Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) stands on number 1 road at Williton Depot (left) while sister loco D6566 (33 048) is on the ‘down’ line at Williton Station (right), performing a shunt before heading off to Minehead in preparation for driver training activities. Pictured in the afternoon of Saturday 25th February 2023 by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0
In preparation for the re-opening of the WSR on 19th March 2023, refresher training and competency reviews taking the form of exams and practical sessions are being arranged for all crew members. In the case of diesel crews, a locomotive needed to be available for the competency renewals, so Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) was prepared for service and dispatched from Williton to Minehead on Saturday 25th February to support the practical tests. This has been the first opportunity for this loco to be called into action since the completion of her heat exchanger replacement and loaded test run, last December.
Class 09 shunter D4107 (09 019) continues to receive attention from Ian, Tom, John and Martin, the focus of attention last weekend being the engine oil cooler elements, which appear to be leaking. The elements are mounted in the nose of the loco, behind the radiator shutters. The design is simple but the work required to reach the cooler elements is significant, so access platforms had to be positioned around the front and side of the loco so that the access covers could be removed safely. The photos below show the work involved:
Class 09 D4107 (09 019) was surrounded by access platforms on number 2 road at Williton on Saturday 25th February 2023, so that work could place to rectify an oil leak from the engine oil cooler elements that are mounted on the nose, to the right of the radiator, just behind the yellow shutters. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 09 D4107 (09 019) was pictured with her radiator access cover removed at Williton on Sunday 26th February 2023. The engine oil cooler elements are mounted behind the shutters. The bolts that hold the shutters in place have to be accessed via this cover. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
FLOOD DAMAGE UPDATE:
In a letter to all volunteers and staff, the Chairman of the West Somerset Railway (WSR), Jonathan Jones-Pratt, has confirmed that the embankment at Coombe Florey is safe to use, subject to a temporary speed restriction and regular monitoring. This is excellent news and will allow the railway to re-open on Saturday 18th of March as planned. The west-facing section of the embankment that slipped into the gardens of the houses below during the night of December 19th 2022 will be carefully excavated later this year, so that the retaining wall can be rebuilt and everything made good.
The trackbed still needs attention, so the West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA) have launched an appeal to raise money get this work done as quickly and efficiently as possible without impacting timetabled services. The WSRA have pledged £25,000 of MATCH FUNDING to effectively double the value of donations made to this appeal, so this is a great opportunity to help make a real difference and get the trackbed sorted out with fresh ballast. Many thanks to the WSRA for this initiative ! Click here or on the image below to visit the web page and get more details, including information about the status of the funds raised so far:
The landslip affected the western side of the embankment at Coombe Florey, just to the north of Tribble Bridge, and provided an escape route for the deluge of mud and water that ran off from the potato field on the other side of the line during the night of 19th December 2022. Pictured on 19th February 2023 by Malcolm Anderson © CC BY-NC 3.0
VANDALISM DAMAGE TO THE DMU
On the evening of Sunday 26th February, a local resident called the police after becoming aware of intruders at Minehead Station. The police arrived to find three people vandalising the coaches, wagons and the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) that were stabled in the station yard. The three vandals were taken into custody but the damage had already been done and the staff and volunteers at Minehead are having to clean up and make repairs as necessary. The damage will be rectified in time for the re-opening of the line on 18th March, thanks to the significant efforts of the team at Minehead.
The WSR’s Class 115 Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) was subjected to unwanted attention from three vandals while stabled in the yard at Minehead Station. Coaches and wagons were also damaged in the attack which led to three people being taken into Police custody. Photos by Rich Hiscox © CC BY-NC 3.0
DONATIONS OF STORAGE UNITS:
The DEPG recently took delivery of a number of sturdy steel drawer cabinets as a donation from Bristol-based COMMERCIAL TRANSFER Ltd., a firm who specialise in business removals and the collection of used furniture for re-purposing via their ECO OFFICE subsidiary. These cabinets will be used to provide storage for loco parts and other artefacts at our Williton depot. We understand that there are more of these available if they are of use to any ‘WSR family’ organisation – just use our CONTACT FORM to let us know if your group could use some. Many thanks to Dave Hart and Gordon for arranging this very welcome donation for us.
Some of the sturdy steel drawer cabinets donated to the DEPG by Bristol-based COMMERCIAL TRANSFER Ltd. via their ECO OFFICE subsidiary. These cabinets will be used to provide storage for loco parts and other important artefacts and will be very useful. Pictured at Williton on 25th February 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
2023 TIMETABLE NEWS:
The WSR have announced the lineup for their SPRING STEAM SPECTACULAR event which will run from Friday April 28th through to Bank Holiday Monday 1st May and will include three ‘MANORS’ and a ‘SAINT’ plus the rest of the home-based fleet ! For details, click this link to the WSR website.
The first scheduled diesel-hauled service for 2023 is booked for Friday 7th April and will feature haulage by one of our Class 33 ‘Cromptons’. Keep an eye on the DIESEL RUNNING DATES page and mark the days that interest you on your calendar, so that you can make a plan to come along and ride behind your favourite type of locomotive. Click on the banner below to go to the page on our website:
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – further progress on multiple fronts during the last week as we push ahead with work both inside and outside of the loco. Here are some photos to show the wide range of activities:
D1010 – the ‘B’ cab is receiving attention from new volunteer Steve, who brings his experience in electrical control systems to bear upon the many electrical items in the cab and in the electrical frames under the desk. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 25th February 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – meanwhile, at ‘A’ end, Natalie continued her renovation work in the electrical bay behind the headcode indicators. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 25th February 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the radiator elements have now been removed from the cooler group at ‘B’ end, providing a view straight through the loco from the compressor access grille at ‘B’ end – except for the space that is being occupied by Leroy. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 25th February 2023 by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the damage that was incurred on ‘B’ side back in BR days (thought to be 1972 but precise details are still unknown) is being filled and sanded by Ian in preparation for a few more coats of paint. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 25th February 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
To continue our rate of progress requires FUNDING and we give our thanks to everyone who has supported D1010 by sponsoring or donating during these difficult times. If you are able to do so, please SPONSOR A PATCH because there is plenty of recently-added metal that still needs engraving. Photographs and certificates of sponsorship will be sent out to all who have sponsored this phase of the restoration work, and we are applying more resources to catch up with this obligation and deliver the documents. Click the image below to sponsor a patch. Thank you in advance for your support !
