|Having spent the weekend in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. The 'Belmond British Pullman' returned to its London home on Sunday 27th April. With Royal Class 67 No.67006 leading, the 1Z83 (also noted by the huge headcode in the window!) Truro - London Victoria passes Norton Fitzwarren returning to the capital. (Photo: Tony Hayman)|
|Day two of 'The Great Britain' charter also passed through Taunton on Sunday 27th April, the tour featured GWR Castle No.5029 'Nunney Castle' & SR Pacific No.34046 'Braunton'. The pair storm north at Cogload Junction with the 1Z85 09:01 St Austell - Bristol Temple Meads charter. The tour also had West Coast Railways Class 47 No.47746 attached to the rear of the train to provide electric train supply. (Photo: Dave Elliot)|
The Taunton area saw a deluge of tours during Saturday 26th April as well as a deluge of bad weather. The annual visit of the Orient Express coincided with Vintage Trains' The Devonian' using D1015 'Western Champion' and also with The Chester Model Railway Club 'Somerset Coast Express'. Overnight weather warnings had been issued for heavy and per longed rain, although the morning period did see some spells of good weather. The line side was saw many enthusiasts out to view the various tours passing through the area. Below is a breakdown of the charters which passed through the area during Saturday:
D1015+47773: 34570 353 (TOPS 99353) 335 (TOPS 99361) 349 (TOPS 99349) 5198 17018 4940 5157 5191 9101
47245 hauling 5029 Nunney Castle: Mk1 BSK 35461
47853+47813: 3345, 3344, 3325, 3333, 1212, 6027, 6158, 6137 (Arriva), 5965 (Arriva) 9521 (Arriva)
67006+ 67024: Mk2e 9502 254 (TOPS 99536), Zena 284 (TOPS 99543), Vera 281 (TOPS 99546), Gwen 308 (TOPS 99532), Cygnus 301 (TOPS 99530), Perseus 302 (TOPS 99531), Phoenix 213 (TOPS 99535), Minerva 245 (TOPS 99534), Ibis 280 (TOPS 99537), Audrey 243 (TOPS 99541), Lucille 35466 (TOPS 99545).
|D1015 'Western Champion' hauled Vintage Trains charter from Tyseley to Paignton, where a preserved steam locomotive No.4277 from the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway was attached for the run to Kingswear. BR two tone green Class 47 No.47773 was also tucked inside the Western to provide train heating. D1015 also carried the number and name D1017 'Western Warrior' on one body side throughout the tour. After the passing of heavy rain D1015 is pictured passing Bathpool on the approach to Taunton catching a brief glimpse of light. (Photo: Shaun Mockridge)|
|In connection with 'The Great Britain' charter (which will pass Taunton on Sunday 27th April). West Coast Railways moved GWR Castle No.5029 'Nunney Castle' from St Phillips Marsh to Exeter using Class 47 No.47245. At Exeter the Steam Locomotive continued onto Plymouth for turning and then joined SR Pacific No.34046 'Braunton' before running forward to St Blazey. The Class 47 joined classmate No.47746 (continuing to Truro) from Exeter where 'The Great Britain' charter had previously arrived from London Victoria behind No.34046 'Braunton'. No.47245 and No.5029 are pictured passing Banklands near Cogload Junction on route to Exeter. (Photo: Bob Tucker)|
|The Chester Model Railway Club, and Ffestiniog Railway Dee & Mersey Group operated their annual charter on the 26th April using two DRS Class 47's. 'The Somerset Coast Express' started at Hooton and ventured to Minehead on the West Somerset Railway. The lengthy rake of former Virgin Trains and Arriva Trains Wales Mk2 coaching stock is seen passing Cogload Junction with Class 47 No.47853 leading the 1Z91 06:43 Hooton to Minehead. No.47813 was located on the rear of the set. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Also visiting the Taunton area was the annual visit of the Orient Express. More recently its been announced the 'VSOE' (Venice Simplon Orient Express) branding is to be dropped in favor of 'Belmond British Pullman'. The pullman operated south from London Victoria to Truro during Friday 25th April, during Saturday the Pullman then operated a Plymouth - Taunton - Plymouth 'Luncheon' priced at £250 per person. Later in the day the train also operated a Newton Abbot - Exeter - Kingswear - Newton Abbot evening 'Dinner'. Class 67's No's. 67006 & 67024 are pictured exiting from Whiteball Tunnel at Marlands in a brief moment of sun. