This section is supplemental to my Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Freight Lines page. There are so many pictures to include that a separate section seemed sensible. It is based on the Shanks and McEwan landfill site which used the huge holes in the ground left by the extraction of clay by the London Brick Company who made untold millions of house bricks on site. Much of the landfill material is household refuse from the Bath and Bristol area, which has now ceased, and from the London area which continues to run in 2020. Many short term flows from various locations also ended up here and a few of these are shown here. This is not a comprehensive of the area and not every image I took over the years is included. I have tried to pick the highlights, as usual without especially favouring those taken in sun. There is inevitably quite a lot of repetition in the locations shown but there is plenty of motive power variation to make up for that.

Mention must be made of some of the landowners whose land lies along the line who without exception allowed me access to otherwise private property following either a previous telephone call or a knock on the door. With one notable exception the train crews of the Avon Binliner were also friendly and helpful in the extreme even to the extent of sometimes asking me where I would be and making a special photo stop or a vigorous and smoky start for me; not a problem for timekeeping when the train almost inevitably ran early on a line with no other traffic; and on one occasion the offer of a cab ride from Claydon to Bicester in 37701. I had to decline this because of the difficulty of getting back to my car!

This is the first photograph I took in this area and the one sparked my interest in the area. It shows an unidentified class 47 about to leave Calvert on 27 October 1987 with the "Avon Bins", a train which ran until 1 April 2011. This scene has not changed much in the intervening years, although the island platform gradually became a lot more overgrown. The refuse train from Northolt can be seen in the background awaiting its turn to be unloaded. The containers for this service were drawn through the gantry by cable as the locomotive slip-worked and took the empty train from the previous working back to the railhead in North London to be reloaded.
Over the years I photographed the Avon Bins at quite a few locations, mostly between Calvert and Bicester as this was the area that mostly interested me. On occasions I had a drive down to the Didcot area and this picture of 47033 taken at Milton on 17 January 1989 was one of these. It was a clear and sunny day but with little wind and the murk in the background is largely smoke and steam emitted by Didcot Power Station. The scene here has changed almost beyond recognition as the power station has gone and overhead electrification catenary has been erected.
Many different classes of locomotive worked the Bath and Bristol to Calvert trains in the years I photographed them. By May 1993 class 56 was in charge and I took my first photographs of the class in the area on 14 March of that year. It was far from unusual for the empty containers to leave Calvert well before the booked time and on this day this happened and I decided to head for the road crossing near Launton. Here is 56041 about to cross the road with some of the platform edging still in situ at that time.
Even though 56041 had left Calvert early it had to wait at Bicester until one of the 2 hourly passenger trains had cleared the line at Oxford North Junction. This gave plenty of time to drive to the other side of Bicester and I found myself just beyond Bicester heading towards a bridge I had seen on the OS map for the area. This bridge was on a private road to the farm and on my first trip there, without knowing this important fact, I arrived in the farmyard to be met by the landowner asking what was I doing. I told him amd asked permission to walk to his bridge. He said that he was sorry, but no as they had previously had some problems with security issues and people trespassing on his land. As he was saying this he noticed the company parking pass on the windscreen of my car. He pointed it out and asked if I knew so-and-so and a few others. Yes, I did and was welcomed like a long-lost brother, told I was welcome any time after a phone call and told to report to the farm house later for coffee and a cake!
I returned for some more pictures on 6 May 1993 and once again the train, this time headed by 56055, ran early. When this happened it had to wait at Bicester until, from memory, 12.23 when Oxford Panel would let the driver know so that he could press the plunger mounted on the post to the right of the signal. This lowered the barriers protecting the road and allowed the signal to be cleared.
There was clearly time on this occasion to allow me to drive to the other side of Bicester London Road station and wait for it to approach the by-pass. The former up line by this stage was a long siding used by trains to and from the nearby COD depot. This was handy from a photographic point of view as it did allow for a very decent and well-lit image to be taken.
