|The 28th July saw double headed steam enter the South West, although not in its intended form. 'Tamar Devonian' was originally going to provide two Britannia Class locomotives for a double headed run to Plymouth from Eastleigh. Circumstances dictated that neither loco was available, and hasty replacements in the shape of 71000 'Duke of Gloucester & 60163 'Tornado' were provided. The BR Brunswick Green pairing are seen returning from Plymouth at Cogload Junction in good low evening sun light after a cloudy afternoon. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|One train which often gets overlooked, but should not be taken for granted is the nightly 6Y11 HOBC movement from Taunton's Fairwater Yard. Operated by Freightliner Heavy Haul for Network Rail the train continues its nightly departures (currently around 20:20 each weekday night) to varying overnight destinations in the South West. On the 25th July 2012, 66615 leads 6Y11 20:20 Fairwater Yard - Yate through Taunton Station in the low evening sunlight. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|The 25th July 2012 saw a new and rare visitor to Taunton. 97304 (Former 37217) became the first 97/3 subclass member to visit Platform 1 at Taunton. The Class 97's are fitted with ERTMS signaling equipment for testing on the Cambrian routes. However some members of the class stray onto Network Rail Test Trains. 97304 'John Tiley' arrived into Taunton during the early hours of the 25th July with the 3Q55 23:19 Laira - Penzance - Taunton UTU4 Test Train. It then departed at 22:43 on the same day with the 3Z08 recording run to Bristol. (Photo: Brian Garrett - with permission)|
|With Summer finally with us, a small group of enthusiasts all had the same idea, to make the effort and walk to Cogload Junction for the evening return of 'The Torbay Express' on Sunday 22nd July. No.70000 'Britannia' races north at Cogload Junction with the return 1Z28 from Kingswear to Bristol Temple Meads in the evening sunshine. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|The 21st July 2012 saw a Class 50 re-enter Devon for the first time in many years. 50044 'Exeter' was used as part of the GBRf Staff Day out from Cardiff to Paignton. Once at Paignton the company provided a trip to Plymouth (via Newton Abbot) for 'pay on the day' Enthusiasts to enjoy, taking the Class 50 back over its former stomping ground. The charter raised over £4000 for charity and over £100 on the raffle during the day. Accompanying the train was GBRf's Class 66 No.66720 which is painted in the colourful (if somewhat garish) 'Night and Day' scheme. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|English Electric Class 50 No. 50044 'Exeter' rounds the curve at Longforth Farm passing the safe vantange point at the foot crossing as the 1Z50 from Cardiff begin to climb up to Whiteball and heading back into Devon. (Photo: John White)|
|Having visited former haunts such as Exeter, Paignton, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Plymouth and Laira during the day 50044 'Exeter' coasts slowly into Taunton having been regulated due to a late running steam charter being let out onto the mainline in front of the return 1Z53 from Paignton to Cardiff. 34067 'Tangmere' was delayed on the West Somerset Railway due to a points failure at Blue Anchor, which in turn delayed its return path to London Paddington as part of the 'West Somerset Steam Express' charter. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|The colourful paint scheme displayed on Class 66 No.66720 can be seen at Taunton as 50044 leads the charter into the station with the return leg to Cardiff. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Not to be forgotten amid the excitement of an English Electric Class 50 returning to the South West, Class 42 Warship D832 'Onslaught' was rostered for two round trips on the West Somerset Railway Diesel Diagram. The locomotive is seen at Minehead having arrived with the 15:10 from Bishops Lydeard. The 17:35 departure back to Bishops Lydeard was in turn delayed by the points failure at Blue Anchor. The 17:35 from Minehead finally arrived back into Bishops Lydeard at 19:05, 30 late. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|It's amazing the difference event a small amount of light can make to a photo, two weeks after capturing 70000 'Britannia' on the Torbay Express in dull conditions we thought it best to try again, with dark clouds in the background 70000 departs Taunton in fine style with the 'Torbay Express' heading for Kingswear. The loco has been a popular and powerfull change of traction for the 2012 season and has performed well on the services it's hauled so far this year. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
The 13th and 14th July saw the West Somerset Railway begin their 2012 Heritage Diesel services using locomotives from the DEPG fleet based at Williton. Class 35 Hymek No.D7017 provided passengers to haulage on Friday 13th, while D832 'Onslaught' was out on Saturday 14th July. Both locomotives worked two round trips providing up to 80 miles each over the course of each day.
At one point on Saturday afternoon the West Somerset Railway was perhaps the only method of transport available between Taunton, Bridgwater and Minehead after a fatal accident closed the A39 for most of the day, and another accident near West Bagborough severed the A358 for several hours.
D832 will next be operating on both the 20th and 21st July for passengers to enjoy another piece of Western Region history.
