STRANGE BUT TRUE:


Over the years the railway scene has thrown up many 'oddities' at Taunton. At the time these items are recorded but all to often the memory will forget about these odd ball things which occurred. The aim of this section is to recall some of the more 'odd ball' events surrounding Taunton's railway scene. If you can think of, or add any more then please do not hesitate to contact: TAUNTON TRAINS

On the 7th June 1995, 37197 was used in Fairwater Yard for a training exercise with the emergency services. The controlled exercise was to simulate a collision between a road vehicle and a nuclear flask (empty at the time). Fairwater Yard provided a safe area to carry out the required procedures without disrupting any other train services.

(Photo: Chris Perkins)

During the years when Taunton's centre platforms were out of use, a train of a different kind was located on the centre platforms greeting passengers with its friendly smile. This image was taken on the 10th April 1997. When the platforms were reinstated the brick train was removed but sadly was not rebuilt in a different location.

(Photo: Taunton Trains Collection)

Deltic's were confined to the East Coast Mainline during their British Rail period, but under preservation the Class has traveled the length and breadth of the country. The need to earn money to keep the locos running has provided some very interesting workings.

On the 20th February 1999, Deltic D9000 roars through Norton Fitzwarren with the 1M40 11:45 Plymouth - Liverpool service while on hire to Virgin Trains. It was a truly remarkable working at the time, but with all aspects of Taunton's Railway scene, nothing ceases to amaze!

(Photo: Jeff Treece)

The 2nd March 2002 was a day of bovine madness in Taunton. At the first Taunton Cattle Market since Foot and Mouth, 5 cows broke free from their pens and split up and went on a rampage around the town. One took a liking to the railway and made it as far as Creech St Michael from Taunton. After this image was taken the cow was nearly hit by 47841 which was traveling at line speed on a late running 1V50. After being chased by the police it made a bit to escape the railway and took to the Canal, it was later cornered in a playing field near by and shot.

(Photos: Brian Garrett)

On the 21st June 2002 66092 was on a trespass and vandal patrol with the British Transport Police on board when the loco was called upon to assist a Virgin Trains service. The 1V51 Newcastle - Plymouth service had expired at Bristol Temple Meads. 66092 was required to haul the passenger service to Plymouth. Still with BTP in the cab 66092 is seen paused at Taunton before heading South. This is also one of the very rare occasions a Class 66 was ever used to haul a dead HST using the rescue bar.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Taunton has seen the Royal Train pass through its platforms quite a few times over the years, and although rare we don't often get to photograph it's passengers.

The 1st November 2002, provided the chance to photograph 47798 working the Royal Train from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead along the West Somerset Railway with Prince Philip on board. At Minehead the Prince was treated to a a guided tour of 7820 'Dinmore Manor' before traveling by car to his engagements for the day.

(Photos: Brian Garrett)

 

The Taunton area has been graced by a few celebrities over the years, but none quite have the love for railways as Pete Waterman does. Pete once had several of his steam locomotives based on the West Somerset Railway and he thinks nothing of spending an entire weekend with his overalls on driving and firing them. He's a familiar face of TV and Railway Events and it's great to see him on the West Somerset Railway. These images were taken during October 2003 when he was driving his Steam Locomotive 5224.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

This was a very rare opportunity indeed. On the 6th January 2004, Heanor Heavy Haulage had replaced the Class 09 at Tavistock Jn yard. Having collected 09016 (to return to Ferrybridge for servicing) the lorry made its way back up the Motorway. Instead of using the services for an overnight stop, the driver chose Taunton Market Car Park (some 3 miles from the M5). At 07:30 on the 7th Jan 2004 just before dawn this image was captured of 09016 sat in the Market Car Park, Taunton.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

See if you can spot the deliberate mistake with this sign. They have been fitted to the walls of Great Western House on the downside station car park for many years, causing amusement to those with an eye for spelling. We believe there were 3 such examples which all sport the same spelling mistake of 'business'.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

One of the last Class 37 'drags' through Taunton proved to be one of the most stunning. At a time when Class 37's were almost extinct from the South West, 37425 was sent South to rescue a Virgin HST.

