MARCH 2017 NEWS : 


Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70805 with 17 PCA cement tanks in tow passes through 40 Steps, Taunton, the returning the empties on the 6C36 11:09 Moorswater Lafarge to Aberthaw Cement Works (Lafarge) during Thursday 30th March 2017. (Photo: S A Ginn)
Class 59's made a welcome return to Taunton on Thursday 30th March, Mendip Rail Class 59/1 No.59102 'Village of Chantry' passes Taunton's Fairwater Yard whilst working 6C28 Exeter Riverside Yard to Whatley Quarry. (Photo: S A Ginn)
Freightliner Class 66/5 No.66519 passes Cogload Junction on Sunday 26th March 2017 at the head of the Network Rail System 5 High Output Ballast Cleaner. Hidden in the heat haze at the rear of the consist is No.66525 on the 6Y37 10:46 Parson Street to Fairwater Yard via Bristol Parkway & Westbury. (Photo: S A Ginn)
Colas Rail Freight Class 66/8 No.66848 with a mixture of JNA & MLA ballast wagons exits a Bridgwater track possession 'wrong road' at Cogload on Sunday 26th March 2017. After running round and reversing direction at nearby Taunton the 6C21 17:15 from Cogload Junction continued it's journey on to Westbury Down TC (Photo: S A Ginn)
Colas Rail Freight CLass 70's No.70805 & No.70808 'top & tail' 7C22, a twin Jib Crane No. DR78215 with a mixture of JNA & MLA ballast wagons, from Cogload Junction to Westbury on Sunday 27th March 2017. The pair of Class 70's are seen exiting the Bristol line possession wrong line at Cogload Junction. Following a reversal manoeuvre at nearby Taunton the train continued it's journey to Westbury. (Photo: S A Ginn)

 

The 21st March saw the annual snow plough test from Fairwater Yard. Direct Rail Services are contacted to carry out this diagram. Class 66/3 No.66302 and Class 66/4 No.66431 were used to collect both Network Rail snowploughs from either end of Fairwater Yard and then operated the 7Z09 to Tiverton Loop. The pair of locomotives and snowploughs ZZA 965231, 965209 were captured on their return to Taunton at Norton Fitzwarren. Having deposited the ploughs back in Fairwater Yard the locomotives returned to Bridgwater Yard for the night before heading to Devonport next day to collect a flask from Devonport. (Photo: Thomas Courtney)
A recent 'odd ball' returning to use with GWR is Class 153 No.153305. The unit was previously part of the GWR fleet but was to be transferred to Northern, as part of this move the unit was sent to Long Marston to begin its colour change. However since then the unit has now returned to service with GWR and is currently wearing undercoat grey livery. It's ghostly appearance instantly gained it the nickname 'Casper'. On the 21st March 2017 Capser can be seen at Taunton ready to depart with the 2U26 17:06 Taunton - Cardiff stopping service. (Photo: Thomas Courtney)

Colas Rail Freight have been very busy in the Taunton area during March, and have set a brand new record for Taunton. The entire Class 70 Fleet (including new 70812 and recent returnee 70803) have all passed through Taunton during the first three weeks of March, All 11'current' Locomotives (70801, 802, 803, 804, 805, 806, 807, 808, 809, 810, 812) have been regular sights on Engineers, Aggregate and Cement. With two more Class 70's due to arrive next week, and the final two Class 70's 70816 & 70817 on test in Erie, Pennsylvania we wonder how long will it be before this record can be broken again!

Details of the workings which lead to the record breaking month can be found below with thanks to Sclub:

70801 - 01/03/17 - 6C21 18.50 (28/02/17) Par Goods Loop-Westbury Engineers

70802 - 11/03/17 - 6C22 10.00 Westbury-Cogload Jn (via Fairwater Yd) Engineers

70803 - 23/03/17 - 0C20 12.28 Tavistock Jn-Westbury Light Engine (with 70812)

70804 - 04/03/17 - 6C23 20.42 Westbury-Athelney (via Taunton) Engineers

70805 - 18/03/17 - 6C20 19.46 Westbury-Bridgwater (via Fairwater Yd) Engineers (with 70808)

70806 - 17/03/17 - 6C27 05.27 Westbury-Exeter Riverside Yd Stone

70807 - 15/03/17 - 6C35 05.15 Aberthaw-Moorswater Cement

70808 - 04/03/17 - 6C21 18.23 Westbury-Castle Cary (via Taunton) Engineers

70809 - 04/03/17 - 6C22 18.53 Westbury-Athelney (via Taunton) Engineers

70810 - 01/03/17 - 6C35 02.50 Aberthaw-Moorswater Cement

70812 - 08/03/17 - 0Z70 11.45 Westbury-Tavistock Jn Light Engine

 

On the 18th March 2017, Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70801 (known as 'The Turkey') stands in Taunton with a most rare consist for the south west, with RRA 110743 + FZA 600500 + RRA200954 + OCA 112163 on: 6C25 20:37 Westbury to Cogload Junction via Taunton. The wagon was loaded with a new point frog intended for relaying the up point at Cogload Junction where the Berks & Hants line leaves the Bristol and Exeter mainline. However the work did not go ahead and the wagons were left in Taunton station tamper sidings. The FZA was one of only three of this type of wagon built by British Rail in 1982 was a prototype for a possible replacement of the YWA salmon fleet but it wasn't to be. The three FZA's are now converted to carry point frogs. (Photo: Nathan Williamson)
Freightliner Class 66/5 No.66525 passes Taunton on Saturday 18th March 2017 with five Network Rail Autoballasters (380304 380107 380115 380109 380006). The locomotive called briefly at Taunton for a driver change before proceeding to Fairwater yard working: 6Y39 18:31 Hinksey Yard to Yatton Loop via Fairwater. (Photo: Nathan Williamson)

