Just nine months after entering traffic, 59001 Yeoman Endeavour makes a fine sight as it passes Crofton on 23 September 1986 with the 6B24 10:05 Acton to Merehead Foster Yeoman stone empties. An almost perfect reflection, a cloudless sky, and an ideal composition with a slightly disinterested fisherman on the right. What more could you want? Well, to be honest it would have been nice if the rollfilm version of this could have been scanned rather than this 35mm Kodachrome. However, I was unwisely experimenting with the then new version of Agfachrome, which they claimed was a marked improvement over their previous transparency films - it wasn't!
59001 Yeoman Endeavour ambles along the down relief line at Waltham St Lawrence with the 6A11 10:05 Acton to Merehead Foster Yeoman stone empties on 5 March 1988. To modern eyes the mix of up to date high performance locomotive and vintage 4 wheel PGA hopper wagons looks a little out of place, but a large proportion of the Foster Yeoman stone trains used these wagons for a number of years after the introduction of the Class 59s.
59001 Yeoman Endeavour passes a some fine autumn colours as it takes the Westbury line at Fairwood Junction on 30 October 1992 with the 6A30 13:30 stone train from Merehead Quarry. This would either be going to Wootton Bassett, Acton, or Theale, depending on weekly requirements.
59001 Yeoman Endeavour & 59103 Village of Mells pull away from Dawlish station with the 1Z96 07:52 Bristol Temple Meads to Paignton Mendip Rail 'English Riviera Special' railtour on Bank Holiday Monday 3 May 1999. This was the annual railtour for Mendip Rail staff. With 6,600hp and 227,100lb of tractive effort available there were no problems with haulage capacity here, as an eleven coach load is a modest load for even a single Class 59.
59001 Yeoman Endeavour passes Potbridge on 26 January 2000 with the 7V01 12:02 Woking to Westbury Mendip Rail stone empties. Note the two Second World War pillboxes on either side of the railway at this point.
59001 Yeoman Endeavour passes Dauntsey on 16 March 2000 with the 7C67 Wootton Bassett to Merehead Mendip Rail stone empties. As was quite common at the time it was running very early, passing me at 09:55 a full hour before it should leave Wootton Bassett!
59001 Yeoman Endeavour & 59101 Village of Whatley pull away from Castle Cary station on 28 May 2001 with the Pathfinder Tours / Mendip Rail 1Z48 07:40 Bristol Temple Meads to Penzance 'Cornish Quarryman' - the annual Mendip Rail staff outing. If any participants thought the miserable weather wouldn't be repeated the following year, they were in for a disappointment!
59001 Yeoman Endeavour pulls slowly out of Woodborough loop with the 7A09 07:05 Merehead to Acton Yard 'jumbo' stone train on 27 October 2003. The three portions of this 3000 tonne train can clearly be seen, with different wagon types indicating the destination, Crawley (front), Purfleet (middle), & Brentford (rear). Although most of the day was sunny, this morning started misty, and although the sun had been out while the 59 was sat in the loop, there was only a trace of brightness when the train departed.
59001 Yeoman Endeavour brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours / Mendip Rail 1Z59 08:06 Castle Cary to Bognor Regis 'Sunny South Express' railtour at Clink Road Junction on 3 May 2004. 59103 Village of Mells is hidden by the bushes, at the front of the train.
59001 Yeoman Endeavour passes Dilton Marsh in the pouring rain on 3 May 2004 with the Pathfinder Tours / Mendip Rail 1Z59 08:06 Castle Cary to Bognor Regis 'Sunny South Express' (yes, really!) railtour. Note the Mendip Rail / Yeoman / Hanson headboard.
59001 Yeoman Endeavour passes Fairwood on 11 September 2007 with the 7A17 10:55 Merehead to Acton Yeoman 'jumbo' stone train, although as can be plainly seen, it is not quite so 'jumbo' on this occasion! Note the first signs of autumn on the right - ripening hawthorn berries.
Running over two hours late, 59001 Yeoman Endeavour & 59202 Vale of White Horse pass Wootton Rivers on 24 April 2009 with the 7C31 09:45 Theale to Merehead Mendip Rail stone empties. The delay was caused by a tree falling across the line near Midgham. 59202 was under test after its failure the previous week.
59001 Yeoman Endeavour passes the site of Patney & Chirton station on 11 May 2009 with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton Mendip Rail stone train. Not so long ago this was the morning 'Jumbo' train with three lengthy portions. The recession in the construction industry means it isn't quite as 'Jumbo' in 2009!
59001 Yeoman Endeavour approaches Little Bedwyn on 25 June 2010 with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton 'jumbo' stone train. Although when I saw the same train three days previously at Wootton Rivers I mentioned that it was always very reliable, I should now add that the train's length isn't always so reliable! I had deliberately chosen this spot to show the train snaking round the curve, only for it to appear in truncated form!
59001 Yeoman Endeavour runs along the down relief line at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 15 April 2014 with the 7C48 13:30 Appleford to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. As is quite usual with this train, it was running very early, and so would be waiting at Challow (a mile further on) for some considerable time.
59001 Yeoman Endeavour passes Compton Beauchamp on 14 April 2015 with the 6C48 13:30 Appleford to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. A pity the No.1 end with the commemorative bell wasn't leading, but at least the cab roof is a lot cleaner at this end!
Diverted away from its usual route via the Berks & Hants line due to electfrication work, 59001 Yeoman Endeavour passes Challow on 14 May 2018 with the 6C77 12:38 Acton to Merehead Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties.
59001 Yeoman Endeavour passes Great Bedwyn on 2 July 2018 with the 6C76 14:39 Acton to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. The extremely weather beaten buffer stop in the foreground has presumably not been replaced, as the DMUs that use the reversing siding do not come anywhere near it, as indicated by the two and three car stop boards in the background.
59002 Yeoman Enterprise slowly negotiates Hallen Marsh Junction on 25 June 1993 with the 6C31 10:15 Henbury to Merehead stone empties. This temporary flow was in connection with the construction of the approach roads to the second Severn Bridge. The end of the original Severn Bridge can just be seen in the extreme left of the picture. Note the mixed rake of Foster Yeoman and ARC hoppers. Unfortunately the forest of semaphore signals at this location had been removed a few years previously.
59002 Yeoman Enterprise works wrong line past Brentry on the Avonmouth to Filton line, with the 6C31 11:34 Henbury to Merehead stone empties on 25 June 1993. This short term contract was to bring stone in from the Mendips for the construction of the approach roads to the new Severn Road Bridge, which was opened three years later.
59002 Yeoman Enterprise & 56054 British Steel Llanwern arrive at a rain soaked Salisbury station on 12 December 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z60 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Newhaven Marine 'Southern Mariner' railtour. Obviously a Class 59 is more than capable of handling such a train on its own, and indeed the Class 56 apparently contributed very little and was effectively 'going along for the ride'.
