Steam Special

photos  by

Tony Bartlett

Pease click Sightings (above) for  reports

This page last
updated 24.04.2024

Upcoming Trains

Next advised steam train(s) through Hungerford, but do check before you go.………….

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

See the Reports in SIGHTINGS

Saturday 27th April 2024 **Reminder** – Black Five no. 44871 on the Bath & Gloucester Steam Express (Railway Touring Company)

Saturday sees the first steam on the Berks & Hants line this year. Originally due to feature two separate operations, the A4 run to the Forest of Dean for Steam Dreams has regrettably fallen by the wayside, but RTC are in business with their Bath & Gloucester excursion. Haulage is a relatively modest LMS Class 5 4-6-0 but the advantage for the observer of the smaller locos is that they generally have to work harder with more visible/audible signs of the effort involved. This Black Five is dual-braked which is necessary as heritage mainline rolling stock needs to be air-braked to operate the obligatory central locking. Today’s steam operator West Coast Railways is currently unable to run its regular and very popular ‘Harry Potter’ specials in Scotland for the lack of suitable carriages but they appear to have access to acceptable stock for this occasional RTC excursion.

The plans are already available on Realtime Trains with links and current timings as follows:

Outbound – see 1Z27 0701 London Paddington to Gloucester passing Hungerford at about 09:55

Return – see 1Z28 1557 Gloucester to London Paddington at Hungerford about 19:02

As usual check the RTT links on the day for actual progress.

Saturday 10th February 2024 ***ALERT***
– The Bath & Gloucester Steam Express with LMS ‘Black Five’ haulage

**Postponed to Saturday 27th April 2024**

The steam programmes of the different operators are beginning to appear on my Railway Herald reference source. I shall be doing a new local extract at the end of January ready for the next edition of CHAIN Mail but you may wish to have earlier notice of this steam train from Railway Touring Company starting at Paddington before stopping to pick up at Reading and Newbury on the way to the alternative destinations. It is thought that the train will be steam-hauled throughout by a Class 5 LMS 4-6-0 loco but you may wish to check on the RTC web-site for any more information.

In the usual way the timings for the train should appear nearer the date on Realtime Trains here – please check before setting out to see the train.

Tuesday 26th March 2024 *** ALERT *** –
The Golden Arrow schedule during March

Saphos Trains are again running their early season train to Kent (trading on the old name of premium expresses to the channel ports). This year there are three versions running through our area. They each follow a similar pattern starting with diesel haulage up to Reading and then handing over to steam in West London for the circular trip round Kent. Their diesel haulage usually involves some interesting heritage express locos and they currently expect to use either the Braunton or Britannia pacifics for the steam sections.

Of particular local interest is the run on 26th March starting from Bristol which stops to pick up at Hungerford as well as Newbury. The similar service last year was well supported by passengers from West Berks who had a memorable trip in spite of the poor weather on the day. Bookings to travel can be made with Saphos Trains who have already posted flyers to people in the area.

The other two runs are Wed 13th March starting from Kidderminster and travelling via Swindon and Didcot, and Saturday 30th March  from Poole via Basingstoke to Reading. Just as a reminder all of these are diesel-hauled in the first instance.


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: