Its not often I get the opportunity to stand by the line side these days, but earlier this week after visiting Pendon Museum for the official opening of the Bristol Line (you can read all about that in HM134, on sale from July 12) Mark Chivers and I decided to stop off at Didcot station before venturing back across country.
It is a long time since I’ve been to Didcot – in fact it would be the best part of 20 years ago when Class 47/8s were still operational of Cross Country services. Naturally the railway has changed since then and most noticeably at Didcot the proliferation of overhead electrification masts and wires gives it a very different feel to my last visit.
One of the prime reasons for our visit was to capture a few images of the HSTs in their full length formations working alongside the newly introduced Class 800s. Happily we saw both as well as a handful of Class 166 DMUs and a couple of Class 387 overhead units which terminated at Didcot.
Another interesting part of Didcot’s operation is its position as a changeover point between diesel and electric power for the Class 800 units. Standing on the platform we were able to observe arriving trains from the west turn off diesel power and raise there pantograph while impressively we also saw a non-stop run through the station with an 800 which had made the switch between modes on the approach to the station.
I’ll let the photographs do the rest of the talking, but it was great to be out at the line side observing the modern railway at work.
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