This view from the signalbox at Bishops Lydeard shows Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) at the platform and coupled to the former BR-Southern Region ‘Parcels & Miscellaneous Van’ (PMV) which houses the generator that will later be powering the ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ illuminations. Pictured on Saturday 9th December 2023 by Liam Hebditch © CC BY-NC 3.0
The holiday season is fast approaching so the railway is gearing up a notch and will be running services over one part of the line or another from now until Saturday 30th December, except of course on Christmas Day and Boxing Day – the railway’s volunteers need a well-earned break !
Here’s the schedule of what is running and when:
The ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ services are running on Friday and Saturday then from Thursday 21st until the end of the year (25/26th excepted) and the SANTA EXPRESS services are running up to Christmas Eve, mostly between Bishops Lydeard and Williton but on the 19th December, from Minehead to Williton. In addition to the above, there are CAROL TRAINS from Bishops Lydeard on Sunday 17th and from both Bishops Lydeard and Minehead on Monday 18th, 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.
WSRA ‘BUY A BAG OF BALLAST‘ CAMPAIGN
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 very 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’ – the opportunity to lubricate and rotate the engines presented itself on Saturday 9th December so Gordon and Leroy removed the cam box covers of each engine and Gordon administered some lubrication while the engine was being ‘barred over’. This is a form of exercise that is particulary enjoyed by Leroy, so a thorough job was done and the register updated. The turbocharger oil feeds were also primed to ensure that the turbo bearings are kept well oiled and able to resist corrosion.
Progress continued on the ‘A’ transmission, with the fitting of more new bearings, this time the reverser shaft being the recipient of most of the attention.
New volunteer Vivian made further progress 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 – positioned by the inboard axle of the ‘B’ end bogie, new volunteer Vivian was clearly enjoying making a contribution to the restoration of this massive locomotive at Williton on Saturday 9th December 2023. His efforts are very much appreciated ! Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the inside view of the inboard axle of ‘B’ bogie showing the heavy-duty cardan shaft connected to the Final drive gearbox. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 9th December 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – pictured from the space above the bogie where the ‘B’ transmission would normally be, the output end of the ‘B’ engine clearly shows the ‘V’ formation. Both engines were lubricated and ‘barred over’ (rotated manually) by Gordon and Leroy at Williton on Saturday 9th December 2023. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the reverser gear wheels had already been re-fitted to the turbine rail assembly of the ‘A’ transmission when the outboard bearing race was in the process of being pressed home by Tim at Williton on Tuesday 5th December 2023. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – the new bearings for the reverser shaft that runs parallel to the turbine rail were also fitted at Williton on Tuesday 5th December 2023, again with Tim in charge of his hydraulic assistant. Photo by Colin Foxhall © 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!
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 is stabled on number 1 road at Williton and is available for service, if needed to support one of the seasonal services. This 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, and will also receive some bodywork corrosion repairs while under cover.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – this loco is ready to return to service subject to some test runs that will be used to accumulate hours and ensure reliability. With no work scheduled for this loco until next spring, the opportunity will be taken to perform an oil change and 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.
Our Class 35 ‘Hymeks’ and our Class 52 ‘Western’ are fitted with Westinghouse air compressors (one in each ‘Hymek’ and two in the ‘Western’) so we were very pleased to be able to acquire a used but good spare machine recently. This machine is undergoing a clean up and will be overhauled so that it is ready for immediate use, should the need arise. Our newest recruit was busy working on the machine on Tuesday 12th December, so thank you very much to Linda for joining the ‘Tuesday Team’ and taking on this important task.
The recently-acquired spare Westinghouse compressor was getting the benefit of new DEPG volunteer Linda’s attention at Williton on Tuesday 12th December 2023. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – no change this week.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the team are making contact with other Class 14 owners to try and establish the availability of spare cardan shafts and assess the ‘appetite’ for having a batch of shafts made to the original specification. The flanges of the shafts are metric and are still readily available, but the modern-day standard shaft dimensions do not fit into the space available, so some degree of customisation will be needed if off-the-shelf parts are to be adapted.
Meanwhile, work proceeds on the many smaller components that all need to be cleaned, inspected and repaired or repainted, in order to make them fit for further service. Luckily, the quality and robustness of the original parts makes them repairable, so the original parts are being refurbished wherever possible.
D9518 – the start contactors were dismantled by John C for inspection and cleaning, and were found to be in need of attention after having had a long and hard life. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 9th December 2023 by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 – the solenoid coils showed clear evidence of heat damage and the insulation of the wiring had become brittle, so the coils will need to be rewound – but they are almost 60 years old, so such things are to be expected. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 9th December 2023 by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 – the Drivers Safety Device (DSD) pedals, sometimes known as ‘Deadmans pedals’ are foot-operated switches that are mounted under the driver’s desks (one on each side of the cab). The driver needs to keep the pedal depressed to prevent the brakes from being applied automatically. These original parts have been restored by Colin G and are ready to be re-installed on the loco. Photo dated 9th December 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’ has moved on rapidly and the loco is due to go out for a test run as this issue of Roundup goes to distribution. More on this story next week (see also our ON SHED feature below).
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. Quantities are limited so 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 – bending the rules slightly, the below photograph was taken on Thursday 14th December 2023, which is outside of the reporting timeframe of this roundup, but this transgression can hopefully be forgiven. The subject is our very own Class 47 ‘Brush Type 4’ 47077 (D1661, 47613, 47840) ‘NORTH STAR’ and the place is Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The loco was being moved under it’s own power as a precursor to a test run that was scheduled for the following day. More on this story next week. Many thanks to the team at the NYMR for their great work on this loco, and for keeping us supplied with photos.
Darkness fell but test runs up and down the yard continued at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on Thursday 14th December 2023 as our 47077 (D1661, 47613, 47840) ‘NORTH STAR’ was checked out following the ‘top end’ overhaul that has been taking place at Grosmont over the past few months. Photo by Pete Dawson © 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 aims to produce our ‘DIESEL & ELECTRIC’ Newsletters on a quarterly basis, but events back in August took their toll on the available resource and other catch-up activities have prevented us from completing the Autumn edition. This will hopefully be rectified in the coming weeks with a combined Autumn and Winter edition, but to be realistic, it will not be distributed this side of Christmas. We apologise for this delay and we look forward to a smoother year in 2024 !
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 !