Electrifying Reading & GWR Diversions

Over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of September, the main Great Western lines through Reading were closed to enable testing of the newly erected overhead power lines in readiness for the imminent rolling out of the new Class 800 IEPs, and the not-too-distant Crossrail Elizabeth Line services.

As a result of this, all the (high speed) inter-city services to/from the West country were diverted away from the area taking a scenic trip through the Chilterns.  The diversion saw services from Swindon divert off the main line just before Didcot before running north up to Oxford.  Here, following a brief stop to change crews and pilots, services then ran via the new Chiltern line through Oxford Parkway, Islip and Bicester Village, picking up the Chiltern mainline at Bicester.  Great Western services followed the Chiltern line down to South Ruislip at which point they used the Great Western's single track link, otherwise known as, the New North Main Line (NNML), all the way down to Paddington.  Trains out of London Paddington ran as far as West Ealing before taking the Greenford Branch up to Greenford South Junction before joining the NNML up to South Ruislip, to ease timetabling over the single track section.

My main interest during these diversions was GWR services running over the Chiltern link to Oxford.  Great Western have run services before over the Chiltern line during times of engineering works on the GWR main line, however this was the first time such diversions were taking place after the link through to Oxford had opened completely.  This meant the GWR services no longer had to reverse at Banbury and could shave a considerable amount of extra time off their services.  I have documented below a series of pictures from along the Oxford branch.

GWR 43150 and 43029 pass through Bicester Village station on route to London Paddington.
© Tommy Cooling

GWR 43017 and 43151 pass through Bicester Village station on a diverted service from London Paddington.

The Bicester station on this line before Chiltern took over was called Bicester Town, and was a Great Western Railway station and service on a branch line out from Oxford. The shuttle service though was worked using Class 165/6 DMUs so a GWR HST would still have been out of place, as much then as now!
© Tommy Cooling

GWR 43142 and 43053 (University of Worcester) brings a diverted Great Western Railway service from London Paddington to Carmarthen on the new link off the Chiltern Railways main line onto the "new" Bicester and Oxford branch at Bicester Gavray Junction.
© Tommy Cooling

GWR 43145 & 43172 passes through Bicester Village Station on a diverted London Paddington service.
© Tommy Cooling

GWR 43172 (Harry Patch) at Bicester Village.
© Tommy Cooling

GWR 43093 (Old Oak Common) and 43158 pass through Oxford Parkway on a London Paddington to Swansea service.
© Tommy Cooling

GWR 43026 and 43177 speed through Oxford Parkway on a diverted Great Western Railway service to London Paddington.
© Tommy Cooling

GWR 43029 and 43150 bring a service from London Paddington to Swansea through Wolvercote Tunnel, outside Oxford.
© Tommy Cooling

Post by Tommy Cooling
All these images and more can be found on my Flickr page:
Please do not reproduce any of my images without permission

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