Newly named 59002 Alan J Day & 59004 Paul A Hammond stand at Cranmore on the East Somerset Railway on 21 June 1996 after having just been unveiled by their namesakes from Foster Yeoman. After all the guests had all gone to a special lunch, I managed to get this uninterrupted view of the two newly renamed locos. This is a very rare picture of 59002, as it shows it with the nameplate and cast number plate in opposite corners to the standard position. This was a temporary measure in order that both locomotive's nameplates would be adjacent for the unveiling. Foster Yeoman's fitters were just about to reverse the position of the plates prior to the locos working the special train of invited guests back to Euston.
On 21 June 1996, newly named 59002 Alan J Day & 59004 Paul A Hammond catch the evening sun at Little Bedwyn as they head back to Euston from Cranmore with the specially invited guests from the double naming ceremony on the East Somerset Railway. Foster Yeoman had chosen to rename the locos (formerly Yeoman Enterprise & Yeoman Challenger respectively) after company members, although this came as a surprise to those involved at the ceremony, as it wasn't their own names they were expecting to see when they pulled the chord!
This is what passes for a smoky exhaust on a Class 59! 59002 Alan J Day powers past Waltham St Lawrence on 27 July 2007 with the 7C77 12:40 Acton to Merehead Mendip Rail stone empties. The succession of bridges at this location isn't quite as impressive as this, as a 200mm lens has been used here, compressing the perspective somewhat.
59002 Alan J Day passes Shrivenham with the 7C48 12:38 Appleford to Whatley stone empties on 17 December 2007. Unfortunately this was just as the sun disappeared behind a cloud, although luckily it was only thin and there is still some light. This location is getting progressively more difficult, as the lineside bushes on the right now cast shadows over the line in the winter.
59002 Alan J Day passes Ruscombe in gloomy conditions on 17 April 2008 with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton 'Jumbo' Yeoman stone train. Although selected trees have been left, the cutting sides here have recently been largely cleared of trees and bushes, opening up the view a little.
59002 Alan J Day passes Fairwood in superb light on 14 October 2009 with the 7V64 12:57 Bow to Merehead stone empties. This is returning from the site of the Olympic stadium construction site. Amazingly for a British project, this was on time and under budget!
59002 Alan J Day passes Baulking on 22 May 2012 with the diverted 6C76 14:40 Acton to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. A fatality at Ufton Nervet level crossing had closed its normal route via the Berks & Hants line. Despite the fact that the sun was getting very head on, I wasn't going to miss this, in view of its rarity.
The ever reliable 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton 'Jumbo' Mendip Rail stone train passes Ruscombe on 1 May 2013 in the capable hands of 59002 Alan J Day. I haven't got many pictures of stone trains here, so I was hoping for a different loco than on my last visit in 2008. Of course it turned out to be the same one! At least the lighting is better and the wagons different.
Just after sunrise on 18 July 2013, 59002 Alan J Day passes Bourton with the 7A14 05:27 Westbury to Oxford Banbury Road Mendip Rail stone train. At this time of the morning (06:54) the sun is on the north side of the line here, allowing a different viewpoint. This is the effect I was trying to achieve with the early running diverted 6A11 Murco oil tanks.
Still looking smart after its recent repaint, 59002 Alan J Day runs alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal at Crofton with the 7C29 08:33 Acton to Merehead Mendip Rail stone empties on 24 January 2015. This is not quite what it seems, as this is in fact a last minute diversion from its booked altered route via Swindon, back to the train's normal booked route! This last minute change of plan was caused by delays in the Reading area.
59002 Alan J Day passes some early autumn colour at Denchworth on 9 October 2015, as it runs along the down relief line with the early running 6C48 13:30 Appleford to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. It would shortly be having a 45 minute wait at Challow.
Shortly after sunrise on 24 June 2016, 59002 Alan J Day passes Bourton with the diverted 7A29 02:15 Whatley Quarry to Theale Mendip Rail stone train. The very weak sun is so low that it is only illuminating the train, but not the track. It has also accentuated the red of the ex EWS hoppers, which have now been redeployed on stone traffic, after the decimation of power station coal traffic. Luckily this was running 45 minutes late, as its booked time was well before sunrise. Two days earlier it actually ran early, passing this spot in the dark at 4am!
59002 Alan J Day passes through Sonning cutting on 16 August 2016 with the 6V18 11:20 Allington to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. Settled high pressure had resulted in very hazy light around the middle of the day.
A tranquil canal view with incidental train! 59002 Alan J Day runs alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal near Crofton on 23 August 2016 with the late running 7A74 09:25 Whatley Quarry to Theale Mendip Rail stone train. Admittedly if there were less bushes, then more of the train (in this case brand new silver hoppers) could be seen, but otherwise I rather like the composition.
59002 Alan J Day just catches the last of the very weak evening sun, as it passes Compton Beauchamp on 17 July 2017 with the 6C48 17:11 Appleford to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. This had left Appleford 82 minutes early, but had then sat at Challow for over an hour, so was only a few minutes early here. It then missed out its booked layover at Swindon, and so was running an hour early again! At 39 wagons long, the morning's loaded working would presumably have been beyond the capacity of a Class 66, a type which unfortunately has a habit of turning up on this working when I am out with the camera!
Running ten minutes early, 59002 Alan J Day passes Edington on 6 July 2018 with the 7A09 07:16 Merehead Quarry to Action Mendip Rail 'jumbo' stone train. Considering this is early July, when the landscape is still normally predominately green, this picture has got a very brown appearance. This is partly due to the parched nature of the ground due to the prolonged heatwave, but principally because the lineside has been blitzed, and the cut vegetation shredded on site.
Less than a month after the commencement of Foster Yeoman Class 59 operations in this country, the as yet unnamed 59003 passes Fairwood Junction with the 10:03 Merehead to Eastleigh stone train on 11 March 1986. Unthinkable politically in the 1960s, the purchase of US designed locomotives in preference to British built designs was to gain momentum, resulting in the situation twenty years later, when virtually all freight locos in the UK were foreign built. The tracks in the foreground are the Westbury avoiding lines, while the train is on the original main line, as it will run round in Westbury Yard, in order to gain the former Southern Railway route via Salisbury. A very misty day, with the fog not long cleared and the trees in the distance only just visible in the murk.
Still less than a year old, 59003 Yeoman Highlander passes West Drayton on 6 November 1986 with the 6A11 10:05 Acton to Merehead Foster Yeoman stone empties. This was my one and only visit to this West London location, but in the mid 1980s virtually everything that came along was of interest, and with a perfect sunny autumn day, plenty of film was used!
