News Archive for February 2018

Published on 27th February 2018

The next two GWR HST sets to go off lease operated on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th February 2018.

On the 27th De-branded powercars No.43183 and No.43169 worked the 5Z43 10:15 Laira - St Phillips Marsh empty stock move with coaches 42253 42345 42019 42571 42252 41122. This was former set LA07.

On the 28th De-branded powercars No.43032 and No.43168 operated the 5Z43 10:15 Laira - St Phillips Marsh empty stock move with coaches 44009 42028 41103 42029 42009 42557 42259 41020. This was former set LA74.

Published on 27th February 2018

Train services were disrupted in the Taunton area on Monday 26th February 2018 when the 1S55 14:25 Plymouth - Edinburgh Cross Country service struck a person between Norton Fitzwarren and Fairwater Yard.

While the emergency services and railway staff dealt with the terrible incident train services were subject to delay, cancellation, termination and diversion. The 1A91 15:00 Plymouth - London Paddington service was immediately diverted to operate via Yeovil to Exeter, while other services were turned around at Taunton. The line was reopened after about 90 minutes.

Sun on Sunday

Published on 26th February 2018

Sunday 25th February provided excellent photography conditions in the Taunton area.

With a cold Easterly wind blowing the cloudless skies provided a ideal conditions for those hardy enough to wrap up warm on the line side. Sunday saw a busy morning of freight movements in the area including both the Network Rail HOBC and TRT sets returning to Taunton from overnight engineering work in Bristol and Didcot. While Colas Rail Freight operated an early morning freight, returning the long welded (CWR) rail set back to Hinksey Yard

Having spent the previous night dropping long welded rail in the Devon area, Colas Rail Freight were the first to return east returning an empty continuous welded rail train back to Hinksey Yard (south of Oxford)

Freightliner also provided returned both their HOBC and TRT sets to Taunton during the late morning, early afternoon. The HOBC set had been employed on overnight ballast cleaning duties in the Filton area of Bristol, while the TRT was returning from overnight track renewals on the Great Western Mainline.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)

(Photo: Simon Harling)

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)

(Photo: S A Ginn)

Published on 26th February 2018

Pictured at Cogload Junction on Sunday 25th February 2018, Freightliner navigates its load through through years of untamed undergrowth returning to Taunton.

Freightliner Class 66 No.66511 and No.66529 return the Network Rail HOBC to Taunton as the 6Y15 11:03 Filton West Junction - Fairwater Yard on Sunday 25th February 2018. Heading in the opposite direction (and just about visible) on the lower level, an unidentified Class 220/221 takes the direct route to Bristol as the 1M45 10:50 Paignton to Manchester Piccadilly.

To view the gallery, please click here.

WSR Spring Steam Gala

Published on 25th February 2018

The West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala weekend to be held between Thursday 22nd and Sunday 25th March 2018 now has its full quota of visiting locomotives announced. This year's theme for the event is 'Great Western Routes and Branches between 1923 & 1948'. Steam Locomotives visiting the line include USATC S160 No.6046, GWR 57XX 0-6-T Pannier Tank No.7714 & GWR 14XX 0-4-2T No.1450 along with Autotrailer No.178 all from the Severn Valley Railway, GWR 4-6-0 Hall No. 6990 'Witherslack Hall' from the Great Central Railway, and GWR 0-6-0T No.9466 completes the visitor line up. These locomotives will run alongside those from the home fleet which include GWR Modified Hall 4-6-0 No. 6960 'Raveningham Hall', GWR Manor No. 7822 'Foxcote Manor' and S&DJR 7F 2-8-0 No.53808.
Highlights of the four day event will be the USATC S160 No.6046 hauling a military train, which has been specially prepared for the event, and would of been typical of the sort of trains the class would of hauled during World War 2.

The Quantock Belle dining set will also be in operation on selected services, passengers should be advised that for the first service of each day an advance ticket must be booked due to limited space on board. All other services are served on a first come first serve basis.

