'Hoover Hoop' railtour. This used to be one of my favourite locations on the Cotswold Line, and during the 1980s I took many pictures here, including numerous Class 50s. However, regular Class 50 haulage on the route had ended a couple years earlier, and this was my first picture of a double headed railtour at this spot. Already the location is becoming very overgrown, and in recent years this viewpoint has disappeared completely, as Network Rail now no longer carry out any lineside maintenance.

50008 & 500015 Middlehill Tunnel 19 October 1991

50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant have just emerged from Box Tunnel on 19 October 1991, and are about to enter Middlehill Tunnel with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z16 07:58 Paddington to Cardiff 'Hoover Hoop' railtour. I was surprised at the number of people on the road bridge at Box, as clearly the picture of the train exiting the tunnel would be completely ruined by shadows!

50008 & 50015 Torre 23 November 1991

The sun glints off 50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant as they climb the 1 in 73 gradient at Torre, on the Paignton branch, with the 1Z37 00:30 Manchester Piccadilly to Newquay 'Valiant Thunderer' railtour on 23 November 1991. This was the loco's final railtour, with both machines having high engine hours, 50015 especially so, at over 10,000 hours.

50008 & 50015 St Dennis Junction 23 November 1991

50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant bring up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z37 00:30 Manchester Piccadilly to Newquay 'Valiant Thunderer' railtour at St Dennis Junction on 23 November 1991. Out of sight at the front of the train is 50033 Glorious.

50008 & 50015 Bodmin Parkway 23 November 1991

Shortly after sunset on 23 November 1991, 50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant pass through Bodmin Parkway station with the 1Z37 14:20 Newquay to Manchester Piccadilly 'Valiant Thunderer' railtour. Geoff Hudson, the BR area fleet manager who did so much to maintain the Class 50s during their last years at Laira can be seen standing up inside Thunderer's cab.

50008 Heap Bridge 7 March 2010

The highlight of the East Lancashire Railway's Diesel Gala on 6 & 7 March 2010 was the return to service in 'Laira Blue' livery of 50008. The immaculate loco is seen here passing Heap Bridge on Sunday 7 March with the 2J77 13:05 Heywood to Rawtenstall service. Although the shade of blue looks a little light, and the omission of the Thunderer nameplates gives the game away, this is certainly an excellent recreation of the 1991 period, and a welcome return to service of one of my favourite Class 50s.

50008 Burrs 7 March 2010

50008, resplendent in its freshly applied 'Laira Blue' livery passes Burrs in superb late afternoon light with the 2J87 15:45 Heywood to Rawtenstall service, during the East Lancashire Railway's Diesel Gala on 7 March 2010. The return to traffic of the erstwhile Thunderer in this 1991 DCWA engineers pool livery was certainly the highlight of this event. 40145 East Lancashire Railway can be seen hitching a ride on the rear of the train.

50008 & 50015 Castor 11 April 2015

The old 1991 railtour pair reunited again in 2015! 50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant make a fine sight, as the pass Castor on 11 April 2015, during the Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. They are working the 1E48 12:02 Wansford to Peterborough service. Despite the visiting Class 31, 56, 60 & 66, this pair of classic machines was definitely the highlight for me!

50008 & 50015 Castor 11 April 2015

50008 Thunderer & 50015 Valiant pass Castor on 11 April 2015 with the 1M48 12:50 Peterborough to Wansford service, during the Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. This pair were virtually inseparable during 1991, when despite being officially DCWA engineer's locos, they worked several railtours, with 50008 in the livery we see here, and 50015 in 'Dutch' engineer's livery.

50008 Castor 11 April 2015

50008 Thunderer passes Castor on 11 April 2015 with the 1E52 14:42 Wansford to Peterborough service, during the Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. With the viewpoint now getting very backlit, I opted for a wide angle view to include the lineside bush, and make the most of the dramatic sky. Also of course, the wider angle lens that you use, the further the pylon recedes into the background! Not much of a load for a Class 50!

50008 Castor 11 April 2015

Looking fantastic in its 1990s 'Laira Blue' livery, 50008 Thunderer passes Castor on 11 April 2015 with the 1M52 15:30 Peterborough to Wansford service, during the Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. Although of course there were numerous photographers all along the lineside, I was surprised to be the only person in this position, which seems odd, as the inclusion of the signal obviously adds to the picture. With plenty of cloud now building up, I was relived to get this picture in the sun, as for me it is the shot of the day, despite the foreign coaches!

