Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) worked the diesel diagram of the BLUE timetable last weekend and was pictured climbing Watts Bank just after leaving Bishops Lydeard on Sunday 16th July 2023, with secondman Mark Bladwell paying close attention to the volunteer Permanent Way gang who have stepped back to allow the train to pass. The weeds have evidently been enjoying the weather this year. Photo by Malcolm Anderson © CC BY-NC 3.0
The diesel diagram of the BLUE timetable was worked by Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33048) on Saturday and Sunday 15/16th July. This loco has been outstationed at Minehead since the Diesel Gala in early June and is booked to continue covering the Sunday workings until mid August, when she is due to be relieved by one of our Class 35 ‘Hymeks’.
The YELLOW timetable comes into effect for weekdays and Saturdays from the 25th July onwards, and the diesel turns will be shared by Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 and Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) on alternate weeks. This additional diesel loco-hauled working is covering for the Class 115 Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) which is out of service undergoing heavy maintenance work and may not be available for the rest of this season. Keep an eye on our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page for details of which loco will be rostered for which service.
The YELLOW timetable diesel-hauled service timings are:
11:00 Depart Bishops Lydeard, arrive Minehead at 12:15
15:25 Depart Minehead, arrive Bishops Lydeard at 17:05
A total of 40 miles.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 and Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) will be working alternately on the diesel diagram of the YELLOW timetable for the next five weeks, covering for the DMU. Both locos were pictured at Williton on Saturday 1st July 2023 by Andy Royal. © CC BY-NC 3.0
In an unexpected turn of events, the DEPG were contacted last Saturday by the owners of the splendid A4-class steam loco 60007 ‘SIR NIGEL GRESLEY’ that was undergoing repair at Westridge Steam Shed, Bishops Lydeard. Our Chairman Martin Howard has provided us with the following information:
“After a call for assistance from the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust (SNGLT), owners of Gresley A4 pacific 60007 (LNER 4498) on Saturday 15th July, we lent them 2 x 1 metre lengths of high-tensile M24 studding from our workshop stock. This was to help them repair a failed middle small end bearing that they were having trouble replacing, as the M20 studding they were using kept stripping threads. We heard later on Saturday evening that the new bearing was successfully fitted using the M24 bar, and that the SNGLT are very grateful for DEPG’s timely assistance in their hour of need.”
The loco was test run between Bishops Lydeard and Norton Fitzwarren on the Sunday and will soon be returning to main line duties. The mainline loco operators LSL sent their Class 37 D6817 (37117, 37521) to support the steam loco and the two were pictured in this excellent shot by DEPG member Steve Speck. Many thanks to Martin and Steve for providing this interesting information.
Class A4 ‘Streak’ 60007 ‘SIR NIGEL GRESLEY’ was pictured departing from Bishops Lydeard on a test run to Norton Fitzwarren on Sunday 16th July 2023. Mainline loco operator LSL’s Class 37 D6817 (37117, 37521) is visible on the left, at the end of the bay platform. Photo by Steve Speck © CC BY-NC 3.0
The next major event taking place on the WSR will be the WSRA’s ANNUAL STEAM RALLY that takes place at Norton Fitzwarren during the first weekend in August. Although the event has steam in the title, it includes a vast range of exhibits from horses to tractors to vintage cars, trucks and buses. The DEPG will also be participating with Class 14 D9526 providing brake van rides over the truncated remains of the Barnstaple branch line, and we will also have one of our Class 35 ‘Hymeks’ on static display. This event is lots of fun and is WELL WORTH A VISIT. There will be a frequent FREE (for rally-goers) shuttle service from Bishops Lydeard to Norton Fitzwarren worked by Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) and Class 09 ‘Gronk’ D4107 (09019) and a FREE bus connection from Silk Mills Park & Ride.
Our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page is updated several times per week and is kept as accurate as we can make it. The loco allocations are subject to availability (of course), but we do try to field the allocated loco wherever possible. Click on the banner below to go to the website page:
The DIESEL RUNNING DATES pages is supplemented by our DIESELGEN bulletin service which captures non-public running such as special trains and engineering workings (where we have sufficient notice to publish such workings). Sign up for DIESELGEN emails or keep an eye on our website homepage.
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – the focus last week was the preparation of the loco and the surrounding area for the crane that will be attending next week to lift out the two cooler groups and the ‘A’ transmission for overhaul. The lift plan also includes the movement of the completed ‘B’ transmission from the overhaul facility to a temporary storage facility where the transmission will be kept until the loco is ready for the re-installation.
D1010 – the loco was prepared for the cooler groups and transmission to be lifted out, and then covered up to prevent rainwater ingress. Gordon is pictured securing the tarpaulins at the end of the day on Saturday 15th July 2023. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Meanwhile, the transmission team turned their attention to the leaking Serck pumps that drive the roof fans, one of which been leaking for some time. Both pumps will be overhauled and fitted with new seals and gaskets and the associated oil tanks will be pressure tested when the cooler groups are out of the way.
D1010 – the ‘A’ end Serck pump was stripped down at Williton on 10th July to replace the oil seals and gaskets. The pump comprises seven close-fitting plungers that are driven at an angle, resulting in linear movement of the plungers, pressurising the hydraulic fluid that in turn drives the roof fans. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
Having the loco outdoors has generated an increased interest in our SPONSOR A PATCH scheme, with several more patches being engraved with their sponsor’s names or messages. This initiative remains the single most successful fund-raising activity and has allowed us to make significant progress with the restoration work. PLEASE CONTINUE TO HELP US FUND THIS PROJECT.
