GWR Steam

Iron Duke Toddington 25 April 2011

Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Western Railway was originally constructed in the 1830s to the broad (7ft žin) gauge, for superior speed and comfort. Whilst the idea was (and still is) correct, the cost, and land required was a problem, and more importantly the vast majority of other lines being built at the time were to standard gauge. The end finally came in May 1892 when the remaining 177 miles of track from Paddington to Penzance was converted from broad gauge to standard gauge in two days! Just imagine how many months it would take Network Rail to do that now! With the exception of the small vertical boiler 0-4-0 loco 'Tiny', no original broad gauge locomotives survive. However, in 1985 a working replica of 4-2-2 Iron Duke was constructed. It is pictured here in the car park at Toddington station on 25 April 2011, during its visit to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.

1450 Didbrook 5 December 1999

14xx 0-4-2T 1450 passes Toddington's up home signal, as it accelerates past Didbrook with the 11:00 Toddington to Winchcombe 'Santa Special' on 5 December 1999. Built in 1935, 1450 spent a lot of its working life in the Oxford area, and was occasionally used on my local line, the Fairford Branch, which closed in 1962. 1450 is certainly the most widely traveled of the four preserved members of the class. 1420 & 1442 have remained in Devon, while 1466 was famously the first locomotive acquired by the Great Western Society in 1964 and now resides at Didcot. 1450 meanwhile has visited a number of preserved railways and even has a mainline ticket.

1501 Kidderminster 17 April 2016

15xx Class 0-6-0PT 1501 leaves the Severn Valley Railway's Kidderminster station on 17 April 2016 with the late running 09:30 service to Highley, while 50035 Ark Royal waits in the background, ready to follow it out with the 09:45 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. Although designed by the GWR, the 15xx Class did not appear until 1949. Ten of these unusual outside cylinder pannier tanks were constructed, of which 1501 is the only survivor. The design was not particularly successful, as their high axle weight restricted their usefulness. They were largely employed on empty stick workings between Old Oak Common and Paddington.

2807 Cheltenham Racecourse 25 April 2011

Passengers chat to the crew of 1905 built 28xx 2-8-0 2807 at Cheltenham Racecourse station on 25 April 2011. It is waiting to work the 10:40 Cheltenham to Winchcombe service. At this time the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is effectively two railways, with a landslip near Greet preventing through running. Steam trains operate on the southern section, with a DMU shuttle operating over the newly completed northern extension to Laverton.

2807 Winchcombe 25 April 2011

28xx 2-8-0 2807 arrives at Winchcombe on 25 April 2011 with the 12:00 service from Cheltenham Racecourse. As there is no through service to Toddington due to a landslip near Greet, the train is arriving at platform 1. For the 2011 season the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is effectively operating as two independent lines.

2807 Dixton 24 July 2012

On one of the hottest days of the year there is no visible exhaust from the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's 28xx 2-8-0 2807, despite the fact that is working hard accelerating away from Gotherington station. It is passing Dixton with the 12:00 Cheltenham Racecourse to Winchcombe service on 24 July 2012.

2807 Hailes 6 September 2015

28xx 2-8-0 2807 passes Hailes on 6 September 2015 with the 10:00 Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse service. This was the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's first train of the day, the 10 o'clock departure being the first southbound train, regardless of which timetable is in operation.

2807 Hailes 2 January 2017

28xx 2-8-0 2807 passes Hailes on 2 January 2017 with the 10:55 Cheltenham Racecourse to Toddington service. As this is approaching Toddington (the distant signal is just beyond the bridge), the loco had shut off, so despite the chilly temperature, there is no exhaust. The evidence of the loco's earlier voluminous exhaust can be seen in the background!

2857 Hailes 10 October 1992

28xx 2-8-0 2857 produces a fine exhaust as it passes Hailes, on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway on 10 October 1992 with the 12:00 Toddington to Winchcombe service, the first train of the day at the time. High voltage power lines now make photography a little more tricky at this location.

2857 Hailes 12 December 1992

28xx 2-8-0 2857 passes Hailes on 12 December 1992 with the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's 10:00 Toddington to Winchcombe Santa Special. Two decades later, this loco received national publicity when the story of its restoration featured in BBC4's 'Golden Age Of Steam Railways' programme.

2857 Eardington 17 September 2016

The fireman hoses down 28xx 2-8-0 2857's footplate, as the loco heads south past Eardington on 17 September 2016 with the 14:55 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster Severn Valley Railway service. This side on view is about the only angle for acceptable tender first photography.

3440 Hailes 13 October 1990

City class 4-4-0 3440 City of Truro approaches Hailes on 13 October 1990 with the 11:00 Toddington to Gretton service during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Great Western Weekend. This location was still free of high voltage electricity poles at this time. The view is now a little more restricted.

3440 Lea Marston 3 May 1992

The first locomotive to reach 100 mph - City Class 4-4-0 3440 City of Truro is pictured here passing Lea Marston at a slightly slower speed with a Derby to Paddington special on 3 May 1992, on what was thought at the time to be its last main line outing. However, just as the locomotive emerged from retirement in 1957 to work passenger trains, so it did in the 21st Century.

3440 Ardley Tunnel 3 May 1992

City class 4-4-0 3440 City of Truro approaches the north portal of Ardley Tunnel with a Derby to Paddington special on 3 May 1992. A nice bit of soft evening backlighting and an excellent location but anyone hoping to use this spot now will be severely disappointed, as apart from a small gap the entire embankment is now covered with bushes.

