• AGM report – 04-Sep-21

    DEPG members gather for the AGM at Williton on 4th September 2021 in the presence of WSR Assistant General Manager Kerry Noble while restoration work is paused on our flagship Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


    The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the DEPG took place as planned on 4th September 2021 at Williton Diesel Depot, where members gathered for the formal presentation by Chairman Martin Howard, Treasurer Julien Weston and Company Secretary Ian Robins. WSR Assistant General Manager Kerry Noble also attended to provide a very useful update of WSR news and progress, further cementing the close relationship between the railway and the DEPG.

    Martin delivered his Chairman’s report which started by telling members about the almost total collapse in mileage income in the year 2020, caused by the lack of running during that year and the subsequent impact on DEPG activities. He explained that the group had continued to make progress on several projects in between lockdowns and as a result, two locomotives have been hired out to other heritage railways for the 2021 season, with Class 14 D9526 on hire to the Kent & East Sussex Railway and Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ due to go out on hire to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (but temporarily stranded at Bishops Lydeard waiting for permission for onward transportation).

    DEPG Chairman Martin Howard addresses the AGM at Williton Diesel Depot on 4th September 2021. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


    This left the DEPG with three operational locomotives, namely the two Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ D6566 (33 048) and D6575 (33 057) and Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 and three locomotives undergoing overhaul, namely Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’, Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 and Class 14 D9518.


    The DEPG had also reached agreement with the WSR for a 10-year custodianship of their Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH number 578 (ROF Puriton No. 1) which was operational but undergoing bodywork repairs and a repaint into the deep bronze green livery that she carried when she entered service with the Royal Ordnance Factory at Puriton, Bridgwater in 1972. This loco will be used as the ‘yard pilot’ at Williton.


    Martin also explained about our current shortage of drivers and secondmen and gave news of a training course that had just started with 6 more volunteers to continue the flow of trainees to support diesel workings in future years.

    In his summary, Martin gave thanks to all of our volunteers, including those who work in the background providing all kinds of support to ensure that our primary activities can move forward. 


    Next to speak was Treasurer Julien, and he walked through the numbers and explained that although income from loco running fell to just over £1,000 in 2020, the group had raised £11,567 in donations and memberships, plus £20,000 from Grants, the total being sufficient to support overheads and allow selective spending on projects such as new springs for D7017. The Group had also been awarded a £15,000 bounce-back loan that was not being used but was being kept in reserve.

    Julien made the point that the DEPG has to cover all of its own costs by itself, unlike many other similar organisations on other railways, where the diesel facility running costs are covered by the railway. This means that if the WSR does not use the DEPG, then the DEPG has no cost impact on the WSR. This is good for the WSR at a time when they are seeking economies, but the DEPG still has to keep going somehow.

    The appeals that are running for D1010 and D9518 are essential to allow continued progress on these projects, and the hire income from D9526 and soon also 47077 will allow the DEPG to reduce its dependency on the WSR by diversification of income. The online store is another example of progress in this direction.

    The gathered members responded with a vote of thanks to Julien and the Board for keeping the Group on an even keel throughout the most difficult circumstances.


    It was then Ian’s turn to guide the formal processes of nominations for Board members, which resulted in the current Board members retaining their positions, leaving the Board unchanged as follows:

    Position Appointed Tenure
    Chairman Martin Howard Appointed for 1 year tenure
    Vice-Chairman Neil McCannon Appointed for 1 year tenure
    Treasurer Julien Weston Appointed for 1 year tenure
    Company Secretary Ian Robins Appointed for 1 year tenure
    Staff Representative Andy Royal Appointed for 3 year tenure
    Without Portfolio Paul Tucker Appointed last year for 3 years


    With the formal business concluded, it was time for the WSR‘s Kerry Noble to give a talk on the issues that have been faced by the WSR over the past year and the positive results being achieved from this summer’s running, where revenue has exceeded targets and, on some days, has exceeded loadings achieved in 2019 (when a lot more services were being provided).

    The forthcoming events being organised by the WSR will include DEPG diesels, starting with the 1940’s event next weekend, followed by the Mixed Traction event and the Steam Gala in October. The diesel-hauled excursion specials were also seen as a success, which bodes well for the future.

    Kerry ended by thanking the DEPG for their support and looked forward to working on the 2022 timetabling with the help and involvement of the DEPG. The gathered members responded with a round of applause and appreciation.

    The final act of the day was the auctioning of a painting that was donated by Wendy Howard and from which the DEPG is now offering a greeting card on its online store. The painting in acrylic was based on a photograph taken by Josh Brinsford and shows Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) approaching Williton Bridge with a crew refresher training special, on 1st May 2021.

    D6575 down train approaching Williton in May 2021‘ painted by Wendy Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0 from a photograph by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0


    DEPG Publicity Officer Mark Bladwell took the role of auctioneer and after some entertaining bidding, the painting was handed over to a member in return for a £50 donation to DEPG funds. Well done to Wendy and Josh for their roles in generating this useful contribution, both as a one-off and as an ongoing sales item.


    The usual weekly roundup will be a little late this week due to the need to cover the AGM, but please remember that this coming weekend will see the return of the the very popular ‘1940s weekend‘ events on the WSR and as in previous years, the DEPG are delighted to be able to play a small part, even though our locos were just a glint in their respective designer’s eyes during WW2. This year, the event will be supported by our two Class 33 ‘Crompton’ diesel-electrics, D6566 (33 048) and D6575 (33 057) so please do try and get along to this event if you can. Click here for timetable details.


