The WEST SOMERSET STEAM EXPRESS railtour from London Paddington to Minehead and return was operated by two West Coast Railways Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ throughout on Saturday 13th August 2022 because of the high fire risk of using the booked steam locomotives. The return leg was captured on film as it rolled through Williton with 33029 (D6547) leading 33025 (D6543, formerly ‘SULTAN’). Photo by Graham Perry © CC BY-NC 3.0
The WSR resonated to the sound of FOUR ‘CROMPTONS’ and ONE ‘HYMEK’ on Saturday 13th August when the combination of a high fire risk warning from the Met Office caused the booked steam traction of the WEST SOMERSET STEAM EXPRESS railtour to be substituted with two Class 33s from West Coast Railways, adding to the two ‘Cromptons’ from the DEPG that were already running as a result of the temporary steam ban on the WSR. This unprecedented situation was enough to get the ‘Crompton’ fans heading toward the WSR, but a concern about a water leak in the cooling system of D6566 (33 048) led to additional complications due to the loco being substituted for part of her diagram by Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 while the errant ‘Crompton’ received attention at Williton.
The railtour had planned to use LMS ‘Jubilee’ 6P Class 4-6-0 5596 ‘BAHAMAS‘ as traction between London Paddington and Bishops Lydeard, where WSR steam traction would have taken over and hauled the railtour forward to Minehead. Given the steam ban on the WSR due to the lineside fires of the previous weekend, all available DEPG locomotives were either in use or not suitable for the 10-coach rake of Mark 1 coaches, so the tour operator substituted a pair of Class 33s to meet both the axle loading requirements of the WSR and provide the required tractive effort.
The return leg of the WEST SOMERSET STEAM EXPRESS railtour from Minehead to London Paddington was pictured arriving at Bishops Lydeard where it paused before heading to Norton Fitwarren to rejoin the main line on Saturday 13th August 2022. Traction was 33029 (D6547) leading 33025 (D6543, formerly ‘SULTAN’). Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
The original concept for the railtour was steam haulage from Paddington to Bishops Lydeard where the mainline loco would come off and be replaced by WSR steam locos. When the fire risk first became elevated, the railtour was modified to include a Class 47 diesel to support the steam loco and reduce the liklihood of cinders being emitted from the steam loco. The railtour was modified again when the WSR introduced a temporary steam ban. The DEPG fleet was already booked to take over the WSR steam rosters, so the railtour operator planned to send a pair of ‘Cromptons’ from their Southall depot to Bishops Lydeard on the day before the railtour, so that the WSR leg could be hauled by locos that were compliant with the axle loading restriction that is currently in force on the WSR. This plan was modified again when the Met Office issued their higher-level warning for fire risk and the decision was taken to work the railtour with the Class 33s throughout.
This was no doubt disappointing for steam lovers and also for those who had planned to attend or participate in the planned renaming ceremony for ‘BAHAMAS‘ that was to take place at Bishops Lydeard, in commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the South Atlantic Conflict. The loco was to be temporarily re-named ‘FALKLAND ISLANDS‘ which was the name carried by long-lost sister loco 45606, but the ceremony will now be postponed until another suitable opportunity presents itself.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) was removed from the 12:30 Bishops Lydeard to Minehead service at Williton on Saturday 13th August and substituted by ‘Hymek’ D7018 so that the ’33’ could receive attention to a leaking hose in her cooling system. The repair only took an hour or so and the loco then repositioned to Bishops Lydeard to pick up her 16:30 duty from there, to avoid disrupting timetabled services. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Our very own Falkland Islands veteran and DEPG Chairman Martin Howard was called into action on Saturday when Class 33 D6566 (33 048) was found to be at risk of overheating due to a low coolant level that was in turn caused by a leaking hose. The loco had already worked the 10:00 service from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard and worked the 12:30 return service as far as Williton where ‘Hymek’ D7018 had been prepared as the ‘Thunderbird’ loco and was ready to take over the train while the ‘Crompton’ received attention. Many thanks to Martin and Tom for stepping in to keep the timetable in good shape. After repair, the ‘Crompton’ ran light engine to Bishops Lydeard to take charge of the 16:30 service to Minehead and the ‘Hymek’ remained attached to the back of the train to hitch a ride home.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 was at the tail end of the 16:30 departure from Bishops Lydeard on Saturday 13th August 2022, seen here at Crowcombe Heathfield where the service crossed with the return leg of the WEST SOMERSET STEAM EXPRESS railtour from Minehead to London Paddington, which was being hauled by West Coast Railways ‘Crompton’ pair 33029 (D6547) leading 33025 (D6543, formerly ‘SULTAN’). Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0
Now an IMPORTANT STATEMENT FROM DEPG CHAIRMAN MARTIN HOWARD:
I want to offer a huge thank you to our volunteers. They have, in many diverse ways, stepped up to answer the challenge of helping to maintain public train services on the WSR. This has initially been in response to the Railway seeking to control costs as a result of the recent massive increases in the cost of coal, but latterly in response to the extremely high fire risk and subsequent total dieselisation of services. Many of the changes have of necessity been made at very short notice which has made planning and publicity particularly challenging. Considering we weren’t expecting to be running any diesel services at all in August, we have done incredibly well and we are only half way through the month! It has not gone un-noticed by either the DEPG or the WSR Boards. Well done to everyone involved, and thank you for your efforts.
