Latest News

Split Headcode Class 37

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 18th May 2018

Colas Rail Freight Class 37 No. 37099 'Merl Evans 1947-2016' passed through Taunton on Friday 18th May working on a Network Rail Test Train.

The former preserved Class 37 which now operates on the mainline network for Colas is one of the oldest Class 37s still operating. The locomotive is pictured passing Victory Crossing on the approaches to Taunton operating as the 3Q13 20:24 Exeter Old Yard to Reading Triangle Sidings.

The Old and the New

(Photo: S A Ginn)

Published on 17th May 2018

IEP No. 800 003 on driver training diagram 5Z23 (13:38) Taunton to North Pole IEP depot passes Creech St.

Michael on 17th May 2018. An interesting comparison can be made with The old and the new! GWR IEP No. 800003 'Queen Elizabeth II - Queen Victoria' on a driver training diagram 5Z23 13:38 Taunton - North Pole IEP depot passes Creech St Michael on 17th May 2018. An interesting comparison can be made with the opposite direction HST that it will soon replace, the latter working the 1C43 11:27 London Paddington to Penzance via Bristol Temple Meads due to the closure of the Berks and Hants route at Newbury for electrification work.

To view the gallery, please click here.

 Colas Cement

Published on 17th May 2018

Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70816 on the 6B36 08:16 Moorswater to Aberthaw conveys empty PCA cement tanks through Creech St Michael.

The weekly flow of cement from Wales to Cornwall returns mid morning in beautiful light on Thursday 17th May 2018.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: S A Ginn)

 Network Rail TRT heads South

Published on 16th May 2018

Freightliner have been operating the Network Rail TRT south from Taunton during the past week.

It's been many years since the TRT last headed south of Taunton for track renewals as recently it spends much of its time on the Great Western and Wales mainline. The set has first been working south to Plymouth before relaying track overnight between Plymouth and Newton Abbot. On Tuesday 15th May 2018 Freightliner Class 66 No.66568 leads the 6X04 18:32 Fairwater Yard - Plymouth with No.66550 trailing on the rear of the set.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Phil Izzard)

 Royal Train Week

Published on 13th May 2018

To join in and celebrate the upcoming Wedding of HRH Prince Henry of Wales to Meghan Markle on May 19th 2018, Taunton Trains will be hosting 'Royal Train Week' on the front page of our website.

Starting from the 14th of May a new Royal Train image will be displayed each day until the 19th May 2018. A selection of images have been specially chosen to record as many different images from the many visits of the Royal Train to the South West.

 Back-dated News

Published on 13th May 2018

This weekend our News Pages have now been back dated through to April 2017.

To view any of these pages you can either scroll backwards through the months via the links at the bottom of this page, or you can visit our What's New Page

 Too late the snow was in March!

(Photo: Sclub)

Published on 10th May 2018

Thursday 9th May 2018 was full of excitement when a pair of Direct Rail Services Class 37's operated light engine overnight from their base at Crewe Gresty Bridge to Fairwater Yard.

No.37218 and No.37259 arrived at 06:11 before collecting both of the Network Rail Snow Ploughs from Fairwater Yard (ZZA ADB 965231 & ZZA ADB 965209). The two veteran locomotives then formed the 7Z15 10:15 Fairwater Yard - Fairwater Yard via Highbridge Loop with the drift ploughs formed at either end of the locomotives. The annual snow plough test certainly raised a few eyebrows passing through the platforms at Taunton Station. The pair are pictured here passing Cogload Junction while working outbound to Highbridge in search of snow!

17 Years of the Voyager

Published on 8th May 2018

Its hard to believe that it was 17 years ago since the last new trains were introduced in the South West, and even then people were asking how can a four and five car unit do the job of an eight coach High Speed Train.

Since then, and following the complete failure of Virgin Trains much publicized 'Operation Princess' (the operation which was going to bring a clock face timetable and more frequent train services to compensate for reducing the length of the train) the Cross Country route has been stuck with trains which were unsuitable for the job. With minimal luggage space for the long journeys they cover, overhead shelves big enough for little more than a brief case, smelly chemical toilets, and no on board catering, electronic reservation systems which often didn't work, the Voyagers have hardly helped the travelling public enjoy the journey, unless of course you travel off peak when they are empty. The 'super' tilting Voyager was also paraded as an innovation to speed up journey times by allowing train to tilt into the curves at faster speeds. In reality the system has only ever operated on the West Coast Mainline leaving 22 examples of the Class with the system isolated never having been used in the South West. The equipment however was all paid for as part of the original new train order. Arriva (part of Deutsche Bahn) and who won the Cross Country franchise after Virgin, have done little more than rebrand the service, and add a few more seats by removing the Virgin Shop. While some of the interiors may have been refreshed over time, the ambiance is principally the same as those which were delivered some 17 years ago. The Voyagers are beginning to showing their age with their outdates decor. At least the Voyagers do have padded seats, which are a comparative luxury on a long journey compared to the Class 800s which are being introduced by GWR. Perhaps the biggest flaw of the Voyager Fleet (and one which still dogs the fleet) is their dislike a salt water which resulted in several high profile failures and rescues on the sea Walls section. Sadly this fault has never been solved and now results in the complete cancellation of services south of Exeter St Davids during high seas or rough weather along the sea wall section between Dawlish and Teignmouth. Such an acceptance of service cancellation for a train which isn't up to the job of being hit by waves on the sea wall isn't acceptable in the modern age, but sadly this has become the normal course of action for Cross Country services during inclement conditions.

