The sun was evidently shining for one of the days of the WSRA STEAM RALLY that took place at Norton Fitzwarren on 5/6th August 2023. Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 provided the power for the Brake Van rides along the truncated remains of the former Barnstaple branch. Well done to all volunteers for delivering such an excellent event! Pictured on Sunday 6th by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0
The expanse of the STEAM RALLY site is evident in this ‘over-the-bonnet’ view from the cab of Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 while taking on another load of passengers for a Brake Van ride along the truncated remains of the former Barnstaple branch. Pictured on Sunday 6th by Colin Girle © CC BY-NC 3.0
The annual STEAM RALLY took place last Saturday and Sunday 5/6th August, and the many exhibitors and campers braved some totally unseasonal weather on the Saturday but were paid back handsomely on the Sunday as the skies cleared and it felt like summer again. Although it is billed as a steam rally, there are plenty of exhibits that cover other areas such as arts and crafts, heavy horses, vintage agricultural machines, commercial vehicles, military vehicles, cars and motor bikes, coaches and wagons, so there is something for everyone. This event attracts many thousands of visitors and is well worth a visit.
Always a very popular feature of the event, the brake van rides along the 1.1 mile remnant of the Taunton to Barnstaple branch were provided by the DEPG this year, with our Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 making a total of 41 runs over the two days and generating a very useful income for the West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA), in fact the proceeds from the whole event will be put to very good uses across the length and breadth of the railway.
The shuttle services that ran between Bishops Lydeard and Norton Fitzwarren were rostered for the WSR’s Class 115 Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU), but were handled by a top-and-tail formation of Class 09 shunter D4107 (09 019) at the Taunton end and Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) at the Minehead end. These two locos worked a total of 17 round trips and provided the rare opportunity for Class 09 haulage !
Class 09 ‘Gronk’ D4107 (09 019) prepares to depart from Bishops Lydeard with one of the 17 shuttle services that ran to the Norton Fitzwarren platform over the weekend of 5/6th August 2023. Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was at the rear of the shuttle while sister D6566 (33 048) stood alongside with the arrival from Minehead. Pictured on Saturday 5th August 2023 by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
Two Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ were in action at Bishops Lydeard with D6575 (33 057) at the rear of the Norton Fitzwarren shuttle while sister D6566 (33 048) worked the BLUE timetable. Pictured on Saturday 5th August 2023 by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
On the YELLOW timetable that runs until the 26th August (Sundays excepted), the 1100 Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and the 1525 return service (1350 on 12th August) are being handled by Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 and Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057), working alternate weeks. This out-and-back 40-mile diagram provides additional capacity for the peak holiday season.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) takes a break in the bay platform at the head of the 15:25 Minehead to Bishops Lydeard while WSR ‘Mogul’ 9351 prepares to depart with the 14:30 service on Tuesday 1st August 2023. Photo by Tim Edmonds © CC BY-NC 3.0
The FORTIES WEEKEND event will take place on September 9th and 10th and is always very popular with a wide range of related exhibits and themed activities, including the now-customary evening dance on the platform at Minehead ! Click here to go to the WSR website for details of this event.
Then, the DEPG at 50 event will feature a full day of diesel-hauled services on FRIDAY 22nd SEPTEMBER and mixed traction days on the Saturday and Sunday. Details are being finalised and will be published as soon as possible, hopefully next week. A Friday evening service will run from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and back and will offer food and drinks to all ticketed travellers (DEPG members will enjoy significant multiple discounts and privileges) so KEEP THIS DATE FREE and make a plan to attend !
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’ – work has begun on the dismantling of the ‘A’ transmission to assess the amount of work required to overhaul it. The findings so far are encouraging and the accessible bearings appear to be in good condition, although there is evidence elsewhere of corrosion that has resulted from condensation. The bearings that we really need to inspect are buried deep within the converter rail, but doing the job in the absence of damage will make the overhaul work a lot easier.
