News Archive for May 2017

48 Years Apart


Published on 31st May 2017

For the last day of May 2017 we bring you this image special.

The left image was recently purchased from Ebay showing a simple station scene from Taunton without any trains in the image, however the scene was too good to let slip, the original photographer is untraceable but upon scanning it was noticed the slide carried the date 31st May 1969, and the clock on the station read 15:00. So it seemed fitting that 48 years later at exactly 15:00 on the 31st May 2017, we would be able to repeat the same photo. It proves that Taunton has changed very little of the years in overall appearance. It's clear there's far more clutter and signage on the station now than back in the day, but the same core Victorian features of the station still stand out. We would also like to extend our thanks to Paul Clarke who very kindly took time out of his day to make sure he was in position at 15:00 today to take this comparison image!

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Taunton Trains Collection)

(Photo: Paul Clarke)



The Cornishman


Published on 29th May 2017

Monday 29th May 2017 saw more LNER action on former GWR territory, when A1 Pacific No. 60163 'Tornado' hauled 'The Cornishman' from London Paddington to Penzance.

The steam locomotive just beat the rain to the area and is seen passing Cogload Junction hauling the 1Z63 08:02 London Paddington to Penzance charter. Tornado will be spending a summer break at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway over the coming week. The tour was returned to London by DB Cargo diesel locomotive Class 59/2 which was equally rare traction for the return trip.These locomotives are more akin to hauling 2000 tonne freight trains to and from the Mendips, but can put in a good turn on speed when let loose on a railtour. No. 59202 'Alan Meadows Taylor - MD Mendip Rail Limited' is pictured passing Norton Fitzwarren with the 1Z65 to London Paddington from Penzance.

(Photo: S A Ginn)

(Photo: Phil Izzard)



Daylight IET Testing

Sunday 28th May 2017 saw the first daylight working of the future IEP Class 800. Having already visited Taunton the Class 800 reversed direction and formed the 5X35 19:41 Taunton - Stoke Gifford. Again the unit left well ahead of schedule at 17:42 running 119 minutes early. Class 800 No. 800010 'Michael Bond/ Paddington Bear' is seen returning through Charlton on the approach to Cogload Junction.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


Sunday 28th May 2017 saw the first daylight appearance of the future IEP Class 800 to Taunton. Most of the testing of these units has been happening overnight under the cover of darkness, however the 28th May a 5X81 path was added from Southall to Taunton. Having already worked down from Doncaster five car variant Class 800 No. 800010 'Michael Bond/ Paddington Bear' ended up running 110 minutes early. The 5X81 16:45 Southall - Taunton is pictured passing Cogload Junction under moody skies passing at 17:31.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Published on 28th May 2017

Sunday 28th May 2017 saw the first daylight appearance of the future IET Class 800 to Taunton.

Most of the testing of these units has been happening overnight under the cover of darkness, however the 28th May a 5X81 path was added from Southall to Taunton. Having already worked down from Doncaster the five car variant Class 800 No. 800010 'Michael Bond/ Paddington Bear' ended up running 110 minutes early. The 5X81 16:45 Southall - Taunton is pictured passing Cogload Junction under moody skies. Once in Taunton the Class 800 reversed direction and formed the 5X35 19:41 Taunton - Stoke Gifford. The unit departed Taunton well ahead of schedule at 17:42 running 119 minutes early. The set is also seen returning through Charlton on the approach to Cogload Junction.

To view the gallery, please click here.


Published on 27th May 2017

It's been quite some time since we've had a lengthy HOBC set operating into Taunton, on Saturday 27th May 2017, Freightliner operated the 6Y15 18:00 Wooten Bassett Junction - Fairwater Yard returning from overnight engineering work.

The full set was hauled south by Class 66/5 No.66520 with counterpart No. 66502 'Basford Hall Centenary 2001' located on the rear of the set. It's pictured here arriving slowly into Taunton in the evening sunlight.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


 The Cathedrals Express - Positioning

Published on 26th May 2017

In order to get stock in the right position for the start of the Flying Scotsman two days of charters on the 26th May 2017, stock was delivered to the West Somerset Railway early on Friday morning by West Coast Railways Class 47 No.47746.

This locomotive was then removed at Bishops Lydeard and replaced by the DEPG's own former mainline Class 47/8 No.D1661 (47840). Early on the 26th May 2017 No.D1661 arrives into Williton heading for Minehead looking very at home on the maroon coaching stock rather than it's normal Chocolate and Cream stock it normally hauls along the length of the line.

