Depot News

The latest news of progress made by our volunteers at Williton Depot

  • Depot News – week ending 04-Jul-21

    Top billing this week goes to our Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526, out on hire to the KENT & EAST SUSSEX RAILWAY for the rest of this year. Our loco was prepared for road transportation last Tuesday 28th June and was loaded on Thursday 1st July evening for the 220-mile trip to Wittersham Road near Rolvenden, which is approximately 20 miles from Ashford, in Kent. The loco was prepared for the loading ramp by removing the sand delivery nozzles, valves and pipework that would otherwise become bent and twisted by contacting the rail at the ramp transition point. Here’s a pictorial feast covering the move:

    Class 14 D9526 stands in the South Yard at Williton on 29th June 2021, tried, tested and ready for duty. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 14 D9526 under cover in the Swindon Shed at Williton on 29th June 2021, being prepared for road haulage. Class 14 volunteer loco manager Simon Purvis looks on. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Sand delivery pipework removed from D9526 at Williton on 29th June 2021 to facilitate road transportation to the K&ESR. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 14 D9526 being shunted to the loading area by 1940-vintage 48hp Ruston and Hornsby 0-4-0 DM number 200793 at Williton North Yard on 1st July 2021. Photo by Harry Spencer © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 14 D9526 lined up on the approach to the low-loader at Williton North Yard on 1st July 2021. The loco will be winched forward using the steel tow cable that is visible between the rails. Photo by Simon Purvis © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 14 D9526 loaded at Williton North Yard for transportation to the K&ESR on 1st July 2021. Photo by Simon Purvis © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 14 D9526 being unloaded at Wittersham Road Station (near Rolvenden) on the K&ESR on 2nd July 2021. Photo by Paul Jessett © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

     

    D9526 is spending the rest of this year at the K&ESR to cover for sister loco D9504 while that loco undergoes a high-hour overhaul after giving many years of sterling service. The class gets regular use at the K&ESR and this will be a good opportunity to generate some much-needed income for the DEPG. We will be keeping in touch with correspondents in the “Garden of England” and hope to feature news and photos on a regular basis.

     

    Click here for a link to the news article that has been published by Rail Advent.

     

     

     

    Not wanting to be left out of the limelight, our ‘celebrity’ Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ has been dressed up with banners in preparation for her road haulage move from Bishops Lydeard to Pickering on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. One banner shows our social media ‘handles’ and the other banner shows the breadth of our fleet, the objective being to promote awareness of the DEPG as the loco covers in excess of 300 miles on her journey to the northeast. The banners were designed by our social media volunteer Natalie and were produced by Bristol Banners. Here are some photos:

    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ carries her ‘ON TOUR’ banner at Bishops Lydeard in preparation for road haulage to the NYMR. Photo dated 1st July 2021 by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ carries her ‘DEPG’ banner at Bishops Lydeard in preparation for road haulage to the NYMR. Photo dated 1st July 2021 by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Here’s an interesting photograph taken by young Josh Brinsford before the ’47’ was masked-up:

    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ at Westridge, Bishops Lydeard, in the company of the WSRA’s ‘Quantock Belle’ dining set and an ex-GWR ‘TOAD’ brake van (guard’s van) along with some very well maintained railway furniture, pictured on 26th June 2021. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    The road haulage on the journey northward will be provided by well-known firm Allelys, but there are restrictions on the M1/M18 route that are still preventing Allelys from getting permission from Highways England for the move to take place. The alternative route via the M6/M62 is also unavailable because of major roadworks at the junction of these two motorways, so the date for the move has not yet been determined. This is frustrating because the NYMR are keen to put the loco to work. We will send out a DIESELGEN bulletin as soon as we can.

     
     

    On a wet and dismal Monday, 28th June, Class 33 D6575 (33 057) departed Williton hauling the WSRA’s Hawksworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W to Bishops Lydeard after a period of fairly intensive use on the Route Refresher specials. The loco is now outstationed at Bishops Lydeard in its role as the ‘Thunderbird’ loco for the WSR public services.

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) hauls the WSRA’s Hawksworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W away from Williton towards Bishops Lydeard on 28th June 2021. Photo by Steve Edge © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    OTHER LOCO NEWS:

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – work has started on the bodyside repairs, the first step being the removal of the loose ‘Prestolith’ filler as a precursor to corrosion treatment and subsequent repair. This loco is the subject of an appeal that is shortly to be posted to our website along with restricted donation ‘products’ that will allow donors to select the precise value of their donations and be safe in the knowledge that their funds are only to be used for the specific purpose of restoring D1010. This online facility should be ready in a few days from now.

    If you love the ‘Westerns’ and you are not already a member of the DEPG, please consider joining so that you can become one of the team that is going to return D1010 to a decent and operational condition.

    Some of the roller bearings from the ‘B’-end transmission of Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ are in very good condition. Others are in need of replacement – please JOIN US in our efforts to bring this loco back up to operational standard. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Our fund-raising efforts have already commenced with the recent publication of our booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD”. All of the revenue from the sales of this booklet will go into the D1010 restoration fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks ! 

     

    Class 33 D6566 (33 048) – This loco remains on standby at Williton and may soon see some use on the ‘shunt release’ operations when the WSR extend the running to Dunster, starting from Friday 17th July 2021. Meanwhile, the loco will need to undergo an oil change because the most recent oil sample suggests further dilution which does not appear to be from dilution with diesel fuel. The oil change will involve 80 gallons (360 litres) of oil and a set of new oil filters, so it is not a 10-minute job and it will cost a bundle !

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week.

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – This loco is being prepared for service and is expected to emerge from the shed next weekend after completion of maintenance and inspection tasks. There is not enough time before the first public service for the transmission control block issue to be resolved, so the transmission will be locked in second gear. This is no problem for a ‘Hymek’; the loco will operate in the same way as she did for the 2019 running season.

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the work continues on restoring the smaller assemblies, but in the background, preparations are being made for the hornguides to be re-fitted the the loco frames, which in turn will allow the frames to be re-mounted on the wheelsets. The delay arose due to the need to acquire ‘the right type of rivet’ but this is close to being resolved. A quotation for the alignment and riveting work has been received from WSR Restorations, so this major phase of restoration work will commence soon.

    The frame of D9518 pictured just after hornguide removal on 8th August 2020. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    This loco is also the subject of an appeal that is shortly to be posted to our website along with restricted donation ‘products’ that will allow donors to select the precise value of their donations and be safe in the knowledge that their funds are only to be used for the specific purpose of restoring D9518. This online facility should be ready in a few days from now.

    If you love the ‘Teddy Bears’ and you are not already a member of the DEPG, please consider joining so that you can become one of the team that is going to return D9518 to operational condition – and see her haul passenger coaches for the first time in her life!

     

    Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) – bodywork repairs have started, along with some electrical repairs that will help return this loco to full operational condition and ensure that she has a long life. We expect this loco to take the place of D7018 in the loco shed during the coming weeks so that body panels can be removed for restoration.

    Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work cleaning, painting, maintaining, restoring, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !

     

    BOOK REVIEW – we don’t have time for a new book review this week, but we do have plenty of book reviews in the pipeline. Meanwhile, we have reorganised our books into two categories on our online store, and we will soon be significantly expanding the range of books on offer.

     

    ON SHED: Following on from the 1960s photos that have been sent to us by Alan Walker, this weeks’ photo shows a line of withdrawn Class 14s at Cardiff Canton depot in 1969, waiting to learn their fate. 

    Withdrawn Class 14 lineup comprising D9500, D9519 and D9509 at Cardiff Canton on Sunday 7th September 1969. Photo by Alan Walker © CC BY-NC 3.0

    D9500 is the only one of these three machines that survives today, but it is non-operational and awaiting restoration at Peak Rail in Derbyshire after spending many years of hard labour at NCB Ashington colliery – alongside our own D9518. The other two were only four years old when withdrawn from service and didn’t turn a revenue-earning wheel again, being cut up at Cohen’s of Kettering in 1970. What a waste !

    Many thanks to Alan for sharing his photographs with us all.

     

    DEPG NEWS: Last week, we appealed for feedback regarding the diesel-hauled services that are being planned for this summer – and we received plenty – but much of it was critical of what we had to offer. There were some common themes that we do need to respond to, so here they are below:

    • The Seaward Way level crossing replacement project has run late due to issues beyond the control of the WSR so rail access to Minehead is not currently possible. The estimated date for re-opening is some time in late September.
    • Services timetabled for Minehead will have a dedicated bus connection between Dunster and Minehead.
    • Dunster does not have a passing loop but a manoeuvre known as ‘shunt release’ will be used to allow the loco to reposition at the other end of the train. This involves the use of another loco, either the WSR’s Class 03 number D2133 or one of our Class 33 ‘Cromptons’, to move the coaching stock while the train loco waits in the siding.
    • The Bishops Lydeard to Dunster and return services being offered for diesel haulage are ‘out-and-back’ services and will not connect to bus services at Dunster.
    • The expected turnaround time at Dunster will be 35 minutes. All passengers must alight before the ‘shunt release’ manoeuvre.
    • A faster turnaround by only running to Blue Anchor is not possible because the previous service will have the ‘token’ for the Dunster section, preventing the diesel from running around at Blue Anchor, so there is nothing to be gained by dropping the Dunster segment.
    • The increased time taken by other scheduled services in the Dunster section prevents a second diesel trip from being rostered for the afternoon (this has been studied thoroughly).
    • This reduced-mileage one-trip roster is for THIS YEAR ONLY and we expect to be back to the full 80-mile diagram next year.
    • We know that the offering is not ideal, but we are appealing to supporters to ride these services to bring much-needed income to both the WSR and the DEPG.

     

    After fully considering the feedback and after another review of the options, the decision was taken to go for a simple timetable with the same timings for each of the five days, as below (times in brackets are passing times, not station stops):

     

    As soon as we get confirmation from the WSR, we will send out a further bulletin via ROUNDUP and DIESELGEN mailing lists, to communicate the final details and advise how to book tickets. The running days will be as follows (all are Saturdays):

    • 17 July              (‘Hymek’ D7018)
    • 31 July              (‘Hymek’ D7018)
    • 07 August        (‘Hymek’ D7018)
    • 21 August        (Crompton pair, top and tail)
    • 25 September  (‘Hymek’ D7018)

     

    IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, we have been advised that our diesels will be in use for the MIXED TRAFFIC WEEKEND on 17-18 September, the timetable for which has not yet been released. This new running opportunity will feature an extension to Norton Fitzwarren to provide both additional mileage and additional interest from this little-used section of the line. We will send out a DIESELGEN bulletin as soon as we have firm details. Mark the date in you diary !

     

    OTHER DEPG NEWS: A Board meeting was held at Williton and via Zoom last Saturday 3rd July where issues such as the above were discussed and debated. A synopsis of that meeting will be included with the next roundup. The date for the next Annual General Meeting was confirmed as being 4th September. Formal notices will be sent to all registered paid-up members during August.

     

    DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

    Our website is in the process of being updated to include the two appeals that have been launched, one for D1010 and the other for D9518, with special donation ‘products’ being added to support fundraising. The shop has been reorganised to introduce product categories, because the ever-increasing number of products was causing the shop to get a bit too crowded and cluttered. Hopefully, the reorganisation will lead to a better shopping experience. Please let us know if you find our deliberate mistakes !

     

    WSR NEWS: The WSR are operating public services to Blue Anchor so we now need to support these services by buying tickets to ride!

    Although it is easy to criticise, it is not easy to run a heritage railway with all of the difficulties presented by Covid and by the Seaward Way level crossing reconstruction. It is in all of our interests to run more services and get more riding opportunities, but we all need to keep faith in the WSR management team and support them in ensuring that the WSR survives and emerges in good shape for future years – even if it means that we have to go without some of the things that we want, for a little bit longer.

    We will be announcing the timetable for the diesel-hauled services via DIESELGEN and on our website and through social media. We need to make sure that these trains are well loaded, so please help us make the most of the limited opportunity that is currently available to us.

    Don’t forget to read about the WSR appeal by clicking this link.

    All members of the WSR family have to do what we can to help and one easy way is to make a donation via the WSR website. Another way is to ensure that all of the timetabled services are a commercial success, so please buy a ticket if you can.

     

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  • Depot News – week ending 27-Jun-21

    Another busy week, gone by in a flash, but still with plenty to report. Last Monday 21st June 2021 saw Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ move under her own power from Williton to Bishops Lydeard to await road haulage to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. This was the first time that this loco had run on the WSR since 2017 and luckily, some of our volunteers were on hand to record the scene.