50008 Bewdley 19 May 2016

50008 Thunderer approaches Bewdley on 19 May 2016 with 'fake wood' vinyl covered 4-TC trailer set 428, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. It is working the 16:37 Kidderminster to Bewdley service. Whilst waiting for this train, I witnessed the unusual sight and sound of the keepers in the nearby West Midland Safari Park calling in the rhinos to their pen, as the park was closing. They were a little reluctant to go!

50008 & 56303 Burton Salmon 6 May 2017

50008 Thunderer & 56303 pass Burton Salmon on 6 May 2017 with the 5Z50 10:30 York Holgate Sidings to Derby RTC ECS. This was a loaded test run for Thunderer, after the previous day's light engine test from Washwood Heath. The extremely mixed rake of coaching stock had been moved to York by 56303, which was included in this train for insurance purposes. It is over a quarter of a century since I last saw Thunderer on the mainline!

50008 Up Hatherley 7 JUly 2017

50008 Thunderer passes Up Hatherley on 7 July 2017 with the 4Z01 08:50 Okehampton to Chaddesden Sidings, conveying Network Rail rail grinders DR79304, DR79303, DR79302 & DR79301. This was running exactly one hour early. Although Thunderer never did much real engineer's work once it had been painted into this 'Laira Blue' livery in 1991, this still invokes the good old days of DCWA allocated departmental Class 50 workings.

50009 Ascott-under-Wychwood 3 July 1986

50009 Conqueror joins the double track section of the Cotswold Line at Ascott-under-Wychwood on 3 July 1986, as it works the 1B56 18:07 Paddington to Hereford 'Cathedrals Express'. Just beyond the Portakabin in the background is Ascott-under-Wychwood level crossing. The roof of the signal box can just be seen above the second coach. During the period 1971 to 2011, the single track section extended from here to Wolvercote Junction, a distance of fourteen miles. Photo taken with permission.

50009 Oxford 1 August 1986

50009 Conqueror makes a smoky departure from Oxford with the 1F07 07:08 Oxford to Paddington Network SouthEast service on 1 August 1986. Despite being loco hauled, this was a not an express service, taking 80 minutes to reach the capital, and calling at Radley, Didcot, Cholsey, Goring & Streatley, Pangbourne, Tilehurst, & Reading. Before the large car park was constructed on the site of the yard on the right in the 1990s, I used to visit this location frequently, often getting there at the crack of dawn (as here)!

50009 Kingham 2 August 1986

50009 Conqueror pulls out of Kingham station on 2 August 1986 with the 1B46 17:07 Paddington to Hereford service. The GWR corrugated iron hut was a remarkable survivor, originally standing next to the large 1906 built Kingham Signal Box (initially called Chipping Norton Junction North Signal Box). This stood where the conifers are growing in this picture. The hut has gone, Conqueror has been scrapped, and the conifers are now full size trees!

50010 Hinksey 28 July 1983

In severe need of a repaint, 50010 Monarch passes Hinksey Yard on 28 July 1983 with the 1A25 17:22 Oxford to Paddington service. Class 50s were commonplace here at the time, and would even turn up on freights. Despite this, I very seldom met another photographer at the time, at what is now a well known photographic location.

50010 Wolfhall 2 July 1985

A dull day at Wolfhall on the Berks & Hants Line on 2 July 1985 sees 50010 Monarch heading east with 09:32 Penzance to Paddington service. Monarch is one of the few 50s that I have only got a few pictures of, and I certainly never saw it when it had its blue roof whilst in 'large logo' livery. This was carried out at Landore Depot in 1983, allegedly because they hadn't got the correct paint!

50010 Crofton 23 September 1986

Not quite a perfect reflection, but not a bad picture nonetheless. 50010 Monarch passes the fishermen on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Crofton with the 1C29 11:00 Paddington to Paignton service on 23 September 1986. Monarch was one of a handful of Class 50s that always seemed to elude me, and I only have a few pictures of it. This was the last time I saw it, despite it remaining in service for nearly another two years. Unfortunately it suffered an engine failure whilst hauling the 11:50 Glasgow to Plymouth train near Bromsgrove on 30 July 1988, and was towed to Laira the following day. There it languished for several years, before finally being cut up on site by staff from Coopers Metals, Cardiff.