Weekly Roundup – 03-Mar-24

Weekly Roundup – 03-Mar-24

Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33048) took up her position at the head of the WSR Infrastructure ‘Tidy Train’ working before departing Williton on Sunday morning, 3rd March 2024. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0 


As we get closer to the re-opening date for the WSR (23rd March), the Infrastructure teams have been busy in multiple locations along the line, replacing life-expired sleepers and cutting back overgrown areas to ensure adequate visibility for crossings, and reducing the risk of obstructions from fallen trees or broken branches. This work results in redundant material and debris accumulating along the trackside, so the ‘Tidy Train’ operates periodically, moving along the line slowly and stopping frequently for the volunteers to gather such items and load them onto the flat wagons for recycling and disposal.


The ‘Tidy Train’ operated again last Sunday, starting from Williton and running towards Dunster with Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33048) leading, then ran in the other direction with the ’33’ propelling. The lineside is looking a lot better as the result of the hard work by all of these teams over the winter, so WELL DONE ALL INVOLVED !

Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33048) led the WSR Infrastructure ‘Tidy Train’ working out of Williton on Sunday morning, 3rd March 2024. The brake van was well stocked with volunteers who would no doubt be getting a thorough workout as the day progresses. Webcam image by Railcam UK and the WSR © CC BY-NC 3.0 


Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33048) was positioned at the rear of the ‘Tidy Train’ when pictured alongside Castle Hill on the afternoon of Sunday 3rd March 2024. The wagons were well loaded with old sleepers and other debris, all of which had been gathered from the lineside. Photo by Malcolm Anderson © CC BY-NC 3.0 




The WSR is scheduled to re-open on Saturday 23rd March and the first diesel-hauled service will run on Sunday 7th April. The first major event of the year will be the SPRING STEAM SPECTACULAR which will take place throughout the Bank Holiday weekend, 3rd through 6th May, during which our loco shed will be open to the public, with Rod’s Model Railway sales stand alongside our own DEPG sales stand. Click here or on the image below for more information via the WSR’s website.


WSR DIESEL GALA 2024 – Thursday 6th through Saturday 8th JUNE

The WSR’s Summer Diesel Festival will take place from Thursday 6th through to Saturday 8th June with mixed traction running on Sunday 9th, hopefully with at least one of the visiting locomotives at work.

The first visiting locomotive to be announced was English Electric Class 50 50033 (D433) ‘Glorious’, no doubt to the delight of the many followers of the class, and the second visitor has now been announced as BR-Derby Class 46 ‘Peak’ D182 (46 045), courtesy of the Peak Locomotive Company and a fine example of another well-loved ‘Type 4’ class. A further announcement will be made as soon as arrangements have been finalised. PLEASE MAKE A NOTE OF THESE DATES and do your best to attend. It is going to be a great event !


Our popular ‘DIESEL RUNNING DATES‘ page has been updated to cover the WSR public services that are planned for diesel haulage this year, so CLICK HERE or on the image below to visit the page and see the range of dates available. We will be providing the loco allocations soon and will keep this page up to date as we get clarification on the details.




Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – the focus last week was preparing the loco for lifting so that the bogies can be released for overhaul. This is a project in itself and involves a lot of detailed planning, with Risk Assessments having to be prepared for each aspect of the lifting operation. Our knowledge is expanding with every week that passes, so our lift plan is being refined and developed accordingly.

The ex-BR Class 52 loco body stands that were acquired by the DEPG many years ago have recently undergone a clean-up and re-paint in the hands of Gordon and Ian F, and detailed measurements were taken by Paul C and Barry for the purposes of creating a solid model for stress analysis. The solid model comprises three sections – the original stands as built for the construction and maintenance of the ‘Westerns’, and the small modification made in the late 1960s when the locos were having dual brakes (vacuum and air) installed to make them compatible with the newer freight and passenger vehicles. The need to install an additional compressor underneath the loco resulted in the need to raise the height of the stands to provide the necessary clearance.

Then, in the late 1970s when the stands were made redundant by the withdrawal of the ‘Westerns’ from service, the stands were again modified to increase their height, but also their width, to make them compatible with Mark 1 coach frames, as needed for the Kent Coast Electrification Scheme work that was underway at Swindon Works. This second modification needed to be evaluated mathematically to ensure that a sufficiently high Factor of Safety was achievable, both for indoor use as designed and also for outdoor use, where side winds of up to 100 mph would need to be taken into account.

The Finite Element Analysis has now been completed and the results are being reviewed (but appear to be favourable). More news on this will be shared next week.

Above – solid model of Class 52 loco body stand, as modified by BR at Swindon Works for the Kent Coast Electrification Scheme.

Below – with the two modifications and their heights identified.


Meanwhile, with the transmission team temporarily diverted onto ‘Hymek’ D7018 and Tony temporarily diverted onto the bodyside repair on ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33057), the resources on D1010 were limited and the progress was confined to the bogies and the planning, but this is set to change with a more diverse effort this coming weekend.

