60163 at High Wycombe (Mike Walker) Steam Specials on the GW&GC Joint Line

Steam hauled railtours have been a feature of the GW&GC Joint Line for many years, with a peak in the mid to late 1980s, when regular Sunday Lunch trains ran between Marylebone and Stratford Upon Avon using a wide range of preserved steam locomotives. Due to the modernisation of the Chiltern Lines, which included the removal of the turntable at Marylebone, regular steam workings over the Joint Line ceased in 1991. However steam specials have been seen from time to time, usually originating from stations such as Paddington, Victoria and Kensington Olympia. We present here photographs of most of the steam locomotives that have run on the Joint Line in preservation. If anyone has a photograph of a locomotive not featured here which has also operated on the line, please let us know. Copyright remains with the photographers.

For photos of other steam specials in the local area please see our Metropolitan & Great Central Joint Line and Maidenhead-Wycombe and Marlow branch pages.

6000 near High Wycombe (Dave Theobald)

"King George V" near High Wycombe, 4 October 1971

On 4th October 1971 Great Western Railway 4-6-0 No. 6000 “King George V” hauls the “Return to Steam Special” en-route from Birmingham to Kensington Olympia, a few weeks after she broke British Rail’s steam ban imposed since August 1968. Of note is the bell carried by the locomotive which was a souvenir of her visit to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad centenary celebrations in 1927.

Photo by Dave Theobald
6000 pauses at High Wycombe (Dave Theobald)

"King George V" pauses at High Wycombe, 4 October 1971

6000 pauses at High Wycombe for water. The loco was at home at Wycombe, since Kings regularly hauled GWR and later BR Western Region expresses between Paddington, Birmingham and Wolverhampton. The photographers standing on the running lines is a reminder of the less stringent Health & Safety Regulations of the time

Photo by Dave Theobald
46229 passing Whitehouse Farm Tunnel 30 June 1985 (Mike Walker)

"Duchess of Hamilton" approaching Whitehouse Farm Tunnel, 30 June 1985

London, Midland & Scottish Railway 4-6-2 Princess Coronation “Duchess” No. 46229 “Duchess of Hamilton” approaches Whitehouse Farm Tunnel with the "Shakespeare Limited" en-route to Marylebone 30 June 1985. Having been initially displayed at a Butlin’s Holiday Camp after withdrawal, she’s now part of the National Collection and has been restored to her pre-war streamlined appearance. Although the class was not regularly seen on the line in steam days, No. 42637 "City of Bristol" made an appearance during April 1955 while on trials with the WR.

Photo by Mike Walker
34092 Passing Gerrards Cross (Gordon Rippington)

"City of Wells" passing Gerrards Cross, 16 November 1985

Southern Railway 4-6-2 West Country No. 34092 “City of Wells,” based at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, steams through Gerrards Cross with a Stratford working 16 November 1985. Although this locomotive has no historic connections to the line, her sister No. 34006 “Bude” ran over the Great Central during the 1948 Locomotive Exchanges. The location has also seen considerable changes with the centre through roads being removed and the controversial attempt to build a supermarket across the line.

Photo by Gordon Rippington
4498 passing High Wycombe (Mike Walker)

"Sir Nigel Gresley" passing High Wycombe, 7 December 1985

London & North Eastern Railway 4-6-2 A4 No. 4498 “Sir Nigel Gresley” passes High Wycombe on 7 December 1985. This was the first steam locomotive to work into London in the preservation era, arriving at Marylebone, the station where she was named in 1937, on 12 January 1985. A4s were occasionally seen over route in steam days, the Great Central Railway being absorbed by the LNER in 1923. Also of note are the GWR style Semaphore Signals which where removed during the route modernisation of the early 1990s.

Photo by Mike Walker
4472 on  Marylebone Turntable (Gordon Rippington)

"Flying Scotsman" on Marylebone Turntable, 12 January 1986

The main reason for Marylebone being used as the starting point for steam specials originating from the capital was due to the presence of a turntable at the terminus. Here the famous LNER 4-6-2 A3 No. 4472 “Flying Scotsman” poses on the table on 12 January 1986. A3s appeared on the Joint Line in the 1940s and 50s working expresses such as the “Master Cutler,” with “Flying Scotsman” (then renumbered 60103) appearing 1950-53, whilst based at Leicester shed.