    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ descends Watts Bank on the approach to Bishops Lydeard on Monday 21st June 2021. Photo by Chris Shields © CC BY-NC 3.0

    News of the move was shared with popular rail news site ‘RAIL ADVENT’ who published an article within minutes. This article stayed at the top for their ‘most read’ list for the rest of week, garnering almost 10,000 reads. Please follow this link to get us over the 10,000 mark !

    We quickly compiled a short video featuring a combination of stills and video footage from our Chairman Martin Howard and from lineside contributors, and we uploaded this to YouTube later that same day. The video is available on the DEPG channel and has also been posted on the WSRTV channel, so please watch both versions to rack up some views on both channels.

    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ keeps company with BR(WR) 4-6-0 7828 ‘ODNEY MANOR’ at Westridge Shed, Bishops Lydeard on 26th June 2021. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0

    The road haulage on the journey northward will be provided by well-known firm Allelys, but there are restrictions on the M1/M18 route that are preventing Allelys from getting permission from Highways England for the move to take place. The alternative route via the M6/M62 is also unavailable because of major roadworks at the junction of these two motorways, so the date for the move has not yet been determined. We will send out a DIESELGEN bulletin as soon as we can.

     
     

    Another loco that is about to make news is our Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 because she will soon be heading southeast to the KENT & EAST SUSSEX RAILWAY for the rest of this year. The K&ESR already operates a class 14, number D9504, one of a number of the class that worked from Hull Dairycoates depot in the period 1966-1968, but this loco will be undergoing maintenance, so the ideal replacement is our D9526. The team at the K&ESR already have experience of looking after their own loco and the move has the blessing of the DEPG Class 14 team, so we look forward to be able to bring you news of D9526 at work in the Garden of England.

    In preparation for the move, D9526 underwent a load test on Saturday 26th June when she hauled our two Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ from Williton to Bishops Lydeard and back. The two ‘Cromptons’ together weigh-in at 146 tons and this equates to a load of between 4 and 5 coaches, so it was a worthy task for the 650 hp loco. Here’s a photo of the ensemble passing through Stogumber on the climb to Crowcombe Heathfield:

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 hauls Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ D6566 (33 048) and D6575 (33 057) through Stogumber on the climb to Crowcombe Heathfield during a test run on 26th June 2021. Photo by Steve Lewis © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Click here for a short video clip of the loco working hard during the return leg. Many thanks to Martin Howard for capturing this for us all to share:

     

     

    The previous day, Friday 25th June, Class 33 D6575 (33 057) worked the last of the Route Refresher workings between Williton and Dunster, propelling the WSRA’s Hawksworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W on the outward journey so that the trainees could get a clear view of the track ahead. DEPG member Mark Ireland was out with his camera and he captured some interesting pictures, full of detail. Here are two of his photos:

    A great view of the WSRA’s Hawksworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W being propelled by Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) at Blue Anchor on 25th June 2021. Note the ‘Bardic’ lamp attached to the lamp bracket at the front of the vehicle. Photo by Mark Ireland © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) propels the route refresher special out of Blue Anchor towards Dunster on 25th June 2021, showing red tail lights, red route indicator blinds and a red tail lamp. Photo by Mark Ireland © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Many thanks to Mark for sharing his photos with us all.

     

    OTHER LOCO NEWS:

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – now resident in the loco shed on number 3 road and being kept serviceable, this loco is the subject of an article in the latest edition of the DEPG Newsletter that was distributed to members last week. The article describes the restoration project and outlines the funding requirements that will allow this loco to return to service in a reasonable period of time. If you love the ‘Westerns’ and you are not already a member of the DEPG, please consider joining so that you can become one of the team that is going to save D1010 from rusting away before our very eyes.

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ is in need of restoration – please JOIN US in our efforts to bring this loco back up to operational standard. Photo by Graham Perry © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Our fund-raising efforts have already commenced with the recent publication of our booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD”. All of the revenue from the sales of this booklet will go into the D1010 restoration fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks ! 

     

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week.

     

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – This loco is being prepared for service and is expected to emerge from the shed next weekend after completion of maintenance and inspection tasks. There is not enough time before the first public service for the transmission control block issue to be resolved, so the transmission will be locked in second gear. This is no problem for a ‘Hymek’; the loco will operate in the same way as she did for the 2019 running season.

    The cabs of D7018 have benefitted from a replacement set of ‘Traffolyte’ placards, made using the same multi-layer engraving technique as the 1960s originals. The ‘Maximum Speed’ warning may not be relevant these days, but many of the other placards are useful and informative and need to be clear and easily readable.

    Some of the new ‘Traffolyte’ placards are visible in this photo of D7018’s cab at Williton on 19th June 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the drum beat of progress from the ‘Tuesday team’ continues as they tackle the electrical equipment enclosures of this fully-dismantled loco. The photos that have been provided by Terry show the quality of the work that is being done. First, a quick look at a pair of cab steps. One newly fabricated, the other renovated. Can you tell the difference?

    The brand new set of steps for D9518 alongside the refurbished originals – which is which ? Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Step 1 – Heavily corroded electrical junction box from D9518 in the process of being renovated at Williton on 22nd June 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Step 2 – Repair patch cut, formed and tack-welded into position at Williton on 22nd June 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Step 3 – Here’s one that we prepared earlier, with the seams welded and blended with the grinding wheel to get to a smooth surface finish. This work was in progress at Williton on 22nd June 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) – the Great British summer does not make it easy to perform bodywork repairs on a loco in the open air, so ‘the ROF’ will go into the loco shed on number 2 road when ‘Hymek’ D7018 emerges. Some time under cover will allow for the corroded body panels to be removed and repaired as necessary. We welcome new volunteers to come along and join in on the renovation of this loco. Training will be provided, so why not START NOW by joining our volunteer team !

    Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work cleaning, painting, maintaining, restoring, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !

     

    TOPICAL NEWS – the planned reopening of the Okehampton branch is a very welcome sign of progress in the reopening of former branch lines. In the case of Okehampton, it was not a branch because it was a station on the LSWR mainline route from Exeter to Plymouth via Tavistock. How useful that alternative route would be these days! Here’s some photos from DEPG member and volunteer Mike Evans:

    Colas Rail Freight Class 70 number 70817 works an engineering train in connection with track renewals at Okehampton on 23rd June 2021. Photo by Mike Evans © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Colas Rail Freight Class 70 number 70817 alongside a giant pile of old track at Okehampton on 23rd June 2021. Photo by Mike Evans © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    BOOK REVIEW – we don’t have time for a new book review this week but we can tell you that the books on our website by well-known author Roger Geach are selling well, with a sizeable contribution to the D1010 restoration fund for every copy sold. We are very appreciative of the support being offered by the author.

    New copies of this book are in stock and ARE AVAILABLE FROM OUR ONLINE STORE.

    This is a new book, but remember to also take a look at the pre-owned books on our DEPG ONLINE STOREthe entire proceeds of which will go to the D1010 restoration fund.

     

    ON SHED: Following on from the 1960s photos that have been sent to us by Alan Walker, this weeks’ photo shows Swindon-built Class 42 ‘Warship’ 818 ‘GLORY’ alongside ‘Hymek’ D7014 outside the old steam shed at Swindon depot in March of 1969. The ‘Hymek’ met the cutter’s torch in August 1972 but the ‘Warship’ survived until 1985 and became a parts donor for the restoration of D821 ‘GREYHOUND’, owned by the DIESEL TRACTION GROUP (DTG) and still a regular and popular performer on the Severn Valley Railway.

    Class 42 ‘Warship’ D818 ‘GLORY’ alongside ‘Hymek’ D7014 stand outside the old and severely dilapidated steam shed at Swindon depot on 8th March 1969. Photo by Alan Walker © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Many thanks to Alan for sharing his photographs with us all.

     

    DEPG NEWS: Following the announcement about diesel running dates a few weeks ago, readers have been contacting us to ask how they can book tickets for the diesel-hauled services. After some research, we concluded that the RED (high season) timetable did not offer an out-and-back diesel-hauled option, so we set up a conference call with the WSR to work on the details.

    As a result, the WSR have offered two options for a diesel-hauled ‘excursion’ starting at Bishops Lydeard and running through to Dunster and return, with stops at Watchet and Blue Anchor. The options that the DEPG has to choose between are a morning departure, possibly with an additional stop at Williton (WN) for a visit to the diesel depot, or an afternoon departure with no possibility of a stop at WN due to pathing difficulties.

    WE NEED YOUR FEEDBACK TO GUIDE US. Please let us know your preference so that we can maximise the appeal of this additional service and FILL THE SEATS ! Please reply to this email and let us know what you want. Thanks !

    Since our earlier announcement about dates, the WSR have had confirmation of a mainline railtour that will run through to Dunster on 14th August, so there will NOT be a diesel-hauled service on that day. Sorry about that. The revised date is now 7th August.

    To clarify, the UPDATED running dates are:

    • 17 July            (‘Hymek’ D7018)
    • 31 July            (‘Hymek’ D7018)
    • 07 August      (‘Hymek’ D7018)
    • 21 August        (Crompton pair)
    • 25 September  (‘Hymek’ D7018)

    Once finalised, the WSR will set up the out-and-back diesel-hauled journeys as a SPECIAL EVENT which will then simplify the ticketing process. We expect to finalise these details during the coming week. The best way to keep informed is to watch our website home page or SIGN UP FOR DIESELGEN email bulletins.

    The June edition of the DEPG member’s Newsletter has been printed and mailed to all members on the register. Please let us know if you have a current membership but have not received your copy. THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO JOIN US and be certain of getting your copy !

    DEPG Newsletter #57 – June 2021 and another fantastic photo by Kelvin Lumb © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

    Our website is updated at least weekly (usually more frequently) with the latest news plus any DIESELGEN postings that may have arisen. We have a programme of work lined up to develop each of the loco pages to include detailed histories and we will also be setting up appeal pages for D1010 and D9518 restoration. Please keep an eye on our website and let us know what else we need to be doing to make it more useful and more user-friendly.

     

    WSR NEWS: The WSR have successfully restarted public services to Blue Anchor so we now need to support these services by buying tickets to ride!

    We are working on the timetabling for the diesel-hauled services and we will be announcing the timetable and the running days via DIESELGEN and on our website and through social media. We need to make sure that these trains are well loaded so that we can demonstrate the demand for diesel haulage. Please help us make the most of the opportunity that is currently available to us.

    Don’t forget to read about the WSR appeal by clicking this link.

    All members of the WSR family have to do what we can to help and one easy way is to make a donation via the WSR website. Another way is to ensure that all of the timetabled services are a commercial success, so please buy a ticket if you can.

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  • Depot News – week ending 13-Jun-21

    Top billing again this week goes to the work that will allow our BR-Brush Type 4 Class 47 number 47 077 ‘NORTH STAR’ to hitch a long ride northbound to spend some time working on the NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS RAILWAYThe hire agreement is close to being finalised and we expect that it will be signed in the coming week. The loco will move as soon as practicable thereafter and will work on the NYMR for a period of at least two years, providing the DEPG with an income stream at this difficult time when our normal operations have been severely curtailed by the impact of Covid-19. The loco remains under DEPG ownership but will be maintained to mainline standard by the NYMR and may see occasional use on the Network Rail route to Whitby.

    Last Saturday saw the careful execution of a well-planned depot shunt that released the ’47’ from her captivity in the loco shed and allowed Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ to go into the shed so that her bodywork repairs can commence.

    Here are some of the excellent photos that were taken last Saturday (many thanks to the photographers!):

    On 5th June 2021, 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ made her first heritage-era appearance in BR blue with red backing to her nameplates, recreating her late-1970s look. The liberal coating of dust on parts of her roof hints at her 19-month imprisonment in the shed at Williton. Photo by Jon Aroussi © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    On 5th June 2021, a depot shunt took place so that 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ could be released from the loco shed and swap places with D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’. Photo by Lee Robbins © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    A fine study of DEPG ‘celebrity’ 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ as she repositions to number 1 road at Williton Diesel Depot on 5th June 2021. Photo by Lee Robbins © CC BY-NC 3.0

    ‘NORTH STAR’ had been hidden away inside the loco shed since October 2019 which is when she was moved from the WSR Restorations paint shop in the North corner of the ‘Swindon Shed’ at Williton after being repainted into BR blue, in a style that she carried in the late 1970s when she was based at Cardiff Canton depot.

