Railways #18 – Cheltenham Flyer

Right I will own up from the outset. This is one of my favourite railway labels and features the artwork of John Austin FGRA.

Cheltenham Flyer

More correctly known as the Cheltenham Spa Express, although Cheltenham Flyer was the more popular name for this express service from London. In June 1932, the train broke railway speed records with a time of 56 minutes 47 seconds at an average speed of 81.6 miles per hour (131.3 km/h). This made the run the fastest railway run in the world(at the time). The train was hauled by Castle class 5006 Tregenna Castle.

If you would like to see more of John Austin’s work, just follow this link, John Austin FGRA


  • Radek Kwiecien

    wanted label to my train collection – anybody has it for exchange ?

  • John Lester

    What a nice label. The station is Cheltenham Spa (St James), closed in 1966 – I believe the ‘Spa’ was added by the GWR in 1925 to add an extra touch of class; I don’t think many Cheltonians would call their town ‘Cheltenham Spa’. It’s difficult to be precise about the locomotives: the one on the left looks like a 4-6-0, but it isn’t a ‘Castle’. It could be a ‘Hall’, but I would guess it’s perhaps a ‘Grange’ or ‘Manor’.. The locomotive on the right is a 2-6-2 ‘Prairie tank’, but it’s difficult to make out exactly which class it belongs to.

  • Pete S

    On closer inspection the buffer beam number is 553?, it looks as if it is perhaps an 8. Over to you guys.

  • John Lester

    That number makes it a ‘Small Prairie’ from the later batch with sloping tops to the side tanks (these are somewhat recondite matters that are perhaps a little removed from beer labels!). 5538 as the number would make a lot of sense, as that engine was based at Cheltenham Malvern Road engine shed for many years.

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