Weekly Roundup – 03-Dec-23

Weekly Roundup – 03-Dec-23

RAILWAYS ILLUSTRATED magazine issue 251 dated January 2024 features a 5-page article about the DEPG and the sensational West Somerset Railway ! Well worth a read, this article is great news for both the DEPG and the WSR. Many thanks to our Publicity Officer Mark Bladwell for working with Andy Coward at RI on the detail of this article. The above photo of the first page of the article has been purposefully blurred to respect the copyright © MORTONS MEDIA GROUP LTD.



Following a visit to the WSR that took place on Saturday 23rd September 2023, we are delighted to see that a 5-page article has been published in RAILWAYS ILLUSTRATED magazine (issue 251 dated Jan 2024) where both the history and the current activities of the DEPG have been covered in some detail. The role played by the DEPG in supporting the WSR was also highlighted and from reading the article, it seems that RI editor Andy Coward had a very enjoyable day in West Somerset !


Many thanks for DEPG Publicity Officer Mark Bladwell and all of the DEPG volunteers who were on site to meet Andy Coward that day and contribute to this excellent article. Well done all !



The ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ services are running on Fridays and Saturdays from now until the end of the year with additional days directly before and after Christmas, 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. 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.


The fully booked steam-hauled DUNSTER BY CANDLELIGHT service that ran on Saturday night 2nd December encountered very frosty and slippery rail conditions on the return leg and lost time on the climb from Blue Anchor to Washford. Our Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) was despatched from Bishops Lydeard to meet the train at Williton and assist the heavy train on the six mile climb to Crowcombe Heathfield. Well done to the volunteers who took on these late night duties !


The DEPG depends on the WSR as our home base and primary running line, so please support and enjoy these seasonal services and in doing so, support both the WSR and the DEPG !



The West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA) is a registered charity that operates in support of activities across the West Somerset Railway, and raises considerable sums of money for use for the development and long-term preservation of this wonderful heritage line. Each year, the WSRA run their ‘buy a bag of ballast‘ campaign and it is successful because it is simple. Each bag of ballast (approximately half a ton per bag) costs £13 and each year, the railway needs hundreds of bags of fresh ballast, so CLICK HERE or on the image below to buy a bag of ballast. THANK YOU VERY MUCH and well done to the WSRA and all their supporters !



Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – undeterred by the very cold weather, Ian F and Roy continued their work on the filling and sanding of the ‘A’ side at ‘A’ end. This side was previously the worst area on the locomotive in terms of corrosion and now carries more new metal than any other area of the locomotive. As the below photograph shows, the diligent work by these two volunteers has put shape back into the loco and she is close to being ready for a top coat of BR coach maroon (to replicate her original livery of 1962). Well done guys !

Progress on the ‘A’ transmission reached a milestone when the end plate of the turbine rail was re-fitted on Tuesday 28th November, completing the overhaul of this sensitive and complex assembly in an overall timeframe of less than 3 months. There are still several more stages of re-assembly to go before the transmission can be considered complete, but the work is of a more straightforward nature. Again, well done team !

Meanwhile, new volunteer Vivian made a start on the ‘B’-end bogie, removing the flaking paint and dirt from the outer framework in readiness for inspection and re-painting. It is great to report that we have new hands at work, but don’t leave it to others, if you want to see this locomotive back on the rails soon, then PLEASE COME ALONG AND HELP US WITH THE WORK ! There is plenty more to do, so simply reply to this email or use the CONTACT FORM on our website if you can lend a hand.

D1010 – the weather was too cold for top coat at Williton on Saturday 2nd December 2023 so the team applied the paint as an additional undercoat, after working on the filling and sanding. Roy and Ian F are doing a great job, as this view of ‘A’ end shows. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0 


D1010 – the very robust and heavy turbine rail output shaft was lowered into the turbine housing at Williton on Monday 27th November 2023 while being guided by Geoff. This part will become attached to the secondary shaft (visible in the centre) via a tapered fit that will become a precise and very tight fit by injecting oil under very high pressure. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0 


D1010 – the end cover of the turbine rail output shaft was pressed on at Williton on Tuesday 28th November 2023, with Tim watching over the process. This closes up the assembly in readiness for the milestone completion stage (next photo). Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0


