News Archive for December 2017

Direct Rail Services head West


Published on 28th December 2017

Direct Rail Services operated a light engine movement between their base at Crewe Gresty Bridge Depot and Plymouth on the 28th December 2017.

No. 57303 'Pride of Carlisle' is seen leading No. 37059 while working the 0Z63 09:35 Crewe Gresty Bridge - Plymouth diagram. The pair were being positioned in readiness to return a rake of stored Mk3 coaching stock from Laira Depot to Crewe on the 29th December. The rake of coaching stock was formerly operated by Virgin Trains (West Coast), painted in similar colours to their Pendolino EMU's. After use with Virgin the stock then found a new home with Anglia Railways until it was surplus to requirements and stored at Laira Depot pending a new operator. The stock will soon be used as part of the new loco hauled diagrams with Northern Trains.
Having spent the night in Plymouth the pair of locomotives collected four former Virgin Mk3 coaches from Laria Depot and also turned the locomotives on the Laira triangle. Each of the coaches have had under frame and bogie work carried out under contract at Laira prior to their move. Class 57/3 No. 57303 'Pride of Carlisle' leads Class 37 No.37059 up Whiteball Bank while working the 5Z63 10:55 Laira - Crewe Carriage Sidings hauling Mk3s No.11018, 10212, 12133 and 12078. The working also paused in Platform 4 at Taunton for a period stop prior to continuing.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)


(Photo: Paul Clarke)

(Photo: Paul Clarke)



Christmas Engineering

(Photo: Adam Snow)

Published on 27th December 2017

Planned engineering blockades in connection with overhead electrification work,and crossrail construction between Reading and Paddington saw a revised timetable in operation over the Christmas and New Year Period.

On the 27th December no trains operated into or out of London Paddington. Some HST services were diverted to arrive at London Marylebone, while others terminated short at Reading for onward road transport. One such altered service was the 1A78 06:45 Penzance - Reading (which would normally run through to London Paddington). Heritage liveried powercar No. 43185 'Great Western' leads No.43176 across the Somerset Levels near Oath in glorious sunlight, having called at Taunton ten minutes beforehand. The set returned west later that day working the 1C82 12:20 Reading to Penzance service.

To view the gallery, please click here.


West Somerset Railway - Santa Express


Published on 23rd December 2017

As the festive season approaches Christmas Day tourist attractions also create their own attractions.

The Santa Express trains operated on the West Somerset Railway were in full swing on the 23rd December 2017, with three services operating to cater for all the excited children wishing to see Santa Claus and request their presents before Christmas Eve. BR 7F No. 53808 hauled the 10:10 Bishops Lydeard - Williton service followed close behind by GWR Manor No. 7822 'Foxcote Manor' hauling the 10:30 from Bishops Lydeard. Also operating on the line was GWR Hall No. 6960 'Raveningham Hall' between Minehead and Williton.
We captured the first two services of the day from Bishops Lydeard passing Nornvis Bridge on the approach to Crowcombe Heathfield station, before relocating to Williton to captured No. 7822 'Foxcote Manor' while it changed ends ready to return to Bishops Lydeard.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Taunton Trains image becomes a painting


Published on 23rd December 2017

Towards the end of November Taunton Trains was contacted an artist wishing to turn an image featured on our website into a painting.

The painting was to be a gift for his father for Christmas, his father having worked on the railways for the majority of his life. Ashley Peck normally paints aviation scenes but turned his hand to railways knowing his fathers love of the Class 35 Hymek which originally sparked his fathers interest. He identified an image taken at Crowcombe on the West Somerset Railway featuring No.D7017 on a goods train. We were only too happy to help with the project and we were able to supply a high resolution image to assist with the detailing and painting process.

Ashley has also recently set up his own website to sell his art work which can be found here: AVIATION PAINTINGS

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Ashley Peck)



 SAPHOS Trains Offer Low Fares on Steam Charter tickets for 2018!


Published on 20th December 2017

Jeremy Hoskings' newest rail organisation, Saphos Trains, has announced its 2018 tour programme, and we are pleased to announce that two of the Charters will be calling at Taunton.

