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GWR 'Castle' Set Training


Published on 9th December 2018

While GWR has been successfully operating their first reformed 2+4 HST 'Castle' set in Devon between Exeter and Penzance, Taunton has yet to see the introduction of these sets in our area, the reason behind GWR up until now have only received one converted sliding door set from Webtec Doncaster.

Set GW02 is now being used to train staff on the new procedures required to operate the shortened sliding door operated sets. During the first week of December two return training diagrams operated between Plymouth and Taunton using powercars No.43040 and No.43016 which have both been fitted with additional equipment for operating the new sliding doors on the Mk3 stock.


There have been four diagrams planned for each day (5Z60 07:25 Laira - Taunton, 5Z61 09:38 Taunton - Plymouth, 5Z62 12:15 Plymouth - Taunton, 5Z63 14:04 Taunton - Plymouth) however not all of these diagrams have been fully operated and are subject to change on each day of training.

(Photo: Simon Harling)

(Photo: Jeff Treece)



Engineers return from Devon

(Photo: Phil Izzard)

Published on 9th December 2018

Sunday 9th December 2018 provided several engineers trains returning from an overnight engineering blockade in Devon.

One of the first services to pass through Taunton in a lucky break between the local heavy downpours from DB liveried Class 66 No.66134. In a very lucky set of circumstances (which could have ended very differently) DB Cargo Class 66 No.66134 hauls 6W30 08:30 Ivybridge - Westbury engineers through Norton Fitzwarren posed perfectly with a pair of Hitachi Class 802s operating a southbound GWR passenger service No.802015 & No.802018 head away from the camera operating 1C05 08:00 London Paddington - Penzance.

To view the gallery, please click here.


February 2019 Line Closure to complete Whiteball Tunnel Arches


Published on 9th December 2018

Whiteball Tunnel was built between 1842 and 1844 and is 1000meters in length.

February 2019 will see the final line closure for an engineering blockade to complete Whiteball Tunnel along with a partial closure of a single bore at Marley Tunnel (near Plymouth), which will occur at the same time.

Work to repair Whiteball tunnel started as part of a three-phase operation in 2012 when a Ram-Arch wire mesh system was installed into the tunnel lining, in preparation for a sprayed concrete lining to be applied. Two years later in 2014, the second phase of the works sprayed mass concrete onto the tunnel crown. These two phases were carried out by Amco (who were then ideally placed to rush to the Dawlish Sea Wall collapse with their concrete equipment to prevent further damage catastrophic sea wall collapse). Four years on Network Rail have appointed J Murph's & Son Ltd to complete the final phase of work at the Whiteball Tunnel site. The works are due to take place between Monday 18th February and Friday 8th March 2019. Included within the engineering work are the completion of the concrete spraying RAM -Arch inside the tunnel (approx 345 linear meters in total), installation of further drainage channels and removal of two redundant line side buildings located at the Taunton end of Whiteball Tunnel.

During the 2019 engineering works, Road Replacement Transport will be supplied from Taunton. A limited amount of long distance services from London Paddington - Penzance will be diverted via Yeovil and Honiton to Exeter. All other GWR and Cross Country services from London and the North will terminate at Taunton. The locomotive hauled Night Riviera services will also operate via Yeovil.

A selection of road transport will operate fast services between Taunton and Exeter, and other services will operate to Tiverton Parkway.

Photos from the Phase 2 works at Whiteball Tunnel in 2014 can also be viewed here: Whiteball Tunnel

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



 Engineers return from Cornwall

Published on 3rd December 2018

Sunday 2nd December 2018 saw several engineers trains returning through Taunton from Cornwall to Wiltshire.

DB Cargo Red liveried Class 66 No.66083 catches a brief glimpse of sunlight on a dull Autumn morning. The 6W30 08:30 Ivybridge - Westbury is pictured passing Norton Fitzwarren returning with empty JNA Falcon wagons having been unloaded at the track renewal site in Cornwall.