    The ’47’ last worked on the WSR in 2017 and always performed well, but corrosion had set in to her roof and the resulting water leaks caused damage to some internal compartments as well as several areas of her bodywork. In the summer of 2018, the roof was removed for extensive repairs that were undertaken by DEPG and Growler Group member Mark Stanley (well known for his fine work on English Electric Class 37 D6948) and Mark also carried out the corrosion repairs on the bodywork before handing the loco over to WSR Restorations for a repaint. The loco changed from two-tone green to BR blue before going into the DEPG loco shed for completion of the repair work.

    During the last 19 months (much of which was lockdown), work has focused on the rebuild of the Serck Hydrostatic radiator shutters that had long since failed to work properly. In fact, the photos from when she first worked on the WSR in 2007 show that some of the louvres were not working back then! All four assemblies were removed and rebuilt using new rotating parts designed by DEPG member Paul Clark and the 28 aluminium louvres were renovated by Graham Perry before being reassembled by the Williton team. The resulting work will give good service for many years to come.

    Class 47 D1661 ‘NORTH STAR’ arrives at Blue Anchor on 4th October 2017 while Ex-ROF Barclay 0-4-0 number 579 waits for the road to Minehead. The malfunctioning radiator louvres are obvious in this photo by Malcolm Garner © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    On Saturday 12th June 2021, a team comprising Jon Tooke, Leroy and Darren gave the loco a much-needed wash to remove the layer of dust that had accumulated during her time inside the shed. The result is a gleaming loco that might even win the ‘temporary’ approval of those who dislike the livery of the BR corporate era.

    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ gets a wash and brush up from Darren at Williton on 11th June 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    A classic image of DEPG volunteer Jon Tooke as he provides some TLC to 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ at Williton on 12th June 2021. Photo by Darren Hill © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    OTHER LOCO NEWS:

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) was busy again, covering the route refresher training turns for the drivers, guards and secondmen that will be involved in the extension of services to Dunster and Minehead (via bus link) under the RED timetable, starting on 16th July 2021. These special workings involve propelling the WSRA’s Hawkworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W from Williton to Dunster with multiple stops at points of interest along the route so that the trainees can refresh their knowledge. The return run is a quiet affair because the trainees have to sit a written exam while the loco hauls the saloon back to Williton at a leisurely pace. These training runs repeat again on Monday and Friday this week – see our DIESELGEN bulletins for detailed information.

    The route refresher training special to Dunster departs from Williton on Saturday 12th June 2021 with Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) propelling the Hawksworth Saloon under the careful control of driver John Leach. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 was the subject of remedial work to her fuel supply system last week so the opportunity was taken on Saturday 5th June to run to Crowcombe Heathfield and back in the company of sister loco D6566 (acting as both a test load and as insurance). The run went well so D6575 is now available for duty as required.

    Class 33 pair D6566 (33 048, trailing) and D6575 (33 057, leading) head off towards Crowcombe Heathfield from Williton on a test run on 5th June 2021. Photo by Brenden Hill © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – this loco now resides in the loco shed on number 3 road and will remain there for the duration of her bodywork repairs. Apart from some localised corrosion damage around the windows, the level of repair required for the main body of the locomotive is limited to removal and replacement of the ‘Prestolith’ filler that was applied when new to smooth out the surface distortions caused by welding the outer skin panels to the framework beneath. The ‘Westerns’ have the same stressed skin design as the ‘Warships’ and both are more akin to aircraft structures than conventional locomotive structures. This gave the benefit of light weight but introduced some difficulties that had to be overcome by development of suitable repair techniques. The cab sections are a different situation and are likely to need extensive renovation. This loco is the subject of a fund-raising campaign that commenced with the publication of our new booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD”. All of the revenue from the sales of this booklet will go into the D1010 restoration fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks ! 

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ is now back inside the loco shed at Williton as pictured on 12th June 2021 along with the wheelsets from Class 14 D9518. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week.

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

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the ‘Tuesday team’ have been working on creating a new and authentic set of steps to replace the set that is missing. When completed, the team will move on to tackle the cab, which is a major piece of superstructure that will keep them busy for quite a while! 

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – this loco is currently the subject of a hire request from another heritage railway, although the discussions are at early stages and the hire is subject to agreement. If this goes ahead, the loco will be away until October but will be earning valuable income for the DEPG in our time of need.

    Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) – as announced last week, this 1972-vintage 0-4-0 diesel-hydraulic shunting loco has just been taken under the wing of the DEPG for a 10-year period during which the DEPG will restore and maintain the loco and use it as the “Williton Depot Pilot”. This loco is one of a pair that were introduced at the Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) in Puriton, near Bridgwater in 1972 as replacements for existing lower-powered locomotives that were unable to haul works trains over the bridge that had been built over the brand new M5 motorway, just north of junction 23. Both locomotives were loaned to the WSR by BAE Systems when the works closed and ownership has subsequently transferred to the WSR.

    ROF 1 (works number 578) is now going to be based at Williton and ROF 2 (works number 579) has already been restored and has been in regular use at Minehead for many years (see previous photo with D1661 dated 4th October 2017).

    The below photo shows number 578 (ROF 1) with some temporary protective paint patches that were applied to the worst of the rust spots during the recent period of bad weather, but a deep bodywork restoration will soon commence and will bring a shine back to this useful little locomotive.

    Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 diesel-hydraulic number 578 (ROF 1) basks in the sunshine in the yard at Williton on 31st May 2021. Photo by Natalie Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work cleaning, painting, maintaining, restoring, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !

     

    BOOK REVIEW – this week we feature another book by well-known author and photographer Roger Geach entitled ‘Back to the Old Days WESTERNS’. This 2010 publication comprises 80 printed pages filled with photographs of the famous Class 52 ‘WESTERNS’ at work in locations ranging from West Wales to Chesterfield, in addition to the usual locations in the south-west. Many of the photos are taken by the author and are accompanied with interesting captions that add to the detail that is visible in the photographs. This book is out of print, but the author has donated a copy for sale in support of the D1010 restoration fund.

    In the typical way of most things ‘Western’, the book was sold within minutes of being offered via our weekly ROUNDUP email newsletter. The entire proceeds from sales of this title will go into the D1010 restoration fund and we are very appreciative of the support being offered by the author.

    This is a new book, but remember to also take a look at the pre-owned books on our DEPG ONLINE STOREthe entire proceeds of which will go to the D1010 restoration fund.

    To help our sales of pre-owned books, please let us know if you have railway books that you want to donate to us. Contact us by replying to this email or by using this contact form so that we can work out an economic way of getting them from you. We appreciate your efforts to give us more items to sell to raise funds for the DEPG fleet.

     

    ON SHED: Last week, we featured a photo by Barry Gay showing three ‘Warships’ passing through Exeter St Davids on their way to Plymouth Laira shed. That rare sighting showed 842 ‘ROYAL OAK’ towing 808 ‘CENTAUR’ towing 868 ‘ZEPHYR’ and was captured by Barry Gay on 14th April 1971. Does anyone have any knowledge of that movement and the reasons for it?

    Staying with ‘ROYAL OAK’, here’s a photo of 842 taken two months later, also at Exeter St Davids and by Barry Gay:

    North British Class 43 ‘Warship’ 842 ‘ROYAL OAK’ arrives at Exeter St Davids on 15th June 1971 with the 2B99 service from Barnstaple. Photo by Barry Gay © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Many thanks to Barry for sharing his photographs with us all.

     

    DEPG NEWS: As mentioned last week, the DEPG and the WSR have been working on opportunities for diesel running under the RED (high season) timetable. Last week’s roundup contained an error in the dates that were being planned for ‘Hymek’ D7018 and the corrected dates are as follows:

    • 17 July
    • 31 July
    • 14 August
    • 25 September

    In addition, we hope to run both Class 33s in multiple on 21 August as a tribute to the 60th birthdays of the pair.

    As stated last week, we will be making a big effort to promote these services to make sure that they run at a profit. This is what we must do to ensure that we can get more running days. More patronage equals more income equals more opportunities; it is as simple as that.

    The best way to keep informed is to watch our website home page or SIGN UP FOR DIESELGEN email bulletins.

     

    The June edition of the DEPG member’s Newsletter is in the works and is planned for distribution before the end of this month. It will be mailed to all members who are registered and current at the time of mailing, so THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO JOIN US and be certain of getting your copy !

     

    DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

    Our website will be updated to carry all of the news and all of the donated pre-owned books, just as soon as we can get to it. The focus of our voluntary efforts remains on 47077 until she heads northwards (and on the Newsletter!).

     

    WSR NEWS: The WSR have successfully restarted public services to Blue Anchor so we now need to support these services by buying tickets to ride!

    The Chairman of the WSR has announced a major campaign for fundraising with a target of ONE MILLION POUNDS to secure the railway through to the 2022 operating season. Such numbers sound incredible, but the railway has to balance its books like any other organisation and when income is hit as hard as it has been by Covid-19, then the money has to come from somewhere else.

    Read more on the WSR appeal page by clicking this link.

    All members of the WSR family have to do what we can to help and one easy way is to make a donation via the WSR website. Another way is to ensure that the timetabled services are a commercial success, so please buy a ticket if you can.

     

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  • Depot News – week ending 06-Jun-21

    There is plenty to report this week because multiple activities have come together to allow our BR-Brush Type 4 Class 47 number 47 077 ‘NORTH STAR’ to emerge into the daylight under her own power and eventually reposition herself on what we call ‘number 1 road’ – which is the track that is parallel to the platform of Williton station.

    BR-Brush Type 4 Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ emerges from Williton Diesel Depot under her own power on 5th June 2021. Image courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©

     

    47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ coming out of the shed and approaching D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ under the watchful eye of WSR Operations Manager Paul Fleet on 5th June 2021. Photo by Bob Bond © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    The ‘new order’ at Williton Diesel Depot following the shunt that took place on 5th June 2021, resulting in 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ coming out of the shed and D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ going into the shed. Image courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©

     

    ‘NORTH STAR’ had been hidden away inside the loco shed since October 2019 which is when she was moved from the WSR Restorations paint shop in the North corner of the ‘Swindon Shed’ at Williton after being repainted into BR blue, in a style that she carried in the late 1970s when she was based at Cardiff Canton depot.

    For the last 19 months she has been undergoing completion work and internal repainting following her bodywork repairs, but various Lockdowns have conspired to keep her out of sight for so long.

    LATEST NEWS ON THIS LOCO is that she will soon be heading north to work on the NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS RAILWAY for a year or two. The loco will remain under the ownership of the DEPG so she will be earning much-needed income for the DEPG in a period when our normal level of income has been so badly affected by Covid-19. ‘NORTH STAR’ will be maintained by the NYMR while on her Yorkshire holiday and may see some use on Network Rail metals to Whitby, so her maintenance will be performed to mainline standards. This is exciting news for both groups and for followers of this celebrity loco ! The date of the move will be announced ASAP but is expected to be around the middle of this month. We will keep you posted.

    Our Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ were busy again last weekend as they provided the ‘top and tail’ support for the WSR’s services to and from Watchet. This duty was covered by Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 on Saturday 29th May and it was great to see her out and about after such a long time, looking great and sounding so good. From Sunday through Wednesday 2nd June, the twice-daily working was covered by D6566 (33 048).

     

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 hauls the empty coaching stock that will form the 1345 Watchet to Bishops Lydeard departure past Splash Point, just east of Watchet on Saturday 29th May 2021. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ D6566 (33 048, left) and D6575 (33 057, right) stand alongside WSR ‘mogul’ 9351 at Williton station on 1st June 2021. Photo by Chris Lawton © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    The next step in the return of WSR services was the extension to Blue Anchor that commenced yesterday using BR(W) 4-6-0 7828 ‘ODNEY MANOR’. These services do not need to be ‘top-and-tailed’ because there is a passing loop at Blue Anchor where the loco can run around its train for the return journey.

    With the build-up of services continuing, it is necessary to perform more route refresher training for the drivers, guards and secondmen that will be involved, so another special working took place on Saturday 5th June using the WSRA’s Hawksworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W with haulage provided by Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048). These training runs repeat again on Monday and Friday this week – see our DIESELGEN bulletins for detailed information.

     

    The return leg of the route refresher training special waits at Blue Anchor to pass the incoming steam-hauled service on Saturday 5th June 2021 with Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) at the head and driver John Leach in charge. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    OTHER LOCO NEWS:

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – this loco was started up at Williton on Saturday 5th June so that she could move under her own power to take up a temporary position in the yard before taking the place of 47 077 in the loco shed. However, the ‘Run Oil Pressure Switch’ had other ideas, and although the oil pressure was good, the switch refused to acknowledge this and as a result, the engine would not continue to run once the start button was released. This was a disappointment but it could not be allowed to disrupt the shunt plans, so 47 077 pushed D1010 along to number 4 road so that 0-4-0 diesel-hydraulic shunting loco ANDREW BARCLAY number 578 (ROF 1) could be coupled up to D1010 for the remainder of the shunt.