 

 
Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70804 storms south through Taunton on Saturday 18th March working the 6X54 19:26 Westbury to Teignmouth conveying a 'rail vac' for overnight ballast work in the Teignmouth area. (Video Nathan Williamson)

 

Weekend engineers have been providing a large amount of movements through the Taunton area during March, On Saturday 11th March 2017 Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70802 passes Bathpool hauling the 6C22 10:00 Westbury to Cogload Junction via Bath and Bristol Temple Meads. (Photo: Phil Izzard)
On Sunday March 12th 2017, following a run round manoeuvre at Taunton, Colas Rail Freight's Class 70 No.70804 approaches Cogload with 18 loaded JNA Ballast Wagons destined for an engineering possession between the Junction and Athelney. The 6C27 had run via Bath, Bristol & Taunton with the 13:46 Westbury to Cogload Junction. (Photo: S A Ginn)
On Sunday 12th March 2017 with just half a mile to run to Cogload Junction, 43194 + LA15 + 43188 are pictured passing the small hamlet of Charlton whilst assigned to 1Z91 15:42 Plymouth to London Paddington, re-routed via Bristol Temple Meads due to engineering work. Looking resplendent in ex-works condition, 43194 is captured working it's first passenger revenue earning service since refurbishment and repainting into GWR Green livery at Donacster Works.(Photo: S A Ginn)

 

 

In what can only be desctibed asd one of the rarest and hardest photos to achieve in the Taunton area. A Chance meeting at Cogload Junction on Tuesday 7th March 2017 saw, GWR liveried 43188 + Green LA15 Stock with BR INTERCITY 43002 'Sir Kenneth Grange' assisting at the rear working the1C82 12:05 London Paddington to Penzance On the flyover embankment, a pair of Class 153's No.153333 ''Visit South Devon by Train' and No.153370 approach working the 2C75 11:59 Cardiff Central to Taunton slow to a halt to give way to the Welsh Dragon HST. (Photo: S A Ginn)

On March 10th 2017, two days after delivering a nuclear flask to the Devonport Royal Dockyard, DRS Class 66's No.66301 & No.66424 plus Mk2 Escort Vehicles 9419 & 9428 return north on a gloriously sunny Friday morning, the weather was in stark contract to their southbound working. The 5M63 10:59 Exeter Riverside Yard to Crewe Coal Sidings (DRS) the ensemble is pictured passing the famous Taunton School on the approach to the station complex. (Photo: S A Ginn)

 

What a difference a day makes! In comparatively balmy Spring like conditions, a GWR Green HST set departs from Taunton working the 1C79 11:06 Paddington - Penzance service with No.43041 leading No.43027. The pair are seen passing the Taunton NIDR road ...which still isn't open but does now have colourful yellow lines painted. (Photo: Thomas Courtney)
Direct Rail Services operated a flask from Crewe to Devonport on the 8th March, two Class 66's were used for the trip along with two escort vehicles. Running in what can only be described as inclement conditions, Class 66 No.66424 and No.66301 pass Banklands near Cogload Junction with the 6Z40 06:13 Crewe - Devonport formed of Mk2 No.9428, MODA 95771 and Mk2 No. 9419. (Photo: Paul Wilkins)
This interesting going away shot taken at Chip Lane, Taunton on the 8th March, shows the consist of the train nicely framed with Taunton School in the background. Mk2 No.9419 can be seen complete with it's plated end and glazed gangway window. (Photo: S A Ginn)
Having only been delivered into Liverpool's Seaforth Docks on the 24th February from the General Electric works at Eire, Pennsylvania. Class 70/8 No.70812 wasted no time in visiting Taunton. The locomotive operated light engine from Westbury to Tavistock Junction on the 8th March and is seen here passing through Taunton in pristine condition (with exception to the inevitable paint removal on the buffers!). (Photo: Paul Clarke)
GWR Heritage repaint powercar's are a regular passing through Taunton, on the 2nd March No.43002 “Sir Kenneth Grange” is pictured leading the 1C82 London Paddington to Penzance with 43133 on the rear of the set non stop through Taunton. (Photo: Ross Mayl)

 

All the stations in an ambitious new kickstart crowd funding campaign which has been set up by Youtubers, Geoff Marshall, and Vicky Pipe. The pair are best known for railway travels on Geoff's own Youtube Channel, and 'The Londonist channel. All the stations is a project to travel to ALL 2,560 national railway stations in Britain, and to create an online documentary film about the journey. They will be posting daily videos from their travels and posting on social media to all followers to engage with them during the journey. Taunton being one of the 2,560 national railway stations will obviously feature at some point in the marathon 14 week plan. Crowd funding has raised the money needed to do this amazing project, so please go and pledge your support for this railway related travel/ vlog/ video experiance.

 

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