The WSR’s 2022 running season started on Saturday 19th March and included DEPG traction in the form of Class 33 D6575 (33 057) pictured departing Minehead with the 1430 service for Bishops Lydeard. The ‘Crompton’ was standing-in for ex-GWR 2-6-2T number 5199 and became the first diesel to work a public service right through to Minehead since 2019. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
The 2022 running season got off to a great start on Saturday 19th March, with blue skies and bright sunshine adding to the occasion and making everything feel good. The first service of the new season left Bishops Lydeard for Minehead at 1015 behind WSR 2-6-0 ‘Mogul’ 9351. The second service was due to depart Bishops Lydeard at 1230 behind ex-GWR 2-6-2T ‘Large Prairie’ 5199 but the loco developed a fault and was substituted by Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) which covered the diagram on both Saturday and Sunday. Patronage of both services was very good on both days and it was a treat to see mixed traction at work again.
Here’s a short video showing D6575 (33 057) departing from Williton on Saturday 19th March (click on the image to launch the video):
NOTE: Although the ‘red’ timetable shows ‘STEAM/DIESEL’ for the 1430 departure, DEPG locos will not normally be rostered for this duty until May.
If was quite fitting for a DEPG locomotive to be at work on the WSR on Saturday 19th March because exactly 45 years earlier, ‘Hymek’ D7017 had worked the ‘QUANTOCK FLYER’ charter from Minehead to Williton and return, becoming the first former BR-mainline diesel to haul a revenue-earning service in preservation.
Coming only three weeks after the ‘WESTERN TRIBUTE’ railtour and the end of the BR-mainline diesel-hydraulic era, the chance to ride behind a ‘hydraulic’ was a massive draw, so every seat on the Wirral Railway Society charter was sold. This placed a huge stress on the small team of D+EG (predecessor of the DEPG) volunteers who were tasked with preparing the loco for its big day, especially as the batteries on the loco were life-expired and unreliable. Here’s the situation as recalled by Clive Burrows:
“Len Lyons at Old Oak Common refurbished some of the battery blocks for D7017 but several of D7017’s battery cells failed just before the event and so I had to borrow all the battery blocks from the DTG’s Class 42 ‘Warship’ D821 ‘GREYHOUND’ on the turntable in Swindon Works and take them to Minehead to start D7017! Fortunately, the engine did not shut down in service as we would not have been able to restart it, which I proved after we got back to Minehead in the evening. Funds were desperately short at that time and buying a complete new set of battery cells would have been well beyond the D+EG’s budget in March 1977.”
Many thanks to Clive for sharing his recollection of that day and for bringing this anniversary to our attention. There are some great photos of this event along with some additional background by Neil Phillips, shared on the 40th anniversary via the Cornwall Railway Society website, available by clicking here.
D7017 was making the news again at Williton on Saturday 19th March 2022 when she was started up and moved under her own power to the WSR Restorations ‘Swindon Shed’ in the North Yard, where she was positioned over the pit so that the work of disconnecting her bogies could commence. This in turn will allow the loco to be lifted later this month so that her suspension springs can be replaced.
D7017 is now positioned over the pit in the WSR Restorations ‘Swindon Shed’ where her bogies will be disconnected so that the body of loco can be lifted. Photo taken on Saturday 19th March 2022 by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
The loco is again suffering with poor batteries but they were good enough to get her started for the first time this year and the engine soon settled down to produce her characteristic ‘Maybach Music’. Here’s a short video of the startup, filmed by Leroy Ford:
Here are some short videos of the loco movements that took place on Saturday 19th:
VERY IMPORTANT DATES FOR YOUR DIARY – the WSR’s 2022 DIESEL GALA will take place from Thursday 9th through Saturday 11th June 2022, so keep these dates free and make a plan to attend ! Click this link to the WSR website to view the dates for other WSR events that are planned for 2022.
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – with so many other very important causes vying for funds and the massive jump in energy prices impacting us all, it is no surprise that our CAMPAIGN for CAMPAIGNER contributions have quietened down, but we are confident that sponsorship will pick up again in the near future, after we have all adjusted to the ‘new new normal’. Click on the images below for an update of fundraising status:
Meanwhile, work continues on multiple fronts, as evidenced by the following selection of photos:
D1010 – Geoff carefully removes the old layers of sealant from around the centre window frame on ‘A’ side of the locomotive. Pictured at Williton on Monday 14th March 2022 by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the aluminium window frame is gently pulled back into position after cutting away the corroded steel that was expanding and pressing it inwards. Pictured at Williton on Monday 14th March 2022 by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the photographer captures a view through the ‘A’ side centre window showing Leroy at work re-installing the interior panels that had to be removed while welding work was taking place on the outer skin of the loco on ‘B’ side. Pictured at Williton on Tuesday 15th March 2022 by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – back on the ‘B’ side of the locomotive, the access grille has been removed and repaired but the sill area needs the same kind of repair as already performed at the opposite end of the loco. Pictured at Williton on Tuesday 15th March 2022 by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – Chris carefully removes the old filler from around the BR-era sideswipe damage repair on ‘B’ side that dates back to 1972. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 19th March 2022 by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the repaired footholds were trial fitted at both ends of the locomotive to get them off the bench and conveniently stored, back in their rightful places. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 19th March 2022 by Leroy Ford © CC BY-NC 3.0
To support the work that is progressing in multiple areas on D1010, we launched our CAMPAIGN for CAMPAIGNER by offering ‘SPONSOR A PATCH’ where you can donate in support of the bodywork repairs that are taking place on D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ and HAVE YOUR NAME ENGRAVED ON THE SPONSORED PATCH or PART.
