Bletchley flyover variety

Part One -The “Railtours”.

From its opening in November 1961 the spectacular 15 arch Bletchley flyover climbing high over the WCML has always been popular with enthusiast specials. On climbing onto Bletchley flyover virtually every window would have somebody leaning out to take a photo or simply enjoying the spectacular views of Bletchley station and the WCML some 50 feet below you!

Apart from early 70’s DMU tours, it seems that only from 1979 did the flyover become regularly used by loco hauled railtours until its initial closure in 1993. Reopening of the flyover to the turnback at Newton Longville (Swanbourne in Network Rail documentation!) in 2006 saw more tours once again rumble over Bletchley flyover.

A good variety of Railtour motive power has featured climbing Bletchley flyover with at least class: 25/31/33/37/45/47/50/56/66/85 featuring.

Sample Bletchley flyover motive power variety

Class 25 –

25316} Marylebone – Edinburgh DAA “Anglo Scottish Railtour” – May 4th 1984


Class 25’s probably featured on more Bletchley Flyover tours than any other classes.

14048425042n083bleyrweb.jpg Steaming nicely, 25042 and 25083 head West over the flyover with the Coventry - Marylebone leg of the Capital City Crusader Railtour on April 14th 1984.

Class 31 –

31302} Carnforth – Windsor AIA Charters “Merry Wives” Railtour – May 15th 1993


Penultimate loco hauled tour over flyover.


15059331302n31304webr.jpg 31302 and 31304 head West with the AIA "Merry Wives" that saw much class 31 action on May 15th 1993. The chimneys of Newton Longville brickworks can be seen on the horizon whilst Mr Jackson has the best vantage point for his photo!


Class 33 –

33114 1Z36 Bedford – Waterloo Rtn SEG “Thame Dunstabelle” Railtour  - November 12th 1988

Tour stock was 2 x 4TC units


Class 37 –


37176/37186 1Z37 Plymouth – Stafford  “F & W” “Bedford Bricker” Railtour – October 29th 1983

A rare summit of Flyover loco change with the 37s swapped for 25048/25245 with the 25’s again swapped for the 37’s on the return run at the foot of the flyover at Denbigh Hall.


Class 45 -


45121 1Z26 St Pancras – Cranmore HRT “Mendip Artificer” Railtour –

January 21st 1984

Class 45’s over the flyover were always rare especially on a railtour!


21018445121rweb.jpg 45121 crosses a frosty flyover en route to Oxford and eventually Cranmore on January 21st 1984.


Class 47 –


47489 Oban – West Ruislip LNER Society Return Railtour – May 2nd 1983

47489 replaced a “roarer” which worked to the virtual limit of the flyover’s short wired section climbing up from Denbigh Hall.




02058347489obwrwebr.jpg 2 views of 47489 returning West with the return LNER Society railtour from Oban to West Ruislip on May 2nd 1983.


Class 50 -

50049 1Z49 Bletchley – “Swanbourne” flyover leg. 37410 then worked “Swanbourne” – Northampton leg of Pathfinder’s “Silverlink Swansong 2” Railtour – November 10th 2007

Class 56 –

56046 1Z40 Waterloo- Bedford HRT’s “The Mothball” Railtour – May 29th 1993

Final loco hauled railtour on Claydon Jn-Bletchley flyover section prior to mothballing. Delayed by a points failure at Fenny’s flyover junction too, these points not seeing much use by 1993!.


29059356046webr.jpg All heads are out as 56046 takes the final Railtour over Bletchley flyover, May 29th 1993.


Class 66 –


66213 1Z74 Northampton – “Swanbourne” flyover leg. 66085 then worked “Swanbourne” – Fenny Stratford leg of UK Railtour’s “Concrete Cow” Railtour – January 21st 2012.


21011266085bletr.jpg Mark Beal's image of the 66085 on the "Concrete Cow" railtour returning to Fenny Jn from "Swanbourne" on January 21st 2012.


Class 85 –


85011 Oban – West Ruislip LNER Society Return Railtour – May 2nd 1983

The “roarer” worked to the virtual limit of the flyover’s short wired section climbing up from Denbigh Hall to the crossover.  47489 worked forward to the Western Region.



Much more Bletchley flyover memories to follow, phots and other snippets very welcome.


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