The invitation to tender for the Cross Country Franchise starts in October 2018 with the contract to be awarded by the Government in August 2019.Transport Focus.are looking into Key Issues surrounding the Cross Country Franchise and are working with the DFT to make sure the passengers voice is heard by those in Whitehall. The future of the Cross Country network and trains will soon begin to be mapped out once again, will it lead to an add on Class 800 IET order from Japan, a new train order with a specification fit for the Cross Country network, or a revamp of existing trains possibly reformed into longer sets. In just over a year the picture will begin to appear.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

2018 West Somerset Diesel Gala - Update

Published on 8th May 2018

UPDATE: It's with regret that the DEPG have announced that their owing to a technical issue with No.D7017 while operating on 5th May that long term overhaul and sister locomotive No.

D7018 will not be back in traffic in time for the 2018 Diesel Gala Weekend. No.D7017 has been repaired and has been worked light engine to Bishops Lydeard ready for its planned visit to the Swanage Railway Diesel Gala on 10th to 13th May. Regrettably, the repair has necessitated Hymek No.D7018 lending its voltage regulator to keep her older sister in traffic. This unfortunately means that, because of other delays and interruptions the DEPG have reluctantly had to make the hard decision to postpone the relaunch of No.D7018 at our own Gala in June until a suitable opportunity later in the year.

The 2018 West Somerset Railway Diesel Gala is heading on the right track with the announcement of their event which will run from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th June 2018. The theme of 'Vintage Diesels to the Seaside' is planned to celebrate the 1970s and 1980s when a great variety of diesel locos were called on to haul holiday trains to the seaside all over the UK. On the Friday and Saturday all services will be diesel hauled with a limited number of steam hauled trains booked for the Sunday along with the diesels.
Guest locomotives attending the event have now been confirmed as Class 20’s 20189 & 20205 (courtesy of Michael Owen) hauling Class 45 No. 45041 'Royal Tank Regiment' (Courtesy of Peak Locomotive Company), Class 50 No. 50035 'Ark Royal' (courtesy of Class 50 Alliance) and Deltic Class 55 No. 55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier' (courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Society). All these visitors carry British Rail Blue livery. GBRf will be providing transport for these locomotives to the WSR from their various locations around the UK.

The DEPG 'home fleet' is hoped to be back to full strength after huge efforts by the volunteers at Williton. Class 14 No. D9526, (making its return to traffic after a heavy overhaul), Class 33s No.D6566 (No.33048) & No.D6575 (No.33057). No.D6566 itself re-entering service after a heavy overhaul. Class 35 Hymek No.D7017. The ever popular Western Class 52 No. D1010 'Western Campaigner' will also be back on the rails with it's twin maybach engines in action. These locos will also be joined by Class 09 D4107 which will operate shuttles between Bishops Lydeard and Norton Fitzwarren.
A big feature of the 2018 event is a brand new timetable, which should bring far more interest and dynamic travel to the discerning diesel enthusiast.
The gala will also be complemented by a Beer Festival which is being planned for the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust site at Washford to run over the weekend. It is planned to have a good number of real ales available from both local west country breweries and some from further afield to cater for all tastes. Food will also be available at the festival. All trains will call at Washford to enable diesel gala visitors to indulge in a pint or two in between their haulage runs. Please note that there will be no car parking available at Washford and all visitors are encouraged to travel by train.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

 33048 Returns to Traffic

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)

Published on 6th May 2018

DEPG Class 33 No.D6566 (33048) made its return to passenger traffic sooner than advertised on Saturday 5th May.

The locomotive had originally been booked to be operating trains the Diesel Diagram on May 5th however an want to re-launch the locomotive into passenger traffic at the 2018 Diesel Gala weekend in June saw it swapped for Class 35 Hymek No.D7017. D7017 operated the 11:15 Bishops Lydeard - Minehead and 13:15 return from Minehead but ran into trouble at Blue Anchor unable to take power. The locomotive managed to get back to Williton where the Class 33 had been prepped ready to work the remaining service to Bishops Lydeard. Making a welcome and impromptu return to passenger service No.D6566 is pictured here passing Woolsten Moor while working the late running 14:15 Bishops Lydeard - Minehead service.

To view news stories from April 2018, click here, or for news from June 2018, click here.