We have kept our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page updated throughout all of these changes, and we can see that the diesel-hauled services are being used, so MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE TRAVELLED for supporting this year’s DIESEL RUNNING program on the WSR.
The usual caveats of loco availability apply, but we aim to deliver the published 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 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – more progress on this loco this week, as can be seen from the photos below. Please consider SPONSORING A PATCH because there is plenty of fresh metal that needs engraving and it is in a prime location, right at the front of the loco at ‘A’ end ! Thank you in advance for your support !
The ‘CAMPAIGNER’ team continue their work on restoring this massive and complex locomotive. Although bodywork repairs have progressed well, we still have a lot of rubbing down and painting to do, so PLEASE DO COME ALONG AND HELP IF YOU CAN !
D1010 – the upper buffer beam valance panel has been removed and it is obvious that it had lost all of its support, so a new structure was created so that the repair would be properly supported. Let’s call this Step 1. Pictured at Williton on 8th August 2022 by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – Step 2 – the old corroded buffer beam valance panel has been re-fitted along with a new patch to fill an area that could not be saved. Using the old panel helps ensure that the previous shape and form of the locomotive is retained. Pictured at Williton on 8th August 2022 by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – Step 3 – the corroded bottom edge of the buffer beam valance panel has been cut away and replaced with new steel that is seam welded at the top and plug welded to the support structure at the bottom. Pictured at Williton on 9th August 2022 by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – Step 4 – the left hand side of the buffer beam valance panel has been dealt with similarly, with a seam weld in the centre to maintain the original profile. Pictured at Williton on 9th August 2022 by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the welds around the newly-repaired areas need dressing, but the rest of ‘A’ end has received a coat of primer. Quite a difference ! Pictured at Williton on 13th August 2022 by Mike Evans © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – this massive loco needs a lot of time and effort put into the preparation of her bodysides, to be closely followed by the application of multiple coats of paint, with rubbing down between coats. Volunteer team member Karl was pictured at work with the orbital sander at Williton on 13th August 2022. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – meanwhile, Gordon continued his work on the restoration of the headcode boxes so that they can be re-assembled and re-fitted to the locomotive. Pictured at Williton on 13th August 2022 by Andy Royal © 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 or code word will be allocated and engraved instead.
See our CAMPAIGN for CAMPAIGNER web page for more details !
Class 33 D6566 (33 048) – this loco had a very eventful week and caused a lot of trouble ! It all started on Monday morning, 8th August when the loco was moved from Williton to Minehead to substitute for a steam loco on the first day of the WSR’s temporary ban on steam (as a result of the two lineside fires of the previous weekend). The departure from Minehead was uneventful but upon arrival at Bishops Lydeard, the engine room was found to be awash with oil and the engine had to be shut down.
With no steam locos available and no drivers available for the ‘Hymek’, the WSR called upon their Class 115 DMU to take over the return leg of the journey and to operate the remaining 60 miles of the diagram. Luckily, the driver on duty that day was rated on both the Class 33 and the DMU, so was able to keep the Blue timetable running with the minimum of delay.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) was returned to the yard at Williton in disgrace by sister loco D6575 (33 057) on Monday 8th August 2022 after being failed by her driver due to an oil leak in her engine room, later traced to the Serck tank pipework (the hydraulic power circuit for the radiator fan). Photo by Geoff Miles © CC BY-NC 3.0
On Tuesday 9th, the fault was isolated and replacement pipes were ordered for fitment on the Wednesday. Meanwhile, the DMU was soldiering on but was down to two working engines out of four by the end of Wednesday and could not be relied upon for further service. Luckily, D6566 was repaired on the Wednesday and repositioned to Minehead to be ready to take up her duties again on the 10:00 service from Thursday morning.
As previously reported, D6566 returned to Williton again on Saturday for attention to a hose in the cooling system that had developed a leak, thought to be as a result of mild overheating when her cooling fan circuit was not operating as it should have been. One issue leads to another. The hose was changed and the loco put back in service !
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – this loco is currently based at Bishops Lydeard and is in regular use as per our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page – and is performing very well indeed, which is how a ‘Crompton’ is supposed to perform !
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) pauses at Williton while working the 16:35 Minehead to Bishops Lydeard and finds ‘Hymek’ D7018 at the tail end of the Minehead-bound service, returning home after performing ‘Thunderbird’ duties while D6566 (33 048) received attention at Williton earlier in the day. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – a flurry of activity on this loco, with the available efforts boosted by the Class 14 team who combined forces with Leroy to get the cam box and fuel injectors refitted and ready for timing adjustments. The next steps after timing will be the reinstatement of the air intake ducting and the intercoolers, and then the engine can be test run. Many thanks to all involved for their efforts on this loco.