The 24th June 2018 and 1st July 2018 will see the 'English Riviera Express' take to the South West operating from Bristol Temple Meads through to Kingswear.
The charters will feature one of four operational Steam Locomotives either SR 'West Country' Pacific No. 34046 'Braunton', LMS 'Royal Scot' 4-6-0 No. 46100 'Royal Scot' or BR Standard 7MT Pacific No. 70000 'Britannia', and on each occasion the locomotive will be paired with a freshly overhauled and restored rake of crimson and cream liveried coaches.
Standard Tickets are normally priced at £95 and First Class at £145, however for the 2018 season ticket prices will be reduced by 50% along with a healthy discount on Premier Dining. Meaning passengers will be able to have a day out to Devon by steam train for as little as £46!
Tickets go on sale Friday 22nd December on the SAPHOS Trains website: www.saphostrains.com.


Published on 19th December 2017

The 19th December 2017 would well count as the wackiest working of the year award.

DB Cargo hauled both their RHTT set and their Mendip Aggregate empties back to Westbury on the same train. The working which no doubt came about because of a lack of crew saw the 7C28 13:44 Exeter Riverside to Whatley Quarry formed of work stained Class 66 No.66127 together with DB Red liveried No.66041 hauling two RHTT wagons and a rake of empty aggregate wagons. DB Class 59 No.59201 was attached to the rear having worked the 7C27 Westbury to Exeter Riverside earlier that morning. The ensemble passes Cogload Junction heading for Westbury.

(Photo: Simon Harling)


First 800/3 nine car Class 800 visits Taunton

(Photo: Jamie Dyke)

Published on 18th December 2017

The first GWR Class 800/3 nine car set visited Taunton on test on the 18th December 2017.

The nine car sets were originally to be built as electric only to replace HST sets in electrified areas however a change of specification has lead to these sets being produced as Bi-mode, meaning they can also operate in diesel power away from overhead wires to locations such as Taunton. There are expected to be 21 Class 800/3's in the GWR fleet. Having arrived from London Paddington with the 5X30 test run, No.800302 prepares to depart with the 5X31 17:39 Taunton - London Paddington test diagram.


'Shelia' and 'Charlotte' stand in for Network Rail NMT

(Photo: Adam Snow)

Published on 17th December 2017

Colas Rail Freight provided their two Class 67 locomotives as a substitute for the Network Rail New Measurement Train HST on Friday 15th December, while the HST was out of traffic for maintenance.


No. 67023 'Sheila' and No. 67027 'Charlotte' are pictured at Taunton having arrived back from Bristol Temple Meads before forming the final leg of the the days track testing diagram as the 1Z19 18:57 Taunton - London Paddington.


GWR starts testing with shortened HST 'Castle' sets


Published on 14th December 2017

Wednesday 13th December 2017 saw the first test run of a shortened HST set in the South West, the four coach formations will take some getting used to after years of the sleek and long eight coach sets which have frequented the South West since their introduction in the 1980's.

Powercars No.43163 and No.43135 were used for the 5Z25/ 5Z26 trial between Laira Depot and Bristol Temple Meads. The set was captured in both directions passing Taunton Station in inclement winter weather.

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

(Photo: Paul Clarke)



 Tauntonians Explore Lincolnshire


Published on 10th December 2017

Pathfinder Railtours operated a rare charter which started at Taunton on Saturday December 9th 2017.

'The Lincolnshire Explorer' charter used a pair of DB Cargo Class 67's for the journey to the Lincoln Christmas Fayre and its final destination Barnetby. The charter used a rake of BR Blue Mk2 coaching stock from Riviera Trains and the colourful combination of EWS liveried Class 67 No.67024 coupled with Arriva Blue liveried Class 67 No.67003. The tour departed from Taunton at 05:20 in the morning travelling into the snow covered Midlands before continuing north east to Lincoln. Becuase of a pre booked Network Rail engineering blockade between Weston-super-Mare and Taunton the return charter was only able to return as far as Weston-super-Mare. Passengers who had joined the train at Taunton in the early hours of Saturday morning were provided with onward travel with Berrys Coaches back to Taunton Station.


Published on 5th December 2017

As the annual leaf fall season draws to a close the final workings of the Network Rail - Rail Head Treatment Train (RHTT) are operating in the South West.

As is traditional with the filthy work on which they are employed, both locomotives are now a grubby shade of brown having not been washed in weeks.
On Saturday DB Cargo Class 66's No.66127 and No.66027 smoke and spray their way through the village of Creech St Michael on the approaches to Taunton while working the 3J13 09:07 Westbury - St Blazey via Salisbury diagram.

To view the gallery, please click here.

DB Cargo Class 66's No.66127 and No.66027 smoke and spray their way through the village of Creech St Michael on the approaches to Taunton on Saturday 2nd December 2017 working the 3J13 09:07 Westbury - St Blazey via Salisbury.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


GWR Class 800 testing continues as HST's solider on!


