Tame and Thame

A DMU railtour run by the RCTS from Birmingham New Street, covering rare track around the south midlands on Saturday 17th October 1987. Highlights were: Long Marston, Bicester, Thame and Birmingham Snow Hill (re-opened 12 days earlier).

Long Marston 17/10/87 (p0337.jpg)

The tour is sen in the exchange sidings at MOD Long Marston, at the end of the branch from Honeybourne. Note the steps that were provided to allow passengers to detrain.

Long Marston 17/10/87 (p0338.jpg)

A view in the opposite direction. The trains was formed of a 2-car Class 117 DMU, numbers 53002 and 54047.

Thame 17/10/87 (p0339.jpg)

After reversals at Honeybourne, Oxford, Claydon LNE Jn, and High Wycombe, the tour proceeded along the freight-only branch from Princes Risborough to Thame. Here the DMU is seen at the very end of the line.

Thame 17/10/87 (p0340.jpg)

Another view at the buffers. The line once continued to Cowley and Oxford, but was retained to Thame for oil traffic. The DMU destination blind shows Birmingham Snow Hill, where the tour eventually terminated. Snow Hill had only reopened 12 days earlier on the 5th October. I assume the blind still carried the name from the previous incarnation, closed in 1972.

Thame 17/10/87 (p0341.jpg)

The train then returned to the old station in Thame where the platforms were partially intact. Here is the view from the road overbridge. A short piece of platform edge had been renewed the previous year for special passenger workings, but the DMU seems to have avoided using that bit! The double track remained through the station as the run-round loop for the oil trains - the rest of the branch was single track.

Thame 17/10/87 (p0342.jpg)

The tour was fortunate to run, as the south of England had been devastated 36 hours earlier by the Great Storm of 1987. Indeed, the Thame branch had been blocked by a fallen tree, which the train crew sawed up and removed allowing us to reach Thame. The oil depot at Thame closed in 1991, ending rail traffic, and the track was removed in 1998.

The usually reliable Six Bells Junction does not list the Tame and Thame. Amazingly, neither does the RCTS website mention it in its comprehensive Rail Tour Index.

Fortunately, to prove I didn't imagine it all, there's a comprehensive tour report at Geoff's Pages. He also has some pictures here.

Motive Power: M53002/M54047

Route: Birmingham New Street - Soho Jn - Walsall - Sutton Park - Saltley - Camp Hill - Bromsgrove - Worcester - Honeybourne - Long Marston - Honeybourne - Oxford - Bicester London Rd - Claydon LNE Jn - Aylesbury - Princes Risborough - High Wycombe - Princes Risborough - Thame EOL - Thame Station - Princes Risborough - Bicester North - Banbury - Solihull - Birmingham Snow Hill