Class 769

769006 Llanbradach 17 June 2022

769006 approaches Llanbradach station on 17 June 2022 with the 2P71 15:28 Ystrad Mynach to Penarth Transport for Wales service. At a time when petrol and diesel cars are being phased out in favour off electric vehicles, it seems an odd decision on the railways to convert some EMUs to DMUs! These former Class 319s have had a troubled conversion, with various issues, including overheating, leading to late delivery and unreliability.

769007 Caerphilly 17 June 2022

769007 calls at Caerphilly station on 17 June 2022 with the 2P45 11:27 Rhymney to Penarth Transport for Wales service. Although unfortunately nothing like as reliable as the Pacers that they replaced, at least TfW seem to be able to maintain a reasonable service up the Rhymney Valley, whereas GWR have yet (at the time of writing) to get any of their similar units into service.

769008 Aber 17 June 2022

769008 calls at Aber station on 17 June 2022 with the 2P55 13:00 Bargoed to Penarth Transport for Wales service. Aber station is on an embankment, on a tight curve that takes the southbound Rhymney Valley line onto an easterly course for the approach to Caerphilly station.

769421 Caerphilly 17 June 2022

769421 leaves Caerphilly station on 17 June 2022 with the 2P49 12:28 Ystrad Mynach to Penarth Transport for Wales service. Years ago many stations used to compete for best kept station prizes, with elaborate flower displays and planted borders on many stations. This is Network Rail's modern equivalent! Admittedly with today's shorter trains this end of the platform is no longer used, but the fact that these plants are able to flourish through the concrete and tarmac is just another example of Network Rail's lack of maintenance.

769421 Llanbradach 17 June 2022

The platforms at Llanbradach station are staggered either side of a central footbridge. 769421 passes the northbound platform on 17 June 2022, as it prepares to call at the station with the 2P65 14:25 Bargoed to Penarth Transport for Wales service.

769445 Pontlottyn 3 May 2023

Class 769 swansong. Nearing the end of the class's very short career in the Welsh Valleys, 769445 approaches Pontlottyn on 3 May 2023 with the 2R18 16:03 Penarth to Rhymney Transport for Wales service. These former Class 319 EMUs were only ever intended as a stop gap, but were late into service, and plagued with reliability issues. However, at least the Welsh ones actually made it into traffic, which is more than the GWR ones ever did!

769927 Shorthampton 25 March 2022

769927 comes out of the darkness and into the light at Shorthampton on 25 March 2022, as it works the 5Q12 12:54 Eastleigh Arlington to Long Marston ECS. The clouds were moving from the east, and Charlbury in the background is already in shade. A few seconds later and it was all completely dull.

769928 & 769923 Yarnton Junction (site of) 20 April 2022

769928 & 769923 pass the site of Yarnton Junction on 20 April 2022 with the 5Q12 10:51 Eastleigh Arlington to Long Marston ECS. Still yet to enter squadron service, years after their supposed introduction date, these troubled units do seem to spend a lot of their time shuttling backwards and forwards over the Cotswold Line!

769930 Shipton 7 January 2022

769930 passes Shipton in the rain on 7 January 2022 with the 5Q09 14:26 Oxford Down Carriage Sidings to Long Marston ECS. This is my closest railway location, but even so I only had just enough time to get here after finding out that it had actually left Oxford. As this had been auto activated, just like the previous times that it didn't run, I was a little surprised when it actually did run!

769932 & 769939 Moreton-in-Marsh (Dunstall Bridge) 4 March 2022

769932 & 769939 slowly approach Moreton-in-Marsh in superb light on 4 March 2022 with the late running 5Q12 12:53 Eastleigh Arlington to Long Marston ECS. Various notes can be seen stuck in the windscreen, including one that says: 'Version 2 Modem Fitted'. This is the view from Dunstall Bridge, with the semaphore signals at Moreton-in-Marsh station just visible in the background.

769935 & 769938 Kingham 28 March 2023

Heading into an uncertain future! 769935 & 769938 pass through Kingham station at high speed on 28 March 2023 with the 5Z69 10:40 Reading Traincare Depot to Long Marston ECS. GWR had planned to lease 19 of these bi-mode EMU conversions from Porterbrook, to replace Class 165 DMUs in the Thames Valley. They should have been in service by early 2021, but proved to be so unreliable during testing that they never entered traffic at all, and the whole project has been one enormous waste of money.

