|Direct Rail Services Class 20's made a rare foray into Devon on the 30th August, hauling Pathfinder Tours 'Torbay Flyer'. The tour was organised to coinside with the annual Dartmouth Regatta which also featured an evening display from the Red Arrows and an RAF Eurofighter Typhoon. No.20303 & 20308 (the same pair which had worked the Bridgwater Nuclear Flask move, earlier in the week) operated the Crewe - Kingswear charter throughout. The pair are seen passing 40 Steps, Taunton with a mix of former Anglia Mk2 coaches in tow. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|The 28th August saw Colas Rail Freight move two refurbished HOBC wagons back from West Ealing Plasser works to Fairwater Yard. The working should of originally arrived around 14:15 however problems with shunting in the London area meant the train was re timed to arrive at 17:35. Running slightly ahead of schedule Colas Class 47/7 No.47749 'Damelza' makes a rare appearance 'under' the Cogload Junction flyover heading for Fairwater Yard. The loco later returned light engine. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Taunton was visited by a DB Schenker liveried Class 59/2 on the 24th August 2013. No.59206 operated the 6X24 Westbury - Tiverton Loop engineers. The train was formed of loaded point carriers, with ready made points located on each wagon. A Volker Rail crane was also in the consist which was then used to lift the points from the wagons ready for installation in due course. This handheld night shot shows 59206 passing through Taunton on route to Tiverton Loop (Photo: Nathan Williamson)|
|Heritage liveried Class 31 No.31190 spent the weekend stabled in Platform 1 at Taunton. The loco was used to tow a Volker Rail Crane from Toton Yard to Westbury on the 17th August, and arrived at Taunton light engine late on the 17th August. The loco then returned to Washwood Heath on the 19th. 31190 is seen under 40 Steps waiting for to depart for Birmingham (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|After a successful first run into Devon on the 18th August, 34046 'Braunton' passes 40 Steps, Taunton with the return 1Z27 from Kingswear to Bristol Temple Meads hauling 'The Torbay Express' charter. The next Torbay Express charter is booked to operate on the 1st September. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|Freightliner Heavy Haul continue their good work for Network Rail hauling the High Output Ballast Cleaner to various sights in the South West. On the 18th August Freightliner Class 66/6 No.66614 leads the 6Y11 10:00 Standish Junction - Fairwater Yard away from Taunton Station. 66621 was located on the rear of the lengthy train. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|DB Schenker operated a long welded rail train into Cornwall on the evening of Saturday 17th August, the loco returned on Sunday 18th with the 6W98 09:05 Plymouth - Westbury. EWS liveried Class 66/0 No.66232 is seen passing 40 Steps, Taunton with the lengthy welded rail train. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|The 18th August was another landmark date for the restoration of SR Bullied Steam Locomotive No.34046 'Braunton'. The loco was originally built in 1946 at Brighton Works with smooth bodysides, and later redesigned at Eastleigh in 1959 and surviving until 1965 before being sent to the scrap yard. The rusting loco was rescued in 1996 by the West Somerset Railway Association and bought to Williton works where is was later sold to a private individual. Since 1996 the 17 years since have been spent with the single aim of returning the loco to the mainline. On only her second revenue earning mainline trip, 34046 'Braunton' is seen departing from Taunton on 'The Torbay Express' (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|The 17th August provided two chances to ride behind Heritage Diesels on the West Somerset Railway, the first was behind Class 33 No.D6575 (33057) which was working the booked diesel diagram. The loco is pictured on the afternoon 15:10 departure from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead at Crowcombe Heathfield The initial 11:40 train from Bishops Lydeard was delayed by 20 minutes after a member of staff was taken ill on the train. The 17th August 2013, also marked 156 years since West Somerset Railway Company was incorporated by Act of Parliament (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|The second DEPG locomotive in action, was Class 42 'Warship' No.D832 'Onslaught'. The loco had been rostered to haul the evening 'Quantock Belle' dining train from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and return. This was a very rare movement as the Saturday evening dining trains are normally steam hauled. Members of the DEPG from Williton enjoyed diesel traction in the form of D6575 from Williton to Bishops Lydeard before switching to more upmarket accommodation for an evening of fine dining mixed with hydraulic diesel fumes. D832 is seen departing Bishops Lydeard. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Colas Rail Freight have been busy moving various HOBC wagons to and from Fairwater Yard during this week. Class 66/8 No.66847 and Class 47/7 No.47747 have both been involved in various trip workings to Cardiff Canton Depot. On the 15th August, 66847 is seen passing northbound through Platform 2 at Taunton on route to Cardiff. (Photo: Wayne Potter)|
|The same train mentioned above was also captured at it leaves Fairwater Yard at 40 Steps on route to Cardiff (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|It's certainly rare to have a Sunday evening freight working in the Taunton area, perhaps even rarer for it to be formed of a Mendip Rail Class 59. On the 11th August, No.59101 'Village of Whatley' hauled the 7Z26 Westbury - Burngullow (formed of empty hoppers) through Taunton. It's seen passing Norton Fitzwarren in the evening light. The train was booked to load with aggregate at Burngullow before returning to Westbury on the evening of the 12th. (Photo: Quentin Hawkes)|
|On Sunday 4th August GWR Castle Class No.5029 'Nunney Castle' storms through Bathpool with the return 1Z27 'Torbay Express' charter from Kingswear to Bristol Temple Meads. As previously reported on Taunton Trains, the next Torbay Express (due to operate on the 18th August will feature Southern Region Pacific No.34046 'Braunton'. (Photo: Shaun Mockridge)|
