Latest News

 Chiltern, DRS, Virgin Trains, Anglia, Transpennine all in one train!

(Photo: S A Ginn)

Published on 16th January 2018

In another display of mind boggling railway diversity, Chiltern Railways, Greater Anglia, and Virgin Trains liveries with Direct Rail Services operation hauling Transpennine's future coaching stock could all be witnessed in one movement at Taunton on the 16th January 2018.

Chiltern Railways liveried Class 68 No.68011 returned north through Taunton hauling the second batch of refurbished Mk3 coaching stock for the new Transpennine services. The new service is yet to start but coaching stock is being moved in preparation for training and operational requirements. The Consist included coaches 11007, 10229, 12138, 12122, 11048, 12011.The 5Z43 10:40 Laira - Crewe Carriage Sidings is seen passing Norton Fitzwarren with both DRS and TPE crew on board nearing Taunton.

 Silver DRS/ Chiltern Class 68

Published on 15th January 2018

Direct Rail Services sent a silver Chiltern liveried Class 68 No.68011 to Plymouth on the 15th January 2018.

The silver light engine passed Taunton at 14:10 working the 0Z63 Crewe Gresty Bridge - Plymouth. The locomotive is booked to collect the second portion of stored Mk3 coaching stock from Laira on the 16th to return it to Crewe.

(Photo: Jeff Treece)

Can mainline services return to Minehead?

Sunday 2nd January 2011, saw the West Somerset Railway celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the lines closure, when the last scheduled passenger and freight trains operated over the line on the 2nd January 1971. To coincide with with the achievements made since this date, the WSR operated a number of special workings during the day. A special charter service provided passengers with the chance to travel from Exeter to Minehead on board a First Great Western Class 150 DMU. First Great Western provided one of their 'local lines' Class 150 units as part of a charter train to allow passengers to travel from Exeter to Minehead and provide a modern day comparison to the final DMU service which operated on the 2nd January 1971. The Class 150's themselves are older than many would think, originally built between 1984 and 1987 by BREL. The Class 150 No.150234 had also received a full body and window wash prior to being used on the special charter. It's seen departing from Crowcombe Heathfield with the 2Z10 Exeter St Davids - Minehead service.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 13th January 2018

The Minehead Rail Link Group is campaigning for the existing Cardiff to Taunton service operated by Great Western Railway to be extended to Minehead.

The group says the move would open up West Somerset, giving a direct travel connection to Bristol and Wales, along with easy connections to Devon, Cornwall, London and the cross-Country network. While the campaign believes it would bring unrivaled benefits for business to tourism to the area, there are many questions which remain unanswered about how mainline trains operating to Minehead as part of a timetabled diagram would occur. Sim Harris from RailNews has provided an excellent in depth analysis of the possibilities for future through services on the West Somerset Railway and his report can be downloaded by clicking this link .

Whatever outcome the decision and implementation of any through service from Taunton to Minehead is probably still years away, talking is one thing, decisive action, infrastructure investment are very much another. The 'Minehead Link' has been talked about for over twenty years. It's probably more likely that any future operations would take the shape of limited Summer through services from London Paddington, and/or shuttles to Bishops Lydeard extended from Cardiff services. Perhaps if Butlins and other holiday locations can get on board then building a dedicated loco hauled service similar to that started ten years ago by Victa Westlink in 2007 with inclusive ticket deals could also be a possibility.

Thunderer returns

Published on 13th January 2018

Taunton was again treated to some fifty year old English Electric traction on the 13th January 2018, with former British Rail Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' making a return visit to the South West to collect the Network Rail Lorum Rail Grinder it dropped off a Okehampton on January 5th.

Having worked down to Devon on Friday 12th January with Class 56 No.56104 for company the Class 50 lead proceedings for the return trip with the Class 56 formed on the opposite end of the train ready for a reversal at Gloucester. In a great show of English Electric power Laira Blue 'Thunderer' powers past Norton Fitzwarren hauling the 4Z03 08:00 Okehampton - Chaddesden Sidings with Rail Grinder (DR79501 - DR79507) and a dead Class 56 in tow. All did not go to plan after Taunton when the Class 56 failed at Eckington Loop which resulted in 50008 'Thunderer' running round the train and completing the rest of the journey to Chaddesden single handed.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

 GWR Class 150/1's transfer to Northern Trains

Published on 12th January 2018

As new trains and services come into place in the South West and across the UK as a whole, a huge cascade of rolling stock is currently taking place.

