Gloucester from 1967

Rolling Stock Developments


With the creation of British Rail from British Railways on 1 January 1965, a new double-arrow symbol was introduced, followed by the corporate blue livery, in place for locomotives by the end of 1966. Following the end of steam traction in August 1968, the opportunity was taken to drop the ‘D’ prefix from diesel locomotives, there no longer being any possibility of confusion over locomotive numbers. 

In 1965 the XP64 carriage set in a new livery was unveiled, effectively setting the standard from which Mark 2 rolling-stock was developed. Interestingly, this set ended up being used on a Sunday evening train from Cheltenham Spa to Paddington (leaving Gloucester at 19.37, or later 19.52) which I used regularly when working for BR between 1967 and 1969. D0280 Falcon, the prototype ‘Brush Type 4’ built in September 1961 turned up on this duty on several occasions. It was taken into BR stock in 1970 as D1200, and later relegated to working freight turns from Ebbw Junction, finally being withdrawn in October 1975, and going to Cashmores for scrap in March 1976.

I had some interesting journeys on this train, which was tightly timed, with extremely fast runs over quite short distances. The train stopped at most stations including setting-down at Slough on its run into Paddington. I frequently sat in the rear coach of this set, which was frequented by WH Smith’s newspaper packers. They travelled up ‘on the cushions’ to Paddington before returning on the 2am newspaper train made up of GUVs, on which they bundled up the morning’s papers whilst on the move. I remember on occasion lying in bed in Highworth Road at about 4am in the early morning and being awakened by this train as it sprinted into Gloucester at high speed with seemingly scant consideration for the speed restriction at Gloucester South Junction.  

By October 1965, the new blue and white livery for carriages was being introduced, once again resulting in carriage sets made up of coaches wearing a variety of liveries. By summer 1967 the blue livery was common. However, pre-grouping rolling stock was still in use, and an interesting example of that was the inclusion of a new-livered Gresley buffet car (W9135E) in the formation of the Newcastle – Bristol service as late as 14 August 1970.