9th May 1964

Ian Allan
Great Western High Speed Railtour

Locos Used 4079 'Pendennis Castle', 5054 'Earl of Ducie', 6999 'Capel Dewi Hall', 7025 'Sudeley Castle' & 7029 'Clun Castle'

Route :

Loco Route

London Paddington - (via GWML, B&H) - Westbury (1)

6999 Westbury - (via Frome avoiding line) - Taunton
7025 Taunton - Exeter St Davids - Newton Abbot - Plymouth North Road
7029 Plymouth North Road - Exeter St Davids - Durston - Highbridge - Yatton - Bristol Temple Meads
5054 Bristol Temple Meads - Badminton - London Paddington

Notes :
(1) 4079 failed at Westbury.
(2) Terry Jackson comments : The story of this superb tour has been written many times, telling of brilliant high speed running and the bitter disappointment of some of those involved after the failure of 4079 near Westbury. Despite this, the achievements of all of the railwaymen involved will be remembered for ever by those fortunate enough to have travelled on this train and they will have a permanent place in the history of steam. If by some mischance you haven't read or heard about what happened, I can only recommend that you read Railway World and other magazines of the time as soon as possible.
(3) David Whittaker comments: The Western Region went to a huge amount of trouble to make this tour the success it was. It was to be the swansong of  G W steam. Nothing was left to chance. The remaining Castle class locos were carefully put through their paces and the best chosen prior to  the trip. Stand by Castles were stationed at all key points  and specially selected best Welsh coal was provided for the tour locos, which were thoroughly prepared with boilers washed out and tender water tanks cleaned. Two firemen were employed on each loco. Sadly, this choice of high quality, very hot burning coal - and the high rate of firing - may, it is thought, have contributed to 4079's failure, as the firebars failed, leading to its substitution at Westbury by 6999.

Sources : Terry Jackson & David Whittaker

Photo Review

4079 waiting to leave Paddington (photo: The John Debens Collection)

4079 handing over to 6999 at Westbury (photo: The John Debens Collection)

7029 at Plymouth North Road (photo: The John Debens Collection)

5054 at Bristol Temple Meads (photo: The John Debens Collection)

From The John Debens Ticket Collection.

Timings (Booked Only)
(from Terry Jackson)

Location Booked
Paddington 09.30d
Westbourne Park 09/34
Southall 09/42
Slough 09/50
Maidenhead 09/55
Twyford 10/00
Reading 10/05
Newbury 10/23
Bedwyn 10/36
Severnake 10/40
Heywood Road Jn 10/59
Clink Road Jn 11/04
Blatchbridge Jn 11/05
Castle Cary 11/16
Taunton 11/38
Cowley Bridge Jn 12/04
Exeter St Davids 12/06
Newton Abbot 12/28
Totnes 12/43
Rattery 12/52
Brent 12/55
Hemerdon 13/06
Lipson Jn 13/12
Plymouth North Road 13.15a ~ 16.20d
Lipson Jn 16/23
Hemerdon 16/34
Brent 16/46
Rattery 16/48
Totnes 16/54
Newton Abbot 17/08
Exeter St Davids 17/31
Cowley Bridge Jn 17/33
Taunton 18/00
Bridgwater 18/12
Highbridge 18/17
Uphill Jn 18/23
Worle Jn 18/26
Bristol Temple Meads 18.43a ~ 18.53d
Filton Jn 19/02
Badminton 19/15
Wootton Bassett Jn 19/28
Swindon 19/33
Steventon 19/47
Didcot 19/50
Reading 20/02
Twyford 20/06
Maidenhead 20/11
Slough 20/15
Southall 20/22
Westbourne Park 20/28
Paddington 20.33a

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