Our first diesel-hauled service of 2021 got off to a great start on Saturday 17th July with ‘Hymek’ D7018 both looking and sounding great for the 36-mile roundtrip between Bishops Lydeard and Dunster, with the bonus of a 6-mile extension to Norton Fitzwarren and back on the return leg.
The hot weather did not deter our diesel fans, with an almost-sold-out service that beat our expectations, considering that tickets only went on sale on the previous Tuesday. MANY THANKS to all who supported this event – here’s the story and a selection of photographs from the day:
Beyer-Peacock ‘Hymek’ D7018 passes Stogumber heading towards Bishops Lydeard in the morning of 17th July 2021, in a scene reminiscent of the early 1960s, complete with a ‘Standard 9’ from 1938 parked alongside the ticket office. Photo by Robin Moira White © CC BY-NC 3.0
D7018 came ‘off shed’ at 0950 and left Williton for Bishops Lydeard at 0956. On arrival, she picked up her coaching stock (we were only able to get three coaches because the rest were either in use on the two steam-hauled rosters or were undergoing maintenance and inspection at Minehead) and boarded her passengers. Departure was on time at 1135 wth driver Neil McCannon and secondman Martin Howard ‘up front’ and Lee Robbins as train Guard. Also on board ‘just-in-case’ was Maybach specialist Bob Clegg, while DEPG marketing team member Chris Shields also joined the train, armed with a selection of DEPG merchandise !
A busy scene as D7018 waits at Blue Anchor while BR(WR) 4-6-0 7822 ‘FOXCOTE MANOR’ approaches from Dunster on the 17th July 2021. Image captured from the Blue Anchor webcam courtesy of Railcam UK, the WSRHT and the WSR ©
From Bishops Lydeard, the train ran non-stop to Watchet, then Blue Anchor, where the train stopped for a while to wait for the first train of the day, hauled by BR(WR) 4-6-0 7822 ‘FOXCOTE MANOR’, to return from the Dunster section. This was a great chance for passengers to take photos of BR Western Region steam and diesel together, both in their early 1960s liveries.
The train then went forward to Dunster, where all of the passengers disembarked so that D7018 could take the empty stock towards Minehead, stopping short of Dunster West sidings, where the loco was uncoupled and ran forward into the siding.
A rare view of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) nestling amongst the undergrowth on the easterly branch of Dunster West siding while standing-in for Class 03 D2133, waiting to perform the ‘shunt release’ move on 18th July 2021. The bridge over the River Avill is visible in the foreground. Photo by Ian Robins © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 33 D6566 (33 048) was ready and waiting to come out of the siding to couple up to the stock and haul it further toward Minehead. Then, D7018 came out of the siding and coupled up to the rear of the stock to form the return train from Dunster, the ‘Crompton’ uncoupling to return to the siding after the train cleared the points. The ‘shunt release’ duty had been planned for the WSR’s Class 03 D2133, but the 204hp loco had developed a fault, so the ‘Crompton’ had to step in to support this movement.
Another rare view, this time of D7018 at Barnstaple Junction, just beyond Norton Fitzwarren platform, on the 17th July 2021, as the loco prepares for the slow run along the sharply curving East Chord to rejoin her train by reversing at Aller Junction. Photo by loco crew member Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0
The return leg was extended through to Norton Fitzwarren where D7018 ran around the East Chord to reposition at the head of the train for the 3-mile climb back to BL, where the ‘excursion’ came to an end. Although it was extremely hot, everyone had a great time and several vowed to do it all again at the very next opportunity – which will be on 31st July, although we can’t extend to Norton Fitzwarren on that day because of other activities that were already booked for that section of the line.
When restrictions are relaxed and the passenger capacity increased, we hope that more visitors will come along and make the most of our running opportunities this year, to show the strength of support for diesel runnng on the WSR and ensure that we get more running opportunities next year, by which time we will also be returning to our full 80-mile diagrams (and some 86-mile turns as well).
Thanks to all involved in the planning and delivery of this highly succesful and enjoyable event !
OTHER LOCO NEWS:
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9526 – also on Saturday 17th July, volunteer Class 14 loco manager Simon, along with Colin G and Terry went to visit their ‘baby’ to see how she had settled into her new surroundings while on hire to the KENT & EAST SUSSEX RAILWAY. The loco was in action on Sunday 18th July while covering for the BR(WR) 0-6-0PT steam loco number 1638 that was rostered but had developed a fault, so we hope to include photos in the next roundup.
Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ – our ‘celebrity’ is still 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. To overcome this delay, the NYMR are investigating the possibilities of a rail move, which would see our loco being towed from the WSR to the NYMR by another locomotive, possibly one of her sisters or a close relative. Prior to such a move, our loco would need to undergo ultrasonic axle testing and several other inspections (as well as removal of our banners). We will send out a DIESELGEN bulletin as soon as we know the date, time, mode and route for the move.
Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – many thanks to all who have contributed to the appeal for funds to support the £100,000 restoration of D1010 – we are very appreciative of your support, which will allow quick progress on the bodyside repairs, which comprise the bulk of the first phase of the restoration work. We have had a great start but we have a long way to go, so please keep the funds rolling in !
In preparation for the cab end repairs, we are removing ancillary components and fittings to allow a full inspection to take place, so that the scope of the repair work can be established. It will be necessary to cut into the good metal to fully assess the work, so be prepared for the loco to look a lot worse before she looks better.
On the 17th July 2021, the headcode boxes were removed from the cab ends of D1010 and will be restored at Williton so that they are ready to be re-united with the loco at some point in the future. Photo by Leroy Ford © CC BY-NC 3.0
We intend to raise £100,000 for the whole restoration project, which is only £10 contribution from each person who has enjoyed watching this locomotive over her years in preservation. Our objectives are achievable with a little help from all ‘Western’ fans, wherever you are and whichever group you belong to. We are fully inclusive !
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 consider joining 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 fully operational and is stabled at Bishops Lydeard for use by the WSR when required.
Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week – this loco is waiting for its turn to go into the Swindon Shed for bogie disconnection and lifting.
Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – the photos that we shared last week showed the extent of corrosion on the battery boxes and the amount of new metal required for the repair. A significant step forward was taken last Tuesday when volunteer Colin F arrived at Williton Yard in his vintage Commer Karrier Bantam 3t truck, pictured below alongside ‘Hymek’ D7018, to deliver a quantity of steel plate that he was donating for use on the repairs. MANY THANKS to Colin for not only donating the plate but for also doing the repair work !
Commer Karrier Bantam dropside tipper truck stands in front of the Swindon Shed at Williton, preparing to offload the donated steel plate on 13th July 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon. © CC BY-NC 3.0
Colin built this authentic vintage dropside tipper vehicle from two rusting hulks that he acquired from a scrapyard near Exeter in 1989. Both donor vehicles had been owned from new by Exeter City Council and had been worked hard, but all of the original parts were restorable including the Perkins 4203 diesel engines, and he also has a large collection of spare parts.
This actual vehicle featured in Series 1, 2 and 3 of the Netflix series ‘The Crown’, as the airport baggage truck, with Colin himself as the baggage truck driver. This explains the ‘MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND CIVIL AVIATION’ graphics on the cab doors. Well done Colin on a number of counts there !
Other work carried out on D9518 last Saturday 10th July was in preparation for the frames to be re-mounted on the wheelsets. Simon and Terry worked on the brake cylinders that fit between the frames and Colin G continued his painstaking work on the wheelsets. Well done to all !
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 by next weekend.
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) – 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 Ordanace 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 !