- Picture (1) D1051 'Western Ambassador' in the Wootton Bassett stone terminal sidings on 19th March 1976. The loco was withdrawn on 2nd September that year after an underside ballast strike at Cogload Junction while heading the previous day’s 1B15 08.30 Paddington – Plymouth wrecked wiring and AWS equipment – unfortunate as D1051 had not long emerged from an ‘F’ Exam and had been expected to last until the end.
- Picture (2) D1022 'Western Sentinel' approaches Wootton Bassett Junction on 16th January 1977 with 1B33 14.30 Paddington – Penzance (evidently via Bristol). By this time she was one of the last seven Westerns in service but upon its return to London (on the 17th/18th overnight 6A21 St Erth – Acton milk service) D1022 ran over some debris at Old Oak Common dropped by 31420 which had just suffered a collision incident and this damaged the Western’s brake gear, resulting in its withdrawal. Therefore my photo captures D1022’s last-ever outward run from the capital.
- Picture (3) Deltic 55003 'Meld' presents an extraordinary sight at Wootton Bassett Junction at the head of the Paddington - Cardiff ‘Deltic Debut’ special on 12th October 1975. The Class 55 had been borrowed from the ER for high-speed dipped rail joint tests ahead of the HST introduction the following year and the ever-inventive WR railtour office decided to take it for a spin to South Wales and back!
- Picture (4) Deltic 55003 'Meld' approaches Wootton Bassett Junction on the returning ‘Deltic Debut’ tour of 12th October 1975. Since the WR was still using operational headcodes at the time this was surely the first time a ‘Domino’ panel was seen on the Region.
of 7th September 1988
Picture (2) Taken at speed entering the Severn Tunnel on 13/08/86, thankfully 43015 is still working with ScotRail and it is still possible to travel to Cardiff Central on a HST. It would be easier to take a picture nowadays with a mobile phone rather than a SLR camera which I always felt awkward with on duty. Maybe at the time passengers would be listening to 'Chris de Burgh - The Lady in Red' recorded on cassette tape on their Sony Walkman, the number one in music chart at the time!
Picture (3) Bristol Parkway on 13th August 1986, on not so much of a summers day where 50047 'Swiftsure' is seen arriving, although Bristol Parkway is an unattractive modern station an extra two platforms have since been added and the scene changed with overhead wires. The class 50 was an early casualty being withdrawn just a few years later and scrapped at Vic Berry's in 1989
We are not sure how this branch is operated these days. Andrew Crawley advises us that Hi
The disused sidings beyond the scrap yard are for BMW and are where the Longbridge train used to load up. The train could go right in, run round and then pull the train through a wagon at a time past EMR for loading but I'm not sure of track condition at the far end so don't know if it is used for that anymore as I've never seen it going in, but I wouldn't be surprised if it probably propels it in and then just draws forward a wagon at a time, staying with the train all day.
Someone else may know more.
Cheers Andrew Crawley