We still have plenty of work ahead of us on other aspects, in particular the bogies, and we will need MORE HANDS to help us get the 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 to do, so simply reply to this email or use the CONTACT FORM on our website if you can lend a hand.

D1010 – two of the service doors from the bottom of the cooler group. When installed inside the cooler group in the loco, these doors can be opened to reveal the transmission below. The cooler group frame lies on its side in the background.  Pictured at Williton on 24th February 2024 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


Sponsorships for patches on D1010 continue to come in, for which we are VERY grateful indeed. We have many more patches waiting for sponsors, so please support the CAMPAIGN for CAMPAIGNER and click here or on the image further below to get your name engraved into the metal of the locomotive. We will be having another engraving session as soon as the weather allows.

The certificates are now being emailed to the sponsors and we have hundreds to be sent out, so we are very busy with this work. Here’s an example of what we are sending out (we have changed the photo below compared to the last few weeks, just to show that we do actually have more than one sponsor!):

The marking process involves the use of an ink pen to allocate a patch number and define the patch boundaries, then the sponsor’s name or chosen message is written using the ink pen. The vibratory engraving tool is then used to trace the marking while making a deep impression into the steel of the patch. The patch is then painted over using multiple coats, but the engraving remains in the metal and will withstand many rubdowns and repaints, in fact it is very difficult to remove (which is how we learned to write the text using the ink pen first!). The engraving will last as long as the metal. Here’s a close-up:

Sponsorship includes a photograph and a certificate via email, but we can print the certificates on photo paper and mail them out upon request, in which case we will be asking for an additional £2.50 donation per certificate to cover photo paper, ink and postage (donate via our website or via Membermojo).

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:

Details of the work remaining to be done on this restoration project along with a status report of the funding have been included in the new issue of the DEPG Newsletter, which has now been distributed to DEPG members. A summary will be posted via roundup soon, but JOIN THE DEPG to get the information in more detail and more quickly.

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 currently based at Williton and was in use on Sunday 3rd March on an engineering train (as reported above).


Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – the corrosion damage to the bodyside was swiftly dealt with by Tony, who cut out the corroded metal and welded-in the patches of new sheet steel. The first layer of filler has already been applied and the job will be completed within the next week or two after the application of several coats of paint.

The fibreglass roof section that fits above the engine had previously been pressure washed by Ian R and the team and looks much cleaner, but it needed re-sealing using a two-part protective coating of the type that is commonly used on boats. The coating task didn’t take very long, but the chemical odour hung around for quite some time!

We are waiting for a replacement exhaust bellows to be delivered before we can close up the engine work, but this is expected to arrive in time to allow the loco to return to service later this month.

D6575 (33 057) – Tony has completed the welding work and has moved on to the filling and sanding stage. Another week or two and these tasks will be completed. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 2nd March 2024 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


D6575 (33 057) – the fibreglass roof section that covers the engine room has been pressure washed and needed re-sealing using a clear two-part coating. Ashley got the task of coating the edges with what was left of the first batch while Tom and Ian R (in the background) mixed another batch of coating material. Pictured at Williton on Saturday 2nd March 2024 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


D6575 (33 057) – Ian R was pictured at work with the roller on the roof section of the loco at Williton on Saturday 2nd March 2024. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – as reported last week, this loco is ready to return to service subject to some test runs that will be used to accumulate hours and ensure reliability. This loco will undergo an oil change when warmer weather returns and will be ready for test running as soon as the WSR re-opens.


Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – work has progressed well with the preparations for the removal of the transmission, which was due to be lifted out of the locomotive on Friday 8th March using a hired-in crane. The transmission will then be cleaned externally before moving to our transmission overhaul area where disassembly will commence.

D7018 – this loco is being prepared for transmission removal and was pictured on No. 3 road at Williton on 1st March 2024 alongside one of the two loco body stands that will be used under D1010. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0


Although we hope to be able to use spare parts that we have available, we will still need to replace seals, bearings, gaskets as necessary and we also need to drain the oil and have new oil available. All of these things cost money. PLEASE HELP by making a donation of £10 or by buying our 64-page A4 HYMEK D7018 BOOKLET (£10) which covers the history of this locomotive from build through to her return to service in 2019 following her major overhaul. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !

Click here or on the image above to order your copy of our ‘HYMEK D7018’ booklet, available for £10.


Click here or on the donation image above to go to the donations page on our website. If you feel able to donate more than £10, simply increase the quantity when on the donations page. Thank you in advance for your support !


Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – work continued on the many small parts that each need to be cleaned, inspected and renovated before joining the queue for re-fitting to the loco. The standard of the work is excellent as usual, and will show through when the loco is completed and returned to service.