D1010 – the sensitive and complex phases of the turbine rail assembly of the ‘A’ transmission have now been completed and the assembly is ready for the fitting of the reverser gear wheels. This photo dated 28th November 2023 marks a milestone in the overhaul process and comes less than 3 months after the start of the overhaul. WELL DONE TEAM ! Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0


D1010 – the bogie at ‘B’ end was the focus of attention of new volunteer Vivian on Saturday 2nd December 2023, with attention being given to removal of flaking paint and accumulated dirt. Not a glamorous task, but essential just the same. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0 


Thanks to responses to our appeal for help, we now have two new volunteers working on the photographs and the certificates that will soon be on their way to all who have sponsored a patch on D1010. More patches have been marked out and are due to be engraved this weekend, to bring us right up to date !

The drawings are being developed in parallel so that we have a formal record of the position of each sponsored patch and this will allow sponsors to look up the location of their patch when they visit the depot at Williton. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT – and your PATIENCE !

Click the image below to sponsor a patch. Thank you in advance for your support and your patience!

See our CAMPAIGN for CAMPAIGNER web page for more details. We still have a lot of work to do on this massive locomotive, so PLEASE DO COME ALONG AND HELP IF YOU CAN !



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:

D6566 – the ‘Cromptons’ are the workhorses of the WSR and are often found out and about in all seasons, as in the case of this engineering ‘tidy train’ working led by D6566 (33 048) on Monday 27th November 2023, picking up life-expired materials at Castle Hill, near Williton. Photo by Malcolm Anderson © CC BY-NC 3.0


Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – this loco has been receiving attention to a leak in a control air pipe that was in a difficult-to-reach place (of course), but the issue has now been resolved by the Class 33 team plus a little help from Terry, and the loco has been returned to service status. This will be a short-lived condition because the loco is due to go into the loco shed on Saturday 23rd December for approximately two months to undergo attention to a leaking exhaust manifold.

D6575 – the leaking control air pipe was isolated and bypassed at Williton on Saturday 2nd December 2023. The driver’s seat had to be removed and the floor lifted to gain access to the delinquent pipework. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0


D6575 – the view under the driver’s desk at Williton on Saturday 2nd December 2023, with the Driver’s Safety Device (DSD or ‘deadmans’) pedal removed and the side panels also removed. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0


D6575 – the light was fading fast when this picture was taken at Williton on Saturday 2nd December 2023, with volunteer loco manager Ian R and Tom at work inside the cab, braving the very cold conditions that prevailed that day. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – after another static engine test run that was conducted by Neil, John and Bob last Saturday 2nd December, the issue with the engine governor has been resolved and the loco has been pronounced as ready to return to service. There is no work scheduled for this loco until next spring, so the opportunity will be taken to perform an oil change and hopefully get some loaded test runs carried out as soon as the line is available again (expected to be March 2024). We are determined that this loco is going to have a very good year in 2024.


Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – no change this week.


Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the bad news about the cardan shafts last week has dampened the spirits of the team, but no doubt a solution will be found and the necessary funds raised to support the work. Meanwhile, work on the cab assembly is moving forward and this gives a new focus and restores the impetus. The cab assembly involves many small parts, all of which need to be cleaned, inspected and painted, so there is in fact a lot of work to be done.

D9518 – the pegboard lining of the cab roof section has been replaced with new material, pictured here at Williton on Saturday 2nd December 2023. The sealing strips around the outside edge of the panel have been removed and will also be replaced with new material. Photo by Andy Royal © 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.


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.

Click HERE or on the image below to order you 2024 Calendar


ON SHED – regular correspondent NEALE LONG was out and about on his local station at York on the 25th November 2023 when he came across this wonderfully presented example of the famous English Electric Class 55 ‘Deltic’, in this case D9000 ‘ROYAL SCOTS GREY’ stabled on the former parcels sidings alongside the station. Wonderful stuff indeed. Thank you Neale for sharing your sighting with us ! 

English Electric Class 55 ‘DELTIC’ D9000 ‘ROYAL SCOTS GREY’ was stabled in the former parcels sidings at York Station on Saturday 25th November 2023. Photo by Neale Long © CC BY-NC 3.0



DEPG NEWS – a board meeting was held at Williton last Saturday, the synopsis of which will be prepared and sent out ASAP to 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 responding to this email or 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 !




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