News Archive for January 2018

 'Inverness TMD' visits Taunton

(Photo: Shaun Mockridge)


Published on 29th January 2018

Friday 26th January 2018 provided the fine sight of a 'split headcode' BR Large Loco Class 37 No. 37025 'Inverness TMD' at Taunton Station.

Having passed through Taunton heading south in the early hours of the 23rd January and spent the week touring the branches of Cornwall, the Network Rail Test Train returned north on the Friday of the same week. The Heritage liveried Class 37 No. 37025 'Inverness TMD' is pictured at Taunton Station during a brief pause while working the 3Q13 20:28 Exeter Riverside - Derby RTC test train.


The heritage locomotive is currently operated by Colas Rail Freight hauling various Network Rail Test Trains around the UK each week. However the locomotive is owned by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society and will return to the preservation group once Colas decide to hand it back.


10 Years of MTU

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 24th January 2018

It's hard to believe it was 10 years ago when the last Great Western HST powercar with a Valenta power unit was making its final journey from Taunton before conversion to the more modern MTU power units.

Equally it's just as hard to think the MTU's have provided ten years of hard work inside one of the most best loved and iconic passenger trains operating up to 1000 mile diagrams each day. With another dawn of change on the horizon the HST's are continuing to provide a front line service as their newer Hitachi Class 800 replacements arrive into Traffic. No.43002 stands at Taunton on the 2nd January 2008 ready to make it's last departure from Taunton with its Valenta power unit before conversion to an MTU unit at Brush Loughborough. The powercar arrived with the 1C24 17:30 from London Paddington and departed as the 1A37 21:30 Taunton - London Paddington service.

To view the gallery, please click here.


Rare Sunday evening Hitachi Class 800 visit

(Photo: Richard Hill)

Published on 22nd January 2018

Sunday 21st January 2018 saw a rare Sunday evening visit of a GWR Hitachi Class 800.

No.800008 operated the 1C19 15:03 London Paddington - Taunton solo as a five car formation arriving at 18:03. The Unit then recessed at Taunton to form the 1A33 18:56 Taunton - London Paddington service. The Class 800's will soon begin to take over more HST diagrams in the coming months as more of the Class get accepted into traffic.

To view the gallery, please click here.


Memories of Yeovil Junction & Taunton



Published on 21st January 2018

What better way to to enjoy a cold wet winters day that to look back at the past railway scene in the Taunton area.

This superb video hosted on Youtube features around 30 minutes of steam footage from the Yeovil Area before moving towards Athelney and Cogload and Taunton. The video provides a snapshot in time of steam and early diesel operating in a time of change on the railways.
We recommend watching this wonderful one hour long video with rare footage from Taunton Station.


 Over 100 more images added!

Published on 21st January 2018

This weekend we have added over 100 images onto the new Taunton Trains website, and the Taunton Trains Collection. Each image has been re-scanned to higher resolution and re-edited for your viewing pleasure. Where applicable images have also been linked into the Taunton Workings Database. The images added vary from 1950 through to the current day, so there is plenty of variety to interest everyone.


We have also been busy in the Workings Database with over 200 lines of newly recorded workings added into this part of the website.


During next week our front page image will be changing daily featuring a different photograph from the incredible range of images we've added this weekend, so please do come back each day to see the latest image on the front page of the website.

A rather ropey looking BR Large Logo Class 47 No.47473 passes Cogload Junction on the 16th May 1992 working the 07:33 Rose Grove - Paignton service.

(Photo: John Day)


 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.


Weekend Engineering

(Photo: Adam Snow)

Published on 5th January 2018

Weekend track renewals in Devon and Cornwall will bring a host of Network Rail Engineering trains through Taunton over the weekend of the 6th/7th January 2018.

Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70816 leads class mate No.70813 in top and tail formation through Cogload Junction on Friday 5th January 2018. The mixed load of NLU/JNA's, MLA's, YWA's, IEA's were running as the 6Z29 10:30 Westbury - St Blazey. However upon arrival at Exeter Riverside Yard the load was split to form two trains. 20 wagons remained in Exeter Riverside Yard with No.70813 while the remaining 11 continued to St.Blazey hauled by No.70816.


 Storm Eleanor slows trains


Published on 3rd January 2018

A blanket speed restriction was put in place across the South West from 18:00 on Tuesday 2nd January due to the arrival of Storm Eleanor.

The 50mph restriction was imposed due to the high wind speeds which were expected between 18:00 (2nd Jan) and 02:00 (3rd Jan). All trains passing Cogload Junction heading south were required to slow to 50mph. The speed restriction also applied to all branch lines in Devon and Cornwall.


(Photo: Simon Harling)

Published on 3rd January 2018

DB Cargo operated the first freight train of 2018.

Before Christmas DB Cargo stored a rake of wagons at Exeter Riverside for the Christmas period. On January 3rd EWS liveried Class 66 No.66025 was sent light engine from Westbury and haul the rake back to Whatley Quarry where they would return to daily use. The locomotive is pictured climbing to Whiteball Tunnel hauling the 7C28 Exeter Riverside - Whatley Quarry formed of empty aggregate wagons.


 Happy New Year!!

(Photo: Micky Farkas, supplied by Steve Awford)


Published on 1st January 2018

Happy New Year to all our Taunton Trains readers, as 2018 arrives the 1st January marks the 70th Anniversary of the creation of British Railways.

It's therefore even more important to make sure the history of UK Railway scene is recorded for the future generations to enjoy and learn from.

As another year ends the development of the new website continues, and since revamping the website for relaunch between Christmas and New Year we have continued to test and upload content onto the new site. We appreciate all the positive feedback we've received so far.

Why not take a look at a our Photographic Galleries as we've been working hard on uploading new and existing images into this section of the website.
The Taunton Database has also been expanded over the past few days with around 100 extra workings now added.

We would like to thank all those people behind in the scenes who's continued support helps keep Taunton Trains running on a weekly basis. Without the help and support from those able to help with weekly data, past workings, photo submissions and historic information the website would be where it is today! So thank you all.

As a special 2018 treat we have prioritised a set of historic images that have been in our Archives for over six months. We would like to thank Steve Awford for scanning and forwarding a collection of previously un-published black and white negatives from retied driver and fireman Micky Farkas. Micky worked at Taunton in the 1960's. These incredibly rare images capture a period in British Railways where steam was being replaced by Diesel Hydraulics in the South West. We hope you enjoy these rare and incredibly well composed images.

To view the gallery, please click here.


 Direct HST to Cardiff Central

Published on 1st January 2018

The first day of a new year can always throw up an interesting working, the 1st January 2018 was no exception.

GWR provided a full length HST to cover for an absent Class 166 Turbo on the Taunton - Cardiff Central stopping diagram. Heritage liveried powercar No. 43185 'Great Western' leads No.43176 past Broomhay Crossing near Bathpool, having departed Taunton with the 9U16 12:04 Taunton - Cardiff Central. The set had previously arrived into Taunton with the 10:00 service from Cardiff Central.

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)


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