On Saturday April 2nd, UK Railtours ran The Devon Belle from London Waterloo to Exeter St Davids, via Basingstoke, Salisbury and Yeovil Junction, returning to London Victoria, later in the day, via Taunton, Frome and Reading.
The train was headed by LNER Class A1 4-6-2 Nº 60163 'Tornado' hauling a rake of 13 coaches.
She departed Waterloo at 08:00 and was due to arrive at Exeter at 13:34, which, indeed, she did having performed magnificently.
We see her, in the top photograph, just about to pass Templecombe on the outward journey. She was due here at 11:05 and was pretty much to time.
The second photograph was taken at 17:45, as the train was passing Bruton - and at great speed too, on the return trip.
The difference in the weather conditions between the two photographs is quite evident here. The morning was bright and sunny and clear while the evening was overcast and and rather dull.
The train was due to depart Exeter St Davids at 16:31 and arrive Victoria at 22:12. I am not sure if she was on time at Victoria but, judging by the way she was performing as she raced past us at Bruton, I would say she probably was, no problem!
The headcode/reporting number 'M8Y', by the way, is in tribute to Raymond 'Ray' Towell of the National Railway Museum, who sadly passed away last month.
Apparently he would always refer to people as 'matey'.