This week, we can report that a small group of volunteers have attended 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. This requires the use of a mobile platform lift that can enter the building and allow access to all parts of the roof from the inside, so a space has to be cleared inside the shed.
The Old Goods Shed is a Grade II Listed Building, being a surviving example of a “standard” Brunel design that was built by the Bristol & Exeter Railway in 1862. The building was used for handling local freight traffic on the West Somerset branch line for 102 years until the goods service on the branch was withdrawn on 6th July 1964.
The link below includes the Grade II listing details:
There is a lot more detail on the history of Williton Station and related buildings on the Williton Station website, available via the following link:
Following the re-opening of the Minehead branch as the West Somerset Railway in 1976, the Old Goods Shed was brought back into use by the DEPG in 1979 and was used as the main engineering workshop for the group until the Diesel Depot was constructed in 1997. The Old Goods Shed is still used for the maintenance and restoration of the smaller Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ locomotives and is currently the home of D9526. The attached photos show the early days of occupation by The D+EG, with D7017, D9526 and D7018 pictured alongside the building.
More recently, on September of 2019, ‘Hymek’ D7018 and D7017 stand at Platform 2 of Williton Station with the Old Goods Shed on the left. Standing outside the shed is Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 and further North in the yard is Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 with the Barclay “ROF” 0-4-0 shunter beyond.
The roof of the 138-year old building has deteriorated and is now a safety concern, therefore the survey work is deemed essential and the DEPG has to clear the internal space as quickly as we can.
Unfortunately, this means that our beautifully restored Class 14 D9526 has to move outside for the duration of the winter and will need to be protected against the elements until the building work has been completed. One of our long-term objectives is to construct covered storage areas for all of our heritage fleet, but until funds permit, some tarpaulin protection from the great outdoors is the best we can do.
The survey and immediate safety-related work is being funded by a£30,000 allocation from the Government’s ‘Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage’ and is being managed by WSR Lead Civil Engineer Andrew Young.
Moving on to an update about the status of our fleet:
D1010: Last week, we shared some information about the days when D1010 was a static exhibit at the Foster Yeoman quarry in Merehead, Somerset, wearing the name and number of D1035 “WESTERN YEOMAN”. The attached photo from 1986 that has been provided by Bob Tiller shows the loco in all her glory, as a backdrop to a Vauxhall Nova ! Many thanks to Bob for sharing this photograph with us all.
D6566 and D6575: As stated previously, D6566 is now outstationed at Westridge Shed, Bishops Lydeard, while D6575 is back at Williton. Both locos have been in use on the WSR for staff training purposes during the last week.
D9518: Work has been suspended for the duration of the lockdown.
D9526: This loco is being prepared for a move outdoors as explained earlier.
47077: The roof-mounted hinges that hold the radiator shutter frames and the engine access doors were cleaned and freed up by Neil as another step towards completion of the body repair work. The batteries were also charged and the engine “barred-over” (turned over very slowly by hand, using a special bar that engages with sockets on the generator mounting flange) to keep it free and in good condition.
Many thanks to our volunteers for their socially-distanced work on the above projects, often undertaken in very poor weather conditions, as we encountered this weekend.