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Friday 25th April saw DB Schenker provide two Class 67 locomotives for the annual visit of the Orient Express to the South West. Shabby Class 67 No.67024 lead Royal Class 67 No.67006 'Royal Sovereign' pass Staplegrove Road, Taunton with the 1Z78 09:44 London Victoria - Truro weekend excursion. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|DB Schenker's operations in the South West are not all that common in daylight hours these days. The once dominant forced in the UK rail industry appears to be slowly receding out of the South West. One such working which can still provide EWS/DB liveried Class 66's is the 7C28 Exeter Riverside - Westbury stone empties. On the 24th April 2014, EWS liveried Class 66 No.66130 is seen passing through Taunton Station on route back to Westbury. (Photo: Nathan Williamson)|
|Colas Rail Freight continue to supply Class 56's on the South West log flow to Teigngrace. However Thursday 24th provided two class members. The southbound empties ran south to Teigngrace during Wednesday 23rd, the return 6M51 09:55 from Teigngrace was booked to return in Thursday 24th. However 56302 experienced problems and was removed from the train at Exeter Riverside Yard. In the mean time a well executed plan saw Class 56 No.56113 arrive light engine from Cardiff haul the train forward to Chirk, while 56302 was left to return to Cardiff light engine. Colas Class 56 No.56133 is pictured passing Cogload Junction with the late running 'logs' making up for lost time as it passes. (Photo: Bob Tucker)|
|Two DRS Class 47's ventured to Paignton on Wednesday 23rd April, with Compass Railtours, the Class 47's (47853 and 47813) were both formerly operated in the South West with Virgin Trains and First Great Western respectively. The 1Z89 Paignton - Southport charter is seen returning past the West Somerset Railway triangle at Norton Fitzwarren after a day in Paignton boosting the South West's tourism! (Photo: Tony Hayman)|
2014 WSR Diesel Haulage:
The 2014 season will again see the DEPG Diesel Fleet working Friday and Saturday passenger services during the peak holiday season in July and August. A one Day Rover ticket on the WSR costs £17.00 (which has been frozen at the 2012/2013 price) but if you book in advance you can get this ticket for £15.30.
The 2014 Diesel Diagram has been altered by the WSR, which means you must now check the 'Yellow' or 'Green' timetable for your day of travel, and there is no longer two return trips provided 'back to back'. Lengthy breaks in the Diesel service at Minehead means the Diesel's see a vastly reduced daily diagram compared to previous years!!
In addition to the booked 'Diesel Diagram' a new venture this year will be the use D832 'Onslaught' on two rare weekend 'Quantock Belle' services. Advance booking is recommended, it is possible to book on the Quantock Belle dining service by calling the following number: 01823 433856
|Saturday 19th April saw LNER A4 Pacific No.60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley' return to the South West hauling 'The Dartmouth Express', the locomotive was deputizing for two previous advertised steam locomotives. The original plan was for the locomotive to be attached to the Guildford - Kingswear service at Westbury, this was later changed to Taunton. On the 19th April 2014, No.60007 passes slowly through the village of Creech St Michael with the 5Z32 05:45 Southall - Taunton light movement. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|'The Dartmouth Express' powers away from Taunton, passing Allerford with the 1Z32 07:50 Guildford to Kingswear charter. (Photo: Adam Snow)||Upon arriving into Taunton the LNER A4 was serviced in the new sidings located behind Platform 1 before the main tour arrived behind a West Coast Railways Class 47. Sir Nigel Gresley is pictured during the servicing lay over at Taunton. (Photo: Jeff Treece)|
|The Dartmouth Express was hauled from Guildford to Taunton by West Coast Railways Class 47 No.47237 (with Class 57 No.57313 attached to the rear of the train for heating). The veteran Class 47 arrived early into Taunton having made good time between Westbury and Taunton. While those who turned out at Cogload Junction to see a steam train voiced their disappointment at the change in operational plans, it's always worth noting that the Class 47's (built in the 1960's) have an overwhelming pedigree on the UK network. Chances to photograph these locomotives on mainline duties are reducing all the time. A simple search on the popular imaging site FLICKR can reveal an interesting locomotive