D9518 – a selection of parts in various colours, the gloss red and dull red undercoated parts being for the fire suppression system. Pictured at Williton on Friday 1st March 2024 by Colin Girle © CC BY-NC 3.0


D9518 – this unusually-shaped container will be mounted on the cab wall and is for the emergency flags and detonators. Pictured at Williton on Friday 1st March 2024 by Colin Girle © CC BY-NC 3.0


D9518 – the handbrake wheel has now been re-assembled and painted and is ready to be re-installed at the appropriate point in the re-assembly sequence. Pictured at Williton on Friday 1st March 2024 by Colin Girle © CC BY-NC 3.0


Details of the work remaining to be done on this restoration project along with a status report of the funding have been included in the new issue of the DEPG Newsletter, which has now been distributed to DEPG members. A summary will be posted via roundup soon, but JOIN THE DEPG to get the information in more detail and more quickly.

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 on standby at Bishops Lydeard for use on engineering trains.


Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – after receiving a top-end overhaul at Grosmont Works, this loco has now resumed duties on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. We look forward to seeing her out and about on passenger services in the very near future.


Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – this loco is stabled in the yard at Williton, sporting her cabside lettering and looking the part with a gleaming cab, in readiness for the busy year ahead.


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 one NEW book and two more pre-owned books from a collection that has been very kindly donated to the DEPG. First the NEW HARDBACK BOOK BY ROGER GEACH entitled HYDRAULIC MEMORIES’ and covering that rich period during the history of BR’s Western Region where seven classes of diesel-hydraulic mainline locomotives could be seen at work, covering all four power type classifications. By careful use of the image repository at TRANSPORT TREASURY, Roger has complied this book such as to create a virtual journey from Paddington to Penzance, a journey where many of the hydraulic classes could be seen at work in the wonderful backdrop of the West of England countryside. DEFINITELY A MUST HAVE and very good value at £17.50. In stock now and available from our online store by clicking HERE or by clicking on the image below. By agreement with Roger, all proceeds go to the D1010 Restoration Fund.

We will be posting a BOOK REVIEW from regular contributor Neale Long on our website in the coming days, so check this link in a few days to find out what Neale thinks of this new book.


In the pre-owned category, we have posted several new titles and they are selling as fast as we are posting them, so PLEASE SEND US YOUR SURPLUS BOOKS so that we can replenish our stocks and keep the funds flowing in. Click HERE for our contact form.

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. Check our online store regularly and change the ‘default sorting’ to ‘sort by latest’ to keep an eye on new postings.

Book: Westerns, Warships and Hymeks at Work

Author : Geoff Endacott

Book: Western Wonders

Author: Kevin Derrick

Price : £12.50

Click here for a link to the DEPG online store

Price : £12.50

Click here for a link to the DEPG online store



ON SHED – this week, we share another image from Rob Crispin’s archive, this time from 1982 and featuring LAIRA DEPOT in Plymouth, and some of the Class 50s that were based there. Here’s the narrative that Rob has provided:

     “I was fortunate to have grandparents living in Plymouth. My growing interest in trains, and their location so close to Laira, opened up new opportunities! Laira was my first Open Day. British Rail provided an ‘HST shuttle’ to the halt at the depot. Unfortunately, my new ‘Olympus Trip’ hadn’t been used indoors before and I was only just turned 13!

     I don’t know the background to it, but 50023 Howe, faltered late on and didn’t quite make it into preservation like some of the others, lasting until 2004 I believe.”

Many thanks to Rob for sharing his photos and his memories with us all. 

English Electric Class 50s at Laira Open Day on 25th April 1982. Nearest the camera is 50023 ‘Howe’ featuring in a re-railing demonstration, with 50019 ‘Ramilies’ behind. Photo by Rob Crispin © CC BY-NC 3.0



DEPG NEWS – the next Board Meeting will take place on Saturday 9th March, so please let us know if you have a question that you would like to place before the Board.

The yard at Williton is dominated by infrastructure projects at the moment, with advantage being taken while the engineers hold possession of the line. Visitors to Williton last week were the two Road-Rail Vehicles, the ‘RRVs’, the versatile workhorses that can go anywhere and be put to use either on or around the railway. MANY THANKS to all involved in making the WSR an even better place to visit and work at.

WSR Infrastructure asset – one of the RRVs is in the south yard at Williton to help clear a space for another storage container. Pictured at Williton on Friday 1st March 2024 by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0


WSR Infrastructure asset – another of the RRVs was stabled on the down line complete with two detachable trolleys, showing the versatility of these machines. Pictured at Williton on Friday 1st March 2024 by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0


WSR Infrastructure asset – one of the ‘Turbot’ tipper wagons is stabled in the south yard at Williton to take the spoil from the excavation site that is visible on the right of the picture. Photo dated Friday 1st March 2024 by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0


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 JOIN US and if you are already a member, please make sure that your membership is up to date. If you want to join or are not sure about your membership status, please click here or on the image below to open 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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