D7017 – Bristol Siddeley Maybach MD870 cam box being secured after adjustment and alignment at Williton on Saturday 13th August 2022. Pictured from front to back are Simon, Leroy and Terry. Photo by Mike Evans © CC BY-NC 3.0
D7017 – also receiving attention at Williton on Saturday 13th August 2022 were the sanding valves that had been removed from the loco during the spring replacement work and had yet to be re-fitted. Photo by Mike Evans © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – as reported earlier, this loco was called into action on Saturday 13th August (much to the surpise of the photographers who were expecting ‘Cromptons’!) and performed perfectly.
The next scheduled dates for ‘Hymek’ running are the 10:00 and 14:30 Minehead to Bishops Lydeard return services on Sat/Sun 3rd/4th September. Between now and then, our Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ will be in regular use (we hope!), so keep an eye on our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page for updates or join the DIESELGEN email bulletin group (which also includes information about non-public services, where the information is available to us sufficiently in advance).
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the Class 14 team lent a hand on D7017 this last weekend so photos of work on D9518 are few, except that Andy P turned his attention to the framework that forms the side of the bonnet with a view to getting it ready for priming and painting. As explained during the last few weeks, progress will need to be focused on component parts for a while, to get ready for the next ‘big step’.
D9518 – the frame that forms one side of the ‘long’ bonnet of the ‘Teddy Bear’ was subjected to the restorative skills of Andy P at Williton on Saturday 13th August 2022. Photo by Andy Royal © 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 on the Kent & East Sussex Railway. The scheduled 500 hour inspection that was performed last weekend revealed what looked like a loose rivet that had to be further investigated, so the loco was out of service for a few days while the local team resolved the issue (which involved lifting the loco). Luckily, the issue was not serious and the loco resumed service during the week. Well done and thank you very much to Team Grimwood at the K&ESR for their hard work in very hot conditions !
D9526 was pictured while traversing the acres of parched farmland at Ewhurst in the southeast corner of the UK on 2nd August 2022 with a service train on the Kent and East Sussex Railway. Photo by Colin Girle © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – this loco is now in regular service on the NYMR – except that last weekend, she had to have a new set of brake blocks fitted and this resulted in several days out of service while this was done and while some other issues with the braking system were being attended to. This meant that for the first few days of last week, the only one of our locos that was actually in revenue-earning service was Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) so she definitely wins the reliability prize this month !
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – last week we mentioned that we needed some help to complete the livery details on this locomotive, and DEPG and WSR volunteer Jon Tooke stepped forward and grabbed the opportunity, so WELL DONE JON ! We look forward to this work being carried out from mid-September onwards.
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 – being short of time again this week, we will just include this reminder that we have added several new books to our online store recently, so please visit our online store and browse then buy to support the work that is taking place on our locomotives. Here below are some examples. Thanks !
Book – Green Diesel Days£14.99 incl VAT excl P&P
Book – Clayton Type 1 – Class 17£36.00 incl VAT excl P&P
Book – BR Swindon Type 1 – Class 14 – Vol 2£27.00 incl VAT excl P&P
Book – BR Swindon Type 1 – Class 14 – Vol 1£27.00 incl VAT excl P&P
Book – A Manual for Diesel Loco and DMU Drivers£34.95 incl VAT excl P&P
Book – pre-owned – British Rail Main Line Locomotives£20.00 incl VAT excl P&P
ON SHED – apologies, but we will have to skip this feature again this week.
DEPG NEWS – the August Newsletter has been printed and mailed out to DEPG members, along with the AGM calling notice and the synopses of the last three Board Meetings. If you are a DEPG member and have not received your Newsletter, please let us know (click here for the CONTACT FORM) so that we can investigate and resend the package, either by email or by post.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of The DEPG takes place at 14:00 at Williton on Saturday 3rd September 2022. If you are a member, take your opportunity to vote by attending at the AGM. Please let us know if you have not yet received your AGM information package. Click here to use our CONTACT FORM.
Our new online membership system is working well and feedback has been very positive, even though some anomalies have had to be corrected here and there. Membership is INCREASING STEADILY ! If you haven’t done so already, please take a look at your membership record and make sure that it is correct. You will also be able to select ‘paper’, ‘paperless’ or ‘paperless except newsletter’ communication, according to your preference. In the event of any discrepancies, please email Membership Secretary Chris Shields using email@example.com or click here to use our CONTACT FORM.
WSR NEWS: the next event on the WSR will be the ‘FORTIES WEEKEND‘ that takes place from Saturday 10th through Sunday 11th September when the DEPG facility at Williton will again be open to the public, complete with ROD SAUNDERS and his model railway sales stand. Please make a plan to come along to this event in support of both the WSR and the DEPG. Timetables for planned diesel running are now being published via our new DIESEL RUNNING DATES page and any updates will be shared via our DIESELGEN email bulletin service.