history! (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|The return run of The Dartmouth Express ran into problems after the locomotive set alight several fires between Paignton and Newton Abbot. Initial information suggested the locomotive was to be halted at Exeter, with diesel locomotives to return south from Westbury to haul the charter to Westbury. However after some delay at Exeter the charter was given permission to proceed forward to Westbury at reduced speeds. This resulted in the tour arriving into Taunton around 20 minutes later than planned. No.60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley' is pictured arriving into Taunton in very challenging evening lighting conditions. (Photo: Nathan Willaimson)|
|Nocturnal activities at Taunton Station are rarely recorded in the dead of night, however on the 12th April First Great Western's Class 57/6 No.57604 'Pendennis Castle' is pictured on the Night Riviera sleeper service from Penzance to London Paddington. The 1A40 21:45 from Penzance calls into Taunton at 01:42 in the morning on route to London. (Photo: Wayne Potter)|
|Another of Colas Rail Freight's Class 70's visited Taunton on the 11th April with a driver training run from Westbury to Taunton. The loco reversed direction in Platform 3 at Taunton before returning to Westbury. No.70804 is pictured waiting for the adjacent Paddington bound First Great Western services to depart before following behind. (Photo: Paul Finnimore)|
|LNER A4 Pacific No.60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley' made its first ever visit to the South West on 10th April hauling 'The Cathedrals Express' from Woking to Kingswear. The A4 is seen passing Longforth Farm near Wellington shortly after departing from Taunton. (Video: John White)|
|We return to Taunton Deane services on the M5 for another 'locomotive movement' by road on the 8th April. As part of a deal between the South Devon Diesel Traction group and Harry Needle, Class 37 No.37275 was transferred to the South Devon Railway from Barrow Hill in exchange for Class 20 No.20110. The other Class 20 No.20118 has already left the line and is now operating back on the mainline network, which was swapped for a Class 25 restoration project. The Class 73 and 20 were swtiched at Buckfastleigh on the 8th April. This impressive view shows 37275 taking centre stage at Taunton Deane southbound services on the M5, on route to Buckfastleigh. (Photo: Mike Rowland)|
|Out of course movements using diesels on the West Somerset Railway are often never advertised, however on the 5th April this movement was captured at Blue Anchor. Class 33 No.D6575 (33057) was employed to move the WSR freight set from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard in preparation for forthcoming driver training runs between Bishops Lydeard, Norton Fitzwarren & Crowcombe this coming week. With no passengers (or enthusiasts) on the platform at Blue Anchor, this black and white image turns the clock back to a 'what might of been' image from the 1960's. (Photo: Sclub)|
|West Coast Railways Class 57/3 & 47/7 returned from Laira to Southall on Sunday 6th April. Having spent the night at Laira the pair deposited their rake of FGW Mk3 coaches at the depot and reformed into a 'top and tail' formation for the return trip. Class 57/3 No.57313 is pictured passing Silk Mills with two barrier vehicles in the consist and No.47746 attached to the rear of the set. The closure of Silk Mills Road (because of the Taunton Marathon) made an ideal, and quiet location to take a photo of this unique stock move. (Photo: Sclub)|
|With the South West now reconnected to the rest of the UK Railway network at Dawlish a flurry of stock movements took place during the days after the Dawlish reopening. West Coast Railways were contracted to move a rake of First Great Western Mk3 HST coaches from Killmarnock to Laira Depot on the 5th April. The rare combination of a Class 57/3 No.57313 (carrying former Arriva Trains Wales colours) and Class 47/7/ No.47746 were used to haul the 5Z00 stock transfer move from Scotland to Devon. The refurbished coaching stock will soon be back in traffic with First Great Western, and is seen passing the village of Creech St Michael. The consist for the move was as follows: 80204 (Barrier), 42259, 44036, 42285, 42202, 42003, 42284, 41138, 41137, 6330 (Barrier). (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
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