     

    D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ is sandwiched between ‘Hymek’ D7017Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) and 47 077 ‘NORTH STAR’ on number 1 road at Williton on 5th June 2021. Image courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©

     

    The short length of Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) was very useful when trying to move a very long locomotive in a small yard. The map below is an extract from that most useful of resources, wsr.org.uk and can be found under ‘Detailed Maps – WN’ on the ‘Maps of the Line’ page:

     

    Williton Diesel Depot – extract from ‘Maps of the Line’ ‘Detailed Maps’ ‘WN’ by wsr.org.uk © CC BY-NC 3.0

    An extract from the above has been marked up to show the designations of the lines in and around Williton Diesel Depot as follows:

     

    Marked-up extract from ‘Maps of the Line’ ‘Detailed Maps’ ‘WN’ by wsr.org.uk © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    At the end of the shunt, D1010 was safely under cover in the loco shed on number 3 road so that body repairs can commence. Now all we have to do is raise money and start the restoration work. Do you have your copy of our new booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD” ? All of the revenue from the sales of this booklet will go into the D1010 restoration fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks !

    MANY THANKS to all of our volunteers for preparing the yard and for working througout the day to get the shunt completed in a careful and safe way. Well done, much appreciated !

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 was reported as having had some trouble maintaining the specified air pressure in her main air reservoir so Ian R prepared the spare Westinghouse compressor governor and Ian F gave it a fresh coat of paint. The spare was fitted to the loco and tested during the evening of Monday 31st May, and the loco was passed as fit to work her booked ‘top and tail’ duty the following day. Thanks to all for a quick response to an issue that was dealt with before it became a problem.

     

    Refurbished Westinghouse compressor governor (orange cover, grey body) for Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) installed and tested on 1st June 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 was the subject of remedial work to her fuel supply system last week so the opportunity was taken on Saturday 5th June to run to Crowcombe Heathfield and back in the company of sister loco D6566 (acting as both a test load and as insurance). The run went well so D6575 is now ready for duty as required.

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week due to the focus being on 47077.

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – no change this week while the focus is on 47077.

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the ‘Tuesday team’ continue their work fabricating a new set of steps from scratch. The new set follow the same pattern and have made using authentic ‘Admiralty pattern’ chequer plate so that there is no difference to the other three sets on the loco. Such attention to detail is important for a restoration project where the loco is being rebuilt from zero base.

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – after her support work on the Watchet services last week, it was no surprise that D9526 would be called into action again as the primary motive power for the depot shunt. Everything went smoothly and the loco remains available for duties if required.

    Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work maintaining, restoring, shifting, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !

     

    BOOK REVIEW – due to lack of time this week, we will give a reminder about the book that we featured last week by well-known authors Stephen C. Marshall and Roger Geach entitled ‘Class 37s in the Far West’. This book is in stock and IS AVAILABLE FROM OUR ONLINE STORE. The proceeds from sales of this title will go into the D1010 restoration fund (by agreement with the authors).

    This is a new book, but remember to also take a look at the pre-owned books on our DEPG ONLINE STOREthe entire proceeds of which will go to the D1010 restoration fund.

    To help our sales of pre-owned books, please let us know if you have railway books that you want to donate to us. Contact us by replying to this email or by using this contact form so that we can work out an economic way of getting them from you. We appreciate your efforts to give us more items to sell to raise funds for the DEPG fleet.

     

    ON SHED: After skipping this feature for two weeks, it is about time that we brought it back with a bang, so here is a view of not one, not two but THREE ‘Warships’ passing through Exeter St Davids on their way to Plymouth Laira shed. This rare sighting shows 842 ‘ROYAL OAK’ towing 808 ‘CENTAUR’ towing 868 ‘ZEPHYR’ and was captured by Barry Gay on 14th April 1971, just six months before all three locomotives were to be withdrawn from service after being classified as ‘non-standard”. The youngest of these was 868 ‘ZEPHYR’, who had not quite turned 10 years old on the date of this photograph, being introduced to traffic on 18th May 1961.

     

    North British Class 43 ‘Warship’ 842 ‘ROYAL OAK’ tows Swindon-built Class 42 relatives 808 ‘CENTAUR’ and 868 ‘ZEPHYR’ through Exeter St Davids en route to Plymouth Laira on 14th April 1971. Photo by Barry Gay © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    DEPG NEWS: The DEPG Board meeting took place last Sunday and a synopsis will be posted to the website soon (a special page will be created for the purpose). Two of the most notable news items are the agreement to send 47 077 ‘NORTH STAR’ out on hire to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for a period of one or more years and the agreement reached with WSR PLC for the DEPG to take ANDREW BARCLAY diesel-hydraulic 0-4-0 shunter number 578 (ROF 1) under a long-term care and maintenance agreement that will allow the DEPG the use of this machine for the next 10 years or beyond. Both of these major steps are in the interest of the DEPG for the longer term.

    The ‘ROF’ shunter has an interesting story of its own and we don’t have time for that today, but will include it in another issue of roundup. We also need to add it to our website and include it in all of our reports going forward because it is now a part of the DEPG fleet.

    As mentioned last week, our Publicity Officer, Mark Bladwell has organised a banner that is to be displayed at Williton Depot in view of the passing trains, and it has now been delivered and attached to the Ferry Wagon in the South Yard at Williton. Here’s a photo:

     

    DEPG Ferry Wagon now adorned with a DEPG banner for the benefit of passing travellers. Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) looks on. Photo taken on 5th June 2021 by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Another big success for Mark is the amount of press coverage that he has been able to generate for the diesel running days that were included under the BLUE timetable on the WSR website, including a big write-up in THE RAILWAY MAGAZINE. Unfortunately, due to the delays encountered on the Seaward Way crossing replacement project, the line to Minehead will not be open until October, so the blue timetable has had to be withdrawn.

    However, all is not lost. Discussions with the WSR have resulted in at least five days of the RED timetable where we will be able to operate one of the public services using our diesels between Bishops Lydeard and Dunster so WATCH OUT for the announcement of what we intend to offer and when. The best way to keep informed is to watch our website home page or SIGN UP FOR DIESELGEN email bulletins.

    The dates agreed so far for ‘Hymek’ D7018 running are:

    • 17 July
    • 31 July
    • 14 August
    • 25 September

    In addition, we hope to run both Class 33s in multiple on 21 August as a tribute to the 60th birthdays of the pair. We will be making a big effort to promote these services to make sure that they run at a profit. This is what we need to do to ensure that we can get more running days. More patronage equals more opportunities; it is as simple as that.

     

    DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

    The DEPG has now registered with the Lottery Commission and is now licensed to hold raffles, so be warned, raffles are on the way ! As we mentioned before, some of the donated pre-owned books are rare and will either become raffle prizes or will be auctioned to raise funds for D1010 so we are very grateful for all of your support – but we need more !

    Our website will be updated to carry all of the news and all of the donated pre-owned books, just as soon as we can get to it. The focus of our voluntary efforts remains on 47 077 until she heads northwards.

     

    WSR NEWS: The WSR have successfully restarted public services so we now need to support these services by buying tickets to ride!

    As reported under DEPG news, there has been a delay to the Seaward Way level crossing project and this has affected all timetabled trains that were to run to Minehead. The best way to read more about this is in the WSR’s ‘The Platform’ newsletter, available by clicking on this link.

    As if the last few years have not been challenging enough, we now have to deal with the prolonged impact of Covid and the uncertainties involved with planning plus the replacement of the level crossing, so all members of the WSR family have to do what they can to help. It is really important to support the WSR to ensure that these services are a commercial success so please buy a ticket if you can.

     

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  • Depot News – week ending 30-May-21

    Further progress was made towards the ‘new normal’ by the extension of WSR services from Williton to Watchet on Saturday 29th May, with Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 providing the additional ‘top and tail’ traction between the two stations. The reason for having a loco at each end of the train is because there is no passing loop at Watchet, so the steam-hauled arrival has to be hauled back to Williton where the diesel will come off and the steam loco will run around for the return journey to Bishops Lydeard.

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 over the pit at Westridge (Bishops Lydeard) on Saturday 22nd May 2021 in the company of the WSR’s BR(W) 4-6-0 7828 ‘ODNEY MANOR’ and Class 09 D4107 (09 019). Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    To allow the passengers an hour to stretch their legs at Watchet, the Empty Coaching Stock (ECS) will be hauled back from Watchet to Williton, a distance of 1.7 miles, so that the locos can change places for the return leg. The diesel will then haul the ECS back to Watchet and remain at the rear when departing from Watchet. The train will stop at Williton for a few minutes so that the diesel can be detached. This repeats twice daily under the ORANGE and YELLOW timetables that are in force through to Wednesday 2nd June. See our DIESELGEN posting for timings and details.

    To facilitate the extension to Watchet, it was necessary to perform route refresher training for the drivers, guards and secondmen that will be involved, so a special working took place on Friday 28th May using the Hawkworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W with haulage provided by Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048). For the outbound leg of the journey, D6566 was propelling the inspection saloon from the rear while towing three ‘Dogfish’ hopper wagons, which were deposited at the Dunster Permanent Way Depot. This route refresher working was repeated on Saturday 29th  – but this time, without the hopper wagons. 

    The staff training ‘officers inspection special’ pauses at Washford on Friday 28th May 2021 after being propelled from Williton by Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) – with three ‘Dogfish’ hopper wagons in tow. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 33 D6566 (33 048) prepares to depart from Dunster with the ‘officers inspection special’ route refresher working to Williton on Friday 28th May 2021 – after depositing the ‘Dogfish’ ballast hoppers in the yard. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) will be covering the top-and-tail duties on the Watchet services from Sunday 30th through to Wednesday 2nd June 2021. Watch out for the news of our next diesel running dates by keeping an eye on our website or signing up for our DIESELGEN bulletin service. 

     

    LOCO NEWS:

    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – further progress has been made on this loco after a lengthy engine run last weekend, during which a thorough inspection of air and vacuum systems was made. Luckily, no major issues were found, but a number of snags were uncovered in other systems, each of which will get attention during the coming days.

    One such issue was a leaking radiator element, most probably damaged during the refitting of the cooler group shutter assemblies during the previous weekend. This was quickly dealt with by Terry and the ‘Tuesday team’ and will be tested during the next engine run.

    A damaged radiator element on Class 47 D1661 47077 47613 47840 ‘NORTH STAR’ gets attention from Terry at Williton on Tuesday 25th May 2021. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Further progress was made with the refitting of two access panels in the roof of the former boiler room, the cleaning and painting of both cabs and a number of other small jobs. This weekend, we will be dealing with some electrical tasks including the completion and closure of the battery boxes. All together, it adds up to a lot of progress, so thanks go out again to our volunteers who paused their work on their ‘normal’ projects to lend a hand on the ’47’.

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 was under investigation from Ian and Tom in connection with a low fuel pressure issue that was causing the loco to exhibit signs of fuel starvation when operating under load. The suction pipe from the fuel tank was under suspicion and tests quickly confirmed that this was causing the problem. The solution was to run a new flexible suction line into the fuel tank, using the old fixed pipework as a guide. The loco is now restored to full power and is available for traffic if called upon.

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week due to the focus being on 47077.

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – no change this week while the focus is on 47077.

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – this loco is being prepared for an engine run and a yard shunt that will take place on the weekend of 5th June, following which D1010 will go under cover in place of 47077 so that body repairs can commence. Do you have your copy of our new booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD” ? All of the revenue from the sales of this booklet will go into the D1010 restoration fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks !

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the ‘Tuesday team’ have been hard at work restoring one of the four sets of steps and fabricating another from scratch! The below photo shows the restored set drying after a coat of primer. We are grateful for the restoration and fabrication skills of our new volunteers Colin F, Chris and Mark, all of whom are busy restoring multiple parts of the loco, with more parts being lined up for attention to keep the momentum going.

    Restored steps for Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 receiving a coat of primer from Chris L at Williton on 25th May 2021. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Restored set of steps for Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 after being painting with primer by Chris L of the ‘Tuesday team’. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work maintaining, restoring, shifting, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !

     

    BOOK REVIEW – this week, we feature a book that was published in November 2020 by well-known authors Stephen C. Marshall and Roger Geach entitled ‘Class 37s in the Far West’. This book comprises 160 printed pages of A4 filled with the details of English Electric Class 37s at work in the ‘Far West’ of the UK, an area defined by the authors as being west of Taunton and west of Yeovil. Plenty of detail, plenty of photographs (all in colour), nicely reproduced and backed up with plenty of interesting text. The authors have combined their massive knowledge with a detailed database of workings from 1965 onwards, so it is a good read for anyone who appreciates the rugged power and reliability of the class and the scenic variety that is typical of Cornwall.

    This book is in stock and IS AVAILABLE FROM OUR ONLINE STORE. The proceeds from sales of this title will go into the D1010 restoration fund (by agreement with the authors).

    This is a new book, but remember to also take a look at the pre-owned books on our DEPG ONLINE STOREthe entire proceeds of which will go to the D1010 restoration fund.

    To help our sales of pre-owned books, please let us know if you have railway books that you want to donate to us. Contact us by replying to this email or by using this contact form so that we can work out an economic way of getting them from you. We appreciate your efforts to give us more items to sell to raise funds for the DEPG fleet.

     

    DEPG NEWS: The DEPG Board meeting that was scheduled for 22nd May 2021 took place via Zoom on Sunday 30th May, and as usual there was a full agenda with several items that will be of interest to our members and supporters. We will provide a synopsis as soon as we can, hopefully during the coming week.

    Picking up on an action from a previous meeting, our Publicity Officer, Mark Bladwell has organised a banner that is to be displayed at Williton Depot in view of the passing trains, so that passengers can become more aware of the DEPG and our facility at Williton. This is one step on a journey to present the DEPG to a wider audience and encourage a greater interest from WSR travellers and the public at large. Well done Mark, thank you!

     

    DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

    This week, we have been preparing additional photos for the different colours of wearable items that we offer with DEPG logos or with loco-specific identification. The options to select different colours have been there all along, but the colour of the photos has not changed with the selection. We now have fresh stock of the different colours so we can now upload the photos and improve the buying experience. This enhancement should be live within a few days.

    Meanwhile, the flow of pre-owned books continues (the more the merrier) so we would like to say THANK YOU to all who have donated. Some of the donated items are rare and will either become raffle prizes or will be auctioned to raise funds for D1010 so we are very grateful for all of your support.

    We have just taken delivery of more mugs, the fastest seller being that for D1010 (predictably!) and we also have more DEPG hats and various colours of polo shirts and sweatshirts in stock now.

     

    WSR NEWS: The WSR have successfully restarted public services so we now need the public to support these services by buying tickets to ride!

     

    Apologies to readers who feel that the we are being a bit too brazen in ‘plugging’ the WSR ticket sales, but we have to acknowledge that a strong DEPG requires a strong home railway. Our ability to fund our restoration activities and loco operations depends mostly on the WSR because that is how we generate most of our income. The rest comes from donations and sales from our online store, but we have to sell an awful lot of mugs and coasters to make up for the mileage payments that we normally earn from running on the WSR.

    So, the bottom line is, we need the WSR to be profitable so that we can use our locos on additional services that will in turn pull in more travellers and so on.

    It is really important to support the WSR to ensure that these services are a commercial success so please buy a ticket if you can.

     

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  • Depot News – week ending 23-May-21

    Apologies to all who were trying to reach our website or send emails to DEPG addresses yesterday. Our DEPG domain suffered an outage and we are still recovering, hence the delay in sending out the roundup this week. Sorry about this. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!
     

    The BIG news this last weekend was the re-opening of the WSR to public services, with the first train being steam-hauled by WSR ‘Mogul’ 2-6-0 number 9351. CONGRATULATIONS to all of the staff and volunteers of the whole ‘WSR family’ of organisations who have pulled together to make this happen. Well done all !

    WSR 2-6-0 number 9351 hauls the first public service of 2021, pictured at Nornvis Cottage on Saturday 22nd May 2021 by Jake Genge © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    On Saturday 22nd May 2021, Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 made a successful test run to and from Bishops Lydeard for the purposes of positioning over the pit at Westridge steam shed for an underframe exam. All went well, and the opportunity was taken for a crew refresher assessment under the watchful eye of the WSR’s Chief Traction Inspector Merv Hebditch.

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 arrives at Bishops Lydeard on Saturday 22nd May 2021. Photo by Charlie Cox © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    As reported last week, D9526 had attempted the run to Bishops Lydeard on the previous Saturday but a number of snags caused by lack of use during lockdown had resulted in the departure slot being missed, so the trip was postponed. The rescheduled trip allowed the engine and transmission to get up to normal operating temperature and everything worked well, so the loco has been cleared for return to service. Watch out for the news of her next running date by keeping an eye on our website or signing up for our DIESELGEN bulletin service. 

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) was busy again, running crew training specials between Bishops Lydeard and Williton on both the Saturday and the Sunday last weekend. During this coming week, she will be in action on Tuesday and Friday, details of which will be posted in a DIESELGEN bulletin.

    Class 33 D6566 (33 048) detaches from the stock of the 1510 crew refresher training service from Bishops Lydeard to Williton on Sunday 16th May 2021 while Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ watches from number 3 road in the South Yard. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    LOCO NEWS:

     

    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – there has been major progress on this loco – the new batteries were installed on Saturday 15th and the engine started quickly and easily. This was a major step forward and allowed us to test and evaluate the various auxiliaries and control circuits throughout the loco. Here’s a short video of the engine run:

    Class 47 D1661 47077 47613 47840 ‘NORTH STAR’ engine run at Williton, Saturday 15th May 2021, video by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Another major step forward was the re-installation of the radiator shutter assemblies that had been fully refurbished during lockdown. This task required careful planning and preparation so that it could be performed safely using the overhead gantry crane and the staging. The photos below were taken from a safe, secured position and give a very unusual view of the roof, showing two of the four radiator shutter assemblies reattached to the structure, with one in the process of having the hydrostatic actuator re-installed.

    Class 47 D1661 47077 47613 47840 ‘NORTH STAR’ undergoing re-installation of the refurbished radiator shutter assemblies at Williton on 16th May 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 47 D1661 47077 47613 47840 ‘NORTH STAR’ a very unusual view of two-thirds of the Sulzer 12-cylinder engine taken from a secured position at Williton on 16th May 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 47 D1661 47077 47613 47840 ‘NORTH STAR’ undergoing re-installation of the refurbished radiator shutter assemblies at Williton on 16th May 2021. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 47 D1661 47077 47613 47840 ‘NORTH STAR’ nameplates being secured by Graham at Williton on 16th May 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 47 D1661 47077 47613 47840 ‘NORTH STAR’ nameplate securely fitted and sealed against the bodywork at Williton on 16th May 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 47 D1661 47077 47613 47840 ‘NORTH STAR’ worksplate also securely fitted and sealed against the bodywork at Williton on 16th May 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Further progress was made on the cleaning and painting of both cabs and a number of other jobs were completed including the clean-up and repaint of the battery charger point and the external fire handles. All together, it added up to a lot of progress, so thanks go out again to our volunteers who paused their work on their ‘normal’ projects to join in with the work on the ’47’.

    Class 47 D1661 47077 47613 47840 ‘NORTH STAR’ sporting brand new batteries (6 visible out of the total of 48) at Williton on 16th May 2021. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 received some attention last weekend because of an electrical fault that had become apparent in the load regulator circuitry. This was investigated by Ian and Tom and quickly resolved, but the loco needs further attention on a fuel supply issue that has cropped up.

     

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – to maintain the engine and the batteries in good condition, an engine start on Saturday 15th was followed by a run of about an hour to bring the engine up to temperature and restore the charge in the batteries. Everything went to plan and the Maybach music was as sweet as ever!

     

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – this loco also had an engine run on Saturday 15th and everything went to plan. Work on the transmission has been suspended while the focus is on 47077.

     

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – this loco is being prepared for an engine run and a yard shunt that will take place on the weekend of 5th June, subject to progress being made on 47077, following which D1010 will go under cover in place of 47077 so that body repairs can commence. Do you have your copy of our new booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD” ? All of the revenue from the sales of this booklet will go into the D1010 restoration fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks !

     

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the ‘Tuesday team’ are continuing to make progress on restoring multiple parts of the loco, with more parts being lined up for attention to keep the momentum going. In between other tasks, Colin continues his work on the wheelsets, as can be seen below:

     

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 wheelset receiving an undercoat from Colin at Williton on 23rd June 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work maintaining, restoring, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !

     

     

    BOOK REVIEW – due to running late this week, we will have to skip this feature but we have plenty of book reviews lined up for you. Meanwhile, take a look at the pre-owned books on our DEPG ONLINE STOREthe entire proceeds of which will go to the D1010 restoration fund.

    If you have railway books that you want to donate to us, please let us know by return email or by using this contact form so that we can work out an economic way of getting them from you. We appreciate your efforts to give us more items to sell to raise funds for the DEPG fleet.

     

    ON SHED: This is another feature that we will have to skip this week, sorry !

     

    DEPG NEWS: The DEPG Board meeting that was scheduled for 22nd May 2021 has been moved to Sunday 30th May because of the need to focus on 47077, so you still have time to let me have any questions, topics or concerns that you would like to have tabled.

    The next edition of the quarterly DEPG newsletter is in preparation and is planned for distribution in mid-June. What would you like to see in this edition ? Let us know what you would find interesting. Do you have a story to tell ? Write your own article or alternatively, provide us with the information and we will do the writing.

    Membership – is your membership up to date ? If not, please renew by going to our Join Us page and selecting the appropriate membership ‘product’. This is a quick and easy way to keep your membership current. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember your membership number – we will sort that out for you.

     

    DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

    This week, we have been doing some long-overdue administration in preparation for a database update, so we haven’t had a chance to add the many pre-owned books that we have received from several donors. It will take a little while to get all of those titles scanned and created as products, but don’t let that stop you from donating. The more the merrier, and MANY THANKS to all who have donated. Some of the donated items are rare and will either become raffle prizes or will be auctioned to raise funds for D1010 so we are very grateful for all of your support. It’s fantastic !

    We have just taken delivery of more mugs, the fastest seller being that for D1010 (predictably!) and we also have more DEPG hats and various colours of polo shirts and sweatshirts in stock now.

     

    WSR NEWS: The WSR have successfully restarted public services so we now need the public to support these services by buying tickets to ride!

    There are also several other temptations along the lines, including the Gauge Museum reopened at Bishops Lydeard and the famous Cream Teas available on some trains and at Stogumber station – the produce in the picture below is particularly mouth-watering!

    Stogumber Cream Teas are back on the menu – pictured on 22nd May 2021 by Bob Preston © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Keep an eye on the excellent wsr.org.uk website for all of the latest WSR news.

    The WSR are continuing to enhance their timetables with an extension to Watchet starting on Saturday 29th May, the latest additions feature temptations such as Fish & Chips or Cream Teas, all of which sound like the perfect accompaniment to a trip along the WSR. Check out the different colour timetables and you will see the catering services that go with most of these options. It is really important to support the WSR to ensure that these services are a commercial success so please buy a ticket if you can.

     

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  • Depot News – week ending 16-May-2021

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) has again been busy, running crew training specials between Bishops Lydeard and Williton in preparation for the restart of public services next Saturday 22nd May 2021. Here’s a view of D6566 at the head of a return working at Williton from earlier this month:

    On Saturday 1st May 2021, D6566 (33 048) had just taken over from sister D6575 (33 057) at Williton and was preparing to work the return leg of the crew training special to Bishops Lydeard. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0

    D6566 is in action again this weekend, working on Saturday and Sunday on crew refresher training specials.

     

    Also booked for a run from Williton to Bishops Lydeard on Saturday was Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526, the purpose of the trip being a visit to Westridge Shed to go over the pit for an underframe examination. Unfortunately, a snag was encountered and the loco didn’t get to leave Williton, although she did make several runs within station limits while shunting D7017 and D6575 so that she could get out of the yard. More details on this next week.

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 runs within station limits at Williton on Saturday 15th May 2021. Image captured from the Williton North railcam, courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©

     

    To keep up to date with our diesel loco workings, sign up to our DIESELGEN email bulletin service.

     

    LOCO NEWS:

    Progress at Williton has been focused on 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ during the last week as we try to close down some of the tasks that are preventing us from starting the engine. Again we managed to open the depot for four days out of the last seven, so this is becoming a ‘new normal’ now.

