Depot News – week ending 16-May-2021

Depot News – week ending 16-May-2021


Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) has again been busy, running crew training specials between Bishops Lydeard and Williton in preparation for the restart of public services next Saturday 22nd May 2021. Here’s a view of D6566 at the head of a return working at Williton from earlier this month:

On Saturday 1st May 2021, D6566 (33 048) had just taken over from sister D6575 (33 057) at Williton and was preparing to work the return leg of the crew training special to Bishops Lydeard. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0

D6566 is in action again this weekend, working on Saturday and Sunday on crew refresher training specials.


Also booked for a run from Williton to Bishops Lydeard on Saturday was Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526, the purpose of the trip being a visit to Westridge Shed to go over the pit for an underframe examination. Unfortunately, a snag was encountered and the loco didn’t get to leave Williton, although she did make several runs within station limits while shunting D7017 and D6575 so that she could get out of the yard. More details on this next week.

Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 runs within station limits at Williton on Saturday 15th May 2021. Image captured from the Williton North railcam, courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©


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Progress at Williton has been focused on 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ during the last week as we try to close down some of the tasks that are preventing us from starting the engine. Again we managed to open the depot for four days out of the last seven, so this is becoming a ‘new normal’ now.


47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – The old batteries, 48 in total, were removed and were palletised for return to the supplier for recycling. The four battery boxes were tidied up in readiness for the new batteries to go straight in. Once installed, the new batteries will allow us to start the engine, which will then allow us to check the various pieces of equipment that are run from the auxillary generator (compressors, exhausters, blowers and control circuits).

Further progress was made on the detailing of the number 2 cab, the photo below shows the work evolving:

The number 2 cab of Class 47 number 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ now looking much better with the instrument binnacle repainted in black at Williton Depot on 10th May 2021. Photo by Natalie Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


In addition to the tasks already mentioned, effort was put into rectifying a leak in the cooling system and resolving an issue with a faulty drain valve in the compressed air system, so thanks go out to our volunteers who paused their work on their ‘normal’ projects to join in with the work on the ’47’.

Class 47 number 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ stands on number 3 road inside Williton Depot on 20th April 2021. Photo by Chris Shields © CC BY-NC 3.0


Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 was the subject of a trial of a set of axle weighbars on Monday 10th May 2021 when Liam and Harry from WSR Restorations put their efforts into pumping the hydraulic jacks that lift the axle just clear of the rail so that the axle load can be read from a pressure gauge that is calibrated in tons. The trial was abandoned because the track at that particular point was not sufficiently flat, so the readings were erroneous. The weighing will be repeated on another occasion when the loco can be moved to a section of level track that has easy access on both sides.

Hydraulic lifting equipment in place on number 1 axle of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) at Williton yard on 10th May 2021. Photo by Harry Spencer © CC BY-NC 3.0

Close-up of the hydraulic lifting equipment in place on number 1 axle of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) at Williton yard on 10th May 2021. Photo by Harry Spencer © CC BY-NC 3.0


Really useful engines – Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) faces off with Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 on number 1 road at Williton Diesel Depot on a bright and sunny Spring day, Monday 10th May 2021. Photo by Harry Spencer © CC BY-NC 3.0


Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week.


Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – no change this week.


Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – this loco is undergoing an assessment of the work that needs to be done before she can be returned to service. The work has to be evaluated and costed because this loco will be the subject of a fund raising campaign to raise money to cover the cost of the work. The revenue generated by our new booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD” will go into this fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks !


Yard clearance – last Saturday and again last Tuesday, several volunteers exerted some serious effort to shift two stacks of life-expired concrete sleepers that had been left in the yard during the winter period. This clearance will allow us to move locos that are on number 2 and 3 roads, eventually allowing 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ to escape from the confines of the loco shed, her place being eagerly awaited by D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’.


Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work maintaining, restoring, shifting, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !



BOOK REVIEW – This week, we feature an interesting and unusual book entitled ‘TRAIN DOCTOR – troubleshooting with Diesel and Electric traction’ by Roger Senior, published by Pen & Sword in 2016. This book runs to more than 200 pages of fairly small print and is full of information and anecdotes about the author’s experiences as he worked his way from Traction Fitter at Leeds Holbeck depot in the late 1960s right through to becoming the Resident Engineer on the Mk 4 coach fleet on GNER.

This book contains plenty of detail of how things went wrong and how they were corrected, with the author being an expert on the subject, having spent 16 years of his career riding on HSTs and Class 91s to make sure they ran properly (or in some cases, failed less often!).

This book is available from various sellers but our DEPG ONLINE STORE has one copy that has been donated by a member for the purpose of fund raising, so we are offering it at £12.50, the entire proceeds of which will go to the D1010 restoration fund.

If you have railway books that you want to donate to us, please let us know by return email or by using this contact form so that we can work out an economic way of getting them from you. We appreciate your efforts to give us more items to sell to raise funds for the DEPG fleet.



ON SHED: Last week’s feature on Class 03 locomotive 03 382 (formerly D2382) generated several responses from readers who had knowledge of 03 382 when she was at Bristol Bath Road depot. We also mentioned sister 03 119 (formerly D2119) that was in the care of the DEPG for a while and remains safe today at the Epping Ongar Railway in Essex.

Let’s not forget the WSR’s D2133 which entered service at Taunton depot in 1960 and never carried a TOPS (Class 03) number, being withdrawn from BR service in July 1969 following the closure of Bridgwater docks. This loco was immediately purchased by British Cellophane for use in their Bridgwater plant, and when rail traffic to that works ceased, she was offered to the WSR and has been based at Minehead ever since. In fact, this loco has never worked outside of Somerset !

The WSR’s Class 03 number D2133 at work on a civil engineering train near Dunster on 29th April 2021. Photo by Rich Hiscox © CC BY-NC 3.0


DEPG NEWS: The next DEPG Board meeting will take place on 22nd May 2021 so let me know ASAP if you have questions, topics or concerns that you would like to have tabled.

The next edition of the quarterly DEPG newsletter is in preparation and is planned for distribution in mid-June. What would you like to see in this edition ? Let us know what you would find interesting. Do you have a story to tell ? Write your own article or alternatively, provide us with the information and we will do the writing.

Membership – is your membership up to date ? If not, please renew by going to our Join Us page and selecting the appropriate membership ‘product’. This is a quick and easy way to keep your membership current. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember your membership number – we will sort that out for you.


DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

This week, we have another new product to add, this time a print of a watercolour painting by artist Mike Jeffries featuring the National Railway Museum’s Class 52 number D1023 ‘WESTERN FUSILIER’. This loco was one of the last four remaining in service on the last day of ‘Western’ operation, 26th February 1977. Affectionately known as ‘fusebox’, she was the ‘official’ tour loco, although she was not exclusively used for railtours – see Depot News week ending 28-Feb-21 and Depot News week ending 14-Feb-21.

This excellent print (495 x 360mm) is available for £10 and can be easily framed – it  would make a great companion to the D7017 print by Jonathan Clay, also available from our online store.


WSR NEWS: The WSR are continuing to enhance their timetables for the services that will start NEXT SATURDAY 22nd May 2021. The latest additions feature temptations such as Fish & Chips or Cream Teas, all of which sound like the perfect accompaniment to a trip along the WSR. Check out the different colour timetables and you will see the catering services that go with most of these options. There is a huge effort going into the preparation, marketing and running of these trains, so it is really important to support the WSR to ensure that these services are a commercial success. Please buy a ticket if you can.


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