68 Commuter

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68 Commuter

In 2016, Chiltern Railways’ 17.21 Marylebone to Banbury evening commuter service comprised a Class 68 and Mark 3 stock with ‘drop down’ windows, from which you could hear the loco’s Caterpillar engine hard at work on a tightly-timed schedule. This WIRED FOR SOUND cab ride DVD features 68012 on one such trip. With 3,750 horsepower on tap, the locomotive not only delivers an impressive audio performance, but also demonstrates how quick off the mark Class 68 are. Over the last 20 years, the Chiltern Line via High Wycombe to Aynho Junction has undergone a major transformation. Gone are the days when it was a run-down secondary route - today it is a fast 100mph railway, offering a journey time of just 78 minutes from Marylebone to Banbury. And that includes five station stops!

Immediately after leaving Marylebone, the line plunges into St. John’s Wood tunnel followed by Hampstead tunnel. As the Class 68 gathers speed, it emerges into daylight at Finchley Road to run alongside the London Underground as far as Neasden, where the journey continues past Wembley Stadium and Northolt Park to join the former Western Region route from Paddington at South Ruislip. With 68012 on full power, the line begins a 21-mile climb over the Chiltern hills to the summit at Saunderton. There are full-on standing starts from station stops at Beaconsfield and High Wycombe before the line descends sharply to another station stop at Princes Risborough. With the route now level, there’s some fast running up to 100mph, broken only by further stops at Haddenham & Thame Parkway and Bicester North. There’s a lively run to Aynho Junction where the Chiltern Line joins the Cherwell Valley route from Didcot. Five miles later, Banbury is mid-way through a major transformation, and Banbury South signal box and its GWR semaphore signals are in their last days of operation. Finally the Class 68 arrives at its platform 1 destination.

BONUS FEATURE: having been on board Chiltern Railways' newest piece of kit, their oldest train is the subject of this fifteen minute bonus cab ride. Providing something of a timewarp, British Railways 1961-built green bubble car 121034 is featured on an evening journey from Princes Risborough to Aylesbury

Programme Fact File

Narrator: David Maxey
First Published: 2016
Route Featured: Marylebone - Banbury and Princess Risborough - Aylesbury
Class Featured:  68.
Availability: Now

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Other Locomaster Profiles Programmes featuring Class 68 motive power: Traction Series.

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