Top billing this week goes to our Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526, out on hire to the KENT & EAST SUSSEX RAILWAY for the rest of this year. Our loco was prepared for road transportation last Tuesday 28th June and was loaded on Thursday 1st July evening for the 220-mile trip to Wittersham Road near Rolvenden, which is approximately 20 miles from Ashford, in Kent. The loco was prepared for the loading ramp by removing the sand delivery nozzles, valves and pipework that would otherwise become bent and twisted by contacting the rail at the ramp transition point. Here’s a pictorial feast covering the move:
Class 14 D9526 under cover in the Swindon Shed at Williton on 29th June 2021, being prepared for road haulage. Class 14 volunteer loco manager Simon Purvis looks on. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 14 D9526 lined up on the approach to the low-loader at Williton North Yard on 1st July 2021. The loco will be winched forward using the steel tow cable that is visible between the rails. Photo by Simon Purvis © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9526 is spending the rest of this year at the K&ESR to cover for sister loco D9504 while that loco undergoes a high-hour overhaul after giving many years of sterling service. The class gets regular use at the K&ESR and this will be a good opportunity to generate some much-needed income for the DEPG. We will be keeping in touch with correspondents in the “Garden of England” and hope to feature news and photos on a regular basis.
Not wanting to be left out of the limelight, our ‘celebrity’ Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ has been dressed up with banners in preparation for her road haulage move from Bishops Lydeard to Pickering on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. One banner shows our social media ‘handles’ and the other banner shows the breadth of our fleet, the objective being to promote awareness of the DEPG as the loco covers in excess of 300 miles on her journey to the northeast. The banners were designed by our social media volunteer Natalie and were produced by Bristol Banners. Here are some photos:
Here’s an interesting photograph taken by young Josh Brinsford before the ’47’ was masked-up:
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ at Westridge, Bishops Lydeard, in the company of the WSRA’s ‘Quantock Belle’ dining set and an ex-GWR ‘TOAD’ brake van (guard’s van) along with some very well maintained railway furniture, pictured on 26th June 2021. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
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 still 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. This is frustrating because the NYMR are keen to put the loco to work. We will send out a DIESELGEN bulletin as soon as we can.
On a wet and dismal Monday, 28th June, Class 33 D6575 (33 057) departed Williton hauling the WSRA’s Hawksworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W to Bishops Lydeard after a period of fairly intensive use on the Route Refresher specials. The loco is now outstationed at Bishops Lydeard in its role as the ‘Thunderbird’ loco for the WSR public services.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) hauls the WSRA’s Hawksworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W away from Williton towards Bishops Lydeard on 28th June 2021. Photo by Steve Edge © CC BY-NC 3.0
OTHER LOCO NEWS:
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – work has started on the bodyside repairs, the first step being the removal of the loose ‘Prestolith’ filler as a precursor to corrosion treatment and subsequent repair. This loco is the subject of an appeal that is shortly to be posted to our website along with restricted donation ‘products’ that will allow donors to select the precise value of their donations and be safe in the knowledge that their funds are only to be used for the specific purpose of restoring D1010. This online facility should be ready in a few days from now.
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 return D1010 to a decent and operational condition.
Some of the roller bearings from the ‘B’-end transmission of Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ are in very good condition. Others are in need of replacement – please JOIN US in our efforts to bring this loco back up to operational standard. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0
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 33 D6566 (33 048) – This loco remains on standby at Williton and may soon see some use on the ‘shunt release’ operations when the WSR extend the running to Dunster, starting from Friday 17th July 2021. Meanwhile, the loco will need to undergo an oil change because the most recent oil sample suggests further dilution which does not appear to be from dilution with diesel fuel. The oil change will involve 80 gallons (360 litres) of oil and a set of new oil filters, so it is not a 10-minute job and it will cost a bundle !
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.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the work continues on restoring the smaller assemblies, but in the background, preparations are being made for the hornguides to be re-fitted the the loco frames, which in turn will allow the frames to be re-mounted on the wheelsets. The delay arose due to the need to acquire ‘the right type of rivet’ but this is close to being resolved. A quotation for the alignment and riveting work has been received from WSR Restorations, so this major phase of restoration work will commence soon.
This loco is also the subject of an appeal that is shortly to be posted to our website along with restricted donation ‘products’ that will allow donors to select the precise value of their donations and be safe in the knowledge that their funds are only to be used for the specific purpose of restoring D9518. This online facility should be ready in a few days from now.
If you love the ‘Teddy Bears’ 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 return D9518 to operational condition – and see her haul passenger coaches for the first time in her life!
Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) – bodywork repairs have started, along with some electrical repairs that will help return this loco to full operational condition and ensure that she has a long life. We expect this loco to take the place of D7018 in the loco shed during the coming weeks so that body panels can be removed for restoration.
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 !
