WSR 2-6-0 ‘Mogul’ 9351 stands at Williton Station on Sunday 29th October 2023 carrying a wreath in memory of the WSR and DEPG volunteers who have passed away during 2023. Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) with Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 behind and Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 with Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 alongside, all stand silently as a mark of respect for Simon, Chris and Mike. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0
Autumn is well and truly upon us, and the last public services of the 2023 season ran last weekend and featured steam haulage in both directions, to ensure that the occupants were kept warm. As a fitting tribute to those volunteers from all across the ‘WSR family’ that have passed away recently, both trains on Sunday 29th October carried wreaths in remembrance of those who gave so much of their time, effort and skills for the causes that they loved. We took a moment while the trains crossed at Williton to be silent and pay our respects to our friends, Simon, Chris and Mike.
PETER NICHOLSON 1948-2023 R.I.P.
Sadly, the following day, we learned via young DEPG member Josh Brinsford that his Grandad, well-known railway journalist and photographer PETER NICHOLSON had passed away at the age of 75 and would no longer be reporting via his ‘Classic Traction’ columns in the ‘Railway Magazine’ and elsewhere. Peter was a frequent visitor to the WSR and introduced his grandson to the joy of heritage railways at a very early age. The pair would often be seen on platform ends and on bridges, capturing images for the benefit of all. Peter will be sorely missed, and we send our condolences to young Josh and the entire family.
The late Peter Nicholson on board Class 17 ‘Clayton’ D8568 at Bishops Lydeard on 18th June 2022. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
The poor weather during this last week has reminded us that most of our locomotives are stabled outdoors, having to endure the ever-changing conditions, from heatwaves in October to gale-force winds in November. The creation of covered accommodation for all of our locomotives is a priority for the DEPG and we are currently working on plans that will achieve this objective, subject to funding, of course.
Meanwhile, we have to do what we can to cover up the locos and try and keep the worst of the weather out of them, which is always a challenge. We also have wagons and spares that are kept outdoors, and these also deteriorate and need regular refurbishment. Where is this leading, I hear you ask ? …. FUND RAISING is the answer !
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – the loco is back inside the loco shed and will remain there until late December, after which the covered space is needed for an exhaust system overhaul on Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057). This gives us two months to get as much of the bodywork completed as possible and get another coat of gloss applied for protection against the elements for when the loco goes outside again. While waiting for the new bearings that are on order for the ‘A’ transmission, the team has continued with the cleanup and inspection of the casings and the oil pipework, in preparation for the reassembly operation and to allow the rate of progress to be sustained. This is one task that looks like it is going to be completed ahead of schedule!
D1010 – the inside of the intermediate casing of ‘A’ transmission was the subject of Geoff’s attention at Williton on Monday 23rd October 2023. Each piece of pipework was removed for cleaning and careful inspection. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
We now have almost 80 patches to engrave on the loco this coming weekend, starting at the ‘B’ end and then going to the ‘A’ side behind the ‘A’ cab, where there is a significant area of new metal that can carry the names of the sponsors. There is still plenty of new metal to be marked, so please keep up this amazing level of support and help get D1010 back to working order ASAP. Many thanks to those who placed their orders during the last few weeks.
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) – after a through check of her cooling system to confirm that there were no leaks, this loco has now moved to Bishops Lydeard to take on the role of ‘Duty Loco’ and will be covering the ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ services that start on Friday 24th November. Test runs for staff training will be carried out on 22nd and 23rd November.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) departed from Williton on Wednesday 25th October 2023 for a ‘light engine’ move to Bishops Lydeard to take up her winter position as WSR Duty locomotive. The ‘Crompton’ was pictured at Crowcombe Heathfield while waiting for the ‘down’ service to pass. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – this loco returned to Williton on Saturday 21st October to undergo winter maintenance, including an overhaul of her exhaust system. The loco will remain available for service until December and is scheduled to go into the loco shed on 23rd December, and will probably remain there for two months while the work is being done.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – there are some minor tasks to be carried out on this loco, but nothing major and nothing preventing her from being returned to service at short notice.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – the Root Cause Analysis has identified several probable causes for the uncommanded engagement of the torque converter and each has been ranked for probability, based on the available evidence. Some additional testing will need to be performed to focus in on the most probable cause. Meanwhile, several other maintenance tasks are outstanding on this locomotive and will be progressed during the winter.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – a significant step forward has been made by the reinstatement of the brake rigging after many months of hard work by the team, including the manufacture of new parts and the straightening of some original parts that had been bent following derailments during the loco’s years of hard labour at Ashington Colliery. The photos below show the progress:
D9518 – a view of one of the six brake hangers, now attached to the crossbeam and rigging that connects to the air brake cylinders that are hidden between the frames. Pictured at Williton on Tuesday 24th October 2023 by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 – the centre axle provides a clearer view of the crossbeam and rigging that connects each brake hanger to the air brake cylinders. Pictured at Williton on Tuesday 24th October 2023 by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 – a view of the underside, looking from the front of the loco (the long end), showing the three crossbeams linked by the tension rods. Pictured at Williton on Tuesday 24th October 2023 by Terry Deacon © 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 stabled at Williton and is fully serviceable. This loco may move to Bishops Lydeard later in the year if Class 09 shunter D4017 (09 019) is to have her bodywork repaired at West Somerset Restorations Swindon Shed. The ’09’ is used during the ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ season and is also the backup loco in the event of a last-minute issue arising with either the booked steam or diesel loco.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 was pictured in the South Yard at Williton on Saturday 21st October 2023 while shunting D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ into the loco shed. Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) can be seen on the left and Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 can be seen on the right. 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. The photos below show the size of the task and the careful progress being made. We certainly look forward to her being back out and about again.
