From left to right, rebuilt ‘West Country’ class 4-6-2 2C127 (34027) ‘TAW VALLEY’ stands at Platform 1 of Williton Station with the ‘ATLANTIC COAST EXPRESS’ to Minehead. Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 was open to visitors in the South Yard along with Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 and Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 (ROF 1). Pictured on Saturday 29th April 2023 by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
The WSR’s highly successful SPRING STEAM SPECTACULAR event ran from Friday 28th April through to Monday 1st May and pulled in the crowds to ride behind the interesting and varied mix of locomotives that ran to an intensive timetable. Additional interest was provided in the form of ‘local’ passenger trains running between Norton Fitzwarren and Williton, and goods trains featuring brake van rides along the length of the line. All of the locos performed well and the weather also co-operated for three of the four days with the Sunday being wet in the morning, although that didn’t seem to dent the patronage.
The DEPG depot was OPEN FOR VISITORS on each day of the gala, allowing close-up viewing of our two major restoration projects D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ and Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 along with the four locos in the yard, namely ‘Hymeks’ D7017 and D7018, ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 and Barclay 578 (ROF 1). Our volunteers were on hand to guide the visitors and spread the word about our efforts to preserve our fleet and operate them on the WSR and further afield.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 was pictured in the South Yard at Williton on Saturday 29th April 2023, with Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 alongside but on slightly higher ground. Luckily, the weather was good for three of the four days of the ‘Spring Steam Spectacular’ event. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
Also in the loco shed on each of the four days of the gala, we hosted ROD’S MODEL RAILWAY SALES stand along with our own DEPG sales stand, and both were happy with their results after the four-plus days of effort, so MANY THANKS to all who visited and all who supported, and most of all, to all of the volunteers of the many groups who gave up significant amounts of their time to make it possible.
Williton Loco Shed was the venue for Rod’s Model Railway Sales stand and for our own DEPG Sales Stand for each day of the Spring Steam Spectacular event. Chris covered the sales stand on the Saturday and again on Sunday. Pictured on 29th April 2023 by Mark Ireland © CC BY-NC 3.0
The BLUE timetable returns after the gala and runs throughout May, featuring diesel haulage each weekend, initially with Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 and later with Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017. For details of planned DIESEL-HAULED public services, see the DIESEL RUNNING DATES page on our website.
SIMON PURVIS 1961-2023 RIP
On Friday 28th April we learned of the very sad loss of well-loved DEPG volunteer and Class 14 team leader SIMON PURVIS after a brief period of illness. Having joined the DEPG back in the 1980s, Simon quickly gained his reputation as both a diesel locomotive expert and a great team leader because of his massive breadth of knowledge, his good nature and his famously cheery attitude. We recall his involvement with so many of our locomotives, not just his favourite ‘Teddy Bears’, because he would lend a hand on any task that needed to be done. He would provide advice and guidance to new and experienced volunteers to help them work safely and efficiently, calling upon his mainline railway engineering experience and passing it on to his DEPG colleagues.
He will be sorely missed and we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and to all of his friends and colleagues who will no doubt be feeling his loss.
Simon was camera-shy and we have had to search to find some photographs of him, often snapped by calling him and making him look around. Each photo features his legendary ‘tash’ …
The late Simon Purvis was reluctantly pictured while lending a hand on Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 at Williton on Saturday 13th August 2022, with fellow volunteers Leroy and Terry unable to keep a straight face alongside. Photo by Mike Evans © CC BY-NC 3.0
The late Simon Purvis, thoroughly immersed in his work on Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 at Williton on Saturday 15th October 2022. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
The late Simon Purvis, hard at work on the brake frame of Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 at Williton on Saturday 26th November 2022. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
The late Simon Purvis, caught on film while working on the standstill detector valve of Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 at Williton on Saturday 28th January 2023. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Rest in peace, Simon, we will all miss you.