3440 Malago Vale 8 May 2004

On 8 May 2004, City class 4-4-0 3440 City of Truro commemorated its 1904 100mph record breaking run by retracing the same route, almost exactly 100 years after the event. It is pictured here passing Malago Vale, soon after leaving Bristol Temple Meads with the 1Z34 09:55 Bristol Temple Meads to Kingswear 'Ocean Mail 100' railtour.

3440 Greet 24 May 2009

City class 4-4-0 3440 City of Truro rounds Chicken Curve at Greet on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway with the 11:55 Cheltenham Racecourse to Toddington service on 24 May 2009, during the line's 25th anniversary 'Cotswold Festival of Steam'.

3440 Hailes 18 October 2009

City class 4-4-0 3440 City of Truro passes Hailes on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway with the Toddington to Winchcombe Elegant Excursions ECS on 18 October 2009. The Elegant Excursions series of luxury dining trains are the only ones that run the full length of the line non-stop. I can verify this, as I was in the train coming the opposite way, when City of Truro passed through Winchcombe while we were in the loop.

3738 Didcot Railway Centre 5 May 2013

57xx 0-6-0PT 3738 stands outside the main shed at the Didcot Railway Centre on 5 May 2013. 3738 was built at Swindon in 1937, and spent most of its working life on empty stock workings in the London area. It was rescued from Barry scrapyard by the Great Western Society in the mid 1970s.

3803 Gotherington 3 June 2010

28xx 2-8-0 3803 makes a spirited departure from Gotherington on 3 June 2010 with the 09:28 service to Toddington, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's GWR 175 Festival of Steam. Note that Gotherington's as yet uncommissioned home signal is position on the 'wrong' side of the line, due to sighting problems on the tight curve. As this was one of the first workings of the day, a good exhaust effect was guaranteed, however later on the high temperatures ensured there was hardly a wisp of exhaust.

3803 Dixton 3 June 2010

Hardly ideal photographic conditions, with the harsh overhead sun not providing good illumination and the heat resulting in a clear exhaust. Despite appearances, 28xx 2-8-0 3803 is actually working hard here as it passes Dixton on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway with the 12:23 Gotherington to Toddington service, during the line's GWR 175 Festival of Steam.

4160 Gotherington 3 June 2010

51xx 2-6-2T 4160 blackens the sky as it departs from Gotherington on 3 June 2010 with the 10:38 service to Toddington, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's GWR 175 Festival of Steam. It has just crossed over the Gotherington to Gretton road bridge, which can just be seen in the background by the 10 mph sign.

4160 Dixton 3 June 2010

51xx 2-6-2T 4160 passes Dixton with the 13:33 Gotherington to Toddington service on 3 June 2010, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's GWR 175 Festival of Steam. 57xx 0-6-0PT 4612 had earlier brought the train into Gotherington, and is now hitching a ride back to Toddington on the rear of the train.

4270 Hailes 6 September 2015

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's resident heavy freight tank loco, 42xx 2-8-0T 4270, passes the last few Rosebay Willowherb flowers at Hailes on 6 September 2015, as it works the 11:10 Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse service. This was supposed to be a totally sunny day, but note the unforecast clouds building up in the background.

4277 Toddington 31 March 1990

Early preservation days on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. 42xx Class 2-8-0T 4277 is still a long way from returning to service as it sits in the bay at Toddington on 31 March 1990. This bay has for a long time now been the permanent home to an exhibition coach.

4612 Winchcombe 23 May 2010

57xx 0-6-0PT 4612 gets some prestigious work on 23 May 2010, as it works the Elegant Excursions Toddington to Gotherington Sunday Lunch special. It is seen here departing from Winchcombe, on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. The high sun is hardly the most photogenic lighting, with harsh shadows obscuring most of the underframe detail, and although there is still some hawthorn blossom out, it is getting towards the worst time of year for photography, not only due to the high sun, but also the unremitting uniform green colour of the landscape.

4612 Prescott 3 June 2010

Under a cloudless sky, 57xx 0-6-0PT 4612 passes a field of buttercups as it crosses the Gretton to Gotherington road near Prescott with the 11:48 Gotherington to Toddington service, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railways GWR 175 Festival of Steam on 3 June 2010.

4612 Gotherington 3 June 2010

57xx 0-6-0PT 4612 arrives at Gotherington on 3 June 2010 with the 13:00 train from Toddington, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's GWR 175 Festival of Steam. Although you would think that a sunny mid summer day with deep blue skies would be ideal for photography, this is not necessarily true. Certainly around the middle of the day the high sun throws the wheels and underframe into deep shadow. Photographers - always complaining about something!

4612 Didbrook 3 June 2010

Barely a wisp of exhaust as 57xx 0-6-0PT 4612 passes Didbrook on 3 June 2010 with the 15:55 Toddington to Gotherington service, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's GWR 175 Festival of Steam. Pipe laying work is going on in the vicinity of Toddington station, and the course of the work can just be seen in the background, behind Toddington's up home signal.

4920 Didbrook 6 May 1996

Hall Class 4-6-0 4920 Dumbleton Hall passes Didbrook on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway with the 11:00 Toddington to Far Stanley service on 6 May 1996. The tree just coming into leaf makes an ideal frame for the photo, but unfortunately anyone trying to replicate this shot today would have to contend with some high tension electricity lines behind the loco, and increased vegetation growth on the embankment.