By July 1993 class 60 had taken over the Binliner, 4C04, but for some reason didn't last on the diagram for long. I therefore have very few shots of them working the train and the only pictures I have on the interesting bits of line were taken on 8th July of that year. On arrival at Calvert the train had already left and so I went straight to the road bridge near Launton and made it there with a few minutes to spare before 60043 came into view on the long straight section of line. It was running so early that it would easily get to Bicester before the northbound passenger unit left Oxford so I had a quick trip to there for another picture.
I had hoped to take my usual shot as the the train left the signal protecting the road at Bicester London Road on 8 July 1993 but as I arrived by the statiion the barriers were just being raised for 60043 to head south so I had to make a sprint onto the platform and make the best of a bad job as it left the freight only line and joined the single track to Oxford North Junction. The tracks to the right of the train form the long siding/headshunt for the MOD traffic to Bicester COD.
It is ironic that that the only well-lit photograph I have of a 60 on the Avon Bins isn't on the best part of its run from Calvert but on the Great Western main line at Milton, near Didcot. This picture shows 60019 on the train on 15 October 1993 just after it had passed the now demolished power station and catching some lovely Autumnal sunshine with a good dark sky in the background. I wish that I more shots of 60s on the train but the summer of 1993 was a busy time at work following a promotion and having to form and lead a new department. Bad timing...
Heavyweight class 37s, more officially known as 37/7s, were allocated to the Avon Binliner by the spring of 1994. I arrived at Calvert on 8 June to find 37703 standing under the unloading gantry and with a driver in charge whom I had got to know a bit on previous visits. My wife had come along for the ride and it was unfortunate that she didn't drive at the time because I was offered a cab ride to Bicester but had to refuse because of the difficulty of getting back to the car. The (locomotive) driver asked me where I would be photographing and said that he would take it easy, in view of early running, to ensure that I had chance for decent shots.
The next in this sequence of pictures was taken, with the permission the owner of Shepherd's Furze Farm, as 37703 came around the curve at Claydon LNE Junction before running into the double track section where the locomotive ran-round the stock before heading towards Bicester and Oxford. Despite there being a lot of cloud around it cleared just enough to highlight the important bit at the right time.
Once the run-round had been done I went to the second bridge south of Claydon Jct where there is a reasonable shot available on a sunny thanks to the train running on the former down line, this presumably having been the side in better condition when the line was singled.
From the Calvert area on 8 June 1994 we next went to the bridge just beyond Islip, this time without coffee and cake as the farmer and his wife were away from home for the day. The sun didn't cooperate this time but this was the first time that I shot a 37 here so took an image for the record.
Our last location on 8 June 1994 was the bridge adjacent to the stone terminal at Banbury Road, Oxford where the line briefly runs alongside the A34 dual carriageway which was much less busy than usual and certainly not comparable to 2020 when it is usually solid with traffic.
Class 37/7s were still allocated to the Bristol to Calvert bins in December 1994 but on the 9th of that month I arrived to find 38057 + 37012 deputising for the single heavyweight. Unloading was just about complete as I walked to the bridge from the parking spot and as was apparent that both locomotives were chucking out some smoke as they crawled along. When the driver opened up to move the train over the crossover just beyond the bridge 37057 erupted and filled the sky with smoke and dropped the exposure value by about 5 stops meaning that my 645 negative was badly underexposed. It took a lot of jiggery-pokery both in the scanning software and Photoshop CS2 to obtain even this very mediocre image with the low winter sun in completely the wrong place.
The sun, I knew, would be much more favourable on the up side of Bicester London Road station so I went straight there and waited on the roadside there for the usual departure time, about 12.20. The oil from the exhaust drums which had caused so much smoke at Calvert had cleared but there was still a trace of exhaust as the train accelerated away from its enforced pathing stop. The sun was just about high enough to avoid too many shadows across the line and I can still recall the noise that 37057 + 37012 were making.
Now, be honest. Having just seen that spectacle at Bicester and with time to spare, wouldn't you have jumped into the car and belted down the A34 (pre-speed cameras!) to Didcot for another crack at the bins? I did, arriving with 3 minutes to spare only to find that someone in the signalling centre had decided to cross the train over onto the main line instead of the relief it usually occupied. Still, nothing to be done about it and the shot was taken at 12.57 in increasingly murky light largely the result of steam from the nearby power station on this cold day. The leading locomotive, 37057, is still extant in 2020 but now carrying a version of the green colour scheme it wore when first built. Here it is at Honeybourne in 2016 when on the way to Long Marston with a test train.