    Also don’t forget to book in advance for the MIXED TRACTION WEEKEND that will take place on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th of September. This will be the WSR’s first true ‘hop-on-hop-off’ event since 2019 and will feature our two ‘Cromptons’ plus ‘Hymek’ D7018 and will include running to Norton Fitwarren in the afternoons. The timetabling is quite intense and has plenty of interest for fans of both types of traction, so please do try and come along to support the event if you can.


    A very big THANK YOU to all who have bought and are buying tickets in support of our 2021 diesel-hauled services, and an equally big thank you to all of the volunteers who have been and are involved in putting on the shows !


    If you have a question, please reply to this email or fill in the contact form on our website. Thanks ! Please help us and help the WSR make these diesel-hauled services a success by buying a ticket to ride !

    That’s all for this special report from the DEPG AGM, but keep a lookout for this week’s roundup!



  • Weekly Roundup – 15-Aug-21

    D6566 (33 048, left) and D6575 (33 057, right) pictured at Williton during a rare and much appreciated moment of winter sunshine on 31st December 2020. Photo by Ian Robins © CC BY-NC 3.0


    After three successful ‘excursion’ specials that have been hauled by ‘Hymek’ D7018, the next special which runs this coming Saturday 21st August will be a commemoration of the 60th BIRTHDAYS of both D6566 (33 048) and D6575 (33 057). These two locos will be working in top and tail mode so that the leading loco will be hauling an equivalent load of between 5 and 6 coaches, typical of their workload on passenger services such as Cardiff-Crewe and Cardiff-Portsmouth Harbour in the ’80s. This will allow a decent volume of ‘Sulzer sound’.

    As a special arrangement for this service, a birthday cake is being provided by the loco owners and arrangements are being made for tea and coffee to be available, so please BUY A TICKET and come along to support these hard-working locomotives if you can.

    The departure time from Bishops Lydeard will be 11:35 for the trip to Dunster where the trailing locomotive will take the lead for the journey back to Bishops Lydeard, arriving at 14:40. Extension to Norton Fitzwarren will not be possible on the 21st August because the Norton Fitzwarren section is in use that day for other services.

    Our two ‘Cromptons’ each worked on the mainline for more than 35 years before being sold into preservation. The table below gives the vital statistics and shows the longevity of this well-designed and well-built class of ‘very useful locomotives’:

    ‘D’ number TOPS number Manufacturers Serial number Date into traffic Date withdrawn Date into service on WSR

    Length of service

    D6566 33 048 DEL170 26-AUG-61 13-FEB-97 25-OCT-97

    TOTAL: 54 years 3 months

    D6575 33 057 DEL179 04-NOV-61 09-MAY-96 02-JUN-12

    TOTAL: 44 years 10 months 


    D6566 approaching York in 1967 on the Cliffe (Kent) to Uddingston (Scotland) cement working. The Kent-based ‘Crompton’ worked the train as far as York where a Class 40 would have taken over for the climb towards Glasgow. Photo from the Ian Robins collection ©


    Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company (BRCW) 1,550 hp Type 3 (later Class 33) serial number DEL170, ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) of August 1961 carries shed plate 73C (Hither Green, Lewisham, Kent) at Williton on 24th December 2020. Photo by Ian Robins © CC BY-NC 3.0



    From left to right, WSR ‘Mogul’ 2-6-0 number 9351 and Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ D6566 (33 048) and D6575 (33 057) together at Williton on 1st June 2021. Photo by Chris Lawton © CC BY-NC 3.0


    D6575 (33 057) approaches Doncaster with the Cliffe-Uddingston cement working on 4th May 1963. Photo from the Ian Robins collection ©



    A very big THANK YOU to all who have bought and are buying tickets in support of our 2021 diesel-hauled services, and an equally big thank you to all of the volunteers who have been and are involved in putting on the shows !

    Tickets for the ‘Crompton 60th Birthday Special’  on Saturday 21st August are still available so BUY YOUR TICKET NOW !

    If you have a question, please fill in the contact form on our website. Thanks ! Please help us and help the WSR make these diesel-hauled services a success by buying a ticket to ride !




    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – this loco continues to be busy at the KENT & EAST SUSSEX RAILWAY and has racked up almost 100 hours of work already. Observations from the K&ESR crews have shown that there is a temperature difference between ‘A’ bank and ‘B’ bank of the Paxman 6-cylinder V-type engine and attempts to correct this by tweaking the fuel delivery pumps have not resolved the problem. To avoid putting the engine at risk, a pair of spare fuel pumps will be sent out from Williton this week for calibration as a pair, then fitted to D9526. Hopefully, this will resolve the issue and protect the engine from becoming damaged by the imbalance.


    Class 14 D9526 is pictured running around her train at Tenterden on 2nd August 2021, with sister loco D9504 confined to barracks while waiting for a major overhaul. Photo by Jacky Duncan © CC BY-NC 3.0



    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – our ‘celebrity’ remains marooned at Bishops Lydeard because of delays in obtaining permission for her oversize road haulage move from Bishops Lydeard to Pickering on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Sadly, we still do not have the date or route information yet, but when we do, it will be shared via a DIESELGEN bulletin.


