The WSR’s Class 115 DMU completes an early 1960s scene that includes BRCW Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) and Beyer Peacock Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 along with a mixture of maroon, chocolate/cream and crimson/cream-liveried Mark 1 coaches. Semaphores and bull-head rail add to the authenticity. Pictured on Saturday 11th June 2022 at Minehead by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
The WSR’s SIXTIES DIESEL GALA ran from Thursday 9th through Saturday 11th June 2022 and featured the Diesel Traction Group’s (DTG’s) unique surviving Class 17 ‘Clayton’ D8568 and South Devon Diesel Traction’s Class 25 D7612 (25 262, 25 901) along with the two Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ and the two Class 35 ‘Hymeks’ of the home fleet (Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 is away at the Kent & East Sussex Railway and Class 47 47077 (D1661, 47613, 47840) ‘NORTH STAR’ is too heavy for the current axle load limit and is away at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway).
A BIG THANK YOU GOES OUT TO ALL WHO ATTENDED OR SUPPORTED OR CONTRIBUTED IN ANY WAY !
Here’s a quick run through of the gala activities:
Tuesday 7th : Class 25 D7612 (25 262, 25 901) arrived at Bishops Lydeard and was unloaded and inspected. This loco has visited the WSR on several occasions in the past and has always been a popular attraction. Meanwhile, at Minehead, Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was refuelled from a road tanker.
Wednesday 8th : Class 17 ‘Clayton’ D8568 arrived at Bishops Lydeard late in the afternoon after a delay relating to the transportation. This unique survivor of a class that once ran to 117 examples was making it’s first ever visit to the WSR, so it rightly took top billing. The teams from owning group DTG plus DEPG and WSR worked late into the evening to get the loco ready for service. Earlier in the day, locos D6566, D7017, D7018 and D7612 had been refuelled from a road tanker, but the ‘Clayton’ arrived too late to be refuelled.
The DTG’s Class 17 ‘Clayton’ D8568 heads a pre-gala lineup comprising Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) and Class 25 D7612 and Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 alongside sister D7017 at Westridge, Bishops Lydeard in the evening of Wednesday 8th June 2022. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0
Thursday 9th : The ‘Clayton’ was refuelled from a road tanker at 07:15 in the morning and attached to the back of the first train of the day, the 09:00 from Bishops Lydeard (BL) to Minehead (MD) to get her into position in time for her first booked service, the 10:38 MD-BL. The day went very well until around 6pm when the Williton depot phone rang and DEPG driver Neil McCannon reported that ‘Hymek’ D7017 was making a loud hissing noise and was spraying oil into the engine room. The loco was working the 17:45 MD-BL but had to be shut down at Blue Anchor. So, Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was sent out from Minehead as the ‘Thunderbird’ loco to rescue the stricken ‘Hymek’ and haul it and it’s train to Williton, where the errant loco was detached and towed into the yard by Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 (ROF 1). The ‘Crompton’ took the late-running train forward to Bishops Lydeard.
DEPG Beyer Peacock Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 arriving at Minehead, viewed from the cab of visiting Class 25 D7612 (25 262, 25 901) on the first day of the gala, Thursday 9th June 2022. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 was sent to the yard after disgracing herself by blowing a cylinder head joint ring on the final service of the first day of the gala. Pictured in the yard at Williton on Friday morning 10th June 2022 by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
Friday 10th : The day began with one loco short and one loco in the wrong place. The loco shortage was easily rectified by reducing the planned double-headed services back to single loco haulage. Better to run services single-headed rather than have to kake cancellations. Having D6575 (33 057) at Bishops Lydeard along with sister D6566 (33 048) was rectified by attaching the ‘Thunderbird’ to the back of the first service from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and running the train as ‘top and tail’. This did not entirely solve the problem, so the turns that were rostered for D7017 were covered by D6575. The turns that were rostered for D6575 were covered by ‘Clayton’ D8568 and the turns that were rostered for D8568 were covered by D6566. These changes made for some interesting unplanned combinations of locos and coach sets during the day. DEPG and DTG ‘Maybach’ engine expert Bob Clegg attended at Williton and started up D7017, much to the surprise of those standing nearby on the platform, and the tell-tale sound of a leaking cylinder head joint confirmed the preliminary diagnosis that had been made by Neil the night before. The ‘Hymek’ was definitely out of the gala.
