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Now virtually extinct apart from a few with Network-Rail and BAR plus lots in Preservation
Today a '5Z34' ran from Bristol Barton Hill W.R.D.(06:11 off) to Wembley-Lmd. Green-Plain Jane 31252 with no livery markings in evidence whatsoever was dragging just one Chiltern-railways Mk-3 back to base after presumably some sort of refurbisment or maintenence.It is seen at Twyford about to cross the Henley-on-Thames Junction there.Regretfully the return duty which normally has a coach in tow as well today was simply a light-engine,typical on such a clear blue day!
..05 may 2016..
The Avon Valley Railway's resident operational Class-31 number 31130 'Calder Hall Power Station' in its 'Coal' sector black diamond livery is viewed having a day off here at Bitton whilst the visiting London-Transport steam locomotives do their thing for the day.
..17 october 2015..
Here is newly re-liveried DCRail 31601 (formally in plain dark green with DCR logo) looking very smart in the new colour scheme as now carried by several Class-56's operated by the same company.It is also recently named 'Devon Diesel Society'.The working being '5Z34', the 10:05 from Bristol Barton Hill-WRD returning a newly refurbished Mk-3 Coach '12619' to Wembley-LMD for Chiltern-Railways.Hopes for a spot of sunshine here at Hay Lane nr Swindon were cruelly dashed with an all too brief clear patch of blue disappearing just as it came round the corner.Basically the same old story!
..23 june 2015..
Running in mid-sixties livery and looking authentically workstained 31190 rolls through Bapton in the Wylye-Valley nr Wylye with '0Z50' from Eastleigh-Arlington (14:20 off) going to Derby-RTC with preserved Class-50 50035 in tow.This engine still showing signs of the 'Loadhaul' livery it ran in for a few years.Totally ficticious of coarse,perhaps next time it will be NSE or maybe just BR-Blue.
..09 april 2015..
Network-Rail's 31233 c/w its test-train and DBS-9708 on the rear chugs through Undy in S-Wales with '3Q01' the 23:22 from Landore-TMD heading for home at Derby-RTC.Its amazing how this 50 year+ old machine still continues to give reliable service.I understand that its days are now numbered but no actual end date for its retirement is yet known.
..21 march 2015..
Another near-miss sunwise,but then, it was that kind of a day! This time it was DCR 31601's turn.It was working '5Z35' from Wembley-WRD taking Chiltern-Rly's Mk-3 coach 12610 to Bristol Barton Hill presumably for remedial work of some description.Here it is chuntering through Acton-Turville heading west.
..17 march 2015..
After a short pathing break on the Hawkeridge-Curve at Westbury to allow a booked passenger working to get ahead of it '5Z35' from Wembley-LMD to Bristol-Barton Hill with 31601 + one Chiltern Mk-3 Coach (12614) is seen at Yarnbrook Viaduct nr Trowbridge on the freshly cleared embankment there.This clearout is just a prelude to major stablization work that is apparantly required here to prevent the track subsiding even more than it has already!
..31 january 2015..
DCR's green 31601 is seen doing a Chiltern Mk-3 Coach (12614) move from Wembley-LMD to Bristol-Barton Hill WRD for some maintenence work.The working '5Z35' was diverted via the B&H due to work on the track west of Reading on the Thames Valley route.It is seen in the rather dull conditions approaching Heywood-Junction on the approach to Westbury.
..31 january 2015..
Brush Type-2 31466 sits in weak sun on Ropley Depot between duties.This loco was a surprise repaint for display at the Toton Depot Open day on the 30 August 1998.In fact it was the only '31' to run in service in this colour scheme.
07 september 2014..
Final shot for me on this the 2nd day of the 3 day long Diesel Gala here on the Mid-Hants Rly was this one of 31466 heading the 17:40 from Alton to Arlesford albeit in fading/yellowing early evening light.Viewed again at the location nr North Street.The photographic opportunities for linesiding on this line are virtually non-existent unless you are in the cosy little club of MH-Rly track passes and your face fits! Most people I know hate the place!
06 september 2014..
