The DEPG yard at Williton was shunted on Saturday 23rd December 2023 to move D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ outside so that Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) could go into the shed for attention to her exhaust system. The shunt lineup also included Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 and the whole consist was being propelled by Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 while Barclay 578 (ROF 1) kept hold of the brake van on number 4 road. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0
The new DEPG year started with a flourish of activity that took advantage of the revised loco positions in the shed, with a start being made on the dismantling of the exhaust system of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057). This loco has been a star performer over recent years and volunteer loco manager Ian R wants to keep her in top condition by addressing a developing issue before it affects reliability.
Both Ian and Tom had been noticing increasing amounts of leakage from her exhaust system due to aging seals and gaskets, and had worked out a programme of winter maintenance that could be addressed during the traditionally quiet period between Christmas and Easter. The work involves removing the roof of the ‘Crompton’ so that the heavy components can be lifted out using the 2-tonne crane in the shed. Having the loco under cover will also allow some areas of bodywork corrosion to be repaired. Overall, the work is expected to take around two months.
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was moved into the loco shed on Saturday 23rd December 2023 for winter maintenance involving repairs to her exhaust system and attention to some bodywork corrosion. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0
The railway is now closed to the public until Saturday 23rd March and the infrastructure engineers have control of the line so that they can progress their various improvement projects. In the event that an engineering train needs to be hauled from A to B, we have Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) available at Williton and we have Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 available at Bishops Lydeard, in addition to the WSR’s own diesel shunting locomotives.
On the last day of 2023, the WSR moved the ‘WINTERLIGHTS‘ train from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead but did so in the hours of darkness, so that the spectacle could be viewed along the length of the line. The weather was very poor, but this did not prevent spectators from gathering at the stations, their patience being rewarded when the steam-hauled working passed through with lights ablaze ! A very nice piece of public relations work by the WSR, and many thanks to the staff and volunteers who gave up their time on New Year’s Eve to make it possible.
The WSR’s 2023 Christmas programme has been VERY SUCCESSFUL and a big ‘thank you’ has gone out 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 !
WSRA ‘BUY A BAG OF BALLAST‘ CAMPAIGN
The West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA) has reported that the campaign to buy bags of ballast has resulted in two complete truckloads (40 tonnes in total) being provided to the infrastructure teams so far, so WELL DONE and THANK YOU VERY MUCH to all who contributed. Our 23-mile-long railway needs plenty more, so please buy a bag or two whenever you can. Thanks !
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’ – with the loco outdoors and the weather at the start of the year being somewhat wet, attention turned to those tasks that could be done from within the loco shed, the cooler group refurbishment being an obvious target. The cooler groups each comprise a 2-tonne steel structure containing hollow sections for the water tanks and attachment points for 48 radiator elements, 24 per side. The upper part of the structure forms a roof section and includes two hydrostatically-driven fans. All in all, when including the pipework, valves, sensors and switches, it amounts to a lot of work …. x2 !
The transmission team took a break from D1010 during the first week of the year, but we have plenty of progress to report in the next edition of roundup.
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 let us know by using the CONTACT FORM on our website if you can lend a hand.
D1010 – Ian Fn turned his attention to the ‘A’ end cooler group at Williton on Saturday 30th December 2023. The various liveries carried by D1010 were gradually turned to grey. 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. Almost all of the sponsored patches have now been engraved into the new metal on the loco and efforts are now focused on producing the certificates that will be emailed to each sponsor in recognition of their contribution. Here’s an example:
Sponsorship includes a photograph and a certificate via email, but we can print these certificates on photo paper and mail them out upon request, in which case we would need to ask for an additional £2 donation per certificate to cover paper, ink and postage.
The drawings that have been developed in parallel will provide 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 back at Williton and was in use on Saturday 6th January for a practical demonstration session for a new batch of trainee secondmen, under the instruction of WSR Diesel Traction Inspector John Leach. The loco was repeatedly coupled and uncoupled to the brake van and each of the trainees had an opportunity to get ‘hands on’ with what must have been some very cold steel ! Many thanks to John for running these training courses !
