Excursions by British Rail

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Tallpaul70
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Excursions by British Rail

#1

Post by Tallpaul70 » Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm

Hi All,

I am looking for information about excursions run by BR between 1955 and 1965 from Bedford to destinations including Kew(for Kew Gardens) and Windsor for a trip on the Thames.

I remember going on such excursions from Luton with my parents but the details I have are sketchy.

I would like to replicate such excursions on my WR mainline layout but lack details of Locos (black 5s maybe?) or timings and for the Windsor trip exact itineries. For instance I remember a Windsor trip and passing Runnymede on the Thames boat trip, but was this a round trip or did we leave the river elsewhere and rejoin our train that had travelled from Windsor while we were on the river?

I guess similar excursions were run from other locations so details of such trips would be of interest.

Many thanks
Regards
Paul

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Steve M
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Re: Excursions by British Rail

#2

Post by Steve M » Mon May 27, 2019 4:33 pm

Not sure of the route at the Bedford end of the trip but at Windsor you had a choice of two stations.

The old GWR station is a single stop branch terminus from Slough on the main Paddington/Bristol line and ran at the back of my Gran’s house. This station is slightly closer to the castle and town centre and only a short walk to the river.

The other Southern station (Windsor & Eton Riverside) is below the castle and, as the name suggests, is right by the river. I used to commute from this station to Waterloo via Staines.

Either will get you where you want to go.
Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before. ;)

Tony House
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Re: Excursions by British Rail

#3

Post by Tony House » Tue May 28, 2019 10:22 pm

Hi

between 55 and 64 Windsor was a 4 Large platform plus a couple of smaller platforms station with a duel track all the way to Slough where there was an engine shed, coal supplies etc and a turning triangle. this is where large locos would run around their train reverse out of Windsor back to Slough turn and reverse back to Windsor for their train so they can come out forwards

It was still the principle way the royal coffin was carried to Windsor for burial in Frogmore gardens.

The bridge at Windsor has a weight restriction on it so the largest loco allowed would be a Castle Class so anything of that size would be ok.

In regards to excursion traffic itinerary I found a little in the history of the Windsor Branch Line, sort of consisted of tour around the castle and state apartments then a cruise to either Maidenhead or Staines from Windsor and reboard the train and home

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LC&DR
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Re: Excursions by British Rail

#4

Post by LC&DR » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:14 am

Through excursions from one region to another would normally use locomotives that the drivers of the regions concerned were familiar with such as the Stanier Black 5, or Fowler, Stanier, or Fairburn 2-6-4T or BR Standards such as the 75xxx 4-6-0, 76xxx 2-6-0 and 80xxx 2-6-4T, short distance excursions might use tank engines, longer distance would use a tender engine. There were also size and weight restrictions especially with former Great Western type which were larger over the cylinders than other region's types and tended to bash station platforms. From Bedford to Kew or Windsor a 2-6-4T would be a good choice. If they were short of locomotives however, especially at weekends, goods engines might be commandeered for excursions. A 4F 0-6-0 might very well turn up .

Stanier Black 5s and Thompson B1s used to work on to the Southern Region with excursions and troop specials on a regular basis. These tended to be 'go anywhere' machines.

Sometimes, especially where the journey was a long one. the locomotive would be changed for one of the region's own at a convenient interchange station. Kensington Olympia was a regular locomotive change point for trains passing north to south or vice versa. Kew was a location where many inter regional trains passed through, and where locomotives might be changed.

Football was another good reason for inter-regional through trains, which brought unusual locomotives on to other regions.

The RCTS journal "Railway Observer" was a good source of information about unusual workings. An example 10th December 1955 a Swindon v Peterborough match brought five trains to Oxford behind Stanier 5s 45191, 45391, 44831, 45493 and 45014, where the LM locos were taken off and GW Hall class 6924, 6944, 6950, 6872 and 6926 took the trains forward to Swindon.

On 9th June 1956 Stanier Black 5s 44821 and 45430 worked on to the Eastern Region from Coventry to Chingford in connection with a Scout Rally at Gilwell Park. And on 13th June 1956 B16/1 4-6-0 61478 departed Ripon N. Yorks to Bournville near Birmingham with a trade visit to the Cadbury factory. It doesn't say if the loco worked throughout, however on the 7th June B1 61153 was noted at Bournville working a similar excursion. Also on 7th June 1956 a Women's Institute excursion from Peterborough to Gloucester was seen passing Birmingham New Street behind B1 61113.

These are just a few examples.
LC&DR says South for Sunshine

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LC&DR
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Re: Excursions by British Rail

#5

Post by LC&DR » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:36 am

Back in the 1950s and 1960s the local station used to display paper handbills of future excursions. Somewhere I have kept a few but I would guess others have too. Now mine are no use for excursions from the Midland, as my local station was Southern, but I wouldn't mind betting there will be some on sale on auction sites and possibly some in the archives of the NRM and even local Heritage Railways and museums. Worth a look I guess.
LC&DR says South for Sunshine

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