Photo by Gordon Rippington
75069 passing High Wycombe (Mike Walker)

Standard 4 passing High Wycombe, 12 April 1986

BR 4-6-0 Standard Class 4 No. 75069 from the Severn Valley Railway passes High Wycombe with the "Shakespeare Limited" on 12 April 1986

Photo by Mike Walker
777 approaches Gerrards Cross (Gordon Rippington)

"Sir Lamiel" approaching Gerrards Cross, 6 July 1986

SR 4-6-0 King Arthur Class No. 777 “Sir Lamiel” approaches Gerrards Cross with a “Shakespeare Limited” on 6th July 1986. Of note is that the locomotive is running minus her smoke deflectors, reminiscent of the King Arthurs in their early years.

Photo by Gordon Rippington
4468 & 4472 at Marylebone (Alan Costello)

"Mallard" and "Flying Scotsman" at Marylebone, 12 October 1986

On many occasions two "Shakespeare Limited" Luncheon trains were operated on the same day. However the 12 October 1986 saw the unusual sight of three Gresley Pacifics in steam together at Marylebone. 4468 "Mallard" (the world steam speed record holder) is seen alongside 4472 which was in light steam to act as standby loco. The other train was hauled by 4468's sister 4498.

Photo by Alan Costello
777 enters High Wycombe (Mike Walker)

"Sir Lamiel" enters High Wycombe, 12 January 1986

As well as the Stratford workings several other railtours worked to and from Marylebone over the joint line, including Santa Steam Specials from Marylebone to High Wycombe during 1986 and 1987. 777 (running this time with smoke deflectors) enters High Wycombe with one of these trains on 14 December 1986.

Photo by Mike Walker
35028 at High Wycombe (Mike Walker)

"Clan Line" at High Wycombe, 12 January 1986

SR 4-6-2 Merchant Navy No. 35028 “Clan Line” (as rebuilt by BR) departs High Wycombe for Marylebone on the same day as above.

Photo by Mike Walker
4771 passes Bradenham (Gordon Rippington)

"Green Arrow" passes Bradenham, 26 June 1987

LNER V2 2-6-2 No. 4771 “Green Arrow” passes Bradenham with a “Shakespeare Limited” on 26th June 1987. V2s were regular motive power on the joint line, hauling both passenger and goods traffic.

Photo by Gordon Rippington
5305 passes Beaconsfield (Gordon Rippington)

“Alderman E. Draper” passes Beaconsfield, 13 December 1987

LMS 4-6-0 Black 5 No. 5305 “Alderman E. Draper” passes Beaconsfield en-route for Marylebone with a “Santa Steam Special” on 13th December 1987 piloting an ETHEL unit (formerly a Class 25 diesel). The Black 5s were regularly seen on the joint line after the transfer of the GC from the Eastern to the London Midland Region of BR in 1958.

Photo by Gordon Rippington
7029 passes High Wycombe (Mike Walker)

“Clun Castle” passes High Wycombe, 30 April 1988

GWR 4-6-0 No. 7029 “Clun Castle” passes High Wycombe on 30th April 1988 on a railtour to Birmingham under traditional GWR semaphore signals. Castles regularly appeared on the Joint Line on Western expresses.

Photo by Mike Walker
4468 passes Seer Green (Gordon Rippington)

“Mallard” passes Seer Green, 9 May 1988

4468 was seen on the line on many occasions during her brief return to steam. Here she passes Seer Green with the Travelling Post Office 150th anniversary special on 9th May 1988. The previous day, line flooding had meant the train’s inbound trip to Marylebone was diverted via Aylesbury and the Metropolitan & Great Central Joint Line, running over London Transport metals between Amersham and Harrow-on-the-Hill. Unlike her preserved sisters, 4468 has been restored to her original appearance, with full streamline valancing.

Photo by Gordon Rippington
34027 passes Saunderton (Tim Edmonds)

“Taw Valley” passes Saunderton, 2 December 1989

SR Rebuilt West Country 4-6-2 No. 34027 “Taw Valley” steams through Saunderton on 2nd December 1989.

