Barclay 0-4-0DH number 578 (ROF1) dominated this view of the south yard at Williton on the damp and dismal Saturday 18th November 2023. Visible in the background are Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) on number 1 road, then Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 on number 2 road and ‘Hymek’ D7018 on number 3 road. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
The railway has come back to life with the ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ services running on Fridays and Saturdays from now until the end of the year, with additional days directly before and after Christmas. This Saturday there will also be a special non-stop steam-hauled service departing Bishops Lydeard at 1000 in support of the MINEHEAD CHRISTMAS MARKET, and next weekend, the SANTA EXPRESS services and DUNSTER BY CANDLELIGHT services are operating (predictably, the Saturday service has already sold out).
Some detail about the ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ services follows, as this might help explain the unusual movements that are visible via the Railcams (thanks to Railcam UK and the WSR for providing these facilities). Before darkness falls, a diesel loco runs along the route and checks that the displays are all functioning correctly. Any maintenance needed is then carried out while daylight remains. The ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ train itself is ‘top and tailed’ with a steam loco at one end and a diesel at the other and performs two runs from Bishops Lydeard to Crowcombe Heathfield and back, slowing down at each lineside display so that the travellers have time to see everything. After the second run gets back to Bishops Lydeard (just after 8pm), the diesel goes out again to shut down the displays. The diesel loco tasked with the train duty this year is Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) and the Class 09 Shunter D4107 (09 019) is booked to cover the switch on and shut down trips, to minimise the costs. It will be almost 10 o’clock before the crews put their locos away and book off, so spare a thought for the staff and volunteers, especially on the cold and wet nights.
Class 09 D4107 (09 019) was pictured at Crowcombe Heathfield on Wednesday 22nd November 2023 during a ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ test run that provided a thorough test of the arrangements and provided training for the staff and volunteers who will be working late nights to deliver these highly successful services. Photo by Liam Hebditch © CC BY-NC 3.0
Just a reminder, the steam-hauled ‘SANTA EXPRESS‘ services start on 1st December, running on Saturdays and Sundays from Bishops Lydeard to Williton and back, and this year there is one day where the ‘SANTA EXPRESS’ runs from Minehead to Williton instead. Intermingled with these services are CAROL TRAINS, DINING TRAINS, FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA TRAINS and the fast-selling ‘DUNSTER BY CANDLELIGHT‘ trains, so take a look at the WSR’s EVENTS page for more details. Some trains are already sold out, so don’t delay, book now while choices exist.
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – Ian F and Roy returned to their bodywork tasks last Saturday and made further progress on the ‘A’ side at ‘A’ end while Gordon continued to chip away at the debris that had accumulated on the inside of the bogie frames over the years. One lump of dirt dislodged after a major effort was bigger than a cricket ball !
PLEASE COME ALONG AND HELP US WITH THE WORK ON THIS LOCO. Simply reply to this email or use the CONTACT FORM on our website if you can lend a hand.
Transmission rebuilding work also made good progress, with the output shaft assembly being jacked into place and the the filling pump being overhauled. There were also some very clean and shiny turbine rail components being reassembled, with careful checks taking place on a step-by-step basis. Here are some of the photos:
D1010 – Roy holds the piece of dirt that had been removed from the inside of the bogie frame by Gordon earlier in the day. Quite an accumulation and hard as rock! Pictured at Williton on Saturday 18th November 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the large and heavy output shaft assembly was slowly jacked into place at Williton on Monday 13th November 2023, using two pieces of studding and a bottle jack. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – Tim watches carefully as he guides the second stage turbine runner into position within the turbine rail. Note the clean and shiny condition of these parts, which is amazing considering that their previous works overhaul would have been in the mid 1970s. Pictured at Williton on Wednesday 15th November 2023 by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
There was no time to mark any patches last Saturday due to the more urgent need to hold discussions about the plan to lift the loco so that the bogie overhaul could proceed, so there are still 46 patches to be engraved on the loco this coming weekend. There is still plenty of new metal to be marked and we certainly need the funds to continue with the pace of progress, 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) – this loco is now in regular use on the ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ services that start on Friday 24th November and run through to the end of the year. Click here or on the ticket icon below to go to the WSR’s ‘WINTERLIGHTS’ page:
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – while undergoing routine maintenance at Williton on Saturday 18th November, the air system was charged up from the depot compressor (to avoid the need to start the engine) and checks were made on the control air pressures that result from the different positions of the driver’s controller. It had become apparent that the same setting gave different performance results when applied from a different end of the locomotive. While performing these tests, a leak developed when a pinhole opened up in a control air pipe, so the loco has been stood down while a repair is effected. As is often the case, access to the leaking pipe is very restricted, so it is likely that a temporary repair will have to be made and the corroded pipe replaced at the next opportunity.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) and Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 shared the yard with other locos that were hidden from view on the damp and dismal Saturday 18th November 2023. The compressed air line from the shed supply can be seen attached to the air reservoir hose on the locomotive. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – this loco received attention from Neil and John as they dealt with some minor issues that had been identified during October’s test run. This loco is close to being ready for service.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – no change this week.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the focus has switched to the restoration of the cab assembly, to allow the re-installation of the electrical control cubicle to take place. There is a lot of work involved in this complex assembly, much of which takes place in the background, but we will try to keep the photographs coming as each sub-assembly reaches completion.