4930 & 7029 Nant-y-Derry 6 July 1985

In dull weather that was unfortunately typical of the GW150 summer of 1985, Hall Class 4-6-0 4930 Hagley Hall & Castle Class 4-6-0 7029 Clun Castle pass Nant-y-Derry with the Kidderminster to Cardiff 'Western Stalwart' railtour on 6 July 1985. This location has since become very overgrown, as this view nearly two decades later proves.

4936 Toddington 31 March 1990

The low late afternoon sun accentuates the rust and primer on Hall Class 4-6-0 4936 Kinlet Hall, as it sits in a line of unrestored rolling stock at Toddington, on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. The date is 31 March 1990, and it would be another decade before this loco was finally returned to steam, although not on this particular line.

4936 Stratton St Margaret 17 June 2000

Hall Class 4-6-0 4936 Kinlet Hall passes Stratton St Margaret on 17 June 2000 with the Vintage Trains 08:10 Birmingham Snow Hill to Didcot 'SLS Special' railtour. This was Kinlet Hall's inaugural mainline run, but leaking tubes and various other problems resulted in 37668 being called upon to assist for the return working. 

4936 Blakedown 30 December 2000

Hall Class 4-6-0 4936 Kinlet Hall passes Blakedown on 30 December 2000 with the Past Time Rail 1Z40 08:08 Stratford-upon-Avon to Newport 'Taffy Apple' railtour. Perfect photographic conditions of sunshine and snow, but despite selecting a low viewpoint, the train has been largely obscured by drifting exhaust. The loco had only returned to the mainline a few months earlier, after not having been steamed for 36 years. 

4965 Fenny Compton 18 April 1999

A recreation of the SLS Specials from the 1950s & 1960s passes Fenny Compton in fine style on 18 April 1999. Hall Class 4-6-0 4965 Rood Ashton Hall was used for this Birmingham Snow Hill to Didcot special, which later returned via the Cotswold Line. I had guessed that the cutting here would mean that the exhaust would not be affected by the wind too much, and I hoped by using a long lens the semaphore signals would stand out, assuming the exhaust didn't blow down and obscure them. For once everything worked out right!

4965 & 4936 Milton 10 March 2001

Steam power old and new, although in this case the old has now outlived the new! Hall Class 4-6-0s 4965 Rood Ashton Hall & 4936 Kinlet Hall get into their stride at Milton on 10 March 2001 with the 06:16 Colchester to Bristol Temple Meads 'Bristolian' railtour, which they had just taken over at Didcot. As can be seen from the Class 60 hauled MGR train in the background, Didcot Power Station was still very much in use. However, just over a decade later this 2,000 megawatt plant was shut down, unfortunately thereby lowering the nation's generating capacity reserve.

4965 Kings Sutton 18 December 2005

Sunday 18 December 2005 dawned clear and bright with the prospect of two Great Western locos on the main line near Banbury within an hour or so of each other. Needless to say things didn't go as planned, with 6024 King Edward 1 leaving Paddington two hours late with a special to Stratford-upon-Avon! On hearing this news, I left my selected spot near Aynho and went to the footpath crossing near Kings Sutton to see Hall Class 4-6-0 4965 Rood Ashton Hall on the 1Z65 11:30 Solihull to Didcot Christmas Lunch Special. This is one of the few locations that would be completely clear of shadows at this time of year, so naturally the clouds rolled in from the west and by the time the train came the lighting was really miserable! Note the long suffering photographers on the bridge in the distance still waiting for 6024.

4965 & 4953 Heyford 19 May 2007

On 19 May 2007, Vintage Trains Ltd ran the 1Z57 08:38 Solihull to Bristol Temple Meads 'Two Halls to Bristol' railtour using 4-6-0s 4965 Rood Ashton Hall & 4953 Pitchford Hall. Unfortunately the bright start didn't last long, as clouds rolled in from the west. However, a lucky break in the clouds occurred just at the right time as the tour passed Heyford, running exactly to time.

4965 & 4953 Baulking 19 May 2007

After a water stop at Oxford on 19 May 2007, the Vintage Trains Ltd 1Z57 08:38 Solihull to Bristol Temple Meads 'Two Halls to Bristol' railtour is pictured passing Baulking with 4-6-0s 4965 Rood Ashton Hall & 4953 Pitchford Hall. After driving through rain from the previous location at Heyford, I was quite surprised when yet again the sun came out in time for the train!

4965 Harbury 15 March 2008

On 15 March 2008, Hall Class 4-6-0 4965 Rood Ashton Hall worked its last mainline railtour prior to a planned overhaul at Tyseley. It is pictured climbing towards Harbury Tunnel with the Vintage Trains 1Z43 10:38 Solihull to Didcot '4965 Adieu' tour. Unfortunately the classic view from this location is now completely impossible due to the growth of some quite substantial trees. However I chose this not particularly inspiring viewpoint from the other side of the cutting because I knew it would be working hard and the exhaust would be clear of the rather bland sky.

4965 & 5043 Sapperton 20 February 2010

A 'Hall' & 'Castle' tackle the notorious Sapperton Bank in fine style on 20 February 2010. 4-6-0s 4965 Rood Ashton Hall & 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe storm up the final 1 in 60 section of the gradient  with the Vintage Trains 1Z43 08:05 Tyseley to Didcot 'Great Western Incursion' railtour. A cold morning, with virtually no wind, a sunny location on the steepest part of the bank - what could possibly go wrong? Nothing at all for once, and the sight and sound was truly spectacular. However, as can be seen from the dark trees on the extreme right, the clouds were starting to build and very shortly the chance of any sun would be disappearing rapidly.

