Depot News – week ending 06-Jun-21

Depot News – week ending 06-Jun-21

There is plenty to report this week because multiple activities have come together to allow our BR-Brush Type 4 Class 47 number 47 077 ‘NORTH STAR’ to emerge into the daylight under her own power and eventually reposition herself on what we call ‘number 1 road’ – which is the track that is parallel to the platform of Williton station.

BR-Brush Type 4 Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ emerges from Williton Diesel Depot under her own power on 5th June 2021. Image courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©


47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ coming out of the shed and approaching D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ under the watchful eye of WSR Operations Manager Paul Fleet on 5th June 2021. Photo by Bob Bond © CC BY-NC 3.0


The ‘new order’ at Williton Diesel Depot following the shunt that took place on 5th June 2021, resulting in 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ coming out of the shed and D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ going into the shed. Image courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©


‘NORTH STAR’ had been hidden away inside the loco shed since October 2019 which is when she was moved from the WSR Restorations paint shop in the North corner of the ‘Swindon Shed’ at Williton after being repainted into BR blue, in a style that she carried in the late 1970s when she was based at Cardiff Canton depot.

For the last 19 months she has been undergoing completion work and internal repainting following her bodywork repairs, but various Lockdowns have conspired to keep her out of sight for so long.

LATEST NEWS ON THIS LOCO is that she will soon be heading north to work on the NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS RAILWAY for a year or two. The loco will remain under the ownership of the DEPG so she will be earning much-needed income for the DEPG in a period when our normal level of income has been so badly affected by Covid-19. ‘NORTH STAR’ will be maintained by the NYMR while on her Yorkshire holiday and may see some use on Network Rail metals to Whitby, so her maintenance will be performed to mainline standards. This is exciting news for both groups and for followers of this celebrity loco ! The date of the move will be announced ASAP but is expected to be around the middle of this month. We will keep you posted.

Our Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ were busy again last weekend as they provided the ‘top and tail’ support for the WSR’s services to and from Watchet. This duty was covered by Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 on Saturday 29th May and it was great to see her out and about after such a long time, looking great and sounding so good. From Sunday through Wednesday 2nd June, the twice-daily working was covered by D6566 (33 048).


Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 hauls the empty coaching stock that will form the 1345 Watchet to Bishops Lydeard departure past Splash Point, just east of Watchet on Saturday 29th May 2021. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0


Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ D6566 (33 048, left) and D6575 (33 057, right) stand alongside WSR ‘mogul’ 9351 at Williton station on 1st June 2021. Photo by Chris Lawton © CC BY-NC 3.0


The next step in the return of WSR services was the extension to Blue Anchor that commenced yesterday using BR(W) 4-6-0 7828 ‘ODNEY MANOR’. These services do not need to be ‘top-and-tailed’ because there is a passing loop at Blue Anchor where the loco can run around its train for the return journey.

With the build-up of services continuing, it is necessary to perform more route refresher training for the drivers, guards and secondmen that will be involved, so another special working took place on Saturday 5th June using the WSRA’s Hawksworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W with haulage provided by Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048). These training runs repeat again on Monday and Friday this week – see our DIESELGEN bulletins for detailed information.


The return leg of the route refresher training special waits at Blue Anchor to pass the incoming steam-hauled service on Saturday 5th June 2021 with Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) at the head and driver John Leach in charge. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0



Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – this loco was started up at Williton on Saturday 5th June so that she could move under her own power to take up a temporary position in the yard before taking the place of 47 077 in the loco shed. However, the ‘Run Oil Pressure Switch’ had other ideas, and although the oil pressure was good, the switch refused to acknowledge this and as a result, the engine would not continue to run once the start button was released. This was a disappointment but it could not be allowed to disrupt the shunt plans, so 47 077 pushed D1010 along to number 4 road so that 0-4-0 diesel-hydraulic shunting loco ANDREW BARCLAY number 578 (ROF 1) could be coupled up to D1010 for the remainder of the shunt.


D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ is sandwiched between ‘Hymek’ D7017Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) and 47 077 ‘NORTH STAR’ on number 1 road at Williton on 5th June 2021. Image courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©


The short length of Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) was very useful when trying to move a very long locomotive in a small yard. The map below is an extract from that most useful of resources, and can be found under ‘Detailed Maps – WN’ on the ‘Maps of the Line’ page:


Williton Diesel Depot – extract from ‘Maps of the Line’ ‘Detailed Maps’ ‘WN’ by © CC BY-NC 3.0

An extract from the above has been marked up to show the designations of the lines in and around Williton Diesel Depot as follows:


Marked-up extract from ‘Maps of the Line’ ‘Detailed Maps’ ‘WN’ by © CC BY-NC 3.0


At the end of the shunt, D1010 was safely under cover in the loco shed on number 3 road so that body repairs can commence. Now all we have to do is raise money and start the restoration work. Do you have your copy of our new booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD” ? All of the revenue from the sales of this booklet will go into the D1010 restoration fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks !

MANY THANKS to all of our volunteers for preparing the yard and for working througout the day to get the shunt completed in a careful and safe way. Well done, much appreciated !


Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 was reported as having had some trouble maintaining the specified air pressure in her main air reservoir so Ian R prepared the spare Westinghouse compressor governor and Ian F gave it a fresh coat of paint. The spare was fitted to the loco and tested during the evening of Monday 31st May, and the loco was passed as fit to work her booked ‘top and tail’ duty the following day. Thanks to all for a quick response to an issue that was dealt with before it became a problem.