    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – we continue to receive donations towards the restoration of this much-loved loco and we would like to say a big THANK YOU to all who have contributed to the fund to support the £100,000 restoration of D1010. We have had a great start, but this is a big project so please keep the funds rolling in. Rapid progress towards our fund-raising target will result in rapid progress on the restoration work because we can engage sub-contract specialists who can work on the loco 5 days a week, not just on Saturdays.

    Last weekend, the marker light fittings were removed from the cab ends and the heavily corroded areas were taped-up to keep them in position while assessment work continues. The yellow lines drawn on the body show the extent of the cuts that will be made to remove the corroded sheet metal and expose the underlying cab support structure, which is also in need of renewal.

    In parallel, Richard L, a new member of our volunteer electrical engineering team, started work on tracing the fault in the “Run Oil Pressure Switch (ROPS)” circuit that had prevented the ‘A’ engine from running back in June. We intend to run the ‘A’ engine one more time before draining down the coolant and removing the cooler group so that it can be refurbished. Step by step, we are continuing to make progress with our restoration plan (read our restoration plan by clicking on this link).


    D1010 with marker lights removed to allow the corroded metal to be cut out at Williton on 7th August 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


    D1010 with tape applied to keep the corroded body panels in shape until we are ready to cut them out to allow access to the underlying cab support structure. Seen at Williton on 7th August 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


    We intend to raise £100,000 for the whole restoration project so please help us by using one of the below links to make a donation:


    After selecting a donation link, you will then be able to use the quantity buttons to select the precise value that you want to donate. Please remember to select the GiftAid option if you are eligible because this will give us a 20% boost via a contribution from HM GovernmentThank you very much for supporting the D1010 Restoration Appeal !

    In addition to funds, we also need plenty of HANDS. If you love the ‘Westerns’ and you are not already a member of the DEPG, please join us so that you can become one of the team that is going to return D1010 to full operational condition.


    Class 33 D6566 (33 048) – this loco is stabled at Williton and is fully operational and ready to work with sister D6575 (33 057) on the ‘excursion’ special on Saturday 21st August in top-and-tail mode to celebrate their 60th birthdays !


    Class 33 D6575 (33 057) – no change – this loco is outstationed at Bishops Lydeard in support of WSR operations and will be working with D6566 (33 048) on the special on 21st August.


    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change – this loco is waiting for its turn to go into the Swindon Shed for bogie disconnection and lifting to replace the weak leaf spring. We are planning to make a start on this work in late October/early November.


    Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – with a break in her duties until the Mixed Traction Weekend of 17-18 September, the opportunity has been taken to perform planned maintenance tasks to keep this popular machine in A1 condition. Here’s a photo of Terry and Chris performing the chassis and bogie lubrication tasks:

    D7018 chassis and bogie grease point maintenance being performed by Terry and Chris at Williton on 3rd August 2021. Photo by Mark Bladwell © CC BY-NC 3.0


    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – we are very happy to report that donations to our D9518 restoration fund continue to build and as a result, we are now able to approve the re-installation of the springs, hornguides and wheels. This specialised riveting and alignment work will be performed by WSR Restorations at the Swindon Shed, Williton.

    We intend to raise £10,000 for the whole restoration project so please help us by using one of the below links to make a donation:


    After selecting a donation link, you will then be able to use the quantity buttons to select the precise value that you want to donate. Please remember to select the GiftAid option if you are eligible because this will give us a 20% boost via a contribution from HM GovernmentThank you very much for supporting the D9518 Restoration Appeal !


    Here’s some photos of the tasks awaiting us this coming week:

    The cab of D9518 is now inside the main shed for restoration. Photo taken at Williton on 7th August 2021 by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


    D9518 cab interior view showing almost total disassembly and giving a hint of just how much work there is to be done. Pictured at Williton on 7th August 2021 by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


    The wheelsets from D9518 ready for the BLUE gloss that will help return the loco to the NCB livery that she carried when in service at Ashington colliery in Northumberland between 1969 and 1987. Photo taken at Williton on 7th August 2021 by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


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



    Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) – this loco is undergoing bodywork repairs prior to priming and painting. The livery chosen for this loco will be the Government-standard (in 1972) deep bronze green that the loco carried during her days in service at the Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) in Puriton, near Bridgwater, Somerset.


    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 have learned that DEPG member and supporter Andrew Royle (not our Staff Rep Andy Royal, different person, different spelling) has released a second edition of “TRACTION TIMES”, a popular and highly enjoyable work that we featured in October last year. His new book is entitled “TRACTION TIMES – A SECOND SELECTION” and is available from Transport Treasury Publishing via this link: https://ttpublishing.co.uk/product/traction-times-a-second-selection/


    This 112-page paperback continues in the style of the previous publication and features more high-resolution and fully-captioned photographs from the early days of dieselisation. It is well worth the asking price of £14.50

    ISBN: 9781913251093 – “TRACTION TIMES – A SECOND SELECTION” by Andrew Royle, published by Transport Treasury Publications in August 2021.


    We don’t have this one (yet) but we do have many other PRE-OWNED BOOKS that will be added to our online store ASAP. All such books have been donated by members and supporters and ALL PROCEEDS from the sale of pre-owned books goes directly to the D1010 restoration fund. Please use our contact form if you have books that you would like to donate. We welcome your donations!