Saturday 11th : The timetable for the third gala day included additional services that could not be covered any other way, so the WSR teams had worked the previous evening to prepare steam loco BR(W) 4-6-0 7828 ‘ODNEY MANOR’ to step in and cover the 09:42 out-and-back trip from Bishops Lydeard that had been rostered for D7017. This had the added benefit of pleasing those visitors who had not realised that a diesel gala was taking place and had been expecting to see a steam engine ! Problem solved, the only other discrepancies of the day were D6566 running on the D6575 roster and vice versa. The weather improved and the day ended with some beautifully bright sunshine and blue skies, to be followed by the Sixties-themed dance evening on the platform at Minehead !
DEPG Beyer Peacock Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 runs around its train at Minehead as BR(W) 4-6-0 7822 ‘FOXCOTE MANOR’ rests over the pit on the shed road on the last day of the gala, Saturday 11th June 2022. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Sunday 12th : Although not a gala day, the 10:00 Minehead diesel diagram was covered by visiting Class 17 ‘Clayton’ D8568 to the delight of those who were not expecting a steam engine ! The very unusual sight of a ‘Clayton’ on the WSR brought the photographers out and many unusual photos were the result. Everything went to plan and this was a great way to round off a highly eventful (and stressful) week !
The DTG’s Class 17 ‘Clayton’ D8568 waits at the head of its train at Williton as secondman Mark Bladwell watches for the ‘right away’ signal from the guard. Note the low height of the doorway, which would give Mark a nice bruise or two by the time he finished his shift. Pictured on Sunday 12th June 2022 by Mark Ireland © CC BY-NC 3.0
Here’s a message of thanks from DEPG Chairman, Martin Howard:
“We have just had our first Diesel Gala in three years, and I am pleased to report that, aside from the unfortunate failure of D7017 on Thursday evening, the rest of the Gala was quite successful overall. The Clayton was certainly a draw for many visitors and the 25 was also popular while our own fleet attracted its own notable following.
Naturally an event like this doesn’t just happen, it takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get everything organised beforehand and the delivery of the Gala on the day is down to large numbers of people all doing their bit. I know some of you were directly involved over the three days of the Gala, especially the footplate crews, and some people worked long hours to give our visitors the thrills they were after. Our two guest engines came with their own crews and I know they all enjoyed themselves too. They already knew what our line is like and so they were keenly looking forward to operating over the WSR. Any of you that were fortunate enough to be on a guest engine with them will know that they were not disappointed.
Finally, I wish to thank all of you who have helped to stage our main event of the year. Without you and your contribution it would not have been possible and the railway enthusiast fraternity would be the poorer for it. Thank you everybody.”
Martin Howard, Chairman
Many thanks to Martin for his massive personal effort in making sure that this gala was success and for sorting out all kinds of issues during the full week that he spent at Williton. It is the work of many volunteers from the wider WSR family of organisations, frequently BEHIND THE SCENES at the yard and at home, that allows an event such as this to take place, so thank you very much to all involved !
Here’s a link to a great YouTube video that has put together by junior DEPG member Josh Brinsford:
Some other snippets from the gala:
Our smart new chalk boards were written up by Mark B and Paul T at Williton. One board was also placed at Bishops Lydeard to alert visitors to the ‘open shed’ at Williton. Photo taken on Friday 10th June 2022 by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
Our SALES STANDS were up and running at both Williton and Minehead throughout the event and were well patronised, contributing around £500 to our group funds after deducting merchandise expenses. New this year, we have a limited number of wooden full-size replica D1010 numberplates that have been very carefully made for the DEPG by Rob Riley. These are very high quality items and are very realistic. All profits on the sale of these items goes to the D1010 Restoration Fund ‘CAMPAIGN for CAMPAIGNER’. Just the thing for the living room wall !
