DEPG volunteers gathered as a mark of respect for former DEPG Chairman the late John Cronin who passed away on Tuesday 4th October 2022. Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was suitably adorned with a wreath and carried the headcode ‘JC’ in tribute to the well-known railwayman. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 8th October 2022 by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0
Following on from the sad news that our former Chairman John Cronin passed away in the early afternoon of Tuesday 4th October at the age of 80, our volunteers gathered for a minute of silence and for a group photograph in front of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) at Williton on Saturday. The loco carried a wreath and displayed the headcode ‘JC’ as a mark of respect for the man who led the DEPG from 2009 through to 2017 and who continued to work for the benefit of the group after retirement from the role.
Tributes have been reaching us from his former colleagues throughout the railway fraternity, but John was the kind of person who would not have wanted any fuss to be made and he would have simply said “get on with it then“, so that is exactly what we are going to do.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 hauled the ‘Quantock Belle‘ dining service on 20th August 2017, during which our former Chairman the late John Cronin was presented with a special birthday cake on the occasion of his 75th Birthday and his second ‘retirement’. Pictured at Bishops Lydeard by Bob Tiller © CC BY-NC 3.0
Returning to the activities of last weekend, Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) worked the 12:30 Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and the 14:30 return service under the RED timetable on both Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th October and is rostered for the same services this coming weekend, which will be the last of the diesel-hauled public services for the 2022 season. One of our two ‘Cromptons’ will be in use on the Christmas ‘WINTERLIGHTS’ services that start on 18th November, but this coming weekend is the last chance for a scheduled diesel-hauled round trip along the length of the line, so grab the opportunity, if you can.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) came to a stand at Blue Anchor Signal Box on Saturday 8th October 2022 so that the signlman could converse with loco driver Paul Fleet. The loco was working the 14:30 service from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
THIS COMING WEEKEND 15th/16th October, we have the LAST opportunity for scheduled public service diesel haulage with Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) running for 40 miles from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and back each day, under the RED timetable.
We have kept our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page updated throughout all of the timetable and traction changes that took place during the year and will keep this page available as a detailed record of public running for 2022. We will create a new page for 2023 as soon as timetables have been agreed and published.
MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE TRAVELLED for supporting this year’s DIESEL RUNNING program on the WSR.
Another activity that took place at Williton last week was the visit of Williton Beaver Scout Troop on the late afternoon of Monday 3rd October, where the children were given a lesson in railway safety before touring the depot and visiting the cabs of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) and Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 in addition to a look inside our BR standard 20t Brake Van B952527. The youngsters had a great time, the culmination of which was a very carefully supervised group photo staged on the smallest locomotive in our care, Barclay 0-4-0DH number 578 (ROF No. 1). Overall, a very worthwhile event for everyone involved, and a very much appreciated donation to Depot funds !
On Saturday 8th, the DEPG hosted a visit from a convoy of vintage trucks from the South West Vintage Truck Road Run group, bringing some additional interest to the South Yard at Williton on what turned out to be a very busy day. Although we had expected a seven-truck convoy, only four actually made it into our yard, which given the lack of turning space was probably just as well ! Click here to see more photos on the South West Road Runs Twitter account.
This 1939 Bedford dropside truck was the oldest of the four vehicles that visited the South Yard at Williton on Saturday 8th October 2022 as part of the SOUTH WEST VINTAGE TRUCK ROAD RUN. Photo by Mike Evans © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – more progress has been made on multiple fronts on this loco as she approaches her 60th birthday – this coming Saturday !
Introduced to service on 15th October 1962, our loco was put to work on the Paddington to Birmingham services which were heavily loaded at that time due to the construction work taking place at Euston station and elsewhere on the West Coast Main Line. The loco entered service in overall maroon with a yellow buffer beam and apron, and ran in this condition for 16 weeks before making a short visit to Swindon Works for remedial work and being outshopped with a small yellow warning panel and black bufferbeams. Photos of D1010 in her early livery are rare, but we do have one on our website. We would welcome any additional photos from those early days.
Bringing the story right up to date, our team at Williton have started to transition from disassembly mode to reassembly mode. The various parts that were removed to allow body repairs to take place are now being restored and re-fitted, although there is still a lot of filling and rubbing down to be done before the bodywork can be considered as finished.
