APRIL 2015 NEWS : 


Network Rail sent one of their Class 97/3's to Exeter on the 30th April to collect a stranded test train after it's original locomotive No.31285 failed with traction motor problems. It's expected that the Class 31 will be removed by road back to Derby. No.97304 is seen passing 40 Steps, Taunton (Photo: Chay Farzaneh)
It's not known how many steam tours we will see operating in the South West over the summer months due to the ongoing issues surrounding West Coast Railways. One of the only steam legs to operate on the annual Great Britain Charters took place on the 28th April. No.70000 is seen exiting from Whiteball Tunnel with the 1Z82 08:44 London Victoria - Exeter. A substantial number of photographers were present all huddled together on the 'sunny' south side.  But this shot was taken by wireless remote via  a second camera mounted on a tripod and pre-set on the opposite side of the bridge. The camera standing there alone raising a number of comments from fellow photographers. At Taunton Trains we always like to 'think outside of the box' and commend this unique method of capturing Britannia! (Photo: Stephen Ginn)
First Great Western has recently applied vinyls the second of the London Midland twins into a new advertising livery. Class 153 No.153333 now sports a 'Visit South Devon' livery with different pictures on either side of the unit. The colourful unit has not been refurbished inside however. Several observant people have also claimed that the seaside image portrayed on the side of the unit is not of 'South Devon', could this really be true? (Photo: Paul Wilkins)
The annual visit of the Belmond Pullman (formerly VSOE) occurred on the 24th, 25th, 26th April. Friday saw the normal London Victoria - Truro leg completed by Class 67's No.67005 & No.67026. The pair were then back to visit Taunton on the 25th with a Luncheon special from Plymouth. No.67005 & No.67026 are seen at Norton Fitzwarren waiting access to the relief line to access Platform 2 at Taunton Station. Having run round in Taunton the pair returned to Plymouth, before working back to London Victoria on the 26th April during the mid afternoon. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Saturday 25th April saw Pathfinder Tours front two DRS Class 37's into Somerset and Devon. Direct Rail Services provided Class 37/6 No.37605 with No.37059 for 'The Devon Explorer' which took the class members to Meldon Quarry, Exmouth and then home via Yeovil. The pair are seen rounding the curve at Creech St Michael on the approaches to Taunton. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Aggregate Industries liveried Class 50 No.59005 'Kenneth J Painter' was at the lead end of the 7C28 Exeter Riverside to Westbury stone empties on the 24th April. The colorful combination is pictured passing Taunton with its rake of MBA box wagons, having been previously unloaded in Exeter Riverside Yard. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
Having spent a night in a Torquay Hotel (Hopefully one not by the name of Fawlty Towers), Class 67 No.67079 lead the 1Z05 Torquay - Ealing Broadway north through Taunton on the 24th April returning managers to London. The set is again seen passing through Taunton's centre platforms. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
DB Schenker provided a rare visit of the company 'management train' to the South West on the 23rd April. The unique set propelled its way south with DVT No.82146 leading and Class 67 No.67029 located on the rear. No.82146 is seen passing Taunton with the 1Z05 08:31 Ealing Broadway to Torquay. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
First Great Western named one of the HST powercars after Glastonbury Festival organizer (and farmer) Michael Eavis on the 23rd April. The ceremony took place at London Paddington before the service departed for Penzance. No.43028 now carries the festival organizers name complete with a central crest, and is pictured at Taunton on the same day. (Photo: Paul Clarke)

 

On the 18th April 2015, the West Somerset Railway hosted another of their training weekends for First Great Western employees. The event used two DEPG Diesel Locomotives, Class 47 No.D1661 'North Star' and Class 33 No.D6575. The organised event Included driving experiences, shadowing the on train guard, shadowing the signalman at Bishops Lydeard and PICOP duties (putting down protection and removing protection during a site occupation). Class 47 No.D1661 'North Star' is pictured on the Norton Triangle. (Photo: Alex Martin-Brown)
BR Green Class 33 No.D6575 is seen stabled in the Platform at Norton Fitzwarren. Trains were operated between Norton Fitzwarren, Bishops Lydeard and Crowcombe Heathfield providing emplyoees of FGW with valuable experiance of railway operations. (Photo: Alex Martin-Brown)
Taunton Station is starting another transformation as part of a major re-branding by Firstgroup which will see Firstgroup colours and name dropped in favour of reintroducing GWR branding with the use of traditional Brunswick Green colours for the Great Western Franchise. The transformation will slowly begin to role out over the coming months with 'GWR' branding being used by September 2015. The first paint applied at Taunton can is pictured on Platform 2 (Photo: Paul Clarke)
First Great Western Class 150/2 No.150219 has recently returned to service for First Great Western having undergone refurbishment and fitting of a disabled toilet. New legislation introduced means all frontline passenger trains need to have disabled facilities fitted by 2019. However while new stock have these facilities designed into the build process and layout, trying to squeeze such facilities into older trains (such as the majority of the First Great Western fleet) means a reduction in seats and overall space inside the train. Disabled facilities will continue to be retro fitted to all First Great Western stock prior to the 2019 deadline. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
Class 67's were the order of the day in Taunton on the 17th April. DB Schenker provided Royal Class 67 No.67006 'Royal Sovereign' to haul 'The Cornish Riviera Statesman' charter from Leeds to Penzance. DB Schenker were standing in for West Coast Railways who recently had their entire operation halted by Network Rail after a serious SPAD incident. The Class 67 operated by DB Schenker is pictured passing 40 Steps, Taunton on route to Penzance (Photo: Chay Farzaneh)
A second pair of Class 67's (also operated by DB Schenker) passed through Taunton on a test train on the 17th April. Silver Class 67 No.67012 'A Shropshire Lad' and No.67018 'Keith Heller' top and tail two Network Rail Mk2 test coaches. The colourful combination is pictured passing the worlds slowest construction project at 40 Steps, where it's now taken over two years to build a road less than two miles long. (Photo: Chay Farzaneh)
The colourful DB Schenker/ Network Rail combination was also captured at Charlton near Cogload Junction. Class 67 No.67012 'A Shropshire Lad' is pictured leading the 1Q18 Plymouth - Old Oak Common test train towards London. (Photo: Robert Latham)
Class 70's currently seem to be in favour for use on the Colas Rail Freight 'logs'. Having now switched their loading operating to Exeter Riverside Yard from Teigngrace, Class 70 No.70804 passes through Taunton on the 16th April hauling the 6M51 12:31 Exeter Riverside - Chirk loaded logs.(Photo: Paul Clarke)
Freightliner Class 66/5 No.66596 is pictured arriving back into Taunton through Platform 2 from Westbury on the 16th April hauling the return 6C73 Westbury - Fairwater Yard loaded MOBC trip working. (Photo: Paul Clarke)