Photo by Chris Shields © CC BY-NC 3.0
The DEPG sales stand at Williton was postioned below the longest ‘Western’ nameplate ever produced – our special ‘CAMPAIGN for CAMPAIGNER’ plate measuring just over 3 metres (9’11”) and specially made by Rob Riley. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 was dressed up for the occasion by applying a coat of yellow paint to her buffer beam, giving a hint of the future look of this carefully restored machine when she is eventually outshopped in NCB Ashington Colliery livery. The photo also shows the carefully made (by Colin G of course) presentation boards mounted on the depot wall, giving the history of the class and of D9518 in particular. Very interesting and very nicely done ! Click here to donate to the D9518 Restoration Fund. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
As the photographer stated, ‘driver and machine in perfect unity’ – DEPG volunteer, board member and driver Paul Tucker has looked after D7018 from the early days of DEPG ownership and he continues to look after her now. Pictured at Williton on Friday 10th June 2022 by Graham Perry © CC BY-NC 3.0
We will be posting many more photos onto our website as soon as we can, but we are pretty busy right now. LET US KNOW if you can help in any way with the wide range of tasks that we cover, from admin through to working on the locos through to the website expansion. We definitely need your help !
DIESEL RUNNING DATES – this is a new page on our website and is intended as a one-stop-shop for information about PUBLIC diesel locomotive-hauled services on the WSR. A link can be found on our home page or by looking under the DIESELGEN menu header.
The usual caveats of loco availability apply, but we will be aiming to deliver the above program of running with the locos indicated and we will provide as much advance notice of any change as possible, using our DIESELGEN and Twitter feeds, so please sign up to keep up to date.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – this loco continues to be kept busy on the Kent & East Sussex Railway but had a bit of trouble starting recently, so the result is a worn-out starter motor. Luckily, we happen to have a newly-refurbished motor in our spare parts stock and this will be fitted to the loco during this week. The worn motor will then go out for refurbishment and will then become the new ‘spare’.
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – this loco HAS NOW MOVED from Pickering to Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and is entering the loco works for completion of some overhaul tasks, including the replacement of the ‘triple pump’ using the spare that has already been shipped from Williton to Grosmont. We hope to see the loco in use for crew training turns later this month or next month.
The DEPG’s Class 47 47077 (D1661, 47613, 47840) ‘NORTH STAR’ was towed from Pickering to Grosmont by NYMR resident Class 37 37264 (D6964) on Wednesday 8th June 2022, seen here pausing at Levisham to await the arrival of a service train for Pickering. Photo by Martin Fisher © CC BY-NC 3.0
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – this loco was again put to use last week by having to collect ‘Hymek’ D7017 from the ‘up’ line and put her in the yard as a static exhibit for day 2 and day 3 of the gala. This 1972-built diesel-hydraulic loco was also an exhibit herself and attracted quite a bit of attention.
BOOK REVIEW – we now have STOCK of the excellent book by Anthony P Sayer describing the Class 14 ‘Teddy Bears’ and the first phase of their life on BR. The second volume of this book has just been released and we will also be stocking that volume, so if you haven’t already ordered, then please buy it from our online store to support the D9518 Restoration Fund. Thanks !
ON SHED – this feature will return next week.
DEPG NEWS – the May Newsletter has been mailed out and should have been delivered to all members last week. Just let me know if you want to go ‘paperless’ in future. Also, PLEASE LET ME KNOW if you still haven’t received your copy one way or another by now.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE FOR YOUR DIARY – the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the DEPG is scheduled to take place in the afternoon of Saturday 3rd September 2022, at Williton. All members have been advised via the May Newsletter mailing, which included a nomination form for board appointments. We need these forms returned (by post or email) by FRIDAY 17th JUNE (THIS WEEK) to allow time to prepare the formal AGM Calling Notice with the details of the nominees.
The next meeting of the DEPG Board will take place on Saturday 25th June at 10:30 at Williton Depot. Please let me know if you would like to place a question before the Board at this meeting.
WSR NEWS: the ‘SIXTIES DIESEL GALA’ has now been completed so the next event on the WSR is the FORTIES WEEKEND, the details of which can be found on the WSR website. We often get asked to provide a diesel in support of this very popular event, so keep an eye on our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page to see if we get to run one of our Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ or Class 35 ‘Hymeks’ (hopefully we will have both ‘Hymeks’ back in service by then). Any additional public diesel locomotive-hauled services will be published on our new DIESEL RUNNING DATES page and any updates will be shared via our DIESELGEN email bulletin service.