• Peter Nicholson 1948-2023 RIP

    We are sorry to report that the well-known railway author, journalist and photographer PETER NICHOLSON passed away on Monday 30th October 2023 at the age of 75, after a long fight with cancer.


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



    Peter was a frequent visitor to all heritage railways in the course of his reporting work, but he had a soft spot for the WSR, perhaps because he lived nearby in Burnham-On-Sea and perhaps because it was the closest heritage railway where he could take his grandson, Josh Brinsford, to ‘teach him the ropes’.

    The pair have been a regular feature on the WSR for many years and young Josh has become established as a photographer in his own right. A search on wsr.org.uk revealed 576 of Peter’s photos and 750 of more recent images captured by Josh !

    There is no doubt that Peter will be sadly missed throughout the whole heritage railway movement. We send our condolences to Peter’s family as they come to terms with their sad loss.



  • Mike Evans 1959-2023 RIP

    We are saddened by the loss of DEPG volunteer, Mike Evans, who passed away on Saturday 21st October 2023, just short of his 64th birthday, after a long and difficult battle with cancer.

    Mike had been an active member of the team for many years, and was often to be found working on a Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’, or more recently on Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’, as his love for diesel-hydraulics was legendary.

    Although a native of South Wales, Mike lived and worked in Devon and often used his professional skills as a surveyor for the benefit of the DEPG.

    He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to his family and his friends at this very sad time.

    The late Mike Evans was pictured while tidying up after needle gunning the bodyside of D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ at Williton on Saturday 26th February 2022. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


  • Chris Shields 1959-2023 RIP

    It is with deep regret that we announce the loss of DEPG member and volunteer Chris Shields who passed away on Saturday 14th October at the age of 64.

    Chris Shields on the footplate of 60163 ‘TORNADO’

    Chris was very well known in railway circles, primarily due to his public-facing and tireless fundraising work for the causes that he loved.

    In addition to the DEPG, Chris worked on sales and fundraising for the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (owners of 60163 ‘TORNADO’), the Deltic Preservation Society and the Western Locomotive Association, to name but a few.

    He was also involved in hands-on roles and could often be found on the footplate of a locomotive at the narrow-gauge Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, where he was a passed fireman and a valued member of the paint shop team.

    At the DEPG, Chris handled the roles of Membership Secretary, Events Salesperson, Online Storekeeper and D1010 restoration team member, and had been training for diesel loco secondman duties on the West Somerset Railway until illness prevented him from completing the course.

    He will be sorely missed by all at the DEPG and by his many friends in so many other organisations.




  • Simon Purvis 1961-2023 RIP

    It is with deep regret that we announce the loss of DEPG member and volunteer Simon Purvis who passed away in hospital on Friday 28th April at the age of 61, after a short illness.


    Simon was the leader of our Class 14 locomotive team and was very well respected both within the DEPG and throughout the heritage railway sector for his vast and detailed knowledge of the Class and for his broad expertise in all matters related to diesel traction and railway vehicles of all types.



    We remember Simon for his massive contribution to the DEPG over many years and we offer our condolences to all affected by this sad loss.



    DEPG volunteer Class 14 team leader the late Simon Purvis was pictured at Williton on Saturday 28th January 2023 displaying his characteristic cheerfulness while working on the restoration of Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 (NCB Ashington No. 7). Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


  • John Cronin 1942-2022 RIP

    Our former Chairman John Cronin passed away in the early afternoon of Tuesday 4th October at the age of 80, after a long fight with illness that affected his mobility in recent years.

    Well-known in railway circles, having been the manager of BR’s Bristol Bath Road Traction Maintenance Depot until its closure in 1995, John joined the DEPG after retirement from BR, quickly becoming involved in our quarterly newsletter production before becoming Company Secretary in the year 2000. John succeeded Bob Tiller as Chairman in 2009 and made his mark on the Group before stepping down from the role upon reaching the age of 75, back in 2017.

    John was very proud of his Yorkshire roots and we have found some photos of the ‘Quantock Belle‘ dining train that carried ‘THE YORKSHIREMAN‘ headboard for the occasion of his 75th birthday. During this journey, John was presented with an appropriately decorated birthday cake !

    We remember John for his massive contribution to the DEPG over many years and we offer our condolences to all affected by this loss.

    Former DEPG Chairman John Cronin was presented with a special birthday cake on the occasion of his 75th Birthday in August 2017, after dining aboard the ‘Quantock Belle‘. Photo from the DEPG archives © CC BY-NC 3.0