 

Network Rail Test Trains are commonplace throughout the UK railway network, and each weekday their specialist equipment is spread far and wide around the UK, testing track, equipment and structures to the latest standards. On the 9th April, Class 31 No.31233 pushed its way into the South West on the rear of the 3Z05 from Derby. With DBSO No.9708 leading the brightly coloured is seen passing Banklands near Durston. (Photo: Paul Wilkins)
We thought we'd feature something a little 'different' on Taunton Trains this week. We are all to aware of trains which run on rails, but from time to time the railways need to turn to alternative methods to move their rolling stock around the UK. Ont he 9th April this heavy haulage Volvo FH from Heanor was captured at Silk Mills awaiting entry into Fairwater Yard. It's load consisting of a single HOBC wagon No.DR92246 back from repair/ overhaul. Heanor have a long standing relationship with railway based road movements but are rarely seen in the South West so we thought this image was worthy of inclusion on Taunton Trains.. (Photo: Phil Izzard)

 

First Great Western 'Sleeper' services have been operating under an air of normality recently after their latest set of failures and daylight operations. On the 3rd April celebrity Class 57/6 No.57604 'Pendennis Castle' was captured at Taunton in the early hours of the morning while working the 1C99 23:50 London Paddington - Penzance 'Night Riviera'. (Photo: Matthew Barr)
Easter Monday provided some stunning morning lighting in the Taunton area. Coupled with the recent return of the Network Rail MOBC (Medium Output Ballast Cleaner) set to Taunton's Fairwater Yard, morning and afternoon feeder services have started to operate between Taunton and Westbury for ballast replenishment. On the 6th April Class 66/5 No.66596 passes Charlton near Cogload Junction hauling the 6C72 Fairwater Yard - Westbury MOBC empties for loading. (Photo: Adam Snow)
Pioneer Class 150 No.150001 made another appearance in the Taunton area on the 6th April. The original Class 150 unit passes Charlton while working the 2D06 Taunton - Bristol Parkway stopping service. (Photo: Adam Snow)

 

April 1st 2015 saw only the second ever recorded visit of an LNER B1 Steam Locomotive to Taunton. A record exists that No.61251 operated on an Exeter to Bristol train on July 7th 1948 as this was part of the "1948 Exchanges". The 2015 visit marks a 67 year absence of the class operating in the South West (Photo: Chay Farzaneh)
LNER B1 No.61306 has been booked for several visits to the South West this year as part of charters operated by Steam Dreams. It's certainly nice to see something different passing through Taunton's platforms!. The plucky little locomotive is seen departing from Taunton hauling the 1Z30 Oxford - Kingswear service. (Photo: Jeff Treece)
Another superb location for capturing steam locomotives is Whiteball Tunnel on the Somerset/ Devon border. As part of the recent drainage works carried out by Network Rail the embankment on the Devon side of the tunnel has been landscaped .Having just climbed the bank from Taunton No.61306 'Mayflower' takes the down grade towards Tiverton Parkway and Exeter at Whiteball. (Photo: S A Ginn)
The return of LNER B1 No.61306 'Mayflower' was slightly delayed in the evening due to some unscheduled welding which was required at Paignton after the ash pan rocker became stuck in the open position. The charter arrived at Taunton running around 15 minutes behind schedule. Large crowds turned out to see this unique and rare locomotive during its first ever visit to the South West. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
  This stunning footage was recorded from the M5 between Cullompton and Whitebll Bank on the evening retun of 'Mayflower' from Paignton, operating at line speed alongside the M5 motorway, showing a steam locomotive operating at its best. The video can be enlarged by clicking on the Youtube icon on the bottom right of the video. (Video: Oldham Video Productions)
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