For full details of the event please and to buy your tickets in advance please refer to the West Somerset Railway Website.

(Photo: Brian Garrett, Nathan Williamson)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

40 Years Ago

(Photo: Adrian Wetton)

Published on 18th February 2018

This amazing image taken by Adrian Wetton has been restored to its former glory and we would like to thank Adrian for allowing this image to be hosted on Taunton Trains.

40 years ago BR Blue Class 50 No. 50023 'Howe' was captured at Taunton in the heavy snow and freezing conditions of 1978. The locomotive was battling through the conditions while working the 1B10 16:53 London Paddington - Plymouth service on Saturday 18th February 1978. No. 50023 'Howe' remained in service until October 1990, but did survive until March 2004 where some restoration work had been started on the loco at Barrow Hill. It was later cut up as a source of spares for many of the other Class 50's which had made it into preservation.

To view the gallery, please click here.

GWR Class 800's Teething Problems

Published on 17th February 2018

As with the introduction of any new Class of train, deadlines for introduction often lead to faults needing to be ironed out in service.

The 15th February 2018 saw Class 800's No.800015 and No.80009 arrive at Taunton from London with just two out of eight engines working on the ten car set. While the new Intercity trains are claimed to have faster acceleration than a HST, they certainly do not provide this pace when operating with two engines. The rather 'sedate' departure of the 5C22 19:37 Taunton - Stioke Gifford empty stock move was recorded on Thursday 15th February 2018. (Video: Nathan Williamson)

To view the gallery, please click here.

Recent Freightliner Action

Published on 17th February 2018

Freightliner Heavy Haul provide a great deal of operational interest with their track renewals contact for Network Rail each week, their locomotives provide haulage for the High Output Ballast Cleaners and Track Renewals Trains operating from Fairwater Yard.

The company has operated these trains for twelve years since Fairwater Yard was first reactivated for the purpose in 2006. We have included a selection of images taken this week of the just some movements captured in the Taunton area.

The Network Rail HOBC made a rare daylight Saturday appearance on the 17th February 2018. The set (hauled by Freightliner Class 66 No.66953) passes Cogload Junction hauling the 6Y15 15:22 Fairwater Yard - Filnton West Junction, ready for overnight ballast cleaning duties. Freightliner powerhaul Class 66/5 No.66504 was also on the rear of the set, out of sight in this image.

Freightliner Class 66 No.66953 passes Oath on the Somerset Levels returning from loading its HOBC portion at Westbury on the 15th February 2018. The 6C73 12:12 Westbury - Fairwater Yard nears Taunton as it passes Oath.

Freightliner powerhaul liveried Class 66/5 No.66504 passes through Taunton Station hauling the 6Y15 19:05 Fairwater to Severn Tunnel Junction for overnight ballast cleaning on the South Wales mainline.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Eddy)

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)

Class 150/1's nearly at an end

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 17th February 2018

With most of the Class 150/1 Units now transferred to Northern Trains, there is one hybrid unit still in circulation.

Class 150/9 No.150926 is made up from Class 150/1 (No.150126) and a half of a 150/2 (No.150212) as such the Hybrid combination is numbered No.150926, the set is pictured passing Cogload Junction working the 2U22 15:07 Taunton - Newport stopping service on the Saturday 17th February 2018.

 Colas Light Engine

Published on 17th February 2018

Long distance Light Engine movements are not all that common through Taunton as they often mean whichever company is operating such a move is probably unlikely to be making money without a payload in tow.

Friday 16th February provided the sight of a Colas Rail Freight Class 70/8 No.70808 passing Taunton. The locomotive had been route learning in Cornwall the previous day. After receiving a B Exam at Tavistock Junction the locomotive then departed operating the 10:47 Tavistock Junction - Westbury light engine move, it's seen here about to exit Devon and enter Somerset on the approaches to Whiteball Tunnel.

(Photo: Simon Harling)

 Ready Teddy Go!