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) was in use for shunting training at Williton on Saturday 6th January 2024. The three trainee secondmen were under the instruction of WSR Diesel Traction Inspector John Leach. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
DEPG trainee Ian Fs was grappling with the vacuum brake pipe on Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) while instructor John Leach and fellow trainee Paul looked on. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 6th January 2024 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – work is progressing rapidly on the exhaust system overhaul, the exhaust system having been completely removed from the locomotive by the end of the week. The rocker covers were also removed from the eight cylinder heads, and this showed that one cylinder head was suffering with leakage through the valve guides. This one head will be removed and replaced with a spare from our stock to prevent any delays in completing the work. The roof section is a steel framework which is covered with translucent fibreglass, so the opportunity will be taken to clean this assembly in parallel to the work taking place withing the loco. Here are some photos showing the progress:
D6575 (33 057) – the exhaust system comprises several very large and heavy sections that have to be unbolted and lifted out of the loco. The once-white heat resistant tape wrapping does not contain asbestos. Volunteers Ian and Tom were pictured while hard at work at Williton on Saturday 6th January 2024 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
D6575 (33 057) – the view of the engine at the end of the day, with all of the exhaust system removed and the exhaust ports of the eight cylinder heads clearly visible. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 6th January 2024 by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0
D6575 (33 057) – the roof section is awaiting a cleanup after being removed from the loco. The huge exhaust port will be the first area for attention. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 6th January 2024 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. Our spare Westinghouse air compressor (one in each ‘Hymek’ and two in the ‘Western’) was painted by Linda at Williton last Tuesday, and is now ready to go back into storage until it is needed. The worksplate fitted during it’s last overhaul states that the warranty expired in October 1993 !
The recently-acquired spare Westinghouse compressor was painted by Linda at Williton on Tuesday 2nd January 2024 and is now ready to go back into storage. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
The worksplate on the spare Westinghouse compressor advises us that the warranty expired in October 1993, a mere 30 years ago. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 6th January 2024 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – no change this week.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the investigation into the repair or replacement options for the cardan shafts is continuing and visits have been made to review spares held by other groups. The most likely outcome is that several ‘old’ shafts will need to be gathered up and sent to a specialist subcontractor so that at least one set of serviceable shafts can be made from them. The easier option is to buy a set of new shafts, but this will cost upwards of £10,000 and would be the subject of additional fund raising, so it is being viewed as a last resort.
Meanwhile, work proceeds on the many other tasks associated with the cab rebuild. The electrical cable conduits and trunkings are in the process of being restored by Andy P at Williton to ensure that they are all ready and waiting for when their re-installation time comes along.
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 moved to Bishops Lydeard on Sunday 31st December 2023 and is on standby in case a need for an engineering train working arises.
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 was taken out on a loaded test run on Friday 22nd December and some additional faults flagged for attention. The plan is for this loco to be in use during February.
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – this loco stabled on number 3 road at Williton and is ready for use if required.
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 feature two pre-owned books from a collection that has been very kindly donated to the DEPG. A search online revealed that two books in particular command a higher price than might be expected, so we are featuring these two books below for the purposes of gathering feedback on their value. All monies gathered from the sale of pre-owned books go directly to DEPG funds for the upkeep of our locomotive fleet, so we would like to say thank you very much to all who have donated and all who have purchased from our online store.
Book: APT – A promise unfulfilled
Author : Hugh Williams
Book: BR in the Eighties
Authors: David St John Thomas and Patrick Whitehouse
Asking price : £45
Asking price : £15
The last few copies of our 2024 DEPG CALENDAR are still in stock at Williton, so this is probably your last opportunity to obtain your own copy of this A3-sized 12-page glossy publication which has a theme of DEPG locomotives in ‘then and now’ liveries. Quantities are very limited so PLACE YOUR ORDERS NOW to ensure that you get your copy.
ON SHED – sorry, but we will need to skip this feature this week due to lack of space.
DEPG NEWS – we aim 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 before the end of 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 !