Class 43 HST

43010 Grange Court 18 April 1982

43010 leads the diverted 10:15 Paddington to Swansea service past the site of Grange Court Junction on 18 April 1982. The train's normal route via the Severn Tunnel was closed for engineering works. Formerly a junction for the cross country route to Ross-on-Wye, only the white painted building and the loop line remained in 1982, to indicate where the station was situated.

43010 Patchway 17 December 1983

Still showing its original set number 253005, 43010 speeds through Patchway station on 17 December 1983 with the 10:30 Swansea to Paddington service. This train called at all stations between Swansea and Cardiff, before running non-stop to Paddington, one of only three up limited stop services on the route at the time. Note the vintage Hillman Avenger police car in the car park!

43010 Cheltenham 21 August 1985

43010 slows down for the Cheltenham stop on 21 August 1985 whilst working the 08:33 Plymouth to York service. Largely ignored in 1985, the sight of a full HST rake in original blue and grey livery (if such thing existed) would cause great interest in 2008. Despite the multitude of liveries these trains have carried in recent years, I still think the original colour scheme was particularly inspired and suited the class well. Eventually I suppose one will be repainted into these 'heritage' colours!

43010 Duffryn 15 August 1987

43010 passes Duffryn on 15 August 1987 with the 1B16 09:30 Paddington to Fishguard Harbour 'Hibernian'. At the time this was one of only two through trains from the capital to the former Great Western Railway's Welsh Irish Sea port. As the other train ran during the night, with an arrival time at Fishguard of 02:35, this was the only photographable one! A typical late 1980s scene, with a pair of InterCity liveried power cards sandwiching a rake of blue and grey stock.

43010 Challow 11 January 1992

The late afternoon sun illuminates 43010, as it leads the 1C42 14:15 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service through the remains of Challow station on 11 January 1992. This bridge has since been replaced, but not before it got in a very poor state due to lack of maintenance. BR and latterly Railtrack and Network Rail didn't seem to realise that steel structures need to be regularly repainted to prevent corrosion, something that was done frequently in the steam era.

43010 Denchworth 14 March 1994

43010 speeds past Denchworth on 14 March 1994 with the 1C42 14:15 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads InterCity service. The trackside vegetation had recently been cleared for the reinstatement of the two relief lines. Note the fresh ballast and the rusty rails on the still to be commissioned up relief line on the left. Although nowadays most DSLRs have very fast top shutter speeds, this was not always the case in the 1990s. Most SLRs (including the rollfilm Pentax 6x7 that I used extensively) stopped at 1/1000sec. This would not have been fast enough to freeze the movement of this train travelling at 125mph, so for this picture I used the 1/2000sec shutter speed of my 1970s vintage totally mechanical, built like a tank, Canon F1.

43010 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 9 October 2003

With the news that First Great Western is going to go through another re-branding exercise, which involves painting the HST fleet in a new dark green livery, it seems fitting to remind ourselves what their previous green livery looked like. 43010 leads the 1C36 13:15 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 9 October 2003. At the time this was the outgoing colour scheme. The new order is represented by the fifth coach and the rear power car (43179).

43010 Moreton-in-Marsh 17 October 2008

Not quite the picture I had intended, but this has a certain novelty value, as it is the first time I have photographed a pair of HST power cars side by side on the Cotswold Line! 43010 leads the 08:37 Worcester Foregate Street to Paddington First Great service away from Moreton-in-Marsh on 17 October 2008, while an understandably unidentified classmate heads the 07:51 Paddington to Great Malvern train in the opposite direction. This quiet rural location is well away from any roads and meant that it was possible to hear both trains approaching from some way off, although it still wasn't clear until the very last moment which would appear first.

43010 Little Haresfield 6 April 2012

Running slowly under adverse signals, 43010 passes Little Haresfield on 6 April 2012 with the 1L36 08:31 Cheltenham to Paddington First Great Western service. It will shortly diverge from the main line at Standish Junction, to travel across the Cotswolds via the 'Golden Valley' route to Swindon.

43010 & 221134 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 13 July 2013

The possibility of getting a perfect passing shot on the national network is usually purely a matter of chance. However, at Walton Well Road, Oxford, on 13 July 2013, I realised that 221134 was stopped at a red signal in exactly the right spot for such a picture. An added bonus was that an up train would be slowing down for the Oxford station stop, so allowing the picture to be taken at exactly the right moment. So here is 43010 leading the 1P31 07:10 Hereford to Paddington First Great Western service, passing 221134 on the 1M30 07:45 Bournemouth to Manchester Piccadilly CrossCountry service. The problem was the failure of an axle counter on the Cotswold Line, delaying both Cotswold Line trains, and following CrossCountry services.

43010 Wootton Bassett 10 July 2014

The rail worker has a chat with his colleagues in the site office at Wootton Bassett, as 43010 passes by with the 1A15 11:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service on a swelteringly hot 10 July 2014. This is the site of Wootton Bassett Junction station, which closed in 1965.

43010 Uffington 28 October 2014

43010 passes Uffington on 28 October 2014 with the 1C15 13:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. If the rear of the train appears to contain two power cars, that is because the 1A18 13:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington is passing by in the background. The blue sky in this picture is very deceptive, as a huge mass of black cloud was approaching from the west, and just a few minutes after this picture was taken, the sun disappeared for the rest of the day.

43010 Challow 18 February 2015

Running under adverse signals, 43010 leads the 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service underneath the huge signal gantry next to the new road bridge at Challow on 18 February 2015. It was running at reduced speed, as it was catching up with 66540, which had strangely not been looped here, as booked. Note that although the new bridge has been open for some time, the temporary footbridge on the other side is still in place, which explains the odd structure visible underneath the span.

43010 Steventon (Stocks Lane) 10 March 2015

43010 leads the 1L55 11:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service over Stocks Lane level crossing, Steventon, on 10 March 2015. This crossing, one of two in the village, is a constant source of complaint from the locals, with the barriers often being down for considerable lengths of time, effectively cutting the village in two.

43010 Whitehill 24 September 2015

Clematis vitalba (variously known as Old Man's Beard and Traveller's Joy) seems to be the dominant lineside vegetation at Whitehill (between Combe and Finstock), with most of the lineside bushes covered with the climbing shrub. 43010 heads up the Cotswold Line on 24 September 2015 with the 1W02 10:22 Paddington to Hereford GWR service.

43010 Steventon 29 September 2015

Signs of impending electrification at Steventon on 29 September 2015. 43010 leads the 1B31 12:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central GWR service past a couple of catenary piles, one of which has been partially inserted into the ground, with the other just lying in the grass.

43010 Moreton-in-Marsh 6 June 2016

43010 pulls out of Moreton-in-Marsh station on 6 June 2016 with the 1P26 06:42 Hereford to Paddington GWR service. The flat grassy area on the right was formerly occupied by sidings, principally used in later years for stabling engineering trains.

43010 Lyneham 22 May 2017

43010 leads the 1P65 15:14 Hereford to Paddington GWR service past Lyneham on 22 May 2017. With no chance of a conventional picture due to various trackside bushes, I opted for this 'train in the landscape' picture, with the gate as a bold foreground object. After over 30 years of use on the Cotswold Line, the era of HSTs on the route will soon end, to be replaced by Hitachi built Class 800 bi-mode units.

43011 Oxford North Junction 13 May 1987

Just managing to find a small patch of sun at Oxford North Junction on 13 May 1987, the ill fated 43011 leads the 1A75 07:04 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' towards its next booked stop at Oxford. 43011 was of course the power car that was written off in the Ladbrooke Grove crash twelve years after this picture was taken. Note the short formation in use here, with only six coaches. The omission of a trailer first at this end of the train seems particularly odd for a Cotswold Line service, which has slightly higher than average first class usage.

43011 Charfield 13 March 1989

A slightly ironic picture, that shows 43011, the power car that was written off in the 1999 Ladbrooke Grove crash, passing the site of Charfield station, which was the location of a serious accident in 1928. The date is 13 March 1989, and the train is the late running 09:14 Edinburgh to Paignton service. The 1928 accident saw wreckage pile up against the bridge in the background. Three trains were involved, with fire caused by the ignition of the gas used for carriage lighting causing many fatalities.