(Photo: Taunton Trains)

by Jeff Treece & Mike Pollard

Published on 14th February 2018

In the Winter of 1987 British Rail ran a 'Ready Teddy Go' weekend offer in conjunction with the Family Railcard.

Jeff Treece and Mike Pollard remember what a weekend offer this was back in January/February 1987.
Holders of a Family Railcard could travel almost anywhere in a day providing they were accompanied by at least one child and a Teddy Bear. The latter could be a real toy bear or an image of a bear. The promotional leaflet itself was sufficient and our boys unsurprisingly went for the image option! Cost of the Adult ticket was £5 whilst children travelled free. This was an offer far too good to resist so we planned some interesting trips from Taunton with our Sons. On Saturdays the 17th January we travelled 448 miles, 568 miles on the 24th, 464 miles on the 31st and 345 miles on 7th February. Because of the snowy weather, which caused some disruption to services, the offer was extended to include Saturday the 14th and 21st of February when we travelled a further 493 and 420 miles respectively.

To illustrate the flexibility of the offer, the trip on 24th January took us from Taunton to Paddington and then from St Pancras to Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester Piccadilly, Birmingham New Street, Bristol Temple Meads and then back to Taunton. That works out at under 1p a mile! Other stations visited on the other dates included Stafford, Crewe, Liverpool Lime Street, Derby, Leicester, Bescot, Willesden, Clapham Junction, Gatwick, Ashford and London Victoria & Euston. Many stations were visited several times over the six Saturdays. To summarise our sightings, the number of diesel/electric locomotives recorded on each Saturday were 126, 114, 167, 44, 165 & 69 giving an amazing total of 685. Units of various types and HST PCs are not included in these totals but the number was high especially in the London area.

We think the intention was to encourage families to travel at weekends in the post-Christmas/New Year period when passenger numbers tend to fall off. However, the offer was so successful that there were some complaints from other non-teddy passengers about overcrowding. What a way though for British Railways (as it was then) to encourage people to travel.
All this happened 31 years ago and we don’t think such a bargain fare has ever been repeated on the railways. I think the Boys enjoyed their jaunts around the country - we certainly did. Incidentally, £5 then is now equivalent to about £13.25 today.
If anyone else has memories of using this offer or any other stories from past in relation to Taunton then please contact us. click here to email

Winter Sunshine

Published on 12th February 2018

The 'as required' flow of aggregate from Whatley Quarry to Exeter Riverside Yard to replenish local stock piles of construction materials restarted on Monday 2nd February 2018.

A Class 59 from the Mendip Rail fleet is often supplied for this working. Having been unloaded at Exeter via mechanical grab, Hanson Aggregates liveried Class 59/1 No. 59104 'Village of Great Elm' passes Broomhay Crossing (Bathpool) under localized clouds hauling the 7C28 13:44 Exeter Riverside - Westbury empties back to Wiltshire.

After light overnight snow had melted providing a clear crisp day Freightliner Class 66/5 No.66511 returns to Taunton passing Bathpool hauling the 6C73 12:22 Westbury - Fairwater Yard loaded HOBC portion on Monday 12th February 2018. The train operated via Bristol Temple Meads to turn the set so it was the correct way round for its next overnight ballast cleaning duty in South Wales.

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)

HOBC at Dawn

Published on 7th February 2018

The Network Rail HOBC based at Fairwater Yard regularly spends most week nights out-based on the mainline cleaning ballast and improving the infrastructure.

The lengthy ballast cleaner is top and trailed by Freightliner Class 66's. On Tuesday 6th February 2018 the set was captured returning to Taunton as the early morning sun rose over Taunton. At 07:57 Freightliner Class 66/5 No.66559 lead the Network Rail HOBC back to Fairwater Yard working the 6Y15 04:37 Llanwern West Junction to Fairwater Yard having spent the night working on a section of track on the South Wales mainline.

