Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) was in charge of the ‘tidy train’ on Monday 27th November 2023 and was pictured at Williton, coupled to three flat wagons and a brake van. The train worked slowly along the line, with a gang of volunteers picking up the life-expired sleepers and other scrap materials that had been left behind after maintenance work. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0
The railway is most definitely in full swing for the Christmas season, 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. On Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd December, there will a special non-stop steam-hauled service departing Bishops Lydeard at 1630 for the DUNSTER BY CANDLELIGHT event, and on Saturdays and Sundays up until the big day, the SANTA EXPRESS services are running, mostly between Bishops Lydeard and Williton but on the 19th December, from Minehead to Williton.
These services generate essential income for the WSR that will carry the railway through the winter season, when expenses are high due to the increased level of maintenance activities that are undertaken while the railway is not operating. Although these trains may not be everybody’s ‘cup of tea’, they are valuable in many ways, including giving young children memories that will stay with them and bring them back to the railway in later years, right through to when they have their own children, even their own grandchildren. So, they are an investment in the long-term future of the railway and need everyone’s support.
The WSR’s unique 2-6-0 ‘Mogul’ number 9351 was pictured departing from Bishops Lydeard with the first ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ service of the 2023 season on Friday 24th November 2023. Photo by Chris Haig © CC BY-NC 3.0
In addition to the above, there are CAROL TRAINS, DINING TRAINS and FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA TRAINS, so the railway is really pulling out all the stops this year. 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’ – more progress was made on the overhaul of the ‘A’ transmission, with the turbine rail being re-assembled with new bearings, where necessary. The overall condition of this complex precision assembly is amazing, considering that it has been almost 50 years since the internals last saw the light of day. Many of the internal components are gleaming as if they were brand new. The parts that are external to the turbine rail but still internal to the transmission housing have all suffered the effects of condensation corrosion, but experimentation by Colin F has shown how the internal humidity level of the housing can be managed with very little energy consumption. We will share more information on this at some point in the future.
Meanwhile, Gordon continued his work on preparing the bogies for their overhaul, the details and the plan for which will be explained in the forthcoming issue of the DEPG Newsletter (available only to DEPG members). SIGN UP NOW to be sure of receiving your copy. There is much to do, so 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.
D1010 – the very robust and heavy turbine rail output shaft was readied for re-installation at Williton on Tuesday 21st November 2023. This part is attached to the turbine rail secondary shaft via a tapered fit that is adjusted to a precise fit by injecting oil under very high pressure. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
Although there was no time to mark any sponsored patches last Saturday, there has been progress on the drawings that record the position of each patch. These drawings are needed so that we can write to each sponsor and show the position of their sponsored patch, along with a photograph of the engraved patch. We are backlogged with this work so please bear with us a little longer while we ramp up the administrative resources on this highly successful fundraising campaign. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT !
D1010 – the ‘B’ end of the locomotive carries 86 patches, each of which is numbered and has been engraved with the name of (or the message provided by) the sponsor. Drawing by Barry Quest © CC BY-NC 3.0
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 started 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) – this loco has been stood down from service while a leak in a control air pipe is being dealt with. As often happens, the leaking pipe is in a very difficult-to-reach area, but parts have been ordered that will allow a repair to be effected. Hopefully this loco will be able to resume standby duties soon.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – this loco received attention from Neil, John and Bob last Saturday, when they performed an engine test and made adjustments to the engine governor. This loco is close to being ready for service.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – no change this week.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – some bad news reached us regarding the cardan shafts, which had been sent out to a specialist firm for balancing some weeks previously. The level of wear in the splined joints prevented the shafts from being spun fast enough for balancing, so both shafts are beyond repair and will have to be replaced. The estimated cost of replacement parts is £10,000 for the pair, so we are going to need to fund-raise before we can place an order. More details will be included in the next edition of the DEPG Newsletter.
Meanwhile, the focus remains on the restoration of the cab assembly, to allow the re-installation of the electrical control cubicle to take place. Here are a few photos that give the flavour of the work that is in progress:
D9518 – the pegboard lining of the cab is being replaced with new material, pictured here at Williton on Saturday 25th November 2023 while receiving a coat of primer from Colin G to improve its moisture resistance. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 – the inside faces of the cab skin have been painted and now carry a layer of insulation of the same type of material that is used in trucks and buses. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 25th November 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 – the removable section of the cab roof has been turned over so that the seals can be replaced and the metalwork painted before being set aside for refitting at a later date. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 25th November 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 – a selection of parts that have been cleaned, inspected, painted and tested in the careful hands of Colin G are now ready to be re-attached to the locomotive when their turn comes. Pictured on Thursday 23rd 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 but a milestone has been reached because all twelve cylinder heads have now been re-fitted and work on re-attaching the manifolds and services has begun. We look forward to seeing the loco completed in the very near future.
47077 – the progress with the ‘top end’ overhaul of the twelve-cylinder twin bank SULZER diesel engine is apparent in this view taken at Grosmont Works of the NYMR on 23rd November 2023. Photo by Pete Dawson © 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 again 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 – the photo that we featured a few weeks ago continues to fascinate as several of the acknowledged ‘experts’ in the field of Western Region diesel-hydraulics provide their opinions about the identity of the locomotives in the picture. This week, we include the feedback from author and photographer ANDREW VINES who provided us with the following information:
“Regarding the picture on your website by Phil Gray at Old Oak Common, the green ‘Western’ is D1004 ‘WESTERN CRUSADER’. Each of the three green ‘Westerns’ built at Swindon had their Overhead Line Warning (OLHLW) flashes placed in slightly different positions on the nose (and were also different to the Crewe-built green ‘Westerns’). The exact position shown here was unique to D1004 among the green ones, so mystery solved! Unfortunately I don’t think it’s possible to identify any of the three maroon locos in the picture.”
Many thanks to ANDREW VINES 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 (D1023 ‘WESTERN FUSLILIER’ came along later), so there is a very good chance that one of the four maroon 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, the Board Meeting Synopses have been done (and will be sent out after this roundup) and the Newsletter is the next task to be caught up with. Apologies for these delays.
The next board meeting will take place tomorrow afternoon, Saturday 2nd December, so please let me 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 !