BOOK REVIEW – we don’t have time for a new book review this week, but we do have plenty of book reviews in the pipeline. Meanwhile, we have reorganised our books into two categories on our online store, and we will soon be significantly expanding the range of books on offer.
ON SHED: Following on from the 1960s photos that have been sent to us by Alan Walker, this weeks’ photo shows a line of withdrawn Class 14s at Cardiff Canton depot in 1969, waiting to learn their fate.
D9500 is the only one of these three machines that survives today, but it is non-operational and awaiting restoration at Peak Rail in Derbyshire after spending many years of hard labour at NCB Ashington colliery – alongside our own D9518. The other two were only four years old when withdrawn from service and didn’t turn a revenue-earning wheel again, being cut up at Cohen’s of Kettering in 1970. What a waste !
Many thanks to Alan for sharing his photographs with us all.
DEPG NEWS: Last week, we appealed for feedback regarding the diesel-hauled services that are being planned for this summer – and we received plenty – but much of it was critical of what we had to offer. There were some common themes that we do need to respond to, so here they are below:
- The Seaward Way level crossing replacement project has run late due to issues beyond the control of the WSR so rail access to Minehead is not currently possible. The estimated date for re-opening is some time in late September.
- Services timetabled for Minehead will have a dedicated bus connection between Dunster and Minehead.
- Dunster does not have a passing loop but a manoeuvre known as ‘shunt release’ will be used to allow the loco to reposition at the other end of the train. This involves the use of another loco, either the WSR’s Class 03 number D2133 or one of our Class 33 ‘Cromptons’, to move the coaching stock while the train loco waits in the siding.
- The Bishops Lydeard to Dunster and return services being offered for diesel haulage are ‘out-and-back’ services and will not connect to bus services at Dunster.
- The expected turnaround time at Dunster will be 35 minutes. All passengers must alight before the ‘shunt release’ manoeuvre.
- A faster turnaround by only running to Blue Anchor is not possible because the previous service will have the ‘token’ for the Dunster section, preventing the diesel from running around at Blue Anchor, so there is nothing to be gained by dropping the Dunster segment.
- The increased time taken by other scheduled services in the Dunster section prevents a second diesel trip from being rostered for the afternoon (this has been studied thoroughly).
- This reduced-mileage one-trip roster is for THIS YEAR ONLY and we expect to be back to the full 80-mile diagram next year.
- We know that the offering is not ideal, but we are appealing to supporters to ride these services to bring much-needed income to both the WSR and the DEPG.
After fully considering the feedback and after another review of the options, the decision was taken to go for a simple timetable with the same timings for each of the five days, as below (times in brackets are passing times, not station stops):
As soon as we get confirmation from the WSR, we will send out a further bulletin via ROUNDUP and DIESELGEN mailing lists, to communicate the final details and advise how to book tickets. The running days will be as follows (all are Saturdays):
- 17 July (‘Hymek’ D7018)
- 31 July (‘Hymek’ D7018)
- 07 August (‘Hymek’ D7018)
- 21 August (Crompton pair, top and tail)
- 25 September (‘Hymek’ D7018)
IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, we have been advised that our diesels will be in use for the MIXED TRAFFIC WEEKEND on 17-18 September, the timetable for which has not yet been released. This new running opportunity will feature an extension to Norton Fitzwarren to provide both additional mileage and additional interest from this little-used section of the line. We will send out a DIESELGEN bulletin as soon as we have firm details. Mark the date in you diary !
OTHER DEPG NEWS: A Board meeting was held at Williton and via Zoom last Saturday 3rd July where issues such as the above were discussed and debated. A synopsis of that meeting will be included with the next roundup. The date for the next Annual General Meeting was confirmed as being 4th September. Formal notices will be sent to all registered paid-up members during August.
DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!
Our website is in the process of being updated to include the two appeals that have been launched, one for D1010 and the other for D9518, with special donation ‘products’ being added to support fundraising. The shop has been reorganised to introduce product categories, because the ever-increasing number of products was causing the shop to get a bit too crowded and cluttered. Hopefully, the reorganisation will lead to a better shopping experience. Please let us know if you find our deliberate mistakes !
WSR NEWS: The WSR are operating public services to Blue Anchor so we now need to support these services by buying tickets to ride!
Although it is easy to criticise, it is not easy to run a heritage railway with all of the difficulties presented by Covid and by the Seaward Way level crossing reconstruction. It is in all of our interests to run more services and get more riding opportunities, but we all need to keep faith in the WSR management team and support them in ensuring that the WSR survives and emerges in good shape for future years – even if it means that we have to go without some of the things that we want, for a little bit longer.
We will be announcing the timetable for the diesel-hauled services via DIESELGEN and on our website and through social media. We need to make sure that these trains are well loaded, so please help us make the most of the limited 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.