43011 Little Bedwyn 23 April 1998

43011 heads through the rain at Little Bedwyn on 23 April 1998 with the 1C36 12:35 Paddington to Penzance Great Western Trains service. Despite the terrible lighting, I think this picture works quite well, not only because of the scenic location, but also because the menacing sky and reflections of the wet surfaces is so typical of British weather! This picture is also noteworthy for another reason. The following year 43011 became only the second HST power car to be written off in an accident, when it was involved in the Ladbrooke Grove crash on 5 October 1999, which also resulted in the loss of Turbo unit 165115. After the crash investigation 43011 was cut up by Sims Metals at Crewe Works in June 2002.

43012 Challow 3 December 1983

43012 speeds through the remains of the long closed station at Challow on 3 December 1983 with the 1A23 07:35 Pembroke Dock to Paddington InterCity service. Well over a quarter of a century later, 43012 is still passing this spot on regular basis, albeit now painted in the uninspiring First Great Western blue livery. Whilst 43012 is still with us, I doubt if the same can be said for any of the assorted vehicles being dealt with at Challow Station Garage. The garage itself has now been replaced by a modern building, and both the former station's platforms, which are still largely intact in this view, have also been removed.

43012 Shaldon Brodge 15 September 1991

43012 passes between the construction site and the River Teign estuary at Shaldon Bridge on 15 September 1991, as it pulls away from the Teignmouth stop with the 1C28 09:20 Paddington to Plymouth InterCity service.

43012 Culham 13 May 1992

A dramatic low level shot of 43012 leading the 1B58 18:20 Paddington to Hereford 'Cathedrals Express' past Culham on 13 May 1992. It is passing one of the surviving Second World War hangars at the former RAF Culham.

43012 Bradford-on-Avon 9 January 2000

The sun glints off the diverted 08:00 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service as it crosses the River Avon at Bradford-on-Avon on Sunday 9 January 2000 with 43012 leading. Not quite a perfect reflection in the water due to a slight breeze, but at least it is recognisable. The train has traveled via the Berks & Hants line, and taken the freight only Heywood Road Junction to Hawkeridge Junction chord near Westbury to head up the Avon Valley.

43012 Challow 17 April 2010

The blackthorn is in full bloom at Challow on 17 April 2010 as 43012 speeds past the site of the old station with the 1A13 10:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service. Although the station is long gone, business is booming on the site, with various new buildings having recently been built on the industrial estate. This view makes an interesting comparison to the same power car passing this spot over 26 years earlier.

43012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 27 April 2010

A different perspective on a familiar photographic viewpoint. 43012 speeds underneath Circourt Bridge, near Denchworth with the 1L34 07:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service on 27 April 2010. The picture is taken from the little used footpath that runs between the villages of Denchworth and West Challow. Unfortunately, although the path is only a short distance from the road at Circourt, there is no public right of way linking directly to it.

43012 Little Somerford 6 March 2012

43012 speeds past Little Somerford cemetery on 6 March 2012 with the 1B28 11:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. The cemetery is on the opposite of the line to the village. The train is just passing over the road underbridge that connects Little Somerford to Great Somerford.

43012 Hinksey 16 April 2013

43012 passes Hinksey Yard with the 1W07 17:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service on 16 April 2013. Forthcoming electrification will forever ruin this vantage point, which has always been a good spot to photograph northbound trains in the evening. It used to be even better years ago, when there wasn't anything in the yard to cast a shadow across the track!

43012 Uffington 19 November 2013

43012 speeds past Uffington on 19 November 2013 with the 1C10 10:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. Presumably this will be one photographic location that will survive the onslaught of the electrification masts - time will tell!

43012 Chipping Sodbury Tunnel 10 July 2014

43012 emerges from Chipping Sodbury Tunnel on 10 July 2014 with the 1B46 14:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. Note the strange patchwork of different shades of paint above the windscreen.

43012 Denchworth 28 September 2015

Yet another First Great Western (or GWR as they have now rebranded themselves) special liveried HST power car. 43012 leads the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington service past Denchworth on 28 September 2015. The ex-works power car is sporting 'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' vinyls, bit with out the white front end of the other the otherwise similar 43126.

43012 Compton Beauchamp 12 October 2015

No.12 pictured on the 12th! 43012 leads the 1L42 07:30 Carmarthen to Paddington GWR service past Compton Beauchamp on 12 October 2015. This is the second HST power car to have 'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' vinyls applied over the First Great Western blue livery. However, this one is not quite so easy to spot in the distance, as the white area does not extend underneath the nose area, unlike 43126. Had it been that one, it would have been immediately obvious as soon as it appeared underneath Ashbury Crossing bridge in the background, over a mile away!

43012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 23 December 2015

'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' liveried 43012 leads the 1G21 09:36 Paddington to Cheltenham GWR service past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 23 December 2015. Just a couple of days away from the shortest day, this is one of the few locations in the area (without a long walk across the fields!) that is free of shadows.

43012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 20 January 2016

43012 approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 20 January 2016 with the 1L34 07:28 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. It was certainly a morning for colourful HSTs coming from Swansea, as an hour earlier I had photographed 43172 Harry Patch - The last survivor of the trenches.

43012 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 18 February 2016

A couple of months into 2016 and 43012 is still sporting its 'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' vinyls. It is pictured passing the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, on 18 February 2016 with the 1B35 12:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service. Two piles for the forthcoming electrification can be seen poking out of the grass to the right of the first coach, while a third one lies discarded on the trackside.

43012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 7 March 2016

It may be several years late, but the Great Western Mainline electrification scheme finally reached the iconic location of Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, in early spring 2016. 'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' liveried 43012 heads west with the 1B10 07:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service on 7 March 2016. Just a few masts have been erected, already spoiling the view compared with the scene just a couple of months earlier, when 43012 was previously photographed at the same spot.

43012 Baulking 1 April 2016

'Bristol 2015 European Green Capital' liveried 43012 leads the 1L42 07:30 Carmarthen to Paddington GWR service past Baulking on 1 April 2016. The four steel piles visible here clearly indicates that this location is going to be totally ruined from a photographic point of view.

43012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 23 February 2017

43012 Exeter Panel Signal Box 21st Anniversary 2009 approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 23 February 2017 with the 1L38 07:58 Swansea to Paddington GWR service. 43012, which was formerly one of the power cars in the 'Bristol 2015' livery, now carries the name that was originally bestowed on 43163.

43013 Standish Junction 22 August 1987

I was lucky to get this one in the sun! 43013 University of Bristol leads the 1V76 13:27 Leeds to Cardiff Central (via Bristol Parkway) InterCity service past Standish Junction on 22 August 1987. A scene very typical of the period, with executive liveried power cars sandwiching a complete rake of blue and grey stock.

43013 Heyford 13 March1995

Perfect reflections in the Oxford Canal at Heyford on 13 March 1995, as buffer fitted 43013 heads south with the 1O04 05:17 Manchester Piccadilly to Bournemouth InterCity service. Needless to say, due to Network Rail's total lack of lineside vegetation control, this viewpoint no longer exists.

43013 Eckington 26 June 1995

Buffer fitted 43013 leads the 15:50 Exeter St Davids to Sheffield InterCity service across the River Avon at Eckington on 26 June 1995. On this occasion the Pentax 6x7 did not cause problems with uneven exposure at the very necessary 1/1000sec shutter speed used here. The clear blue sky would immediately show this up, usually by a much darker area near the right edge. A very irritating fault that would seemingly come and go at will!

43013 Duffryn 9 August 1998

400kV pylons follow the railway to the south of Newport, and form the backdrop to this view of 43013 CrossCountry Voyager passing Duffryn on 9 August 1998 with the 1B30 14:00 Paddington to Swansea Great Western Trains service. It looks like driving a HST is thirsty work!

43013 Gossington 5 March 2010

43013 brings up the rear of the 1Z20 05:56 Old Oak Common to Derby (via Swansea) Network Rail New Measurement Train, as it passes Gossington on 5 March 2010 led by 43014. This wasn't the shot I had intended to take, but it was running early and I was taken by surprise. Not having enough time to swing round and take the conventional shot, I opted for this going away version, which of course because of the angle of the light is much better lit anyway!

43013 Combe (Grintleyhill Bridge) 15 July 2010

The New Measurement Train made one of its regular appearances on the Cotswold Line on 15 July 2010. Viewed from the lofty Grintleyhill Bridge, near Combe, 43013 leads the 1Z15 09:00 Derby to Derby (via Oxford) test train towards its reversal point at Oxford North Junction. On a day of intermittent sunshine and heavy showers, I had hoped for either a sunlit shot (unlikely) or an atmospheric picture in heavy rain. As the train came in a drizzly period between downpours, I got neither!