The 10:35 from Alresford to Alton rolls into Medstead and Four Marks past the sidings there that are rather full of vehicles that are in various stages of restoration (Or decay).These include the rather sad looking 27007 which only a few years ago was a fully operation member of the Diesel Fleet here on the MH-Rly.
..06 september 2014..
31466 wearing EWS-Red (As it did at the end of its mainline career) accelerates the 14:35 from Alresford to Alton away from Ropley past the extensive MPD there.Note visiting Type-2 24081 in the platform having just been placed on the rear of the next train going to Arlesford.
..05 september 2014..
A busy few minutes at Ropley.37324 is arriving with the 10:20 from Alton going to Alresford whilst 31271 sits on the rear of the 09:55 from Arlesford.The method of changing loco's at this Gala was the drop the next rostered engine on to the rear of a train going west here at Ropley,have it dragged to Alresford to head the next Alton service.The loco now on the back is removed at Ropley (Here it is 31271) before the train carries on to Alton.It then goes 'on -shed' until its next trip in due.
..05 september 2014..
The superbly restored and prepared 31271 moves slowly away from Ropley heading for Alresford with the 09:55 from Alton.Seen from the now extremly overgrown footpath to the west of Ropley Station.
..05 september 2014..
We get them all passing through Westbury-Wilts.From the very latest in the form of Class 70/8s to this veteran 31105 now 55 years old!.Here is '3Q14' from Bristol to Didcot via Weymouth doing some kind of track/radio signalling testing.It is seen exiting Westbury going to the South Coast Seaside at Fairwood
Footnote--Apparantly tomorrow (19 march 2014) is this locomotive 55th year in service-Built in March-1959.......Happy Birthday!
..18 march 2014..
Have arrived at Westbury from Totton on '6Z56' 31190 had to 'run-round' the Railvac to be able to continue its journey down to Crediton in Devon. So here it is shortly after departing Westbury at Fairwood running exactly to time.The light was still dire but use of a 50mm prime lens and 800asa enabled a fairly decent shot to be had.
..21 october 2013..
Veteran Type-2 31190 or D5613 as it was when it originally wore this 'heritage' style livery seems to be a very busy-bee lately taking the 'Railvac' anywhere it is needed from its current base at Totton nr Southampton. Here it is descending Upton-Scudamore Bank with '6Z56' from Totton (12:38 off) going to Crediton.This working was billed as T-n-T along with a second '31' but obviously that turned out not to be the case.
..21 october 2013..
Network Rail Test Train '3Z14' from Westbury (10:06 off) going ultimately to Didcot via Weymouth passes Cockhill south of Castle-Cary.Type-3 31233 with its fine array of spotlights hauling four carriages,three of which are ex-works including DBSO-9708 on the rear (Not seen that one before).Its quite amazing how a few of these over 50 year old machines still manage to give fairly reliable service many years after the majority of this once 263 strong class had been withdrawn.Such is the versatility of this low powered ancient design!
..27 august 2013..
Network-Rail Yellow 31233 rolls into Westbury past Hawkeridge Junction with '3Z01' from Derby.Westbury-Yard being todays destination.Interestingly a newly refurbished DBSO-9708 was included in this train-set.
..26 august 2013..
After a brief word with the driver sat in the cab of 31190/D5613 at Westbury a quick drive to Ladydown in Trowbridge about 5 miles from there was undertaken to catch this working to Washwood Heath via Didcot. Sure enough,a few minutes after my arrival along came what I presume to be '6Z31',the green machine dragging the rather interesting Swedish 'RailVac'. Shame about the lack of light but it would have been rather back-lit anyway!
..12 august 2013..
Veteran D5613/31190 stands in Westbury 'up' yard ready to depart for Washward-Heath taking the 'RailVac' with it.Presumably this worked as '6Z31' although no gen was available on this and it was not even on the RTT website either.Only a quick word with the driver who was already seated in the cab confirmed its destination.
..12 august 2013..
Due to its rarity especially in the sun a second 'grab' shot had to be done of 31190 as it ambled by at Fairwood Foot-Crossing on the approach to Westbury whilst journeying from Weymouth to Bescot with the 'RailVac' on '6Z31'.This is a very busy engine of late,by the evening it had returned back down to Taunton light-engine!
..31 may 2013..