     

    47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – The old batteries, 48 in total, were removed and were palletised for return to the supplier for recycling. The four battery boxes were tidied up in readiness for the new batteries to go straight in. Once installed, the new batteries will allow us to start the engine, which will then allow us to check the various pieces of equipment that are run from the auxillary generator (compressors, exhausters, blowers and control circuits).

    Further progress was made on the detailing of the number 2 cab, the photo below shows the work evolving:

    The number 2 cab of Class 47 number 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ now looking much better with the instrument binnacle repainted in black at Williton Depot on 10th May 2021. Photo by Natalie Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    In addition to the tasks already mentioned, effort was put into rectifying a leak in the cooling system and resolving an issue with a faulty drain valve in the compressed air system, so thanks go out to our volunteers who paused their work on their ‘normal’ projects to join in with the work on the ’47’.

    Class 47 number 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ stands on number 3 road inside Williton Depot on 20th April 2021. Photo by Chris Shields © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 was the subject of a trial of a set of axle weighbars on Monday 10th May 2021 when Liam and Harry from WSR Restorations put their efforts into pumping the hydraulic jacks that lift the axle just clear of the rail so that the axle load can be read from a pressure gauge that is calibrated in tons. The trial was abandoned because the track at that particular point was not sufficiently flat, so the readings were erroneous. The weighing will be repeated on another occasion when the loco can be moved to a section of level track that has easy access on both sides.

    Hydraulic lifting equipment in place on number 1 axle of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) at Williton yard on 10th May 2021. Photo by Harry Spencer © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Close-up of the hydraulic lifting equipment in place on number 1 axle of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) at Williton yard on 10th May 2021. Photo by Harry Spencer © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Really useful engines – Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) faces off with Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 on number 1 road at Williton Diesel Depot on a bright and sunny Spring day, Monday 10th May 2021. Photo by Harry Spencer © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week.

     

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

     

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – this loco is undergoing an assessment of the work that needs to be done before she can be returned to service. The work has to be evaluated and costed because this loco will be the subject of a fund raising campaign to raise money to cover the cost of the work. The revenue generated by our new booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD” will go into this fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks !

     

    Yard clearance – last Saturday and again last Tuesday, several volunteers exerted some serious effort to shift two stacks of life-expired concrete sleepers that had been left in the yard during the winter period. This clearance will allow us to move locos that are on number 2 and 3 roads, eventually allowing 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ to escape from the confines of the loco shed, her place being eagerly awaited by D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’.

     

    Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work maintaining, restoring, shifting, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !

     

     

    BOOK REVIEW – This week, we feature an interesting and unusual book entitled ‘TRAIN DOCTOR – troubleshooting with Diesel and Electric traction’ by Roger Senior, published by Pen & Sword in 2016. This book runs to more than 200 pages of fairly small print and is full of information and anecdotes about the author’s experiences as he worked his way from Traction Fitter at Leeds Holbeck depot in the late 1960s right through to becoming the Resident Engineer on the Mk 4 coach fleet on GNER.

    This book contains plenty of detail of how things went wrong and how they were corrected, with the author being an expert on the subject, having spent 16 years of his career riding on HSTs and Class 91s to make sure they ran properly (or in some cases, failed less often!).

    This book is available from various sellers but our DEPG ONLINE STORE has one copy that has been donated by a member for the purpose of fund raising, so we are offering it at £12.50, the entire proceeds of which will go to the D1010 restoration fund.

    If you have railway books that you want to donate to us, please let us know by return email or by using this contact form so that we can work out an economic way of getting them from you. We appreciate your efforts to give us more items to sell to raise funds for the DEPG fleet.

     

     

    ON SHED: Last week’s feature on Class 03 locomotive 03 382 (formerly D2382) generated several responses from readers who had knowledge of 03 382 when she was at Bristol Bath Road depot. We also mentioned sister 03 119 (formerly D2119) that was in the care of the DEPG for a while and remains safe today at the Epping Ongar Railway in Essex.

    Let’s not forget the WSR’s D2133 which entered service at Taunton depot in 1960 and never carried a TOPS (Class 03) number, being withdrawn from BR service in July 1969 following the closure of Bridgwater docks. This loco was immediately purchased by British Cellophane for use in their Bridgwater plant, and when rail traffic to that works ceased, she was offered to the WSR and has been based at Minehead ever since. In fact, this loco has never worked outside of Somerset !

    The WSR’s Class 03 number D2133 at work on a civil engineering train near Dunster on 29th April 2021. Photo by Rich Hiscox © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    DEPG NEWS: The next DEPG Board meeting will take place on 22nd May 2021 so let me know ASAP if you have questions, topics or concerns that you would like to have tabled.

    The next edition of the quarterly DEPG newsletter is in preparation and is planned for distribution in mid-June. What would you like to see in this edition ? Let us know what you would find interesting. Do you have a story to tell ? Write your own article or alternatively, provide us with the information and we will do the writing.

    Membership – is your membership up to date ? If not, please renew by going to our Join Us page and selecting the appropriate membership ‘product’. This is a quick and easy way to keep your membership current. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember your membership number – we will sort that out for you.

     

    DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

    This week, we have another new product to add, this time a print of a watercolour painting by artist Mike Jeffries featuring the National Railway Museum’s Class 52 number D1023 ‘WESTERN FUSILIER’. This loco was one of the last four remaining in service on the last day of ‘Western’ operation, 26th February 1977. Affectionately known as ‘fusebox’, she was the ‘official’ tour loco, although she was not exclusively used for railtours – see Depot News week ending 28-Feb-21 and Depot News week ending 14-Feb-21.

    This excellent print (495 x 360mm) is available for £10 and can be easily framed – it  would make a great companion to the D7017 print by Jonathan Clay, also available from our online store.

     

    WSR NEWS: The WSR are continuing to enhance their timetables for the services that will start NEXT SATURDAY 22nd May 2021. The latest additions feature temptations such as Fish & Chips or Cream Teas, all of which sound like the perfect accompaniment to a trip along the WSR. Check out the different colour timetables and you will see the catering services that go with most of these options. There is a huge effort going into the preparation, marketing and running of these trains, so it is really important to support the WSR to ensure that these services are a commercial success. Please buy a ticket if you can.

     

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  • Depot News – week ending 09-May-21

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) has been busy, running crew training specials and also moving Empty Coaching Stock (ECS) so that the newly-painted coaches are positioned at Bishops Lydeard in readiness for the restart of public services on Saturday 22nd May 2021. Here’s a great view of Castle Hill, just south of Williton, resplendent in Spring colours, showing D6566 (33 048) at work:

    On Saturday 1st May 2021, D6566 (33 048) has just taken over from sister D6575 (33 057) at Williton and now works the return leg of the crew training special past Castle Hill and towards Bishops Lydeard. Photo by Adam Hiscock © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    This loco is in action again this weekend, working on Saturday and Sunday afternoon between Bishops Lydeard and Williton on crew refresher training specials. To keep up to date with our diesel loco workings, sign up to our DIESELGEN email bulletin service.

     

    LOCO NEWS:

    There has been more progress at Williton, mostly directed at 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ and Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518. We again managed to have volunteers on site for four days out of the last seven, minimising risk and making better use of facilities.

    47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – After running some tests, it soon became clear that the batteries were beyond redemption, so a decision was taken to place an order for new batteries at a cost of almost £5,000 for the set (48 in total). This expenditure will allow reliable starting for the next 10 years.

    The batteries are housed in four separate compartments, each holding 12 separate cells that are wired together. Each cell is larger than a heavy duty car battery! Each compartment will now need to be cleaned out in readiness for the new batteries to be installed. The battery box doors were removed, cleaned and painted last Sunday and the rest of the task will be tackled this weekend.

    One of the four battery compartments of Class 47 number 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ in the process of getting a clean-up at Williton Depot on 2nd May 2021. Photo by Natalie Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Other attention focused on correcting an issue that had existed since the loco had her vacuum braking system re-instated by Brush at Loughborough in 2007. The strainer that is used to protect the vacuum exhausters from dirt and debris had been installed at an unusual angle and was difficult to clean. After many hours of wrestling with pipework in the very cramped and crowded equipment room, our Chairman Martin Howard succeeded in removing and correcting the pipework and refitting the strainer so it now takes up its correct position and is easy to maintain.

    The Davies & Metcalfe exhauster strainer (the large grey object!) now re-installed in its correct position in the equipment room of Class 47 number 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ at Williton Depot on 4th May 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    At the other end of the locomotive, attention was given to a cleanup and repaint of the number 2 cab, the photos below show the work in progress. There’s a lot of detailing still to do, but the ‘office’ is looking very much better already.

    The driving position of number 2 cab of Class 47 number 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ receives a clean-up and repaint at Williton Depot on 2nd May 2021. Photo by Natalie Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    The secondman position of number 2 cab of Class 47 number 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ receives a clean-up and repaint at Williton Depot on 2nd May 2021. Photo by Natalie Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – The ‘Tuesday’ crew continued work on the wheelsets, filling and sanding the surfaces to provide a good smooth surface for painting. The photo below shows the wheelsets have now reached the primer stage, getting closer to the gloss black finish that will signify completion of the task.

    Wheelsets from D9518 in green primer, having already had the special surface treatment from Colin at Williton on 4th May 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 is now stabled at Williton so that her sister loco D6566 (33 048) can accumulate some hours in service.

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week.

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

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – this loco is undergoing an assessment of the work that needs to be done before she can be returned to service. The work has to be evaluated and costed because this loco will be the subject of a fund raising campaign to raise money to cover the cost of the work. The revenue generated by our new booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD” will go into this fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks !

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – this loco is waiting for an opportunity to run to Bishops Lydeard so that she can go over the pit at Westridge shed and have an underframe examination. After that, she will be ready for service !

    Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work maintaining, restoring, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !

     

    BOOK REVIEW – This week, a magazine article has been brought to our attention by Neale Long because it celebrates the 60th anniversary of the unveiling of the first of the brand-new Type 3 diesel-hydraulic locomotives that were built by BEYER-PEACOCK (HYMEK) LTD to satisfy an order for 101 machines for the Western Region of British Railways. These locos subsequently became known as the ‘Hymeks’.

    RAIL EXPRESS magazine May 2021 edition 300 features a 6-page article entitled ‘HANDSOME HYMEKS’ and presents a well-balanced account of the class throughout its short life in BR service. All four preserved ‘Hymeks’ are pictured, with D7017 shown working the ‘QUANTOCK FLYER’ on the West Somerset Railway on 19th March 1977 being the first to haul a service train in preservation.

    To whet your appetite, the final two pages of the article are pictured above in a purposely low-resolution shot to respect copyright. The article is well worth reading, so try and get hold of a copy if you can.

     

    ON SHED: Last week, we featured Ebbw Junction depot (EJ) on the western side of Newport, South Wales, with a decent coating of snow after some unseasonal late-April weather. The presence of a Class 03 shunter at EJ raised significant interest and several readers have sent information that can be shared this week. Here’s the picture again, as a reminder:

    FORTY YEARS AGO – 37284 rests at Ebbw Junction (EJ) depot on the morning of Sunday 26th April 1981 along with 03382, a loco that was destined for use on the Burry Port and Gwendraeth Valley line in West Wales. Low bridges on that route meant that the 03 needed her cab cut down, so for reasons unknown, that task was allocated to EJ. The loco had come from Bristol Bath Road and hung around the depot for months before being modified and then heading west. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    DEPG Treasurer Julien Weston commented:

    “Before it left Bath Road, 03382 was regularly employed as the outstationed Lawrence Hill yard shunter in Bristol, where it also worked the former MR Avonside Wharf and did one mile main line trip workings to Stapleton Road Goods Yard to transfer scrap metal wagons between the two yards. It was usually to be found stabled next to the shunters cabin immediately under the old MR mainline overbridge at Lawrence Hill.

    I took quite a few rides on it (and others) when I was a kid / teenager, but even it wasn’t allowed in Avonside Yard down by the river and had to “reach” the wagons over the Avon Road crossing (ungated, multiple tracks). It was said there had always been very old and insufficient track in that yard, which had long since disintegrated. The wagons actually used to run in the grooves left in the dirt!”

    Many thanks to Julien for sharing his memories with us.

     

    The Burry Port & Gwendraeth Valley Railway was built in the 1870s to serve the coal mines of the valleys to the west of Llanelli. The line was built to a very tight budget with lightweight track and minimalist earthworks. The bridges were very low and the line was also susceptible to flooding in places. Steam gave way to diesel in 1965 and the D2000 series 204hp Class 03 shunter was deemed the most suitable locomotive, with a modification being made to cut down the height of the cabs to clear the low bridges.

