Daily Archives: Friday, December 22, 2023

  • Weekly Roundup -17-Dec-23

    The view of the DEPG yard at Williton on Saturday 16th December 2023 showed (from left to right) Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) on number 1 road (hiding Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 behind her), then Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 on number 2 road, then ‘Hymek’ D7018 with Barclay 578 (ROF 1) completing the ensemble on number 3 road. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0 



    The holiday season is definitely upon us, but activities continue in support of the WSR seasonal services and in preparation for the closure of the line from 31st December until spring time. The railway is active right up to the end of this year, the only exceptions being Christmas Day and Boxing day. Here’s the schedule of what is running and when: 




    Starting from

    Link (click the images or text to go to the WSR website page)

    Friday 22nd

    Santa Express

    Bishops Lydeard




    Bishops Lydeard

    Only a few tickets available

    Saturday 23rd

    Santa Express

    Bishops Lydeard

    Only a few tickets available



    Bishops Lydeard


    Sunday 24th

    Santa Express

    Bishops Lydeard


    Monday 25th

    No services



    Tuesday 26th

    No services



    Wednesday 27th


    Bishops Lydeard

    Thursday 28th


    Bishops Lydeard

    Friday 29th


    Bishops Lydeard

    Saturday 30th


    Bishops Lydeard

    Sunday 31st

    No public services


    Empty Coaching Stock (ECS) trains and Engineering trains will run the length of the line, providing photo opportunities.


    The WSR’s seasonal programme has clearly been VERY SUCCESSFUL and a big ‘thank you’ needs to go to all staff and volunteers involved with delivering these services – and to the passengers who bought the tickets to ride on them. Well done all !



    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’ – efforts switched to preparing the loco for a few months outdoors to make way for Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) to enter the loco shed for attention to her exhaust manifold. The tarpaulins were put back in place and the sponsored patches were rubbed down and protected with paint to prevent rust forming in the exposed metal (don’t worry, the patches are quite deeply engraved and cannot be obliterated without the use of an angle grinder!).

    Progress continued on the ‘A’ transmission, with the turbine rail being re-installed in the housing, marking another significant step in the overhaul of this huge piece of 1960s precision machinery. Well done team !

    Further work took place on the behind-the-scenes with the detailed planning for the lifting of the loco to release the bogies for overhaul. This will be a major piece of work and we will need MORE HANDS to help us get this work done. 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 use the CONTACT FORM on our website if you can lend a hand.

    D1010 – Ian F prepared several engraved areas of the loco for painting at Williton on Saturday 16th December 2023. Sponsors need not worry – the marking is deep and will remain in the metal for a very long time to come. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0 


    D1010 – Roy applied the paint that is going to be needed to prevent rust from taking a hold on the new steel before the loco is moved outside on Saturday 23rd. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 16th December 2023 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0 


    D1010 – the turbine rail of the ‘A’ transmission was lowered into position within the housing by Geoff at Williton on Monday 11th December 2023. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0 


    D1010 – the size of the new (and very expensive) bearing is apparent in this view of the reverser gear assembly and Tim at Williton on Tuesday 12th December 2023. 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. Almost ALL of the sponsored patches have now been engraved into the new metal on the loco and efforts are no focused on producing the certificates that will be emailed to each sponsor in recognition to their contribution.

    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 will 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 but will be moving 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.

    Meanwhile, winter maintenance work continued and the crankcase cover was removed from the Sulzer 8LDA28 engine so that the gasket could be replaced. The size of this fabricated aluminium cover made it very difficult to photograph !

    The crankcase cover from Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was removed and steam cleaned by Tom at Williton on Saturday 16th December 2023. The cover was removed so that a new gasket could be made, and Ian R and Tom had the cover back in place on the loco by the end of the day. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


    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 spare Westinghouse air compressor (one in each ‘Hymek’ and two in the ‘Western’) was cleaned up by Linda at Williton last Tuesday, and Tony did some steam cleaning on Saturday. This machine appears to be in very good condition and in full working order, so it will be prepared for painting then lubricated and stored until it is needed.

    The recently-acquired spare Westinghouse compressor was moved back into the loco shed by Colin G and Terry for testing, after being steam cleaned outdoors by Tony on Saturday 16th December 2023. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


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


    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the team have been in contact with other Class 14 owner groups to try and establish the overall picture of availability of spare cardan shafts. There are some possibilities and these will be investigated in early January. Meanwhile, quotations are being requested for a batch of new cardan shafts to see if there are cost savings that are worth chasing around for.

    Meanwhile, work proceeds on the many other tasks associated with the cab rebuild. The removable section of the roof panel is undergoing refurbishment at the moment, with the pegboard lining being replaced and new seals being fitted all around. The pegboard is a very ‘1960s’ material, basically perforated hardboard, but it is authentic.

    D9518 – The pegboard lining of the removable cab roof section was undergoing refurbishment at Williton on Saturday 16th December 2023, with Colin G and Terry pictured while refitting the aluminium retaining strips. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


    D9518 – an odd place to hide, perhaps when trying to dodge the hustle and bustle of Christmas, but these legs apparently belong to Tony who may or may not have been doing some work underneath the loco when pictured at Williton on Tuesday 12th December 2023. Photo by Nick Boyce 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. The loco will be in use on Saturday 23rd for shunting the yard, and is scheduled to move to Bishops Lydeard on Sunday 31st.


    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – this loco has been undergoing a ‘top end’ engine overhaul at Grosmont Works on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway but we are pleased to report that the work has been completed and the loco has also completed her static testing. The loco will go out on a loaded test run as soon as the railway operating timetable allows. STOP PRESS – we have just received the following image via Tom Courtney:

    Captured from the Railcam at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on Friday 22nd December 2023, our 47077 (D1661, 47613, 47840) ‘NORTH STAR’ was out on a loaded test run and was sounding good ! Well done to the team at Grosmont for doing a great job on ‘NORTH STAR’. Image courtesy of Railcam UK and the NYMR © CC BY-NC 3.0


    Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – this loco is going to be in use for a yard shunt at Williton on Saturday 23rd December.


    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.

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



    ON SHED – by comparison with our opening photograph, we received the below from Josh Brinsford this week and it shows how the loco lineup at Williton has changed over the last five years. In the view below, D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ is unrestored and Class 47 D1661 (47077, 47613, 47840) ‘NORTH STAR’ was still in green livery. Strangely, the weather appears to be unchanged. Many thanks to Josh for sharing items from his back catalogue.

    A view of the DEPG yard in 2018 shows (left to right) Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’, Class 47 D1661 (47077, 47613, 47840) ‘NORTH STAR’, Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 and Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) on a wet and dull day. At least some things are consistent ! Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0



    DEPG NEWS – the board meeting synopsis was emailed earlier this week to all DEPG members for whom we hold a valid address. Please let us know by clicking this link to use our online CONTACT form if you are a member but you didn’t receive an email.


    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 be rectified in the coming weeks with a combined Autumn and Winter edition that will be distributed in early January. Apologies for this delay.


    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 !



    Go to previous Weekly Roundup post