43013 Upper Heyford 23 March 2011

Still looking clean after a recent repaint (note the red buffer beam), 43013 leads the New Measurement Train past Upper Heyford on 23 March 2011. Sister power car 43014 is hiding behind the tree at the rear of the train. The NMT's usual path over this line is an afternoon northbound run and a very late evening southbound trip. Therefore this working (1Q16 13:42 Derby RTC to Old Oak Common) was an ideal opportunity to get a picture in more favourable light.

43013 Shorthampton 17 July 2014

43013 leads the New Measurement Train past Shorthampton on 17 July 2014 with the 1Q15 09:05 Derby RTC to Derby RTC (via Oxford). As Realtime Trains was showing the normal path for this HST working as cancelled, and replaced by an identically timed supposedly loco hauled working, I expected either a 31 or 37. It has been pointed out to me that this alteration may because on this occasion the formation includes some Mk 2 vehicles and the OHLM test coach (formerly Test Car 3 Mentor).

43014 South Moreton (Didcot East) 11 December 1991

Buffer fitted 43014 runs along the up relief line at South Moreton (Didcot East) on a bitterly cold 11 December 1991 with the 1O09 08:18 Manchester Piccadilly to Poole 'Pines Express'. 43014 was one of two HST power cars that were fitted with buffers for surrogate DVT use at Derby, the other being 43123. The remainder of the conversions (43013, 43065, 43067, 43068, 43080 & 43084) were undertaken at Stratford.

43014 Tackley 27 March 1993

43014 speeds round the reverse curves at Tackley on 27 March 1993 with the 1O10 08:40 Newcastle to Bournemouth service. Just a trace of weak sunshine illuminates the scene, although only in the foreground - note the dark fields in the background.

43014 Kemble 5 June 2008

43014 passes through Kemble station on 5 June 2008 with the 1Z22 06:48 Derby to Cheltenham (via Hereford and Swindon) Network Rail New Measurement Train. Running 30 minutes early, it has just traversed the single track section from Swindon in a just about adequate gap in the timetable, instead of the easier path it would have had if running to the correct time. Note that the little used siding on the left is obviously sufficiently useful to have been re-laid in the last few years.

43014 Charlbury 15 January 2009

On a very dull 15 January 2009, 43014 speeds through Charlbury station with the 1Z15 09:00 Derby to Derby Network Rail New Measurement Train, with 43062 John Armitt bringing up the rear. The train has just reversed at Oxford as is following right behind the 11:22 Paddington to Great Malvern First Great Western service. Any delay would mean the 12:06 Worcester Foregate Street to Paddington train would have to be held at Ascott-under-Wychwood while this special clears the single line. Luckily there were no problems this time as it was running exactly to time

43014 Combe (Grintleyhill Bridge) 15 July 2010

43014 leads the New Measurement Train past Grintleyhill Bridge, Combe on 15 July 2010 with the 1Z15 09:00 Derby to Derby (via Oxford) test train. Combe station is just out of sight around the corner, behind the bushes. Although lineside vegetation has restricted the angle of view possible, this occupation bridge still provides excellent views in either direction.

43014 Kings Sutton 4 May 2016

43014 The Railway Observer brings up the rear of the 1Q16 16:14 Derby RTC to Old Oak Common Network Rail test train at Kings Sutton on 4 May 2016. 43062 John Armitt is leading. Note the newly applied 'Improving Your Railway' wording. Why do they have to keep telling us that?

43015 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 7 June 1980

A very brief and unexpected burst of sunshine on 7 June 1980 provides dramatic lighting for 43015 as it speeds eastwards at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth with the 09:45 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington service. This wider than usual view of what is now a well known viewpoint shows that in the 1980s there were trees on both sides of the line. These had grown up around small ponds, which were themselves remnants of quarries used to provide material for the bridge embankment, when it replaced the former level crossing.

43015 Honeybourne 25 April 1987

43015 passes the site of Honeybourne South Loop Junction and starts the long climb up Campden Bank with the 13:14 Great Malvern to Paddington 'Cotswold & Malvern Express' on 25 April 1987. At the time this and the earlier balancing working were the only HST services on the Cotswold Line. However, this was all to change just a couple of weeks later when HSTs took over from Class 47s & 50s on the morning and evening peak trains.

43015 Feeder Bridge Junction 10 April 1997

43015 passes Feeder Bridge Junction, Bristol on 10 April 1997 with the 1C42 14:15 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads Great Western Trains service. The feeder canal links the River Avon with Bristol Harbour, and was once a busy industrial waterway.

43015 Uffington 2 November 2006

43015 catches the last of the afternoon sun on 2 November 2006 as it speeds past Uffington with the 1C19 15:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. This was shortly before a lofty communications mast was erected here, completely spoiling this photographic viewpoint.

43015 South Marston 11 December 2007

The last rays of the setting sun illuminate 43015 as it heads west past South Marston on 11 December 2007 with the 1G38 13:48 Paddington to Cheltenham First Great Western service. The appalling condition of the paintwork shows that its call to Brush for refurbishment can not come a moment too soon. In fact it left for Loughborough just a few days later. Note the unusual short formation of just six coaches.

43015 Baulking 24 March 2009

43015 speeds past Baulking with the 1G38 13:48 Paddington to Cheltenham First Great Western service on 24 March 2009. Even in 2009, long after the rest of the fleet received their new colours, the catering vehicle in many FGW sets still retains the old livery, as can be seen near the rear of the train here. Although only a partly sunny day, for once the trains conspired to arrive in the sunny periods and it was also noticeable how much better the light was than the hazy light during the previous weeks period of settled high pressure

43015 Wolvercote 22 July 2012

Rosebay Willowherb flowers on the recently cleared course of the former down goods loop at Wolvercote on 22 July 2012, as 43015 slows down prior to taking the Cotswold Line route at Wolvercote Junction, with the 1W08 17:42 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service.

43015 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 15 April 2014

Springtime at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth. 43015 heads westwards with the 1B40 13:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service on 15 April 2014. A pity the set wasn't the other way round, as then the Singapore Airlines advertising 43163 would be leading.

43015 Charlbury (Cornbury Park) 29 July 2014

On 29 July 2014, 43015 leads the 1P26 06:42 Hereford to Paddington First Great Western service off the double track line at Cornbury Park, Charlbury, and onto the long single track section to Wolvercote Junction. Although sections of the Cotswold Line were redoubled in 2011, this bottleneck still remains, at least for the present.

43016 Bekley 21 February 1987

In a welcome patch of sun, 43016 speeds past Berkley on 21 February 1987 with the late running 10:10 Paddington to Plymouth InterCity service. Unfortunately, this once excellent viewpoint has now been completely ruined by a large communications mast and associated equipment box being positioned right in the foreground.

43016 Stonehouse 25 April 1990

43016 passes Stonehouse on 25 April 1990 with the 06:33 Newcastle to Weston-super-Mare InterCity service. Note the rusting sidings of the former Stonehouse coal depot, which had closed a few years earlier. On my last visit the sidings were still there, but now totally engulfed in vegetation, which has effectively ruined this viewpoint.

43016 Great Cheverell 9 April 1999

A reminder of just how stylish the original Great Western Trains livery was. 43016 sweeps round the curve at Great Cheverell on 9 April 1999 with the 1C40 13:35 Paddington to Taunton service. The many curves on the 'Berks & Hants' route means that the HSTs cannot fully exploit their 125mph top speed, as they can on the Bristol line, but they have still been the staple power on the route since the 1980s.

43016 Crofton 21 July 2006

With the sun trying to break through and clear the early morning mist, 43016 Peninsula Medical School sweeps round the curve at Crofton with the 1A84 05:05 Penzance to Paddington First Great Western service on 21 July 2006. 43016's name was unveiled at Plymouth station on 14 August 2002 by Professor John Tooke, Dean of the Peninsula Medical School.

43016 Kintbury 2 April 2007

43016 Peninsula Medical School swings round the curve at Kintbury on 2 April 2007 with the 1C85 13:05 Paddington to Plymouth First Great Western service. The grassy bank in the foreground is a narrow strip of land between the railway and the Kennet & Avon Canal.

43016 Little Bedwyn 25 June 2010

Two modes of transport at Little Bedwyn with (theoretically) a 121 mph difference in top speed. 43016 heads east alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal at Little Bedwyn on 25 June 2010 with the 1A73 05:46 Exeter St Davids to Paddington First Great Western service. While the HST has a top speed of 125 mph (although not on this stretch of line), users of Britain's canals have to make do with an upper limit of 4 mph!

43016 Kemble 9 January 2011

43016 arrives at Kemble on 9 January 2011 with the 1L54 11:25 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service. Normally Sunday trains on this route would be purely local Cheltenham to Swindon DMUs, but on this occasion the closure of the Severn Tunnel for signaling work had upgraded the local trains to diverted HST services.

43016 Bruern 25 May 2012

The oilseed rape is in full flower at Bruern on 25 May 2012, as 43016 heads southwards with the 1P26 06:44 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express'. First Great Western's blue livery can look very plain at times, but it certainly makes a bold contrast with the mass of yellow in this view.

43016 Challow 27 February 2014

43016 races past the site of Challow station on 27 February 2014 with the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington First Great Western service. Unfortunately this view will be ruined by the forthcoming electrification, as the catenary needed to span four tracks is sure to be extremely visually intrusive.

43016 Bourton 1 July 2014

With Swindon in the background still completely enveloped in fog, 43016 passes a sunny Bourton on 1 July 2014 with the 1A03 06:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service. Only during mid summer is it possible to get sunlit shots on the north side of the line at this location.

43016 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 1 October 2015

The Vale of White Horse! 43016 speeds past one of the resident horses at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 1 October 2015 with the 1B37 13:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central GWR service. Obviously it would be a simple matter to cheat with Photoshop, but there was no need here, as the horse was ideally positioned as the train passed.

43017 Challow 12 August 1980

A vintage scene at Challow on 12 August 1980. 43017 passes the redundant platforms of the long closed station with the 08:18 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington service. The lorry body from the nearby scrap yard leaves no doubt as to the location, while apart from the removal of the station building, not a lot else has changed since the days of steam. As the loops were also removed, there was no need to demolish the platforms, so both still remain totally intact here, passenger less and growing a good crop of grass. Note also the range of railway related buildings and huts at the back of the former coal yard.

43017 Bourton 18 November 1984

43017 leads the 1A31 07:55 Swansea to Paddington service past Bourton on 18 November 1984. Apart from the rear power car, the entire train is in the original livery, which even today still looks smart and modern. I hope that when they finally reach the end of their life, at least one set is repainted into this iconic colour scheme by which ever operator is still using them. By that time I expect the blinkered attitude of many enthusiasts towards these fine trains may well have softened, and I expect we will see the usual chasing around for pictures of the last ones by people who have hitherto ignored them! Personally I would rather see a well lit picture of a HST (especially in this livery), than yet another picture of a Class 66 hauled freight in rubbish light.

43017 Swindon 15 July 1989

43017's ex-works livery is slightly marred by the addition of a dead pigeon on the front end. It is arriving at Swindon on 15 July 1989 with the 09:30 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington service. The track curving away to the right in front of the train is the route to Gloucester via the 'Golden Valley'. Somebody already seems to have an argument with the newly installed one way system sign!

43017 Baulking 26 April 2007

Just how much lineside vegetation has been allowed to grow at certain railway locations is exemplified here, in the formerly completely open cutting between Uffington (now invisible behind the bushes) and Baulking. 43017 speeds past with the 11:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington First Great Western service on 26 April 2007. For an indication of what this spot was like 27 years previously, have a look at 43039. Although not taken from quite the same angle (impossible now!), the two small trees on the right and the large tree in the background identify the location.

43017 Ruscombe 17 April 2008

43017 passes Ruscombe with the 06:48 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington 'Bristolian' First Great Western service on 17 April 2008. Even though all FGW's power cars and the vast majority of coaches have been refurbished, there are still instances of catering vehicles in the old (relatively speaking!) livery, such as the third coach in this train. In early spring 2008 numerous trees were felled in the cutting at Ruscombe, opening up the view considerably and highlighting the new spring growth on the few remaining bushes.

43017 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 15 April 2014

Profuse blackthorn blossom at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 15 April 2014. 43017 leads the 1L51 10:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington First Great Western service eastwards in the warm spring sunshine. The last spring before the wires go up and ruin the location forever.

43017 Chilson 7 August 2015

A Cotswold Line First Great Western meeting on the sunny morning of 7 August 2015. 43017 Hannahs discoverhannahs.org leads the 1P26 06:42 Hereford to Paddington past Chilson, while 180108 with the 1W12 06:52 Paddington to Great Malvern disappears into the distance. This location was single track from 1971 until 2011, with up trains often having to be held at Ascott-under-Wychwood (behind the trees in the background), waiting for a late running down train to clear the long single track section from Wolvercote Junction.

43018 Keynsham 14 May 1988

43018 leads the 1A03 15:05 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington service past Keynsham on 14 May 1988. Just visible through the heat haze in the background is the world famous Somerdale Fry's (later Cadburys) chocolate factory. Controversially, this closed in 2007, with production being moved to Poland.

43018 Patchway 23 July 1993

On 23 July 1993 the 1/2000 sec top shutter speed on my Canon F1 was needed to freeze 43018 as it sped through Patchway station with the 13:32 Swansea to Paddington service. It would shortly be turning left at Patchway Junction with the next stop Bristol Parkway. The signal with the feathers indicating the various routes at this junction can just be seen in the background. Although undoubtedly very smart when newly applied, the InterCity 'Swallow' livery was very prone to weathering on the front of HSTs, as seen here.

43018 Hayle 26 March 1994

43018 is nearing journey's end on 26 March 1994, as it passes the karting track at Hayle with the 1C36 12:35 Paddington to Penzance InterCity service. The train is just starting to slow down for the stop at St Erth, its final calling point before Penzance.

43018 Hinksey 22 June 1998

With an unintentional yet perfectly balanced livery combination of Great Western power cars and central coach separated by three InterCity liveried vehicles, 43018 leads the 18:20 Paddington to Hereford 'Cathedrals Express' Great Western Trains service past lines of decaying civil engineers wagons at Hinksey Yard (near Oxford) on 22 June 1998. Very soon after this picture was taken the virtually moribund Hinksey Yard was to be revitalised, becoming a large 'Virtual quarry' ballast dump.

43018 Baulking 12 October 2006

43018 The Red Cross passes Baulking with the 1B46 14:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service on 12 October 2006. This was during one of the many periods of livery transition, with most of the train in the second version of FGW's purple livery, but with three coaches scattered throughout the length of the train in the next version of their corporate colours.

43018 Hinksey 9 January 2010

43018 passes a very snowy Hinksey Yard on 9 January 2010 with the late running 1W29 11:21 Paddington to Great Malvern First Great Western service. Just one train seems to have used the yard since the snow fell three days previously, as can be seen by the clear line of rails on the right.

43018 Swindon (Hay Lane) 10 July 2014

43018 passes Hay Lane (near Swindon) on 10 July 2014 with the 1L34 07:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service. The livery may be bland, but at least FGW keep their trains clean (on the outside at least)!

43018 Brimslade 1 April 2015

43018 passes Brimslade in soft spring light on 8 April 2015 with the late running 1A82 11:30 Paignton to Paddington First Great Western service. The Berks & Hants line parallels the Kennet & Avon Canal for a considerable distance. It is just out of sight behind the bushes on the right.

43018 Charlbury 24 May 2016

43018 arrives at Charlbury station on 24 May 2016 with the 1P21 07:10 Moreton-in-Marsh to Paddington GWR service. Despite being extended a few years earlier, Charlbury's up platform is still not long enough to accommodate a full HST.

43019 Denchworth 21 May 1983

43019 pulls away from an unexplained signal stop at Denchworth on a very rainy 21 May 1983. It is working the 1A85 15:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington service. Virtually everything in this picture has now changed. The line is now four tracks, and the two signals have been replaced by a large gantry. Circourt Bridge, visible in the background, has been replaced by a much more visually intrusive structure, and even 43019 is no more, having been written off in the Ufton Nervet accident in 2004.

43019 South Moreton (Didcot East) 1 December 1983

43019 heads east from Didcot and approaches South Moreton on 1 December 1983 with the late running 12:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington service. A very ordinary scene at the time, but there is added significance to the picture now, as this is one of the HST power cars that has been withdrawn due to accident damage. It was involved in the fatal level crossing crash at Ufton Nervet in November 2004, and was subsequently scrapped at Sims Metals, Beeston. Note that in 1983 it still carried its (by then abandoned) set number 253009.

43019 South Moreton (Didcot East) 8 November 1986

The ill fated 43019 leads the 1A11 10:05 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington service past South Moreton (Didcot East) on 8 November 1986. This power car was written off in the tragic level crossing accident at Ufton Nervet in November 2004. Coincidentally, I had also photographed 43019 at this same location three years previously.