    BP&GVR map by Afterbrunel and Wikipedia © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Eight locos were modified and were based at Landore (Swansea). Because of the steep gradients on the line, the 204 hp Class 03s were often used in multiple so they were modified to have multiple-unit control systems. In 1981, it was determined that one more modified Class 03 was needed to work the line.

     

    DEPG Class 14 loco manager Simon Purvis shares the following information that was provided by Brian Penney:

    “The modification to permit two 204hp Class 03 locomotives in multiple was developed in the mid 1960’s by Eastern region for a freight working between York and Harrogate.  We could see that this arrangement would be particularly useful for working the BP+GV line, where three of these locos were used to take a train from Burry Port to Cwm Mawr, and in May 1967 I was sent to inspect the modifications at York and ride with the working to Harrogate.

    Landore had an allocation of eight 204hp Class 03s for working this line. These had been modified with cut down cabs to meet the loading gauge restrictions on the branch and it was agreed that Swindon would fit them with the air operated multiple control equipment.

    In 1981 it was decided that an additional locomotive, fitted with multiple connections, was required for the working, and Westinghouse were asked for the cost of supplying the valves and fittings. Apparently these items could not be supplied ‘off the shelf’ and would require special manufacture, with a consequent price well into five figures.

    It was known that Eastern Region had withdrawn some of their multiple fitted Class 03s and some had been sold to outside parties. After some detective work, we discovered that one of these, D2260, had been sold some eleven years earlier, to Mill Pit, Kenfig Hill, only 20 miles west of Cardiff.  A phone call to the pit engineer confirmed the loco was still at the pit and a visit arranged to inspect it.

    Surprisingly, the locomotive was found to be still fitted with all the multiple control equipment, although this had not been used since 1970. The pit engineer said that he had no use for it and if we could send staff to remove it, we were welcome to take it away.

    The selected additional locomotive was Bristol’s 03382, and it was arranged for Ebbw Junction carry out the work to cut down the cab, and fit the multiple control equipment. Ebbw Junction fitters went to Mill Pit to recover the equipment from D2260 and bring it back to Newport.”

    Many thanks to Brian and Simon for sharing this information with us.

     

    So, we now know why 03382 was at EJ for such a long time in 1983. It was all a bit pointless because the line was partly closed in 1984 and the remaining stub was worked by modified Class 08 shunters instead. The Class 03s were dispersed, 03382 being cut up at Swindon in 1986 and sister 03119 spending time on the West Somerset Railway in the care of the DEPG. The loco now resides on the Epping Ongar Railway in Essex.

    Modified BP+GV Class 03 number 03119 undergoes maintenance at Williton on 7th January 2008. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    DEPG NEWS: The synopsis of the last DEPG Board meeting is now available for the benefit of our members. Please email contact@depg.org or use the CONTACT form to request your copy. The next Board meeting will take place on 22nd May 2021.

    The next edition of the quarterly DEPG newsletter is in preparation. What would you like to see in this edition ? Let us know what you would find interesting. Do you have a story to tell ? Write your own article or alternatively, provide us with the information and we will write it for you.

    For the last two weeks, we have asked this question …. which railway magazines do you buy on a regular basis ? 

    The results have been collated and the two leaders are RAILWAY MAGAZINE and RAILWAYS ILLUSTRATED although HERITAGE RAILWAYRAIL and TRACTION also figure quite prominently. Apart from these mainstreamers, there are several other titles, too numerous to mention, so it is a hotly-contested media sector!

    Many thanks to all of you who took the time to let us know your preferences.

    Membership – is your membership up to date ? If not, please renew by going to our Join Us page and selecting the appropriate membership ‘product’. This is a quick and easy way to keep your membership current. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember your membership number – we will sort that out for you.

     

    DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

    Our new booklet, ‘D1010 – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD’ is in stock so get your copy now! This booklet covers our Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ and its life in preservation, from Foster Yeoman’s quarry at Merehead to the West Somerset Railway to Minehead plus some interesting stories from the days when the loco was still working on the mainline. All proceeds go to the D1010 restoration fund.

     

    WSR NEWS: The WSR have revised their timetable for the services that will run in the second week of re-opening, with services being extended through to Watchet where there will be a one-hour stopover to allow travellers a chance to stretch their legs in this lovely harbour town. See the BROWN timetable and the new YELLOW timetable for details. It is really important to support the WSR to ensure that these services are a commercial success. Please buy a ticket if you can.

    Preparations for re-opening continue with traincrew training activities involving steam and diesel haulage this weekend. The weedkilling train ran along the whole length of the line last week, so this should keep the line looking neat and tidy throughout the season.

    The Aquarius Land Rover powered weedkilling train operating at Crowcombe Heathfield on 6th May 2021. Photo by Steve Speck © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    We are all looking forward to the return of public services on the WSR starting 22nd May 2021, so please try and support these recovery efforts by buying a ticket and having a great day out !

     

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  • Depot News – week ending 02-May-21

    Another week of action and progress at Williton, the focus of activity being 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ and Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518. Restrictions on depot attendance remain in place but we again managed to operate on four days out of the last seven, minimising risk and making better use of facilities.

    47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – Efforts were made to get her massive Sulzer 12-cylinder diesel engine ready to start after a long period out of use. The various tasks that were in progress around the loco had to be stopped and put in a safe condition to allow power-up and start-up. The ‘triple pump’ was run to prime the oil, fuel and water systems and everything was looking good. Several volunteers stood by with their cameras, ready to take a video of the event.

    The DEPG’s 1965 Crewe-built Brush ‘Type 4’, formerly D1661 but now Class 47 number 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ residing on Number 3 road inside Williton Depot on 20th April 2021. Photo by Chris Shields © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Unfortunately, when the moment came to press the ‘START’ button, there was a click – but the engine did not turn over. The batteries had decided that they were not going to co-operate and that was the end of it. Although the batteries had been kept in a fully charged condition over the last year or so, the combination of the age of the batteries and the lack of use has meant that charging had become ineffective, leaving the batteries too weak to be able to do their job. A locomotive without batteries is useless, so we now have to replace the 48 individual batteries that make up the full set.

    Undeterred, our volunteers went back to their tasks and carried on, such disappointments being part of railway preservation life. Further attempts to start-up may be made this weekend using batteries borrowed from other locos and connected in parallel to boost capacity. Once started up, we will be able to complete our assessment of the work remaining to be done to get this loco ready for service.

     

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – The ‘Tuesday’ crew comprising Terry, Colin F, Chris and Mark continued on renovating the sandboxes and getting them ready to refit to the locomotive frames. On the weekend, Colin G continued his work on the wheelsets, filling and sanding the surfaces to provide a good smooth surface for painting. The rate of progress is very encouraging!

    One of the sandboxes from D9518 gets some serious attention from Colin at Williton on 27th April 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    One of the sandboxes from D9518 ready for painting at Williton on 27th April 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Chris makes sure that the sandboxes from D9518 get a good layer of undercoat at Williton on 27th April 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    OTHER LOCO NEWS:

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 is in action this weekend on crew training specials between Bishops Lydeard (BL) and Williton (WN). This news was broadcast yesterday via our DIESELGEN email bulletin service. This loco will change places with sister loco D6566 (33 048) during Saturday afternoon and D6566 will then work back to BL and will also work the crew training turns on Sunday. An additional working that is scheduled for Thursday 6th May is an Empty Coaching Stock (ECS) move from BL to Minehead, where D6566 will attach to some newly-repainted coaches and haul them to BL in conjunction with BR(W) 4-6-0 number 7828 ‘ODNEY MANOR’. These moves are part of the preparation for the re-opening of the WSR on 22nd May 2021.

     

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – this loco remains in the yard at Williton, having had her tarpaulins removed and having had a wash, courtesy of Ian. The plan for this loco is to be ‘lifted’ in late June or July so that her bogies can be rolled out so that the springs can be changed. No doubt there will be other work that will need to be done while the loco is lifted, but we hope to complete the work during the autumn so that D7017 is available for service in 2022.

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 stands on number 1 road in the South yard at Williton on 20th April 2021, with Class 33 D6566 (33 048) to her left and Class 14 D9526 to her right. Photo by Chris Shields © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – this loco is inside the shed on number 2 road and is undergoing an investigation on the control block of her Mekydro hydraulic transmission. After several attempts to get the automatic gear change function working as it should, it has been decided to switch the control block for a known good control block that was in use at some time in the past. This will hopefully resolve the problem and allow more time for the delinquent control block to be further investigated to find the blockage (or stuck valve) that is preventing proper operation. In the worst case, the transmission will be locked in second gear and she will operate on the WSR in the same way as she did in 2019.

    A view of ‘Hymek’ D7018 through the former boiler room window of 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ taken on 26th April 2021 while both locos were residing in the loco shed at Williton. Photo by Natalie Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – this loco is waiting patiently outside the shed on number 3 road for her opportunity to displace 47077 and enter the next phase of her own restoration. With the remedial work on her failed transmission still held up by lockdowns, volunteer effort will be focused on the cooler group renovations and long list of bodywork repairs. This loco will be the subject of a fund raising campaign to cover the cost of specialist sub-contract services that will be needed to return this loco to service. The funds generated by our new booklet “D1010 WESTERN CAMPAIGNER – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD” will go into this fund, along with revenue from sales of pre-owned books, so please help the fund grow by buying from our online store. Thanks !

    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ outside the loco shed on number 3 road at Williton on 20th April 2021, minus her lower front valances (already removed for restoration) and clearly in need of some bodywork repairs. Photo by Chris Shields © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – information that was posted on rmweb earlier this week reminded us that our loco was the LAST of the class to perform work on BR back in April 1969 and one of the last ten to be withdrawn from service. Here’s an extract of some posts made by rmweb member “br2975” :

    On this day in history; Saturday, 19th. April, 1969
     
    Cardiff Canton allocated D9518 worked the following Radyr trips from Monday 14/04/1969 – Saturday 19/04/1969:
     
    06:15 Roath Branch
    09:35 Roath Branch
    14:20 Maindy                                                                                                              
     
    When D9518 returned to Radyr on the Saturday, it had completed what was the last recorded revenue working of a Class 14 loco on British Rail. Commencing Monday, 21st April 1969 this would become a Class 08 duty.
     
     
    On this date in history; Saturday, 26th. April, 1969
     
    The following reported withdrawn from Cardiff, Canton on this date:- 9500, 9502, 9514, 9518, 9527,
     
    The following reported withdrawn from Swansea, Landore on this date:- 9521, 9524, 9536, 9538, 9555
     
    These withdrawals rendered the class ‘extinct’ on B.R.
     

    Many thanks to Neil Evans and to rmweb member “br2975” for bringing this information to our attention. After serving BR for a mere four years, our loco went on to do seventeen years of hard labour at NCB Ashington Colliery before retiring and eventually coming into our hands.

    Bought from BR in full working order in 1969, NCB No. 7 (aka D9518) still had five more years of work ahead of her when seen operating at Ashington Colliery in this photo dated 25th May 1981. Photo by Colin Girle © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – this loco remains hidden by tarpaulins on number 1 road, just outside the Old Goods Shed after being ‘evicted’ from its shelter because of the structural issues that are currently affecting that Grade II listed building. This loco has undergone a 250-hour inspection and is waiting for a test run to Bishops Lydeard so that she can go over the pit at Westridge shed and have an underframe examination. After that, she will be ready for service !

     

    Many thanks to all of our volunteers who are hard at work maintaining, restoring, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !

     

     

    BOOK REVIEW – This week, we have another pre-owned book to offer via our online store, but this one is rather unusual and appears to be quite rare. “TRIBUTE TO THE FORTY’S – 1958 to 1986” is a paperback booklet, A5 in size (21 x 15 cm) with 100 printed pages and more than 200 photographs, all in black and white except those on the cover page. The booklet was published by the CLASS 40 APPEAL in 1986 and was clearly a success because seven members of the class have made it into preservation, including two mainline-registered examples.

    This rare booklet has been very kindly donated to the DEPG for the purpose of fund raising, so we are offering it at £15, the entire proceeds of which will go to the D1010 restoration fund.

    If you have railway books that you want to donate to us, please let us know by return email or by using this contact form so that we can work out an economic way of getting them from you. We appreciate your efforts to give us more items to sell to raise funds for the DEPG fleet.

     

     

    ON SHED: We didn’t have time to include our usual ‘On Shed’ feature last week, but I felt a bit annoyed with myself afterwards because I found that the very next day, Monday 26th April 2021, I had a note to release an ‘ON THIS DAY …’ post to share two photographs that were taken exactly 40 years ago, so after waiting all that time, I missed the boat ! Here they are today instead.