    ON SHED: last week, we posed some questions about the following shot of a number of Class 14s on shed at the end of a hard day’s work.:

    Where and when ?

    Several of our readers were quick to point out that the ‘where’ was Bury Bolton Street shed and the ‘when’ was 24th July 2014, the occasion of the largest gathering of the class since the days of the NCB. The same photo with the colour restored is below:


    Ten preserved Class 14s on shed at Bury Bolton Street on 24th July 2014 photo by Simon Purvis © CC BY-NC 3.0


    Many thanks to Simon for sharing his photos, more of which will be shared next week. If you were there and if you have a story to tell, then we would love to hear from you.



    DEPG NEWS: Following the success of the first three runs of ‘Hymek’ D7018, we can now focus on selling tickets for the fourth run, which takes place on Saturday 21st August with haulage from our Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ D6566 (33 048) and D6575 (33 057).

    A reminder of the running days follows (both are Saturdays):

    • 21 August        – Crompton pair, top and tail, celebrating their 60th birthdays!
    • 25 September  – ‘Hymek’ D7018, with an extension to Norton Fitzwarren


    The ticketing links for these services are as below (these are links to the WSR website):


    IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, we have been advised that our diesels will be in use for the MIXED TRACTION WEEKEND on 17-18 September, the draft timetable for which was reviewed at a Gala Planning Meeting last week and the details of which should be released this week. 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 timetable details. Meanwhile, mark the date in your diary !




    OTHER DEPG NEWS: A Board meeting was held at Williton and via Zoom on Saturday 14th August, a synopsis of which will be included with the next roundup. One important date for the diaries of all volunteers is the FIRST WEEK OF NOVEMBER because we are planning a WILLITON WORK WEEK so that we can make significant progress on major projects, including D7017.

    September is approaching and all members need to have their memberships up to date in order to be eligible to vote at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM). Please renew your membership online by clicking this link.


    As a REMINDER – the date for the next AGM is set for 14:30 on Saturday 4th September, at Williton Diesel Depot. Formal notices have already been sent out, so please reply to this email if you have not yet received your copies and you believe your membership is up to date.

    By the way, our initiative to offer AGM paperwork by email rather than post resulted in more than 50 members opting for paperless, saving us £50 from DEPG funds for the AGM paperwork alone. Please let us have your email address and you could help us save more in future.



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



    WSR NEWS: The WSR are now operating public services to Minehead via a connecting bus service between Dunster and Minehead, so please support these services by buying tickets to ride!

    Don’t forget to read about the WSR appeal by clicking this link – this appeal also needs our support because we need a thriving railway to run on !


    The WSR’s Class 03 shunter D2133 waits in the goods yard at Dunster in preparation for the first shunt-release operation of the day on Sunday 8th August 2021. Photo by driver Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


    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 20-Jun-21

    The weather may have turned dismal but that has not stopped our volunteers from making final preparations to send our BR-Brush Type 4 Class 47 number 47 077 ‘NORTH STAR’ out on hire to the NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS RAILWAY for the next two years. After receiving some TLC from the team last weekend, the loco is positively gleaming and is showing off the excellent paintwork that was applied by WSR Restorations in 2019.

    Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ gleaming in the sun on number 1 road at Williton on 13th June 2021 after completion of her VIBT exam. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0

    The loco passed her Vehicle Inspection & Brake Test (VIBT) examination last Sunday and this will allow the loco to move to Bishops Lydeard at the appropriate time so that she can be loaded onto an Allelys low-loader for the long road trip to Grosmont on the NYMR, a distance of over 300 miles. We have arranged some banners that will be attached to cab ends of the loco when she is ‘on the road’ so that anyone spotting the loco as she moves northwards will know that she is ‘one of ours’.


    Upon arrival at the NYMR, the loco will run to Grosmont where she will undergo another inspection and receive some attention to bring her up to the standard required for possible mainline running to Whitby. We look forward to reporting more as the story develops.

    Last Friday (18th), Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 was in action on the Route Refresher working from Williton to Duster and back, propelling the WSRA’s Hawkworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W on the outward journey so that the trainees could get a clear view of the track ahead. This duty is normally covered by one of the Class 33s but on this occasion, the Class 14 team jumped in and grabbed the opportunity for the 16-mile round trip, adding some diversity to these workings.

    Class 14 D9526 arrives at Blue Anchor with the return leg of the Route Refresher working on 18th June 2021. Image courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©


    Class 14 D9526 climbs the 1 in 65 section of Washford Bank with the route refresher special on 18th June 2021. Photo by Mark Ireland © CC BY-NC 3.0


    Not to be outdone, Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) grabbed the baton back from the audacious ‘Teddy Bear’ the following day. This loco will cover the remainder of the workings on Monday and Friday this coming week.

    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) prepares to propel the WSRA’s Hawkworth-designed Taunton Inspector’s Observation Saloon W80976W to Dunster on Saturday 19th June 2021 as sister loco D6566 (33 048) and Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ reposition in the background. Image courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©

    Many thanks to Railcam UK and the WSR for providing these webcam services.



    Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) has handed over the ‘duty loco’ role to sister D6575 after working the route refresher specials and supporting the service trains since the beginning of May. She remains fully operational at Williton and ready for service if required, but being back at Williton will allow her to get a much-needed wash and some additional TLC from Ian and Tom. A shunting move on Saturday saw the loco reposition from number 2 road (directly in front of the loco shed) to number 1 road, and in the process, the loco passed over a dusty area. The powerful blower that provides cooling air to the traction motors did a fine job of kicking up a dust cloud around the loco as it moved slowly toward the exit road, as can be seen in this photo taken by Martin:

    The traction motor blower of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) kicks up a dust storm in the yard at Williton on 19th June 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


    Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – now resident in the loco shed on number 3 road, work on this loco will commence with rectification of the fault in the Run Oil Pressure Switch (ROPS) circuit that prevented the engine from running during the ‘big shunt’ of 5th June. This will allow the ‘A’ engine to remain operable for use when moving the loco out of the shed to position under the 10-tonne crane to lift large assemblies such as the ‘B’ end cooler group. Eventually, as bodywork repairs progress, the ‘A’ engine will also have to be decommissioned so that its cooler group can be refurbished, but that is some way down the line. For the time being, it will be kept serviceable.

    This loco is the subject of an article in the latest edition of the DEPG Newsletter that is being distributed to members next 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 JOIN US  so that you can become one of the team that is going to save D1010 from rusting away before our very eyes.

    Corrosion affecting the nose end of Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ is clearly visible in this photo dated 9th August 2019. Photo by Gordon Crook © 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 – no change this week.


    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – more progress from the ‘Tuesday team’ as they turn their attention away from the six sets of steps and instead focus on electrical junction boxes and trunking, along with other items from the vast array of bodywork parts that are awaiting restoration. The photo below shows the brand new set of steps, now wearing a nice coat of green primer. The cab steps of a Class 14 are provided with a mesh backing, which is a safety feature that was necessary in the days when the person designated as the ‘Shunter’ used to ride on the steps while the loco was moving. The mesh prevents one’s feet from entering the area in which the connecting rods are rotating, so this important design feature has also been added to the assembly.

    The new set of steps for D9518 get a mesh backing at Williton on 15th June 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Even more of a challenge than making a sturdy set of steps from new steel, is the repairing of old, corroded thin metal sections such as those encountered in electrical enclosures and junction boxes. The photo below show the extent of the corrosion that has beset this thin metal section. First, the corroded materials has to be cut back to reveal good metal, then new sheet metal has to be fabricated to shape and size and welded into place. Not easy, but watch this space !

    Heavily corroded electrical junction box from D9518 on the bench and ripe for renovation at Williton on 15th June 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0


    Andrew Barclay 578 (ROF 1) – our latest addition to the DEPG fleet has already proven her worth as Yard Pilot and was again in action on Saturday 19th June during a minor shunt that repositioned 47077 at the head of the line on number 1 road. It is only fair that ‘the ROF’ gets its fair share of TLC, so a suspicious area of corrosion was investigated and what was found underneath shows what happens to locos that are outdoors for almost all of their lives …. they dissolve !

    Heavily corroded metal revealed after removing the exhaust shroud on Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 diesel-hydraulic number 578 (ROF 1) in the yard at Williton on 19th June 2021. Photo by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


    Again, as on D9518 and D1010, this damage will be rectified by cutting out the bad metal and welding new metal in its place. The skilled members of our volunteer team make it look easy, but it isn’t. It takes many years of practice to develop such skills so why not START NOW by joining our volunteer team !

    If cutting and welding metal is not your thing, then don’t despair, because we have tasks to suit all at Williton, from archiving our historical artefacts through to pulling weeds in the yard. There is work for all.

    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 – last week, we featured another book by well-known author and photographer Roger Geach entitled ‘Back to the Old Days WESTERNS’. Our single brand-new copy of this out-of-print 2010 publication had been donated by the author for sale in support of the D1010 restoration fund, and it was snapped up in double-quick time by a D1010 supporter. What we didn’t know at the time was that this copy was the very last brand-new copy that Roger had in his stock, so the buyer had a real bargain there !

    Staying with the obvious popularity of Roger’s publications, we have reached agreement for a batch of his 2016 publication ‘PLYMOUTH TO PENZANCE’ to be offered for sale on our website, with a sizeable contribution to the D1010 restoration fund for every copy sold.

    New copies of this book are in stock and ARE AVAILABLE FROM OUR ONLINE STORE. 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: Two weeks ago, we featured a photo 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. We appealed for further information about this unusual working and we received the following from Mark Alden via Neale Long:

    • D842 on 13/04/1971 worked the 1530 Padd-Paignton then ECS to Newton Abbot.
    • At 2359 the ASLEF work to rule and overtime ban ended.
    • D808 worked in the London area on 03/04/1971 and on the 15/04/71 worked the 7A08 St Blazey-Acton assisted by 6339 to Exeter.
    • D868 on 13/04/1971 worked 1V19 1900 Waterloo-Exeter then taking the ECS to Newton Abbot arriving in the early hours of 14/04/71.
    • D842 on 15/04/1971 worked the 1230 Paddington-Penzance.
    • All three may have required attention/exams at Laira
    • What is clear is that they were used from the Plymouth area following that particular move.

    Many thanks to Mark for yet more information freely given for the benefit of all.

