Friday 8 September 2023

The Pines Express.

61 years ago on the 8th of September 1962 the last Pines Express between Manchester and Bournemouth ran over the Somerset and Dorset line. The service ran for a few more years, but went via Oxford, Reading and Southampton. 

The final ‘Pines’ over the S&DJR was hauled by 92220 ‘Evening Star, the last steam locomotive built for British Railways. But I don’t possess such a fine stead, so here is the train on a different date battling though a brief summer storm double-headed (two-times headed for sports fanatics), due to the steep gradients as the line wound it’s way through the Mendip Hills over wet rails. 

During the summer months, due to the volume of holiday traffic, almost any loco that could steam was used, with even the S&DJR 2-8-0 goods train locomotives being utilised to assist less powerful engines like Bath shed’s elegant LMS 4-4-0 number 40564. If you look closely you can see Arthritic Arthur in his element in the cab of the leading locomotive, looking smug knowing that he has the help of such a powerful beast up his rear. 


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