Green 31190 running with its original BR number D5613 approaches Westbury with '6Z31' from Weymouth taking the Swedish 'RailVac' to Bescot. Network-Rail really are getting their act together using a Vacuum Cleaner as well as on old Brush to do their track cleaning duties!
..31 may 2013..
31190 running in early-sixties style speeds down through Frome at Berkley-Marsh with a 'RailVac' unit in tow. Does this thing hoover the track? For the answer click HERE The working was '6Z52' from Bristol Kingsland Road (12:13 off) going to Weymouth Jersey Sidings.
..27 may 2013..
Railtracks 31285 pauses at Didcot in the failing late evening light with '3Z71' from Bristol Kingsland Road going to Tyseley via Reading (return via Didcot).Since no tripod was available this shot was purely handheld making good use of the image stablization facility on the lens then in use. 1/10 sec@f5 800asa.
..22 may 2013..
An unexpected bonus was the passing of this TestTrain returning to Derby-RTC from Dollands-Moor running as '3Z05'.I believe this is the only '31' remaining in regular operation for Railtrack still carrying the distinctive yellow livery.Here is 31285 plus coaches 6262/999605 and DBSO9702 running north past the sidings at Hinksey in Oxford.A lucky weak glimmer of weak afternoon sunlight to add a touch of lighting to the scene!
..03 november 2012..
Green 31601 runs away from Bewdley on the 15:01 to Kidderminster.The track to the left runs all the way to Bewdley Station as double track.This is probably a legacy of when this area formed a junction and was to allow unobstructed running into that station from either route.
..06 october 2012..
31601on the 14:02 shuttle from Kidderminster to Bewdley passes the 'West Midland Safari Park'.Its a somewhat surreal thing to be doing,waiting for old diesels to pass by whilst watching elephants grazing less than 300ft away! At least the sun was out!
..06 october 2012..
The 13:29 shuttle from Bewdley returning to Kidderminster passes the 'South Junction' at Bewdley.A long closed line diverged here going to Stourport. Green DCR 31601 being in charge.
..06 october 2012..
31601 accelerates away from Kidderminster at 10:45 going only as far as Bewdley.The staff her at Kidderminster seem to be turning their hand to gardening.A couple of Gnomes and some Goldfish would complete the already mature pond in the foreground!
..06 october 2012..
'Devon&Cornwall Railways' or DCR for short, owned 31601 rolls slowly away from Kidderminster with the first shuttle of the day between Kidderminster and Bewdley,a brief 11 minute journey.The duty alternated between this set of stock (4 GWR Coaches) and a Class 108 3-Car DMU.This loco is of coarse not preserved but an active member of the UK's mainline loco fleet,not bad for a 50 year old engine!
..06 october 2012..
Network-Yellow 31602 and DCR-Green 31601 speed northwards past Charfield with '5Z56' returning to Washwood-Heath from Laira after delivering a rebuilt Buffet-Coach now converted into a standard passenger carriage.Behind the pair of 31's are the two HST-Barriers used during the delivery,one being of Mk-1 design (6348) whilst the other is a Mk-2 (6330). ..23 august 2012..
Standing in the headshunt at Oldland Common whilst running round its train is 31130 showing off its freshly painted nose-end and smart condition.The loco was once numbered D5548 and at the end of its mainline career was also a named locomotive.Its name was 'Calder Hall Power Station'.
..04 august 2012..
31130 stands at Oldland Common whilst the crew prepare to uncouple it from the train ready to run round the stock for the return journey to Bitton.
..04 august 2012..
Oldland Common Station is the northernmost point of the Avon-Valley-Railway nr Bristol.Here is their latest acquisition, 31130 (D5548) running slowly in with the 14:45 from Bitton.This preserved '31' carries coal-sector markings and 2-tone grey livery.
..04 august 2012..
Network-Rail 31602 formally named 'Driver Dave Green (19B)' positively glows in the low clear evening light here at Arn-Hill nr Warminster as it passes on '0Z56' from Eastleigh going to Bristol-Barton Hill with 56303 in a fresh coat of DCR-Green Livery behind it.Not quite sure where it is going (eventually) but a nice addition to the slowly growing ranks of (again) operational Class-56's.
..19 july 2012..