43019 Ufton Nervet 3 March 1990

How's this for a spooky coincidence. 43019 was written off in a terrible accident at Ufton Nervet level crossing in November 2004. Fourteen years earlier I took this picture of it at the very same location. On 3 March 1990 it worked the 09:40 Paddington to Plymouth service, and is pictured here passing the location of its eventual destruction.

43019 Corsham 20 April 1995

Unlucky 19! 43019 Dinas Abertawe / City of Swansea was written off in the Ufton Nervet accident in 2004. Nearly a decade earlier, it is pictured here approaching Corsham on 20 April 1995 with the 1C38 13:15 Paddington to Weston-super-Mare service.

43020 Bourton 16 February 1984

43020 slowly leads the 1A43 11:57 Cardiff Central to Paddington service from the up line onto the down line via the crossover at Bourton on 16 February 1984. It will now proceed 'wrong line' as far as Uffington. The Great Western Mainline is fully bi-directionally signaled, but this is one of the few times that I have seen it in use. The up line was closed for emergency repairs after a freight train derailment the previous day between the site of Knighton Crossing and Uffington. The fog had just started to lift, leaving all the trees and bushes covered in ice.

43020 Ashchurch 6 May 1989

43020 leads the 06:56 Cardiff Central to Newcastle service past Ashchurch on 6 May 1989. It's transition time here, with several new industrial buildings being constructed on the right. However, it would be some years before Ashchurch station would be rebuilt, the site being between the end of the relief line, and the MoD siding in the background.

43020 Corsham 20 April 1995

43020 John Grooms passes Corsham on 20 April 1995 with the 1A53 13:15 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington InterCity service. Note the eight coach formation, with half of the vehicles having first class accommodation.

43020 Starcross 29 June 2002

Due to chasing the last loco hauled passengers trains around the country in 2002, I have unfortunately got very few pictures of First Great Western HSTs in this short lived livery with the white area around the front end. So although technically not brilliant (35mm Fujichrome), here is a picture of 43020 John Grooms in a little weak sun at Starcross on 29 June 2002. It is working the 1C27 11:30 Paddington to Penzance 'Royal Duchy'.

43020 Circourt 8 September 2005

43020 John Grooms speeds past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth with the 1C15 13:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service on 8 September 2005. Although seemingly an everyday scene, such is the pace of change with First Great Western's liveries, that to get a complete train in one colour scheme can sometimes be something of a challenge, as it seems that no sooner do they get the whole fleet repainted into one colour scheme than they launch yet another variation!

43020 Uffington 14 April 2008

43020 passes the footpath crossing near the site of Uffington station on 14 April 2008 with the 1L36 08:31 Cheltenham to Paddington First Great Western service. The wide trackbed here which marks the site of the former freight loops is already being invaded by the inevitable bramble bushes. No doubt Railtrack would like to close this little used footpath, which incidentally crosses a much earlier form of transport a short distance further on - the disused Wilts & Berks Canal.

43020 Challow 19 December 2013

43020 MTU Power Passion Partnership passes Challow on 19 December 2013 with the 1B31 12:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central First Great Western service. In preparation for the forthcoming electrification, the lineside vegetation has been removed here, opening up the view nicely. This leaves just a short window of opportunity to get some pictures before the dreaded masts go up.

43020 Cholsey 28 April 2015

The early morning sun illuminates Didcot Power Station's three remaining cooling towers on 28 April 2015, as 43020 MTU Power Passion Partnership leads the 1L05 03:52 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service past an oilseed rape field near Cholsey. At least this viewpoint should still be available after electrification, although of course by then the only sign of Didcot Power Station on the horizon will be the two small chimneys on the left, belonging to the gas fired Didcot B Station.

43020 Compton Beauchamp 8 June 2016

43020 MTU Power Passion Partnership passes Compton Beauchamp in superb evening light on 8 June 2016 with the 1C25 18:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads GWR service. Other than some welcome lineside vegetation clearance, there is still very little evidence here of the Great Western Mainline's hugely delayed and over budget electrification scheme.

43021 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 22 April 1986

Just before the lights went out! A really threatening black sky heralds an approaching storm as 43021 leads the 13:12 Great Malvern to Paddington 'Cotswold and Malvern Express' between Aristotle Lane and Walton Well Road, on the approach to Oxford on 22 April 1986. The relief lines here were laid during the second world war and both originally extended as far as Wolvercote Junction. The down relief has now been cut back to Aristotle Lane footbridge, visible in the background.

43021 Fairwood 14 October 2009

In superb golden evening light with Westbury White Horse standing out clearly on the hillside and dark clouds in the background, 43021 David Austin - Cartoonist passes Fairwood with the 1C87 16:06 Paddington to Penzance First Great Western service on 14 October 2009.

43021 Baulking 9 December 2010

With Baulking Grange Farm just visible through the gap in the trees, 43021 David Austin - Cartoonist approaches Baulking on 9 December 2010 with the 1C14 12:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service.

43021 Baulking 4 March 2011

43021 David Austin - Cartoonist speeds past Baulking on 4 March 2011 with the 1C15 13:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. This location (on a public footpath) is adjacent to a small wood, and so is shaded for much of the time in winter.

43021 Uffington 24 October 2013

The field of maize makes an excellent foreground foil for 43021 David Austin - Cartoonist, as it speeds past Uffington on 24 October 2013 with the 1A10 09:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service. The power car is named after the British artist David Austin (1935 – 2005) who was famous for his work in the Guardian and Private Eye.

43022 Challow 12 August 1980

43022 leads the 09:15 Paddington to Swansea service past the site of Challow station on 12 August 1980. Note how both platform faces have survived completely intact, due to the removal of the loops shortly after the station was closed. With the reinstatement of the relief lines in the 1990s, these overgrown remnants of the steam age were bulldozed into oblivion. In addition to the sadly missed original HST livery, the other thing that immediately identifies the era in which this picture was taken is the bizarre sight of lines of leafless trees in high summer. This is of course the product of Dutch Elm Disease which decimated the country's elm trees during the 1970s.

43022 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 8 May 1987

43022 speeds past Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 8 May 1987 with the 1C47 13:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads InterCity service. Apart from the fact that there are only two tracks, instead of the present four at this location, another feature that identifies this as a scene from times past is the lax attitude to health & safety. A rail contractor (one hopes!) wanders casually back to his Ford Cortina pickup truck, parked on the ballast next to the 125mph running line. This is obviously well before the era of high visibility clothing, as he is wearing a 'low visibility' black jacket!

43022 Clay Mills (Hargate) 15 May 1987

There was a fashion for stick on 'headboards' for DMUs and HSTs in the 1980s, especially for the latter as fixing a conventional headboard is difficult. However, the downside is that they didn't come off very easily, leading to some inappropriate usage. 43022 passes Clay Mills (Hargate) on 15 May 1987 with a 'Cornishman' headboard, complete with happy surfer. Unfortunately this isn't the 'Cornishman'. Although presumably added to 43022 to promote the named train at the start of the summer timetable a few days earlier, this is in fact the 06:37 Plymouth to Leeds service, rather than the 'Cornishman' (07:30 Penzance to Newcastle), which would have passed by approximately 2˝ hours later.

43022 South Moreton 9 February 1991

With compacted snow and icicles on the front end, 43022 heads through the snowy landscape at South Moreton (near Didcot) with the late running (not surprisingly!) 09:32 Swansea to Paddington service on 9 February 1991. It takes considerable effort to take pictures in these conditions, not just the treacherous road conditions whilst getting there, but also standing about for ages in freezing conditions!

43022 Briton Ferry 15 April 1991

43022 sweeps round the curve at Briton Ferry on 15 April 1991 with the 1A84 17:32 Swansea to Paddington InterCity service. The line from Baglan Bay leading into the then still busy Briton Ferry yard can be seen in the foreground.

43022 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 19 July 1993

The well known location of Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, pictured during the short period when it was a three track mainline. On the left is the newly reinstated down relief line, but there is as yet no sign of the up relief line, which was installed the following year. 43022 passes by with the 1A41 09:32 Swansea to Paddington InterCity service on 19 July 1993.

43022 Compton Beauchamp 25 June 1996

High summer on the Great Western Mainline at Compton Beauchamp. 43022 speeds westwards on 25 June 1996 with the 1B56 18:03 Paddington to Cheltenham service. During mid summer the sun has travelled round so far by the late evening that it is possible to take perfectly lit pictures of trains from the north side of the line at this point.