37425 is seen arriving into Taunton on the 4th September 2004, hauling the 1M25 Newquay - Manchester HST catching the glint as it rumbles into the Platforms. At the time this was thought to be the last Class 37 rescue we would see at Taunton.

(Photo: Mike Rowland)

Less than 3 months after the image above came an even bigger working. The 3rd December 2004, saw 67002 work a Past Time Rail charter to the Dunster by Candlelight event on the West Somerset Railway. The loco had insufficient fuel to carry out it's booked ECS and passenger diagrams. In the event a filthy dirty non heat Class 37 No. 37896 was removed from its RHTT diagram and sent to Taunton in order to tow 67002 back to Westbury via Bristol Temple Meads.

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)

Probably on of the most amazing liveries ever applied to a HST Powercar was on 43087. The powercar was leased by Cotswold Rail along with 43070. As a publicity stunt 43087 was painted in Hornby Trains livery and was launched at an event at York NRM.

The powercar is seen passing through 40 Steps at Taunton to collect a rake of stored stock from the West Somerset Railway on the 13th February 2006.

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)

First Great Western launched their new look HST refurbishment during April 2006. The event was met with many promotional events at stations all over the South West. Here Sarah (on the left) and Lydia (on the right) were promoting the new franchise and offering timetables, other leaflets, pens to passengers on Platform 5, Gwen from Frenetic Engineering in Bristol in position as a superb living statue - first on the top landing from the stairs onto P5 and then on P3 for the arrival of the newly branded HST from Paddington.

(Photos Jeff Treece)

First Great Western also provided two bands on the Station Platforms at Taunton. The Tiverton Town Band and a three piece Jazz Band provided musical entertainment for passengers while they waited for their trains.

First Great Western were keen to promote change with their new franchise and made some very big promises to their passengers.

(Photo: Jeff Treece)

The launch of the 'New Look' First Great Western HST sets was short liveried The livery applied to the launch train was never adopted by the company. The light blue fade was removed in favor of a dark blue/ purple constant colour scheme.

The special three car set ran from London Paddington to Penzance stopping at various stations on route to give interviews, speak with passengers and promote the new FGW brand. FGW MD Alison Foster was on board the train to speak with journalists and passengers.

The new look HST set is seen passing Creech St Michael before its pause at Taunton.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

The image of a HST taken on the 29th April 2006 looks just like a normal HST until closer inspection! 43152 and 43002 were used to work an empty coaching stock move between Laira (Plymouth) and St Phillips Marsh (Bristol) depots. However First Great Western also required 43126+43063 to make the same trip. So the additional pair were added to the rear of the 2+9 formation! The 5Z74 is seen passing 40 steps, Taunton.

(Photo: Jeff Treece)

What looks like 'just another photo of a Voyager' can often deceive. Firstly Voyagers never entered Platform 6 during normal operational duties for Virgin Trains, so a shot of a Voyager using the bay platform at Taunton is rare to say the least. However on 16th September 2006, 221104 clouted a deer at Cogload Jn on its way South to Plymouth. The unit was taken out of service at Taunton until Bombardier Engineers could assess the damage to the unit.

(Photo: Phil Izzard)

The 18th April 2007 saw a Celebrity TV Chef take up residence on Taunton's centre platforms. Brian Turner (from Ready Steady Cook fame) was employed by Great Western to promote a new buffet menu for it's refurbished trains. The chef visited several stations in the South West cooking toasted steak sandwiches on a portable griddle. Passengers were treated to sample some of Brian's cooking.

(Photo: Jeff Treece)

Animals on the line are a constant headache to the Railway. On the 5th July 2008 a local lamb at Cogload Jn nearly became lamp chops.

220030 was forced to stop at Cogload Jn after a local lamb had strayed onto the tracks. The driver and local Network Rail MOM ushered the errant lamb back onto the correct side of the fence. This image just happened to be captured because the photographer was in the right place at the right time!

(Photo: Cameron Walker)

Clearly 'The working of 2008' was this shot captured at Norton Fitzwarren. On the 22nd August 2008 a tamper (DR73108) was working North between Exeter and Tiverton when it failed. Unable to move any further Freightliner Heavy Haul were asked to push the dead tamping machine to Taunton in order to clear the line. 66602 is seen at Norton Fitzwarren with the delayed 6A82 Meldon - Fairwater Yard pushing the failed tamper as it arrives back into Taunton.