For the sum of £25, this scheme offers you a chance to sponsor the restoration of this much-loved locomotive, with your personal contribution being recorded and documented on a set of drawings that will be made available at our Williton depot on running days and open days. For those who prefer to remain anonymous, a unique reference number will be allocated and engraved instead.
See our CAMPAIGN for CAMPAIGNER web page for more details !
NOTE: EVERYONE WHO HAS ALREADY DONATED £25 OR MORE SINCE JULY 2021 WILL BE RECOGNISED and will be allocated an appropriate area on one of the patches or parts that have already been applied to the loco. Donations of smaller sums that accumulate to £25 are also eligible, so donate what you can when you can, and we will keep track of your total donations. Use our CONTACT FORM if you want to register your previous donations to D1010 for this campaign.
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – this loco is the WSR duty loco and is based at Bishops Lydeard, and is ready for action (as demonstrated over the weekend!
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – now inside the Swindon Shed for lifting and bogie spring change (expected to take two weeks).
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – progress was mostly in the background this week as work continued on the painstaking task of repairing and repainting electrical conduits so that they can be reinstalled on the loco. The series of photos below shows the stages of restoration of several of these conduits and their associated junction boxes and access points:
D9518 – stage 2 – a coat of green primer. Note the various access covers hanging on the hooks, ready to be painted on the reverse side. Pictured on Thursday 17th March 2022 by Colin Girle © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 – stage 4 – a coat of orange gloss, being the standard colour to denote electrical installations. A great restoration job has been done on these basic items. Pictured on Thursday 17th March 2022 by Colin Girle © CC BY-NC 3.0
This loco is the subject of a fundraising appeal so please follow this link to find out more. We need your help ! In addition to funds, we also need plenty of HANDS. If you love the ‘Teddy Bears’ and you are not already a member of the DEPG, please join us so that you can become one of the team that is going to return D9518 to full operational condition as ‘NCB No. 7‘.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – this loco continues to be in regular use in support of track relaying work at Tenterden on the Kent & East Sussex Railway. The loco is also booked to work some public services when the railway re-opens to the public from Saturday 2nd April. Here are some photos of the loco in use in support of track replacement work last week:
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – this loco is currently stabled at Pickering on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, awaiting re-opening of the line so that she can move to Grosmont to enter the loco works for completion of some overhaul tasks. The loco is expected to be readied for entering service in the summer of this year.
Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) is pictured after completing a marathon 5-hour shunting exercise on Saturday and now basking in the glow of late afternoon spring sunshine. This loco is back in the DEPG yard at Williton after a recently completed cosmetic repaint. Some additional painting and signwriting is still required to complete the refresh, but the effect is clearly noticeable. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0
If you can help by donating your time, then please JOIN US and come along to the depot for an introduction to what we do and how we do it. We currently have people on site from Saturday through to Tuesday and we can open on other days if we can be sure of getting at least two volunteers on site at all times, so there is plenty of scope. We have tasks of all types to suit most capabilities, both skilled and unskilled.
Many thanks to all of our volunteers who give up so much of their time to work on the cleaning, painting, maintaining, restoring, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !
BOOK REVIEW – we will presenting a review on Part 1 of the new Class 14 study by Anthony P. Sayer in the very near future. Watch this space !
ON SHED – this week, we feature the last in the set of very rare views of the Class 52 survivors while in secure storage at Newton Abbot in 1977. This photo was taken at Newton Abbot by Barry Gay on 11th May 1977:
Withdrawn and stored serviceable Class 52 D1013 ‘WESTERN RANGER’, devoid of nameplates and numberplates but with engines running, was caught on film by chance while ‘exercising’ within the confines of Newton Abbot yard on 11th May 1977. The loco was pictured just before positioning on the traverser and returning to her stabling point inside the former loco works building. Photo by Barry Gay © CC BY-NC 3.0
Many thanks to Barry for sharing more of his images from his vast and impressive collection !
DEPG NEWS – we have received further reports of non-delivery of the February issue of the DEPG Newsletter that was mailed a few weeks ago to all members who were on the register at the end of 2021. Several members report having to pay excess postage charges on this newsletter, and several members report not having received their mailing at all. We are still looking in to the matter and we will provide more details as soon as we find out what has gone wrong.
Meanwhile, if you are a member and you have not received your copy of Newsletter #59 (as shown in the image below), please let me know so that we can send out a replacement.
Apologies for any inconvenience that has been caused by this.
The mailing includes tickets for the DEPG EASTER DRAW and these tickets are also now available from our ONLINE STORE. If you have received paper tickets and wish to purchase them, you can buy online and enter your ticket numbers into the ‘NOTES’ field when checking out. Alternatively, please mail a cheque with your purchased ticket stubs to the address on the ticket (return envelopes were provided but will need stamps).
WSR NEWS: congratulations to all for the succesful RETURN OF PUBLIC SERVICES on Saturday 19th March 2022. Volunteers and staff have been incredibly busy ensuring that everything was in place to ensure a smooth restart. On the day itself, a minor issue with steam locomotive 5199 led to a diesel substitution, but everything else went to plan. The railway is running again next weekend with the RED timetable in operation so please come along and buy a ticket to ride these services if you can.