SEPTEMBER 2012 NEWS : 


Weekend Engineering movements in the Taunton area have increased of late, Sunday mornings can provide 4 or 5 movements of engineering trains working to various locations. On Sunday 30th September Freightliner Class 66No.66615 leads the Network Rail HOBC into Taunton as the 6Y11 from North Somerset Junction to Fairwater Yard. (Photo: Adam Snow)
Sunday 30th September saw Tornado revisit the South West working a charter to Kingswear. The Cathedrals Express started in Maidenhead (Due to Paddington lines being closed for engineering work) and headed to the Devonshire town of Kingswear. The southbound run was non stop through Taunton which gave the chance for the locomotive to keep up to line speed in the area. With whistles blowing the A1 Pacific No.60163 storms through Creech St Michael on route South (Photo: Brian Garrett)
After passing through Taunton non stop it took just 10 minutes for 60163 to speed through to Wellington, the locomotive is seen rounding the curve at Longforth Farm in Wellington before making the climb to Whiteball. This is likely to be one of the last times we will see Tornado in her BR Brunswick Green livery, as this winter the locomotive will be repainted into British Railways Blue. (Photo: John White)

 

After a stock transfer from Yeovil Junction to Okehampton on Monday 24th September, 31602 returned to Taunton having dropped off three Mk2 coaches at the Dartmoor Railway (No's: 6181,6002,5920) were removed, while 3354,3425,3402 - Virgin Livery & 9492 FGW returned to Taunton. Unfortunately 31602 was failed at Taunton on the 25th and was unable to work forward to Barrow Hill with the remaining 4 coaches. 31602 is seen at Taunton in a newly created scene, which now allows a clear view of the Fairwater Yard headshunt, after the removal of the former Taunton shed. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Some reports on the internet have suggested the coaching stock was formerly used on the Butlins Express services on the West Somerset Railway. This is NOT the case. All of the coaches were purchased by a private owner from HSBC Rail in 2006 they were then stored Meldon Quarry from 2006 - 2008. (9492 did also see some service on the Dartmoor Railway during this period). All 7 coaches were then moved to Yeovil in 2008 where they have remained until 2012. Former West Coast Mk2 No.3354 is seen at Taunton on the 25th September, complete with living organisms, and a Virgin Trains 'Hotline' magazine featuring Julie Waters ready for passengers to enjoy the first class experience! (Photo: Brian Garrett)
The deteriation of 6 years in open storage is clear to see, 7 perfectly good Mk2 coaches have been left to rot away. It's thought that BARS (British and American Railway Services)/ Devon & Cornwall Railways have acquired the coaches and have the rights to operate 'The Polar Express' experience trains at both Weardale and Dartmoor Railways this Christmas ...clearly there is a lot of work to do in order to bring these coaches up to spec before the festive season. BAR's Class 31's are expected to feature on the Polar Express Experience. Further details can be found here. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

 

Nemesis Rail moved a selection of hideously moldy coaches from open storage at Yeovil Junction to similar open storage at Okehampton on the 24th September. The former Network Rail Class 31 No.31602 hauled former mainline Mk2 coaches (6181,6002,5920,3354,3425,3402 - Virgin Livery & 9492 FGW) through Taunton at 14:20 with the 5Z31 13:15 from Yeovil. The grime ridden stock move passes Broomhay Crossing near Bathpool. (Photo: Paul Finimore)
After loading logs at Teigngrace in Devon on the 20th September, 56094 began the long and heavy slog to Chirk from Devon. The colourful and noisy scene is captured in Wellington as Colas Rail Freight Class 56 No.56094 decends from Whiteball on route north to Chirck with the 6Z53 loaded logs from Teigngrace. (Photo: John White)
Colas Rail Freight operated a trial run of a Class 56 on thier full timber diragram which includes workings to Wales, Devon and Cumbria. On the 19th September Class 56 No.56094 operated the 6Z52 10:35 Gloucester New Yard - Teigngrace emtpies south through Taunton in preperation to work the loaded train to Chrik on the 20th September. If the trial is deemed a sucess we will be seeing (and hearing) a lot more of these locos in the Taunton area. 56094 rekindles memories at Creech St Michael as the loco heads south to Teigngrace. (Photo: Sclub)
A new flow of ballast from Stud Farm to Exeter Riverside Yard has started operating in connection with further South West track renewals to be carried out by Network Rail. The flow (operated by Freightliner Heavy Haul) operates most weekdays as the 6V14 22:15 Stud Farm to Riverside, booked Taunton 05:49 & 6M40 10:34 Riverside to Stud Farm, booked Taunton 11:08. On the second day of the new service 66613 passes Taunton with the return 6M40 empties to Stud Farm. Over the coming months Fairwater Yard and Exeter Riverside Yard will both see increased activity. Fairwater Yard has already welcomed back the Network Rail TRT from Toton in conjunction with the forthcoming works. (Photo: Nathan Williamson)

 