4965 & 5043 Uffington 20 February 2010

After seeing 4-6-0s 4965 Rood Ashton Hall & 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe storm up Sapperton Bank with the Vintage Trains 1Z43 08:05 Tyseley to Didcot 'Great Western Incursion' railtour on 20 February 2010, I thought it was highly unlikely that I would get a second decent picture, as the weather had deteriorated with rain showers and masses of thick cloud. However, I ventured out to Uffington to see the 1Z65 15:45 Didcot to Tyseley return, just in case the weather improved. Miraculously, the clouds cleared away a few minutes before the train arrived, leaving this fantastic cloudscape in the background. Even though this location is a fair walk from the nearest road, I was surprised that there was only one other photographer here to record the scene.

4965 & 5043 Sapperton 2 April 2011

Hall Class 4965 Rood Ashton Hall & Castle Class 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe storm up the 1 in 60 Sapperton Bank, on the approach to Sapperton Tunnel with the Vintage Trains 1Z45 08:05 Tyseley to Didcot 'Coronation Express' railtour on 2 April 2011. The tour was arranged to coincide with the introduction into service of 6023 King Edward II at the Didcot Railway Centre.

4965 & 5043 Uffington 2 April 2011

Hall Class 4965 Rood Ashton Hall & Castle Class 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe pass Uffington on 2 April 2011 with the Vintage Trains 1Z46 15:50 Didcot to Tyseley 'Coronation Express' railtour. Most participants on this tour had no doubt been inspecting newly restored King Class 6023 King Edward II at Didcot Railway Centre, which was making its public debut in a sparkling coat of British Railways experimental blue paint. Unfortunately the promised sunny afternoon had soon given way to thick cloud rolling in from the west buy the time this train passed Uffington.

4965 Ascott-under-Wychwood 14 February 2015

Hall Class 4-6-0 4965 Rood Ashton Hall passes Ascott-under-Wychwood Signal Box at high speed on 14 February 2015 with the Vintage Trains 1Z36 12:30 Tyseley to Oxford 'Valentines Dinner Express' railtour. This was just as the persistent drizzle had turned into heavy rain! Although there were a couple of others photographers on the opposite platform, I was surprised to be the only person at this particular spot. Given the awful weather, I thought it was the obvious place to go, as it shows the train passing one of the line's few remaining signal boxes. Until the reconstruction of Ascot's second platform in 2011 this view was not possible.

4965 Churchill Heath 21 November 2015

Hall Class 4-6-0 4965 Rood Ashton Hall passes Churchill Heath (between Kingham and Bruern) on 21 November 2015 with the Vintage Trains 1Z36 09:30 Tyseley to Oxford 'Oxfordshire Explorer' railtour, or alternatively, according to the headboard, 'Tilly's Birthday Express'! Although there was guaranteed sunshine, the strong wind threatened to cause problems with the exhaust blowing down, so I hoped this location, partly in the lee of Churchill Heath Wood, would give a bit of shelter. The result was even better than I had hoped for, and I've even caught the loco in the 'rods down' position, favourite by perfectionist steam photographers!

5029 Stanton Gate 7 March 1991

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle emerges from the fog at Stanton Gate on 7 March 1991 with its Derby to Sheffield mainline loaded test run. I suppose this picture is atmospheric, but it has required a lot of careful work in Photoshop and Neat Image to get rid of Kodachrome 200's excessive grain, without removing its inherent sharpness.

5029 Moreton-in-Marsh 8 June 1991

This is definitely something you wouldn't see nowadays! Swarms of enthusiasts, mix with interested locals, as Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle takes water at Moreton-in-Marsh on 8 June 1991. This was the loco's first mainline passenger working - an InterCity sponsored Paddington to Great Malvern special. Although obviously with a stationary train, and the signals at danger, there is absolutely no danger whatsoever, modern health & safety would just not allow this kind of mass trespass. Whole families can be seen enjoying the spectacle, and if the kids are getting bored, they can always walk along the point rodding!

5029 Standish Junction 8 June 1991

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle takes the Swindon line at Standish Junction on 8 June 1991 with its first mainline passenger working - an InterCity sponsored Paddington to Great Malvern special. The outward route was via the Oxford to Worcester Cotswold Line, with the return working being routed via the Golden Valley line. Unfortunately the weather was miserable all day.

5029 Banbury 19 April 1992

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle makes a spirited departure from Banbury on 19 April 1992 with the Paddington to Stratford-upon-Avon 'William Shakespeare' railtour. This was my default location for photographing northbound steam tours on the Oxford to Leamington line, as it was the easiest spot to reach after chasing the train from somewhere further south.

5029 Milton 27 June 1993

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle heads west from Didcot, and passes Milton on 27 June 1993 with the Paddington to Worcester 'Cotswold Venturer' railtour, allegedly the first steam hauled train on this section of line since the demise of mainline steam in 1965. A slightly large consumer of coal - Didcot Power Station, dominates the background.

5029 Radley 12 June 1994

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Didcot to Oxford line, Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle worked a series of shuttle specials between the two towns on 12 June 1994. All the local families have come out to see it as it passes through Radley heading towards Oxford. Note that they have plenty of room to wander about as this is before Network Rail had the idiotic idea of fencing off most of the platform width and therefore forcing people to stand nearer fast moving trains!