Published on 4th December 2017

Testing of the new GWR Class 800's regularly brings a Class 800 or Class 802 to Taunton most weekdays from their North Pole Depot base in London.

On Monday 4th December two Class 800's No. 800004 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel / Sir Daniel Gooch' and No. 800003 'Queen Elizabeth II - Queen Victoria' operated the 5Z19 09:34 North Pole IEP - Taunton Signal E483 diagram before returning to as the 5Z23 13:52 departure to North Pole. During their layover at Taunton on the relief line, the pair were captured alongside the long serving High Speed Train which continues to operate services between Penzance, Plymouth and London Paddington each day. Great Western HST set formed of No.43195 and No.43142 pass the Class 800's while working the 1C79 11:06 London Paddington - Plymouth at 40 Steps.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



 Office of Rail and Road (ORR) release Station Usage Data


Published on 2nd December 2017

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has released the yearly statistics for passenger station usage of Railway Stations in the United Kingdom.

Taunton Station ranks as the 402nd busiest station in the United Kingdom. Passenger numbers have steadily been increasing from 1,315,144 passengers 2014-15, to 1,375,546 passenger in 2015-16, to 1,433,160 passengers in 2016-2017. The data illustrates an increase of between 57,000-60,000 passengers using Taunton Station each year.
Passenger figures collated by the ORR are based on estimates of passengers entering, exiting and changing at each station, with data sourced from ticket sales, ticket barrier data and on board ticket sales.


 GWR's next HST goes 'Off Lease'

Published on 2nd December 2017

Friday 1st December saw the next GWR HST set taken off lease and sent to St Phillips Marsh depot before continuing its journey to Haymarket via the East Coast Mainline on Saturday 2nd December.


Debranded HST powercars No.43037 & No.43126 were the third set of powercars to transfer to Scotland where they will become part of the Scotrail franchise. Having been based in the South West since they were introduced the transfers to Scotland highlight the sweeping change that is now happening and will see new IEP services further introduced into operation over the coming months.
No.43037 & No.43126 arrived at Haymarket Depot on the 2nd December formed of just five coaches 42076, 40210, 42033, 44011, & 42035. The set will be used for driver training between Edinburgh and Dundee using a four coach formation. One coach will be removed from the set for staff and maintenance training at Haymarket Depot. Coaches 42034, 42007, 41024, and 42559 are thought to have been removed at Doncaster Works on route.
Scotrail expects their refurbished HST sets to start their passenger operations during May 2018.

The latest Great Western HST to go off lease operated on the 1st December 2017. Debranded powercars No.43037 and No.43126 operated the 5Z43 11:42 Laira - St Philips Marsh with set LA01 (42076, 40210, 42033, 42034, 42007, 44011, 41024, 42559, 42035). The set catches the low Winter sunlight passing Cogload Junction.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


GWR IEP Testing Continues


Published on 2nd December 2017

Testing and training on the new GWR Class 800 and 802 IEP's is continuing in the South West.

With some sets now in regular traffic, others continue to be provide testing of on board systems and training for staff on their operation. It's not uncommon for several sets to visit Taunton each week on such diagrams. Friday 1st December 2017 saw No. 800004 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel / Sir Daniel Gooch' operate from North Pole IEP Depot to Taunton before returning back to its London based depot.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



First Class 150/1's to be taken off lease

GWR Class 150/1 No.150104 passes Cogload Junction on the 1st December 2017 while working the 1C45 13:19 Bristol Temple Meads - Exeter St Davids stopping service.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 2nd December 2017

With sweeping cascades of railway stock are beginning to happen across the GWR network following the introduction of new trains, the first of GWR's Class 150/1 DMUs will be taken off lease in the first two weeks of December.

Taunton Trains has learned that 150102, 150122, 150124 will be the first of the class to disappear.
The introduction of Class 387 Electric Multiple Units in the Thames Valley has released Class 166 Turbos to operate on the Taunton - Cardiff stopping diagrams. As Class 150/1's all have sealed flat cab ends, operationally these units have always been a problem for GWR with regards to the guard only being able to be in one part of the train once coupled to another. Hence it makes sense that these units are the first to be released from the Taunton - Cardiff stopping services. It's believed GWR will be retaining the Class 150/2 units which have connecting corridors.


To view news stories from November 2017, click here, or for news from January 2018, click here.