Photo by Tim Edmonds
3442 passes Bradenham (Mike Walker)

“The Great Marquess” passes Bradenham, 17 February 1990

A rare visitor to the line was LNER K2 No. 3442 “The Great Marquess,” based at the Severn Valley built for use on West Highland Line, where she has been seen many times since preservation. Here she is passing Bradenham on 17th February 1990 while substituting for an A4.

Photo by Mike Walker
71000 passes Bradenham (Mike Walker)

“Duke of Gloucester” passes Bradenham, 12 April 1992

The Unique BR Express Passenger Class 8 4-6-2 No. 71000 “Duke of Gloucester,” the only express passenger locomotive to be built to a BR design, passes Bradenham on 12th April 1992.

Photo by Mike Walker
5029 passes Bradenham (Mike Walker)

“Nunney Castle” Steams Over Bradenham, 12 April 1992

Another preserved GWR Castle No. 5029 “Nunney Castle” steams over Bradenham Bank on 19th April 1992. An interesting fact is this is the location where two titled trains, the up “Inter-City” from Wolverhampton to Paddington and the down “Master Cutler” from Marylebone to Sheffield, were timetabled to pass.

Photo by Mike Walker
3440 approaches Whitehouse Tunnel (Mike Walker)

“City of Truro" approaches Whitehouse Tunnel, 3 May 1992

Another rare visitor to the line was the famous GWR 4-4-0 No. 3440 “City Of Truro,” reputedly the first locomotive to exceed 100 mph, which is seen at approaching Whitehouse Tunnel on 3rd May 1992.

Photo by Mike Walker
70000 at Princes Risborough (Mike Walker)

“Britannia" at Princes Risborough, 3 May 1992

BR Class 7 4-6-2 No. 70000 “Britannia” passes Princes Risborough on 20 December 1992. This locomotive, the first of the BR Standards to be built, was named at Marylebone in 1950.

Photo by Mike Walker
60800 passes Seer Green (Gordon Rippington)

“Green Arrow” passes Seer Green, 9 May 1999

“Green Arrow” (at this time wearing BR Brunswick Green livery, rather than LNER Apple Green, and numbered 60800) passes Seer Green on the Marylebone Centenary Special 15th March 1999.

Photo by Gordon Rippington
34016 pauses at Princes Risborough (Gordon Rippington)

“Bodmin” pauses at Princes Risborough, 8 September 2001

Rebuilt West Country 4-6-2 No. 34016 “Bodmin,” based at the Mid Hants Railway, pauses at Princes Risborough with the Green Train charter “The Classical Connection” on 8th September 2001.

Photo by Gordon Rippington
73096 passes Beaconsfield (Gordon Rippington)

Standard 5 passes Beaconsfield, 24 July 2003

BR 4-6-0 Standard 5 No. 73096 (another Mid Hants based locomotive) passes Beaconsfield with a Cathedrals Express excursion for Stratford (originating from Victoria) on 24th July 2003. Of note is the fact that the loco has a charred smokebox.

Photo by Gordon Rippington
5690 passes Beaconsfield (Gordon Rippington)

"Leander" passes Beaconsfield, 1 April 2006

LMS 4-6-0 Jubilee No. 5690 “Leander” passes Beaconsfield en-route for High Wycombe with the Joint Line Centenary Special on 1 April 2006. Jubilees appeared on Joint Line in the last days of steam hauling semi fasts to Nottingham and Sheffield.

Photo by Gordon Rippington
48151 passes South Ruislip (Brian Hopkinson)

8F passes South Ruislip, 1 April 2006

LMS 2-8-0 8F No. 48151 is seen on the same day passing South Ruislip en-route for Marylebone. As with Black Fives and Jubilees, 8Fs appeared on goods trains passing over the Joint Line once the GC main line passed to the LMR.

Photo by Brian Hopkinson
4965 passes Tylers Green (Mike Walker)

“Rood Ashton Hall" passes Tylers Green, 5 May 2007

GWR 4-6-0 No. 4965 “Rood Ashton Hall” on Vintage Trains charter to Marylebone passes Tylers Green 5th May 2007. As with the V2s and Black 5s, the Halls were often seen on the Joint Line on all types of trains, though GW and BR (WR) services.