    This week, we feature a photo of our very own Class 14 D9518 at Radyr, in the northwest of Cardiff, taken just six weeks before the class was withdrawn from service on BR. The loco was only four years old when withdrawn from service and was quickly snapped up by the National Coal Board (NCB) and sent to their Ashington colliery, north of Newcastle, where she worked for 17 years before becoming redundant (again) when the pit closed. Photographs of the class are rare and it is great to receive a photograph of one of our own locos, courtesy of Alan Walker.

    Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 is seen at Radyr yard in the northwest of Cardiff on 8th March 1969. This loco holds the distinction of being the last of the class to operate on BR, working trip freight between Radyr and several other yards in the city until Saturday 19th April 1969. Photo by Alan Walker © CC BY-NC 3.0

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


    DEPG NEWS: Last week, we announced that the DEPG and the WSR had been working on opportunities for diesel running under the RED (high season) timetable on the following dates:

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

    Since then, several readers have contacted us, because they were unable to book tickets on these services. This is because the online timetable has not yet been updated to take account of the diesel-hauled service. Furthermore, the range of ‘excursion’ tickets being offered by the WSR needs to be expanded to allow out-and-back diesel-hauled journeys.

    While Covid-19 rules remain in force, there are many factors involved in changing the timetable, so a meeting will be held by Zoom during this coming week where the WSR and the DEPG will work out the details. We will then be able to share the details and the WSR will be able to start taking bookings. Please bear with us while we work on this.

    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 will be distributed 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 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 continuous development for the website, with the two most recent pages providing additional information:


    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!

    As already mentioned, we are working on the timetabling for the diesel-hauled services and we will then be making a big effort to ensure that all of the tickets get sold. This is the BEST WAY to ensure that we get more running opportunities on the WSR. Let’s 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 the timetabled services are a commercial success, so please buy a ticket if you can.


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  • DIESELGEN – 16-Jun-21

    Class 14 D9526 at the tail end of the first of the Watchet Excursion trains at Goviers Lane on 29th May 2021. Photo by Jacob Searle © CC BY-NC 3.0

    There is a change to the booked route refresher working this Friday 18th June with Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 taking over the diagram instead of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048).

    This is a crew training (route refresher) special between Williton (WN) and Dunster (DR) in support of the extension of WSR public services to Dunster (DR). Info – there will be a connecting bus service to Minehead during the period of reconstruction of the Seaward Way level crossing.

    Planned movements are as follows:

    Friday 18th June 2021

         0930 WN to DR to WN 1300


    Other workings (scheduled or otherwise) may take place. The railway is to be considered as LIVE at all times.


    The webcams provide a very good way of watching the action from afar. Here are the links:

    BL: http://www.wsr.org.uk/r-cam-bl2.htm

    CH: http://www.wsr.org.uk/r-cam-ch1.htm

    WN: http://www.wsr.org.uk/r-cam-wn2.htm

    BA: http://www.wsr.org.uk/r-cam-ba1.htm

    Many thanks to Railcam UK and the WSR for providing these webcam services.


    Have you considered joining the WEEKLY ROUNDUP e-newsletter list? Click here for details.

  • Lennie Renwick

    It is with sadness I have to report that long-time friend and previous DEPG member Len Renwick passed away peacefully at home on 9th March 2021.

    Len, known to everyone as Lennie, was a railwayman through to the core. He started his railway career on the Southern Region of BR, initially on steam but switching to diesel fairly soon after as steam was eliminated on the region. He drove diesel and electric units and diesel locomotives on the mainline for many years and amassed a wealth of driving experience.

    After finishing his career on BR and settling in Somerset, he found he could still put his mainline skills to good use on the WSR where he was often to be seen at the controls of the DMU or one of our Class 33s.

    A great story-teller, he enjoyed the messroom banter almost as much as the driving itself and he would often be found keeping other DEPG staff enthralled with his stories of life on the footplate, with no profanities left out! He was also kind-hearted and unstintingly generous when passing on his traction knowledge to our own crews.

    Many will recall that for many years Lennie was infamous for having a rather rotund shape and one delightful memory I have of him during this period is when he was conducting 56302 off the mainline in 2016. I was to accompany him for route-learning purposes and we were taken by car to Silk Mills to meet the loco. As soon as it stopped, Lennie was quickly up the steps before me but struggled for a moment at the top to squeeze his frame into the doorway. From down in the cess all I could see was his backside still out of the door! I remember thinking that I just hoped the handrails would hold!

    Fairly soon after this Lennie retired from his work with the WSR and began a quieter period of his life. I next saw him a year or two later when he surprised me when he turned up at Williton. The small slim man who appeared before me was almost unrecognisable with his greatly reduced frame having given up the booze and hand-rolled cigarettes which had been for so long an integral part of his life. He kept in occasional touch with developments at Williton and I’m sure he was waiting to see us running again in 2021. Alas it was not to be, but I hope to arrange some kind of Class 33-based memorial for him in the near future when circumstances allow.

    Len Renwick, Diesel Driver and Railwayman. RIP

    Martin Howard, DEPG Chairman



  • DEPG 2021 calendar

    The first batch of DEPG 2021 calendars sold out really quickly, so we have ordered another batch to give everyone a chance of obtaining their own copy. Stock will be available next week, in time for New Year.