59003 Yeoman Highlander glints in the early morning sunshine as it rounds the curve at Crofton on 15 January 1991 with the 6A09 09:20 Theale to Merehead Foster Yeoman stone empties. Crofton Pumping Station, which supplies water to the nearby Kennet & Avon Canal, can just be seen in the background, on the left. Although sunny, this was a bitterly cold morning, as can be seen by the frost still lingering in the shadows.
59003 Yeoman Highlander finds a brief patch of weak sunshine as it passes East Grimstead (between Salisbury and Romsey) on 19 March 1992 with 1800 tonnes of stone on the 6O52 Merehead to Eastleigh Foster Yeoman service. The Orenstein & Koppel built JHA bogie hopper wagons had only recently been introduced into the Foster Yeoman fleet and replaced the four wheel PGA wagons with which the Class 59s were initially associated with when introduced in 1986.
59003 Yeoman Highlander runs alongside the A36 Salisbury to Southampton road at Alderbury on 19 August 1992 with the 6O52 Merehead to Eastleigh Foster Yeoman stone train. The trees between the road and the railway have grown considerably since this picture was taken!
A very unusual sight in the north west of England! 59003 Yeoman Highlander & 59101 Village of Whatley pass Winwick on 28 August 1995 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z30 15:49 Wigan North Western to Bristol Temple Meads 'Crewe Excursioner' railtour. The train was run in connection with the Crewe Open Day, with 47299 being used on the outward leg, and 90139 between Crewe and Wigan. Judging by the amount of cloud, it was a relief to all the photographers present that the train actually passed in a sunny spell!
59003 Yeoman Highlander & 59101 Village of Whatley come off the Bromsgrove line and approach Droitwich at twilight on 28 August 1995 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z30 15:49 Wigan North Western to Bristol Temple Meads 'Crewe Excursioner' railtour. Despite the gloomy conditions, it was worth the small detour on the way home from seeing the train at Winwick, to get a picture of the train passing Droitwich's semaphores.
My first picture of 59003 Yeoman Highlander since it came back from its 17 year holiday in Germany! Now owned by GBRf, but still sporting the slightly inappropriate Yeoman Highlander name, the forward thinking railfreight company's most powerful locomotive passes Wolvercote on 12 June 2018 with the 6M40 11:56 Westbury to Stud Farm ballast empties. The lush summer greenery of Port Meadow dominates the background.
59003 Yeoman Highlander runs along the up relief line at Challow on 11 July 2018 with the 6M40 11:56 Westbury to Stud Farm ballast empties. GBRf obviously think their most powerful locomotive is needed on this train, as it has been on it continuously for a month.
59003 Yeoman Highlander passes Grove on 12 July 2018 with the 6M40 11:56 Westbury to Stud Farm ballast empties. Although only mid July, the landscape has the parched appearance of mid August, due to the prolonged heatwave.
59004 Yeoman Challenger passes Langley on 6 November 1986 with the 6V29 11:29 Purfleet to Merehead Foster Yeoman stone empties. 59004 was less than a year old at this time. Langley Business Park now occupies the tree covered area behind the locomotive. This small parcel of land separates the railway from the Slough branch of the Grand Union Canal.
59004 Yeoman Challenger approaches Tiverton Parkway on 1 May 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z40 06:40 Manchester Piccadilly to Plymouth 'Plym Exe-Cursioner' railtour. This was one of a number of railtours run in connection with the Exeter Rail Fair. The sheep are taking absolutely no notice of the train, although they did react when BR 4MT 2-6-4Ts 80080 & 80079 passed by with the 1Z47 08:30 Paddington to Exeter St Davids 'Semper Fidelis' railtour!
59004 Yeoman Challenger passes the disused signal box at South Brent on 1 May 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z40 16:45 Plymouth to Manchester Piccadilly 'Plym Exe-Cursioner' railtour. This was conveniently near the M5 motorway, which allowed a quick sprint to Cullompton (in those days I was driving a BMW 325i), for another picture. There wasn't much time to spare, as the train only spent five minutes picking up passengers who had visited the Rail Fair at Exeter.
59004 Yeoman Challenger runs alongside the M5 motorway at Cullompton on 1 May 1994 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z40 16:45 Plymouth to Manchester Piccadilly 'Plym Exe-Cursioner' railtour. Although the tour visited Plymouth, this was mainly run to take passengers to the Exeter Rail Day. As this is a Sunday, there is very little traffic on the M5, with no lorries visible at all.
59004 Yeoman Challenger passes Fairwood on 30 January 1995 with the 7O38 10:04 Merehead to Fareham Mendip Rail stone train. This was at the time we were all getting used to seeing ARC wagons being hauled by Yeoman locomotives, and vice versa. This train will run round at Westbury in order to take the route via Salisbury.
With nameplates covered, 59004 & 59002 stand at Cranmore on the East Somerset Railway on 21 June 1996 waiting for the guests to arrive prior to be renamed Paul A Hammond & Alan J Day respectively. They were formally named Yeoman Challenger & Yeoman Enterprise. Note that the nameplate on 59002 has been temporarily applied to the 'wrong' end in order to have both loco's plates next to each other for the unveiling.
A perfect spring day at Great Cheverell on 9 April 1999, as 59004 Paul A Hammond rounds the curve with the 7C75 12:50 Acton to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. It looks like the loco has recently been on South Wales iron ore duties, judging by the red staining on the roof.
That single little cloud for once isn't going to ruin the picture, as 59004 Paul A Hammond passes Midgham in the last of the afternoon light on 26 January 2000 with the 7C75 12:48 Acton to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. This is not some new variation of the Foster Yeoman livery, it just needs a good wash!
59004 Paul A Hammond & 59103 Village of Mells call at Frome station on 3 June 2002 with the Pathfinder Tours / Mendip Rail 1Z59 08:08 Bristol Temple Meads to Par 'Plymouth & Cornwall Excursion'. This is the annual outing for Mendip Rail staff. The overall roof here now looks a little out of place, with just a single track passing through the station.
A fine summer morning at Crofton on 15 June 2004, and 59004 Paul A Hammond adds to the scenery as it rounds the curve with the 7A09 07:05 Merehead to Acton Mendip Rail 'Jumbo' stone train. Full sun and a standard lens - the ideal combination for the mighty Pentax 6x7!
59004 Paul A Hammond passes Manningford Bruce with the 7C77 12:40 Acton Yard to Merehead empty 'jumbo' stone train on 12 April 2007. This is an ideal location for photographing westbound trains in the afternoon, but totally useless for anything coming the other way due to overhead wires close to the bridge and lineside trees and bushes.
59004 Paul A Hammond approaches Hungerford with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton Yard Yeoman 'jumbo' stone train on 30 July 2007. This was a very lucky picture, as not only was it in a very short sunny spell (note the clouds building up in the background), but a Class 180 unit on a down working which would have blocked the shot had only just disappeared around the corner!