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – the ‘open depot’ event impacted on weekend activities but some excellent progress was made on the transmission, and Karl even managed to get some more painting done on the battery compartment doors on ‘A’ side while keeping clear of the visiting public. Here are some photos:
D1010 – a milestone achievement – the turbine rail and reverser shaft were re-installed in the ‘B’ transmission casing at Williton on Tuesday 25th April 2023. Congratulations to Colin F, Geoff and Tim (pictured) for making such good and steady progress with this complex task. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the upper section of the ‘B’ transmission casing was inverted to allow the re-installation of the many pipes and seals, these tasks demanding great care and a very careful and systematic approach to the work. Pictured at Williton on Tuesday 25th April 2023 by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – activities in the main loco shed were restricted over the weekend because of the ‘open depot’ but volunteer and trainee secondman Karl was still able to make progress with one of the battery compartment doors. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 29th April 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 !
See our CAMPAIGN for CAMPAIGNER web page for more details. We still have a lot of work to do on this massive locomotive, so PLEASE DO COME ALONG AND HELP IF YOU CAN !
Class 33 D6566 (33 048) – this loco is still hiding inside the paint tunnel in the Swindon Shed at Williton where she is undergoing a paintwork refresh in the hands of WSR Restorations. We hope to see the loco emerge resplendent some time during the next week or so.
The repaint of Class 33 ‘Crompton D6566 (33 048) was progressing well when pictured in the paint tunnel at WSR Restorations Williton on 2nd May 2023. Photo by Harry Spencer © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – this loco is stabled at Minehead in readiness to take up her BLUE timetable duties on Saturday, Sunday and Monday 6/7/8th May.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was stabled at Minehead over the weekend in a line of diesel locomotives that included Barclay 0-4-0DH 579 (ROF 2) just visible on the left and Class 03 D2133 on the right. Pictured on Saturday 29th April 2023 by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – this loco has been confirmed as OK to take up duties subject to the usual inspection checks, her next rostered duties being on Saturday and Sunday 20/21st May under the BLUE timetable. See our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page for information about this season’s diesel-hauled services.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – Neil and John made progress on the task list on this loco on Saturday 29th April and more resources will be brought to bear during this coming weekend. This loco is therefore expected to be available in good time for the Diesel Gala on June 8th through 10th.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the weekend was spent showing the restoration progress to the visiting public, but Tony had been at work during the previous week and had completed one of the four end doors that needed to be re-kinned due to corrosion. He will be continuing with his restoration work on the other three doors during the coming weeks.
D9518 – one of the nose-end doors at ‘B’ end has been completely re-skinned by Tony and is now ready for priming and painting. Another job well done! Pictured at Williton on Saturday 29th April 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‘.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – this loco is fully serviceable and ready for use as soon as suitable opportunities arise. We hope to be able to use this loco on a WSR service train in the near future.
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – this loco is now back in regular use on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and is performing well. We hope to include details of her exploits in a future roundup.
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – this loco is in full working order and is stabled in the South Yard, ready for action. We hope to apply her cabside lettering during the coming weeks to complete her ‘1972 makeover’.
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 this week due to other priorities.
ON SHED – the Western Locomotive Association’s (WLA’s) 1963 Crewe-built ‘Thousand’ D1062 ‘WESTERN COURIER’ was exercised in the yard at Kidderminster on the Severn Valley Railway on Monday 1st May and is expected to be ready for service in time for her birthday event this coming Saturday, 6th May and her rostered running on both the Saturday and Sunday. We wish her a very happy 60th birthday !
Class 52 D1062 ‘WESTERN COURIER’ was pictured while exercising in the yard at Kidderminster on Monday 1st May 2023 in readiness for her rostered turns this coming weekend. This gleaming loco will celebrate her 60th birthday on Saturday 6th May. Photo by Paul Finch © CC BY-NC 3.0
DEPG NEWS – a Board Meeting was held at Williton on Saturday 22nd April, and a synopsis is being prepared and will be shared ASAP with all DEPG members for whom we hold a valid email address.
The DEPG depends on the support of all of our members so please make sure that your membership is up to date. 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 SUMMER DIESEL FESTIVAL: Thursday 8th through Saturday 10th June 2023
DEPG 50th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS : Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September 2023.