Please consider SPONSORING A PATCH because there is plenty of recently-added metal that still needs engraving. We engraved 30 patches recently and we have another 100+ still to do, so the scheme has been very successful (well done Colin F for suggesting it). Photographs and certificates of sponsorship will be sent out to all who have sponsored this phase of the restoration work, but please bear with us because our admin resources are stretched at the moment. Click the image below and sponsor a patch now. Thank you in advance for your support !
We still have a lot of work to do on this massive locomotive, so PLEASE DO COME ALONG AND HELP IF YOU CAN !
D1010 – long-time DEPG member and volunteer Geoff was pictured re-installing the secondman’s side window at the ‘A’ end of the loco at Williton on Monday 3rd October 2022. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – where necessary, the repaired battery compartment doors now have new hinges and are ready for priming and painting, which will then allow the batteries to be re-installed, releasing some floor space in the loco shed. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 8th October 2022 by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the ‘A’ end of the loco has undergone major reconstruction and is now structually sound, although the cosmetic work of filling and sanding still needs to be done before it can be considered as finished. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 8th October 2022 by Josh Brinsford © 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 of your choice will be engraved instead.
See our CAMPAIGN for CAMPAIGNER web page for more details !
Class 33 D6566 (33 048) – the subcontractor that has been assessing the failed heat exchanger has now reported that it is beyond repair because of severe erosion of the tube plate, which has allowed leaks to develop in multiple areas. The tubeplate will have to be replaced and all 600 joints re-made, so it is probably more cost-effective to have the complete core replaced. We are assessing the options which include repair, replacement or modification of the end plates to allow a heat exchanger from a Class 56 to be used instead. We have several in our spares stock, so this might become the lowest cost option, if it meets the technical requirements.
D6566 (33 048) – close-up view of the heavily eroded tubeplate on the leaking heat exchanger, showing unrepairable damage to the joints between the majority of tubes and the tubeplate. Photo dated 5th October 2022 via Ian Robins © CC BY-NC 3.0
D6575 (33 057) – for comparison, this photo shows the tubeplate for the heat exchanger fitted to sister loco D6575, pictured during planned maintenance cleaning in January 2019. There are approximately 600 tubes of 6mm (1/4 inch) diameter and 1.65m (65 inches) in length through which the cooling water flows. The engine oil flows around the outside of these tubes via the pink pipes. The heat transfers from the hottest fluid to the coolest fluid. Photo by Ian Robins © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – this loco is currently stabled at Bishops Lydeard and being the WSR Duty Loco, is fully serviceable. She has one more weekend of scheduled public service duties to perform, as listed on our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page, but it is already evident that she has been the busiest loco of our home fleet this year. Well done D6575 !
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – the BIG NEWS is that the loco was checked over carefully then started up on Saturday 8th October 2022 and everything went to plan, with the engine running smoothly again. WELL DONE to all of our volunteers who have been involved with this work ! We are preparing a collection of video clips covering the successful engine run and will post them on the DEPG YouTube channel shortly. Click here or on the image below for a short clip of the engine running with the cam box covers removed for inspection purposes (beware – it is LOUD!):
D7017 has now vacated the loco shed and is standing on Number 3 road so that she can undergo her Vehicle Inspection & Brake Test (VIBT) and completion of some other outstanding work before going out on a test run at some time in the near future. Pictured on Saturday 8th October 2022 by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – this loco watched and waited patiently as her sister received all of the attention during last weekend. The work list on this loco comprises a number of small but important tasks that will be tackled during the coming weeks.
D7018 has now been reunited with her sister loco D7017 in the South Yard at Williton and they both await completion of various small tasks before going out on a test run at some time in the near future. Pictured on Saturday 8th October 2022 by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the re-fitting of the side and end frames at the ‘B’ end of the main frames has transformed her appearance and she is now starting to look like a locomotive again ! These frames provide anchor points for many of the pipes and items of electrical control gear, so they needed to be back in place to allow work to progress. Well done Team D9518 !
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 fully 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 working alongside the steam locos and the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU), sharing the work of hauling the public services. Work on locally-based sister D9504 has progressed well, so we expect to see D9526 returning to Williton early in the New Year.