59004 Paul A Hammond is pictured near Crofton with the 6A74 09:22 Whatley to Theale Hanson stone train on 24 July 2008. The Crofton Pumping Station and its tall brick chimney can be seen in the distance. Built to supply water to the Kennet & Avon Canal, it houses two magnificent Cornish beam engines, one of which (an 1812 Boulton and Watt) is the oldest working beam engine in the world still in its original engine house and capable of actually doing the job for which it was installed.
59004 Paul A Hammond passes the autumnal tints at Woodborough on 10 November 2010, as it heads west with the 7C77 12:40 Acton to Merehead Mendip Rail stone empties. This illustrates the problems of photography in the autumn and winter. Although the lighting is much better than in the summer, even the smallest cutting shades the line as the sun is so low. Here, just a tiny bank covered with brambles is enough to start shading the track, and with the shadows reaching the wheels, it would soon be time to switch to a longer lens.
59004 Paul A Hammond ambles along the down relief line at Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) on 18 October 2011 with the 7C54 13:06 Oxford Banbury Road to Whatley stone empties. It was following right behind 66412, which must have only just regained the mainline at Challow, a mile further on.
59004 Paul A Hammond passes Steventon on 9 December 2015 with the 6C48 13:30 Appleford to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. It looks like the rear wagons haven't been unloaded, as even from this viewpoint, a huge cloud of stone dust can be seen being whipped up by the wind. In the foreground is one of the steel piles for the much delayed electrification project.
59004 Paul A Hammond passes Grove on 14 May 2018 with the diverted 6A17 09:41 Whatley Quarry to Acton Mendip Rail stone train. The 1C43 11:27 Paddington to Penzance GWR HST only just got out of the way in time!
59004 Paul A Hammond runs along the up relief line at Challow on 17 May 2018 with the diverted 7A09 06:26 Merehead Quarry to Acton Mendip Rail 'jumbo' stone train. Engineering works in the Newbury area resulted in the Westbury to London stone trains travelling via Swindon throughout the week.
59004 Paul A Hammond passes Great Bedwyn on 2 July 2018 with the 7C64 15:26 Acton to Merehead Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. Note the prominent '30 Years' and 'Class 59' plaques on the cabside. Will the Class 59s be around in another 30 years?
The once excellent evening photographic location at Compton Beauchamp has been severely compromised by the Great Western Mainline electfrication programme. However, because there are only intermittent full width spans at this point, a picture is still possible, although a long lens is required because there is a mast in the foreground. The bridge itself has also been comprehensively vandalised by Network Rail, with the usual metal extensions, removal of the end coping stones, and crudely applied concrete filler as an anti-climb measure. 59004 Paul A Hammond catches the evening sun on 10 July 2018 with the diverted 7C64 15:26 Acton to Merehead Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties.
59004 Paul A Hammond passes Challow on 11 July 2018, running as the 0F59 11:30 Merehead Quarry to Theale light engine. This close up view clearly show the '30 Years' and 'Class 59' plaques, which were applied in 2016.
59004 Paul A Hammond passes Compton Beauchamp on 25 July 2018 with the diverted 7C64 15:26 Acton to Merehead Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. This is almost an exact duplication of the picture I took just a couple of weeks earlier. Same location, loco, train and weather conditions. Only the wagons are different!
59005 Kenneth J Painter heads west past Iver on 22 February 1990 with the 7A22 14:47 Acton to Merehead Foster Yeoman stone empties. Iver station can be seen in the background. This is the first substantial area of countryside that the Great Western Mainline passes through on its way out of London, although even this is brief, as Slough is not far away! 59005 was delivered later than the other four Yeoman 59s, after the company identified a need for a fifth loco, and was convinced of their reliability. The loco arrived in the UK in June 1989, and this is my first picture of it.
The now disused Westbury Cement Works is still in full production here, as 59005 Kenneth J Painter approaches Fairwood on 30 January 1995 with the 7C29 05:40 Acton to Merehead Mendip Rail stone empties. The cement works closed in 2009 after 47 years of production.
Watched over by a solitary lamb, 59005 Kenneth J Painter & 59103 Village of Mells climb the Lickey Incline on 27 April 1996 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z59 06:55 Westbury to Sheffield Tinsley Open Day special. Obviously with just eight coaches and 6,600hp available up front, the notorious 1 in 37 Lickey held no fear for this train!
A working that has stood the test of time is the 6C48 Appleford to Whatley stone empties. In 1997 there was good and bad news compared with the same train's running nearly two decades later. On the plus side it was always Class 59 hauled, as the dreaded 66s had not yet arrived, but on the minus side, its earlier departure time of 11:44 meant that the sun was not on the nose between Didcot and Swindon. Running exactly to time on 22 April 1997, 59005 Kenneth J Painter approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth. The foundation of Mendip Rail a few years earlier, and the pooling of resources has resulted in not only a Foster Yeoman loco, but also Yeoman wagons appearing on what used to be an ARC working.
59005 Kenneth J Painter passes Colthrop on 19 October 2000 with the 7C74 12:49 Acton to Merehead Mendip Rail stone empties. This view is no longer possible, as the footbridge from which it was taken has been removed.
59005 Kenneth J Painter passes Kintbury on 2 April 2007 with the 6V18 12:43 Hither Green to Whatley stone empties. The location is next to the Kennet & Avon Canal, and is an excellent spot to observe westbound trains in the afternoon.
59005 Kenneth J Painter passes Waltham St Lawrence with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton Yard Yeoman 'jumbo' stone train on 27 July 2007. You can clearly see the three portions on this train, which will be split to serve different destinations once the train reaches Acton. While watching the 59 approach, I could hear an HST approaching from behind, which while not completely blocking the shot would certainly ruin the picture. Luckily as the 59 was moving so slowly and the HST was going so fast, it has turned a near disaster into a pleasant passing shot.
59005 Kenneth J Painter passes Crofton on 20 October 2010 with the 7A17 10:31 Merehead to Acton Mendip Rail stone train. Only one portion on this occasion, which means the whole train just fits in the gap. Despite it being a virtually completely sunny day where I was, it doesn't look quite so good to the west!
As the sun sinks slowly in the west, 59005 Kenneth J Painter approaches Woodborough on 10 November 2010 with the 6Z18 Hither Green to Westbury stone empties, running just eleven minutes behind 6V18 on an identical route. Earlier in the day 59005 had worked up to Hither Green with the 6Y98 empties from Hothfield.
59005 Kenneth J Painter ambles along the Great Western Mainline on 28 April 2011, passing the abundant hawthorn blossom near the site of Ashbury Crossing at Shrivenham. It is working the late running 7C54 13:06 Oxford Banbury Road to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. Although I shouldn't complain, as for once the weather was far better than forecast, but the late running had meant that the sun was getting rather head on at this location.
