News Archive for November 2017

 Michael Portillo makes a Great Western journey to Taunton

Published on 24th November 2017

Famous former politician and railway travel presenter Michael Portillo visited Taunton on the 25th November 2017.

He appeared at The Brewhouse Theatre presenting his talk 'Tale of Two Halves', the biographical evening recollected his time in Government and his more recent 9 series of Railway Journeys broadcast by the BBC. Mr Portillo announced during the entertaining evening that he'd traveled to Taunton 'using his senior railcard' for the princely sum of £46. We were lucky enough to catch up with Mr Portillo at Taunton Station before his train home, where he kindly agreed to one last photo before he returned to London Paddington. For the record keepers among us he caught the 1A35 17:40 from Penzance formed of powercars No.43183 and No.43158.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 22nd November 2017

As an image which shows how confusing the current rail sector is in the UK, this image provides another reminder.

A former DRS Class 66 No.66413 is pictured on the 22nd November 2017 shunting a rake of DB Cargo 80T 'Lobster' wagons on the Fairwater Yard head shunt. The locomotive is now operated by Freightliner but carries the former Direct Rail Services colours. The Class 66/4 is one of the last of the former DRS fleet still operating in its old operator colours.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Simon Harling)

 Night Riviera 'Sleeper' suffers more operational problems

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)

Published on 21st November 2017

The trials and tribulations of the Night Rivera sleeper have been well documented on Taunton Trains over the years.

The service was back in the news on Monday 20th November when Class 57 No. 57604 'Pendennis Castle' slipped to a stand on Hemerdon Bank just outside Plymouth. The locomotive was working the 1A40 21:15 (Sun) Penzance - London Paddington service. The entire train was hauled back to Plymouth station by a Class 08 shunter dispatched from Laira Depot. Passengers were then woken from their berths and transferred onto a HST set (No.43150 & No.43194) for onward transfer to London, while the Night Rivera stock was towed to Laira.
During the day No. 57603 'Tintagel Castle' was sent light engine from Old Oak Common Depot to Laira passing Taunton at 13:34. The loco was to tow No. 57604 'Pendennis Castle' and the previous nights sleeper stock to Old Oak Common Depot, however this movement didn't pass Taunton until 22:25 leaving just an hour and twenty minutes before it was supposed to be leaving London to come back to Penzance. It was therefore not unexpected that passengers catching the 1C99 23:45 London Paddington - Penzance 'Night Rivera' service on the 20th November would be travelling on another HST set (No.43003 & No.43023) to Penzance.
The Night Riviera stock which had been towed to Old Oak Common depot on the 20th would now have to be towed all the way back to Cornwall on the 21st. Class 57 No. 57602 'Restormel Castle' was provided to haul the 5C99 10:28 Old Oak Common - Penzance T&RSMD where normal operational service of the Night Riviera resumed.

 First passenger service Class 800 arrives at Taunton

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 13th November 2017

History was made on Monday 13th November 2017 with the first passenger IEP service to Taunton.

Arriving in the darkness shortly before 20:30 and without ceremony Class 800's No.800011 and No.800013 operated the 1C24 17:30 London Paddington - Taunton service. This service was originally advertised to be just a single IEP from Bristol but it appears GWR are keeping the sets coupled for the time being. During the one hour layover at Taunton more GWR staff were familiarized with the Class operation. The sets then formed the 1A37 21:27 Taunton to London Paddington service.
The 1C24/1A37 diagrams are expected to be Class 800's although HST's could still substitute until the full fleet is deployed.

 GWR Class 800 Staff Training

Published on 4th November 2017

Class 800 IEP's No.800011 & 800013 operated a GWR staff training run on the 4th November 2017.

The purpose of the run from London to Taunton was to train and prepare platform staff on the fitting of disabled ramps to the new trains. The pair of new IEP's are pictured passing Creech St Michael working the 5Z44 09:12 London Paddington - Taunton via Bristol Temple Meads. Having called at Taunton the sets then returned to London Paddington as the 5Z45 12:56 departure.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

 Taunton Turbos now in public service

Published on 2nd November 2017

Class 166 former 'Thames Turbos' are now in public service and operating a regular service between Taunton and Cardiff.

On the 2nd November 2017 after early morning fog had lifted GWR Class 166 No.166216 arrives into Taunton having crossed over under 40 steps arriving into Platform 4 ready to work the 2D06 08:36 Taunton to Bristol Parkway stopping service.

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)

 Colas RHTT Driving Training for DB Cargo RHTT

Published on 2nd November 2017

Colas Rail Freight Class 66/8 No. 66849 'Wylam Dilly' and a consist of six loaded wagons of ballast passes through Taunton on the circuitous 6Z66 09:00 Tavistock Junction to Plymouth via Bristol, Bath & Westbury on Thursday 2nd November 2017.

The purpose of the movement was to further train Colas Tamper drivers on Class 66's in preparation to cover any shortfall in crews for the Rail Head Treatment Train. As the RHTT was already operating by this point an equivalent load of ballast wagons was provided. NO CAPTION

Colas Rail Freight Class 66/8 No. 66849 'Wylam Dilly' and a consist of six loaded wagons of ballast passes through Taunton on the circuitous 6Z66 09:00 Tavistock Junction to Plymouth via Bristol, Bath & Westbury on Thursday 2nd November 2017.

(Photo: S A Ginn)

To view news stories from October 2017, click here, or for news from December 2017, click here.