47077 – in this view of the engine room on on Wednesday 25th October 2023, four of the twelve large and heavy cylinder heads had been lowered into place via the roof-mounted access doors. The work is being carried out by Finn (pictured) and Josh at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Photo by Josh Smith © CC BY-NC 3.0
47077 – in this picture taken from the other direction later in the day on Wednesday 25th October 2023, five of the twelve cylinder heads had been installed and bolted down. Photo by Josh Smith © CC BY-NC 3.0
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – to make this powerful little loco even more useful, a driver recertification session was held at Williton last Saturday 28th October, resulting in Colin G and Martin being passed to continue as drivers by WSR Chief Traction Inspector Merv Hebditch. Well done guys !
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 – in stock and selling well are these three new titles, each available from our online store. Click on the images below to buy these books from our online store and in doing so, support the DEPG.
Also available via the DEPG ONLINE STORE is this sought-after new book by former BR apprentices Mike Woodhouse and Graham Howell describing the ‘PYRAMID OF DIESEL HYDRAULICS‘ that comprise the D600, D800, D1000, D6300, D7000 and D9500 series of locomotives (classes 41, 42/43, 52, 22, 35 and 14). This book has been selling like hot cakes and has already had to be reprinted to meet the demand !
Available from the DEPG for £15 plus £3.50 P&P. Click here or on the image below to order this book.
We are grateful to regular contributor NEALE LONG for providing a very thorough and detailed book review, an extract from which is reproduced below. Click here to go to the full review on our website.
“Of the many books published about British Rail’s foray into diesel-hydraulic traction over the years, very few have featured any account by staff involved in either the operation or maintenance of the fleet. This handily sized A5, 146-page softback by two ex-British Railways Engineering Limited apprentices, Mike Woodhouse and Graham Howell, sets out to redress this particular imbalance. The book tells the fascinating story from within British Rail from the planning of the diesel-hydraulic pyramid as part of the 1955 Modernisation Plan, to its final collapse in 1977. This story is presented …..” click here to read more.
Many thanks to Neale for putting so much time and effort into this book review to help prospective buyers decide. Much appreciated !
ON SHED – the DEPG is fortunate in having more than one example of three different classes of locomotive under its care. We have two Class 14s, two Class 33s and two Class 35s. However, it is very difficult to find photographs from BR days featuring both of our locos, but one such find was made by volunteer Class 33 loco manager Ian Robins when searching on Facebook, and is featured below. We would very much like to find out more details about this photograph and hopefully get permission to use this photo in a forthcoming publication about our locos. Can you help ?
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ 33 057 (D6575) leads 33 011 (D6512) at Exeter St. Davids station on an arrival from Brighton while 33 048 (D6566) runs through to attach to a service to Barnstaple, some time in 1984. Photographer unknown.
DEPG NEWS – a scheduled Board Meeting took place at Williton last Saturday 28th October 2023, a synopsis of which is being prepared and will be shared ASAP with all DEPG members for whom we hold a valid email address.
The DEPG is entirely run by volunteers and we need to expand our volunteer numbers if we are going to be able to continue making progress on so many fronts simultaneously. If you have some time and feel able to help, please let us know by clicking this link to use our online CONTACT form. We look forward to hearing from you !
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. It is very quick and easy, and does not require you to remember yet another password. Thank you very much !