FEBRUARY 2015 NEWS : 


Carried out in recent weeks while the line has been closed at Taunton was another surprising but much needed piece of line side work. Form over twenty years vegetation on the Cogload Junction flyover had been left to grow with little intervention from Network Rail. It had got to the stage were some trees were beginning to touch trains as they passed. During the recent line closures Network Rail saw doctors have been quietly beavering away at Cogload Junction returning the embankment to it's former 1980's pristine condition. While photography isn't an important part of Network Rail's portfolio, photographers will no doubt agree this is a fantastic achievement which will provide an additional safe location from which to capture the local railway scenes during this coming year.. (Photo: Darren Jones)
DCR Class 31/6 No.31601 was back in Taunton on the 27th February having collected former Virgin Trains Mk2 Coach No. 5989 from The Dartmoor Railway at Meldon Quarry. The locomotive returned from Meldon Quarry and stabled in Taunton, behind Platform 1 for the weekend. The coach is thought to be traveling to the Mid Norfolk Railway where it will become part of the railways fleet of Mk2 coaching stock. It's amazing to think that 13 years after Virgin Trains ended loco hauled passenger stock in the South West, that their livery still exists on passenger coaching stock in 2015! (Photo: Adam Snow)
The Network Rail New Measurement Train passed through Taunton on one of it's regular track recording runs in the South West on the 27th February 2015. Powercar No.43013 is pictured leading the 1Q19 11:04 Plymouth - London Paddington return diagram through Tauntons centre platforms. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
Anyone expecting snow? The rare sight of a Network Rail snowplough stabled in Taunton has bizarrely occurred. Both former snowploughs based at Bristol Barton Hill have now been relocated to Taunton. One is located on the south head shunt at Fairwater Yard (adjacent to Silk Mills Road) while the other is located in the new sidings behind Taunton Station (adjacent to Platform 1). These striking pieces of equipment have never been used to clear snow so spend the majority of their time positioned in sidings awaiting the day when 10ft snow drifts arrive in the South West in freak weather. (Photo: Adam Snow)

 

Taunton had a nocturnal visit from a pair of DRS Class 20's on the 26th February. No.20305 & No20308 operated the South West Snow Ploughs (normally based in Bristol) from Bristol Barton Hill to Fairwater Yard. Once at Fairwater the ploughs were detached (one being deposited on the Fairwater Yard south headshunt, and one being uncoupled behind Taunton Station).The pair then continued light engine on a route learning trip to Meldon Quarry before returning to Exeter. 20305 and 208 are seen arriving into Fairwater Yard at 03:55 in the morning! (Photo: Jason Prole) *Trained and qulified staff with permission.
First Great Western provide lengthy HST sets to operate between Penzance and London Paddington, but occasionally there are requirements to transfer powercars between depots. The 20th February saw two such movements passing through Taunton. First was powercars No.43009 & No.43144 operating between St Phillips Marsh and Laira, then a return working formed of No.43094 and No.43169. Both powercar formations are pictured passing Taunton on route to their respective depots. (Photos: Paul Clarke)

 

Friday 13th February 2015 - Class 50 Bonanza!

Who said that Friday 13th was an unlucky date. Class 50 owner Neil Boden certainly didn't think so as he arrived into Taunton driving his own locomotive and towing his latest Class 50 purchase. Friday 13th February provided a Class 50 bonanza not seen in many years at Taunton. Having recently Purchased Class 50 No.50050 (D400) from the D400 Fund based at Yeovil, a locomotive collection was required in order to transfer No.50050 from Yeovil to Washwood Heath. Originally both Boden Rail Class 50's (50007 & 50017) were planned to move a pair of wagons from the Boden Rail workshops at Washwood Heath to Gloucester Yard, then continue south to Yeovil. Because of gauging issues in the Avon Valley route at Dundas Aqueduct, the locomotives were to be routed via Taunton and Castle Cary in both directions. Sadly on the morning of the move Class 50 No.50017 'Royal Oak' was deemed unable to operate, so 50007 'Hucules' was sent out solo on the movement to the South West. The appearance of Class 50's in the Southwest was once commonplace, and the class were regular favorites of enthusiasts in their day, however in 2015 their visits are considered to be rare and rather special. It was no surprise that many people made the effort to get a glimpse of this locomotive movement.