Half a century old and still doing long distance mainline duty!!!--- Type-2 31465 brings up the rear of '1Q14' a Network-Rail Test-Train, as it arrives in Westbury from Derby for a short break before carrying on towards Eastleigh via the World.
..10 april 2012..
Banana-yellow 31465 with its test-train including DBSO-9701 clatters over Clink-Junction heading back to Westbury from Castle-Cary with '1Q13'.As usual the rest of the days schedule went out the window when it proceeded to run much earlier than booked timings.It actually arriving back from the Weymouth leg at Westbury again nearly 90 minutes early. Its arrival time at todays final destination (Exeter) was over 120 minutes early!!!!......
..08 may 2012..
DCR owned, 31601 in a rather plain Green Livery passes Acton-Turville with '5Z31' from Wembley Chiltern Depot to Bristol Barton-Hill.Load was just one Mk3a number-12124 still in Virgin colours so obviously it had been stored for some considerable time.
..20 march 2012..
Making a nice change from an all-yellow configuration Rail-Blue Brush Type-Two 31106 trundles past Strap Lane nr Upton-Noble with '3Z14',this having come from Bristol and bound for Weymouth.I think this is one of the radio test trains checking out reception from those god awful ugly cabins and masts that now disfigure the lineside every few miles.
..17 november 2011..
Barely 1 minute after the NMT had gone out of sight this working '3Z15' appeared coming up from Weymouth going to Bristol via Melksham and Swindon(reverse).31602 'Driver Dave Green' with DBSO 9714 and two coaches.Weird lighting today,camera meter said almost 'full light' but it obviously wasn't.No matter,worth recording anyway as 31's are a bit thin on the ground these days though those that still survive seem to lead a useful and charmed life! ..28 july 2011..
Third and final Classic-Traction Tour to Penzance today exactly an hour after the 37's had passed was this one.Running as '1z20' from Thame Bridge-Parkway to Penzance and named the 'Mazey Day Cornishman'.A pair of Brush-type-2's 31601 and 31190 with amazingly 13 coaches!(Yes it got there) Aller again and just to mock the assembled photographers the sun came out on the last coach as it passed!.......... Mystery? 31's on 1Z20,37's on 1Z31' and 20's on '1z37'.Very Amusing!
..25 june 2011..
Another resident here at Lydney is 31466 is EWS livery.This particular engine was the only class 31 to recieve a coat of EWS-Red in service.It was done primarily along with a class-33 purely as a publicity stunt for an Open-Day at Toton back in 1999 (I think). ..24 may 2011..
Once again this was early passing back through Frome going to Swindon via Melksham.However things were awry and it lost so much time that the Swindon leg was curtailed at Thingley-Junction nr Chippenham and the working '3Z14' was turned back there to regain the schedule,hence it appeared here at Bathampton Loops at 17:33 again actually 10 minutes ahead of booked time.31602 still up front on a lovely evening here nr Bath.Moral of todays 'shots and near-misses' is always turn up at least 45 minutes before the booked time and then you just 'Might' see it ! ..28 april 2011.. See HEREfor a slightly earlier 'tele' shot. See HEREfor how this engine looked 9 years ago as a 'Fragonset' machine.
Network-Test-Train with 31602 leading heads past Witham-Friary journeying from Bristol-TM to Weymouth.Running as '3Z14'.as usual timings are early or late depending on where the train is on the route.Unfortunately missed the shot on the east of Frome because it was 25 mins early but here? just 3 miles west of Frome was back on schedule! ..28 april 2011..
Serco-Test-Train '1Q10' from Westbury to Eastleigh via Weymouth speeds through Clink nr Frome with 31233 leading and 'Jb' 73107 DOR.Interesting use of an electro-diesel as it was being used (when leading) purely as a 'DVT'.Poor old 31233 having to do all the work! ..21 april 2010..
31162 running as 5580 passes Far-Stanley on a working from Toddington heading for Cheltenham-RC during a Diesel-Gala held during the summer of 2009.
..28 june 2009.. A noteworthy trip that day highlighted by getting a speeding ticket from the Thames-Valley Gestapo!