59005 Kenneth J Painter rounds the curve by Crofton Pumping Station on 30 September 2011 with the 6Z17 10:59 Whatley to Hayes Mendip Rail stone train. Considering I had very little time to find a location after taking a picture of 37601 coming the other way, I am really pleased with the composition of this picture. The perfect juxtaposition of the narrowboat Gorgeous Grace and the overhanging tree branches more than makes up for the fact that the sun is not on the front of 59005.
59005 Kenneth J Painter ambles along the down relief line at Denchworth on 27 July 2012 with the 7C48 13:30 Appleford to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. As usual this is running early, in this case passing Denchworth over an hour before departure time from Appleford!
59005 Kenneth J Painter passes Shrivenham on 16 April 2014 with the 7C48 13:30 Appleford to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. The highest numbered member of the sub-class on the same train that was worked the previous day by the lowest numbered member.
59005 Kenneth J Painter passes Brimslade on 8 April 2015 with the 6V18 12:27 Hither Green to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. I have deliberately chosen a wider than normal view, in order to include the ancient tree on the right. However, this specimen is nothing compared to some of the other ancient knurled oaks off to the right of the picture.
59005 Kenneth J Painter approaches Steventon on 15 May 2018 with the diverted 7A09 06:26 Merehead Quarry to Acton Mendip Rail 'jumbo' stone train. This was running a few minutes early, in contrast to the previous day's one hour late running. This was probably due to the train being considerably less 'jumbo' than normal! The train's normal route would be via the Berks & Hants line.
Dust storm approaching! 59005 Kenneth J Painter is pictured near Great Bedwyn on 2 July 2018 with the 6L21 13:23 Whatley Quarry to Dagenham Dock Mendip Rail stone train, running a staggering 198 minutes late. Because of this it was terminated at Acton Yard. This was the third Class 59/0 that I had photographed on this afternoon, meaning I had seen 60% of the sub-class.
After having a good long rest in the loop at Challow (an hour instead of the booked 23 minutes), 59005 Kenneth J Painter approaches Compton Beauchamp on 10 July 2018 with the 6C48 17:44 Appleford to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. A very long lens was required in order to avoid the encroaching shadows. This does tend to highlight the ugliness of the new catenary.
Not all Mendip Rail stone trains are massive. 59005 Kenneth J Painter passes Grove with a modest load on 12 July 2018, as it works the diverted 6A17 10:24 Whatley Quarry to Acton. Luckily the cloud that can be seen in the distance, stayed in the distance until all the trains that I wanted to photograph had passed!
59101 passes East Grimstead on 10 September 1991 with the 7O83 12:03 Whatley Quarry to Fareham ARC stone. This was a bit fraught, as something equally interesting was approaching from the opposite direction! 59101 was less than a year old at this time, and was still unnamed. It received its Village of Whatley name in May 1992.
The highlight of the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala on 9 May 1992 was the visit of ARC's 59101 Village of Whatley. The heavyweight freight loco is pictured in unusual surroundings, and with an unusual load, as it passes Eardington in the rain, en-route from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth.
59101 Village of Whatley passes the Rover car works at Swindon with the 6A43 06:59 Appleford to Whatley ARC stone empties on 26 October 1992. The car plant manufactures car body panels, opening as Pressed Steel Fisher in 1954 and trading under various names since then, culminating in Swindon Pressings Ltd. The photo was taken from a very conveniently placed footbridge that crosses the Great Western Main Line next to Highworth Junction.
59101 Village of Whatley approaches the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham on 8 May 1996 with the 6C47 18:36 Appleford to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. A very long lens is required at this time of the evening to clear the shadows of a nearby farm building. This has exaggerated the reverse curves and made Chapelwick Farm appear much closer than it really is.
Still just about clear of the advancing evening shadows, 59101 Village of Whatley passes Shrivenham on 6 June 1996 with the 6C47 18:36 Appleford to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. In the background is the bridge by the site of Ashbury Crossing, from which I took a picture of the same loco on the same train a month earlier.
In crisp autumnal light, 59101 Village of Whatley & 59001 Yeoman Endeavour pass Bourton (near Swindon) with the 1Z30 09:08 Castle Cary to Stratford-upon-Avon Mendip Rail private charter on 17 October 1998. Class 47/7 47736 can just be seen on the rear of the train providing heat. Unfortunately the sunny weather did not last and arrival at Stratford was in very poor light.
Unfortunately by the time the 1Z30 09:08 Castle Cary to Stratford-upon-Avon Mendip Rail private charter on 17 October 1998 arrived at its destination, the earlier sunny conditions had disappeared. 59101 Village of Whatley & 59001 Yeoman Endeavour are pictured drawing into the station in the gloom, with 47736 bringing up the rear.
59101 Village of Whatley & 59001 Yeoman Endeavour had arrived at Stratford-upon-Avon in very gloomy conditions on 17 October 1998 with the 1Z30 09:08 Mendip Rail private charter from Castle Cary. However, as the locos were running round there was a brief burst of sunshine. I wouldn't normally bother taking a picture of a pair of light engines, but the sheer novelty of a pair of Class 59s at Stratford, plus the amazing dark clouds in the background makes the shot worthwhile, despite the sun's head on angle.
59101 Village of Whatley rounds the curve at Great Cheverell with the 6V18 12:39 Hither Green to Whatley Hanson stone empties on 9 April 1999. Note the mixture of ARC and Hanson liveries amongst the wagons. This picture demonstrates one of the pitfalls of using a Pentax 6x7 rollfilm camera and ISO 100 film. Although the loco and front part of the train is pin sharp, there is not enough depth of field on a 200mm lens to cover the background. I suppose some people would say it throws the subject into sharp focus (excuse the pun), but personally I would have liked to had the option for a little more depth of field, 35mm style.
59101 Village of Whatley passes Taplow on 26 January 2000 with the 7A09 07:05 Merehead to Acton Foster Yeoman 'Jumbo' stone. The relief lines make a turn here, in order to pass around Taplow station's wide island platform.
59101 Village of Whatley is caught a patch of weak spring sunshine as it passes Mannigford Bruce on 12 Aril 2007 with the 6V67 10:38 Sevington to Merehead stone empties. This train runs as a Q service, denoting 'as required'. This short train certainly wouldn't tax a Class 59 even when fully loaded!
59101 Village of Whatley passes the site of Patney & Chirton station with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton Yard Yeoman 'jumbo' stone train on 9 August 2007. Even though the station was closed in 1966, the footbridge survives marooned in the fields on a little used footpath. This is the view looking west from the bridge, with the space on the right marking the site of the Devizes branch lines. The station had four platforms, which explains the extreme length of this footbridge.