    FORTY YEARS AGO – there was an unexpected snowfall at the end on April, blanketing many parts of the country, including South Wales. This view of Ebbw Junction depot, on the western side of Newport, shows seven Class 37s and one Class 47, probably 47 901, at rest on the morning of Sunday 26th April 1981. The line going left is to Ebbw Vale, the four track South Wales main line is to the right, and Alexandra Dock Junction sidings are on the far right. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

    FORTY YEARS AGO – 37284 rests at Ebbw Junction (EJ) depot on the morning of Sunday 26th April 1981 along with 03382, a loco that was destined for use on the Burry Port and Gwendraeth Valley line in West Wales. Low bridges on that route meant that the 03 needed her cab cut down, so for reasons unknown, that task was allocated to EJ. The loco had come from Bristol Bath Road and hung around the depot for months before being modified and then heading west. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

     

    DEPG NEWS: The DEPG held a Board Meeting last Saturday, partly on site and partly by Zoom, and a synopsis will be prepared and included in next weeks’ roundup.

    Last week, we asked this question …. which railway magazines do you buy on a regular basis ? 

    We had several replies so we say thank you to those respondents, but we did not get enough responses to make a clear picture. Please reply to this email with the titles that you read and we will collate the results and share them in a future roundup. Thanks !

     

    Membership – is your membership up to date ? If not, please renew by going to our Join Us page and selecting the appropriate membership ‘product’. This is a quick and easy way to keep your membership current. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember your membership number – we will sort that out for you.

     

    DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

    Our new booklet, ‘D1010 – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD’ is in stock so get your copy now! This booklet covers our Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ and its life in preservation, from Foster Yeoman’s quarry at Merehead to the West Somerset Railway to Minehead plus some interesting stories from the days when the loco was still working on the mainline. All proceeds go to the D1010 restoration fund.

    WSR NEWS: The WSR ran another of their popular Zoom sessions for volunteers last week and again it was well attended and very useful and interesting. We applaud the WSR for their investment in time and effort to hold these very informative sessions.

    Traincrew training activities continue with diesel haulage this weekend, as reported earlier. The weedkilling train will run this week to avoid a repeat of last year where volunteers spent many back-breaking hours performing hand weeding along the whole 22-mile length of the line!

    The priority is to ensure that everything is ready for the return of public services on Saturday 22nd May 2021. These ‘excursion style’ services will run between Bishops Lydeard and Williton and must be pre-booked via the WSR website. It is really important to support the WSR to ensure that these services are a commercial success. Please buy a ticket if you can. Thanks !

     

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  • Depot News – week ending 25-Apr-21

    This week, we have plenty of ‘action’ photos showing the team back at work at Williton, hard at work on our several of our locomotives. We are still restricting the number of people on site at any one time, but we were able to operate on four days out of the last seven and we have made progress on multiple fronts. Here goes:

    Saturday 17th April – Ian led the electrical work on 47077 which included inspections and scheduled maintenance on the electrical auxiliary machines (compressors, exhausters, blowers, pumps) and Gordon led the work on the refitting of the ‘NORTH STAR’ nameplates, which look very good indeed after careful restoration by Graham. Meanwhile, the Class 14 team comprising Simon, Colin and Terry made progress on the major subassemblies of D9518.

    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ gets reunited with her nameplates at Williton on 17th April 2021, modelled by Warren. The nameplates have been painstakingly restored by Graham and now carry the red background that was typical of the 1970s. A reflection of Gordon and ‘Hymek’ D7018 can be see in the glossy rail blue paintwork that was applied by WSR Restorations at the Swindon Shed in October 2019. Photo by Ian Robins © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    One pair of D9518‘s hornguides seen here at Williton on 17th April 2021, being prepared by Simon and Terry before re-fitting to the loco. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0 

     

    MeanwhileD9518‘s wheelsets get special treatment from Colin at Williton on 17th April 2021. The rough cast surface finish of the wheel hubs and spokes have been filled and will be sanded to provide a smooth finish before painting. A smooth finish on the wheels is much easier to keep clean compared to rough cast finish. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0 

     

    Sunday 18th April – Ian made a temporary focus shift to the diesel-hydraulics and was captured on the depot CCTV cameras washing ‘Hymek’ D7017, the local seagulls having been using the loco for target practice. The faded paintwork of D7017 certainly needed some TLC.

    Captured by the Williton depot CCTV system, Ian can be seen washing the sun-bleached and weathered paintwork of ‘Hymek’ D7017 on 18th April 2021. This loco is out of service and is waiting to be lifted so that her bogie springs can be replaced, hopefully some time this summer. Photo DEPG © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Tuesday 20th April – a team of four led by Terry made progress on the main frames and horn guides of Class 14 D9518 and also started repairs to the sand boxes. We welcome new members and volunteers Colin Foxhall and Chris Lawton to the DEPG team and we hope to see them at Williton on Tuesdays in future, along with our new Publicity Officer and long-time member Mark Bladwell. All three are seen in the photos below, hard at work on the sand box restoration. Sand is used to provide extra grip if the wheels start to slip on a greasy rail. The delivery of the sand to the rail is carefully controlled by a valve to ensure that the minimum amount of sand is used. This basic and simple method of maintaining traction is still used on mainline locomotives today.

    New member and volunteer Colin uses his restoration skills to attend to an area of thin metal on one of the sand boxes for D9518. Photo taken at Williton on 20th April 2021 by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    New member and volunteer Chris (left) is no stranger to the WSR because he is also a member of the WSR volunteer PW gang. He is seen working on one of the sand boxes for D9518 along with long-time DEPG member and Publicity Officer Mark at Williton on 20th April 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Another picture of Mark, this time at work freeing-up the threads on one of the sand boxes for D9518 at Williton on 20th April 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    The first of six hornguide assemblies has been offered up to the frames of D9518 as a trial fitment. After careful positioning, the hornguides will be rivetted to the loco frames using techniques that are exactly the same as those used for steam locos, so the task will be subcontracted to WSR Restorations at the Swindon Shed. Photo taken at Williton on 20th April 2021 by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    A view of the temporary fitment, this time from inside the frames of D9518. Photo taken at Williton on 20th April 2021 by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Wednesday 21st April – Andy and Natalie progressed the re-paint in the former boiler room and engine room of 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’, getting to some of the areas that are difficult to access. There is plenty more cleaning and painting work to do inside the loco, so more help would be much appreciated!

     

    OTHER LOCO NEWS:

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 was in action last week on engineering trains that covered the whole length of the line, gathering permanent way materials and delivering them to various places along the line. This running was briefed via our DIESELGEN email bulletin service. The next rostered working will be next Saturday but the line remains under the control of the WSR Infrastructure Engineering department so additional workings could take place without notice. The line is to be treated as ‘live’ at all times. We will send out another DIESELGEN bulletin as soon as we have details of the weekend workings.

     

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was seen approaching Cottiford Bridge with an Infrastructure Engineering train on 21st April 2021. Photo by Steve Edge © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    Class 47 number 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – Last week, we gave some reasons as to why this loco has gained ‘celebrity’ status, the first reason being that she was one of a small number of ‘standard Type 4’ locomotives that were adorned with names by the Western Region of BR in March 1965. Our loco carried the running number D1661 at the time and she was named on the same day as sister loco D1662 ‘ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL’.

    The giant-sized nameplate fitted to D1662 continued a legacy that was established by the GWR in 1938 when ‘Castle’ class 4-6-0 steam loco number 5069 was named ‘ISAMBARD KINGDON BRUNEL’, with Swindon Works having to use a smaller character size than usual, just to get all of those letters into the available space on the nameplate!

     

    The nameplate of GWR ‘Castle Class’ 4-6-0 No 5069 ‘ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL’ in the traditional position above the centre driving wheel of the locomotive. This loco, one of 171 members of this famous class, entered service on the GWR in June 1938 and worked until February 1962 when she was withdrawn and sent to the scrapyard (no doubt minus her nameplates). Photo by Wikipedia CC0

     

    The Western Region of BR battled to continue some of the traditional practices of the old GWR and we can see that this practice was successful and continues to this day. That most famous engineer ‘IKB’ has been commemorated through the ages, first with Castle Class 5069 then with Class 47 D1662 (later 47 484) then with HST power car 43003 and most recently with ‘flying cucumber’ Class 800 number 800004, all of which are pictured below. The sad decline in grandeur of the nameplate is obvious – and its ultimate form, the vinyl transfer, has definitely lost some of the old panache !

     

    Class 47 number D1662 ‘ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL’ became 47484 when modified for ETH in 1973 and changed from two-tone green to BR blue livery with a red background applied to her very long nameplate! Photo by Graham Turner © CC BY-NC 3.0

     

    First Great Western Class 43 HST power car number 43003 carrying its ‘modernised’ IKB nameplate. Photo by Wikipedia CC0

     

    GWR Class 800 ‘IET’ number 800004 carries a small vinyl transfer just below the driver’s side window commemorating ‘Isambard Kingdom Brunel’, as seen at Reading Train Care Depot in 2016. Photo by Wikipedia CC0

     

    As mentioned last week, the nameplate on D1662 was not the longest in length – because that accolade went to sister loco D1664 when the name of that famous GWR Chief Mechanical Engineer ‘GEORGE JACKSON CHURCHWARD’ was applied to her at Swindon Works on 8th May 1965.

    DEPG Staff Rep Andy recounts a story from way back when he was aged 10 or 11, when he got home from a hard day’s trainspotting on the platform of Cardiff General Station (now Cardiff Central) and told his steam-loving (and diesel-loathing) father that he had seen a loco with the most massive nameplate, starting with ‘George’ but he couldn’t remember the rest. To his complete surprise, and without even looking up from what he was doing, his father replied ‘”George Jackson Churchward, perhaps?”.

     

    Class 47 D1664 ‘GEORGE JACKSON CHURCHWARD’ waits at Reading station on 9th August 1971, in original two-tone green livery but with full yellow ends and BR-corporate numerals with no ‘D’ prefix. Photo by Bryan Johnson © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Many thanks to the website Class47.co.uk and to Wikipedia and their contributors for providing the details and photos for this feature.

     

    BOOKS for SALE – This week, we have two more pre-owned books to offer via our online store, both from Bradford Barton publishing and both dated 1974. These books form part of a well-known series and although old and faded on the outside, the black-and-white content of these 21 x 22 cm books remains in very good condition.

    BR DIESELS IN CLOSE-UP by Norman E. Preedy and H. L. Ford, published by Bradford Barton in 1974

    BR DIESELS IN ACTION by G. Weekes, published by Bradford Barton in 1974

    These books have been donated to the DEPG for the purpose of fund raising, so we are offering each book at £10, the proceeds of which will go to the D1010 restoration fund.

    If you have railway books that you want to donate to us, please let us know by return email or by using this contact form so that we can work out an economic way of getting them from you. We appreciate your efforts to give us more items to sell to raise funds for the DEPG fleet.

     

    DEPG NEWS: By way of clarification of what was written last week, it has been pointed out that the Diesel Traction Group (DTG) have already installed their spare heat exchanger into D1015 ‘WESTERN CHAMPION’ so the ex-class-56 heat exchanger that is being provided by the DEPG is going to be stripped and the core cleaned and tested before installing it into a Class 52 housing, and this will then become the spare for D1015. Many thanks to Bob Clegg for straightening that out.

    Membershipis your DEPG membership up to date ? If not, please renew by going to our Join Us page and selecting the appropriate membership ‘product’. This is a quick and easy way to keep your membership current. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember your membership number – we will sort that out for you.

     

    DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

    Our new booklet, ‘D1010 – FROM MEREHEAD TO MINEHEAD’ is in stock so get your copy now! This booklet covers our Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ and its life in preservation, from Foster Yeoman’s quarry at Merehead to the West Somerset Railway to Minehead plus some interesting stories from the days when the loco was still working on the mainline. All proceeds go to the D1010 restoration fund.

     

    WSR NEWS: The WSR are continuing their traincrew training activities with steam haulage being provided by WSR ‘Mogul’ number 9351, running between Bishops Lydeard and Williton on weekends. The priority is to ensure that everything is ready for the return of public services on Saturday 22nd May 2021. These ‘excursion style’ services will run between Bishops Lydeard and Williton and must be pre-booked via the WSR website. It is really important to support the WSR to ensure that these Covid-safe services are a commercial success, so please buy some tickets if you can. Thanks !

     

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