|The Class 67's have somewhat had their limelight stolen in recent weeks by the exploits of the new Class 57 diagram. 67016 and 67017 have quietly settled into their new daily diagram, taking in the delights of the Devon coastline, Somerset countryside and Welsh...Welsh ness. 67017 is seen at Taunton on the 25th of January ready to work their last diagram of the night, the 2M68 19:18 Taunton - Bristol Temple Meads stopping service. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|On the 25th January GBRF ran their 0V11 Wembley - Fairwater Yard light engine move early. The locomotive arrived around 15:10. It wasn't booked to return to Peterborough with its train until 06:30 on the 26th. The loco was therefore moved into Taunton's famous Platform 1. Here the filthy locomotive was stabled overnight before returning to Peterborough with used sleepers from Fairwater Yard next morning. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Each Saturday afternoon the top and tail Class 57 set works back over to Cardiff for weekend servicing. The set then returns to Taunton's Platform 6 each Sunday evening. On Saturday 23rd 57309 'Brains' is see powering through Cogload passing a Southbound HST as it works the 5U89 14:02 Taunton - Cardiff. The Anglia liveried coaching stock is already looking very grubby having not been washed since the set arrived in January. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|57309 is seen on the rear of the 2C89 19:00 Cardiff - Taunton on Friday 22nd January. At Taunton 57309 was started to allow the set to be shunted back into Platform 1 for overnight stabling. The First Great Western service has already clocked up several Class 57/3's, and it's expected we will see a few more of the fleet appearing at Taunton in due course. (Photo: Rob Sherwood)|
|The FGW loco hauled stays on the front page for today's photo. After completing another week on their passenger diagram, 57309 and 57316 were stabled in Taunton's famous Platform 1 for the night on the 22nd January. It appears the locos will stable here on a Friday night rather than returning back to the West Somerset Railway. On Saturday 23rd the pair are booked to work empty coaching stock to Cardiff before retuning to Taunton on Sunday evening. 57309 'Brains' is seen in Platform 1 at Taunton before being shut down for the night. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|The Class 57's have been causing a few operational problems during the last week. The set is currently formed of Arriva Blue 57316 on the South end with Virgin Trains liveried 57309 'Brains' on the North. The pair (now known as 'The Two Ronnies') are currently sandwiching the Anglia Mk2 coaching stock set. 57316 is seen at Taunton complete with the WSR pilot man on board, waiting to depart with the ECS stock move to Bishops Lydeard. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|In a rare and last minute move on the 10th January, Cross Country Trains hired in a Power car from East Coast Trains. The power car was put onto the front of Cross Country's 1V50 09:00 Leeds - Exeter which then returned on the rear of the 1S59 15:25 Exeter - Edinburgh. Running on time (despite the adverse weather) the rare East Coast power car 43306 is seen passing Creech St Michael in the snow shortly before making its booked stop at Taunton. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Taunton Trains went on an arctic expedition to bring you this front page image today. With the West Somerset Railway currently closed for the Winter Season, D7523 has been helping out with drainage work at Crowcombe Heathfield Station. The recent snow fall has somewhat hampered efforts. On the 9th January D7523 is seen silent, covered in snow with icicles extending ever further down its bodywork. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|This second shot taken at Crowcombe shows the severity of the snowfall in Somerset. With 3 - 4 days gone since in the initial snow fall it's clearly evident 'The Big Freeze' is keeping the snow crisp, white and fresh at Crowcombe. Here we see another British Built vehicle (in an attractive shade of Brunswick Green) which has perhaps been stabled at Crowcombe for the same period as the Class 25 in the background! (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|On the 9th January 2009 43124 is seen passing Taunton non stop with an express Paddington - Penzance service. Two non stop services pass at Taunton on a Saturday around the same time. The loose crisp snow is whipped up by the train as it passes through the station at such speed. It's not only the passengers on the station who get a blast of snow, the photographers on the bridge at 40 Steps were hampered by snow falling on them after the train had passed by! (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Cross Country have at least managed to run a passenger service over the last week, but all of their services are subject to large delays. This level of disruption in the current weather conditions is unsurprising as the trains do have to travel between Scotland and Cornwall each day. 221125 is seen departing Taunton, passing Freightliners 66618 shunting various snow laden HOBC wagons from Fairwater Yard. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|The unprecedented conditions of the past week have not been seen in Somerset on this scale in 30 years. Although the snow of Feb 2009 provided stunning scenes, it was gone within days of falling. 'The Big Freeze' has bought the UK to a standstill in places, but the railways have still be able to operate, albeit on a reduced scale. On the 6th January 2010 57316 passes through Creech St Michael in heavy snow. Ironic that such heavy snow makes taking this photo one of the safest times to do so from the normally busy road bridge in Creech! (Photo: Cameron Walker)|
|On the same day Cross Country trains were also operating a reduced service but were still able to reach opposite ends of the country in a day. 43301 passes through Creech St Michael on route to Plymouth. This rare location passing South through the village only possible due to the lack of sun, and bright light reflected by the snow. (Photo: Cameron Walker)|
The 8th January saw Network Rail return their Class 31 and Structure Gauging Train back to Derby from Exeter. Despite the adverse weather conditions this week Network Rail have been able to carry out their booked structure gauging runs in the South West. 31285 is see passing Westford Crossing near Wellington on route to Derby in bright conditions. (Photo: John White)
|In areas where the sun hasn't been able to penetrate considerable amounts of snow are visible. A short while after the above photo, 31285 passes through Taunton are speed with a smug driver at the controls. The snow is kicked up by the passing train as it passes Taunton (Photo: Paul Finnimore)|
The Two Ronnie's Return (At Last!). In a scene reminiscent of a Two Ronnie's sketch, 57303 and 57315 finally made it back to Taunton from Eastleigh running around 2hrs 20 minutes behind schedule! The 5V77 Local Gen groups attributed the delay to 66844 having low fuel, coaching stock faults and having a driver who didn't sign Class 57's.
66844 hauled the stock from Eastleigh as the 5V77 to Taunton, with 57303 tucked behind the Class 66, with 57315 on the rear of the train. Once arrived into Taunton the set was booked to stable in Platform 6 (rather than working onto the West Somerset Railway). 66844 arrived with the stock move at 17:47 into Platform 2. Here 66844 was removed from the train and shunted into Platform 1. 57315 was then started and used to haul the train back to Taunton East Jn, where 57303 could then bring the stock back into Platform 6.
57303 and 57316 have become the first ever Class 57's to visit this rare Taunton location, and the stock is due to stable here until Monday 4th January. While the set has been away at Eastleigh a coach from the set has been replaced. Anglia liveried 5929 has now been replaced by Intercity liveried (but Ex Virgin Trains) Mk2 No.5748
We have provided a selection of images taken during the evening of the stock move in various locations around Taunton Station.