5029 Oxford 12 June 1994

I do not normally take pictures of steam locomotives working tender first, but this one has a certain novelty value. Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle passes underneath the Osney Lane footbridge at Oxford in lovely evening light on 12 June 1994, with a special train from Didcot. This was one of a number of trains run to mark the 150th anniversary of the Didcot to Oxford line. Whilst tender first running is very common on most preserved railways (usually 50% of the time!), mainline tender first running is a lot more unusual. This footbridge has been the best known railway photographic vantage point in Oxford for generations.

5029 Wolvercote Junction 19 June 1994

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle comes off the Cotswold Line at Wolvercote Junction on 19 June 1994 with the 'Cotswold Venturer' railtour. This tour originated at Paddington and was steam hauled from Didcot, the outward route being via Swindon and the 'Golden Valley' line to Cheltenham. With both mainline routes across the Cotswold Hills being covered, the tour certainly lived up to its name. Note that the Royal Mail liveried support coach at the head of the train does a reasonable job at blending in with the maroon coaching stock.

5029 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 17 July 1994

I think we can see that all is not well here! Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle is clearly in trouble as it darkens the sky at Shrivenham on 17 July 1994 whilst hauling the Didcot to Worcester 'Cotswold Venturer' railtour. After the tour had passed I spent an hour or so watching the local fire brigade putting out the fires on the side of the cutting just up the line at Bourton. This and further lineside fires in the Golden Valley resulted in Railtrack imposing a steam ban for the southern half of the country.

5029 Banbury 18 December 1994

Spectacular backlighting at Banbury on 18 December 1994, as 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle heads north with the ill fated Paddington to Stratford-upon-Avon 'William Shakespeare' railtour. Nunney Castle was not having much success on the mainline at the time, with a series of embarrassing failures, and on this occasion late running and finally running out of coal and having to be rescued by a diesel brought about an immediate mainline ban!

5029 & 6024 Tockenham Wick 19 May 2001

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle & King Class 4-6-0 6024 King Edward 1 storm up Dauntsey Bank and approach Tockenham Wick with the Pathfinder Tours 06:45 Minehead to Paddington 'Capital Castles' railtour on 19 May 2001. A slightly misnamed railtour, but the 'Capital Castle and King' (or similar) doesn't quite have the same ring to it! King Edward 1 worked the train unaided to Bristol Temple Meads, however it was removed at Swindon with a hot axle box, leaving Nunney Castle to work on single handed to London.

5029 Wootton Bassett (Chaddington Lane) 10 November 2001

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle just manages to find a small patch of weak sunshine, as it passes Chaddington Lane, just to the east of Wootton Bassett, with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z81 08:05 Swansea to Paddington 'Red Dragon' railtour on 10 November 2001. A water stop at Swindon allowed another picture to be taken at South Marston.

5029 South Marston 10 November 2001

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle passes South Marston on 10 November 2001 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z81 08:05 Swansea to Paddington 'Red Dragon' railtour. Note the new line under construction on the right, leading into the South Marston Industrial Estate. Having just chased the train from near Wootton Bassett, I was expecting some other photographers to already be on this bridge, however, the only other person at this location was a local taxi driver, who just happened to stop just before the train was due.

5029 Bishton 15 February 2003

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle passes Bishton on 15 February 2003 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z66 04:44 Crewe to Bridgend 'Exe Tawe' railtour. Note the relief lines diverging off to the right, as they approach the Bishton Flyover. The tour had been hauled by 46035 between Crewe and Newton Abbot. Nunney Castle then worked the train back to Bristol, then through the Severn Tunnel to Wales. 46035 followed light engine, and worked the train back from Bridgend.

5029 Ebbw Junction 15 February 2003

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle passes Ebbw Junction on 15 February 2003 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z66 04:44 Crewe to Bridgend 'Exe Tawe' railtour. The train is just getting into its stride again, after an hour long water stop at Newport.

5029 & 6024 Compton Beauchamp 28 June 2010

Castle Class 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle & King Class 4-6-0 6024 King Edward 1 make light work of the Steam Dreams 1Z32 17:38 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington 'Cornish Riviera Express' on 28 June 2010. It had earlier in the day worked up from the West Country as the 1Z31 09:07 Penzance to Bristol. The train having worked down to Penzance two days previously. Unfortunately, after a completely sunny day, a bank of thick cloud rolled in from the west just a few minutes before the train was due. However, as this would have been a very backlit picture, perhaps the more subdued light is a blessing in disguise!

5043 Challow 17 April 2010

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe heads along the down relief line at Challow on 17 April 2010 with the Vintage Trains 1Z21 11:33 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads 'Bristolian' railtour. This was the first steam hauled non-stop run between London and Bristol since the early 1960s, made possible by the extra water capacity resulting from installing tanks in the former GUV van directly behind the tender. As you can imagine, every bridge along the line was packed with sightseers (helped by the good weather).

5032 Uffington 17 April 2010

The low evening sun glints off the boiler of Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe as it passes Uffington with the Vintage Trains 1Z24 17:02 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington 'Bristolian' railtour on 17 April 2010. This was the return working of the first steam hauled non-stop working along the route since the 1960s. The former GUV van number 96175 which can be seen directly behind the tender has been fitted out internally with water tanks, which enabled this record breaking run to take place. The loco is obviously in fine condition, as it is running 12 minutes early at this point. That was just the beginning, as it managed to knock a whopping 45 minutes of the schedule, reaching Paddington in 109 minutes!

