London Paddington to West Ruislip (Take One) on board a class 50 loco
London Marylebone to Banbury (Take Two) on board a first generation DMU
This shows the old Great Central/Great Western Joint line running through High Wycombe and Princes Risborough etc. The joint line actually starts at Northolt Junction in Middlesex and runs to the one time Ashenden Junction in Buckinghamshire. Both the GWR and the GCR built their own connections to this joint line, the former out of Paddington and the latter from Marylebone.
Here we experience them both:
Take One: starting out from Paddington aboard, what was in 1989, the only passenger train of the day still to use the old GWR link. We join class 50 Ark Royal at the head of the 18.12 commuter express for an exhilarating non-stop run via Old Oak Common West Junction through Greenford to Northolt Junction signalled by an array of semaphore signals that have long since been consigned to history.
Take Two shows the GCR link from Marylebone aboard a first generation DMU (class 115). At the time of filming this was London's last Terminus to be signalled by semaphores and we actually see inside the long since closed Marylebone signal box. On this journey we go right through Northolt and all the way to Banbury. The high spot, is High Wycombe which was little changed since steam days and boasted an amazing array of points and semaphores...
Along the route there are also snippets from within many of the mechanical and power signal boxes just before the total route modernisation swept most of them away.