In order to get stock in the right position for the start of Flying Scotsman's two trips on the 26th May 2017, stock was delivered to the West Somerset Railway early on the 26th May by West Coast Railways Class 47 No.47746. This locomotive was then removed at Bishops Lydeard and replaced by the DEPG's own former mainline Class 47/8 No.D1661 (47840) 'North Star'. Early on the 26th May D1661 arrives into Williton heading for Minehead looking very at home on the maroon coaching stock rather than it's normal Chocolate and Cream stock it normally hauls along the length of the line.

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)


Flying Scotsman


Published on 26th May 2017

The 26th May 2017 was very much the day of Flying Scotsman, with the locomotive booked to make two circular trips from the West Somerset Railway via Bristol, Bath, Westbury and Castle Cary.

We have put together a set of superb images charting the two round trips which coincided with some of the hottest and most beautiful weather we've seen in the area for a long while. The first trip operated as the 1Z42 10:00 Bishops Lydeard - Bishops Lydeard via Bristol and the evening charter then formed the 1Z43 18:45 Bishops Lydeard - Bishops Lydeard via Bristol. We would like to thank all those line side photographers who sent their images to Taunton Trains for inclusion in this gallery.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: S A Ginn)


(Photo: Tony Christie)

(Photo: Dave Elliot)



Published on 26th May 2017

The unsung heroes of the railway and charter industry at the Class 47s which continue to provide sterling service operational availability, painted in the most unworthy colours these locomotives are painted in such a way to be inconspicuous to the devoted steam lovers who pay to travel on such locomotives at Flying Scotsman.

But without these veteran machines still providing a front line service many charters would ever get to their starting locations or return to the correct stations on time. Class 47/7 No.47746 assisted over week long visit of Flying Scotsman in the Taunton area. Built in 1964 the locomotive has carried 7 liveries and two names. It's probably best known as a member of the Rail Express Systems pool in the 90s hauling parcels and mail traffic UK wide, at the time it was named 'The Bobby' which had been transferred from a crash damaged classmate No.47743. The locomotive currently operates for West Coast Railways and is painted in maroon livery. It is pictured at Bishops Lydeard ready to shunt stock.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Phil Izzard)


 Colas Class 70 Fails

Published on 24th May 2017

The 24th May 2017 provided a rare double headed Colas Class 70 working in the South West, all be it a rescue mission.

Brand new Class 70/8 No.70814 failed at Exeter Riverside on the 23rd May with an air compressor fault. With the locomotive unable to build air to release the brakes the previous days empty back to Westbury was cancelled. The next day Colas sent No.70809 to Exeter light engine in order to tow the 7C28 13:44 Exeter Riverside - Westbury stone empties back to Wiltshire. The pair are seen rolling through the Somerset Levels, with Colas Rail Freight continuing to provide cover for non available crew at DB Cargo.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Paul Wilkins)


Flying Scotsman Arrives


Published on 23rd May 2017

Flying Scotsman steamed into the South West on May 23rd 2017 with the final leg of a series of 'Cathedrals Express' charters.

It was the first time since 2002 an absence of fifteen years. The locomotive attracted crowds from far and wide to see the countries most popular steam locomotive pass by. The LNER A3 Pacific No. 60103 'Flying Scotsman' lead 1Z63 16:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Minehead is seen passing Banklands near Durston. The locomotive only worked the charter as far Bishops Lydeard where a WSR locomotive (7F No.53808) took over for the run to Minehead. The West Somerset Railway put out a statement that clearance checks between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead had not been carried out in time, preventing Flying Scotsman from operating over the full length of the line. West Coast Railways Class 47 No.47746 (which was on the rear of the train) later returned the train and passengers to Bristol. Flying Scotsman will remain on the West Somerset Railway at Bishops Lydeard for the next two days (although not in steam) before working its booked charters on Friday 26th May.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Phil Izzard)



(Photo: 50006 Neptune)

Published on 22nd May 2017

The stabling of Locomotives in Platform 6 at Taunton has always been incredibly rare, not least that the platform is often used by passenger trains, so locomotives stabled in this bay platform are normally kept to a minimum.

On Monday 22nd May 2017, Freightliner Class 66/9 No.66952 was captured stabled in the Platform 6 at Taunton in-between duties.


Published on 21st May 2017

Sunday 21st May 2017 provided one of Colas Rail Freights ever increasingly popular Class 70's return from an overnight rail drop in Cornwall.