Class 33 D6566 (33 048) – this loco is the duty loco and has moved to Minehead to support the training activities that are taking place there during the coming weeks. Luckily, this loco escaped the attention of the vandals last Sunday.
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – this loco is at Williton and is also fully serviceable and ready to take up active duty on the WSR if required.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – on Tuesday 21st, Terry and Nick continued their work on the re-fitting of the sanding gear that had to be removed when the loco had to have her bogie springs changed last March.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – this loco has a list of items requiring attention and will be allocated resources shortly.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the cardan shafts received another coat of paint while Andy P worked on restoring the safety guards that protect the loco and occupants in the event of a cardan shaft failure. In parallel, John installed the wiring for the electro-pneumatic reverser valves. The newly-restored battery boxes (Colin G’s homework!) were brought into the loco shed, ready for re-fitting. The pictures tell the stories:
D9518 – the cardan shaft cover was retrieved from storage and straightened out using some careful blacksmith moves by Andy P at Williton on Saturday 25th February 2023. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 – the fully restored battery boxes are now positioned alongside the loco, ready to be lifted into position. These are further examples of top quality restoration work by Colin G. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 25th February 2023 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 fully operational condition as ‘NCB No. 7‘.
- Sunday 16th April
- Sunday 21st May
- Saturday 3rd June
- Sunday 4th June
More dates for later in the year will be added in the near future. Keep an eye on our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page or sign up to DIESELGEN email bullletin service to get the information as soon as it becomes available.
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – this loco is waiting for delivery of the new oil filter and housing that are being specially made by BRITISH FILTERS in Plymouth to be directly compatible with the original Vokes type, after which she will receive a fill of fresh engine oil and be ready to start up. Once started, a number of maintenance and setup tasks will need to be carried out before the work can be signed off as complete, in particular the setting-up of the newly-overhauled engine governor. We are getting close !
Barclay 578 – the old oil filter is a non-standard size and a replacement has had to be made to order by BRITISH FILTERS in Plymouth. Pictured at Williton on Tuesday 14th February 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Barclay 578 – the recently-overhauled engine governor has to be set up as soon as possible after the engine has been started. The red label serves as a reminder. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 25th February 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
If you can help by donating your time to any of these projects, 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 skip this feature again this week as we are short of time, but please take a look at our webstore for NEW BOOKS and PRE-OWNED BOOKS, the profits from which will go directly towards the upkeep of our loco fleet. Thank you very much !
ON SHED – this week, we have a minor mystery to solve. The photograph below was discovered at our Williton depot recently and depicts our very own D1661 (47077, 47613, 47840) ‘NORTH STAR’ on shed somewhere, between April 1968, when she received full yellow ends and was carrying the ‘Rail Alphabet’ numerals but without the ‘D’ prefix, and August 1973, when she was repainted into rail blue with red-backed nameplates (but still remaining as 1661). The shed designation can be seen painted just to the right of the driver’s door and appears to show 87A which would tie up with her allocation from November 1969 when Landore (Swansea) shed changed from 87E to 87A. However, the painted marks could also show 81A which would be Old Oak Common and the shed to which she was allocated from April 1973. So, the questions are, where and when was this photo taken ? Use our CONTACT FORM if you can help provide the answers. Thanks !
D1661 (47077, 47613, 47840) ‘NORTH STAR’ on shed somewhere, some time between November 1969 and August 1973. Can you help identify the location and narrow down the date range? If yes, please use our CONTACT FORM. to let us know. Photo from the DEPG archives © CC BY-NC 3.0
DEPG NEWS – a Board Meeting was held at Williton last Saturday 25th February and a synopsis is being prepared and will be sent out with the forthcoming Newsletter mailing (or emailing, depending on your stated preference in ‘Membermojo‘).
The new oil store is progressing well at Williton and now has sides and a back, as well as a roof. The front will be formed of steel mesh gates and there will be a partition in the centre to segregate new oil from the various types of oil wastes. The oil containers will be mounted on steel bunds that will capture any spillage and prevent pollution. Many thanks to Paul T and Graham for their hard work over several very cold weekends on this unglamorous but essential task.
The Williton oil storage area is being expanded to provide secure storage and pollution control for new oil and waste oil. Graham was pictured while preparing to attach the crossmembers to the southerly end of the structure on a very cold Saturday 25th February 2023. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Simon B and Graham were pictured while moving the new steel bund out of their way so that work could progress on attaching the sides to the new oil storage area at Williton on Saturday 25th February 2023. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0
The next DEPG Newsletter is running a little late and will be distributed towards the end of next week. Please make sure that your membership is up to date so that we can continue to send you a copy of this quarterly newsletter (via email or post at your choice). The newsletter will include detailed updates on the plans for our two restoration projects (D1010 and D9518), plus other information that is specific to DEPG members.
If you are not sure about your membership status, please click here or on the image below to access your membership record via MEMBERMOJO.
KEY DATES for your diary:
WSR DIESEL GALA : Thursday 8th through Saturday 10th June 2023
DEPG 50th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS : Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September 2023.