59101 Village of Whatley approaches Stocks Lane Level Crossing at Steventon on 29 September 2009 with the 6C54 13:13 Oxford Banbury Road to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. Didcot Power Station can be seen in the background. Of course it was full sun when I left the house, but naturally that turned into virtually 100% cloud cover when I got to the line! I know a lot of people will not take photos in such conditions, but I think the results are often quite satisfactory, especially when, as here, careful use of Photoshop has retained plenty of sky detail rather than the awful 'missing sky' effect that one often comes across on Fotopic sites.
59101 Village of Whatley approaches Kintbury on 31 August 2010 with the 6A74 09:22 Whatley to Theale Hanson stone train. Although this appears to be in the middle of the countryside, it is in fact on the edge of Kintbury village, and the Kennet & Avon Canal is just to the left. In this era of ugly palisade fencing, it is nice to see some vintage wooden post lineside fencing still surviving.
With brakes squealing, 59101 Village of Whatley slowly brings its train to a halt as it passes the Crofton Pumping Station on 30 September 2011 with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton Mendip Rail 'jumbo' stone train. After a brief signal check it resumed its journey towards the capital. Crofton Pumping Station was built to supply water to the Kennet & Avon Canal (hidden by the bushes in the foreground). It houses the oldest working beam engine in the world still in its original engine house.
The hawthorn blossom is just starting to come out at Crofton on 22 May 2012, as 59101 Village of Whatley rolls slowly round the curve with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton Mendip Rail 'jumbo' stone train. Even at this rural location a communications mast has spring up, along with attendant generator. Thankfully it doesn't intrude too much on the view.
After waiting some time for a clear path, 59101 Village of Whatley joins the mainline at Appleford on 9 August 2012 with the 7C48 Appleford to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties, yet again running much earlier than its scheduled departure time of 13:30. It is obviously running 'wrong line' a this point, and it will use the crossover just the other side of the level crossing in the foreground in order to gain the correct line.
59101 Village of Whatley passes Bourton on 2 July 2014 with the 7C48 13:30 Appleford to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. In the background the 1A19 13:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington First Great Western HST is about to pass beneath the soon to be demolished Shrivenham road bridge.
59101 Village of Whatley & 59205 approach Crofton on the very gloomy morning of 7 May 2016 with the 7C29 07:00 Acton to Merehead Mendip Rail stone empties. I wouldn't normally bother to photograph this in some dismal light, but a Class 59/1 & 59/2 combination is always worth a picture.
59101 Village of Whatley passes Wolfhall on 8 September 2016 with the 7C77 12:39 Acton to Merehead Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. I had not visited this location for several decades, and even though various people have told me how bad the vegetation was, I was still surprised by the state that Network Rail have allowed the lineside to get into.
59101 Village of Whatley slowly pulls away from a signal check, and passes Didcot North Junction on 25 April 2017 with the 6A15 04:06 Whatley Quarry to Appleford Mendip Rail stone train. This was running 100 minutes late, which was possibly an advantage, as it was still cloudy at its booked time. However, the late running has resulted in the sun not being on the front. You can't win! The train had travelled via the Berks & Hants line, rather than its normal route via Swindon. Even so, it was supposed to have come via the west curve (on the right), instead it has most unusually traversed the east curve from Didcot East Junction.
The as yet unnamed 59102 heads along the down main line at West Drayton with the 6V98 Hothfield to Whatley ARC stone empties on 22 June 1991. For once it was lucky that the sun wasn't shining, as this picture is taken from the north side of the line. Note the red flag across the down relief line, both slow lines being closed for engineering work.
59102 Village of Chantry glints in the late afternoon sun, as it passes Whisker Hill Junction on 5 September 1993 with the Worksop Open Day Committee 1Z78 16:06 Sheffield to Retford High Level Trainload Coal Motive Power Day Worksop Open Day special.
59102 Village of Chantry & 66028 pass Hinksey Yard on 27 February 1999 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z45 06:34 Sheffield to Trowbridge 'Yankee Sidewinder' railtour. The 59 had been added to the train at Oxford, the 66 having brought the train from Worcester, over the Cotswold Line.
59102 Village of Chantry passes Fairwood (near Westbury) with the 6Z20 09:45 Whatley to St Pancras stone train on 11 September 2007. The train is just accelerating away from a short 20mph restriction under the bridge in the background, caused by track repairs following severe flood damage a couple of months previously. Note the mix of ex RMC (at the front) and ex National Power (at the rear) hoppers in use on this train.
The 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton Yard Mendip Rail 'jumbo' stone train wasn't quite so jumbo on 23 November 2007, with only one of the normal three portions making for a very short train. 59102 Village of Chantry rounds the curve near Aldermaston past a number of trees still showing some good autumn colour. Note the stone dust blowing out of the last wagon.
59102 Village of Chantry passes the site of Patney & Chirton station on 11 May 2009 with the 7C77 12:40 Acton to Merehead Mendip Rail stone empties. Until the trees were felled at this location in 2008 this view was totally impossible. Note also the slightly modified bridge in the background. I suppose it makes a change from the usual complete replacement.
Running over two hours late, and traveling very slowly, 59102 Village of Chantry passes Crofton on 20 October 2010 with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton Yard Mendip Rail 'jumbo' stone train. Quite what the problem was is not clear, but the train almost came to a stand as it passed out of view around the corner by the canal pumping station. The lengthy train consists of the usual three portions, with the four OAA wagons containing blocks well and truly hidden around the corner.
Didcot Power Station's 650 feet tall chimney looms eerily out of the haze behind 59102 Village of Chantry as it approaches Stocks Lane, Steventon on 8 March 2011 with the 7C54 13:06 Oxford Banbury Road to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties.
59102 Village of Chantry approaches Wantage Road on 17 November 2011 with the 7C54 13:06 Oxford Banbury Road to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. It is slowing down in order to take the relief line as far as Challow. This location was deliberately chosen to show off the autumn colours of the lineside trees.
59102 Village of Chantry passes Milton on 13 September 2012 with the 7C54 13:06 Oxford Banbury Road to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. Instead of the customary early running, on this occasion it was virtually bang on time.
A piece of railway infrastructure that has been in place ever since I started railway photography, but is sure to be replaced with the forthcoming Great Western Mainline electrification, is the signal gantry controlling the crossovers at Uffington. This is situated hard up against the road bridge at Baulking. The normal viewpoint is to the side of this, but in view of its imminent demise, I decided to take this wider view of the rusty structure. 59102 Village of Chantry approaches on 5 July 2013 with the 6C48 13:30 Appleford to Westbury Mendip Rail stone empties. Although roughly on time here, it did in fact leave Appleford ridiculously early, and then sat in Challow loop for well over two hours!
59102 Village of Chantry passes through Pewsey station on 23 August 2013 with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton Mendip Rail stone train. Definitely not the normal 'Jumbo' train, with a consist of just fifteen Yeoman JHA hoppers. The station building on the left dates from 1862, whilst the waiting room on the right was only built in 1984.