Great Western Railway Class 150/1's (which were originally inherited from Central Trains and Silverlink Trains) are now in the process of being transferred to Northern Trains. The latest dates advised for the transfer of stock from GWR to Northern is as follows:
3rd February 2018: 150101, 150104, 150106, 150108, 150123, 150128 & 150129
17th February 2018: 150120,
3rd March 2018: 150121,
17th March 2018: 150127,
31st March 2018: 150130,
14th April 2018: 150131.

To view the gallery, please click here.

Shortly after transfer from Silverlink Trains (and still complete with its London Transport maps inside) First Great Western Class 150/1 No.150127 stands at Taunton on the 29th March 2008 having arrived from Bristol Parkway with a stopping service to Taunton.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 11th January 2018

Thursday 11th January 2018 provided a classic crisp Winter day with clear skies in the Taunton area.

GWR Class 800 No. 800004 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel / Sir Daniel Gooch' is still involved in the Hitachi Class 800 testing/ training program. On the 11th January 2018 the bi-mode unit made another daytime testing run to Taunton. The Unit is pictured passing Cogload Junction while working the 5Z19 09:20 North Pole IEP - Taunton leg, which arrived into Taunton at 13:25.

Freightliner Class 66/5 No. 66528 'Madge Elliot MBE Borders Railway Opening 2015' is pictured at Cogload Junction returning to Taunton with the loaded 6C73 12:12 Westbury - Fairwater Yard HOBC portion conveying freshly loaded ballast.

(Photo: Simon Harling)

(Photo: Simon Harling)

(Photo: Stephen A.Ginn)

Published on 8th January 2018

DB Cargo bought a splash of red to Taunton on Sunday 7th January 2018. Class 66 No.66192 hauled the 6C97 07:58 Pilning - Westbury continuous long welded rail train (CWR) and was captured twice on its route through Taunton.

The train first arrived from the Bristol direction over the top of the Cogload Junction flyover and is pictured at Cogload Junction heading towards Taunton. After reversing direction at Taunton's Fairwater Yard the train returned to Westbury via the Berks & Hants route and was captured for a second time crossing the Somerset Levels at Oath. Why not take a look in our Database to see more images of this service.

More images restored for Taunton Trains viewers

Published on 7th January 2018

Over this weekend we have transferred in excess of 50 images onto the new Taunton Trains website, some are existing images which were already hosted on the previous site, some are brand new images which have never been seen before and others are repaired images which have been in patiently waiting to be seen again.

We are pleased to say this particular image taken in 1964 has now been restored to become part of the Taunton Trains collection. Many people would not of given this image a second glance due to the state of the image deterioration, however several hours work repairing the image using photoshop has now returned the image to its former glory. A British Rail Western waits in the pouring rain to depart Taunton having arrived on a southbound passenger service. A comparison of how the image started once scanned and ended up once repaired is shown below.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Taunton Trains Collection)

(Photo: Taunton Trains Collection)

'Brian Morrison Collection' added to Taunton Trains Galleries

Hauling the 11:50 Taunton-Castle Cary local service on Monday 12th May 1958, bunker-first 4575 Class 2-6-2T No.5554 sets out from Taunton on its short 27 mile journey passing Taunton East signal box.

(Photo: Brian Morrison)

Published on 7th January 2018

We are pleased to announce that we have added the 'Brian Morrison Collection' to the Taunton Trains Gallery.

Brian is one of the UK's most well known railway photographers and contributing editors, having taken his first image in 1951 at London's Liverpool Street Station of a B1 Class steam locomotive on a turntable. His thousands of images have been seen in countless publications. We would like to thank Brian for allowing us to feature his images taken in the area during various visits to Taunton during his photographing travels. In particular those taken in 1950's which are of outstanding quality and huge value in recording the history of Taunton's railway scene. In this image 2-6-2T No.5554 departs Taunton bunker first on the 12th May 1958 hauling the 11:50 stopping service to Castle Cary, seen passing Taunton East Signal Box.

To view the gallery, please click here.

 Laira Blue 50 Thunders West

(Photo: Stephen A.Ginn)

Published on 5th January 2018

An English Electric Class 50 made a rousing and welcome appearance at Taunton Friday 5th January.

'Laira Blue' Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' scatters the pidgeons as it passes through Taunton station working 4Z03 08:00 Derby RTC - Okeheampton with Network Rail Lorum Railgrinder DR79501, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 & 07 in tow. The ensemble is pictured passing 40 Steps heading for Exeter where the locomotive then ran round its consist before heading for Okehampton. The Lorum Grinder will be used for training Network Rail staff on the Okehampton branch. After returning to Exeter light engine an overnight stay in Exeter the former British Rail Class 50 is booked to return light engine to Derby on Saturday 6th January.

To view news stories from December 2017, click here, or for news from February 2018, click here.