5043 Rousham 18 April 2010

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe is pictured at full speed leaning into the curve at Rousham on 18 April 2010 as it heads the Vintage Trains 1Z50 12:35 Slough to Solihull special, returning the locomotive back to its Birmingham base after its triumphant Great Western Mainline non-stop run of the previous day. This is one of the marginally better locations for a northbound train between Oxford and Banbury at this time of day, but even so is very backlit. As I suspected, I was the only person to walk the mile or so from the nearest road to get to this spot. Very careful timing was required here, in order not to get the loco partly obscuring the ancient tree on the left.

5043 Heyford 1 May 2010

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe passes Heyford on 1 May 2010 with the Vintage Trains 1Z88 07:37 Solihull to Didcot Parkway 'Beltane Express' railtour. This was not the location I had in mind for this tour, but a sunnier than expected morning dictated that a location clear of shadows would be needed. Of course the obvious then happens, at the time the train is due the sun is nowhere to be seen!

5043 Wolvercote 19 June 2010 Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe runs along the up relief line at Wolvercote on 19 June 2010 with the Vintage Trains 1Z53 07:06 Solihull to Swansea 'Red Dragon' railtour. Even at 08:30 the 'Castle' is nearing journey's end, for it will hand the train over to LMS Princess Class 4-6-2 6201 Princess Elizabeth at Foxhall Junction, Didcot. Note how close the trees are to the track on the relief line, with the exhaust blasting up through the leaves. Obviously a bit too close, because close inspection of the high res version of this picture shows a clump of leaves caught in mid flight in front of the first coach, having obviously been knocked off one of the overhanging branches!
5043 Souldern Wharf 11 December 2010

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe passes a very gloomy Souldern Wharf on 11 December 2010 with the Vintage Trains 1Z55 08:24 Birmingham Moor Street to Paddington 'First Moor Street Express'. As the tour's name implies, this was the first steam special to originate from Moor Street. Oddly, there were no other photographers at this location. I have previously managed to get away from the crowds while photographing steam, but that is when I have trekked across the fields. Admittedly this is at the end of a no through road, but it is a proper tarmaced road, and you can park near the bridge, so I've no idea why I was the only person here!

5043 Chilson 17 September 2011

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe battles through the pouring rain at Chilson on 17 September 2011 with the Vintage Trains Ltd 1Z97 06:30 Tyseley to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' railtour. This is the first steam train to traverse the Cotswold Line since the recent reinstatement of double track. I had specifically chosen this location, as if the sun had been out the angle would have been perfect! Typically it was sunny whilst driving to Chilson and again on the way home. Ironically this was the only significant rain of the day, and it certainly was significant! Even though I was shielding the camera from the rain until the very last moment, the filter on the front of the lens was totally covered with spots afterwards.

5043 Shorthampton 17 September 2011

Just after sunset on 17 September 2011, Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe storms past Shorthampton in spectacular style with the Vintage Trains Ltd 1Z98 16:20 Paddington to Tyseley 'Cathedrals Express' railtour. The setting sun has given the sky a delicate pink hue, and is also highlighting the loco's boiler and smokebox.

5043 Claydon (Oxfordshire) 15 October 2011

Great Western sunrise! Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe is pictured just as the first rays of sunshine break through the early morning mist at Claydon on 15 October 2011. It is working the Vintage Trains Ltd 1Z43 07:05 Solihull to Bristol Temple Meads 'Berks & Hants Aquae Sulis' railtour. I particularly like the way the very low sun has tinged the exhaust yellow.

5043 Lyneham 20 October 2012

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe returned to the Cotswold Line on 20 October 2012, with the Vintage Trains 1Z53 15:50 Oxford to Tyseley 'Cotswold Explorer' railtour. Unfortunately, near Ascott-under-Wychwood the train was brought to a stand by a report that a train in the opposite direction had hit an obstruction. Therefore it was running 40 minutes late by the time it passed Lyneham, and any hope of some weak sunshine had long passed!

5043 Souldern No.2 Viaduct 6 April 2013

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe crosses Souldern No.2 Viaduct on 6 April 2013 with the Vintage Trains 1Z44 09:57 Birmingham Moor Street to Marylebone 'Marylebone Flyer' railtour. I really didn't think I was going to get this picture in the sun, as the viaduct was still in the shadow of one of the many clouds as the train could be seen approaching through the trees.

5043 Rousham 13 April 2013

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe looks superb in the early morning sunshine, as it passes Rousham (between Banbury and Oxford) on 13 April 2013 with the Vintage Trains 1Z76 07:05 Solihull to Salisbury 'Moonraker' railtour. This was the second Saturday in a row that I had photographed this particular locomotive. Luckily the dry grass in the foreground was still intact after the passing of the train, unlike certain parts of the lineside on the previous tour, after 5043 had decided to do some fiery vegetation clearance! As this location is approximately a mile from the nearest road, I didn't expect many photographers to turn up, but even so I was slightly surprised when I found I was the only person standing in this field. This just proves what I have noticed on previous occasions, that a lot of steam photographers do not like to walk more than a few yards from their cars!

5043 Claydon (Gloucestershire) 25 May 2013

A surprised sheep looks on, as Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe passes Claydon (Gloucestershire) on 25 May 2013 with the Vintage Trains 1Z34 07:30 Tyseley Warwick Road to Minehead 'Whistling Ghost' railtour. 5043 would give way to Hall Class 4-6-0 6960 Raveningham Hall on the West Somerset Railway.

5043 Sapperton Tunnel 19 October 2013

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe is still working hard as it emerges from Sapperton Tunnel on 19 October 2013, despite the fact that it is descending a 1 in 94 gradient. Its hard work is over, having just toiled up the lengthy Sapperton Bank with the Vintage Trains 1Z53 07:40 Tyseley to Oxford 'Cotswold Explorer' railtour.

