HDL Western Forester railtour

Saturday 15 September 2012

This article was last modified on Monday 22 October 2012

[PHOTO: Train in preserved station: 59kB]

Above: The Western Forester railtour shortly after arriving at the picturesque setting of Norchard Low Level station on the Dean Forest Railway. Photo by Colin Price.

Hastings Diesels Limited’s 55th public railtour was from Hastings to Gloucester and the Dean Forest Railway.

This outing called at our usual stations from Hastings to Bromley South, then Clapham Junction, and following the L&SWR route via Ascot to our final pick-up point at Reading station, where we joined the GWR main line. At Swindon we turned right to traverse the Golden Valley route to Stroud, Gloucester, and ultimately working onto Dean Forest Railway metals at Lydney Junction for the trip to their terminus at Parkend. Return was by the same route.

The trip ran almost precisely to time throughout, and was completely sold out.

Historical data

The train was formed thus: 60118-60501-69337-70262-60529-60116, with motor coach 60116 Mountfield leading on departure from Hastings.

The publicity leaflet, timings and map of the railtour route remain available.


Various photographers have taken video-footage depicting this railtour and have uploaded it to YouTube; the following are links to some starting-points but do not represent a definitive collection:


[PHOTO: Train in station: 48kB]

Above: The Western Forester railtour approaches a remodelled Reading station. Photo by Chris Adams.

[PHOTO: Train passing through countryside: 42kB]

Above & below: A fine study of our train, headed by Motor Coach 60116 Mountfield, passing through the Vale of the White Horse at Uffington. Photos by Robert Stewart.

[PHOTO: Detail of train in countryside: 53kB]

[PHOTO: Train passing through countryside: 45kB]

Above: A further shot of our train in the Vale of the White Horse, now receding from Robert Stewart’s vantage-point at Uffington on its way towards Swindon and the Golden Valley route.

[PHOTO: Train in station: 63kB]

Above: Kelvin Lumb captured this view of our train when it had just arrived at Lydney Junction, on the Dean Forest Railway.

[PHOTO: Train in preserved station: 53kB]

Above: A fine study of our train upon arrival onto Dean Forest Railway metals at Lydney Junction. Photo by Colin Price.

[PHOTO: Trains and signal-gantry: 52kB]

Above: 1001 departing Lydney Junction with the 1250 departure to Norchard Low Level. Our DEMU has just traversed the level crossing and is passing E6001. Photo by Phil Barnes.

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Above: Upon arrival at Norchard Low Level station, where our train had a layover for over half an hour before continuing to Parkend. Photo by Colin Price.

[PHOTO: Trains in preserved station: 72kB]

Above: 1001 is seen in Norchard Low Level station, where the camera of Phil Barnes captured it from the passing 1308 Lydney Junction to Parkend service.

[PHOTO: Train at preserved station: 51kB]

Above: Our train visited Norchard High Level platform during the day, as seen here through the lens of Simon Stoddart.

[PHOTO: Train arriving in green setting: 76kB]

Above: 1001 arrives at Parkend with the slightly-delayed 1445 shuttle from Norchard High Level. Photo by Phil Barnes.

[PHOTO: Train and footbridge: 81kB]

Above: A companion image to that above, taken by Colin Price.

[PHOTO: Train at preserved station: 52kB]

Above & below: Twice during the afternoon our train visited Parkend, the northern terminus of the Dean Forest Railway. The picturesque preserved station and setting are much apparent in these photographs by Andy Armitage.

[PHOTO: Train in preserved station: 60kB]

[PHOTO: Train on main line: 69kB]

Above: With the sun low in the west, 1001 races eastward towards Didcot; it has just passed over Steventon level crossing. Photo by Robert Stewart.

[PHOTO: Train on main line: 79kB]

Above: As the evening draws near, 1001 motors through Tilehurst before shutting off on the approach to Reading. Photo by Chris Adams.

See also Photographs by Jamie Squibbs.