|We turn back the clock for Easter to provide a superb image from 1970. This shot (taken from Taunton School) on the 21st March 1970 and shows Taunton West Juntion Signal Box with a Class 119 DMU (51080+51097) passing working a Taunton - Minehead stopping service. Adjacent is a Class 42 'Warship' D813 'Diadem' which had been held on the Taunton 'avoider' hauling the 7C30 09:10 Stoke Gifford - Exeter Riverside mixed fright. (Photo: Dr R Elsdon)|
|The West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala continued for the second wintry weekend on the 23rd/ 24th March. Combined with the event was the popular evening photographic charter organised by David Williams chairman of the WSRA. The charter used visiting Railmotor No.93 which was posed in several locations at Crowcombe Station for photographers to capture images of this unique item of rolling stock. No.93 is seen in freezing conditions at Crowcombe Station prior to returning photographers to Bishops Lydeard around 21:30. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Two steam charters visited Taunton on the 23rd March the most impressive of which was 'The Mayflower' the charter was hauled from London Euston to Taunton by SR Westcountry No.34067 'Tangmere'. At Taunton LMS Black 5 No.45407 'The Lancashire Fusilier' was added for the run to Plymouth. It's thought it could be up to six years since No.45407 has visited the Taunton area. The pair are seen departing from Taunton for Plymouth. On the return run the Black 5 was removed at Exeter (as planned) to allow Tangmere to continue back to London solo. (Photo: Adam Snow)|
|June the 7th - 9th during the Mixed Traction Gala at the West Somerset Railway will be the last time for enthusiasts to travel behind the DEPG Class 33 No.D6566 (33048) before the loco is officially withdrawn for a major over haul. The loco has not been overhauled since the 1980's when it was operated by British Rail. The plucky machine has given the WSR 18 years of good service,hauling all manner of passenger and freight trains along the 19 mile line. However following the restoration of sister locomotive D6575 (33057) 33048 has been allocated to become the next locomotive to recieve some much needed care and attention (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
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
Man Dies in Athelney Level Crossing after collision between Train and Car
At 06:30 on Thursday 21st March a First Great Western - High Speed Train (HST) accelerating to 100mph hit a Red Peugeot 306 on the half barriered level crossing situated at Athelney Crossing in Somerset. The incident happened as the 1A73 05:46 Exeter - London Paddington service accelerated away from the Taunton area shortly after passing Cogload Junction heading towards Westbury. Athelney Crossing is located on a quiet road on the Somerset Levels. Leading powercar 43138 struck the vehicle at speed taking over a mile to stop. The occupant of the car was pronounced dead at the scene. The double man crew of the train were unharmed but reportedly very shaken. Passengers were kept on board the service while emergency services made train safe and recovered the body of the deceased. The train then slowly return to Taunton around noon using the undamaged rear powercar, where alternative travel arrangements were made for passengers who had been stuck on board the service for over five hours.
Network Rail & witness's appear to have confirmed that the barriers were down and working correctly, however being a half barrier crossing, cars are free to weave between them. The HST set later returned to Laira Depot in Plymouth at reduced speed where the damaged powercar will be cleaned and assessed for repair. The Westbury line remained closed for most of the day with some services diverted via Bristol.
43138 & 43176 are seen passing Nynehead between Taunton and Exeter slowly heading to the First Great Western depot at Plymouth after disembarking passengers at Taunton. (Photo: Mike Rowland)
Saturday 16th March saw the West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala start for the first of two weekends of steam on the line. Visiting locomotives from various railways provided additional interest and traction for enthusiasts to enjoy. None made quite as much impact a USA S160 Steam Locomotive No.6046 from the Churnet Valley Railway, it's American chime whistle could be heard echoing throughout the quantocks! Much cutting back has been carried out on the branch over the winter period, by the cutting back gang. Particular attention has been between Crowcombe and Stogumber where large sections of overhanging trees and shrubs have been removed which has changed the view points at some locations. Weather on the Saturday afternoon was not conducive to good photography as a huge hail storm swept through Devon, Somerset and South Wales causing localised flooding in places.
We would like to advise any lineside photographers visiting the area that the WSR lineside area is totally sodden with water, please think carefully when parking your vehicle at lineside locations. Several people had to be towed out of the mud after their vehicles became stuck after the normally hard ground could not cope with the additional weight of vehicles!
