News Archive for April 2018

Belmond British Pullman


Published on 28th April 2018

The annual visit of the Belmond British Pullman to the South West is always an event to look forward to in the railway calendar.

The 2018 visit also displayed the best presented locomotives and stock for years. Rather than the usual Royal or shabby EWS liveried locomotives DB Cargo have recently repainted a pair of their Class 67 locomotives into the classic Pullman livery. Class 67 No.67024 and No.67021 look resplendent and very smart in their new colours and complement the quality of the prestigious service which they are providing. The Pullman arrived in the South West on Friday 27th April working south from London Victoria through to Truro and Penzance. The service travelled in top and tail formation to Taunton before adding No.67021 to the front of the train to tackle the Devon Banks. After an overnight stay in Cornwall the high class dining service departed Penzance at 08:44 with a day trip to Bishops Lydeard . Tickets (which had sold out) were priced at £495 including the day trip events from Bishops Lydeard. On board passengers enjoyed sparkling Bellini upon boarding, a three course brunch along with morning tea and coffee. Upon arrival at Taunton No.67024 was uncoupled from the front of the train passing back through Platform 4 and rejoined the opposite end of the train, in order to lead the charter service onto the West Somerset Railway. The Pullman was originally booked to travel through to Minehead however axle weight issues on the WSR now prevent Class 67s from travelling over the length of the line. Passengers were disembarked at Bishops Lydeard with those choosing the Dunster Castle visit transferred onto coaches from Williton based company Ridlers for their visit, remaining passengers transferred onto a waiting steam train service to Minehead and back hauled by BR 7F No.53808. For the return trip to Penzance passengers were greeted with a Champagne reception on board, a sumptuous four-course dinner with wine and cheeseboard selection followed by Coffee and petit fours.

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)

(Photo: Simon Harling)

(Photo: Jeff Treece)


(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Network Rail Class 950

(Photo: Sclub)

Published on 26th April 2018

The Network Rail Class 150/1 converted Sprinter numbered No.950001 was in the West Country for a series of track recording trips on the week commencing 23rd April.

The specially converted unit which was built in 1987 is one of the most advanced track recording units in the United Kingdom and travels to far flung parts of the UK rail network each week. The unit is pictured passing Norton Fitzwarren working the 2Q08 04:16 Truro Yard - Derby RTC diagram on Thursday 26th April 2018.


 The Royal Oke

Published on 22nd April 2018

Looking like pretty much any other HST service passing through the Taunton area, a full GWR Green HST passes through Norton Fitzwarren on Saturday 21st April 2018 operating an Oke Rail Charter.

The HST was provided by GWR to operate 'The Royal Oke' charter from Okehampton to Oxford and Stratford Upon Avon. No.43188 leads No.43093 north through Norton Fitzwarren operating the 1

44 07:10 Okehampton - Stratford Upon Avon charter. The charter was the second to operate from the Dartmoor town to further demonstrate that regular year round passenger services should be reinstated to Exeter . With Government backing the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling has already announced that the reintroduction of services between Okehampton and Exeter should be pursued as soon as reasonably possible.

(Photo: Phil Izzard)


 Night Riviera Failure

(Photo: Adam Snow)


Published on 21st April 2018

The GWR 'Night Riviera' sleeper service is rarely out of the news, and often in then news for all the wrong reasons.

The night of the 20th/ 21st April 2018 was another one of those news worthy events which have become all too common with the GWR Class 57s. The 1A40 (Fri) 21:45 Penzance - London Paddington service made it just past Totnes (where the train was on time) before the problems with No. 57605 'Totnes Castle' started to manifest. Arrival into Newton Abbot station was 49 minutes behind schedule. Here the train was held waiting fitters attention. In the mean time a HST set which stables at Exeter St Davids overnight, was commandeered and sent to Newton Abbot to collect the woken passengers for onward transit to London Paddington. The GWR HST transfer departed Newton Abbot 04:06 leaving the stricken sleeper service behind, and called at Taunton a mere 182 minutes late at 04:25. The deficit was cut to just 82 minutes by the time it reached the Capital.

By borrowing the HST set from Exeter, this resulted in the cancellation of the first Saturday morning London bound passenger service from Exeter (1A10 07:29 Exeter St Davids - London Paddington). While passengers were being woken and alternative transport arranged another Class 57 locomotive was summoned from London to work light engine all the way to Newton Abbot to collect the stricken Night Riviera service. A Class 57/3 from Direct Rail Services (which is on hire to GWR) No. 57306 'Her Majesty's Railway ' passed through Taunton at 05:06 light engine heading south.

No. 57306 'Her Majesty's Railway ' and No. 57605 'Totnes Castle' finally departed Newton Abbot at 07:10 some six and a half hours later than the original booked service train. The empty stock move formed the 5A40 07:10 Newton Abbot - Reading Traincare Depot , ironically running more of less in the path of the cancelled 1A10 Exeter to London cancelled service train. The pair are pictured passing Cogload Junction at 08:07.


 Spring has Sprung!

Published on 21st April 2018

After the long and drawn out Winter of 2018, we are pleased to see that Spring has arrived in abundance during the latter part of April.

This wonderfully colourful scene captured at Cogload Junction shows Oil Seed Rape in full bloom complimented by one of the unique GWR 'celebrity' powercars No.43172. The remembrance powercar is always a welcome sight amid the wealth of corporate colour. No.43172 leads No.43010 on Friday 20th April while working the 1C88 16:03 London Paddington - Penzance service.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Adam Snow)


Further Class 800 & 802 testing


Published on 21st April 2018

Further testing on the Class 800 and Class 802 fleets began again during mid April, with several runs being made between North Pole IEP Depot and Taunton using Class 800s No. 800004 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel / Sir Daniel Gooch' and No.

