Roundup of the year 2023

Roundup of the year 2023

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of our members and supporters ! Let’s hope that 2024 is going to be a better year for everyone, wherever they are in the world.


Here’s a quick roundup of the last 12 months to remind us of the highs and lows that we encountered during 2023:


JANUARY 2023 – Our Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 returned to the WSR after her very successful visit 18-month to the Kent & East Sussex Railway during which she clocked up 768 hours of use !

Class 09 D4107 (09 019) and Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 were pictured together at Westridge Loco Shelter, Bishops Lydeard in January 2023. Photo by Mike Collins © CC BY-NC 3.0



FEBRUARY 2023 – Class 09 D4107 (09 019) moved to Williton for a month, to undergo maintenance and repair work in the hands of the DEPG.

Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) stands alongside Class 09 D4107 (09 019) at Williton on Saturday 18th February 2023. The ’09’ was undergoing planned maintenance in the hands of the DEPG while the ’33’ was the designated duty loco and was ready for action. Photo by Natalie Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0



MARCH 2023 – Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 was in use for crew refresher training purposes, running in the section between Bishops Lydeard and Norton Fitzwarren.

Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was pictured while stabled at Westridge Carriage Sidings, just south of Bishops Lydeard, on Saturday 18th March 2023 as Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 returned from Norton Fitzwarren on a driver refresher turn. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0



APRIL 2023 – the WSR re-opened with a mixture of steam and diesel-hauled services, helped by some early warm weather. Sadly, at the end of this month, we lost our Class 14 team leader and good friend SIMON PURVIS at the age of 61.

Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was pictured as she approached Williton with the 10:00 Minehead to Bishops Lydeard service under the BLUE timetable on Sunday 16th April 2023. Photo by Edward Martin © CC BY-NC 3.0


The late Simon Purvis, thoroughly immersed in his work on Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 at Williton on Saturday 15th October 2022. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0



MAY 2023 – Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) emerged from the paint shop at WSR Restorations in Williton, resplendent in her early-BR livery with the addition of the small yellow warning panel. An excellent paint job indeed !

Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) returned to action on Saturday 27th May 2023 looking absolutely top notch after a re-paint at WSR Restorations in the Swindon Shed at Williton. Pictured upon arrival at Crowcombe Heathfield station with the 16:35 Bishops Lydeard to Minehead service, photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0



JUNE 2023 – we worked alongside our WSR colleagues to deliver the WSR’s Summer Diesel Festival, a 3-day event featuring intensive timetabling and FOUR visiting locos, the headliner being Class 55 ‘Deltic’ 55009 (D9009) ‘ALYCIDON’ but equally appreciated were Class 33 ‘Crompton’ 33 002 (D6501) ‘Sea King’, Class 24 D7659 (25309, 25909) and Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9551.

Class 55 ‘Deltic’ 55009 ‘ALYCIDON’ was pictured approaching Goviers Lane Crossing at Watchet on Thursday 8th June 2023. Photo by Martin Rouse © CC BY-NC 3.0



JULY 2023 – our Class 52 ‘Western’ D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ lightened her load by having both of her cooler groups and her ‘A-end’ transmission lifted out for overhaul. The crane stayed overnight to complete other tasks early the next morning, minimising the overall cost and preventing annoyance to our neighbours. Many thanks to Heaver Brothers for their help.

D1010 – the 4.5 tonne Voith hydraulic transmission was lifted out from ‘A’ end of the loco at Williton on Monday 24th July 2023 so that it could undergo a complete overhaul in the care of the DEPG ‘transmission team’. The rain had stopped a few hours before the lifting operations began. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0



AUGUST 2023 – the peak season ‘Yellow’ timetable included an out-and-back working that was ideal for our Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526. The expanded pool of drivers allowed her to be used on 3 out of the 5 weeks, sharing the roster with Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057).

Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 worked the YELLOW timetable services on Tuesday 8th August 2023 – which was unexpected because Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) had been booked for that turn. Pictured at the delightful Blue Anchor station by Tony Latham © CC BY-NC 3.0



SEPTEMBER 2023 – the planned ‘DEPG at 50‘ event had to be postponed due to the misdemeanours of Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018, but a surprise visitor in the form of a GWR mainline ‘Castle’ set brought the crowds to the railway instead. The GWR green livery blended into the WSR scenery very nicely.

GWR Class 255 ‘Castle’ set was in use for the special Yellow Timetable on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September 2023, creating plenty of photo opportunities and interesting passenger experiences. Power car 43162 ‘Caerhays Castle’ was leading and 43042 ‘Powderham Castle’ trailing when pictured on the approach to Doniford Halt while working a Minehead to Bishops Lydeard service on Saturday 23rd September 2023. Photo by Mark Ireland © CC BY-NC 3.0



OCTOBER 2023 – our Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 went out on a test run following electrical system repairs that had kept her out of service for most of the season. The test run was a success and the loco will be ready for service in 2024. Sadly, this was an awful month as we lost two of our volunteers, CHRIS SHIELDS aged 64 and MIKE EVANS aged 63, and also DEPG member and well-known railway preservationist and author PETER NICHOLSON, aged 75. They are all sadly missed.

Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 was pictured at Williton on Saturday 21st October 2023, coupled up to Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) and waiting for Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 to join the consist for a combined test run to Bishops Lydeard and back. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0 


Williton Loco Shed was the venue for Rod’s Model Railway Sales stand and for our own DEPG Sales Stand for each day of the 2023 Spring Steam Spectacular event. The late Chris Shields covered the sales stand duty on the Saturday and again on Sunday. Pictured on 29th April 2023 by Mark Ireland © CC BY-NC 3.0


D1010 – the late Mike Evans was pictured while tidying up after needle-gunning the bodyside of his favourite loco at Williton on 26th February 2022. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


The late Peter Nicholson on board Class 17 ‘Clayton’ D8568 at Bishops Lydeard on 18th June 2022. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0



NOVEMBER 2023 – our ‘transmission team’ reached a milestone with the completion of the turbine rail from the ‘A’ transmission of Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’, after a complete overhaul of the this complex piece of precision engineering. The overhaul of the ‘B’ transmission had been completed earlier in the year and the experience gained had allowed the ‘A’ transmission to be turned around in a matter of weeks. Well done team !

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 closed up the assembly in readiness for the milestone completion stage that took place later that day. Photo by Colin Foxhall © CC BY-NC 3.0



DECEMBER 2023 – our Class 47 had been out of use all summer after suffering some cylinder head bolt failures, but a complete ‘top end’ overhaul was undertaken at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and ‘NORTH STAR‘ was back in action, just before year end.

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



Closing the year 2023, Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 hauled the last train of the year, an Empty Coaching Stock move from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard, which the ‘Teddy Bear’ took over at Williton from ‘Winterlights’ stalwart D6566 (33 048).

Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 was pictured at Williton at 17:28 on Sunday 31st December 2023 as she prepared to depart with a Mark 3 sleeper coach and a brake van in tow. Photo by Edward Martin © CC BY-NC 3.0


As always, we are very grateful for another year of support from our members and volunteers, and those from the wider railway ‘family’, who have contributed their time and funds to allow the DEPG to continue its work. The continued patronage and financial help from all who support the railway and appreciate the locomotives that run upon it is essential and very much appreciated. Thank you !


Many more items of news from 2023 can be found by browsing our website. Sign up for ROUNDUP to have the news delivered to your emailbox on a weekly basis.


VERY IMPORTANT DATES FOR YOUR DIARY – the WSR’s 2024 Diesel Gala will take place from Thursday 6th through Saturday 8th June 2024, with mixed traction on Sunday 9th, so keep these dates free and make a plan to attend !





Go to previous Weekly Roundup post