D1010 – Before any dismantling work began, the ‘A’ transmission received a thorough and careful clean-up from Colin F (left) and Geoff at Williton on Monday 31st July 2023. This preparation work ensures that the minimum amount of contamination enters this valuable piece of 1960s high-precision engineering. Photo by Andy Royal © 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, but we are still short of volunteer resources and have not yet been able to catch up with this obligation and deliver the documents. Apologies for the delay, we will get it done ASAP. Click the image below to sponsor a patch. Thank you in advance for your support and your patience!
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – this loco has been stabled at Bishops Lydeard and worked the shutle services for the STEAM RALLY on the weekend of 5/6th August. The loco will return to Williton in the early morning of Saturday 12th August for maintenance purposes, then return to Bishops Lydeard in readiness for her YELLOW timetable duties.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – as advised via our recent DIESELGEN bulletin, this loco has had to stand down from the next two Sunday services under the BLUE timetable as we have to attend to several maintenance issues and test the loco before she can resume normal service. The wiring has been reconnected but some faults still remain and will be attended to during the coming weekend. The driver’s side window that broke during the diesel gala has been removed and the new glass ordered, so another week should see this task completed also. We apologise for not being able to provide this loco for the 13th and 20th,
but we are doing our best to get her ready in time for Sunday 27th August.
Updated 17-Aug-23: Class 35 ‘Hymek’ running has had to be suspended temporarily. Click here for details.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – this loco is causing us some trouble at the moment and is absorbing a lof of our time as we investigate the transmission control issue. Although we are working hard to resolve this, we still have some way to go and the loco will also need a significant amount of testing before she will be able to return to service. A more detailed report will be included in the next roundup.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – as reported earlier, the team have been involved with and have been supporting the running of classmate D9526, so the work on D9518 has had to be slowed (but not stopped). Work has progressed on the bead blasting and priming of 30 different sheet metal panels and covers that have been gathered up and treated over the past few weeks. Have a go at counting the freshly painted green parts in the photo below:
D9518 – 30 different panels and covers have just receved a coat of green primer following bead blasting at MAX COLOUR RENOVATIONS Ltd in Frome, Somerset. Photo dated 5th August 2023 by Colin Girle © 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 in place of the DMU on some of the YELLOW timetable services during the peak summer period that runs until Saturday 26th August. 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 ‘top end’ engine overhaul at Grosmont Works on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The latest news is that the work is proceeding well with seven of the 12 cylinder heads overhauled and ready to re-fit. The exhaust plenum chamber has been repaired and re-fitted, so the loco should be out and about again within a few weeks, hopefully still in time to do some running this season.
47077 – the loco was pictured in the busy loco works at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway where she is undergoing a ‘top end’ engine overhaul. Pictured on 8th August 2023 by Ian Robins © CC BY-NC 3.0
47077 – the plenum chamber that combines the four exhaust flows and feeds the massive turbocharger has been repaired and refitted at Grosmont Works on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Pictured on 8th August 2023 by Ian Robins © CC BY-NC 3.0
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 in the capable hands of Jon T, 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 !
BOOK REVIEW and ON SHED – we will have to skip these two features this week due to the weight of other news and the need to prioritise. Hopefully we will be back with these two popular features next week.
DEPG NEWS – the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM) will take place at Williton on Saturday 2nd September, starting at 14:00 and covering the items as listed in the AGM CALLING NOTICE (pdf version). All DEPG members are entitled to attend the AGM. To save paper and postage, any member who wishes to see the minutes of the previous AGM or the draft of the accounts for the year ended 31st December 2022 is asked to contact us by email or post and we will respond by sending the requested items. This will save reams of paper and £££s of ink, most of which would otherwise go straight from the doormat to the recyling container. We will also save postage because of the lower weight in the mailings. Thank you for your understanding.
The DEPG depends on the support of all of our members, so please make sure that your membership is up to date. To vote at the AGM, it is essential 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:
WSR FORTIES WEEKEND: Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September
EVENT POSTPONED to 2024:
DEPG 50th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS : Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September 2023.