A single 37 was on the Calvert to Bath and Bristol binliner on 18 April 1995 which started out with the sort of light I really favoured for black & white photography. Here is 37705 moving the final couple of loaded containers under the gantry; a shot taken right from the end of the island platform of the former station.
It didn't take long for the unloading to be finished on 18 April 1995 but I had time to move from the platform back onto the road bridge at the other end of the station. Here, 37705 made a less spectacular exit from the site than had the pair of 37/0s shown above but with a shorter lens than I used previously the 2 surviving chimneys of the London Brick Company's works can be seen.
Once the locomotive, 37705, had run-round its train in Claydon loop it headed back towards Bicester and Oxford and without too bright a sun I took the opportunity to take a shot from the first bridge south, not a location much good on a day with full sun. There may not have been a lot of exhaust smoke but I still recall the noise 37705 was making as it took the long set of empty containers up to or somewhere about the maximum line speed.
After leaving Claydon on 18 April 1994 I went straight to the crossing adjacent to the London Road station at Bicester where the bins had to wait until 12.23 for the line to Oxford North Junction to become clear. The sun was in and out but there was more blue sky than cloud by the time the driver had pressed the plunger to raise the barriers protecting the road and it came out fully as 37705 accelerated over the crossing and away.
Just over a month after the sequence of 37705 shown above was taken I arrived at Calvert on 11 April 1995 to find that the train had gone very early; in fact about 90 minutes before its booked time. I went to the bridge at Claydon and just saw the tail-light disappearing into the distance. I had a fast drive to the crossing at Launton and arrived just as the barriers dropped and the saw and heard 37715 coming past the signal in the background. It think that the driver was keen to get to Bicester in time for an early path and before the 2 hourly passenger train was anywhere near joining the single track at Oxford North Junction. I can't judge speed very well but have a sort of feeling that 37715, judging by the exhaust smoke and from the big grin and thumbs-up from the driver that the line speed might possibly have been temporarily forgotten and that he would make the early slot from Bicester!
My plan for the sunny day of 11 April 1995 was to go to Didcot after the Calvert line for some main line action and so after leaving Launton I went straight down the A34 and then onto the bridge over the connecting line from the Oxford line to the Swindon road. I hadn't been in place for long when 37715 appeared proving my supposition that the bins would get away early from Bicester. This is a poor location not least because the back of train is lost on the tight curve but it's the only shot I have of the bins here so worth including.
The signal allowing access to the main line at Didcot was at danger on 11 April 1994 and with several passenger train due there was time to move a little way west to the bridge at Milton. In due course but still running early 37715 was released onto the down relief line and with no other trains in sight passed the now demolished chimney, cooling towers and generator hall with all the associated infrastructure of Didcot Power Station.