    This glossy 14-page A3-sized calendar (double that of A4) has been printed in “landscape” format to make the most of the high resolution images that have been so kindly donated by our members. Here’s the overview of what is included in the calendar:

    Dimensions : 297 mm high, 420mm wide (A3), 14 pages in total.

    Priced at £12 plus £3 p+p, this calendar is great value at £1 per page and is definitely not to be missed!

    How to Order:  email staff@depg.org to get a calendar allocated to you, then when you get confirmation, use the DEPG payment options for electronic payment. If you prefer to send a cheque, please send it to our registered office address.

    We have already received many messages of appreciation, so we are certain that you will not be disappointed. Being a fully-volunteer-run organisation, all proceeds (after printing costs and VAT) go directly to our locomotive repair and restoration fund.

    Many thanks for supporting the DEPG !

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  • Help us when shopping (2)

    The DEPG has registered with another online shopping site that generates charitable donations for the DEPG AT NO COST TO YOU, the shopper !

    The additional site is GiveasyouLive


    This service has been in use by the DEPG for a while and has already generated a useful contribution to funds. This service differs from Easyfundraising by also providing donations when you are shopping in-store and when topping up store cards, so it is well worth considering.

    It is very important to make sure that, after registering, you START your shopping from the charitable giving site to make sure that your purchases count.

    More information about How to sign up to GiveasyouLive

    See our Help Us When Shopping page for details about all three of our charitable giving services !

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  • Weekly Roundup

    Originally established as a means of keeping our active volunteers up to date with what was going on at Williton Depot, the “roundup” was expanded during Lockdown 1.0 by including items of interest such as “on shed” photos from past and present, along with book reviews and WSR news.

    The circulation was also expanded beyond volunteers to all DEPG members for whom we held email addresses, then all DEPG supporters, then for anyone else who wanted to join the list!

    We now reach almost 200 people with a page of news EVERY WEEK.

    To join the mailing list, email contact@depg.org with the subject ROUNDUP ADD.

    In the unlikely event of you wanting to be removed from the list, make the subject “ROUNDUP CANCEL”.

    If you have previously signed up for “roundup” but are not receiving it every week, it is probably due to some ISPs deciding that it is spam – which it most certainly is not! Let me know if you don’t receive it every week – because it is sent out every week for sure.

    Here follows an example of the roundup, as published on Saturday 21st November 2020:

    Hello all,

    Work continues at Williton depot to make preparations for a survey that has to be conducted to assess the safety of the roof of the Old Goods Shed. Our lovingly restored Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 has had to be woken from hibernation and moved outside the shed for one week to allow access for the elevated working platforms.

    The attached capture from the Williton webcam shows the gleaming loco in a line with ‘Hymek’ D7017 and ‘Crompton’ D6575 (a hopper wagon is sandwiched between the two ‘Type 3s’). Many thanks to Railcam UK and the WSR for providing the webcam service from which this image was captured.

    Class 14 D9526 emerges from the Old Goods Shed at Williton on 21NOV20. Image captured from the Williton North webcam courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR. © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Last week, we mistakenly reported that the Class 14 in the below photograph from 1982 was D9526.

    Class 35 Hymek D7017 and Class 14 D9551 stand outside the Old Goods Shed at Williton in 1982. Photo by Brian Hart via wsr.org.uk © CC BY-NC 3.0

    We have since been advised that it was in fact D9551. DEPG member and Class 14 team leader Simon Purvis reports: 

    “D9551 was a long term resident on the WSR, being bought from Corby steel works in 1981,  arriving on the WSR 6/6/81. She worked until 1999, and was sold by the WSR in 2000 to the Royal Deeside Railway in Scotland. From there, she was sold in 2013 to a group on the Severn Valley Railway and has been working there since 2015.”

    Many thanks to Simon for this information. He also provided us with the attached photo of D9551 wearing “Golden Ochre” livery. This photo was taken at Bridgnorth on the SVR on 16th August 2018, and shows DEPG Class 14 team member Terry Deacon doing some checks on the Paxman engine prior to startup.

    Class 14 D9551 undergoing inspection by DEPG member Terry Deacon at Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway. Photo dated 16AUG18 by Simon Purvis © CC BY-NC 3.0

    The fourth photo shows D9551 leading D9526 as it runs around it’s train at Minehead in the Autumn of 1983. Thanks to Ian Grady and wsr.org.uk for the photograph.

    Class 14 D9551 leads sister loco D9526 as they run around their train at Minehead in the autumn of 1983. Photo by Ian Grady via wsr.org.uk © CC BY-NC 3.0

    On Friday 20th November 2020, ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) was in action, hauling a coach from Williton to Minehead for maintenance, and returning with the WSR’s Class 115 DMU which is now stabled in the North Yard at Williton. The webcam image below shows the ’33’ doing the ‘DMU drag’ and slowing for the token exchange at Blue Anchor signalbox.

    Class 33 D6575 hauling the WSRs Class 115 DMU approaches Blue Anchor on 20NOV20. Image captured from the Blue Anchor webcam courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR. © CC BY-NY 3.0

    On Saturday 21st November 2020, sister D6566 (33 048) was used on crew refresher training workings between Bishops Lydeard and Williton, during which DEPG members and drivers Robin Fisher, Paul Fleet and Neil McCannon renewed their Class 33 tickets under the watchful eye of Traction Inspector John Leach.