(Video: Nathan Williamson)

2018 West Somerset Diesel Gala - Announcement

Published on 6th February 2018

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.
Up to 5 guest locomotives are currently in discussion which will be brought to the WSR by GBRF These 5 locomotives will join the DEPG's home fleet of diesel hydraulic and diesel electric locomotives with the 'possibility' of Hymek D7018 making a reappearance after its 23 years out of traffic following a serious failure back in August 1995, the loco would join class mate D7017 to provide a pair of Hymeks operating in preservation for the first time in many years.

So far guest locomotives have been agreed are Class 45 No. 45041 'Royal Tank Regiment' from the Peak Locomotive Company at the Midland Railway Centre, Butterley, and Class 50 No. 50035 'Ark Royal' from the Class 50 Alliance based at the Severn Valley Railway, both making their debut on the WSR. As many of 12 locos could be taking part in this year's event.The railway is also working on a plan to have a full Beer Festival at Williton Station for the weekend with some evening trains which will be operating to allow people to attend this as well as enjoying the sights and sounds of the diesels. So enter the 8th, 9th 10th June into your phones and enjoy whats looking to be one of the best WSR Diesel Galas yet.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Colas Engineers

Published on 4th February 2018

Sunday 4th February 2018 provided two afternoon engineers trains returning from weekend track replacement work in Devon.

Having then worked forward to St Blazey the two trains returned to Westbury during Sunday afternoon. Colas Class 66/ No. 66850 'David Maidment OBE' appeared first hauling the 6C25 10:46 St Blazey - Westbury. It's trailing load consisting of lifted track panels. General Electric Class 70 No.70809 hauled the 6C26 11:01 St Blazey - Westbury consisting of track panel wagons and empty ballast wagons. Both services passed Taunton within ten minutes of one another heading back to Westbury where their loads would be processed.

(Photo: Simon Harling)

(Photo: Sclub)

 A New Dawn

(Photo: Colin J Marsden)

Published on 3rd February 2018

As a new dawn of travel in the South West is on the horizon Taunton now has four 'booked' weekday passenger diagrams which use the GWR Hitachi Class 800 sets.

The 1A09 07:12 Taunton - London Paddington (via Bristol), 1C22 16:30 London Paddington - Taunton (via Bristol), the 1C24 17:30 London Paddington - Taunton (via Bristol) which arrives at 20:30 and then forms the 1A37 21:27 Taunton - London Paddington (via Bristol) service.

HST's can still operate these services and have been recorded working these diagrams in recent weeks, this can occur due to daily service alterations or problems with the IEP fleet which can happen at any point during the day. Despite much testing the IEP fleet is incredibly complex and heavily reliant on electronics and software, which appears to cause the bulk of the issues on the new trains. Seat reservations appear to be a stumbling block with the new trains, with many sets having been seen operating with the 'classic' paper seat reservation tickets in the backs of the seats.
As 2018 progress's more sets are due to come into traffic, and the classic HST's which have operated in the South West since the 1980's will begin to diminish.

To view the gallery, please click here.

 Steam Archive Expands

Published on 3rd February 2018

We are continuing to expand our Steam Archive pages on the Taunton Trains website, in recent weeks we have rescanned many of the original images hosted on the old Taunton Trains site, along with many new images which have previously been unseen.

From Monday 5th February our front page image will change daily to show a newly scanned and previously unseen steam images from the 1950's and 1960's. Please do keep coming back to view these and many other images hosted in our Photographic Archives. We have been truly amazed by the wealth of historic images that we have been able to obtain for use on Taunton Trains and are pleased to be able to host images for future generations to enjoy.

To view the gallery, please click here.

This wonderful image shows GWR 4-6-0 'King' No. 6002 'King William IV' at Taunton with a young enthusiast looking on at the impressive express passenger locomotive. Taken on the 21st August 1959 this scan of a print purchased online captures another moment in Taunton's railway history.

(Photo: Taunton Trains Collection)

To view news stories from January 2018, click here, or for news from March 2018, click here.