Colas Rail Class 70/8 No.70801 is seen heading towards Ash Bridge at Nynehead, hauling the 6C97 08:50 Par to Westbury CWR train.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Simon Harling)


The Northern Belle


Published on 21st May 2017

Direct Rail Services Class 68s visited Taunton on Sunday 21st May 2017 hauling The Northern Belle charter.

The on board passengers enjoy the fine dining experiance during their journey south. The charter was operating between Swindon and Plymouth with the Class 68s operating in 'top and tail' formation.

(Photo: S A Ginn)

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)



 Colas, Preservation to Mainline

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)


Published on 18th May 2017

Colas Rail Freight has returned a large amount of previously preserved locomotives back to the mainline in order to operate many of its Network Rail test train contracts.

One such example is split headcode example No. 37099 'Merl Evans 1947-2016' (37324). The locomotive spent many years in preservation at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway in BR Blue livery wearing the number No.37324, it also spent a couple of years on the East Lancashire Railway. During 2016 the locomotive returned to mainline operations with Colas Railfreight and was renumbered back to No. 37099 'Merl Evans 1947-2016'. On Thursday 18th May 2017 the locomotive is seen passing Taunton while working the 3Z99 07:57 Exeter Riverside - Crewe test train through 40 Steps.

To view the gallery, please click here.


Three Charters, and Three Stock Moves in a Day!


Published on 13th May 2017

The Taunton railway scene burst into life during Saturday 13th May 2017 in one of the busiest Saturdays we've seen in the area for a long time.

Three charter trains were booked to visit the area, two GWR powercar transfers between depots at Laira and St Philips Marsh, and a departmental stock move provided plenty of activity to keep the Taunton avid enthusiast community happy.


UK Railtours was the first charter of the day to appear hauled by DB Cargo (EWS liveried) Class 67 No.67024. The faded locomotive and coaching stock hauled the 1Z14 06:41 Letchworth - Paignton 'The Torbay Flyer'.

The second charter on was operated by West Coast Railways. 'The English Riviera Statesman' was hauled by top and tail Class 57/3s. No.57313 lead the 1Z84 05:25 Crewe - Paignton charter south through Taunton.


The third charter of the day was the GWR/125 Group 'Somerset Explorer' this used Green GWR set LA15 with powercars No.43093 and No.43002. It had been hoped INTERCITY liveried No. 43185 'Great Western' would lead the set however a failure in traffic resulted in 43093 deputizing. The HST set operated the 1Z66 08:36 Paddington - Bishops Lydeard where passengers were transferred to the waiting DEPG Western No. D1010 'Western Campaigner' for a trip to Minehead and back. Originally the HST was booked to have traveled through to Minehead however operational issues resulted in the traction change at Bishops Lydeard,


Thought to be the only operational Class 31 on the UK Network No.31452 operated by DC Rail collected Network Rail's Lorum Rail Grinder from Okehampton on May 13th. Having already worked light engine from Bristol to Okehampton in the morning, the veteran machine returned through Taunton working the 4Z02 Okehampton to Chaddesden Sidings


GWR operated two powercar transfers on May 13th, during the morning No.43087 & No.43187 had moved either end of TGS Mk3 No.44000 between Laira and St Philips Marsh. In the afternoon powercars No.43098 and No.43087 returned between TGS Mk3 No.44000.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)



The Great Britian


Published on 13th May 2017

The annual 'Great Britain' charter which has was also celebrating its 10th year of operation visited Taunton over the 6th and 7th May 2017.

The annual charter which operates from one end of the country to the other via various routes always provides a large variety of steam locomotives throughout the several weeks it operates.The 2017 season saw BR rebuilt Pacific No. 34046 'Braunton' (running as 34056 'Lord Dowding') and LMS 7P No. 46100 'Royal Scot' operate the train in both directions through Taunton.


