Steam Special

photos  by

Tony Bartlett

Upcoming Trains

updated 03.10 .2019

Next advised steam train(s) to stop in Hungerford, but do check before you go.………….
……see also …Steam Tours Nov 2019 to March 2020′ timetable click here

Do please visit Photo Gallery for 2018 and previous years
This is the first of two pages for your enjoyment. Do scroll down there maybe more than one!

Saturday 5th October 2019 ***ALERT*** –
LNER 4-6-0 no. 61306 Mayflower on a Steam Dreams excursion from East Grinstead to Bath

I’ve looked into this and the routing is now available for this excursion, and …. good news! It is coming through Hungerford on its outbound journey – see Outbound for details which suggest a time of approx 12:35 at Hungerford. The return trip is via the GWR mainline under the wires across the Vale of White Horse – see Return which suggest that it sill stop at 18:13 for water at Milton Jcn. It will be getting dark shortly after this, if not already so on a gloomy day. My latest reference site says that Mayflower has been scheduled for the trip – a colourful smaller loco which is always worth stepping out for, and we should now be getting back to the time of the year when steam exhaust starts to become visible again!

Saturday 17th August 2019 **Reminder** –
LMS Duchess Pacific no. (4)6233 on a West Somerset Steam Express picking up at Newbury

The second run of the WSSE is due to be a repeat of the previous edition, probably down to the Duchess coming through Hungerford in pouring rain if the current forecast is to be believed – with the same timing of about 10:25 at Hungerford after a stop to pick up at Newbury. No doubt RTC will be hoping not to have to repeat sending out a diesel from Southall to bring the train back after the steamer allegedly caused some fires at the trackside beyond Westbury on the outbound journey. There have been considerable amounts of rain since then, so hopefully the steam ban has been lifted. Outbound timings from RTT here

Saturday 27th July 2019 **Reminder** – LMS Duchess
Pacific no. (4)6233 on a West Somerset Steam Express picking up at Newbury

At last our first steam-hauled special for the year is on the horizon – the Railway Touring Company are expecting to run two of their specials to Minehead on the preserved WSR. The first one is due to be hauled by the big LMS Pacifics Duchess of Sutherland which I reported on travelling across the Vale of White Horse earlier in the year:

It should make a grand sight in the green and pleasant surroundings of West Berks and Wiltshire. In the current absence of updates from UK Steam Info the provisional timings are already posted on Realtime Trains – here for outbound with departure from Newbury at 10:16, and here for the return journey with arrival back at Newbury at 21:10 – may be some twilight photography opportunities! The second run is scheduled for Saturday 17th August.

Saturday 15th June 2019 **Reminder** –
LNER Pacific no. 60103 Flying Scotsman on a Cotswold Venturer excursion

Still no steam to report yet for our local Berks & Hants line, but this may be worth travelling a distance for. The Railway Touring Company is promoting this outing for Flying Scotsman working out from Paddington direct to Oxford and the north Cotswold line to Worcester. In usual fashion the return completes the circuit, getting back to Didcot for the run back in to Paddington via the Golden Valley route over Sapperton to Swindon. Times are not available yet and may only be published at the last minute because of trespass problems on recent trips. These links will enable identification of the timings by retrieving STP (short term plan) items for Oxford outbound and Challow return on that day. When the entries appear, the timings are revealed by clicking the link for the relevant entry in the ID column of the display.

Of particular interest on that day are celebrations for the 175th anniversary of the (then) branch line from Didcot to Oxford. More details from:

Tuesday 19th March 2019 ***ALERT*** – 
Flying Scotsman in transit to the Swanage Railway

The famous (almost renowned) LNER Pacific is due to operate a short season of special trains on the preserved Swanage Railway shortly. The loco is currently at the WCR steam depot at Southall and will be making its way down to Swanage tomorrow with some additional coaching stock for the crowds who are expected to flock to the railway to travel behind FS. There is an entry on Realtime Trains here which indicates that it will be travelling out to Reading and then taking the Basingstoke branch down to the Southampton line. Although not operating for paying customers (I believe) it will to all intents and purposes look like a bona fide steam special.

Although its route only takes it along the boundary of ‘our area’, you may wish to watch out for the train if you happen to be in the area, especially if you have to travel by train up to Paddington anyway. The usual caveat applies that these transfers are not restricted to observing a passenger timetable and thus may travel well before or after the planned times, depending on operational needs. Open Train Times (Maps tab) can help to identify where it is on the day.


The Help for Heroes bridge restoration project at Bridge 99 on the Kennet & Avon canal has been completed and the viewing platform over the canal is now available for public use. The area has been used unofficially for many years by railway photographers because of the grandstand view it provides of the railway as it climbs up the valley through Crofton to Savernake Summit. The final touches include a flight of steps providing safe access up the steep bank to the viewing area and an interpretation panel describing the history of the bridge. I was pleased to contribute a photograph of a passing steam train to illustrate this facet of the site.

I was present at the site this morning and the cement was not yet dry on the installation of the panel when the first steam train passed by! And by coincidence it was the same British Pullman train as featured on the panel, albeit with Tornado in charge rather than Clan Line. So I took the opportunity to capture the moment – same train, same photographer, same camera and lens three years later:

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