First, we need to make sure that the current duty locomotive, Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) is ready for action. This loco is currently fully serviceable and is stabled alongside Platform 1 at Williton (WN) station (the ‘down’ line) in the company of a brake van (or guard’s van). We expect that she will be moved to Bishops Lydeard (BL) to support the planned staff training specials that will operate from the 19th April in the BL-WN section. These specials will run two or three round trips on each Saturday between the 19th April and the 15th May.
When services start on 22nd May on the BROWN timetable, they will be steam hauled from BL to WN with the loco running around its train at WN for the return leg to BL. On the Saturdays in May and the Wednesdays in June, these services will include catering, with morning service offering ‘Tea, Coffee and Cake’, the midday service offering ‘Fish & Chips’ and the afternoon service offering ‘Cream Teas’. Click the links for more details. One of our ‘Cromptons’ will need to be on standby at BL to support all of these operations.
Saturdays in June see an extension of some services to Watchet and Blue Anchor, under the GREEN timetable, again steam hauled both ways. Then, in July, the RED timetable includes non-stop services from BL through to Minehead plus one Minehead to Watchet service, again all steam hauled.
For the DEPG, our big part comes into focus on Saturday 3rd July, where the BLUE timetable includes a 60-mile diesel-hauled service that starts and ends in Minehead with an additional shuttle between BL and WN. This opportunity for diesel haulage has come about due to the non-availability of the DMU this season. In total, the current published timetable shows 27 days where the BLUE timetable is in operation. This significant amount of running gives us the opportunity to use Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 and Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 on some days, while our stalwart Class 33s D6566 (33 048) and D6575 (33 057) will cover the majority of the workings.
These BLUE timetable workings will provide an hour stopover at Williton between 1320 and 1430, so we hope to be able to find enough volunteers to be able to open our depot on each running day and put on a bit of a ‘show and tell’.
The origination point of Minehead for the BLUE timetable is not ideal for most diesel fans, but it is an opportunity that has been presented to us and we now need to do our very best to make sure that every ticket is sold and that these services are a commercial success. PLEASE TRY TO SUPPORT THESE DIESEL-HAULED SERVICES! We will announce our plans for haulage as soon as we can, but this depends on volunteers completing refresher training so that we can provide sufficient crews to cover this workload. It also depends on locomotives being available for service….
For Class 33 D6566 (33 048), work is ongoing to resolve the oil dilution issue but the investigation reports show that the engine oil is still within limits for further use, so the loco will be made available for service in time for the staff training services that start on 17th April.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 is waiting for an opportunity for a test run to BL so that she can go over the pit for an underframe inspection. If all goes well, she will be available for use immediately after that.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 is currently out of service for attention to the gear-change mechanism in the Mekydro transmission, but plans have been made to resolve this in time for the summer services. In the worst case, the loco will be locked in second gear and will perform its duties in that way (and few will be able to tell the difference).
So, we WILL be READY !
We can keep you informed of diesel loco workings if you join our DIESELGEN e-mail bulletin service. Here’s some photos from previous years to remind us what we have in store from July onwards:
D1010 – After the excitement of last week when the ‘A’ engine of Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ was started up (see last week’s Depot News posting), this weekend is a lower key affair as the ‘B’ engine receives care and attention. This engine, although fully serviceable, cannot be started because the transmission has been removed for investigation and repair, so the ‘B’ engine needs to be lubricated and turned over manually to keep all of her moving parts from seizing up. Because of the positions of our locomotives and rolling stock in the crowded South Yard at Williton, it is necessary for D1010 to be able to move herself so that we can release Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ from the loco shed some time later this month.
47 077 – This loco needs to have some work completed before she can be removed from the shed. The key outstanding tasks are the re-installation of the Serck hydrostatic radiator shutter panels, all of which were refurbished last year and are lined up ready and waiting, and the reinstallation of some other roof panels to make her watertight and able to be moved outside. Then there are several internal tasks to be completed before the loco can be made ready for inspection. If lockdown rules permit, these tasks will be completed before the end of April.
D7017 – Good news this week because a complete new set of primary suspension coil springs have arrived at Williton depot. The photo below shows the brand new parts, set to scale against a steel tape measure. Many thanks to all who donated towards the purchase of these parts. The elliptical secondary suspension springs are to be the subject of a new fundraising campaign on JustGiving.
Other than reported above, the status of our locos remains unchanged this week, due to lockdown. Many thanks to all of our volunteers for their continuing work to keep our locomotives in the best condition possible, considering the circumstances.
BOOK REVIEW – This week, we feature the first of our pre-owned books to be offered for sale via the DEPG online store. The honour goes to ‘The Power of the PEAKS‘ by Keith Montague, published by Oxford Press in 1978. This hardback book has 128 pages and more than 200 black-and-white photos covering the three classes that make up the ‘Peaks’, namely classes 44, 45 and 46.
Being one of the popular ‘The Power of ….’ series, these books are very well known and may already occupy your shelf, but if not, BUY THIS ONE and you will be able to enjoy the many and varied photos that cover the career of this heavyweight class, from inception through to publishing date. There are several pre-owned copies available from online resellers but we are selling this book to raise funds for the DEPG, so buy our copy instead. We are asking for £10 plus £3.50 p&p which is close to the going rate.
If you have books or magazines that you want to donate to us, please let us know by emailing email@example.com or by using this contact form so that we can provide a postal address to you. Our diesel depot is only open for a few days of the week, so it won’t do to have a pile of packages outside the gate, but we will soon work out an alternative arrangement. We appreciate your efforts to give us more items to sell to raise funds for the DEPG fleet.
DEPG NEWS: The synopsis of the Board Meeting that was held last Saturday will be available shortly and will be circulated with the roundup next week. Attendance at Williton depot is still determined on the basis of “urgent and essential” tasks only, but the number of tasks falling into this category has been increasing steadily. We hope to be able to relax restrictions soon and get back to work, but we will be following the guidance from the UK Government and adapting our procedures to suit. Meanwhile, all volunteers are being kept up to date via a separate emailing list.
An update regarding social media coverage – the two videos of our Class 52 D1010 engine run by Tom and Leroy that were posted last week on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram reached more than 8,000 views within a matter of days, showing that our outreach has grown significantly during the last few years. Many thanks to DEPG volunteer Natalie for managing our channels and raising our profile !
DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!
Our new booklet, ‘D1010 – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD’ is going to be running on the press on Tuesday this week, and as soon as the proof is approved, the batch will be run during the following 3 days. This will allow us to get booklets out in the mail starting from April 12th so PLACE YOUR ORDER NOW ! This booklet covers our Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ and its life in preservation, from Foster Yeoman’s quarry at Merehead to the West Somerset Railway to Minehead. All proceeds go to the D1010 restoration fund.
WSR NEWS: The WSR ran another of their Zoom sessions for volunteers on Wednesday 31st March and well over 70 volunteers joined to listen to WSR Director Steve Williams run through the status of the significant number of responsibilities that fall under the heading of Business Development on the WSR. Well done to Steve and well done to the Board of the WSR for starting – and maintaining – these informative monthly sessions.