THE WESTERNS:


The Westerns were a very popular locomotive with many of the early enthusiasts. Their twin Maybach MD655 engines giving them a top speed of 90mph the Class ideal for their varied passenger work on the Great Western Region. They were a regular sight at Taunton working between Paddington and Penzance on passenger and freight diagrams. The locomotives were short lived and were scrapped before their time, mainly due to BR deciding to standardize it's fleets of locomotives.

This early photo taken in the 1960's shows a British Railways Maroon liveried Western racing towards Taunton with the 1M95 11:30 Plymouth - Manchester, this train was a regular Class 52 turn as far as Bristol and would then hand over to a 'Peak' for the rest of the trip. The is train made up from 13 matching Maroon Mk1 coaches. The scene at Silk Mills crossing is now very different, and a far cry from the semaphores and telegraph poles from the 1960's.

(Photo: John Ford)

On the 11th May 1974 BR Blue liveried Western No.D1001 'Western Pathfinder' stands at Taunton on the Kensington Olympia- St Austell Motorail recessed to allow faster services to overtake before proceeding west.

(Photo: Stephen Burdett)

In June 1964 Class 52 Western No.D1005 'Western Venturer' stands at Taunton with a southbound 1C45 down Cornish Riviera which formed the 10:30 from London Padddington to Penzance. This photo was supplied to Taunton Trains by Andrew French upon scanning his fathers collection, he came accross several from the Taunton area.

(Photo: G S French)

On the 12th October 1974 BR Blue Western No.D1006 'Western Stalwart' gains the amiration of two young enthusiasts whilst calling on an 'Additional Extra' to London Paddington.

(Photo: Stephen Burdett)

This shot shows another Maroon liveried Western with a full yellow end arriving into Platform 3 (Now Platform 5) at Taunton. This classic scene also features the Classic 1960's mini skirt on the far right!

(Photo: David Ford)

Taken during June 1976 BR Blue liveried Western No.D1009 'Western Invader' approaches Taunton between Bathpool and Obridge with a Paddington-Penzance express.

(Photo: Stephen Burdett)

Taken on the 15th March 1975 BR Blue Western No.D1016 'Western Gladiator' waits for the road at Taunton.

(Photo: Stephen Burdett)

On the 11th December 1976 No.D1015 'Western Champion' is pictured at Taunton. The loco had suffered derailment damage and was being towed to Laira on the back of a loco convoy formed of No.50032 leading, No.47032 middle and D1015 rear.

(Photo: Stephen Burdett)

On the 27th July 1974, D1021 'Western Cavalier' has a change of crew at Taunton while working the 10:00 Paignton to Paddington

D1021 was released from Swindon on in June 1963. the loco lasted until August 1976 (just two years after this image was taken). On the date of scrapping she had clocked up over a million miles on the Great Western Network!

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

Taken on the 11th September 1976 BR Blue Western No.D1022 'Western Sentinel' is pictured stabled on Taunton Shed. This loco had only four months left in traffic before its impending withdrawal.

(Photo; Stephen Burdett)

On the 30th October 1976, D1023 'Western Fusilier' and D1009 'Western Invader' stand on the centre platforms at Taunton working the R.P.P.R 'Westerns South Western' Tour. The charter operated as the 1Z08 Paddington - Meldon Quarry via Taunton on the outward leg, returning to London via the Southern on the return.

(Photo: Derek Clarke)

17th July 1974 D1030 'Western Musketeer' is seen fresh from a Laira repaint paused at Taunton for a crew change with 1V34 the Kensington - St Austell motorail the heaviest booked passenger working of the day and invariably a hydraulic (by then a Western as the Warships were gone). This was because it regularly exceeded the loading over the South Devon banks for all diesel electrics of the day.

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

On the 10th May 1975, D1034 'Western Dragoon' storms through Silk Mills crossing with the Northbound Penzance - Cardiff service. (Note the length of the train, the equivalent service from Taunton would now be just two coaches!)

D1034 was built in April 1964, and lasted in front line service until October 1975. A total of 11 years service saw the locomotive clocking up 1,144,000 miles before she met with the cutters blow torch.

(Photo: Chris Perkins)

BR Blue liveried Class 52 Western No.D1036 'Western Emperor' passes Taunton on the down main on the 22nd May 1976.

(Photo: Russell Watkins)

On an unknown date Class 52 Western No.D1039 'Western King' is seen stabled on Taunton Shed adjacent to Class 22 No.D6318

(Photo: Kevin Auger)

Taken in May 1968 Class 52 Western No.D1044 'Western Duchess' is seen reversing onto stock at Taunton Station. The train from Bristol had arrvied behind Class 53 Hymek No.D7014 (Possibly viewed in the background of this image). At Taunton a locomotive switch took place to allow the Western to continue to Plymouth.

(Photo: Kevin Auger)

BR Blue Western No.D1046 'Western Marquis' arrives into Taunton on the 6th September 1975 with the 1B35 10:30 Paddington - Paignton service.