43022 Milton 15 April 1997

Under a threatening sky, 43022 passes Milton on 15 April 1997 with the 1A29 08:30 Cheltenham to Paddington Great Western Trains service. Note how only 43022 retains the InterCity swallow livery, with the rest of the train in Great Western's unfortunately short lived green and white colour scheme. Although offering a good view for eastbound trains, this location has two problems. It is totally impossible to get a picture of westbound trains without moving round to the adjacent bridge, and this is taken from the A34 bridge, where although there is a wide area of concrete to stand on, there is no official footpath. Although I haven't experienced it, I feel sure a visit from the boys in blue would result if you stayed there for any length of time!

43022 Shrivenham 22 September 2002

43022 kicks up the dust from the recently reballasted track at Shrivenham on 22 September 2002, as it passes through the remains of the old station with the 08:19 Cardiff Central to Paddington First Great Western service. Unfortunately First Great Western decided to abandoned this colour scheme almost as soon as it was introduced, presumably as the amount of white in the colour scheme made it difficult to keep clean.

43022 Charlbury 1 June 2007

43022 arrives at Charlbury with the 06:43 Hereford to Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' First Great Western service on 1 June 2007. The 'Cathedrals Express' has a long pedigree as a named train on the Cotswold Line, originally being introduced in 1957. Initially in steam days a headboard was carried, but when the name was re-introduced in 1985, the headboard only appeared on the first day. Of course, since the introduction of HSTs a headboard is not practical even if such things were still considered as a marketing tool. I had originally intended taking this picture at Finstock, but the location (which used to be fine in the days of the Class 50s) was completely overgrown, so a quick drive to Charlbury was needed.

43022 Callow Hill 1 September 2007

With the town of Wotton Bassett visible on the horizon, 43022 passes Callow Hill on 1 September 2007 with the 1B25 10:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. The M4 motorway can be seen cutting across the picture in the distance.

43022 Patney & Chirton 11 May 2009

43022 passes the site of Patney & Chirton station with the 1C85 14:06 Paddington to Penzance First Great Western service on 11 May 2009. Note the reconstructed bridge in the background, with its inelegant concrete parapet atop a vintage brick arch. Presumably all the Armco barriers on the road date from the time of the bridge rebuilding.

43022 Evesham 29 October 2009

43022 arrives at Evesham on 29 October 2009 with the 1W00 08:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service. The centre pivoting semaphore signal in the foreground will soon be swept away once the complete resignalling of the line gets underway, while the post to its right has already succumbed to the local vegetation. There seems to be a surprising amount of evening primrose plants growing on the cutting sides and even on the edge of the ballast - not your average trackside weed!

43022 St Andrews Road 25 September 2010

This HST is certainly well off the beaten track! 43022 slowly approaches St Andrews Road station, on 25 September 2010 with the Pathfinder Tours 'Brunelian' railtour, at this point running as the 1Z44 13:45 Swindon to Portbury Dock (via Avonmouth). The tour had earlier started from Paddington as the 1Z43 09:15 departure for Swindon, traveling the long way round via Newbury and Melksham. The lines of stabled coal hoppers on the right are for working off the nearby Avonmouth terminal, principally to Didcot Power Station.

43022 Lodway 25 September 2010

You don't get many HSTs here! 43022 gingerly negotiates the Portbury Dock branch on 25 September 2010 with the Pathfinder Tours 'Brunelian' railtour, at this point running as the 1Z44 13:45 Swindon to Portbury Dock (via Avonmouth). This view from the M5 Avonmouth Bridge shows the line near its destination, with the houses of Lodway in the background. Note the houses built in the flood plain of the River Avon, with only a minimal earth bank for protection! The railtour had earlier started from Paddington as the 1Z43 09:15 departure for Swindon, traveling the long way round via Newbury and Melksham.

43022 Challow 25 September 2010

Very unusual lighting conditions at Challow on 25 September 2010. HSTs pass this spot with monotonous regularity, but they are not usually booked to move onto the normally freight only relief line. Therefore, despite the late hour, I wanted a picture of 43022 leading the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 18:14 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington 'Brunelian' railtour. Just before it was due the setting sun was shining straight into the lens with no possibility of a picture, but at the booked time the sun had actually set, leaving a pink glow in the sky. Luckily the train was on time, as there was only a few minutes of these conditions before the colours vanished and it became pitch black! Incidentally, although obviously this picture has required considerable work in Photoshop, the sky colour has not been enhanced at all, and the strange halo effect around the trees is not the result of some incredibly amateurship Photoshop work, but is purely the result of the lighting.

43022 Aynho 7 April 2013

43022 passes Aynho station (closed in 1964 and now a private residence) with the diverted 1C11 09:50 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service on 7 April 2013. A little earlier the train had crossed the flyover in the background, having worked up from London via the Chiltern Line. FGW HSTs are strangers to both the Chiltern and the Banbury to Oxford lines.

43022 Compton Beauchamp 20 April 2015

Superb spring light at Compton Beauchamp on 20 April 2015, in what is presumably the last year of electrification clutter free views at this iconic location. 43022 heads for the capital with the 1L32 06:58 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service.

43022 Challow 24 February 2016

The rebranding of First Great Western as GWR has been extremely half hearted, certainly with regard to the HST fleet. Just a single set was repainted in dark green in September 2015. Several  months later,43022 had acquired a new coat of the old livery. The ex-works loco leads the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington service past Challow on 24 February 2016. The suitably pristine power car received the name The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary 1956-2016 a few weeks later.

43022 Bourton 24 June 2016

43022 The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary 1956-2016 passes Bourton on 24 June 2016 with the 1A02 05:29 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. Note the poppies growing around the electrification mast base in the foreground. Requiem for this photographic location?

43022 Compton Beauchamp 17 October 2016

43022 The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary 1956-2016 passes Compton Beauchamp on 17 October 2016 with the 1L46 09:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington GWR service. Note the single protruding electfrication mast pile, the only real sign here of Network Rail's totally mismanaged Great Western Mainline electfrication scheme.

43022 Uffington 11 April 2017

43022 The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary 1956-2016 passes Uffington on 11 April 2017 with the 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. This is the view from the newly opened footbridge situated a short distance to the west of the site of the old station. It replaces the footpath crossing, which can be seen in the foreground of this view. Although it's nice to see the building of a bridge, rather than just closing the crossing, it does show that the installation of the dedicated foot crossing, along with its gravel approach path was a waste of money. These were only installed a couple of years ago, after the crossing being nothing more than a sign either side of the line, presumably since the line opened!

43023 South Stoke 10 July 1990

A photographic technique that I have rarely employed, but which can be very effective in conveying speed is panning. By using a slow shutter speed and following the train in the viewfinder the result is a pin sharp train against a blurred background. This doesn't tend to work that well with slab fronted diesel locos, but HSTs with their streamlined front ends look very effective. Also, choice of location is important, with an uninterrupted foreground and a plain background preferable. 43023 County of Cornwall speeds past South Stoke with the 18:45 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service on 10 July 1990.

43023 Rodbourne 6 August 1992

The cows graze contentedly in the filed as 43023 sweeps past Rodbourne on 6 August 1992 with the late running 1B38 16:00 Paddington to Swansea service. This particular viewpoint, being on the north side of the line, is only really of any use on late summer evenings, and even here the sun isn't far enough over for the perfect picture.

43023 Little Bedwyn 9 February 2008

The growth of the beech hedge between the railway and canal has done little to enhance the classic viewpoint at Little Bedwyn. On 9 February 2008, 43023 runs alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal with the late running 1C74 08:18 Paddington to Exeter St Davids First Great Western service.

43023 Milton 13 September 2012

A view that is soon set to change completely. While many would argue that the imminent demolition of Didcot Power Station's chimney and cooling towers will improve the view, unfortunately the electrification of the Great Western Mainline will have the opposite effect, and this viewpoint will disappear. 43023 leads the 1C15 13:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service past Milton on 13 September 2012.

43023 Pewsey 23 August 2013

43023 arrives at Pewsey station on 23 August 2013 with the 1A75 05:30 Plymouth to Paddington First Great Western service. Such is the volume of passengers using this train, that an enterprising individual has started selling hot drinks and snacks from the back of a car. The open hatchback can just be seen near the building on the down platform.