The 1Z46 08:07 Bristol Temple Meads - Plymouth leg headed south through Taunton on Saturday 6th May, and on Sunday 7th May the pair returned north with the 1Z48 15:50 Exeter St Davids - London Paddington leg of the charter.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: S A Ginn)

(Photo: Lisa Waters)


(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Chay Farzenah)



Colourful HSTs

It's not often you get the chance to photograph such a selection of colourful trains in such a short period of time, but with the First Great Western livery in a state of flux now being revised to GWR, and numerous 'celebrity' liveried powercars operating. GWR services are becoming even more colourful. In just 22 minutes on Wednesday 10th May 2017 the following services were recorded at Cogload Junction. 43198 (GWR Green) + 43142 (FGW Blue) - 1C22 16:35 London Paddington - Taunton passing Cogload Junction 19:24

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


It's not often you get the chance to photograph such a selection of colourful trains in such a short period of time, but with the First Great Western livery in a state of flux now being revised to GWR, and numerous 'celebrity' liveried powercars operating. GWR services are becoming even more colourful. In just 22 minutes on Wednesday 10th May the following services were recorded at Cogload Junction. 43185 'Great Western' (Intercity) + 43002 (Intercity 125) 1C92 18:03 London Paddington - Penzance 'The Golden Hind' formed between a new rake of GWR Mk3 coaching stock passing Cogload Junction 19:46

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


It's not often you get the chance to photograph such a selection of colourful trains in such a short period of time, but with the First Great Western livery in a state of flux now being revised to GWR, and numerous 'celebrity' liveried powercars operating. GWR services are becoming even more colourful. In just 22 minutes on Wednesday 10th May the following services were recorded at Cogload Junction. 43126 (Bristol 2015) + 43169 (FGW Blue) 1C91 17:33 London - Paddington - Paignton passing Cogload Junction 19:39

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


It's not often you get the chance to photograph such a selection of colourful trains in such a short period of time, but with the First Great Western livery in a state of flux now being revised to GWR, and numerous 'celebrity' liveried powercars operating. GWR services are becoming even more colourful. In just 22 minutes on Wednesday 10th May the following services were recorded at Cogload Junction. 43185 'Great Western' (Intercity) + 43002 (Intercity 125) 1C92 18:03 London Paddington - Penzance 'The Golden Hind' formed between a new rake of GWR Mk3 coaching stock passing Cogload Junction 19:46

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Published on 10th May 2017

It's not often you get the chance to photograph such a selection of colourful trains in such a short period of time, but with the First Great Western livery in a state of flux now being revised to GWR, and numerous 'celebrity' liveried powercars operating.

GWR services are becoming even more colourful. In just 22 minutes on Wednesday 10th May 2017 the following services were recorded at Cogload Junction.



43198 (GWR Green) + 43142 (FGW Blue) - 1C22 16:35 London Paddington - Taunton passing Cogload Junction 19:24



43194 (GWR Green) + 43028 (FGW Blue) - 1A94 15:59 Penzance - London Paddington passing Cogload Junction 19:43 (Not photographed)



43126 (Bristol 2015) + 43169 (FGW Blue) 1C91 17:33 London - Paddington - Paignton passing Cogload Junction 19:39



43185 (Intercity) + 43002 (Intercity 125) 1C92 18:03 London Paddington - Penzance 'The Golden Hind' formed between a new rake of GWR Mk3 coaching stock passing Cogload Junction 19:46



With the impending introduction of the new Hitachi IEP Bi Modal units in the South West, the days of the common sight HST's are beginning to be numbered. This summer will be the last time you will be able to see the entire First Great Western/ GWR fleet running as a whole before they are removed from their stomping ground in the South West.

To view the gallery, please click here.


 Maybach Memories

(Photo: Sclub)


Published on 6th May 2017

The Diesel Electric Preservation Group and West Somerset Railway ran their first 'Maybach Memories' heritage diesel service.

The service will be operated by either a Hymek or Western Class locomotive. The first service on the 6th May 2017 was hauled by D1010. The train covers two return trips between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. Sadly the Western experienced an electrical issue later in the day and a Class 33 replaced the loco for the remaining service. However, the issue was soon fixed at Wiliton Depot and D1010 was made ready for Sunday 7th May. This inspired service rekindles operations from the past and provides additional heritage diesel action during the summer months. Sunday 14th May will see D7017 taking the next service, with D1010 scheduled again for Saturday 20th May.


DC Rail

(Photo: Phil Izzard)

Published on 5th May 2017

DC Rail moved a band new Lorum Network Rail, Rail Grinder from Derby to Okehampton on the Friday May 5th 2017.

Passing Taunton at around 20:30 the veteran Class 31/4 No.31452 is pictured passing Norton Fitzwarren with the new four car grinder in tow heading for Exeter Riverside where the train reversed to head back to Okehampton where the locomotive then returned light engine.

To view the gallery, please click here.


To view news stories from April 2017, click here, or for news from June 2017, click here.