Above are a selection of images featuring a some of the WSR visiting Steam Locomotives alongside some of the WSR home fleet.
|Friday 15th March provided a daylight appearance for at Network Rail test train through Taunton in preparation for some nocturnal wanderings in Devon. Class 31 No.31233 propelled the 3Z02 09:04 Bristol Temple Meads - Exeter Riverside through Taunton at 10:30. The colorful combination was headed by DBSO No.9701 and was formed of test coaches 72612 & 999605. The 3Z02 is seen at 40 Steps, Taunton heading South. A Video link is here (Photo: Nathan Williamson)|
|Friday 15th March saw DB Schenker Class 66/0 No.66132 return through Taunton after a night in Cornwall on a ballast drop for Network Rail. The 6W66 05:40 Penwithers Junction - Westbury empty autoballaster set is seen passing 40 Steps. (Photo: Nathan Williamson)|
|With the forthcoming WSR Spring Steam Gala items of stock are starting to arrive on the West Somerset Railway. Railmotor No.93 is seen at Williton on test having arrived last week. The Great Western Society have hired the Railmotor for a special trip on the 20th March for two round trips departing Minehead at 11:00 and 15:00. Tickets cost £30 for GWS members and £35 for non members. For further details please contact Taunton Trains and we will put you in contact with the GWS organiser. (Photo: Tom Gulliford)|
|Freightliner Heavy Haul are being kept bust with multiple contracts for Network Rail in the South West, on the 11th March Freightliner liveried Class 66/5 No.66546 passes Taunton with a mixed rake of DB Schenker wagons hauling the 6Z28 Westbury to Exeter Riverside engineers. (Photo: Steve Yarde)|
|Freightliner continue to operate Network Rail's HOBC set out of Fairwater Yard. On the 11th March Freightliner liveried Class 66/6 No.66617 passes Cogload Junction with the daily 6C72 Fairwater Yard - Westbury HOBC portion empties. After loading at Westbury the train returned to Taunton as the 6C73 ready for shunting and eventual use on 6Y11 overnight. (Photo: Steve Yarde)|
|LNER A1 Pacific No.60163 'Tornado' visited Taunton for the first time in its new colours on the 9th March, hauling 'The Cathedrals Express' charter from London Paddington to Plymouth. The charter arrived early into Taunton but was delayed upon its booked departure time of 11:52. As a result the 1Z60 from Paddington was held of the 12:17 Cross Country service to overtake at Silk Mills before being allowed to proceed to Devon. 60163 is seen gathering speed at Norton Fitzwarren following the unscheduled pause. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|On the 9th March, Mendip Rail Class 59's were back in use on weekend engineering trains for Network Rail. 59102 had already worked 6W29 Westbury - Hemerdon through Taunton at 14:30, however following at 15:30 was the 7W28 14:22 Westbury - Hemerdon formed of Hanson liveried Class 59/1 No.59103 & Yeoman liveried Class 59/0 No.59002. The pair top and tailed a set of mixed JNA wagons along with Volker Rail Crane No.78213. After an almighty downpour 59103 is seen passing 40 Steps taking the relief line to be looped. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|DB Schenker moved one of their stored Class 60's from St Blazey to Westbury on the 8th March. EWS liveried Class 60 No.60100 was towed north by No.66082. The loco will eventually make its way back to Toton to be placed into the Class 60 overhaul program. Mainline Blue No.60044 remains in Cornwall. The Class 60 movement is seen passing 40 Steps. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|The unfamiliar site of a DB Schenker locomotive at the head of the Moorswater Cement train still seems odd to see after nearly ten years of Freightliner operation. On the 7th March, EWS liveried Class 66 No.66230 is seen paused at Taunton waiting for a path along the B&H route to Westbury. (Photo: Wayne Potter)|
|We are pleased to announce that following a two year gap we have again been able to produce a book through the online bookstore. Blurb.com. To celebrate 10 years of Digital Railway Photography we will be producing a set of books over the coming year (each of them over 130 pages covering two years at a time). Our 2004/2005 & 2006/2007 are now online. For more details why not visit our books page, or Blurb store page.|
|Sunday 3rd March saw many Class 59's returning north from their weekend in Cornwall and Devon. Here Hanson liveried Class 59/1 No.59101 'Village of Whatley' leads No.59103 'Village of Mells' through Taunton in 'top and tail' formation. The 7W40 from Newton Abbot to Westbury also conveyed a Colas Crane along with a mixture of ballast wagons. (Photo: Wayne Potter)|
|The South West was again invaded by various types of Mendip Rail Class 59's in preparation for weekend engineering work in Devon & Cornwall. On the 3rd March EWS liveried Class 66 No.66106 leads Yeoman liveried Class 59/0 No.59002 and Aggregate Industries liveried Class 59/0 No.59005. The threesome are seen passing Creech St Michael while working the 6W48 Westbury - St Blazey engineers. (Photo: Sclub)|
|Following close behind the initial Class 59 movement, two further locomotives passed through Taunton light engine. With 'Bell End' leading Aggregate Industries liveried Class 59/0 No.59001 'Yeoman Endeavor' pilots DB Schenker's Class 59/2 No.59206 through Bathpool, the pair worked the 0Z49 light engine move from Westbury to Exeter Riverside. (Photo: Sclub)|
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