After spending so may years in Brunswick Green, it's refreshing to view Class 50 No.50007 'Hurcules' back in British Rail Blue. The suburb restoration of the locomotive by owner Neil Boden, & the Boden Rail Engineering team is a credit to those who keep these elderly veterans operational. On the 13th February 2015, No.50007 passes Bathpool light engine in the moist conditions operating the 0Z50 09:38 Gloucester - Yeovil Junction, having just reversed direction at Taunton. (Photo: Adam Snow)
Having collected No.50050 from Yeovil Junction, Class 50 No.50007 'Hercules' returns its new shed mate to Taunton. The pair are pictured passing Creech St Michael. The highly detailed restoration of No.50007 clearly evident against it's mid restoration classmate. (Photo: Paul Rundle)
Owner Driver Neil Boden smiles as he drives his locos arrive into Taunton's platforms passing the gathered crowd who had turned out to see the unique Class 50 pairing. The dark grey skies parted briefly allowing a slither of light onto the locomotives bodies as their arrived into the station. Once arrived into Taunton No.50007 ran round its sister locomotive before towing her back to Washwood Heath. (Photo: Adam Snow)
We thought perhaps this shot of No.50050 could be titled '50 Shades of Grey' and would probably be of more interest for rail enthusiasts who have fond memories of these ladies thrashing on the mainline in the South West. We at Taunton Trains can't wait to see this locomotive back on the mainline, and the 50th Anniversary celebrations for the class which will take place in just two years time. (Photo: Adam Snow)
A Little bit of history repeating (nearly)!
Today's Class 50 move at Taunton so very nearly repeated history after 22 years. The original plan was for both No.50007 and No.50017 to travel to Yeovil and collect classmate No.50050. Sadly No.50017 didn't make the trip. However had No.50007, 017 and 050 arrived at Taunton together from Yeovil, they would have rewriting history after 22 years when the last three Class 50's passed through Taunton's platforms together. On the 6th June 1993 No.50033 'Glorious', No.50050 'Fearless' and No.50007 'Sir Edward Elgar' operated Pathfinder Tours 'The Bishops Triple' from Bishops Lydeard to York. Who in 1993 would of put money on at least the two of the tour locomotives revisiting pastures of old in 2015! (Photo: Jeff Treece)
No.50050 'Fearless' was first towed to Yeovil Junction on the 16th October 2004 on a wet Saturday morning. The locomotive having been bought down to Westbury from Tyseley the previous day. The locomotive was hauled by FM Rail Class 31 No.31601 (ironically which also saw action with DCR during February 2015 at Taunton). The pair are pictured arriving into Yeovil Junction after working forward from Wesbtury. (Photo: Bob Tucker)
No.50050 (D400) 'Fearless' has been based at the Yeovil Railway Centre for around the last ten years under restoration. While the locomotive may look a little tired, much restoration work has been carried out on the locomotive internally as the former D400 website illustrates. The locomotive is pictured at Yeovil in 2007. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

 

Aggregate Industries Class 59/0 No.59002 'Alan J Day' is pictured passing Taunton on the 11th February hauling the 7C28 Exeter Riverside - Westbury stone empties formed of MBA monster box wagons. The exceptionally clean Class 59 has been recently repainted at Eastleigh Works into its new livery. (Photo: Paul Clarke)

 

TAUNTON ENGINEERING 7th & 8th February 2015
Out of sight in the image taken below, but by walking along the River Tone footpath is was possible to obtain a view of Colas Rail Class 70 No.70803 from an adjacent public footpath. This image shows the loco stabled just short of the public crossing point. (Photo: Jason Prole)
By mid day on Sunday 8th February, engineers had worked through the night to replace the track and crossings at Taunton East Junction. The view at 12pm on Sunday shows the new track work and points in place, with welded connections being made to the mainlines. Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70809 is just out of shot in the distance, stabled between Taunton East and Bathpool. The train would later be unloaded of fresh ballast. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
During Saturday 7th February, Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70807 arrives into Taunton with the 6C23 12:39 Exeter Riverside - Taunton East engineers. The rain conveyed two empty Osprey wagons (behind the loco) followed by a further 28 empty Falcon wagons for loading at the worksite. The train is pictured passing 40 Steps. (Photo: Phil Izzard)
Taken on Saturday 7th February, Network Rail engineers prepare to receive the first new track and point sections delivered via mobile track transportation equipment. The unique equipment is pictured at Taunton East having moved a section of track from it's assembly point at near Taunton Station. (Photo: Phil Izzard)
Coaches replaced trains at Taunton over the weekend of the 7th and 8th February due to essential track renewals at Taunton East Junction. A well planned timetable of coach replacement services transferred passengers between Taunton, Bridgwater, Highbridge, Bristol Temple Meads and Castle Cary while Network Rail upgraded the track. A motley selection of Firstgroup and hired in operator coaches are pictured at Taunton Station on the 7th February. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
During the weekend engineering, Cross Country Trains were operating an hourly service from Taunton to Plymouth, while First Great Western were diverting their long distance HST's via Yeovil reversing at Exeter to gain access to the alternative route. Passengers requiring services to/from Castle Cary, Bridgwater and Highbridge were transferred onto alternative road transport. A Cross Country Voyager is pictured departing Taunton with the 1V46 11:16 Taunton - Plymouth service passing Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70809 waiting to depart for Exeter Riverside Yard having exited the work site. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
This close up image taken from Obridge Viaduct shows the extent of the works taking place at Taunton East Junction. While passengers may not like their journeys being interupted, Network Rail does need to carry out these works over weekend periods in the Winter in order to upgrade track, and increase line speeds. Junctions in particular can't be renewed quickly. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
The extent of the work site was viewable from Obridge Viaduct in Taunton, This elevated position gave a perfect view of the work site at Taunton East Junction. With the junction removed Freightliner Class 66/5 No.66515 is pictured unloading fresh ballast into the recently excavated section of track. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
On Saturday 7th February, Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70809 is pictured stabled on the down mainline between Taunton Station and Taunton East Junction. The train conveyed loaded wagons of spent ballast dug out from the excavations at Taunton East Junction. Alongside the locomotive are sets of rail lifting equipment ready to be positioned later in the day. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
As part of the engineering works at Taunton on the weekend of the 7th & 8th February, Colas Rail Freight moved two trains from Westbury to Exeter Riverside Yard to stable on the 6th February. Both trains were positioned in advance to stable in Exeter until required the next day. Class 70 No.70803 is pictured passing Allerford (near Victory Crossing) on route to Exeter with the 6C24 from Westbury conveying fresh ballast in Network Rail 'Falcon' wagons. (Photo: Adam Snow)