769936 & 769940 Wolvercote 10 June 2022

After waiting for half an hour at a signal in the distance, 769936 & 769940 get under way again at Wolvercote on 10 June 2022 with the 5Q10 11:06 Eastleigh Arlington to Long Marston ECS. A green unit in an all green landscape, around the middle of the day at midsummer and totally backlit. What could be worse! Worth recording though, as allegedly these troubled EMU conversions may never actually enter passenger service.

769938 Whitehill 28 January 2022

Pictured on the single track section of the Cotswold Line between Wolvercote Junction and Charlbury, tri-mode (Diesel, 25kV AC & 750V DC) unit 769938 passes Whitehill on 28 January 2022 with the 5Q09 13:13 Oxford Up Carriage Sidings to Long Marston ECS. Unfortunately the earlier sunshine had completely and permanently disappeared.

769938 & 769935 Kingham 28 March 2023

769938 brings up the rear of the 5Z69 10:40 Reading Traincare Depot to Long Marston ECS at Kingham on 28 March 2023. The leading unit is 769935. Both these units, along with the other 17 Class 769/9 conversions are heading for storage, after the total abandonment of the project to introduce these former EMUs into traffic with GWR.

769939 & 769932 Moreton-in-Marsh (Dunstall Bridge) 4 March 2022

Unbranded 769939 & GWR branded 769932 slowly approach Dunstall Bridge, Moreton-in-Marsh, on 4 March 2022 with the 5Q12 12:53 Eastleigh Arlington to Long Marston ECS. This was running 49 minutes late, which was not too bad considering it left 82 minutes late. The reason for the late running was that the earlier 5Q11 09:34 Long Marston to Eastleigh Arlington left over two hours behind time!

769939 & 769940 Ascott-under-Wychwood 6 May 2022

Running ten minutes early, 769939 & 769940 pass Ascott-under-Wychwood Signal Box on 6 May 2022 with the 5Q11 09:33 Long Marston to Eastleigh Arlington ECS. Although these supposedly unreliable units have a reputation for being underpowered when running on diesel, there didn't seem to be any problem here. This pair had managed to cover the 11 miles between Moreton-in-Marsh and Ascot in 9 minutes, and certainly seemed to be travelling at their alleged top speed of 85mph when they passed me.

769943 Long Marston 3 April 2023

Running nearly three hours late, 769943 arrives at Long Marston on 3 April 2023 with the 5Q10 08:18 ECS from Reading Traincare Depot. This delayed train was just about the last train to cross Nuneham Viaduct (between Didcot and Oxford) before the line was closed to all traffic because excessive movement had been discovered in the structure.

769943 Long Marston 3 April 2023

3 April 2023 should have seen the remaining four Class 769 units moved from Reading to Long Marston for storage, in two trains (5Q10 & 5Q11). The day started badly when the 5Q10 08:18 Reading Traincare Depot to Long Marston only got as far as Reading station before one of the units (769959) developed problems, and so the train went back into the depot. 769943 eventually departed on its own, but owing to arriving at Honeybourne at roughly the same time as another unit from Derby Etches Park, it was nearly three hours late arriving at Long Marston. It is seen here entering the depot at 13:10 (not the 89 minutes late time of 11:46 as quoted by Realtime Trains). The second train was cancelled due to the line being closed between Didcot and Oxford owing to problems with a bridge over the River Thames. Another type of unit plagued by problems (701004) can be seen in the background.

769943 Long Marston 3 April 2023

A panoramic view of some of the trackwork inside the Long Marston storage complex on 3 April 2023. 769943 slowly negotiates the pointwork, after having just arrived with the very late running 5Q10 08:18 Reading Traincare Depot to Long Marston ECS. 701004 can be seen in the distance, the first of a number of this class of EMU destined for short term storage here. Several shunters are also in view, including Thomas Hill 0-4-0 01529 in the foreground.

769959 & 769938 Appleford 25 March 2022

769959 & 769938 pass Appleford on 25 March 2022 with the 5Q11 09:33 Long Marston to Eastleigh Arlington ECS. Note the Red Kite perched in the tree. This was one of a number that were flying around, presumably looking for lunch. These large birds of prey have become exceedingly common in the area, and I often see several of them flying over my garden.