Friday 17th and Saturday 18th September saw the return of gala-style running on the West Somerset Railway during the MIXED TRACTION WEEKEND that involved our ‘Hymek’ D7018 plus our two Class 33 ‘Cromptons D6566 (33 048) and D6575 (33 057) along with steam in the form of BR(W) 4-6-0 7828 ‘ODNEY MANOR’ and GWR 2-6-2T 5199 operating an intense timetable that kept the line busy and brought back the feel of previous galas.
Each day included trips along the full length of the line, from Norton Fitzwarren (the junction with the Bristol to Exeter main line) to Minehead, some 23 miles distant, but with the last mile and a half being operated by a fleet of heritage buses (some open top, some accessible). The last section of the line is currently closed due to upgrading of the Seaward Way level crossing, so to keep the schedule brisk during these two days, each train serving Dunster was ‘top-and-tailed’ to allow a quick turnaround.
The ‘Top-and-Tailed’ services provided plenty of photo opportunities for locos to be side by side at the platforms – here are some of those unusual views:
A ‘Type 3’ gathering with Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) on the left (the ‘up’ direction towards Bishops Lydeard) and Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 on the right (the ‘down’ direction towards Minehead) at Blue Anchor on 17th September 2021. Photo by Barrie Childs © CC BY-NC 3.0
Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) is at the tail end of the 1230 service to Dunster on Saturday 18th September 2021 as sister loco D6566 (33 048) prepares to depart with the 1225 service to Norton Fitzwarren. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
The services that were not ‘top and tailed’ did not go beyond Blue Anchor, thereby allowing the train loco to run around to haul the train back toward Bishops Lydeard, and in most cases continued to Norton Fitzwarren where the loco again detached to run around using the East Chord (marked as ‘East’ in the diagram below):
Beyer-Peacock Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 leaves the platform at Norton Fitzwarren to run around her train via Barnstaple Junction then the East Chord to Allerford Junction then back on to her train at the platform on 18th September 2021. Photo by Josh Brinsford © CC BY-NC 3.0
For more pictures from this event, follow this link to the wsr.org.uk website picture page: http://cgibin.wsr.org.uk/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?h=The+Mixed+Traction+Weekend+2021&t=mtw2021pix
WELL DONE to all who planned, prepared and delivered this excellent and enjoyable event, which ran ON TIME and without any technical hitches. Thanks also to those who bought a ticket or merchandise and in doing so contributed to the success of the event !
LOCO NEWS: No major change from last week because effort was focussed on preparing the locos for service and preparing the depot to be open to the public. The work done during the last week will be covered in the report next week.