Another busy week, gone by in a flash, but still with plenty to report. Last Monday 21st June 2021 saw Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ move under her own power from Williton to Bishops Lydeard to await road haulage to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. This was the first time that this loco had run on the WSR since 2017 and luckily, some of our volunteers were on hand to record the scene.
News of the move was shared with popular rail news site ‘RAIL ADVENT’ who published an article within minutes. This article stayed at the top for their ‘most read’ list for the rest of week, garnering almost 10,000 reads. Please follow this link to get us over the 10,000 mark !
We quickly compiled a short video featuring a combination of stills and video footage from our Chairman Martin Howard and from lineside contributors, and we uploaded this to YouTube later that same day. The video is available on the DEPG channel and has also been posted on the WSRTV channel, so please watch both versions to rack up some views on both channels.
The road haulage on the journey northward will be provided by well-known firm Allelys, but there are restrictions on the M1/M18 route that are preventing Allelys from getting permission from Highways England for the move to take place. The alternative route via the M6/M62 is also unavailable because of major roadworks at the junction of these two motorways, so the date for the move has not yet been determined. We will send out a DIESELGEN bulletin as soon as we can.
Another loco that is about to make news is our Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 because she will soon be heading southeast to the KENT & EAST SUSSEX RAILWAY for the rest of this year. The K&ESR already operates a class 14, number D9504, one of a number of the class that worked from Hull Dairycoates depot in the period 1966-1968, but this loco will be undergoing maintenance, so the ideal replacement is our D9526. The team at the K&ESR already have experience of looking after their own loco and the move has the blessing of the DEPG Class 14 team, so we look forward to be able to bring you news of D9526 at work in the Garden of England.
In preparation for the move, D9526 underwent a load test on Saturday 26th June when she hauled our two Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ from Williton to Bishops Lydeard and back. The two ‘Cromptons’ together weigh-in at 146 tons and this equates to a load of between 4 and 5 coaches, so it was a worthy task for the 650 hp loco. Here’s a photo of the ensemble passing through Stogumber on the climb to Crowcombe Heathfield:
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 hauls Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ D6566 (33 048) and D6575 (33 057) through Stogumber on the climb to Crowcombe Heathfield during a test run on 26th June 2021. Photo by Steve Lewis © CC BY-NC 3.0
Click here for a short video clip of the loco working hard during the return leg. Many thanks to Martin Howard for capturing this for us all to share:
The previous day, Friday 25th June, Class 33 D6575 (33 057) worked the last of the Route Refresher workings between Williton and Dunster, propelling the WSRA’s Hawksworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W on the outward journey so that the trainees could get a clear view of the track ahead. DEPG member Mark Ireland was out with his camera and he captured some interesting pictures, full of detail. Here are two of his photos:
A great view of the WSRA’s Hawksworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W being propelled by Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) at Blue Anchor on 25th June 2021. Note the ‘Bardic’ lamp attached to the lamp bracket at the front of the vehicle. Photo by Mark Ireland © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) propels the route refresher special out of Blue Anchor towards Dunster on 25th June 2021, showing red tail lights, red route indicator blinds and a red tail lamp. Photo by Mark Ireland © CC BY-NC 3.0
Many thanks to Mark for sharing his photos with us all.
OTHER LOCO NEWS:
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – now resident in the loco shed on number 3 road and being kept serviceable, this loco is the subject of an article in the latest edition of the DEPG Newsletter that was distributed to members last week. The article describes the restoration project and outlines the funding requirements that will allow this loco to return to service in a reasonable period of time. If you love the ‘Westerns’ and you are not already a member of the DEPG, please consider joining so that you can become one of the team that is going to save D1010 from rusting away before our very eyes.
Our fund-raising efforts have already commenced with the recent publication of our 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 !
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – This loco is being prepared for service and is expected to emerge from the shed next weekend after completion of maintenance and inspection tasks. There is not enough time before the first public service for the transmission control block issue to be resolved, so the transmission will be locked in second gear. This is no problem for a ‘Hymek’; the loco will operate in the same way as she did for the 2019 running season.
The cabs of D7018 have benefitted from a replacement set of ‘Traffolyte’ placards, made using the same multi-layer engraving technique as the 1960s originals. The ‘Maximum Speed’ warning may not be relevant these days, but many of the other placards are useful and informative and need to be clear and easily readable.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the drum beat of progress from the ‘Tuesday team’ continues as they tackle the electrical equipment enclosures of this fully-dismantled loco. The photos that have been provided by Terry show the quality of the work that is being done. First, a quick look at a pair of cab steps. One newly fabricated, the other renovated. Can you tell the difference?
Step 2 – Repair patch cut, formed and tack-welded into position at Williton on 22nd June 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0
Step 3 – Here’s one that we prepared earlier, with the seams welded and blended with the grinding wheel to get to a smooth surface finish. This work was in progress at Williton on 22nd June 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0
Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) – the Great British summer does not make it easy to perform bodywork repairs on a loco in the open air, so ‘the ROF’ will go into the loco shed on number 2 road when ‘Hymek’ D7018 emerges. Some time under cover will allow for the corroded body panels to be removed and repaired as necessary. We welcome new volunteers to come along and join in on the renovation of this loco. Training will be provided, so why not START NOW by joining our volunteer team !
Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work cleaning, painting, maintaining, restoring, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !
TOPICAL NEWS – the planned reopening of the Okehampton branch is a very welcome sign of progress in the reopening of former branch lines. In the case of Okehampton, it was not a branch because it was a station on the LSWR mainline route from Exeter to Plymouth via Tavistock. How useful that alternative route would be these days! Here’s some photos from DEPG member and volunteer Mike Evans:
Colas Rail Freight Class 70 number 70817 works an engineering train in connection with track renewals at Okehampton on 23rd June 2021. Photo by Mike Evans © CC BY-NC 3.0
Colas Rail Freight Class 70 number 70817 alongside a giant pile of old track at Okehampton on 23rd June 2021. Photo by Mike Evans © CC BY-NC 3.0
BOOK REVIEW – we don’t have time for a new book review this week but we can tell you that the books on our website by well-known author Roger Geach are selling well, with a sizeable contribution to the D1010 restoration fund for every copy sold. We are very appreciative of the support being offered by the author.
New copies of this book are in stock and ARE AVAILABLE FROM OUR ONLINE STORE.
ON SHED: Following on from the 1960s photos that have been sent to us by Alan Walker, this weeks’ photo shows Swindon-built Class 42 ‘Warship’ 818 ‘GLORY’ alongside ‘Hymek’ D7014 outside the old steam shed at Swindon depot in March of 1969. The ‘Hymek’ met the cutter’s torch in August 1972 but the ‘Warship’ survived until 1985 and became a parts donor for the restoration of D821 ‘GREYHOUND’, owned by the DIESEL TRACTION GROUP (DTG) and still a regular and popular performer on the Severn Valley Railway.
Class 42 ‘Warship’ D818 ‘GLORY’ alongside ‘Hymek’ D7014 stand outside the old and severely dilapidated steam shed at Swindon depot on 8th March 1969. Photo by Alan Walker © CC BY-NC 3.0
Many thanks to Alan for sharing his photographs with us all.
DEPG NEWS: Following the announcement about diesel running dates a few weeks ago, readers have been contacting us to ask how they can book tickets for the diesel-hauled services. After some research, we concluded that the RED (high season) timetable did not offer an out-and-back diesel-hauled option, so we set up a conference call with the WSR to work on the details.
As a result, the WSR have offered two options for a diesel-hauled ‘excursion’ starting at Bishops Lydeard and running through to Dunster and return, with stops at Watchet and Blue Anchor. The options that the DEPG has to choose between are a morning departure, possibly with an additional stop at Williton (WN) for a visit to the diesel depot, or an afternoon departure with no possibility of a stop at WN due to pathing difficulties.
WE NEED YOUR FEEDBACK TO GUIDE US. Please let us know your preference so that we can maximise the appeal of this additional service and FILL THE SEATS ! Please reply to this email and let us know what you want. Thanks !
Since our earlier announcement about dates, the WSR have had confirmation of a mainline railtour that will run through to Dunster on 14th August, so there will NOT be a diesel-hauled service on that day. Sorry about that. The revised date is now 7th August.
To clarify, the UPDATED running dates are:
- 17 July (‘Hymek’ D7018)
- 31 July (‘Hymek’ D7018)
- 07 August (‘Hymek’ D7018)
- 21 August (Crompton pair)
- 25 September (‘Hymek’ D7018)
Once finalised, the WSR will set up the out-and-back diesel-hauled journeys as a SPECIAL EVENT which will then simplify the ticketing process. We expect to finalise these details during the coming week. The best way to keep informed is to watch our website home page or SIGN UP FOR DIESELGEN email bulletins.
The June edition of the DEPG member’s Newsletter has been printed and mailed to all members on the register. Please let us know if you have a current membership but have not received your copy. THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO JOIN US and be certain of getting your copy !
DEPG Newsletter #57 – June 2021 and another fantastic photo by Kelvin Lumb © CC BY-NC 3.0
Our website is updated at least weekly (usually more frequently) with the latest news plus any DIESELGEN postings that may have arisen. We have a programme of work lined up to develop each of the loco pages to include detailed histories and we will also be setting up appeal pages for D1010 and D9518 restoration. Please keep an eye on our website and let us know what else we need to be doing to make it more useful and more user-friendly.
We are working on the timetabling for the diesel-hauled services and we will be announcing the timetable and the running days via DIESELGEN and on our website and through social media. We need to make sure that these trains are well loaded so that we can demonstrate the demand for diesel haulage. Please help us make the most of the opportunity that is currently available to us.
Don’t forget to read about the WSR appeal by clicking this link.
All members of the WSR family have to do what we can to help and one easy way is to make a donation via the WSR website. Another way is to ensure that all of the timetabled services are a commercial success, so please buy a ticket if you can.