Photo by Mike Walker
6024 leaving High Wycombe (Tim Edmonds)

"King Edward I" leaving High Wycombe, 9 June 2007

GWR 4-6-0 No. 6024 “King Edward I” climbs away from High Wycombe hauling the "Cambrian Coast Express" en-route from Shrewsbury to Paddington 9 June 2007 on the first occasion the water carrier was used. This charter recreated a regular GW named train often hauled by Kings which passed over the Joint Line.

Photo by Tim Edmonds

6233 at Beaconsfield (Mike Walker)

“Duchess of Sutherland" at Beaconsfield, 19 July 2008

The other LMS Duchess 4-6-2, which has been restored to working order after static display at a Butlin’s Holiday Camp and then Bressingham Steam Museum in Norfolk, No. 6233 “Duchess of Sutherland” is seen passing Beaconsfield en route for Paddington with a Cathedrals Express railtour on 19 July 2008

Photo by Mike Walker
60007 at Beaconsfield (Peter Hicks)

“Sir Nigel Gresley" pauses for water at Beaconsfield, 6 June 2009

A last miniute decision to run a Cathedrals Express railtour steam hauled all the way from Chester to Paddington (rather than diesel south of Banbury) brought "Sir Nigel Gresley" back to the joint line on 6 June 2009 for the first time since the 1980s (though she has been renumbered 60007 and painted in BR Express Passenger Blue). She is seen taking on water at Beaconsfield.

Photo by Peter Hicks
5043 approaching White House Farm Tunnel (Mike Walker)

Earl of Mount Edgcumbe leaving White House Farm Tunnel, 1 August 2009

Recently restored Castle No. 5043 "Earl of Mount Edgcumbe" has just left White House Farm Tunnel, heading towards High Wycombe, with the "Beckoning Bard" from Marylebone to Stratford on 1 August 2009. Unusually, this charter was organised by Chiltern Railways rather than a tour company.

Photo by Mike Walker
9600 approaching Haddenham (Tim Edmonds)

9600 approaching Haddenham, 3 July 2010

Another steam charter promoted by Chiltern Railways was the "Chiltern Centurion" which ran from Banbury to Princes Risborough and thence onto the preserved Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, which had been especially linked up to Network Rail for the charter. The locomotive was GWR 0-6-0 Pannier Tank No. 9600, the smallest steam locomotive premitted to run on Network Rail, seen near Haddenham with the return working. Panniers were regular engines on the joint line in steam days, handling shunting duties and light passenger and freight traffic.

Photo by Tim Edmonds
6201 passing High Wycombe (Mike Walker)

Princess Elizabeth passing High Wycombe, 15 April 2011

As well as steam hauled charters, from time to time locomotive positioning runs bring steam locos to the line. LMS Princess Royal 4-6-2 No. 6201 "Princess Elizabeth" runs through High Wycombe with her support coach on 15 April 2011 en-route from Tyseley to Southall in readiness to work a charter from Euston to Chester the following day. Princess Royals made a brief appearance on the Joint Line in 1956 on Paddington-Wolverhampton expresses while the Kings were temporary withdrawn for modifications.

Photo by Mike Walker
45407 and 44871 near Princes Risborough (Peter Robbins)

Black 5s 45407 and 44871 near Princes Risborough, 19 May 2011

Black 5s 45407 and 44871 and support coaches passed over the line during a locomotive positioning run from Southall to the Severn Valley Railway on 14 May 2011 and are seen near Princes Risborough. The previous day, the pair worked the final leg of the 7 day "Cathedrals Explorer" tour from Carmarthen to Victoria.

Photo by Peter Robins
60163 crossing Hughenden Road Viaduct (Tim Edmonds)

Tornado crossing Hughenden Road Viaduct, 30 December 2011

The recently constructed A1 Pacific 60163 "Tornado" made her debut run over the joint line on 30 December 2011 while standing in for a King which is now barred from the route owing to platform alterations. Hauling a charter from Paddington to Stratford, she is seen crossing Hughenden Road Viaduct just north of High Wycombe.

Photo by Tim Edmonds