Class 59 crop duster! 59102 Village of Chantry passes Bourton on 1 July 2014 with the 7A15 05:29 Westbury to Appleford Mendip Rail stone train, with some of the load being deposited on the lineside fields. The early morning fog has now cleared, although obviously not in the background, as Swindon should be visible in the background from this spot!
Running 26 minutes late, 59102 Village of Chantry & 59201 approach Steventon on 2 August 2018 with the diverted 7A09 06:33 Merehead Quarry to Acton Mendip Rail 'jumbo' stone train. Note how little is left of the fence in the foreground, with some of the concrete posts little more than the steel reinforcing wire!
Brand new 59103 heads through the rain at Tockenham Wick on 14 March 1991 with the 6A43 07:28 Appleford to Whatley Quarry ARC stone empties. A very poor quality image, but it is one of the few pictures I have of a freight train at this location, and it is also the only picture I have of 59103 before it was named.
59103 Village of Mells approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 16 October 1992 with what is presumably the late running 6A43 ARC stone empties returning to Whatley Quarry. As this was well before the days of easy access to gen, this could either have originated from Oxford Banbury Road at 06:38 (booked), or Appleford at 06:59 (in theory). Both trains ran under the same headcode, as required. Note the fresh ballast in the foreground, and the sleepers laid out to take the soon to be reinstated down relief line. The installation of up relief line would follow just over a year later. This was in preparation for imported coal for Didcot Power Station coming via Avonmouth, instead of from domestic pits in the Midlands.
59103 Village of Mells passes Hemington on 4 January 1997 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z59 05:27 Bristol Temple Meads to Sudforth Lane 'G.M. Gyrator' railtour. Freezing cold and with no chance of any sunshine, it was still worth the effort to travel this far for the sight of an ARC 59/1 well off the beaten track. It is traversing the Stenson Junction to Sheet Stores Junction freight line, prior to heading north to Yorkshire for travel over even more obscure freight lines
59103 Village of Mells & 59001 Yeoman Endeavour pass Cockwood Harbour on 3 May 1999 with the 1Z97 18:05 Paignton to Bristol Temple Meads 'English Riveira Special'. This is the return working of the annual Mendip Rail staff outing, taking a pair of their locomotives to unfamiliar territory.
59103 Village of Mells passes through Newbury Racecourse station with the 6V18 12:39 Hither Green to Whatley ARC 'Jumbo' stone empties on a cloudless 25 June 1999. Note the mix of ARC and Hanson liveried wagons in the consist. Newbury Racecourse station was opened in 1905 and for a long time was only used on race days. With the building of the large industrial estate that can be seen in this view it was made into a calling point for the local stopping services which currently work through to Bedwyn.
In the pouring rain on 3 May 2004, 59103 Village of Mells comes off the Frome line at Clink Road Junction with the annual Pathfinder Tours / Mendip Rail excursion, this time heading for Bognor Regis, running as the 1Z59 08:06 from Castle Cary, and ironically given the prevailing weather conditions titled 'Sunny South Express'! 59001 Yeoman Endeavour can be seen on the rear of the train (the train would shortly reverse at Westbury). Although the rain does add a little atmosphere to the picture compared with just a cloudy day, keeping the camera dry in such conditions is a major preoccupation!
59103 Village of Mells approaches the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham on 19 April 2007 with the 6C53 12:59 Oxford Banbury Road (Kidlington) to Whatley Mendip Rail empty stone train. Note the fresh green foliage and spring blossom on the trees, which makes an ideal foil for photography, before the drab all over green look to the landscape in May and June.
59103 Village of Mells passes Brimpton on 23 November 2007 with the late running 7C31 09:45 Theale to Merehead stone empties. An everyday scene on Mendip stone trains nowadays - an ex ARC Class 59 working Yeoman wagons.
59103 Village of Mells passes the site of Patney & Chirton station on a sunny but surprisingly cold 11 May 2009 with the 7A17 10:31 Merehead to Acton Mendip Rail stone train. A good location for seeing Class 59s, as I managed to see a third of the fleet here, with examples from all three subclasses.
59103 Village of Mells passes Wootton Rivers on 22 June 2010 with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton 'jumbo' stone train, nearly half of which is still out of sight around the corner. Always to be relied upon, 7A09 is one of the long term staples of railway photography in the Wiltshire area.
59103 Village of Mells rounds the curve at Didcot North Junction on 10 July 2015 with the 6A15 05:04 Whatley Quarry to Appleford Mendip Rail stone train. This is probably the nearest I have ever come to missing a picture, as I literally just had time to get the camera out of the bag and press the shutter! I thought I could hear it coming as I was walking up the path towards the bridge, and as I climbed the steps it was coming round the curve. It's amazing how awkward a lens cap seems to be to remove when it is desperately urgent! I had checked a little earlier, and it was running just a few minutes early. However, by missing out a couple of booked stops, it was now over half an hour ahead of time!
59103 Village of Mells slowly approaches Didcot North Junction on 20 April 2018 with the 6C48 17:11 Appleford to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties, although six wagons still contain a full load of stone. Only around half of the train is visible in this picture, which on this occasion amounted to an amazing 36 wagons.
Whenever the 7A09 06:27 Merehead Quarry to Acton Mendip Rail 'jumbo' stone train is diverted via Swindon, it always seems to run late. Such was the case on 10 July 2018, when 59103 Village of Mells was pictured passing Uffington running 202 minutes behind schedule!
The still unnamed 59104 passes the site of Edington station on 18 April 1991 with the 6A17 Whatley to Theale ARC stone train. Westbury Cement Works can be seen in the background. The old goods shed in the background is all that survives of Edington & Bratton station.
59104 passes Hinksey Yard on 1 August 1991 with a specially weighted test train running from Derby to Eastleigh. This was one of a series of test trains run on behalf of Railfreight Distribution. Unfortunately this was a very dull day, but I wasn't going to miss the opportunity of photographing such an unusual working. The rear portion of the 3,000 ton train is made of steel bars, but the front section appears to be aluminium ingots. 59104 has been past this location many times since, but never with a load like this!
During August 1991, 59104 worked a series of specials on behalf of Railfreight Distribution to assess the suitability of the Class for 75 mph freightliner operation. The as yet unnamed 59104 approaches Culham on 2 August with an Eastleigh to Crewe Basford Hall test train, comprising a rake of weighted FFA & FGA flats. Didcot Power Station dominates the background.
The as yet unnamed 59104 passes Harbury on 5 August 1991 with a Crewe to Westbury specially weighted test train. This was one of a number of specials run on behalf of Railfreight Distribution to assess the suitability of the Class for 75 mph freightliner operation.