5043 Adlestrop 19 October 2013

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe approaches the site of Adlestrop station with the Vintage Trains 1Z54 15:26 Oxford to Tyseley 'Cotswold Explorer' railtour on 19 October 2013. Amazingly, this is the first time I have used this location for nearly three decades. Despite appearances, the train would have been clear of shadows, had the sun decided to come out, but the amount of tree growth has been phenomenal since my last picture was taken here in 1984.

5043 Kidlington (Sandy Lane) 12 April 2014

Not quite the result I was hoping for! Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe passes Sandy Lane, Kidlington, on 12 April 2014 with the Vintage Trains 1Z36 07:06 Solihull to Bristol Temple Meads (via Newbury) 'Berks & Hants Aquae Sulis' railtour. The exhaust has blown down to such an extent that most of the train is obliterated, although the water carrier GUV at the front of the train stands out clearly!

5043 Chilson 4 October 2014

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe passes Chilson on 4 October 2014 with the Vintage Trains 1Z35 15:26 Oxford to Tyseley 'Cotswold Explorer' railtour. The train is making quite a severe brake application here, and was down to a very slow speed as it disappeared from view towards Ascott-under-Wychwood. Presumably there was an brief unscheduled stop there, as the train was still clearly visible heading up the valley as I drove along the Burford road, over five minutes later.

5043 Chilson 27 August 2016

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe drifts almost silently past Chilson on 27 August 2016 with the Vintage Trains 1Z53 08:27 Tyseley to Oxford 'Summer At The Palace' railtour. Just 20 minutes earlier, the modern version of the Great Western green livery passed by, in the form of 166205. I was surprised top be the only person at this location, especially as it is one of the better spots on the Cotswold Line with regard to the light angle. The train passed in the very last of the morning's weak sunshine. The advancing cloud heralded the arrival of bad weather, with the West Oxfordshire area experiencing one of the most ferocious thunderstorms in many years later in the afternoon.

5043 Ashchurch 8 October 2016

Photographers crowd both platforms of Ashchurch (for Tewkesbury) station on 8 October 2016, as Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe passes through with the Vintage Trains 1Z53 08:02 Tyseley to Oxford 'Cotswold Explorer' railtour. Although both the station, and the footbridge just to the north were packed, I was the only person standing on the nearby roadbridge.

5043 Claydon (Gloucestershire) 25 March 2017

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe passes Claydon (Gloucestershire) on 25 March 2017 with the Vintage Trains 1Z43 09:30 Tyseley to Hereford 'Welsh Marches Express' railtour. The strong wind was blowing the exhaust away from the train, and with not a cloud in the sky, for once it seemed that nothing could go wrong, and indeed nothing did!

5043 Upper Heyford 8 April 2017

Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe crosses the Oxford Canal near Upper Heyford on 8 April 2017 with the Vintage Trains 1Z76 06:55 Solihull to Salisbury 'Moonraker' railtour. Although there is perfect reflection of the loco in the water, the picture is somewhat spoiled by the lineside vegetation obscuring most of the train. However, as I have used just about every possible photographic location between Banbury and Didcot previously, I thought I would try something different for a change.

5043 Wolvercote 8 April 2017

A perfect spring evening at Wolvercote on 8 April 2017. Castle Class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe heads north with the Vintage Trains 1Z77 16:26 Salisbury to Solihull 'Moonraker' railtour. This was an obvious choice of location to photograph this train, as apart from the ugly palisade fence, there is nothing whatever to cast a shadow across the scene. The black smoke seemingly provided at the last minute for the benefit of the many photographers on the bridge, was a definite bonus!

5051 Culham 12 June 1983

Castle Class 4-6-0 5051 Drysllwyn Castle has just set fire to the embankment, as it passes Culham on 12 June 1983 with the Paddington to Stratford-upon-Avon 'William Shakespeare' railtour, which the loco had taken over at Didcot. Shortly after the train had passed, there was the bizarre sight of a fire engine driving across the field in the background in an attempt to get to the fire!

5051 Heyford 14 April 1984

Castle Class 4-6-0 5051 Drysllwyn Castle approaches Heyford on 14 April 1984 with the Great Western Society Paddington to Stratford-upon-Avon railtour, which the steam loco took over at Didcot. It may seem hard to believe, but this picture of 57315 is taken from the same location! In 1984 a single bush behind the steam loco was the precursor to the abundant vegetation that was to follow in years to come. This picture is actually taken slightly to the left of the modern day picture, and in fact in the 1980s pictures could be taken looking along the canal (just out of the picture on the left) and still include the railway! Note Rousham church in the background.

5051 & 18000 Toddington 3 June 2010

A real 'Castle and 'Kerosene Castle'! Castle Class 4-6-0 5051 Earl Bathurst poses in the morning sunshine next to GWR gas turbine loco 18000 at Toddington on 3 June 2010. Brought together, along with many other Great Western Railway exhibits for the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's GWR 175 celebrations, these two locos show the Great Western's idea of express passenger locos 1920s and 1940s style. While the Castle Class continued to perform on top link trains well into the BR era, the Brown Boveri built gas turbine failed to live up to its promise and was destined to be just a one off.

5080 Bearley 16 April 1990

Castle Class 4-6-0 5080 Defiant passes Bearley on 16 April 1990 with the 12:59 Tyseley to Stratford-upon-Avon 'Shakespeare Express' railtour. An interesting vintage rake of coaches, including a twelve wheel vehicle. In the background is the Edstone Aqueduct, on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal.

