The County of Somerset
On the 10th August 1985, 47603 was turned out in resplendent condition at Taunton Station to be named 'County of Somerset'. The event took place in Platform 6, and the locomotive was named by Bill Drowner, then Chairman of the Somerset County Council. The main name was also accompanied by a small commemorative plate for the Great Western 150 celebrations. The locomotive carried the nameplates until 1992 when they were removed. (Photos: David Jones)
47603 is seen being prepared for it's naming at Taunton Station (Photo: Taunton Trains Collection)
47603 was delivered to Cardiff Canton as D1967 in October 1965. It's carried several numbers throughout it's life on the rails. In March 1974 it became 47297 and was re-allocated to Cardiff Canton, then later Bristol Bath Road.
In December 1983 she became 47603 and became a dedicated parcels locomotive. The loco was also fitted with twin fuel tanks, to help increase her mileage between refuels which made her ideal for long range parcels traffic. In 1991 47603 was allocated to Crewe Diesel Depot.
In June 1994 the locomotive then became 47745 and was subsequently re liveried into the ubiquitous 'Rail Express Systems' (RES) livery. This new livery and refurbishment saw the locomotive locked into Express Parcels traffic working all over the UK. On 24th September 1994 the locomotive was again named. This time her new name was 'Royal London Society for the Blind'. The naming took place at London Victoria Station and the ceremony was carried out by actor Brian Blessed.
The locomotive continued to work mail traffic until 2000 when the locomotive put into storage after a fire. It spent 4 years in open store, then in April 2004 the locomotive was finally assigned for disposal. By August 2004 the locomotive had been fully cut up and no longer exists!
Further historic images of 47603 (including it's fire damage) can be found on the Class 47 website via the following website link: 47603
Spirit of the South West
After a gap of 20 years, a Wessex Trains unit became the next item of rolling stock to receive a name at Taunton. The naming of 158861 by Wessex Trains coincided with the companies 4th Birthday. The name was to reflect the good work done by the company throughout the South West. Above 158861 can be seen departing Taunton's Platform 6 shortly after ben named 'Sprit of the South West' (Photo: Brian Garrett)
158861 was named by Chris Irwin from Travel watch Southwest, with Wessex Business Development Manager, Andrew Griffiths on hand make sure the event was a success. Shortly after the naming Chris Irwin and Andrew Griffiths posed for photos after christening the naming with champagne.(Photo: Brian Garrett)
Also on hand for the general public to enjoy was a Wessex Trains 4th Birthday Cake for passengers to enjoy. The cake depicted one of the companies Class 158's at work on the West Somerset Railway during another special event where 158855 was named 'Exmoor Explorer'(Photo: Brian Garrett)
The 1st of March 2008 saw another special event for Chris Irwin. First Great Western named their recently overhauled powercar 43034 'Travelwatch Southwest' at Taunton Station. Chris Irwin was again on hand to carry out the naming. Although he had no idea that he would be naming the powercar after his own organization. The photo above shows an inset of the Travel Watch South West plate. (Photo: John White)
Powercar 43034 is seen at Taunton prior to the naming. (Photo: Phil Izzard)
TravelWatch SouthWest is a Community Interest Company which exists to promote the interests of users and potential users of public transport in the South West region. Its officers work closely with regional partners, including public sector bodies, voluntary associations and transport providers.
As an addition to the naming story, 43043 previously carried the distinctive 'The Black Horse' nameplates. However when the powercar went for MTU conversion the nameplates were removed stripping the powercar of it's celebrity identity. On the 6th August 2005, 43043 is seen ready to depart Taunton with a service to London Paddington. (Photo: Brian Garrett)