On a very dull 6 August 1991, 59104 (still unnamed) passes Aynho Junction with a Westbury to Crewe loaded test train, one of a series of specials run on behalf of Railfreight Distribution to assess the suitability of the Class for 75 mph freightliner operation. Despite the dismal weather I wasn't going to miss the opportunity of getting this historic picture, even if I had to resort to good old grainy Kodachrome 200 to get it! In the background is Aynho Junction Signal Box, which had just a year's life ahead of it. In 1992 the control of Aynho Junction was transferred to Banbury South box.
A very unusual load for 59104 Village of Great Elm! The loco is working the 2G39 14:45 Kings Lynn to Cambridge Network SouthEast Gala special, seen here coming off the single track section of line on the approach to Littleport on 14 September 1991. The unusual choice of stock is a pair of 25kV EMUs, 312789 & 312790. The loco had been named earlier that day at Cambridge.
Surprisingly I have very few pictures of trains in the loops at Uffington (between Swindon and Didcot). It's a bit late now as they are not there any more! On 8 July 1992, 59104 Village of Great Elm pulls away from the signal at the east end of the up loop with the 6M24 04:35 Whatley to Wolverton ARC stone train, while a HST speeds past on the down line. 6M24 was booked to wait in the loop between 09:26 and 09:45 to allow the 08:45 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington, 07:32 Swansea to Paddington, and 08:10 Worcester Shrub Hill to Paddington to overtake it.
59104 Village of Great Elm passes the remains of Shrivenham station on 4 September 1992 with the 6M24 04:35 Whatley to Wolverton ARC stone train. It will soon be entering the loop at Uffington (since removed), where it will be overtaken by the 08:45 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington, 07:32 Swansea to Paddington, and 08:10 Worcester Shrub Hill to Paddington HSTs. Admittedly when this picture was taken 59104 had only been in traffic for less than two years, but even so note how clean it is, particularly the underframe. Obviously loco washing was a high priority at Whatley!
59104 Village of Great Elm passes Berkley with the 6C26 12:45 Southall Yard to Whatley stone empties on 12 October 1994. At this time there was a problem with some of the Mendip Rail wagons, hence the use of the hired in Tiphook KPA wagons seen here. Berkley (between Westbury and Frome) is an excellent location for railway photography, as all the traffic for the Mendip quarries passes this way, and the view in both directions is unobstructed.
59104 Village of Great Elm passes Brimpton on 19 October 2000 with the 7A09 07:05 Merehead to Acton 'jumbo' Mendip Rail stone train. The perfect combination for a railway picture - crisp clear morning light with the shadows just clearing the track, a clean locomotive, and the hawthorn berries in the lineside hedges heralding the first signs of autumn.
Typical, you go to a location where there is an uninterrupted view of the line, so that the whole of the lengthy 'Jumbo' stone train will be in view, and then it leaves two thirds of it behind! Running with only one portion and therefore hardly justifying the title 'Jumbo', 59104 Village of Great Elm passes Brimpton with the 7A09 06:56 Merehead to Acton Mendip Rail stone train on 8 May 2008.
59104 Village of Great Elm rounds the curve at Wootton Rivers with the 7C77 12:40 Acton to Merehead Mendip Rail empty 'Jumbo' stone train on 24 April 2009. Although it was sunny when I left home, the further I drove south the hazier it became and after an hour spent by the lineside at Wootton Rivers the sun had virtually disappeared. Full sun all day was the Met Office forecast!
59104 Village of Great Elm passes Fairwood with the 7A15 17:08 Merehead to Acton stone train on 14 October, while the tail end of 7V64 hauled by 59002 can just be seen in the background disappearing under the bridge at Fairwood Junction.
59104 Village of Great Elm swings round the curve at Crofton on 31 August 2010 with the 7A09 07:12 Merehead to Acton Mendip Rail 'Jumbo' stone train. Although it looks like a perfect sunny morning, there was still some fog lingering about, and every so often the sun would find a bit, but luckily not when the train came into view! Just a short distance to the east the fog was still quite thick, as I discovered when I drove away after taking this picture.
59104 Village of Great Elm approaches Woodborough on the glorious afternoon of 10 November 2010 with the 6V18 12:46 Hither Green to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. A sight not always seen on stone trains in the area - a uniform rake of wagons, and with loco and wagons all in the same (Hanson) livery.
59104 Village of Great Elm ambles along the Great Western Mainline at Baulking on 19 April 2011 with the 7C54 13:06 Oxford Banbury Road to Whatley Mendip Rail stone empties. I never get tired of photographing Class 59s, despite their outward similarity to the ubiquitous 66s. Its probably something to do with the exclusiveness of such a small class of locos and variety of liveries.
Strange goings on at Moulsford on 27 April 2011. I don't normally bother to photograph light engine moves, but this is a little different. A Class 59 running on its own on the Great Western Mainline is unusual, and when the driver gave me a toot I suspected something was afoot. Apparently, 59104 Village of Great Elm was working the 6A83 12:40 Machen to West Drayton stone train but was running low on fuel, so the train was left in Theale loop, while 59104 made its way to Didcot for fuel! I still might not have bothered to take this picture, but it just so happened that it occured at a very busy moment. Not only can the 1B69 17:45 Paddington to Carmarthen First Great Western service been seen approaching in the distance, but also 66841 can just be seen with the 6O78 Margam to Dollands Moor Colas steel train (unfortunately totally unphotographable from the other side of the bridge due to shadows).
59104 Village of Great Elm approaches Stocks Lane level crossing at Steventon on 19 January 2016 with the 6C48 13:30 Appleford to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. The crumbling brick wall in the foreground looks so good in the low winter light, that I decided on this unusual hyper depth of field picture.
59104 Village of Great Elm runs along the down relief line at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 15 August 2016 with the 6C48 14:59 Appleford Sidings to Whatley Quarry stone empties (apart from the first wagon!). After over four decades of visiting this location, this will probably be one of my last regular visits to this location, as although it will still be possible to obtain a record shot of a train on the relief line, the location has effectively been ruined as far as photography is concerned. The fact that the mast nearest to the bridge has not yet been installed has at least allowed this picture to be taken. Incidentally, I often find that I have to correct my photos in Photoshop for slightly leaning horizons, usually using some vertical object as a guide. However, it was no use using any of these masts as a guide, as they are all leaning at different angles! It's a good job that Network Rail are not house builders!
59104 Village of Great Elm slowly rounds the curve at Wolfhall on 8 September 2016 with the 6A77 11:42 Merehead Quarry to Theale Mendip Rail stone train. This was running over half an hour late, which was just enough to ensure that sun was off the front of the loco, although the sun was doing its best to hide behind the clouds as it passed!
59104 Village of Great Elm passes Challow on 20 July 2018 with the diverted 6C76 12:55 Acton to Whatley Quarry Mendip Rail stone empties. This was one of those annoying days when it was mostly sunny at home, and during the short drive to the railway, and the same going home, but totally cloudy whilst I was actually at the lineside!