News Archive for June 2017

Stella and Charlotte head West


Published on 30th June 2017

Colas Rail Freight recently purchased two Class 67 locomotives from DB Cargo for use on test trains, the pair No. 67027 'Charlotte' and No.

67023 'Sheila' have been painted into Colas Rail Freight colours and named. On the 30th June 2017 the pair stood in for the Network Rail New Measurement Train HST set which was out of service for maintenance. Class 67 No. 67027 'Charlotte' is pictured here passing Creech St Michael working the 1Z18 15:46 Paignton to Taunton via Bristol Temple Meads leg of the track recording diagram. During the day Class 67s visited Penzance, Paignton, and Bristol Temple Meads passing through Taunton 3 times (once to change direction) before returning to London Paddington. No. 67023 'Sheila' is also pictured leading the 1Z18 15:46 Paignton to Taunton via Bristol Temple Meads seen passing Norton Fitzwarren. Stock for the train was formed of Mk2a No.977969 Staff Coach, Mk2f No.977997 Radio Survey Coach RSC3, MK2f No.72631 Plain Line Pattern Recognition Coach PLPR1 and Mk1 No.975091 overhead line inspection coach.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Phil Izzard)



 Thunderer Returns!

Published on 30th June 2017

The UK Railway system can turn up some very unique and bizarre workings on the mainline.

The old adage of 'never say never' couldn't of been any more true in June. Those who would of put money on three operational former British Rail Class 50's visiting Taunton in under two weeks of one another would of been in for a large payout. On the 29th June 2017, Laira Blue Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' made a return to its former stomping ground in the South West by means of working the 4Z01 12:45 Chaddeston - Okehampton with a Lorum Rail Grinder in tow. The Grinder which has been purchased by Network Rail has been developed in America and will be used to train UK staff on the Okehampton branch. Thunderer is pictured at Bathpool with the remarkable working heading for Exeter and Okehampton.

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)


Maybach Memories

BR Western No. D1010 'Western Campaigner' operated the Maybach Memories diagram on the 25th June 2017. The locomotive is pictured at Crowcombe Heathfield while working the 15:20 departure from Bishops Lydeard seen here passing BR 4F heading from Minehead.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 25th June 2017

Former British Rail Western No. D1010 'Western Campaigner' operated by the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group based at Williton was rostered to work the the Maybach Memories diagram on the 25th June 2017.

The locomotive is pictured at Crowcombe Heathfield while working the afternoon 15:20 departure from Bishops Lydeard seen here passing BR 4F No.44422 arriving from Minehead on a joint service/ memorial train.


Mazey Day turns into a Crazy Tour!

(Photo: Sclub)

Published on 25th June 2017

Pathfinder Tours 'Mazey Day Cornishman' from Worcester to Penzance didn't quite go to plan on Saturday 25th June 2017 in one of the most public failures of railtour traction in a very long time.

Direct Rail Services supplied two Class 37/0 locomotives (some of the oldest operational Class 37s on the UK network) for the charter. It was planned to be potentially the last pair of DRS Class 37s to visit Penzance, as they are currently being phased out by new Class 68 and 88 locomotives. Before departure from Worcester No.37069 sporadically shutdown with a CCB fault, and couldn't be reset, it was removed from the train. It was planned for sister locomotive No.37059 to go it alone and take the train forward. With load 10 in tow No.37059 reached Great Malvern where it developed a DSD fault. This fault was fixed after another 20 minutes. It was decided should the tour need to reach Penzance then a second locomotive would be needed and a Class 66/5 No.66525 was hired from Freightliner. So the colourful combination with Class 37 No.37059 doing all the work is seen passing Norton Fitzwarren running a mere 159 minutes behind schedule.


Seeing Double and Williton


Published on 24th June 2017

You could be forgiven for thinking your seeing double at Williton Shed on the West Somerset Railway, as the DEPG locomotive overhauls near completion there will soon be two operational Class 33's and two operations Class 35's on the line, all wearing the same locomotive liveries.

On the 24th June 2017 Class 33 No.6575 (33057) is seen at Williton on a driver training experience, passing sister locomotive No.6566 (33048) which is due to have its fuel tanks refitted this coming week. Very soon the Crompton Twins will be reunited and could provide some interesting pairings in the future.