(Photo: Mike Rowland)

We thought about entering this superb tomato plant into the Taunton Horticulture show. Weeds are a big problem on the national network but Tomato plants are a little on the rare side. This bunch popped up in September 2009 as this was the place where the Torbay Express Steam Locomotive would take water. However as well as water to grow a tomato plant seed (from First Great Western Sandwiches) and fertilizer (use your imagination). Perhaps these were a little over ripe for eating!

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)

It's every young enthusiasts dream to become a train driver. However the nearest many get is a model railway. To show the difference in scale between the real thing and 'OO' Gauge model locomotive, this image really does give a comparison!

In September 2009 while 66725 was stabled (failed) in Platform 1, the opportunity was taken to show the difference in scale! Needless to say the Hornby 'OO' Gauge 60074 looks a little dwarfed against GBRF's 66725!

(Photos: Nathan Williamson & Rob Sherwood)

 

Taunton saw some real Royalty on the 10th February when The Duke of Gloucester visited Taunton to carry out a string of engagements in Somerset. The Duke arrived on First Great Westerns 1C74 08:18 Paddington - Exeter formed of 43087 and 43143 'Stroud 700'. It's quite apt that Taunton currently has the two Royal locomotives operating into Taunton as well. The Duke first visited the newly opened Beacon Centre at Musgove Park Hospital before moving on to open a Care Village built on the site of the former Cheddar Valley line at Sandford and Banwell. (Photo: Jeff Treece)
Anyone who's knows Taunton Station well, may have seen these place names chalked on the wall at the South end of Platform 5. They date from BR Days when post was regually sent by rail. The South end of Platfrom 5 is largly untouched, and the destinations still remain clearly today for people to see. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Royalty visited Taunton on Tuesday 16th November when HRH Prince Philip arrived in Taunton at 10:47 on the 09:06 from London Paddington (traveling on board a scheduled FGW service, 43042+43146). The Prince was wearing his Captain-General of the Royal Marines uniform. He swiftly passed through the station into a waiting car, where he was taken to Norton Manor Camp where he presented Taunton's own 40 Commando with their campaign medals. Tomorrow 40 Commando will march through Taunton at 11am as part of their homecoming and to remember the fallen heroes from their most recent tour of duty where 14 of their soldiers never returned. (Photo: Jeff Treece)
Just one day after International pop star Will.I.am carried the Olympic torch through Taunton town centre, Taunton Station played host to another well known former politician Mr Michael Portillo. Wearing his brightly coloured green blazer Mr Portillo and his 'trusty Bradshaw's Guide' arrived into Taunton on a late running Great Western stopping service from Bristol around 08:10 on Tuesday 22nd May. The forth series of Great British Railway Journeys is currently being filmed around various locations in the UK, and it would appear Taunton and the surrounding area is likely to be appearing in the next series, we look forward to seeing finished product in early 2013. (Photo: Tristan Smith)
From time to time an image arrives in the Taunton Trains inbox which we simply do not have any words for. We are sure that the Health and Safety managers at Network Rail would never allow this sort of movement on the mainline network today! Taken in the 1980's this image at Taunton shows a gang of 8 track workers pushing a guards van into Taunton Station!! This amazing sight was probably overcome not having a locomotive available to shunt during an engineering blockade, and the simple use of 'man power' provided the safe solution to the problem. Something which today would result in a 4 hour delay while a locomotive was located from the other end of the country to assist! (Photo: David Keogh)
It's amazing just how much wildlife can be found at Taunton Station. A multitude of birds and animals frequently appear at the station. In the Spring of 2012, a family of Sparrows made their nest on Platform 2 in a snug hole of missing brickwork in the rafters of the Taunton Station canopy. With a plentiful supply of food and crumbs from passengers the under canopy nest also provides good protection from birds of prey and other predators. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Can you provide any other rare and 'odd ball' images which would fit into this section of Taunton Trains? We always like to receive new photos to include on the website, so if you have something of interest please do not hesitate to send us an Email: TAUNTON TRAINS