|For the majority of the year the West Somerset Railway's 'Triangle Complex' is out of bounds to the general public, even during gala weekends its use is somewhat limited. During most weekdays Freightliner Heavy Haul/ Network Rail still deliver regular trains of used ballast from the mainline network for processing at the site. The triangle is also now used to turn the Network Rail HOBC instead of the previous 100 mile round trip via Westbury and Bristol. However once a year for one weekend the entire area is now filled with traction engines, cars, lorry's, military vehicles, and trade stands as part of the annual WSRA Steam Fayre. This provided a unique opportunity to feature some of the WSR rolling stock in a different setting. On the 26th July 2013, two Freightliner Heavy Haul Class 66/6's are seen traversing the triangle complex with the Network Rail HOBC set (Photo: Mike Rowland).|
|An added attraction of the WSR Steam Fayre was the passing of 5029 'Nunney Castle' working the 1Z27 Bristol Temple Meads - Kingswear 'Torbay Express' charter. The loco is seen passing the Norton Fitzwarren site on full whistle, while every steam engine and vehicle in the Norton Triangle replied in kind, it was a stunning display. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|0-4-0ST Peckett 'Kilmersdon' (now painted in Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway colours), has been on several adventures of late. The loco is normally found in the confines of Washford Yard, and rarely ventures onto the WSR 'mainline'. However in the last month it's managed to cover the full length of the line from Washford to Minehead and back (for the Thomas Weekend) and now Washford to Norton Fitzwarren! The loco was put on display with the recently restored SDJR Victorian Coach and rare LSWR Brake Van. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Another locomotive normally found at Williton Yard is Rolls Royce Sentinel Shunter No.DH16, the loco was used to give cab rides for visitors along part of the triangle. The loco is seen at the start of the day stabled with the demonstration freight train. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|The next 'Torbay Express' charter is booked to operate on the 18th August. Currently it's been confirmed by the operators that former Southern Reigon Bullied Pacific No.34046 'Braunton' will be operating this charter (usual disclaimers apply). The loco was restored from scrap yard condition on the West Somerset Railway, by West Somerset Railway Restorations. After some running on the WSR the loco left the line for additional work to be carried our by Ian Riley & Son's at Bury before a period of mainline testing with West Coast Railways. It's now been passed for mainline running and will hopefully make it's debut in the South West on the 18th August.|
Many people ask us at Taunton Trains how people know enthusiasts manage to know what's happening with unique workings and booked passenger services while at the line side. In years gone by (before the use of mobile phones). Most information would have been passed on via 'word of mouth' or 'phone calls' which often led to many hours stood by the line side waiting for trains to turn up.
In the modern era, mobile phones, tablets and ipads are leading the way in providing information at your finger tips. Text message services started in the late 90's which allowed railway information texts to be delivered to a group of mobile phones which were all subscribed to a service. This provided the first type of 'rail gen' which allowed photographers and enthusiasts to use technology to keep track of unique workings.
Since then the invention of push email, smart phones, tablets, ipads, 'apps' and mobile internet access have revolutionised how information can be used and received. No longer do we have to spend hours waiting for a train. Up to date railway information means you can simple 'pop out' of a shot and return within the hour.
We have provided some of the methods which can easily be accessed on a mobile phone below:
|With localised heavy downpours circulating throughout the South West, Taunton and Bridgwater took a dousing while HP branded 43148 passes Cogload Junction in the dry while working the 1C79 11:06 Paddington - Penzance service. The 'HP twins' (43148 & 43186) are currently banded advertising Hewlett Packard products on the body side. The 'slap dash' application of the body side vinyl hardly blend with the curving nature of 'classic' HST nose end curves! (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|First Great Western's two mobile billboard HST powercars continue to visit Taunton on a regular basis. In the dull light, with an approaching storm on the 2nd August 43186 is seen at Norton Fitzwarren leading the 1C92 18:03 London Paddington - Penzance 'The Golden Hind'. 43170 (former 'Edward Paxman') was on the rear of the set. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Who says it's not possible to photograph trains at night? the 2nd August saw another summer storm sweep up through Devon, Somerset, Avon and Wales. This superb image was captured at Nynehead near Wellington with lightening illuminating the Southwest Mainline. We think the odd's of asking for a train 'in shot' might have been stacked against the photographer! (Photo: Mike Rowland)|
|Get your photos of (and from) 40 steps while you can. Contractors are currently working in the area of Chip Lane, Staplegrove Road and the 40 Steps bridge will be removed in September this year. This will allow Network Rail to finish off their required trackwork (which is currently blocked by a bridge support). There is then an unknown period as to when the new bridge structure will be put into place. The familiar structure has been a part of Taunton's landscape for many years, it will certainly be strange to see it go!|
2013 WSR Diesel Haulage:
The 2013 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. A one Day Rover ticket on the WSR costs £17.00 (which has been frozen at the 2012 price) 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 alternate with DEPG Class 14 D9526 on 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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