Refurbished Westinghouse compressor governor (orange cover, grey body) for Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) installed and tested on 1st June 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 was the subject of remedial work to her fuel supply system last week so the opportunity was taken on Saturday 5th June to run to Crowcombe Heathfield and back in the company of sister loco D6566 (acting as both a test load and as insurance). The run went well so D6575 is now ready for duty as required.

Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week due to the focus being on 47077.

Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – no change this week while the focus is on 47077.

Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the ‘Tuesday team’ continue their work fabricating a new set of steps from scratch. The new set follow the same pattern and have made using authentic ‘Admiralty pattern’ chequer plate so that there is no difference to the other three sets on the loco. Such attention to detail is important for a restoration project where the loco is being rebuilt from zero base.

Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – after her support work on the Watchet services last week, it was no surprise that D9526 would be called into action again as the primary motive power for the depot shunt. Everything went smoothly and the loco remains available for duties if required.

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 – due to lack of time this week, we will give a reminder about the book that we featured last week by well-known authors Stephen C. Marshall and Roger Geach entitled ‘Class 37s in the Far West’. This book is in stock and IS AVAILABLE FROM OUR ONLINE STORE. The proceeds from sales of this title will go into the D1010 restoration fund (by agreement with the authors).

This is a new book, but remember to also take a look at the pre-owned books on our DEPG ONLINE STOREthe entire proceeds of which will go to the D1010 restoration fund.

To help our sales of pre-owned books, please let us know if you have railway books that you want to donate to us. Contact us by replying to this 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: After skipping this feature for two weeks, it is about time that we brought it back with a bang, so here is a view of not one, not two but THREE ‘Warships’ passing through Exeter St Davids on their way to Plymouth Laira shed. This rare sighting shows 842 ‘ROYAL OAK’ towing 808 ‘CENTAUR’ towing 868 ‘ZEPHYR’ and was captured by Barry Gay on 14th April 1971, just six months before all three locomotives were to be withdrawn from service after being classified as ‘non-standard”. The youngest of these was 868 ‘ZEPHYR’, who had not quite turned 10 years old on the date of this photograph, being introduced to traffic on 18th May 1961.


North British Class 43 ‘Warship’ 842 ‘ROYAL OAK’ tows Swindon-built Class 42 relatives 808 ‘CENTAUR’ and 868 ‘ZEPHYR’ through Exeter St Davids en route to Plymouth Laira on 14th April 1971. Photo by Barry Gay © CC BY-NC 3.0


DEPG NEWS: The DEPG Board meeting took place last Sunday and a synopsis will be posted to the website soon (a special page will be created for the purpose). Two of the most notable news items are the agreement to send 47 077 ‘NORTH STAR’ out on hire to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for a period of one or more years and the agreement reached with WSR PLC for the DEPG to take ANDREW BARCLAY diesel-hydraulic 0-4-0 shunter number 578 (ROF 1) under a long-term care and maintenance agreement that will allow the DEPG the use of this machine for the next 10 years or beyond. Both of these major steps are in the interest of the DEPG for the longer term.

The ‘ROF’ shunter has an interesting story of its own and we don’t have time for that today, but will include it in another issue of roundup. We also need to add it to our website and include it in all of our reports going forward because it is now a part of the DEPG fleet.

As mentioned last week, our Publicity Officer, Mark Bladwell has organised a banner that is to be displayed at Williton Depot in view of the passing trains, and it has now been delivered and attached to the Ferry Wagon in the South Yard at Williton. Here’s a photo:


DEPG Ferry Wagon now adorned with a DEPG banner for the benefit of passing travellers. Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) looks on. Photo taken on 5th June 2021 by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


Another big success for Mark is the amount of press coverage that he has been able to generate for the diesel running days that were included under the BLUE timetable on the WSR website, including a big write-up in THE RAILWAY MAGAZINE. Unfortunately, due to the delays encountered on the Seaward Way crossing replacement project, the line to Minehead will not be open until October, so the blue timetable has had to be withdrawn.

However, all is not lost. Discussions with the WSR have resulted in at least five days of the RED timetable where we will be able to operate one of the public services using our diesels between Bishops Lydeard and Dunster so WATCH OUT for the announcement of what we intend to offer and when. The best way to keep informed is to watch our website home page or SIGN UP FOR DIESELGEN email bulletins.

The dates agreed so far for ‘Hymek’ D7018 running are:

  • 17 July
  • 31 July
  • 14 August
  • 25 September

In addition, we hope to run both Class 33s in multiple on 21 August as a tribute to the 60th birthdays of the pair. We will be making a big effort to promote these services to make sure that they run at a profit. This is what we need to do to ensure that we can get more running days. More patronage equals more opportunities; it is as simple as that.


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

The DEPG has now registered with the Lottery Commission and is now licensed to hold raffles, so be warned, raffles are on the way ! As we mentioned before, some of the donated pre-owned books are rare and will either become raffle prizes or will be auctioned to raise funds for D1010 so we are very grateful for all of your support – but we need more !

Our website will be updated to carry all of the news and all of the donated pre-owned books, just as soon as we can get to it. The focus of our voluntary efforts remains on 47 077 until she heads northwards.


WSR NEWS: The WSR have successfully restarted public services so we now need to support these services by buying tickets to ride!

As reported under DEPG news, there has been a delay to the Seaward Way level crossing project and this has affected all timetabled trains that were to run to Minehead. The best way to read more about this is in the WSR’s ‘The Platform’ newsletter, available by clicking on this link.

As if the last few years have not been challenging enough, we now have to deal with the prolonged impact of Covid and the uncertainties involved with planning plus the replacement of the level crossing, so all members of the WSR family have to do what they can to help. It is really important to support the WSR to ensure that these services are a commercial success so please buy a ticket if you can.


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