(Photo: Adam Snow)


Steam Hauled to Plymouth Christmas Market

(Photo: S A Ginn)

Published on 1st December 2018

British Rail Green liveried Ex-LNER A4 No. 60009 'Union of South Africa' made its last appearance on South West metals before withdrawal from the mainline.

The locomotive passed through Taunton on Saturday 1st December 2018 with The Railway Touring Company Charter 'The Plymouth Christmas Market', operating as the 1Z09 08:16 Bristol Temple Meads - Plymouth. Union of South Africa operated the train in both directions and climbed the Devon banks in both directions unassisted, although the train was shadowed by West Coast Railways No.47832 in each direction. The train is pictured departing Taunton at 40 Steps.


Wet Floor at Taunton Station.....

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)

Published on 27th November 2018

At Taunton Trains, we are always looking for unique and interesting images, but this image sent in tonight captured the essence of Health and Safety overload at Taunton Station, causing more of a hazard than a help to customers.

For those readers not aware it's been raining (a lot) today in the South West, and Taunton Station leaks like a sieve. Passengers who may not have noticed the rain lashing down on the wet platforms and pavements outside were kindly reminded the floor was wet inside by this flotilla of Yellow Wet Floor Signs. This band of little workers were in place to provide a slalom course while passengers were on route to and from their trains. We estimate that at least two more signs could have been employed at the bottom of the steps to Platform 3 and 4!.


 Minor De-Railment on Fairwater Yard Headshunt


Published on 25th November 2018

A minor derailment occurred on the northern headshunt for Fairwater Yard adjacent to the Trenchard Way (Taunton NIDR) Road on Saturday 24th November.

While shunting wagons to form the 21:55 Fairwater Yard - Nailsea & Backwell overnight HOBC in preparation for overnight ballast cleaning activities. Investigations are ongoing but it's believed HOBC Powercar No.92342 jumped the rails and caused minor damage to concrete sleepers and track clips. The slow speed incident caused no disruption as the incident occurred on an isolated piece of track which is only used for shunting wagons, and the wheelset was quickly put back onto the track and returned to Fairwater Yard for inspection.


Sunday visit for the Rail Head Treatment Train

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 25th November 2018

The Network Rail Rail Head Treatment set made a very rare appearance at Taunton on Sunday 25th November 2018.

Normally Sundays are reserved for the set to visit Paignton via Newton Abbot, however because of its revised diagram this weekend a revised diagram (3J14 08:30 Tavistock Junction - Tavistock Junction via Taunton) operated. This provided the rare chance to capture DB Cargo liveried Class 66 No.66104 leading the set into Taunton, as during its normal weekday diagram passes Taunton under the cover of darkness. The grubby Class 66 is pictured passing 40 Steps on the approach to Taunton where the set terminated and returned to Tavistock Junction.

To view the gallery, please click here.


Rare Double Headed Combination

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 24th November 2018

Double Headed EWS liveried Class 66s No.66169 and No.66003 pass Cogload Junction on Saturday 24th November 2018.

The paid or locomotives had operated up to Exeter Riverside Yard the previous day from Burngullow (double heading over the Devon Banks). On Saturday 24th the pair (but with only 66169 powering) hauled the 6L12 13:35 Exeter Riverside - Acton Yard. Having recessed at Taunton to allow 1A85 to overtake the rare combination is pictured passing Cogload Junction hauling their loaded aggregate to the Captial.

To view the gallery, please click here.


 Autumn RHTT nearing an end

Published on 24th November 2018

As the Autumn RHTT season draws to a close EWS liveried Class 66/0 No.66200 leads classmate No.66104 westbound through Norton Fitzwarren on the 24th November 2018.

The pair were operating the 3J13 09:07 Westbury - Tavistock Junction service either end of the Network Rail RHTT set. The train normally runs through to St Blazey but because of engineering work between Liskeard and Penzance recessed at Tavistock Junction instead. Passing in the opposite direction are GWR Hitachi pairing No.802018 and No.802003 operating 1A82 12:01 Exeter St Davids - London Paddington.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


To view news stories from October 2018, click here, or for news from December 2018, click here.