(Photo Top Left: Brian Garrett)
(Photo: Bottom Left: Eddy)
|Nemesis Rail provided a splash of colour in Taunton on 10th July by working the 5Z56 11:00 Carlisle to Laira stock move. The ECS move was formed of Virgin Trains Mk2 barriers 3344 & 5952, conveying newly converted FGW Mk3 coaches No's. 45503 & 502 to Laira Depot. The coaches have been converted from previously redundant buffet cars into full passenger seated coaches. 56312 provided the power for the trip and is seen passing through Taunton (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|Having deposited the new FGW coaches to Laira, 56312 returned North on the 11th July conveying two sets of barrier vehicles. FGW's own coaches looking rather old and uncared for! 56312 (Former 56003) passes through 40 Steps, Taunton with the 5Z56 Laira to Crewe colourful stock move. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|The popular Southern Region Class 201 'Thumper' DEMU visited Taunton and Bishops Lydeard for a brief servicing stop on the 7th July. Hastings Diesels Ltd operated their 'The Channel Two' charter from Hastings to Bath Spa, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare. The unit then continued empty to Bishops Lydeard where the train was serviced before returning to Weston in time of the return leg of the trip. Motor coach 60116 'Mountfield' is seen leading the set through Cogload Junction. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|A view of the return ECS movement from Bishops Lydeard to Weston-super-mare was captured at Taunton Station showing the difference between the two Thumper Motor coaches. 60118 'Tubridge Wells' is seen leading at Taunton Station returning to Weston. (Photo: Adam Snow)|
|Network Rail & Direct Rail services bought a bit of colour to an otherwise dull day in Taunton on the 5th July. 37409 'Lord Hinton' leads 37682 south through Norton Fitzwarren with the 1Q13 from 06:16 Derby to Plymouth. The pair will spend the next few days in Devon before returning to Eastleigh via Exeter & Honiton on Saturday. The train was formed of 37682 & 72639 72616 977997 1256 & 37409 (Photo: Dave Collett)|
|Sunday July 1st marked the start of the Summer 2012 Steam season in Taunton, (although the UK weather had other ideas. With 6024 'King Edward I' now undergoing a major overhaul at Minehead, BR 8P No.70000 'Britannia' provided a nice change for the first 'Torbay Express' of the season. In inclement weather conditions the loco is seen departing Taunton on time with the 1Z27 to Kingswear. Minutes after this shot was taken the RAF Red Arrows flew through Taunton on route from Exeter Airport to a display at RAF Waddington. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|It was also sad to hear today that ordinary members of the public who have religiously attend Taunton Station for many years to see Steam Trains on mainline charters were being turned away from the station by the new gate staff. It appears that unless any member of the public (despite their intention to simply view a steam locomotive while it's in the station) is no longer allowed to access the platforms without a ticket to travel. Many of those turned away by First Great Western then had to relocate to other places such as Railway Street and 40 Steps in order to view the Torbay Express.|
|The last day of June saw the West Somerset Railway and First Great Western to team up to run another of their excursions from Minehead to another mainline network location. This time the destination was Paignton, using another of First Great Westerns Class 150/2 units No.150238. The unit worked from Exeter to Minehead via Taunton empty before departing Minehead at 08:15 through to Taunton before changing direction and heading to Paignton for the day. 'The Coast to Coast Express' is seen at Minehead having arrived back from the day trip to the south coast. (Photo: Steve Thornley)|
|While on route back to Exeter empty stock, 150238 was routed into Taunton's Platform 1 at Taunton to recess the train between other services. Another rare visitor to the Platform is seen here on the 30th June 2012. (Photo: Steve Thornley)|
2012 WSR Diesel Haulage:
The DEPG have revised their 2012 Diesel Haulage allocations, shown in red are the revised alloactions, correct as of the 28th June 2012.
The 2012 season will again see the DEPG Diesel Fleet working Friday and Saturday passenger services during the peak holiday season in July and August. The Diesel Diagram will depart Bishops Lydeard at 11:40& 15:10 on each operational day, and Minehead at 13:20& 17:35. This year has provided the best selection of diesels for enthusiasts to sample, with most of the DEPG fleet available for traffic 2012 has provided a great line up. A one Day Rover ticket on the WSR costs £17.00 (which has risen by £1.40 from 2011!) but if you book in advance you can get this ticket for £15.60 and provides 79 miles of haulage from two return trips between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. Those with WSRA membership or local residents cards can also use their membership for half price travel.
In addition to the booked 'Diesel Diagram' a new venture this year will be the use of newly restored Class 33 (D6575) on a rare weekday 'Quantock Belle' service. The Class 33 will operate the following trains, it is possible to book on the Quantock Belle dining service by calling the following number: 01823 433856
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