Preserved 1960 built Brush Type-2 D5581 (Formally 31163) stands in the superbly restored Chinnor Station after arriving with a working along the line from the then 'end of the line' at Thame-Junction.
..28 june 2009..
Inter-City liveried 31454 draws a matching set of 7 Mk-2's on an ECS working from Barrow-Hill going to Bishops-Lydeard on the WSRly.Running as '5B47' it is seen passing Parson Street in Bristol.Unusually being run with just one '31' in charge.
..27 september 2007..
This was a nice local working whilst it lasted! Fragonset's I/C liveried 31454 rolls away from Blue-Anchor on the final leg of this trip of the short lived 'Butlins Express' from Bristol-TM '1Z46' running through to Minehead on the preserved private WSRly.Although hailed at the time as a success the workings were never repeated in subsequent years-A pity!
..25 august 2007..
Great things were expected after these experimantal trains were run from Bristol-TM going all the way to Minehead conveying passengers bound for a weeks holiday at the Butlins Holiday Camp situated almost next to Minehead Station.As usual nothing came of the trial even though at the time it was lauded as extreemly successful.Here is seen 31454 in I/C colours TnT with Black 31452 on the rear with '1Z46' from Bristol-TM to Minehead.The working complete with its 'Butlins Express' headboard is seen passing Roebuck Farm Foot-Xing on the WSR.
..25 august 2007..
A brief experiment was held in 2007 with Specials running from Bristol-TM all the way to Minehead.Although afterwards announced as a success was not repeated in subsequent years.Here is 31454 'Heart of Wessex' departing Taunton (31452 DOR) complete with 'Butlins Express' Headboard on '1Z46'
..11 august 2007..
This is a Merrymaker Railtour '1Z94' returning to Barking from Minehead.It is pictured at Castle Hill near Williton whilst still actually on WSR metals.The traction is a pair of Fragonset type-3's.31454 wearing inter-city colours and 31452 in the more staid black/red of that company.The stock was I/C as well.What an excellent livery that was,much more classy than the graffitti styles we have to put up with nowadays.
..07 october 2006..
Glastonbury Music Festival Trains back in the mid 2000's were invariably loco hauled when Wessex Trains were the operators for the local services.For this particular year (2005) the regular local LCHS tracion was '31s' in a variety of liveries including this shocking-pink version. 31601 was also named after 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' and the loco at the rear of this TnT formation 31454 sporting I/C livery was 'The Vale of the White Horse'.This working '2Z43' formed a shuttle service from Swindon to Castle-Cary for all the Festival-Goers.Here it is seen running past Berkley-Marsh in the evening sunshine.-----23 june 2005-----
With Xmas approaching Wessex Trains ran this working advertised as a 'Santa Shopper Special' using the LCHS instead of the usual DMU on the 09:58 from Bristol-TM to Weymouth.A superb morning meant that this working was pictured in full sunlight at North-Brewham between Frome and Bruton.At this time the very-pink locomotive 31601 carried the name 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' whilst an out of sight 31452 was on the rear.
..11 december 2004..
Fragonset's pairing of 'Inter-City' liveried 31454 'Vale of the White Horse' and 31128 brings '2O86' the 08:28 from Bristol-Temple Meads to Weymouth into Bradford-on-Avon station stop.
..31 august 2004..
31454 was named 'The Heart of Wessex' at Bristol-TM by Bernard Lane,the founder member of the Heart of Wessex Rail Partnership before its departure at 14:28 for Weymouth on the afternoon LCHS.Looking really nice in the recently applied I/C livery with 31128 on the rear.The working is viewed departing from Trowbridge.It was even wearing a cast 'Wessex Trains' headboard.
.. 04 august 2004..
Fragonset's I/C liveried 31454 'Vale of the White Horse' with 31128 on the rear departs from Frome,seen here with the Butler & Tanner Printworks as a backdrop.The train being '2O98' the 08:28 from Bristol-Temple Meads going down to Weymouth.Nothing to see here now at this location but thick thick trees and an occasional glimpse of a passing FGW/GWR Unit!
..5 july 2004..