Photographs and certificates of sponsorship will be sent out to all who have sponsored 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 and your patience!
Class 33 D6566 (33 048) – this loco is the WSR Standby Loco and is stabled at Minehead, ready for her next duties under the BLUE timetable. See our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page for details. She gave us an anxious moment when a driver reported a fault with the Driver’s Safety Device (DSD) not re-setting properly, so volunteer driver Robin and volunteer fitter Tom attended at Minehead to investigate. The problem was quickly traced to a sticking plunger on the secondman’s side, which was cleaned up and tested to confirm that the issue was resolved. This allowed the loco to take up her next duty without affecting her 100% despatch reliability since returning to service earlier this year. Thanks guys !
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) received some attention to the Driver’s Safety Device (DSD, aka ‘deadman’s pedal’) while stabled at Minehead on Thursday 13th July 2023. DEPG and WSR volunteer driver Robin was on hand to perform the tests and assist with the maintenance task. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – this loco is stabled at Williton and is also fully operational and available for use at short notice. The loco is expected to move to Bishops Lydeard on Saturday or Sunday 29/30th July to be ready for her YELLOW timetable duties.
The spare Sulzer LDA28 cylinder heads (allocated to our Class 33s) were removed from store for periodic cleaning and lubricating at Williton on Saturday 15th July 2023. The massive dimensions of these engine parts are apparent from these two photographs. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
The Sulzer LDA28 cylinder heads are relatively simple by comparison to their lightweight Maybach equivalents, and have two pushrod-operated valves per cylinder. The Class 33s use eight of these cylinder heads per engine. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 15th July 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – Good news – after some searching, the insulation fault that has been causing trouble on this loco was traced to a junction box that was found to be full of water ! The water was drained, the contacts cleaned, and the insulation rose to an acceptable level. Some more work will be carried out to check other junction boxes and ensure that they are watertight, and then the various cables that were removed for circuit testing will need to be reconnected and checked before the loco can be test run to re-establish her reliability. Several other tasks will also be dealt with, including the broken droplight window on the driver’s side at ‘A’ end. Progress indeed, and many thanks to Neil and John for their diligent investigative work on this loco.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – after receiving attention that involved some small mechanical adjustments to the linkages and actuator arms, the transmission covers have now been re-fitted and the loco is ready for an engine run, which will allow the reverser functionality to be tested. If all goes well, the loco will be exercised in the yard before deciding the next step. If the test does not go well, there is a backup plan that will require the loco to stay inside the loco shed for a few more weeks, after which the loco should be able to take up duties again.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – work continued in several areas and the high quality standards of this rebuild are evidently being maintained, as can be seen from the photographs below. Away from the loco shed, work is taking place on the various door panels and covers that will be needed for the restoration of the driver’s desk. The brake rigging is also progressing, with several parts currently out at subcontractors for straightening and re-bushing.
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 in place of the DMU on some of the YELLOW timetable services during the peak summer period that starts on Tuesday 25th July. Take a look at our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page for details of the running dates and loco allocations.
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – this loco is undergoing a cylinder head overhaul (same massive type as the Class 33s, but 12 of them!) at Grosmont Works on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Good progress is being made, and current expectations are that the loco will be returned to service towards the end of this month.
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – this loco is in full working order and is stabled in the South Yard. The cab is undergoing a repaint, but the loco remains serviceable and ready for action.
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 !
ON SHED – here’s another of Mark Bladwell’s collection from his ‘spotting’ days, this time a view of the Maintenance Shop at Laira depot in July 1974 showing no less than EIGHT of the Class 52 ‘Westerns’ undergoing various levels of maintenance. Fourteen of the class of 74 had already been withdrawn from service by this time, so these eight represented 13% of the remaining fleet, all of which were concentrated at Laira depot. The staff clearly had their hands full as they had to keep these locos running by robbing serviceable (but part-worn) parts from those locos that had already been withdrawn, a futile and thankless waste of effort in many cases. Many thanks to Mark for sharing his photo with us all.
From left to right, D1014 ‘WESTERN LEVIATHAN’ then D1008 ‘WESTERN HARRIER’ then D1023 ‘WESTERN FUSILIER’ then D1067 ‘WESTERN DRUID’ then (at the far end on the right side) D1054 ‘WESTERN GOVERNOR’ then D1049 ‘WESTERN MONARCH’ then D1031 ‘WESTERN RIFLEMAN’ then D1069 ‘WESTERN VANGUARD’ take up the space in Laira’s Maintenance Hall. Picture dated 29th July 1974 by Mark Bladwell © CC BY-NC 3.0
DEPG NEWS – a synopsis of the Board Meeting that was held at Williton on Saturday 24th June has been prepared and will be shared with all DEPG members for whom we hold a valid email address via a separate email broadcast.
The next Board Meeting will take place this coming Saturday 22nd July at 1030, so please let us know by using our CONTACT FORM if you are a DEPG member and have a question that you would like to have placed before the Board.
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. Thank you very much !
KEY DATES for your diary:
WSRA STEAM RALLY: Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August at Norton Fitzwarren
WSR FORTIES WEEKEND: Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September
DEPG 50th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS : Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September 2023.