Apologies for the late posting of this edition of roundup.
A GWR Class 255 ‘Castle’ set was in use for the special Yellow Timetable on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September 2023, creating plenty of photo opportunities and interesting passenger experiences. Power car 43162 ‘Caerhays Castle’ was leading and 43042 ‘Powderham Castle’ trailing when pictured on the approach to Doniford Halt while working a Minehead to Bishops Lydeard service on Saturday 23rd September 2023. Photo by Mark Ireland © CC BY-NC 3.0
The well-known backdrop of Castle Hill is more commonly used for photos of loco-hauled trains, but the GWR ‘Castle’ set led by 43162 ‘Caerhays Castle’ made for a fine portrait while working a Minehead to Bishops Lydeard service on Saturday 23rd September 2023. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
The WSR is hosting two GWR ‘Castle’ class High Speed Trains (HSTs) for several weeks to free up space at Laira depot (Plymouth) while that depot is being tasked with the accelerated withdrawal of ‘HSTs’ from frontline services with both GWR and Cross Country Trains. By special agreement between GWR and the WSR, one of these iconic trains was put to use on the WSR on the weekend of 23/24 September, working the 10:00 Minehead to Bishops Lydeard diagram that included two round trips covering 80 miles each day.
The ‘Castle’ workings were very well patronised and offered a rare opportunity to ride in these modernised vintage trains along the varied and scenic WSR route. The traction offerings last weekend were further enhanced by the upgrade from Blue to Yellow timetable and the use of our Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ D6566 (33 048) and D6575 (33 057) on the 11:00 Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and return diagram.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) (left) worked the 11:00 service from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead on Sunday 24th September 2023 and was pictured while stabled in the loop line at Minehead alongside standby locomotive D6566 (33 048). The subsequent 15:25 service from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard was the final scheduled diesel-hauled working of the 2023 season. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0
Our DIESEL RUNNING DATES page has been updated to include the three October Sundays of the RED timetable when the WSR’s Class 115 Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) is scheduled to run, but the DMU has had a tough year and may not be available for service. At the time of writing, it is not known if these workings will run with diesel haulage or revert to steam haulage, as per the other Red timetable days. 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.
A SIGNIFICANT DAY: 22nd SEPTEMBER 2023
Fifty years ago, the ‘Hymek Swansong‘ railtour left Paddington station behind locos 7001 and 7028 working in multiple for a round trip via the Severn Tunnel, Hereford and Oxford to mark the withdrawal from service of the Class 35 ‘Hymek’ locomotives after their short but successful careers on the Western Region of British Rail. A subsequent shortage of motive power, partly caused by the unreliability of the locomotives that were drafted in from other regions to replace the ‘Hymeks’ resulted in several remaining in service for another 18 months, for which we can be eternally grateful because it allowed the Diesel and Electric Group (D+EG) to transition into the preservation group that we know today as the DEPG to raise funds for the purchase and preservation of one (later two) of these much-loved locomotives.
The DEPG had planned to celebrate this 50th anniversary by running a double-headed ‘Hymek Swansong Reprise’ on the WSR using our two ‘Hymeks’ D7017 and D7018, but issues reported in a previous roundup have meant that we have to postpone the celebrations to next year, with details to be announced as soon as we have our two locos working properly and safely.
Long-time member of the D+EG/DEPG and volunteer Gary Lemon recalled that day in 1973 as follows:
“It doesn’t seem like 50 years ago but the ‘Hymek Swansong‘ (7001/7028) had weaved its way along the South Wales main line, turned right at Maindee Junction, shunted at Pontypool Road, stopped off at Hereford & ran alongside sister 7017 at Worcester Shrub Hill which was awaiting departure with the 16.15 to Paddington. Whilst waiting at Didcot, 7017 had thundered past on the avoiding line.
There were concerns that a diesel hauled farewell tour wouldn’t sell. How wrong they were. The tour was scheduled to shadow the ‘Atlantic Venturers Express’ with 4472 ‘FLYING SCOTSMAN’ and 6000 ‘KING GEORGE V’ between Newport & Hereford (hauled by 1005 ‘WESTERN VENTURER’ from Plymouth to Newport) and pay a visit to the GWS Open day at Didcot to attract more punters. I can remember being held at Westerleigh Junction for the Saturdays-Only Derby to Penzance (a blue ‘Peak’ on the Derby ‘red set’ – a complete rake of maroon Mk 1s) and seeing 1005 passing Filton Junction with the aforementioned ‘Atlantic Venturers’.
This tour kicked off the valedictory series of diesel hauled railtours and proved that classic diesels had a significant following. Happy hydraulic days! “
Many thanks to Gary for sharing his memories and for sharing the below photo taken by his late father James, who accompanied him on the railtour on that day.