5080 Blunt's Green 16 April 1990

Castle Class 4-6-0 5080 Defiant passes Blunt's Green (between Henley-in-Arden and Danzey) on 16 April 1990 with the late running 17:15 Stratford-upon-Avon to Tyseley 'Shakespeare Express' railtour. Unfortunately this locomotive is no longer in running order, being at static exhibit at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at Quainton. At least it is still in much better condition than when I climbed all over it as a child when visiting Barry scrapyard!

5080 Greet Tunnel 26 August 1990

Castle Class 4-6-0 5080 Defiant emerges from the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's 693 yard long Greet Tunnel on 26 August 1990, whilst working the 13:00 Toddington to Gretton service. The relative lack of vegetation around the tunnel mouth indicates that it hasn't been that long since one of the railway's mammoth vegetation clearance operations.

5080 Greet 13 October 1990

Castle Class 4-6-0 5080 Defiant drifts past Greet on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway with the 14:00 Toddington to Gretton service on 13 October 1990. 5080 was built in 1939, emerging from Swindon Works with the name Ogmore Castle. It was renamed Defiant in 1941 in honour of the WW2 Boulton Paul Defiant fighter aircraft. Luckily the Castle class was far more successful than the Defiant, which was hopelessly underpowered and vulnerable to Luftwaffe attack.

5199 Carrog 31 May 2012

5101 Class 2-6-2T 5199 waits at Carrog station on the Llangollen Railway on 31 May 2012, prior to forming the 12:00 service to Llangollen. Built in 1934, this locomotive is one of the fortunate few that survived by virtue of a long sojourn in Woodham's scrapyard at Barry. After a lengthy restoration, it retuned to service in 2003.

5199 Corwen 30 May 2016

5101 Class 2-6-2T 5199 stands at Corwen station after arriving with the 15:50 service from Llangollen on 30 May 2016. This temporary timber and scaffolding built platform is at the Llangollen Railway's present western limit, but a permanent station will later be constructed approximately 200 yards further west, nearer to the town.

5322 Didcot Railway Centre 5 May 2013

43xx 2-6-0 5322 runs along the demonstration line at Didcot Railway Centre on 5 May 2013, passing the TPO apparatus. This highly successful mixed traffic design was introduced in 1911, and eventually 342 were built, with later locomotives having a side window cab. Unfortunately only two have survived into preservation.

5526 Didbrook 24 May 2009

45xx 2-6-2T 5526 makes a spirited departure from Toddington station on 24 May 2009 with the 09:30 Toddington to Winchcombe service using GWR autotrailer 178, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's 25 the anniversary 'Cotswold Festival of Steam'. It is pictured approaching Didbrook.

5526 Hailes 24 May 2009

45xx 2-6-2T 5526 has just passed Didbrook and is pictured rounding the curve towards Hailes on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway with the 10:30 Toddington to Winchcombe service using GWR autotrailer 178 on 24 May 2009. This loco worked an intensive push pull service throughout the day, during the line's 'Cotswold Festival of Steam'.

5526 Hailes 24 May 2009

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's 25th anniversary 'Cotswold Festival of Steam' was blessed with superb weather, particularly on 24 May 2009. However, the high temperatures meant that trains later in the day displayed very little exhaust. Here 45xx 2-6-2T 5526 ambles along between Hailes and Winchcombe under cloudless skies with the 12:40 Toddington to Winchcombe service using GWR autotrailer 178.

5542 Dixton 6 May 2013

45xx 2-6-2T 5542 coasts past Dixton, on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, with the 12:20 Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse service on 6 May 2013. Note how the clearance of the vegetation from the cutting sides has allowed the cowslips and other wild flowers to thrive.

5542 Hailes 26 May 2013

45xx 2-6-2T 5542 passes Hailes on 26 May 2013 with the 10:50 Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse freight, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's 'Cotswold Steam Celebration' event. The Southern Railway 'Queen Mary' bogie brake van is being used to convey passengers.

5619 Toddington 7 August 1993

56xx 0-6-2T 5619 stands in Toddington Yard, on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, on 7 August 1993. It is clearly out of use, with a binliner wrapped around the chimney. Built at Swindon Works in 1925, like the majority of its class, it spent its working life in South Wales, finally being withdrawn from Barry shed in 1964. Unsurprisingly it then made the short journey to Barry scrapyard, where it resided until 1973. It has appeared at a number of preserved railways in recent years, but in BR livery, rather than the GWR colour scheme seen here.

5786 Chinnor 24 April 2011

57xx Class 0-6-0PT 5786 arrives back at Chinnor station on 24 April 2011 with the returning 13:15 service. Chinnor is the only station on the line open to the public, with the far end of the route (Thame Junction) being a little short of the line's ultimate destination - Princes Risborough. The station building here is an exact replica of the original, which had unfortunately been demolished before the preservation society took over in 1990. Luckily the identical station building at Watlington (the original terminus of the line) survives, and although in a derelict state, provided much useful information for the reconstruction of Chinnor. 

5972 & 3440 Didbrook 24 May 2009

Next stop Hogsmeade! Hall Class 4-6-0 5972 Hogwarts Castle (in reality Olton Hall) accelerates away from Toddington and passes Didbrook with the 10:00 Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse service on 24 May 2009 during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's 'Cotswold Festival of Steam'. Barely noticeably behind the loco is City Class 4-4-0 3440 City of Truro, which had recently been turned to face north.