In the spring of 1996 class 58 was working the Avon Binliner. I went for a shot or two on 4 April of that year and arrived to find 58041 moving away from the unloading gantry and towards Claydon loop for a locomotive run-round. The light was picking up after a misty start; far from unusual around here given the amount of water filling the pits from which clay was dug for many to feed the brickworks.645
The sky towards Bicester appeared to be completely clear on 4 April 1996 so I went straight there and took this view of 58041 waiting for the road at the road crossing just before London Road station. I had another shot in mind near Islip so made a quick 'phone call with my newly acquired Nokia "Blue Brick" to the farmer I mentioned before and secured permission to park in the yard and walk to the bridge and was again promised coffee and cake so made a beeline line there. 645
There was a short wait while the preceding passenger train reached Oxford North Junction but it was far from unpleasant standing there in the warm sunshine watching various forms of wildlife. The sun was high enough by now to avoid shadows being cast on the line when 58041 crossed the River Reay with the village of Islip prominent in the background. 645
The next shot of a 58 on the Calvert to Bath and Bristol bins was taken at Didcot on 6 March 1997 as the train was released from the spur from the Oxford line. These locomotives were not known for kicking out great plumes of exhaust but when working hard to get a train on the move were capable of making some of the effort visible. The train was running in an earlier path than usual so it must have reached Bicester in time to leave there before the passenger unit was ready to join the single track from Oxford North Junction.645
On some occasions in 1998 class 47s returned to 4C04, the Avon Binliner. On 13th February of that year I arrived at Clayon just in time (again!) to see the train, some 90 minutes ahead of time, heading south so made a rapid exit and went to the road crossing at Launton. It wasn't long before green liveried 47004 appeared with one of the drivers to whom I had chatted on several occasions at the controls. After taking this shot it was straight off to Bicester for another go at it as it left the crossing.645
As the Calvert to Bath and Bristol empty rubbish container train was running some 90 early it was allowed to leave Bicester well ahead of its booked time and without interfering with the down passenger train from Oxford. I had time for a short chat with the driver and he asked if I would like some smoke effects as he pulled away from the signal. Would I?! The green locomotive was pretty good but some visible evidence of it working hard from a standstill was a bonus.645
The next class 47 I saw at Calvert was on 22 July 1998 when 47555 was working the binliner. On this occasion it was running a bit late and for reasons I now forget this was the only shot I have. I suspect that my presence was required at the office during the afternoon and so I had to return before getting any other images of the train in locations with better lighting.645
After the short spell with class 47 power the Avon Binliner returned to class 37/7 power, on 19 June 1998 at least. Once again this was the only picture I took that day but is worth including as it is my only shot of an EWS liveried 37 on the train.645
It was inevitable that class 66 would be allocated to the binliner from Bath and Bristol and the first views I had of one at Calvert was on 29 April 1999. Here is 66030 leaving the former station area with an empty flat wagon in just the right place to help the photograph a little. The crew member operating the ground frame would have a long walk back to the locomotive after returning the points to the position for the main line. It would have feasible I guess for the train to be propelled back to the frame to save such a walk but I couldn't possibly comment...
As this was a first with a new class on the line for me I wanted another shot so went around to the road bridge at the far end of Claydon loop and hoped that the train would be drawn up towards my location. It worked quite well and made for a decent composition as 66030 ran forward to cross over and go to the other end of the train.
Just over 12 months after the date of the 2 photographs above the final EWS-hauled Avon Binliner ran on 30 April 2000. I was fortunate that I had a call from a contact at Didcot to tell me about this and even more fortunate that it was a sunny day. I asked the driver of 66040 while the train was at Calvert if he would be kind enough to draw his train as far forward as possible when arriving in Claydon loop and he stopped it in the perfect spot and even waited a minute or two before leaving the cab until a cloud had cleared from the sun.
The shot from the second bridge south of Claydon loop isn't one of the best at the end of April because the sun isn't quite high enough to avoid shadows on the track. Still, this is the last image I have of an EWS locomotive on the Avon bins and therefore worth including as 66040 left for Bicester and Oxford.
Not all the traffic to the landfill site at Calvert ran via Oxford and Bicester. There were, are are still, loaded trains running from Northolt conveying huge tonnages of London's rubbish for burial. I have fewer shots of these trains but here is one of 66016 leading the Calvert-bound loaded containers throught Quainton Road station on a sunny 10 February 1999.645
As was mentioned elsewhere there were short term flows of material sent for landfill at Calvert. 60059 was working the 6M35 Kings Cross to Calvert spoil train through Quainton Road station when photographed on 4 September 2003. This train didn't run for all that long but the actual details now escape me but this is my shot of it so was lucky to score a shot of a Loadhaul class 60 doing the honours. The impressive preservation site at Quainton Road is quite literally cut in half by the freight line from Aylesbury to Calvert - there is no rail connection between the two parts. This day was much busier than usual as both the Calvert to Bath/Bristol "binliner" (6V40) and the Didcot to Bicester MOD train (6A48 but running on this day as 6Z48) had been diverted this way due to engineering work.
On Sunday 19 March 2000 there was a special working of the Northolt to Calvert binliner which due to engineering work on the Chiltern Line did run via Bicester. Unusually for that time a class 59/2 was allocated and here is 59204 approaching Claydon LN&E Junction with a full complement of crew on board. The locomotive would have to run-round its train before going towards the unloading gantry at Calvert.
