Two British Railways Western Region expresses are featured in jigsaw puzzle photographs posted today, 29th October 2014.
The Paddington to Aberystwyth ‘Cambrian Coast Express’ was introduced onto the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1927, although its origin dates from a 1921 service. The train was normally hauled by a ‘King’ or ‘Castle’ class 4-6-0 as far as Wolverhampton or Shrewsbury respectively, where the locomotive was changed. The lines west of Shrewsbury could not support heavy locomotives and ‘Dukedog’ 4-4-0s were used initially, often double-headed, followed later by ‘Manor’ class 4-6-0s.
The first picture shows the famous GWR express at Leamington Spa headed by 'Castle' class 4-6-0, No.7027 Thornbury Castle. Barry Freeman's artwork features the train speeding through Leamington on a day when the sun is shining within a period of wet weather; hence the jigsaw title, Bright Intervals. The jigsaw is a 500-piece example from Gibsons. Barry's picture was a commision and is set in the mid 1950's. Also included is an ex London & North Western Railway (L&NWR) 'Super D' 0-8-0 tender locomotive No.49395, specially introduced for his client.
The Paddington - Kingswear 'Torbay Express' was introduced in 1923 and was normally headed by Collett's 'Castle' or 'King' class 4-6-0 locomotives until the introduction of BR 'Britannia' class 4-6-2 locomotives. The latter also headed this and other BR Western Region expresses until the end of steam (1965 on the BRWR).
The second jigsaw pictured is the Good Companion 400-piece example titled Torbay Express. There is no visible signature to the artwork but it may be part of a T. E. North painting, as North illustrated many others in the Good Companion series. The locomotive illustrated is 'Britannia' class leader, No.70000 Britannia, passing through a station and past a signal box. This picture is dated 1948-1956 because of the BR 'cycling lion' motif on the tender.