    Class 33 D6566 waits at Bishops Lydeard on a crew refresher training special working on 21NOV20. Image captured from the Bishops Lydeard webcam courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR © CC BY-NC 3.0

    Thanks again to Railcam UK and the WSR for installing and operating these webcams. They really do help us all keep in touch with what is going on at the WSR. Links to the Railcams can be found on the wsr.ork.uk website:



    Moving on to an update about the status of our fleet:

    D1010: Work has been suspended for the duration of the lockdown.

    D6566 and D6575: As stated previously, both locos have been in use during this week.

    D7017 and D7018: No change from last week.

    D9518: Work has been suspended for the duration of the lockdown.

    D9526: This loco has now been moved outdoors but this is only a temporary move while the surveying of the Old Goods Shed takes place. The loco will move back in the shed after the surveying is completed, because there will be a length delay while the required work is put out to tender, and then a further wait for contractors that are qualified to work on this Grade II listed building.

    47077: No change from last week.

    The DEPG depot at Williton is classed as a workplace and is maintained Covid-safe as per Government guidelines. Work will only take place if deemed essential by the Board and our volunteers will only attend if it is necessary to do so.

    BOOK REVIEW – This week, our attention has been drawn to another brand new book, this time by Steve Ireland and titled “THE WESTERN REGION in the 1970s – A Decade of Standardisation“. We look forward to hearing from those of you who have obtained a copy of this book and we look forward to sharing your reading experience.

    ISBN: 9781912695386 – “THE WESTERN REGION in the 1970s – A Decade of Standardisation” by Steve Ireland, published by Visions International on 18NOV20.

    NOTE: A CLARIFICATION about Amazon Smile

    As we have stated previously, the DEPG has registered with Amazon Smile. It is not entirely obvious how to start shopping with this option activated, but search on Amazon Smile and there will be a page where you can sign up. Alternatively, use this link:

    Go to the How to sign up to Amazon Smile page

    Select The DEPG as your nominated charity. Amazon will make a charitable donation of 0.5% of the value of every eligible purchase that you make (eligibility is shown on every purchase page). This may sound small, but it all adds up and there is no cost to you, BUT YOU MUST START YOUR SHOPPING SESSION FROM smile.amazon.co.uk or else your purchases won’t count.

    The attached image pops up when the link to the DEPG has been made (there is no need to install the Amazon Assistant, but that’s your choice). Please consider starting your Amazon shopping via smile.smazon.co.uk whenever you buy ANYTHING from Amazon. Thanks !

    ON SHED: This week, we feature a photo that has been provided by Mike Cale via Paul Mear, showing a pair of Westerns arriving at Newport station, heading in the Cardiff direction, thought to be in 1968. Several things are interesting here. The use of two locos, the very long train with at least 13 vehicles in the photo (and probably more out of the photo) and the train destination boards that are hanging on the middle doors of the Mk II stock.  Thanks to Mike and Paul for sharing this image with us. Can anyone provide any detailed information? Can we identify the photographer so that we can credit him/her ?

    Double-headed “WESTERNS” at Newport, thought to be in 1968, photographer not yet established.

    DEPG NEWS: We have now registered for “Easyfundraising” (an online shopping-based donation scheme that is similar to Amazon Smile) and the instructions are very similar to those for Amazon Smile. Here’s the link to get you started, then the same rule applies – start your shopping session from easyfundraising then go the shopping sites that you would have gone to anyhow.

    Go to the How to sign up to Easyfundraising page

    There is an option to install an “assistant”, but this is not a requirement and such tools have been known to put additional load on your device, so you may choose to ignore it or install it on a trial basis and see what happens.

    We have already applied to be registered on the direct fundraising site “JustGiving” and as soon as our application has been validated, we will post an appeal for fundraising to keep our most important projects moving along. These fund raising options will also be posted to our website and social media channels. Let’s see what we can all do together, to keep funds flowing and make sure that our locos are available for service at home on the WSR and on visits to other railways next year.

    Also, we are taking orders for DEPG branded merchandise including a new A3 “landscape” format calendar for 2021, along with some good quality clothing items – see our flyer for details.

    DEPG merchandising 20NOV20

    DEPG WEBSITE: We have changed the “theme” or template of the site to make better use of widescreens and to automatically re-format into a compressed mode on small screens. There are some useful new features in the new theme, such as a menu at the bottom of each page that automatically includes newly added pages. We have appointed four more people as authors and editors to increase the flow of new or updated material and we continue to improve the structure and accessibility of the site. Keep viewing the site to see what is changing. Thanks!

    WSR NEWS: The WSR are fully intent on re-opening in December and have adjusted their Christmas timetable to allow some time between the end of Lockdown 2.0 and the start of the festive service. For details, go to the WSR site below:


    The WSR have also posted an update to the overall fundraising efforts, the details of which are available from the following link:


    That’s all for this week – thanks to all for your ongoing support of the DEPG and the railway upon which we run – the WSR !

    Please STAY SAFE and STAY WELL.



    Go to Help Us when Shopping page

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  • Help us when shopping

    The DEPG has registered with two online shopping sites that generate charitable donations AT NO COST TO YOU, the shopper !

    The two sites are Amazon Smile and Easyfundraising.


    See our Help Us When Shopping page for more details !

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