Here is the Wessex-Pink livery that made even Schenker-Red look quite conservative! Only one loco was ever treated to this colour scheme and it was 31601 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' along with its full set of like liveried Mk-2 coaches.31452 bringing up the rear of this push-pull set-up. It is seen passing Sherrington in the Wylye Valley working the 'FO' 12:00 from Cardiff to Brighton '1O98' This set certain made the summer of '04' one to remember!
..25 june 2004..
31128 'Charybdis' with 31454 on the back enters Freshford with '2O09' the 14:28 from Bristol-Temple Meads going down to the seaside at Weymouth.
..16 june 2004..
This was the first run for the freshly reliveried 31601 'Bletchley Park-Station X' and matching 'pink' coaches for Wessex Trains.Plain Fragonset 31452 was on the rear.This colourful set-up is seen departing Frome against a back drop of the Butler&Tanner Print Works that dominated this area with '2O86' the 08:28 from Bristol-Temple Meads to Weymouth.I checked out this location the previous afternoon having prior knowledge that this combination just might run next morning but much to my dismay the viaduct was completely overgrown on the trackside.A hour or so in the semi-darkness later that evening gave me the shot seen here.Well worth the hour's chopping!----27 may 2004----
At this time a Fragonset owned locomotive.31452 made an appearance at this Gala at the East-Somerset-Railway.The engine was based at Westbury for use on the 'Fridays-only' Cardiff to Brighton service.How Wessex-Trains expected it to run reliably on just one working a week after being parked up is anybodys guess! Anyway here is 'Minotaur' climbing away from Mendip-Vale returning to Cranmore with the actual stock used on the Brighton service. ..18 april 2004..
This was a 'Fridays-only' service from Bristol-Temple Meads (12:52 off) to Brighton '1O98'.It was one of the services over several years that used pairs of 'Fragonset' 31's and coaches around the Westbury area.Here is I/C liveried 31454 with 31452 on the rear sandwiching a set of I/C mk-2 coaches passing the top of the Upton-Scudamore Incline on the approach to Warminster.Reliability of this 'once a week' service was not great but then again what did anybody expect with it just parked up for 6 days with no workings?
..6 february 2004..
Fragonset 31602 'Chimera' heads the Cardiff to Brighton 'FO' service through Norton Bavant in the Wylye-Valley with 31468 on the rear.This service was not particularly reliable due mainly to the fact the complete set including the loco's was simply parked-up at Westbury from one friday to the next.Surely everyone knows equipment needs to be in regular use if it is to work properly!!!! Apparantly Wessex Rail didn't.......
..12 september 2003..
31468 leads '1O98' the 12:00 FO from Cardiff going to Brighton.31602 is just out of sight on the rear of the five Mk-2 carriages.The train is seen in the Limpley-Stoke-Valley at Freshford. At this time because it was only running once a week on a Friday the trainset spent the rest of the week just parked up at Westbury.Consequently it was often in bother with things like 'sticking brakes' and 'flat batteries'.If it had been used more regularly the reliability would certainly have improved!
..20 june 2003..
Class JB's 73107/73117 and 73134 are seen here being transferred from Eastleigh down to Meldon for further storage.31459 was leading with 31452 T&T for reversal purposes at Westbury and Exeter.Location is Arn-Hill nr Warminster in the Wylye-Valley.Happily all three survive in 2013,all operational,indeed 73107 and 73117 are mainline registered.It seems these Electro-Diesel type loco's are just to versatile to be scrapped un-necessarily.
..07 april 2003..
Ahhhhhh ! Those were the days.You could walk up the old abandoned down platform at Frome with no problems,nobody said a word and no spiky fence was in evidence anywhere.Today it resembles something from a US Army base in Afghanistan.Such is the world we exist in today! Anyway here is a pair of Fragonset 31's 31459 leading with 31602 on the rear of '2O87' the 09:00 from Bristol-TM to Weymouth.
..24 august 2002..
Here is a Pathfinders Railtour '1Z36'coming from Crewe and heading for Newton-Abbot.It ran under the name of 'The Torbay Quarryman' with the traction being supplied by a pair of matching and consecutively numbered Fragonset Brush-type-2's.31601 leading with 31602 tucked inside.Its a good job the weather was warm as these 31/6's have no facitity for ETH only the ability to cable it through from one end to the other so coach warming would not have been available with two together. Location is the then unspoiled Cogload-Junction a few miles north of Taunton. ..14 may 2000..