Also nearing the end of it's own 20 year restoration is Class 35 Hymek No.D7018, the locomotive is now well into its prep and paint stage, and shades of its original BR Blue (a livery it has never carried in preservation) are clearly visible on Williton Shed. Sister locomotive No.D7017 waits patiently to be reunited with her twin. After such an extensive overhaul and absence from traffic it will be a pleasure to hear a pair of Hymeks working along the length of the line once again.

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



 Ground Breaking New Trains

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)


Published on 22nd June 2017

Thursday 22nd June 2017 was another ground breaking day for the new GWR IEP fleet which are currently on test in the South West.

No. 800003 'Queen Elizabeth II - Queen Victoria' and No. 800004 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel / Sir Daniel Gooch' combined to become the first IEP sets to reach Penzance. Having visited the tip of Cornwall the pair returned to North Pole Depot in London and also recessed in Platform 4 at Taunton for an hour. In the coming months these new IEP sets will start to replace the iconic HSTs which have operated on the route since the 1980s. No. 800003 'Queen Elizabeth II - Queen Victoria' leads the 5X92 12:47 Penzance - North Pole through 40 Steps, Taunton on route back to London.


Diesel Gala - Bonus Footage



Published on 21st June 2017

We are very pleased to bring you additional 'Bonus Footage' from the West Somerset Railway Diesel Gala last weekend, we had some footage left over and it seemed a waste not to use it, so we've created a bonus collection of clips.


Steam and Diesel Icons


Published on 17th June 2017

LMS Steam passed through the Taunton area on Saturday 17th June 2017 hauling Vintage Trains 'Whistling Ghost V' charter.

Sadly the tour was held up in the Swindon area due to GWR service requiring attention from the Wiltshire Fire Brigade at Swindon. After being looped for a period of time while the incident ahead was dealt with the tour was finally able to get underway again. Running 62 minutes behind schedule LMS Pacific No. 46233 'Duchess of Sutherland' steams through Creech St Michael on route to Bishops Lydeard.


GWR heritage repaint powercar No.43002 is now looking nicely weather worn on the front end of the powercar with the classic sweeping black marks above the cab window. On Saturday 17th June 2017 the powercar lead the 1C77 10:06 Paddington - Penzance service with powercar No.43148 on the rear of the set. The unique liveried HST powercar is seen passing Creech St Michael on the approaches to Taunton.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Tides of Change


Published on 15th June 2017

The tides of change and rolling stock upgrades are certainly changing in the railway scene in Taunton.

Thursday 15th June 2017 saw more daylight testing of the new IEP sets in the South West. Two services operated to Taunton arriving within minutes of one another on test. No. 800003 'Queen Elizabeth II - Queen Victoria' is pictured in Platform 3 at Taunton having arrived working the 5X20 09:06 Swindon - Taunton while No. 800004 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel / Sir Daniel Gooch' arrives with the 5Z19 07:34 North Pole IEP Depot to Taunton. The pair then reversed and followed one another to Bristol Temple Meads.

Just days after having been named at London Paddington by HRH Queen Elizabeth II, the new IEP No. 800003 'Queen Elizabeth II - Queen Victoria' is pictured in Platform 3 at Taunton having arrived on test with the 5X20 09:06 Swindon to Taunton. The set then reversed direction and returned to Bristol Temple Meads.

(Photo: 50009 Neptune)

(Photo: 50009 Neptune)



Published on 15th June 2017

Freightliner liveried Class 66/5 No.66514 leads the TRT returning into Taunton at at 06:45 having spent the night relaying track near Cardiff.

Catching the early morning light the 6X04 04:33 Leckwith North Junction to Fairwater Yard passes through Platform 2 at Taunton on the 15th June 2017. No.66549 was also attached to the rear of the set.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)


Hercules and Defiance depart


Published on 14th June 2017

Having had their short break in Somerset all be it doing a spot of sunbathing at Bishops Lydeard, Class 50s No. 50007 'Hercules' & No.

50049 burst back into life on Wednesday 14th June. The pair of locomotives coupled up to WSR Diesel Gala visitors Class 20s No.D8059 and D8188 to return them to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterely. The colourful 0Z50 08:56 from Bishops Lydeard is pictured passing Bathpool and Cogload.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Tony Christie)

(Photo: Shaun Mockridge)



Freightliner Powerhaul Livery


Published on 14th June 2017

Freightliner have a limited amount of their Class 66s painted in 'powerhaul' livery.

