GWR Collett 2251 class 0-6-0 no. 2257 in charge of an Oxford to Paddington service via Princes Risborough and High Wycombe has just passed the Plomer Hill overbridge in West Wycombe in September 1937. There are three notable features in this image the first being that 2257 is coupled to an ROD tender which was, apparently, not uncommon. The second point is the leading bogie vehicle which GWR-EList correspondents have described thus:
"The first coach in the train is a late Dean design 40ft passenger brake van to Diagrams K14 - K16 which has had its lookout removed, so it is now to Diagrams K25, K29 or K26 respectively - probably K25. It is painted plain brown. This is probably a Stores Van and a number of these vans did end their lives as such. This would be working a 'circuit' from Swindon serving principal stations and/or depots dropping off commodities such as lamp oil, paraffin, stationery, uniform requisitions, etc. If it is an Enparts Stores Van then it will be conveying locomotive, and carriage & wagon spares from stores at Swindon Works to sheds and other depots where minor repairs were effected. Again these tended to work a "'circuit'.".
The third point of interest pertains to a mischievous or facetious response to my E-group enquiry regarding the individual on the left of the shot who is almost certainly the late James Herbert Venn and was an estimable photographer in his own right. The facetious aspect is whether or not he had permission to 'trespass' on railway property. All I can add is that this photographer took his picture from a public footpath which was a boarded crossing since replaced by a footbridge.
[S. H. Freese / Mike Morant collection]