Sunday 16th September continued from Saturdays steam extravaganza with two returnees for the Sunday 'Royal Duchy' and 'Torbay Express' charters. Southern region westcountry No.34067 'Tangmere' was first, hauling 'The Royal Duchy' south and is seen here at Longforth Farm near Wellington on route to Cornwall.. (Photo: John White)
Following an hour behind 'The Royal Duchy' was LNER A4 Pacific No.4464 'Bittern' which was used for 'The Torbay Express' charter between Bristol Temple Meads and Kingswear. The locomotive is seen here rounding the curve at Longforth Farm near Wellington. (Photo: John White)

 

THE MAYFLOWER

 

The Summer Season of steam in the South West is slowly drawing to a close, but continues to draw large crowds to view these spectacular scenes. Saturday 15th saw The Railway Touring Company operate 'The Mayflower' from London Euston to Plymouth and return to London Paddington using three steam locomotives. 34067 'Tangmere' hauled the charter to Taunton before switching to 4464 'Bittern' and 70000 'Britannia'. On the return from Plymouth 70000 took the solo leg to Paddington from Taunton, while Bittern returned to Bristol light engine. The A4 Pacific and Britannia are seen departing Taunton for Plymouth.

 

Having arrived from London Euston with 34067 'Tangmere' the locomotive is removed from the train and shunted into Platform 1. Large crowds gather to see LNER A4 Pacific No.4464 'Bittern' and 70000 'Britannia' take over the next leg of the charter to Plymouth. Unfortunately the large crowds which turned out to view this charter overwhelmed station staff who were unable to control those who felt it was ok to trespass outside the station limits behind Platform 1 and the former Taunton Shed area. With no BTP located at Taunton there was no means prevent station boundaries being breeched. Incidents like this will result in Taunton Station being closed to visitors who do not have a valid ticket to travel in the future if First Great Western and Network Rail deem it necessary.
The two 'B's depart from Taunton in good light preparing to haul passengers to Plymouth over the Devon Banks. LNER Pacific No.4464 'Bittern' lead 'The Mayflower' in both directions. It was removed at Taunton on the return trip and sent light engine to Bristol. This was to position the loco for Sunday's 'Torbay Express' charter. (Photo: Phil Izzard)
Here a secondary view shows the wider angle shot with all three steam locomotives clearly visible. As Bittern and Britannia depart from Taunton, No.34067 'Tangmere' can be seen in Platform 1 back in the main station. (Photo: Stacey Thew)
The Mayflower charter was the first of its type designed to make use of the new West Somerset Triangle project, allowing No.34067 'Tangmere' to access the triangle directly from Norton Fitzwarren to turn the locomotive before working back to Bristol in preparation for Sunday's 'Royal Duchy' charter from Bristol to Par. The use of the triangle proved it's worth and the locomotive is seen at 40 Steps, working the unique 5Z30 Barnstaple Junction to St Phillips Marsh. (Photo: Phil Izzard)
It's not uncommon on the UK railway network to see a locomotive working between destinations with a support coach, but to have a single steam locomotive working in true 'light engine' style is very rare. Having arrived at Taunton from Plymouth with No.70000 'Britannia', 4464 'Bittern' was uncoupled from the front of the charter and sent light engine to Bristol. The loco is seen bouncing along the track at Cogload Junction having just left Taunton. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
No.70000 'Britannia' storms north through Cogload with the return Mayflower charter to London Paddington from Plymouth following the 17:32 First Great Western HST the steam charter would have a good run back to the Capital. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

 

The annual leaf busting season is nearly with us again, on the 15th September DB Schenker sent 66156 away from its Cornish home to collect a RHTT set from Westbury. The loco is seen passing Norton Fitzwarren hauling the 6Z29 11:14 Westbury - St Blazey RHTT wagons (642029+642042). This is the cleanest you will ever see a RHTT set, as by the end of the season it will be caped in thick brown mud. (Photo: Phil Izzard)

 

Freightliner Heavy Haul have adopted a former Direct Rail Services Class 66 into their fleet. DRS Class 66 No.66415 made its first appearance at Taunton on Sunday 9th September arriving from Stoke Gifford light engine. On Monday 10th the loco was employed on the spent ballast trip to Norton Fitzwarren from Fairwater Yard. The mini convoy is seen passing Norton with the return 6C76 12:40 Bishops Lydeard - Fairwater Yard running over an hour early, with 66615 trailing on the rear of the set. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
GBRF provided a smart Class 66 No.66737 for a Inspection Saloon move from Bristol to Bishops Lydeard on the 8th September. The loco had worked South to Bristol from Butterley (Midland Railway Centre) the previous day. The move was organised as a surprise for WSR DEPG Chairman John Cronin to celebrate his recent 70th Birthday, along with other invited WSR groups. 66737 is seen passing the south end of Fairwater Yard before heading onto the West Somerset Railway. (Photo: Paul Finimore)
Work continues to dismantle the former Taunton Goods Shed behind Platform 1 & 2 at Taunton Station, by the 1st of September all brick walls and side panels had been removed, with just the roof sheets left to come off before the frame could be taken down.Work is also progressing (at the rear of the photo) on removing the former coaling stage. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

2012 NEWS
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