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – more progress was made on the ‘A’ transmission with the turbine rail being disassembled for inspection and replacement of worn or suspect bearings. So far, the condition of the internals of the turbine rail have not given any cause for concern, apart from the ‘Achilles Heel’ of bearing 3/152 that is showing evidence of overheating due to inadequate lubrication. This and several other areas of progress were reviewed in a D1010 volunteers’ meeting on Saturday 23rd, and a report will be included in a future edition of roundup.
D1010 – the heat-damaged inner raceway of bearing 3/152 was pulled from the primary shaft using the hydraulic extraction method at Williton on Tuesday 19th September 2023. Volunteer Tim was pictured while checking the setup carefully, before applying extraction pressure. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
There are still some patches waiting for sponsors at the ‘B’ end of the loco, so GET IN QUICK TO HAVE YOUR NAME ENGRAVED before the painters reach this end. Many thanks to those who placed their orders during the last few weeks.
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 D6566 (33 048) – this loco is now stabled at Minehead as the standby locomotive.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) worked the first leg of the 1100 Bishops Lydeard to Minehead return service on Saturday 23rd September 2023 and was pictured during the Williton stop alongside Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017. Also in the frame are Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ behind the ‘Hymek’ and Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 on the right. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – this loco is now stabled at Bishops Lydeard in readiness for an underframe and traction motor examination that will take place during the next few weeks. The loco remains available for use if required.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – the electrical fault-finding work has progressed and it is hoped to perform a static engine run and system check at Williton on Saturday 30th September.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – this loco has now been towed out of the loco shed to allow work on other locos to take place under cover. The quarantine on this loco has now been lifted but the Root Cause Analysis is still in progress, so the transmission will not be touched until that analytical work reaches the relevant stage. Other work on the loco can now resume.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 was towed out of the loco shed at Williton on Saturday 23rd September 2023 by Barclay 0-4-0DH number 578 (ROF 1) and shunted onto number 3 road. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – work continues on the restoration of the cab assembly in parallel with the work on the brake rigging. The newly matt chromed handles for the driver’s controller go nicely with the new fascias (last week’s roundup) but we are missing the power handle ball ends that have been lost to souvenir hunters over the years. We would be very grateful to hear from any member or supporter who might have some to spare (standard Brush parts, such as fitted to Class 47s).
D9518 – the restored handles and new fascia plates for the driver’s controller have been reassembled and make a stark comparison with the unrestored parts shown in the middle and lower right. We are missing the ball ends for the power handles (standard Brush parts such as fitted to Class 47s) – can you help ? Pictured at Williton on 21st September 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 was moved into the shed at Williton on Saturday 23rd so that work can proceed on the 1000-hour service without interruption from the weather.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bears’ D9518 (left) and D9526 were pictured together in the loco shed at Williton on Saturday 23rd September 2023 with both locos needing to be under cover for the level of work being carried out on them. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – this loco is undergoing a ‘top end’ engine overhaul at Grosmont Works on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Work is proceeding well, but the amount of work being done means that the loco is unlikely to emerge for a while yet, but she will be in very good shape for 2024 and beyond.
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – after spending the Saturday in use, shunting the yard, the opportunity was taken to bring this loco into the shed so that last year’s paint job could be finished by the addition of her cabside legends. Here’s a photo of the loco when work was completed on Sunday 24th:
Barclay 0-4-0DH number 578 (ROF 1) now carries her original identity as ‘R. O. F. BRIDGWATER No. 1‘ with an authentic gap between the ‘R’ and ‘O’ for reasons that are not clear. The loco carried these markings throughout her career at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Puriton, near Bridgwater. Transfers applied on Sunday 24th September 2023 and photo taken by Graham Perry © 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 have a new book review coming up in the next few weeks, but we will skip this feature this week.
ON SHED – sorry, but due to lack of time, we will have to skip this feature this week.
DEPG NEWS – the risks associated with working at height have been recognised and mitigated by the purchase of two modular access towers that incorporate fold-up stabilisers for ease of storage. These two towers will allow suitably trained volunteers to gain safe access up to the roof level of our locomotives, which is essential when needing to carry out welding repairs and other maintenance tasks on loco roof sections. Full training will be provided and use of these towers will be controlled via creation of a ‘competency’ within our Safety Management System.
Two modular access towers are now available for use at Williton. They include foldaway stabilisers that must be deployed before use. These new items of equipment will allow our trained volunteers to safely gain access to the roof level of our locomotives. Pictured on Sunday 24th September 2023 Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0
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 yet a DEPG member, please click on the image below and JOIN US NOW. 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 !