After the run-round at Claydon on 19 March 2000 here is 59204, partially obscuring the train with heat haze from the exhaust, at the ground frame with one of the crew about to operate the points to allow the train go move towards the unloading gantry. As is usual for Northolt bins there was an empty set of containers ready to leave and once the loaded train had been deposited the light locomotive ran back to the ground frame and was re-routed onto the front of the empties ready for departure.
The diverted Northolt bins which ran on 19 March 2000 followed the procedure used by the Bath and Bristol train and ran round its empty containers in Claydon loop before heading off south towards Bicester and Oxford. Here is is with 59204 in charge pictured from the 2nd bridge south from Claydon LN&E Junction. I'm not sure but I think that this may have been the first class 59 to have passed over this line.
The dreadful impact of the 2000/2001 Foot and Mouth Disease was felt all over the country. On 13 July 2001 a train of ash from the incinerated carcasses of thousands of farm animals was sent to the landfill site at Calvert. I went over for a couple of pictures of the afternoon arrival and the first was taken as 66062 approached Claydon L&NE Junction with the long train of containers prior to the locomotive being run-round before going to the unloading gantry.
There was a lot of interest from concerned locals about the delivery of tons of animal ash to Calvert on 13 July 2001 and there were unprecedented numbers of observers, some with banners protesting about the move, on the road bridge adjacent to the former Calvert station. I think that their concern was over-stated as the remains, having been incincerated for days, would have been free of any infection. Here is 66062 after the train had passed over the crossover. Not the best picture but the light was never going to be favourable at that time of day in the height of summer.
This photograph, taken on 4 September 2003, shows 66551 rounding the curve on the approach to Quainton Road station with 6V40, the Calvert to Bath and Bristol binliner, away from its usual route. There was a 2 week possession between Bicester and Oxford necessitating this move, which meant that the bins were diverted via Aylesbury, the Chiltern line, the Greenford Loop to Hanwell and then the GWR main line to Didcot where its normal route was rejoined. I waited until until the 2nd week of the possession in the hope of a fine day and was, for once, not disappointed.
I didn't make another trip to Calvert itself for about 3 years after the shots shown above and when I did make it there on 25 June 2004 66546 was in charge of the train. This image was taken from the footpath on the correct side of the fence on an Olympuis 0M1n with a 300mm lens - not my usual style but even with dodgy light it made for an impactful shot.
At the time of my visit to Calvert on 25 June 2004 there was a short-term flow of spoil from Baglan Bay in South Wales which was also operated by Freightliner. On this occasion the locomotive was 66601 and the train arrived at the same time as I hence the grab shot as it passed the road bridge. In fact I did take another slide a moment or two earlier as the crew member who had operated the ground frame was about to climb back into the cab but everything about the location was wrong from the photographic aspect at that timne of day and year.
The staff at Calvert didn't hang about and this busy scene shows 2 trains being unloaded on 25 June 2004. The Baglan Bay spoil was carried in open boxes so mechanical grabs were used to remove the material as the final containers from the Avon Binliner were dealt with on the nearer line.
My final shot on 25 June 2004 was taken as 66546 drew to a halt in Claydon loop just before the locomotive was released prior to its run-round and return south. There is a bit too much greenery about for me and, of course, the Freightliner livery doesn't help a lot.
This image of the Avon Bins was taken on Saturday 21 January 2005, not long after I bought my first digital SLR. It was a highly unusual move and one which had to be photographed at any cost. The train is a diverted 4V60 Calvert to Bath and Bristol empty binliner; a working which ran on 2 consecutive weekends at this time. The first was the previous week which ran in virtual darkness with the same locomotive as this image, 66609. On the second run the light was better and the sun just about poked out as 4V60 came around the curve from Hatton station having just left the Down Goods Loop. This was quite a diversion with the train leaving its usual route at Didcot West Junction and then running via Hatton, Birmingham New Street, Bournville and Kings Norton before going on through Cheltenham and Gloucester.