The revised Freightliner branding was meant to be corporate change of livery for the company but it has been very slow in applying it fleet wide. Many of the former Direct Rail Services Class 66/4s do carry the livery as these have been the most recent repainted locomotives. We feature two such examples, on Monday 12th June 2017 Class 66/4 No.66420 returns light engine to Fairwater Yard from Westbury, see passing through Taunton Station. On Wednesday 14th June 2017 Class 66/4 No. 66528 'Madge Elliot MBE Borders Railway Opening 2015' operated the 09:47 Fairwater Yard to Doncaster Wood Yard used concrete sleepers, the colouful set is seen passing Charlton near Cogload Junction at the start of its 200 mile journey to Doncaster.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Tony Christie)

(Photo: Paul Clarke)



West Somerset Railway - 2017 Diesel Gala Weekend



Published on 11th June 2017

As the Quantock Hills slowly begin to return to the sound of steam and whistles, the West Somerset Railway Heritage Diesels return to their base's after three days of being let loose on the nineteen mile branch line between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead.

The 2017 event marked a milestone for the WSR with the first full blown Diesel Gala event in years, the first time steam was stopped in favor of taking the brave step of letting another era of British Rail history take centre stage. Adding local breweries as part of The Ale Trail (located at Bishops Lydeard, Stogumber and Minehead) was also another great step forward in developing something unique for the future of Diesel Gala events on the line. Later running on the Saturday was also welcomed. The three visiting locomotives, two BR Green Class 20s and a BR Blue Class 26 were ideally suited to the line, and provided some great sounds for passengers to enjoy. The home fleet of locomotives from the Diesel Electric Preservation Group also performed faultlessly. Because of the amount of photographs which are inevitably taken at such events, and then shared on most social media platforms we tried to do something a little different to record this new look gala event. The above video (hosted on our TauntonTrains Youtube Channel) was recorded over two days of the 2017 event and provides an alternative view of the gala weekend which hasn't been tried before for this type of event.


Published on 10th June 2017

Recently there has been a discarded Osprey wagon located in the tamper sidings behind Platform 2 at Taunton.

Freightliner Class 66 No.66545 retrieved errant wagon DB996584 from the Tamper Sidings on Saturday 10th June 2017, and moved it to Fairwater Yard. The wagon was removed from an engineers train (6W08) on April 22nd. *taken by trained and qualified personnel*

(Photo: Leigh Wills)


Harry Patch

(Photo: Robert Latham)

Published on 10th June 2017

GWR Remembrance powercar No.43172 which commemorates World War vetans and Henry John (Harry) Patch (17 June 1898 – 25 July 2009).

He was dubbed in his later years the Last Fighting Tommy, and was a British supercentenarian, briefly the oldest man in Europe and the last surviving combat soldier of the First World War from any country. The unique powercar was captured at Taunton on June 10th 2017, and is seen paused at Taunton while working the 1A35 17:42 Penzance - Paddington late evening service.

To view the gallery, please click here.


 West Somerset Railway - 2017 Diesel Gala Weekend

Published on 10th June 2017

The first two days of the West Somerset Railway Diesel Gala weekend have gone without a hitch.

The event attracted lots of visitors to the line and the Ale Trail (at Bishops Lydeard, Stogumber and Minehead) seemed popular and busy. On Saturday 10th June 2017 British Rail Green Class 20s No.D8188 (20188) and No.D8059 (20059) at pictured at Bishops Lydeard ready to depart with the 16:55 to Minehead. The pair have been experiencing problems with dual power throughout the weekend but continue to operate and keep to time on their diagrams, and seemed well received by gala visitors.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


Diesel Gala Moves


Published on 7th June 2017

As the West Somerset Railway Diesel Gala weekend approaches the final set of locomotives were delivered to Bishops Lydeard from Kidderminster by GBRf on June7th 2017.

GB hired a pair of Class 50s from The Fifty Fund to move a pair of BR Green Class 20s to the railway. No. 50049 'Defiance' and No. 50007 'Hercules' transported Class 20s No.D8188 & No.D8059 as the 0Z50 08:49 from Kidderminster. The Class 50s will remain on the WSR during the weekend but will not be used in the event, as their appearance was too late to change the WSR timetables and there were no trained crews available to drive them over the weekend. The Diesel filled fun starts on Friday 9th June 2017, be sure to visit the line to enjoy a different era of British Railways travel on the great mix of locomotives on offer.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

(Photo: Paul Clarke)



To view news stories from May 2017, click here, or for news from July 2017, click here.