(Photo: Stephen Burdett)

D1047 'Western Lord' pauses at Taunton on 27th July 1974 working the Southbound 1V46.

Released from Crewe in February 1963. Western Lord spent it's time on the rails clocking up 1,256,000 miles before it was withdrawn from service in February 1976

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

A pair of BR Blue Westerns No.D1048 'Western Lady' and No.D1010 'Western Campaigner' pass through Taunton on the 26th February 1977.

(Photo: Russell Watkins)

D1059 'Western Empire' is seen at Taunton shunting newspaper vans onto a train on the 30th August 1975.

At this time, mail was not only conveyed on standard passenger services but also in dedicated services to and from London with intermediate pickup points in between.

D1059 was built in April 1963, lasting until October 1975 (Just two months after this image was recorded at Taunton)

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

On the 20th April 1974, D1061 'Western Envoy' can be seen stabled in Taunton Shed between duties with an unidentified peak. Large amounts of locomotives could often gather at Taunton for servicing and out of course repairs.

Western Envoy was released into traffic in April 1963, but was withdrawn in October 1974, just 6 months after this image was recorded.

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

3rd August 1974, D1063 'Western Monitor' stands on Taunton Shed between duties with a pair of Class 08's for company.

Western Monitor came into building using May 1963 and operated until April 1976

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

3rd August 1974 saw D1064 'Western Regent' at Taunton using the centre road on a Southbound passenger service from London Paddington.

Western Regent clocked up a respectable 1,216,000 miles in traffic for British Rail before she was withdrawn.

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

BR Blue Western No.D1065 'Western Consort' overtakes Class 45/0 No.45051 on the approach to Taunton on the 22nd May 1976.

(Photo: Russell Watkins)

D1067 'Western Druid' is seen stabled in Taunton Shed with two Class 08 shunter's and a Class 25. Note also the Class 47 in the Southbound Platform waiting to depart.

Scenes like these will never be repeated but thankfully some Westerns did make it into preservation as detailed below:

D1010 Western Campaigner D1013 Western Ranger
D1015 Western Champion
D1023 Western Fusilier
D1041 Western Prince
D1048 Western Lady
D1062 Western Courier

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

Taken on the 11th December 1976 Class 52 Western No.D1071 'Western Renown' is pictured stabled on Taunton Depot. The locomotives cardan shaft snapped 4 days previously whilst working a postal train. She was dumped at Taunton and nameplates were removed.

(Photo: Stephen Burdett)

BR Class 52 Western No. D1072 'Western Glory'. On a very wet 12th February 1976 the Western Class locomotive is seen at Taunton taking its booked stop while hauling the 14:40 from Penzance to Paddington.

(Photo: Peter Townsend)

BR Class 52 Western No. D1058 'Western Nobleman' is pictured pausing at Taunton for a crew change on Saturday 13th November 1976. The train was the 09:30 Paddington to Plymouth football special chartered by Fulham FC who were playing Plymouth Argyle. At the time George Best played for Fulham. As there were only 14 Class 52's left in service at the time the fans were very lucky to have some hydraulic haulage to their match. The return charter was the 18:55 Plymouth to Paddington. The original photo was taken by Barry Lewis. Information from Steve Awford and Dave Marshall.

(Photo: Barry Lewis)

An unidentified Class 52 Western passes Silk Mills Signal Box on an unknown date

(Photo: Kevin Auger)

An unidentified Class 52 Western passes through Taunton Station on an unknown date

(Photo: Kevin Auger)

 

WESTERNS IN PRESERVATION:


D1015 'Western Champion' still runs the rails. After years of restoration D1015 now has a mainline operating ticket and still visits Taunton (as well as the rest of the UK!) from time to time.

The locomotive returned to the Mainline in its Golden Orcha livery, which proved to be a great sucsess. On the 28th February 2005 D1015 is captured at Taunton waiting to take over 'The Staite Pullman'. D1015 returned Bernard Staite to London on his retirment special.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

D1015 currently carries BR Maroon livery with small yellow warning panels. For a locomotive built in 1963 Western Champion proves that good maintenance and some caring owners can provide a reliable locomotive. On a wet 23rd June 2007, D1015 passes Creech St Michael working a Birmingham - Penzance charter.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Taunton also has another Western close by. D1010 'Western Campaigner' is preserved on the West Somerset Railway and operates on Diesel Running Weekends and Galas. Sadly she has no mainline ticket.

On the 16th June 2007, the opportunity was taken to double head D1010 and D1015 'Western Champion' (Having arrived with a charter from London) between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard. The pair are seen passing Bicknoller heading for Bishops Lydeard.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

2009 saw D1062 return to the preservation scene after an extensive overhaul at the Severn Valley Railway.

D1062 'Western Courier' visited the West Somerset Railway in June 2009 to take part in the Mixed Traffic Weekend. The locomotive is seen on the 12th approaching Williton with a service train to Minehead.

Western Courier is painted in BR Maroon the same livery as D1010 (based on the WSR) and D1015 (now on the Mainline)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)