 

 

During Friday 6th February Freightliner Heavy Haul operated the 6Y62 Westbury - Exeter Riverside engineers train. The service provided the rare visit of a Class 66/9 to the South West. No.66957 named 'Stephenson Locomotive Society' is pictured in the afternoon Winter light at Cogload Junction. The train operated south on Friday 6th because of the weekend engineering blockade which would be taking place at Taunton East Junction over the weekend of the 7th and 8th meaning the line to Westbury would be impassable. (Photo: Adam Snow)
DC Rail ventured into Devon on the 2nd February to collect locomotives from the Dartmoor Railway following the 2015 'Polar Express' season. Class 31/6 No.31601 is pictured arriving into Taunton hauling Class 47/7 No.47701 'Waverley' and Class 33/1 No.33103 'Swordfish'. The Class 31 stabled in Taunton on both the nights of the 1st and 2nd February before returning to Burton on Trent on early on the 3rd February. (Photo: Jeff Treece)
Having arrived into Taunton from Meldon, DCR then set about reforming the train so that the Class 31 and 33 would lead, with Class 47/7 No.47701 would be on the rear of the set. It took quite some time to shunt the locomotives in the sidings at Taunton, which gave local enthusiasts plenty of time to record the event. No.33103 'Swordfish' is pictured. (Photo: Steve Crockett)
DCR Class 31 No.31601 shunts Class 47/7 No.47701 and No.33103 at Taunton reforming the train ready for onward transit to Burton on Trent. (Photo: Steve Crockett)
Following the report below on the 2nd February, First Great Western attempted to operate the 'down' Night Rivera Sleeper on the 3rd February using Class 57/6 No.57603. However the 1C99 23:50 from London Paddington only made it as far as Trowbridge before the loco failed. The service was finally terminated at Westbury with passengers woken up in the middle of the night and transferred to a waiting HST set for onward transit to Penzance. The 'Up' sleeper did at least make it to London by using Class 57/3 No.57303 but suffered faults on route resulting in a 132 minute late arrival into London Paddington. No.57602 later operated from Old Oak Common to Westbury in order to tow the failed sleeper set to Penzance, and attempt to operate some form of service for the 'Up' Sleeper on the 4th Feb!
Rail passengers experienced disruption their journeys on Monday 2nd February after a First 'Buses of Somerset' Double Decker bus got stuck under the road bridge in Station Road. Trains and passengers were delayed by up to 20 minutes while the bus was removed and the bridge was inspected. It's not known why the double decker was using the route (a well known Low Bridge in the area), as the No.21 service which it was operating does not use Station Road as it's normal route into Taunton. While the occourance of busses becoming stuck under the station bridge is rare (and this was clearly a mistake due to the bus being 'off route'), the occourance of lorries hitting the station road bridge is all too common, and happens about two or three times a year. The bus in question was a Dennis Trident/ Plaxton President, REG: MIG3859 No.32866. The incident was captured by the Somerset County Gazzette.
First Great Western again failed to operate it's 'Night Rivera' sleeper service to London on the 2nd February, with the failure of hired in Class 57/3 No.57312 from Direct Rail Services. The locomotive also carries Northern Belle livery. The set finally rolled towards London during the early afternoon behind Class 57/6 No.57602. The 5A40 10:17 Penzance - Old Oak Common empty coaching stock move formed of No.57602 & No.57312 is pictured passing Cogload Junction heading for London, where First Great Western will need to find a trustworthy and operational Class 57/6 to attempt to operate tonight's sleeper from London. (Photo: Chay Farzaneh)
Freightliner Intermodal provided a rare Class 66/5 for an overnight visit to Devon on the 31st Jan/ 1st Feb. Class 66 No.66532 'P&O Nedlloyd Atlas' is normally employed on container traffic from various container ports around the UK by Freightliner Intermodal. During weekends spare locomotives in the Bristol area can often supplement the Freightliner Heavy Haul fleet. No.66532 is pictured returning to Westbury after its overnight trip to Devon at Broomhay Crossing while hauling the 6Y61 from Newton Abbot. (Photo: Adam Snow)

 

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2015 NEWS
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