Drawing in the crowds: the reliveried InterCity 125 for the LNER HST farewell tour awaits departure from Leeds on its fourth and final day, 21 December 2019.
Philip Sherratt

The busy run-up to the festive period was enlivened for me by a couple of special trips.

After our bumper January issue had been put to bed, there was the treat of the Modern Railways Christmas outing, kindly hosted again by GWR and coinciding with General Election day! Instead of the usual trip to the West Country, the clever folks in train planning had contrived to find us a space on the first Intercity Express Train scheduled to carry passengers to Banbury. This was a test trip just a couple of days before the major timetable change, from which point GWR has operated IETs to the Oxfordshire town each day in the morning and evening peaks.

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