Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Co (BRCW) Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) arrived at Minehead station on Friday 5th November with an Empty Coaching Stock (ECS) working from Bishops Lydeard. Photo by Tim Edmonds © CC BY-NC 3.0
In preparation for the ‘Winterlights‘ workings that start on Friday 19th November, the WSR Operations Department arranged for Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) to perform some Empty Coaching Stock (ECS) moves so that the appropriate vehicles could be prepared for fitment of the many thousands of lights that will be illuminated along the length of the train. The power will be provided by two self-contained generator sets that have been temporarily housed within former Southern Railway ‘Parcels & Miscellaneous Van’ (PMV) vehicle number 1464, which has been repainted for the occasion by the WSR wagon team:
Ex-Southern Railway ‘Parcels and Miscellaneous Van’ (PMV) number 1464 has been repainted and fitted with temporary self-contained generator packages at Minehead in preparation for the ‘Winterlights‘ trains that start on Friday 19th November 2021. Photo by Rich Hiscox © CC BY-NC 3.0
The ‘Winterlights‘ trains will be ‘top and tailed’ with a steam loco on the Minehead end and a diesel on the Taunton end, to simplify operations and avoid the need for the loco to run around at Crowcombe Heathfield. The duty diesel loco will be Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) while sister loco D6575 (33 057) takes a well-earned break for planned maintenance at Williton.
The appeal of the ‘Winterlights‘ trains has been such that the WSR have added more services, including dates between Christmas and New Year to increase the number of available tickets from 5000 to 9000, so this is great news and we are proud to be able to play our part. We will also be supporting the (daytime) ‘Santa Express’ workings in the same way as we did last year. These services have also been highly appealing to a hungry market, with all tickets sold out already. It’s going to be a busy season !
Throughout the last week, our restoration volunteer Colin F has been hard at work on the restoration of the eight valance sections that form the skirt around the buffer beams at each end of the loco and contribute to the style and grace of the iconic design. Where possible, Colin has used the original metalwork and repaired it as necessary, but in some cases, there was not enough ‘good’ metal remaining, so Colin fabricated new sections by copying the original build methods.
The result is a complete set of eight authentic valances with eight footholds, all awaiting glass bead blasting and painting. Well done and many thanks to Colin for his hard work and diligence !
Leroy was also on hand throughout the week, making steady progress on the removal of the ‘Prestolith’ filler on the loco bodyside, but on Thursday 4th November, he prepared the ‘A’ end engine for a run to exercise the loco systems and ensure that all was well before preparing the engine for the winter. NOTE – the engine at ‘B’ end is operational but cannot be started because the transmission has been removed from the loco for repairs, and the dynastarter couples to the engine via the transmission.
The photos below show the progress, and there are links to two short video clips from Leroy that show the ‘A’ end engine running (best played LOUD!):
D1010 – a restored front valance was trial fitted to ‘B’ end to check that the new metal profiles matched up with the original lines. More trial fitment work will take place and adjustments made where necessary, before glass bead blasting, priming and painting. All of the restoration work has been painstakingly performed by volunteer Colin F. Pictured at Williton on 1st November 2021 by Leroy Ford © CC BY-NC 3.0
D1010 – original footholds recovered from the original side valances from ‘B’ end, now repaired and ready for glass bead blasting and painting before being installed in the restored side valances. Pictured at Williton on 1st November 2021 by Leroy Ford © CC BY-NC 3.0
With the help of Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH number 578 (ROF 1), a dust-covered D1010 emerged into the autumn sunshine on Tuesday 2nd November 2021 in preparation for her last engine run of the year (the engine run took place on Thursday 4th). Image courtesy of Railcam UK and the WSR ©
D1010 emerged again on Saturday 6th November so that Leroy could start needle-gunning the bodysides in preparation for a first coat of primer. The result was a lot of paint and filler removed in a short amount of time, so well done Leroy ! Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
This loco is the subject of a fundraising appeal so please follow this link to find out more. We need your help ! In addition to funds, we also need plenty of HANDS. If you love the ‘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 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) – this loco is at Williton undergoing planned maintenance tasks that will include an engine oil change and a thorough inspection to ensure that she remains in good shape and is soon able to resume her support duties on the WSR.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – anti-freeze checks were carried out by Paul T and he confirmed that the engine and cooling system is protected down to -31C therefore the loco can be stabled in the yard without risk of frost damage. The loco will be covered by a tarpaulin throughout the winter months and until we can get her into the Swindon shed for bogie disconnection and lifting.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – Paul also tested the anti-freeze on this loco and confirmed that it was also protected down to -31C. As this loco is still resplendent in her two-tone green and grey paint finish, she cannot be covered over without risk of paint damage. Covered storage for our heritage locomotives remains an important subject that needs a long term solution.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – more progress was made on this loco during work week as additional volunteer resources were available. The first task was to relocate the major assemblies on number 2 road in the loco shed, so that the loco rebuild can be concentrated in one area. Then, several large and heavy items were cleaned, checked and painted by Terry, Gary, Nick, Chris, Mark, Mike and Carol, as shown in the photos below:
D9518 major assemblies have been relocated to number 2 road inside the loco shed at Williton. From left to right, the cab assembly, the Voith L217 hydraulic transmission, the cooler group with the brake frame behind it, and finally the Paxman 6YJXL 26-litre turbocharged V6 diesel engine. Pictured on 2nd November 2021 by Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0
D9518 frame components receive a coat of primer from Carol, in between light rain showers at Williton on 3rd November 2021. Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) takes a rest on number 1 road in the background. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0
All of this rapid progress has been made possible by the efforts of volunteers and the donations of the many ‘Teddy Bear’ supporters who have contributed to the D9518 Restoration Appeal. Thank you all very much !
This loco is the subject of a fundraising appeal so please follow this link to find out more. We need your help ! In addition to funds, we also need plenty of HANDS. If you love the ‘Teddy Bears’ and you are not already a member of the DEPG, please join us so that you can become one of the team that is going to return D9518 to full operational condition as ‘NCB No. 7‘.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – this loco is based at the Kent & East Sussex Railway for the rest of this year and is receiving regular use, which is good for the loco and good for the DEPG. The loco is likely to remain at the K&ESR until older sister D9504 completes her heavy overhaul and is returned to traffic, so it could be some time yet.
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – this loco remains stuck at Bishops Lydeard waiting for instructions for her move to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. This loco was re-fuelled on Tuesday 2nd November and will undergo a programme of regular engine runs to ensure that she remains in good condition.
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – this loco received attention from Colin, Martin and Paul and was in use on several days of the week, shunting locos and wagons in the yard. There is a lot more paintwork to be tackled, so we need volunteers to step forward to work on this little loco during the next few weeks. Please come along and join the effort to complete the work on this little loco (no prior experience required, just regular DIY skills will be sufficient).
Many thanks to all of our volunteers who gave up so much of their time last week to work on the cleaning, painting, maintaining, restoring, managing and fund raising for our fleet of heritage locomotives !