Week ending 31-Oct-21

Week ending 31-Oct-21

Beyer-Peacock ‘Hymek’ D7018 runs onto the Dunster West siding on 16th October 2021 during the shunt-release manoeuvre. Photo taken from the cab of Class 03 D2133 while stationary by driver Robin Fisher © CC BY-NC 3.0


Sunday 31st October marked the end of the WSR’s 2021 running season, with the last timetabled train getting back to Bishops Lydeard at 1750, after dark now that the clocks have changed. This season has been notable for the late start due to Covid-19 restrictions and the inability to run through to Minehead because of the major upgrade to the Seaward Way Level Crossing, but indications are that the season has been a success, thanks to the dedication and hard work of all of the staff and volunteers involved, and to those who rode the trains and those who donated to the WSR and the ‘railway family’ charities, so well done all ! 

The level crossing project concluded on 26th October when the sigal box at Minehead returned to operational status, although the line between Dunster and Blue Anchor remains under Infrastructure Department ‘possession’ until Tuesday 2nd November, when the first train will run from Bishops Lydeard, steam hauled, comprising empty coaching stock for haulage to Minehead. Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) will work from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead on Friday 5th November to collect empty coaching stock for transfer to Bishops Lydeard (details will be published via a DIESELGEN bulletin).


Pictured on 26 October 2021 in front of the crossing control console and CCTV monitor in the Minehead Signal Box are (left to right) John Jenkins, Signal Engineer; Peter Smith, Signalling Inspector and Steve Martin, Operations Officer. Photo by John Jenkins © CC BY-NC 3.0


On Sunday 31st October, on the occasion of the very last train to use the Dunster shunt-release procedure, our Chairman Martin Howard was in charge of the WSR’s Class 03 shunter D2133 and grabbed a photo of the line looking towards Minehead while the loco was stationary. The photo shows the yellow light of the ‘Fixed Distant’ signal and beyond that, the new signal 102 shining bright red, protecting the level crossing. The sleeper barrier and Stop board can be seen in the middle distance, so placed in July to prevent the line from being worked through to Minehead while the crossing was out of use. This view will change for the better from Tuesday 2nd November onwards, after the sleeper barrier and the Stop board have been removed.

The twilight view towards Minehead from Dunster, with the Stop board and sleeper barrier in the middle distance, the ‘Fixed Distant’ signal at caution and the new signal 102 at danger, protecting the level crossing. Photo taken from the cab of Class 03 D2133 while stationary by driver Martin Howard © CC BY-NC 3.0


The next task is to begin training the staff and crews on the new signalling layout and new procedures that apply to the improved layout at Minehead. This will take some time, but will be completed in time to allow the line to re-open through to Minehead in Spring 2022. We are really looking forward to being able to take our trains through to Minehead again !



Class 52 D1010 ‘WESTERN CAMPAIGNER’ – more great work has been carried out by Colin F on the restoration of the front valances. These fabricated steel sections are used to ‘dress’ the front of the locomotive and help give it the finished appearance that has made the design such an enduring success over the last sixty years. The new sheet steel was purchased using the funds raised by the D1010 RESTORATION APPEALThank you very much !

The front valances can be see below the buffers in the below photo, along with one of the corner valances:

D1010 – this photograph, taken at Williton on 6th June 2016, shows the front valances below the buffers, either side of the drawhook, and also shows one of the corner valances with the two footsteps that show it is an authentic part (the corner valances at the other end only had one footstep, having been replaced in the 1980s). Photo by Mark Townsend © CC BY-NC 3.0


The photo below shows the progress that has been made in making a pair of replacement front valances for the ‘A’ end of the loco, to replace the non-authentic parts, and the restoration work being carried out on the authentic but heavily corroded parts from the ‘B’ end, with significant amounts of new sheet steel being applied – but using as much of the original material as possible:

D1010 – a pair of brand new front valances have been fabricated from new steel for the ‘A’ end of the locomotive and two existing authentic but corroded valances are undergoing restoration for the ‘B’ end of the locomotive, all work being performed by Colin F. Pictured at Williton on 30th October 2021 by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0


Meanwhile, the loco may be suffering an indentity crisis while she is in the shed in a state of undress. The peaked visor above the cab windscreen (visible in Mark Townsend’s photograph further above) at ‘A’ end has corroded quite badly and is in need of repair, so a suitable message was written on the loco as a reminder, but someone has seen the need to expand the message:

D1010 – identity crisis – is she a ‘Peak’ or a ‘Western’ ? Pictured at Williton on 23rd October 2021 by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


These photos give further evidence in support of our statement last week that the corrosion on D1010 is confined to small parts of a very large locomotive. Each area of corrosion is being dealt with systematically.


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’ D6566 (33 048) – this loco has moved to Bishops Lydeard to take over WSR support duties from sister loco D6575 and her first duty will take place on Tuesday 2nd November when she hauls empty coaching stock from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard.


Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) – this loco has now returned to Williton so that an oil change and some other maintenance tasks can be performed. More details on this next week.

Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) is now back at Williton awaiting an oil change and associated planned maintenance tasks. Photo taken at twilight on 30th October 2021 by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0


Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7017 – no change this week – waiting for her turn over the pit in the Swindon Shed (now expected to be in the spring of 2022).


Class 35 ‘Hymek’ D7018 – several tasks are lined up for this loco during the coming months, the primary task being the repair to the transmission control block to bring the automatic gear change back into use.


Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ D9518 – this loco has just celebrated her 57th birthday, having entered into service at Cardiff Canton depot on 30th October 1964. She worked in the Cardiff area for 5 years before heading northeast to Northumberland and the NCB’s Ashington colliery and worked there until 1986, before making her way to the DEPG and back to Western Region territory in 2011.

This week, the underframes have been receiving the attention of Colin C and his paint spray gun, so we can expect to see some nice photos as soon as he has finished his work. Meanwhile, there are plenty of component parts that need a clean-up and a re-paint before re-mounting them on the frames:

D9518 braking system components lined up and waiting for clean-up and re-paint at Williton on 30th October 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0


The ‘Tuesday’ team continue to make progress on the cleaning of the Voith hydraulic transmission unit so that it can be painted before re-fitting to the frames.

D9518 Voith L217 hydraulic transmission almost ready for painting at Williton on 30th October 2021. Photo by Terry Deacon © CC BY-NC 3.0


All of this rapid progress has been made possible by the donations of the many ‘Teddy Bear’ supporters who have contributed to the D9518 Restoration AppealThank you 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 has just undergone a 50-hour check that involved some minor attention to a coolant leak and a small air leak. The most significant repair item has been the fitting of a new starter motor to resolve a repetitive ground fault. The failed starter motor will need to be examined to find the cause of the problem and may need a full overhaul before it can be returned to the spares pool. The loco is now fit and ready to resume duties. Many thanks to Simon for travelling a long distance to carry out this work alongside the team at Tenterden.


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 will be re-fuelled and started up on Tuesday 2nd November to ensure that she remains in good condition.

Class 47 47077 ‘NORTH STAR’ (D1661, 47613, 47840) stands in the bay platform at Bishops Lydeard under the watchful eye of the signalman on a surprisingly clear Saturday 30th October 2021. Photo by Andy Royal © CC BY-NC 3.0


Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DH 578 – this loco is now in need of needle-gunning to remove loose paint and rust before priming and painting in undercoat. We need volunteers to step forward to work on this loco, so please come along and join the effort to complete the work on this little loco.


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 !


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