D9518 – the inner cab wall is now ready for the insulation material to be added prior to the installation of the pegboard cladding, after which the electrical control cubicle can be moved into position so that work can continue on the rewiring. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 18th November 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 – the various ‘Traffolyte’ cab placards are beyond redemption and will be replaced with new parts that are produced in the exact same style. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 18th November 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 stabled at Williton and is available for service, if called upon.
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – this loco is undergoing a ‘top end’ engine overhaul at Grosmont Works on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The progress on ‘NORTH STAR’ continues in between having to work on the other diesel locos in their care. The NYMR released a 6-minute YouTube video on Monday 20th November and our ’47’ could be seen in the shed at Grosmont. The quality of the work is evident from the view looking down into the engine room (starts at t=4.17 in the video).
47077 – the NYMR released an update via YouTube and our ’47’ could be seen in the works at Grosmont. Screenshot from the YouTube video by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway © CC BY-NC 3.0
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – the internal cab repaint being carried out by ‘JT’ has progressed well, but he is keeping us in suspense and not providing photos until he has finished the job. We look forward to seeing the internal photos in the near future. Thanks Jon !
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 – this week, we need to pause the book reviews to use the space to promote our new 2024 DEPG CALENDAR which has a theme of DEPG locomotives in ‘then and now’ liveries. More details will be provided next week but PLACE YOUR ORDERS NOW to ensure that you get your copy (we are only ordering a limited quantity to prevent waste).
Regrettably, we have had to increase the price to £14 but this still represents great value at £1 per month plus VAT.
ON SHED – last week, we featured a photo of FOUR Class 52 ‘WESTERNS’ at Old Oak Common depot, near Paddington in July 1963, but closer examination reveals a fifth, only just visible in the middle of the photograph. Count the buffers and the fifth loco will be revealed.
We asked for help in identifying these locomotives and we had a very fast response from well-known photographer and author ROGER GEACH who provided us with the following information:
“The green ‘Western’ in the picture is either D1002 or D1003 or D1004 as it is Swindon built (don’t know which it is though). D1003 was in Swindon Works 15/7 to 2/8/63 so may rule that one out, D1004 12/7/63 to 16/7/63, so D1002 may be favourite, but hard to tell without the actual date. The maroon one next to it further away is also a Swindon-built ‘Western’. The one furthest away is from Crewe and the nearest is uncertain.
Nothing I can see to help identify the ‘Westerns’ really, but the picture is a bit early for me. Nice shot, but hard to identify the locos.”
Many thanks to Roger Geach for his comments and to Phil Gray for providing us with this photograph.
There were 60 ‘Westerns’ in service by July 1963 and six of that 60 have been preserved, so there is a very good chance that one of the locos in this photograph is still with us today.
Five Class 52 ‘WESTERNS’ gather around one of the four turntables that were under the roof of the old steam shed at Old Oak Common Depot near Paddington. FOUR in maroon and one in green, does anyone have any information that might help identify the locomotives in this July 1963 photograph ? Photo by Phil Gray © CC BY-NC 3.0
DEPG NEWS – well, the Calendar has been done, which now leaves the Board Meeting Synopses and the Newsletter to be caught up. Apologies for these delays.
The next board meeting will take place on Saturday 2nd December, so please use our CONTACT FORM to let us know if you have a question that you would like to have put to the board.
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 !