43023 Blagrove 14 May 2014

43023 passes Blagrove (on the western edge of Swindon) with the 1L24 06:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service on 14 May 2014. The trees neatly hide a large industrial estate from view, while just around the corner in the background is the bridge carrying the M4 motorway over the line.

43023 Shrivenham 29 November 2014

With a passing speed in excess of 200mph, a pair of First Great Western HSTs pass through the remains of Shrivenham station on 29 November 2014. 43023 leads the 1L38 07:58 Swansea to Paddington, while 43160 brings up the rear of the 1Z10 09:05 Paddington to Cardiff Central additional. I hope it isn't true, but it does look like the driver of 43023 is asleep, with eyes closed, mouth open, and head drooping to one side!

43023 Oxford 1 April 2015

43023 leaves Oxford station on 1 April 2015 with the 1P26 06:42 Hereford to Paddington First Great Western service. The small group in the car park are photographers, presumably discussing LNER 4-6-0 B1 4-6-0 61306 Mayflower, which had just left the station with a special train to Kingswear.

43023 Challow 11 February 2016

Immaculately clean 43023 Sqn Ldr Harold Starr One of the Few passes the site of Challow station on 11 February 2016 with the 1L42 07:30 Carmarthen to Paddington GWR service, running 25 minutes late. The naming commemorates one of Swindon's Battle of Britain heroes, Squadron Leader Harold Starr. Appropriately the nameplate was unveiled at Swindon on 15 September 2015. Note the light blue background to the nameplate, and the unusual shape - a copy of the plates fitted to the Southern Railway 'Battle of Britain' 4-6-2 steam locomotives.

43024 Circourt 27 October 1982

Something you very rarely see nowadays - a HST power car running under its own power on the main line with just a barrier vehicle for company. On 27 October 1982, 43024 passes Circourt Bridge, Denchworth en-route from Bristol to Old Oak Common. At this time the power cars still carried their set numbers (253012 in this case), but they soon came to be regarded as individual locos rather than multiple units, with consequent mixing of various set formations.

43024 Wolvercote Junction 19 June 1998

What a difference a bit of white makes! Whilst the latest GWR livery of all over dark green looks drab and uninspired, the original privatisation livery of Great Western Trains, which used much the same shade of green, but with contrasting white areas, looked superb. 43024 approaches Wolvercote Junction on 19 June 1998 with the late running 1B48 17:10 Paddington to Hereford service.

43024 Edithmead 18 July 1998

43024 brings up the rear of the 1C62 17:15 Paddington to Taunton First Great Western service at Edithmead on 18 July 1998. This is on the western edge of the Somerset Levels, an area characterised by numerous small fields, intersected by ditches, and very prone to flooding.

43024 Crofton 21 July 2006

43024 rounds the curve at Crofton on 21 July 2006 with the 1A78 06:43 Penzance to Paddington First Great Western service. Note the flange lubricators, which are obviously very necessary on such a tight curve on a high speed line.

43024 Mickleton 6 March 2009

Preliminary work for the redoubling of the Cotswold Line is underway at Mickleton on 6 March 2009, as 43024 passes by with the 1W02 10:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service. At least work was going on a few minutes before, but as this is just after midday, I presume all the workers are eating lunch in their van, which can just be seen in the background! The tractor was employed in vegetation clearance, while the new concrete troughing for the signal cables can be seen stacked up on the left.

43024 Charlbury 9 May 2009

43024 pulls away from Charlbury station on 9 May 2009 with the Cotswold Line Promotion Group's 1Z30 06:30 Worcester Shrub Hill to Paignton 'Cotswold Torbay Express' excursion. Unfortunately unlike the CLPG's previous tours, the use of a HST and consequence difficulty of fitting a headboard means that this just looks like any other passenger train on the Cotswold Line. This probably explains the constant station announcements warning 'normal' passengers not to board it!

43024 Oaksey 14 November 2009

43024 passes through the long closed station at Oaksey in the drizzle on 14 November 2009 with the 1G21 10:15 Paddington to Cheltenham First Great Western service. As can be clearly seen here, both platforms survive at Oaksey, complete with their coping stones. This of course is purely because the track was singled and realigned into the centre of the formation, well away from the former platform faces.

43024 Chipping Sodbury 31 August 2013

43024 Great Western Society 1961-2011 Didcot Railway Centre passes through the deep cutting at Chipping Sodbury on 31 August 2013 with the 1L55 11:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western service. This is a location that I had been meaning to revisit for some time, and one that will obviously be completely ruined when the wires go up.

43024 Bourton 2 July 2014

43024 Great Western Society 1961-2011 Didcot Railway Centre passes Bourton on 2 July 2014 with the 1C16 13:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. This view was formerly obstructed by a large bush.

43025 Kingham 5 April 2007

43025 accelerates away from Kingham station, on the Cotswold Line with the 15:51 Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill First Great Western service on 5 April 2007. The train is crossing the Bledington to Kingham footpath crossing. When up close like this, it is noticeable how quiet the re-engined HST power cars are when accelerating hard, compared with the ear splitting whine from the original Paxman Valentas.

43025 Wantage Road 2 February 2012

43025 The Institution of Railway Operators heads westwards with the 1C14 12:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service on 2 February 2012. It is pictured near to the site of Wantage Road station at the remote but delightfully named Butterfly Lane Crossing (merely a footpath crossing).

43025 Cholsey 15 November 2013

After the 1L52 10:28 Swansea to Paddington First Great Western HST came to a stand near Cholsey station with brake problems on 15 November 2013, the following services started to stack up behind it. Here we see 43025 The Institution of Railway Operators leading the 1A17 12:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington, unusually running along the up relief line, in order to overtake 43189 which is stopped at signals with the 1L54 11:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington.

43025 Shrivenham 2 March 2015

43025 The Institution of Railway Operators speeds through the remains of the long closed Shrivenham station on 2 March 2015 with the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington First Great Western service. 1/2000sec shutter speed and quick reactions required for this one!

43025 Ascott-under-Wychwood 23 March 2016

43025 The Institution of Railway Operators speeds through Ascott-under-Wychwood station at the head of the 1W02 10:22 Paddington to Hereford GWR service on 23 March 2016. This view clearly shows the new up platform and associated access ramp, that was installed in 2011 as part of the redoubling of this section of the Cotswold Line. Impressive facilities, but this new platform is used by just a single train each day. Also, because it is on the opposite side of the level crossing to the village, prospective passengers have to make sure they arrive in good time, in order not to be stuck on the wrong side of the line, and having to watch the only train of the day arrive and depart without them!

43025 Compton Beauchamp 18 July 2016

For decades I have used the minor road bridge near Compton Beauchamp for a pleasant summer evening's photography. Even after several years reprieve due to Network Rail's bungled Great Western Mainline electrification scheme running years behind schedule, it does look like 2016 will be the last year that photography is possible here. So, here is 43025 The Institution of Railway Operators heading west on 18 July 2016 with the 1B69 17:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service.

43025 Fladbury 1 April 2017

43025 The Institution of Railway Operators passes the site of Fladbury station on 1 April 2017 with the 1P51 12:13 Hereford to Paddington GWR service. Fladbury station closed in 1966. Prior to the Second World War there was a siding that connected nearby Springhill Farm to the railway. This was used for fruit traffic and was initially horse worked, with tractors being used later.

43026 Moreton-in-Marsh 20 April 2009

In superb late evening light, 43026 approaches Moreton-in-Marsh on 20 April 2009 with the 1W07 17:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service. The newly cultivated field in the foreground contrasts markedly with the bright green spring foliage and the blue livery of the train to make an excellent picture. This was always one of my favourite locations for pictures of northbound trains in the evening on the Cotswold Line, but unlike virtually all the other formerly used locations on the route, it is still an excellent spot.

43026 Denchworth 27 July 2012

43026 speeds past Denchworth on 27 July 2012 with the 1C17 14:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. Note the broken horn grill, a common occurrence, usually the result of a bird strike. It is not easy to get pictures of fast moving HSTs exactly right at this location. Very fast reactions and a shutter speed of 1/2000 sec are required!

43026 Challow 10 October 2013

43026 speeds past Challow on 10 October 2013 with the 1B28 11:45 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service. In preparation for the forthcoming Great Western Mainline electrification, a lot of lineside vegetation has been removed here, and a new (and thankfully very low) fence installed.

