|Sunday 2nd January 2011, saw the West Somerset Railway celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the lines closure, when the last scheduled passenger and freight trains operated over the line on the 2nd January 1971. To coincide with with the achievements made since this date, the WSR operated a number of special workings during the day. A Special charter service provided passengers with the chance to travel from Exeter to Minehead on board a First Great Western Class 150 DMU, the DEPG Hymek D7017 was used to simulate the last freight train which operated over the length of the line, it was also renumbered to D7047 for the day and given the correct headcodes which matched those displayed on the loco from the final freight train. After most passengers had vacated the railway D7047 also stared in a unique 'night shoot' at Williton Station organized by David Williams (WSRA Journal Editor), the EMRPS and the DEPG. The night shoot proved a great hit with those who attended this private event. It was agreed this brilliant event was something which had been lacking on the WSR for many many years. We would like to extend our thanks to those who organized the night shoot for providing some excellent and unique photographic shots. We have provided a selection of images from the day for your viewing.|
|First Great Western provided one of their 'local lines' Class 150 passenger units as part of a charter train to allow passengers to travel from Exeter to Minehead and provide a modern day comparison to the final DMU service which operated on the 2nd January 1971. The Class 150's themselves are older than many would think, originally built between 1984 and 1987 by BREL. 150234 had also received a full body and window wash prior to being used on the special charter. It's seen departing from Crowcombe Heathfield on route to Minehead (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|In addition to the special charter service, and replica freight train, the WSR also operated their two booked steam train services over the length of the line during the 2nd January. Here SDJR 7F No.88 (BR 53808) is seen arriving into a timeless scene at Crowcombe Heathfield with the 10:25 from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead. The WSR's own 'mongrel 'locomotive No.9351 was operating the opposing diagram. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|New meets old at Minehead Station, as 150234 arrives with the 2Z10 from Exeter into Minehead, passing D7017 (renumbered D7047 for the day) stabled on the representation of the final freight train to have operated over the line. Despite being built in 1964, D7017 now has the luxury expert care and restoration skills from the DEPG at Williton, her paintwork certainly shows how up that of a 'modern unit' with faded yellow ends and patched up paint. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|After waiting for WSR Steam services to depart from Minehead, D7017 set off with the replica freight (from the last day in 1971) to work over the whole length of the line. The loco looked and sounded superb. In order to fit in with other passenger services the loco also had two 20 minute stops at both Blue Anchor and Crowcombe Heathfield, allowing plenty of time for photos and admiration to be taken. Here D7047 (D7017) accelerates away from Watchet with the 13:00 from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|A scene which probably hasn't changed that much since 1971, D7044 (D7017) passes the cottage at Woolsten Moor between Williton and Stogumber. The short freight consisted of one bake van, two box vans, one open wagon and a Toad Brake van. The Toad was later removed at Williton for the evening night shoot. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|While at Crowcombe there was a chance for people to view the Hymek locomotive up close and enjoy the sound of it's Maybach engine. It should be noted that D7017 is the only fully operational Class 35 Hymek in the country. D7018 being out of service on a long term overhaul at Williton, D7076 at the East Lancs Railway technically isn't a Hymek as it's currently fitted with a Western engine while it's own is overhauled, and D7029 is a kit of parts awaiting overhaul. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|After the last two steam services for the day had departed from Williton the first 'night shoot' in many years was held within the confines of Williton Station. Organized by David Williams (WSRA Journal Editor), the EMRPS and Williton DEPG, the shoot would depict the final freight train from 1971 at night, posed for various scenes within the station area. Here D7047 arrives into Williton for a token exchange with the signalman at Williton. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Perhaps a black and white scene like this could have been recorded on the last day in 1971. D7047 standing a Williton Station waiting for the road forward to Minehead with it's short goods train in tow. Incidentally we are told the head codes shown were correct in accordance with photos of the final goods train on the line, however 8V03 was not the head code for the train the Hymek was working. The thinking being the loco had previously worked another freight to Taunton and it's head code had not been changed for it's journey to and from Minehead. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|A shot perhaps reflecting the return journey from Minehead, shows the driver and signalman discussing shunting arrangements at Williton. We would like to thank David Williams, EMRPS, DEPG and Station Staff/ Crew for their superb work in adding this photo charter to the days events. We hope very much that events such as this can be held in high regard at the WSR, and note that they provide a valuable income to Preservation Groups all over the UK! (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
We would like to wish all of our readers a very Happy New Year and welcome them to 2011. 2010 has proved once again to be a very interesting year for the railway scene, but unfortunately we start 2011 on a more somber note. The appearance of 'Locomotives' in the Taunton area has fallen once again for the forth year in a row. The figures recorded during 2010 show that just 307 locomotives visited Taunton during 2010, falling by another 27 from those which appeared in 2009. We are sorry to say that 2011 probably won't improve on this trend because 2010 figures included all of the Taunton loco hauled diagrams, which will not be operating during 2011. The loco hauled diagrams provided an additional 30 locos to this years tally!
In order to start the year off we have provided a review of 2010 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), these 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 8 years. We would very much like to thank Mike for his tireless efforts in keeping these detailed workings and those who help supply the information to allow this data to be checked and verified as correct. We would also like to thank Mike for 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.
6V62 Fawley - Tavistock Jn:
We start our review of 2010 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 2010 it now records a staggering 2184 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!
Loco Statistics 2010 :
The 2010 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, and Freighliner Heavy Haul now keep a core group of locos working from Fairwater Yard, which reducees the members locomotive classes which visit the area. However 2011 still has plenty of promise to offer, and we hope Enthusiasts / Photographers will not sit back and let opportunities pass by!
Calling all Photographers!! The next GWRSA Meeting will be on the 10th January 2011, in the 'snug bar' at the Taunton Railway Club adjacent to Killkenny Car Park (Taunton Station).
The WSRA Taunton Group will hold their annual photo competition. The competition is open to anyone who wishes to enter. Entries may be made (on the night) in multiple formats (35mm Slide, Digital Print or a Digital file on CD/DVD). Categories for the evening will be 'Heritage Steam', 'Modern Image' and 'Non Railway Subjects'. Entries will cost 10p each with a small prize for the winning entries.
For the first time this year entries can be made in digital format and will be accepted on a CD/DVD (Please ensure that this is virus free!) and projected for all in attendance to see and vote on. So for all you keen photographers out there (and especially those who submit to this website), let's see your best work of 2010 you may even win a prize.
Want to look at what happened in NEWS from 2009 or 2010? Have a look in our Archive Page