(All Photos: Brian Garrett)
|Captured at Castle Hill near Williton on the West Somerset Railway, this rare formation is seen working the early running 13:05 Minehead - Bishops Lydeard. D1661 'North Star' was used for a series of shunting and stock positioning moves along the length of the WSR on Saturday 2nd January. Running early at 11:40 this was certainly a very rare Class 47, 3 Wagon, Class 25, Brake Van combination, and not something we usually get to feature! (Photo: Jamie Squibbs)|
|Having departed Williton early, D1661 passes through Combe Florey on route to Bishops Lydeard with the mix of wagons (and locomotives) in tow. The loco was required to drop the van (situated immediately behind the locomotive) at Bishops Lydeard before shunting the remaining stock and returning to Williton. (Photo: Phil Izzard)|
|In a scene reminiscent of a freight which 'could' of operated in the 1960's, D1661 returns through Cedar Falls on route to Williton. Once at Crowcombe the loco was to drop D7523 and trailing Turbot wagon in the loop at Crowcombe Station. Once completed D1661 would then return to Williton. (Photo: Phil Izzard)|
|As we enter 2010 and a start of a new decade, we thought it would be nice to turn the clock back 10 years or so and detail some of the workings which could be recorded through Taunton in 1999. We all look back on years gone by with those slightly rose tinted spectacles, however it is clear even from this small selection from the period that variety was certainly evident. 1999 was a transitional period as EWS had already taken delivery of 120 Class 66's by the end of the year, services had already started to have their normal traction removed and replaced by the new GM imports. However it the old order wasn't going to give up without a fight, and many classes of locomotive are still in operation today, albeit with different operators. Jeff Treece very kindly supplied a selection of his images for us to feature, we would very much like to thank him for his time spent on this request.|
|On the 10th February 1999, 60008 'Gypsum Queen II' passes 40 Steps while working the bulk china clay slurry flow to Scotland. The 6B68 09:40 Burngullow - Newport ADJ (for onward movement to Scotland) was a solid Class 60 turn in 1999. The merging of Transrail, Mainline and Load Haul to form EWS had meant a greater selection of coloured locomotives being used all over the UK in locations they previously wouldn't of appeared. This working no longer operates (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|The 15th February 1999 produced the final pair of Class 47's working the Mondays Only 6O92 10:35 Exeter Riverside - Dollands Moor. In their matching RFD European Liveries 47217 leads 47338 North through 40 Steps with the popular China Clay flow to Italy. This was one of the first flows to be affected by the GM invasion, the following week trials started to use pairs of Class 66's (later it became a single loco) on the flow. This train no longer operates. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|On the 22nd February 1999 a pair of Class 66 locomotives were provided for the 6V95 03:00 Dollands Moor - Exeter Riverside and 6O92 10:35 Exeter Riverside - Dollands Moor service. 66007 and 66041 are seen passing Staplegrove Road Bridge (a shot no longer possible to do due to excessive lineside vegetation!) with the Southbound 6V92 to Exeter. The pair would later return North to Dollands Moor marking the end of the RFD 47's on this flow (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|Class 58's were more common in the Taunton area at this time. The cascade of these locomotives from the midlands (owing to Class 66's taking their diagrams) lead to them being used on the heavy stone trains between Merehead Quarry and Exeter Riverside Yard. On the 5th March 1999, 58033 passes 40 Steps with a loaded train of Mendip Stone heading for Exeter. Even the Class 58's were not safe, by May 1999 the first two members of the Class (017+022) had already been placed into storage. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|Virgin Trains were still operating loco hauled passenger services in 1999 prior to the introduction of their Voyager Fleets in the coming years. On the 6th March 47806 arrives into Taunton with a complete matching Virgin Trains rake hauling the 1M40 11:45 Plymouth - Liverpool Lime Street. This service would often pass the 1V45 Liverpool - Plymouth (also loco hauled) in the Taunton area, as both services were booked to stop at Taunton within minutes of each other. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|Although not all that common, Class 59's have always put in fleeting appearances at Taunton over the years. The locos are used to haul the heavy Merehead Quarry to Exeter Riverside stone trains as and when they are required to run. On the 6th March 1999 this rather rare double headed combination appeared (presumably because of a failure). 59002 (Yeoman Livery) is seen piloting 59103 (Hanson Livery) North through Taunton with the 7C28 Exeter Riverside - Merehead empties. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|EWS was beginning to apply it's livery to many of its locomotives around the UK. On the 7th March 1999 a pair of matching and consecutively numbered Class 37's are seen departing from Fairwater Yard with a rake of Gunnels in tow. 37704 leads 37703 towards Taunton Station to an unknown destination. Many Class 37's were being stored during this period, but they had a sizable fleet which would take years to whittle down. At least locos receiving paint had a slightly brighter future ahead of them. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|Perhaps one of the most unbelievable workings of 1999 to pass through Taunton's platform was Deltic on a scheduled Virgin Trains service. D9000 has recently been restored and returned to the mainline. In order to earn money the locomotive gained a contract with Virgin Trains to operate selected passenger services. On the 20th February 1999 D9000 is seen roaring away from Taunton with the 1V35 06:35 Wolverhampton - Plymouth service. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|The return working for D9000 on the same day was the 1M40 11:45 Plymouth - Liverpool service. This was captured at Norton Fitzwarren on the return to the North. The use of the Deltic on a scheduled passenger train in the South West really did prove the theory of 'never say never'. Where the railway scene is concerned anything is possible. Over the years this has been proved many times over, which is why we should not discount the current day scene. No one can predict what will happen in 2010, but with the GWR175 celebrations approaching there are likely to be some interesting surprises in store! (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
We would like to wish all of our readers a very Happy New Year and welcome them to 2010. Taunton Trains has now been running (in one form or another) for around 15 years, in this time we always stand and say "there's no way this year will be as good as last year". But the railways always manage to prove that theory wrong. In fact despite being in the depths of a recession, rail operations through Taunton's platforms look like providing more interest than ever before during 2010. With two loco hauled passenger diagrams now operating with First Great Western, and Fairwater Yard due to recommence operations during the second week of January, there is certainly no shortage of movements and interesting workings ahead for enthusiasts to enjoy. In order to start the year off we have provided a review of 2009 below using statistics which have been carefully collated throughout last year by Mike Rowland. His very detailed weekly workings logs (which can be found in the Archive Section) now date back to 2003, thus providing an unrivaled independent set of data detailing just about every rare working and locomotive movement through Taunton in the past 7 years. We would very much like to thank Mike for his tireless efforts in keeping these detailed workings and allowing us to host them online.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have contributed to the Website over the years. There's far to many to list but without your efforts and help the website would not have been able to grown to its current size. Many people don't appreciate how much behind the scenes work goes into keeping the website up to date. It may not look like much changes at times, but barely a day goes by when a page somewhere on the website isn't updated. Our extended thanks goes out to the regular band of Taunton based photographers who supply images to the website no matter the weather, time, or situation. Without this superb pooling of local cameras we would not be able to bring you the superb quality of workings and images. Thanks also must go to those who also provide the archive information and photos, this is another invaluable section of history which we intend to keep enhancing over the coming years.
Recent Updates to the Website:
2009 News Page Links have been moved to the bottom of the Archive Page
Pictorial has a brand new section which has now been added, it's entitled STRANGE BUT TRUE and encompasses odd ball images and workings which have been taken in the Taunton area. This should make for some very interesting viewing!
Our Pictorial on the Westerns has also had two additional images added to it today. The images have previously been featured on our front page but we have now found them a more permenant home: WESTERNS
On New Years day we will be added a News Story looking back 10 Years to rail operations in 1999. More details will be posted on this page in due course.
6V62 Fawley - Tavistock Jn:
We start our review of 2009 with a detailed look at one particular working. The 6V62 Fawley - Tavistock Jn fuel tanks has its own dedicated LOG which is constantly being worked upon. At the end of 2009 it now records a staggering 2131 separate workings of this train, all recorded since 1988. The log has been complied by Brian Garrett over the past 15 years with a large input from enthusiasts all over the South West and remote parts of the UK!
First Great Western (Loco Hauled) 2009:
During the first year of operations the two Class 67's covered around 95,000 passenger miles, operating between Taunton and Cardiff. During this period Mike Rowland very kindly kept a detailed log of the locos operations during this period. The log included records of locos used, any notable operations and cancellations. The comprehensive log has been detailed below. This information was gathered from genuine sightings, research and gathered from independent sources none of which have any connection to First Great Western.
Loco Statistics 2009 :
The 2009 Loco Statistics have been compiled by Mike Rowland from independent sightings and internet postings relating to workings in the Taunton area. It clearly shows that despite another interesting year, there has been another definate decline of the core freight traffic which operates. DB Schenker have slashed their workings in and out of the South West to a minimum, the previous 4 month shut down of Fairwater Yard has also reduced the number of locomotives using Fairwater Yard. However 2010 still has plenty of promise to offer, and we hope Enthusiasts / Photographers will not sit back and let this opportunity pass by!
Want to look at what happened in NEWS 2009? Have a look in our Archive Page