43026 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 7 August 2014

A slight livery variation seems to exist on 43026, with the panel containing the headlights and horn grille being in a slightly lighter shade of blue. Presumably this is the result of fading paint and a partial repaint, but the effect is certainly noticeable here. On 7 August 2014, 43026 leads the 1A09 07:12 Taunton to Paddington First Great Western service past the site of Ashbury Crossing, Shrivenham. The old platform of Shrivenham station can just be seen beneath the bridge in the background, but is the lone Scots Pine tree on the right another remnant of the GWR? Although not in the usual station approach position, the Great Western made frequent use of Scots Pines where any tree planting was required.

43026 Uffington 22 April 2015

The day before it was named Michael Eavis at Paddington station, 43026 passes Uffington on 22 April 2015 with covered nameplate and Glastonbury crest, as it heads westwards with the 1C16 13:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. The naming was to celebrate Michael Eavis's involvement with the music industry, especially the world famous Glastonbury Festival, held every year at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset. With this picture I was trying to include the oilseed rape, blackthorn blossom, and the bush on the left.

43026 Compton Beauchamp 12 May 2015

A wide angle view of the graceful brick bridge over the Great Western Mainline at Compton Beauchamp, pictured in lovely evening light on 12 May 2015. 43026 Michael Eavis rushes underneath with the 1C25 18:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. Note the extremely rustic fence in the foreground.

43026 Steventon 26 March 2017

Not quite the mundane HST passenger service that it appears to be. This is in fact the 5Z27 14:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads ECS, with 43026 Michael Eavis leading. It is pictured passing the still mast free Steventon on Sunday 26 March 2017, with the remains of Didcot Power Station in the background. I had hoped to photograph the 6C03 13:19 Southall to Severnside Sita binliner here, but that was cancelled. While an ECS HST may not be quite as interesting as a refuse train, the motive power is certainly more photogenic than a Class 66!

43027 Wolvercote Junction 13 August 2003

43027 Glorious Devon approaches Wolvercote Junction on 13 August 2003 with the 1B48 17:12 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service. Even as late as the early 1990s this location was reasonably vegetation free, but that was before the era of Railtrack and Network Rail, neither of whom did any regular lineside maintenance.

43027 Pembrey & Burry Port 15 July 2006

The First Great Western 10:05 Pembroke Dock to Paddington 'Pembroke Coast Express' led by 43027 Glorious Devon departs from Pembrey & Burry Port on 15 July 2006. The lines in West Wales still retain many period features, including semaphore signalling as seen here. Most services over this line are operated by Arriva Trains Wales, with only a couple of daily services provided by First Great Western and utilising HSTs.

43027 Little Haresfield 19 January 2011

43027 Glorious Devon passes Little Haresfield on 19 January 2011 with the 1L50 10:31 Cheltenham Spa to Paddington First Great Western service. Photo taken from a public footpath crossing. The farm occupation bridge in the background is a much better known photographic vantage point.

43027 Uffington 16 April 2014

43027 Glorious Devon leads the 1L46 09:55 Cardiff Central to Paddington First Great Western service past a very photogenic tree at Uffington on 16 April 2014. The train is just approaching the site of Uffington station (closed in 1964), which was formerly a junction for the Faringdon branch.

43027 Denchworth 19 September 2015

43027 Glorious Devon passes Denchworth on 19 September 2015 with the 1C17 14:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. The following day First Great Western was rebranded as Great Western Railway, as if that will make any difference!

43027 South Marston 15 July 2016

Running 23 minutes late, '90 Glorious Years' Queen's birthday vinyl liveried 43027 passes South Marston on 15 July 2016 with the 1A29 18:08 Weston-super-Mare to Paddington GWR service. It is passing the junction for the short branch into the South Marston Euro Terminal. This was constructed in 2002, but has seen very little use, and none at all recently, as can be guessed by the rusty state of the track.

43027 Daylesford 13 February 2017

At last, I've finally managed to get a decent sunlit picture of 43027 with its '90 Glorious Years' vinyls commemorating the Queen's 90th birthday. I don't seem to have any problem photographing the other special liveried Great Western HSTs, but this one mostly seemed to have eluded me. It is seen here passing Daylesford with the 1W27 13:22 Paddington to Worcester Foregate Street GWR service on 13 February 2017.

43027 Lyneham 13 February 2017

43027 brings up the rear if the 1P63 15:50 Worcester Foregate Street to Paddington GWR service at Lyneham on 13 February 2017. As I knew that this '90 Glorious Years' liveried power car would be on the rear, after having seen it a little earlier at Daylesford, it was worth the short detour on the way home to get this picture of it in the last of the afternoon's light.

43028 Radley 8 October 2009

In superb late afternoon autumnal light, 43028 speeds through Radley station on 8 October 2009 with the 1P61 14:34 Great Malvern to Paddington First Great Western service. At some point in the journey it has picked up a non fare paying passenger, but I don't think the pheasant stuck to the leading bogie is in any position to pay the penalty fare!

43028 Finstock 17 January 2013

43028 speeds through the frost covered landscape at Finstock on 17 January 2013 with the late running 1W02 10:22 Paddington to Hereford First Great Western service. The train had left London on time, but encountered delays at Reading, and by the time it passed me it was running sixteen minutes behind time. All was not lost however, as after Moreton-in-Marsh it clawed back some time, and in fact managed to arrive at Hereford one minute early!

43028 Baulking 23 April 2015

43028 passes Baulking on 23 April 2015 with the 1B42 14:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central First Great Western service. I wonder what the driver is leaning forward and staring at, as it certainly isn't the photographer standing on the bridge!

43028 Challow 20 January 2017

43028 passes underneath the massively over engineered catenary at Challow on 20 January 2017, as it speeds westwards with the 1C17 14:00 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads GWR service. This crude looking infrastructure looks more like something from the 1950s Woodhead electfrication, rather than something from the 21st century!

43029 Frampton Mansell 28 August 1982

43029 crosses Frampton Mansell viaduct on 28 August 1982 with the 1A67 07:40 Cheltenham to Paddington service. This was a classic photographic location in steam days, with trains working hard up Sapperton Bank. The tree growth has long since obliterated this view. 

43029 Malago Vale 5 April 1990

43029 passes the long disused and weed choked Malago Vale carriage sidings in Bristol with the on 10:25 Liverpool Lime Street to Plymouth service on 5 April 1990. The yellow speck in the distance is 31276 & 31217 with the 7M53 Bridgwater to Sellafield nuclear flasks. I don't usually seek our urban locations, but have used this spot a number of times, as it offers good views in both directions from a quiet footbridge with easy parking nearby.

43029 Wolvercote Junction 12 July 1994

43029 accelerates away from Wolvercote Junction on 12 July 1994 with the 1A14 05:56 Hereford to Paddington InterCity service. The bridge in the background is the A40, and presumably the Williams lorry has had an early start from Wales!

43029 Chalford 21 April 2002

43029 heads through the dappled shade of the Golden Valley as it passes Chalford with the diverted 1B24 12:00 Paddington to Swansea First Great Western service on 21 April 2002. This is the first version of First Great Western's blue livery, with large areas of white paint which were evidently considered too difficult to keep clean. Unfortunately I haven't got many pictures of this version of the livery, as after so many livery changes I got rather blasé about taking pictures, until they had all disappeared.

43029 Challow 6 December 2008

The low winter sun shows up the rust on the bridge at the site of Challow station as 43029 speeds through with the 1C12 11:30 Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service on 6 December 2008. The large bank of earth in the foreground marks the site of the down platform. The huge signal gantry that can be seen looming above the bridge effectively prevents photography of westbound trains from the bridge, except with a very long lens.

43029 Compton Beauchamp 1 August 2013

43029 catches the evening sun as it passes Compton Beauchamp on 1 August 2013 with the 1C24 17:30 Paddington to Taunton First Great Western service. For decades I have visited this location on summer evenings, but the lack of any freight traffic in recent years has curtailed my visits. However, the forthcoming electrification prompted this return for a few last pictures.

43029 Compton Beauchamp 7 July 2014

43029 leads the 1A10 09:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service past Compton Beauchamp on 7 July 2014. This will be the last summer that this picture is possible without an unsightly mass of overhead wires getting in the way.

43029 South Marston 18 August 2014

With a mass of dark clouds rolling in from the west, threatening to put an end to the day's photography, 43029 speeds past South Marston on 18 August 2014 with the late running 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western service.

43029 Uffington 22 January 2017

Signs of impending electfrication at Uffington on Sunday 22 January 2017. 43029 heads towards the capital with the 1A14 11:05 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. Although midwinter, it was quite pleasant standing in the sunshine, as there was not a breath of wind.