800003 'Queen Elizabeth II - Queen Victoria', while Class 802 Intercity Express Trains have started further testing over the Devon Banks into Cornwall with a return trip between Stoke Gifford IEP Depot and Penzance. Two images below capture No. 800004 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel / Sir Daniel Gooch' working 5Z19 09:33 North Pole IEP - Taunton (having split from partner No. 800003 'Queen Elizabeth II - Queen Victoria' at Bristol) on the 17th April, and No.802001 & No.802002 exiting from Whiteball Tunnel while working the 5Z91 12:17 Penzance - Stoke Gifford IEP on the 19th April.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Eddy)

(Photo: Simon Harling)



Class 166 heads to Exeter

(Photo: Paul Clarke)

Published on 21st April 2018

Thursday 19th April 2018 saw a Class 166 head south of Taunton to Exeter for the first time.

The unit was sent to Exeter for platform clearance and height trials. First Great Western blue and pink liveried No.166203 was provided to operate the 5Z65 10:25 St Philips Marsh - St Philips Marsh via Exeter Depot. The unit is seen departing Taunton, and will soon seen the class spreading its wings to further into the South West.

To view the gallery, please click here.


Weekend Engineers Trains


Published on 8th April 2018

With weekend engineering work taking place between Bristol and Bath, a flurry of engineers trains visited Taunton on Sunday 8th April 2018 in order to change direction and head back to Westbury.

The trains varied in length and consist which always provides some added interest for photographers.


Freightliner Class 66/5 No.66507 is pictured passing Creech St Michael while working the 6Y53 08:00 Bristol East Junction - Westbury via Taunton. The train (running 184 minutes behind schedule) was formed of lifted track to be returned to Westbury for recycling.


Freightliner powerhaul liveried Class 66/4 (formerly operated by Direct Rail Servicers) No.66420 hauls the 6Y54 10:06 Bristol East Junction - Westbury through Creech St Michael The train was conveying spoil from the engineering worksite, and being returned to Westbury via Taunton.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Network Rail NMT HST


Published on 6th April 2018

The Network Rail New Measurement Train visited Taunton three times on Friday 6th April 2018 as part of its UK track testing route which the HST is diagrammed to perform.

The New Measurement Train (NMT) operated by Network Rail first passed Taunton at arrived into Taunton at 07:46 working the 1Q18 06:10 Reading Triangle to Paignton via Penzance leg of its recording run. Having visited Paignton the set formed the 1Z18 15:46 Paington to Taunton (passing at 16:56) via Bristol Temple Meads. The set then returned to Taunton at 18:56 which is when our images of the yellow HST were captured. Powercar No. 43014 'The Railway Observer' is seen leading No.43013 into Taunton before changing direction to form its final diagram of the day working the 1Q19 18:57 Taunton - London Paddington. Upon arriving back into London the set would of covered 683 miles during the days track recording.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Colas Cement

(Photo: Adam Snow)

Published on 5th April 2018

Colas Rail Freight continue to operate the weekly bulk cement flow from Tarmac's Aberthaw Cement plant in South Wales.

On the 5th April 2018 Class 70 No.70807 hauls the empty PCA rake through Bathpool operating the 6B36 08:16 Mooswater - Aberthaw service.

To view the gallery, please click here.


 What's New!

Published on 4th April 2018

We are pleased to announce a new page has been added to the Taunton Trains website.

The What's New page will automatically update each time a new piece of information is uploaded onto the website, it will provide a live daily list of the updates which have taken place allowing readers to explore images, workings data and news. We have been working hard behind the scenes to bring more content to the website and we would also like to thank the team of photographers and regular contributors who have been supplying information for others to enjoy/ use in the future.
To aid navigation around the site we have also revised the website footer to also contain a smaller navigation bar, so there’s no longer a need to scroll back to the top of each page.
In the coming weeks we have further updates planned which we hope will further enhance the user experience on the website. Please keep revisiting the website and spread the word about our growing Workings Database which is now has over 19,000 workings for readers to enjoy!

(Photo: Taunton Trains)


HOBC heads to Crewe

(Photo: Eddy)

Published on 4th April 2018

The centre mechanical section of the Network Rail High Output Ballast Cleaner (the RM900RT ballast cleaning machine) departed Fairwater Yard on Easter Monday the 2nd April 2018.

Freightliner provided the transport with powerhaul liveried Class 66 No.66504 hauling the machine. The locomotive is pictured crossing the Somerset Levels at Oath working the 6Y15 12:53 Fairwater Yard - Crewe.

To view the gallery, please click here.


 The Micky Farkas Collection - Steam

Published on 2nd April 2018

This week our front page will be changing daily to display a new image from the Micky Farkas collection.

We previously displayed a set of images from Micky's collection which featured early diesels operating in the Taunton area. This week we are pleased to say we are turning the clock back to feature steam locomotives from the early 1960s. The images have all been scanned and repaired for display on Taunton Trains. If our readers are able to help with any further identification of the possible dates and workings we would love to hear from you via the Taunton Trains Email . Previous images featured on Taunton Trains can be viewed on the link below.

To view the gallery, please click here.

GWR 4-6-0 Hall No. 4991 'Cobham Hall' gathers speed passing Silk Mills Crossing with a west bound local passenger service passing a 28XX 2-8-0 working a mixed freight, regulated at the south end of Fairwater Yard.

(Photo: Micky Farkas)


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