One of the first contracts Fragonset secured after going into business was supplying TnT 31's + 2 coaches on Bletchley to Bedford services.Here is an evening service from Bedford going to Bletchley with 31468 leading and 31452 on the rear.Seen at a location called Kempston.At this time the line was all bullhead rail and semaphore signals.
..01 june 1999..
Fragonset-Pair 31468/31452 had a short period working passenger shuttles on the 'Marston-Vale' line between Bedford and Bletchley as a replacement of unavailable DMU's.Here is a evening departure from Bedford (17:45 off approx) heading for Bletchley passing Kempston.Shot captured off the very very busy A431 main road.Today in early 2014 both engines remain in existence.31468 lies stored on the Weardale Rly whilst 31452 is still active in use with BAR reliveried in Dark-Green.
..1 june 1999..
Unusual working this.For about 6 weeks in early 1999 training runs for vacuam brake type trains (By then these were a severe minority) were undertaken from OOC to OOC via the B&H,the Melksham line and back via Swindon.Usual traction was a '31' such as here but an occasional '37' put in an appearance.Here is 31203 (Now preserved) in 'Dutch' with its rake of old 'Vac' wagons passing the B&H Canal near Crofton.
..18 march 1999..
Dutch 31203 hauls '5Z31' from OOC in London to OOC in a big loop via the B&H,the Melksham line and Didcot.This was a vacuum braked refresher trainer which ran for a few weeks in early 1999.By now this type of braking was getting quite rare and training runs were deemed necessary to keep train staff familier with the operation. The train consisted of about 20 old 16T mineral wagons and is seen passing the restored Locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Little Bedwyn.
..17 march 1999..
Running as'5Z31' the vacuam brake trainer from OOC to OOC via Westbury Chord and Swindon seen at Ladydown nr Trowbridge.Distinctive Dutch 31203 with its off-centre headlight slows for the downgrade curve here prior to taking the Melksham line to head back east towards London.
..19 march 1999..
An unexpected working along the North-Wales Coast line on this summers day was 'Dutch' 31466 with four Ferryvans that were believed to have conveyed bagged fertilizer into a rarely used goods-yard at Llandudno-Junction.The returning empties seen here passing Abergele & Pensarn against a backdrop of people enjoying a warn day at the seaside there.Of note is the fact that this loco eventually became the only Class-31 to officially receive EWS-Red livery in active service.It is now preserved and still carries that livery to this day.
..29 july 1997..
A ballast working going to Penmaenmawr Quarry Sidings for a refill from I believe, Guide Bridge passes Abergele&Pensarn on the North-Wales-Coast Line.Dutch 31255 paired with 31434 heads a train of partially loaded Seacows going west.A young Jerry Steele looks on!
..03 september 1996..
D5525 entered service at March in April 1959. Renumbered 31107 in February 1974 it was named 'John H. Carless VC' at Bescot Open Day on 30th August 1992.(As seen here) Placed in store at Bescot in July 1995, the nameplates were removed. It was sold to Johnston Engineering in September 1999 to work under the Fragonset banner from Tyseley. Transferred to Barrow Hill in January 2000 and used in a staged level crossing accident in 2006 for an advert. It was finally scrapped in May 2009 at Ron Hull's yard in Rotherham. To see this Engines final act in the 'Top Gear' Level Crossing staged Smash click HERE ..30 august 1992..
31155 was the duty 'Trip' engine parked up awaiting its next duty on the Monday here at Bescot.It was in the sidings away from the main exhibition at the Open day there in August 1992.It survived doing such work in this area off Bescot until July 1995 in the LBDB Pool.It was eventually scrapped at Thompsons in Stockton in Sept 2004.
..30 august 1992..
One of the last of the original batch of 31'0's 31019 is seen standing in the Works Yard at Swindon.Complete with original disc-markers,the as-built cab roofline and fairings around the buffers as well.This 'toffee apple' as they were known was just 6 or 7 weeks away from the cutters torch.Withdrawn due to the severe downturn in freight traffic in the early 80's and being percieved as life expired.Amazingly some of its later classmates still survive in traffic 33 years later!