80 Minutes at Clapham Junction
9th December 2008
60019 Bittern, 30777 Sir Lamiel, 35028 Clan line
© copyright photographs by Colin Duff

A4 60019 approaching Clapham Junction light engine on its way to Ropley, Mid Hants Railway

Whilst it may not be nearly as regular as in the days of steam, who would have thought that a little over 40 years after the cessation of standard gauge steam operations on British Railways that three steam locomotives would pass through Clapham Junction in an 80 minute period?


On 9th December 2008, first was A4 60019 "Bittern" with its support coach on its way back to its then base Ropley, on the Mid Hants Railway.

N15 300777 approaching with The Cathedrals Express to Sheborne

Only four minutes later King Arthur Class 30777 "Sir Lamiel" approaches (eight minutes late) with the Cathedrals Express Carol Concert Special to Salisbury. This stopped at Clapham Junction to pick up.

The problem with photographing trains on the Windsor lines at Clapham Junction is does one opt for a decent angle from the main platforms but take the very high risk of the shot being obscured ("bowled") by Up and Down Main services, plus stock slowly entering and leaving the yard, or play it safe with a head-on or shallow angle shot from the Windsor line platforms? This was my first attempt at photographing 30777 and I played it safe. Unfortunately the closer shots I wanted were bowled by another photographer standing in front of me at the critical moment (after I had been in the same position for at least thirty minutes). I shall not repeat the oath I uttered under my breath!

35028 Clan Line passes through with a VSOE Christmas Luncheon Special Seventy six minutes later rebuilt Merchant Navy 35028 "Clan Line" passes through on time with a VSOE Christmas Luncheon Special using the "Surrey Circular" route: Victoria - Staines - Guildford - Redhill - Victoria.

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