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – this loco continues to be in regular use at the NYMR, although usage is reducing as autumn sets in. During the last three months, this loco has covered more than 2,500 miles, so her first season in service has been a big success !
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – this little loco received plenty of attention last weekend when a team including Darren and Karl and led by Jon set about the completion of the detail paintwork at the buffer beams. Having prevously attended to the leading end of the loco and done a great job, Jon marked out the diagonal stripes at the trailing end with his customary level of care, and then painted the black stripes. Meanwhile, Karl and Darren attended to the orange paint for the electrical conduits and the red and yellow paint for the air pipes. Some small details remain to be completed and then we will be ready for the cabside lettering to be reinstated. GREAT JOB, well done guys !
Barclay 0-4-0DH number 578 (ROF No. 1) received plenty of attention at Williton on Saturday 8th October 2022. This picture shows Karl painting the electrical conduit with the designated colour, orange. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
Barclay 0-4-0DH number 578 (ROF No. 1) at Williton on Saturday 8th October 2022, showing her newly-acquired diagonal stripes at her ‘short end’, carefully applied by Jon. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0
Barclay 0-4-0DH number 578 (ROF No. 1) at Williton on Saturday 8th October 2022, with Darren attending to the details at the ‘long end’ of the loco. The air pipe connections and levers are in grey undercoat in this view. Photo by Jon Tooke © 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 – not a book but a printed item so worthy of a mention here, we are now taking orders for the DEPG 2023 CALENDAR, further details of which will be posted here and on our webstore soon. To prevent waste and maximise the contribution to DEPG funds, we will be limiting the number of calendars that we order to match demand and no more. The printing costs have risen but if we control the quantity that we order, we can keep the price the same as last year, which is £12 including VAT excluding postage. Click here or on the image below to place your ADVANCE ORDER. Thank you to all of our contributors for allowing us to use their work for this important purpose.
We have added several other NEW BOOKS to our online store recently including THE BEATEN TRACK Vol.1 and Vol.2 and GREEN DIESEL DAYS, so please visit our online store and browse then buy to support the work that is taking place on our locomotives. Thanks !
ON SHED – as we approach the middle of October, it is my annual opportunity to indulge in a picture of Class 43 ‘Warship’ D842 ‘ROYAL OAK‘, named after the battleship upon which my grandfather lost his life on 14th October 1939, along with 833 other men and boys in what was the first major naval loss of WWII. The pictured diesel-hydraulic did not make it into preservation, but the name was carried again by successor Class 50 number 50 017 and that loco survives today and can be seen at work on the Great Central Railway.
North British Locomotive Co. Class 43 ‘Warship’ D842 ‘Royal Oak’ was pictured while moving the empty coaching stock of the 2B84 Exeter St. Davids to Newton Abbot service from Exeter carriage siding on 15th June 1971. Photo by Barry Gay © CC BY-NC 3.0
Many thanks to Barry for sharing his photograph with us. As this locomotive is a particular favourite of mine, if any readers have photos of D842 (or 50017) that they would be willing to share, then please do let me know. Thank you.
DEPG NEWS – The synopsis of the DEPG Board Meeting that took place on 1st October 2022 is being prepared and will be shared with DEPG members (for whom we hold valid email addresses) later this week.
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 use the CONTACT FORM on our website.
Of particular importance is the GIFT AID option. If you are a taxpayer, please consider setting your GIFT AID status to YES so that the DEPG can claim the tax that you paid on your subscription and/or donation. This increases the value of your payment by 25% and that makes a significant amount of difference to our fundraising. Thanks !
WSR NEWS: this coming weekend is the final weekend for scheduled diesel haulage under the RED timetable. It is possible that a diesel may be rostered on other days at short notice, to cover for a steam locomotive, but such things are unplanned and unpredictable. Keep an eye on our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page for the latest information.
The WSR is now taking bookings for the 2022 ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ trains which will be steam hauled on the journey to Crowcombe Heathfield and diesel hauled on the return leg, using one of our Class 33 ‘Cromptons’.
Love it or loathe it, the colours and sights of last years’ services resulted in a sell-out and demand is going to be solid again this year, so don’t leave it until later to make a booking. If you want to experience it, then now is the time to make a booking. Click here or click on the image below.