News Archive for June 2018

The Exmoor Coast Statesman


Published on 30th June 2018

West Coast Railways fronted the 'Exmoor Coast Statesman' premier dining charter from Crewe to Minehead on Saturday 30th June 2018.

The tour was hauled by former western region Class 47/8 No.47832 with No.47826 on the opposite end of the train. The 1Z78 05:05 Crewe - Minehead (Stock: 5912 3384 3344 3348 1211 3312 3438 80043 3229 3231 9479) is pictured passing Norton Fitzwarren having crossed over from the mainline onto the West Somerset Railway.


The Class 47 hauling the charter was delivered new in August 1964, and holds the accolade of perhaps the most painted Class 47 as it has carried no less than 17 different liveries in its lifetime and three different names. Although the locomotive will always be best known for its original name 'Tamar'.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Sheila and Charlotte stand in for NMT

Colas Rail Freight Class 67s No. 67023 'Sheila' and No. 67027 'Charlotte' in 'top and tail' stood in for the Network Rail New Measurement Train on Friday 29th Jun while it was out of service. The Colas Class 67s were formed up with test coaches 975091, 72631, 977997 and 9481. No. 67023 'Sheila' leads the 1Z18 15:46 Paignton - Taunton (via Bristol Temple Meads) test diagram over Cogload Junction running 12 minutes ahead of schedule. Upon arrival at Taunton, the pair terminated to form the last leg of its test diagram back to London Paddington.

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)



Published on 29th June 2018

Colas Rail Freight Class 67s No. 67023 'Sheila' the 1Z18 15:46 Paignton - Taunton (via Bristol Temple Meads) test diagram over Cogload Junction flyover on Friday 29th June 2018.

Partner locomotive No. 67027 'Charlotte' was on the rear of the train. The locomotives were covering for the Network Rail New Measurement Train (NMT) while it was out of service. The Colas Class 67s were formed up with test coaches 975091, 72631, 977997 and 9481. The train arrived 12 minutes early and upon arrival at Taunton, the pair terminated to form the last leg of its test diagram back to London Paddington.


Saphos Trains heads for the Riviera

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 24th June 2018

Sunday 25th June saw a new tour operator enter the South West railtour market with their first steam hauled excursion from Bristol to Kingswear.

Saphos Trains (owned by Jeremy Hosking) sold tickets for the 2018 season at 2003 prices, it wasn't surprising that tickets sold out on all advertised charters to the Devon Riviera. West Country Class No. 34046 'Braunton' (running as 34052 'Lord Dowding') hauled the 1Z27 08:00 Bristol Temple Meads - Kingswear 'The English Riviera Express' charter. After a booked water stop at Taunton, the locomotive is seen passing Victory Crossing as it opens up with plenty of exhaust. On the rear of the train was recently restored and repainted Class 47 No. 47805 'Roger Hosking MA 1925-2013 ' (D1935).


 50s Thunder West

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


Published on 23rd June 2018

With a long blast on the horn as the passed Cogload Junction former British Rail Class 50s evoke memories of the class which were once commonplace on this stretch of line.

Now cared for by the Fifty Fund No. 50049 'Defiance' and No. 50007 'Hercules' storm south at Cogload on Saturday 23rd June 2018 hauling Pathfinder Railtours 'Mazey Day Cornishman' charter which operated as the 1Z50 05:40 Tame Bridge Parkway - Penzance. The locomotives also carried alternative identities of former classmates 50011 'Centurion' and 50006 'Neptune' for the trip.

To view the gallery, please click here.


 Daylight China Clay

Published on 23rd June 2018

China Clay is a commodity which is rarely seen in daylight at Taunton.

Saturday 23rd June 2018, however, did see one such appearance. Due to the cancellation of the normal overnight Friday evening path from Exeter Riverside Yard to Bescot, DB Cargo rescheduled their weekly China Clay service to operate the next day. EWS liveried Class 66 No.66060 hauled the loaded Imerys wagons operating as the 6M60 11:30 Exeter Riverside - Bescot. The service also departed 68 minutes late from Exeter Riverside finally passing Taunton around 13:25. The service is pictured here exiting from Whiteball Tunnel at Marlands having made the climb from Devon into Somerset.

(Photo: Simon Harling)


 #longesttrain #longestday

Published on 21st June 2018

With Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe on board from All The Stations Cross Country Voyager No.221122 passes Cogload Junction working 1V60 08:20 Aberdeen - Penzance running four minutes behind schedule.

The pair teamed up with National Rail on the longest day of the year to travel the longest train diagram in the UK. Operated by Cross Country the Aberdeen - Penzance journey departs Aberdeen at 08:20 in the morning and reaches Penzance at 21:43, a journey over 700 miles, calling at 45 stations on route. The 'All The Stations' Special Event was posted on various social media platforms throughout the day live from the train.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


Heritage Diesels on the WSR

Recently overhauled Class 33 No.D6566 (33048) stands at Minehead having arrived with the 15:51 Bishops Lydeard - Minehead service on Friday 8th June 2018, during the 2018 Diesel Gala Weekend.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


Having completed its operating diagrams on Friday 8th June 2018, BR Two Tone Green Hymek No.D7017 is pictured stabled on the turntable at Minehead during the 2018 Diesel Gala Weekend.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Published on 21st June 2018

Don't forget that Heritage Diesels can be enjoyed on the West Somerset Railway on selected date throughout the summer months.

Current Locomotive Allocations for WSR 2018 Saturday Diesel turns are shown below:
June 23rd: Class 35 No. D7017
June 30th: Class 33 No. D6566
July 7th: Class 35 No. D7017
July 14th: Class 35 No. D7017
July 21st: Class 33 No. D6566
July 28th: Class 33 No. D6566
August 4th: Class 33 No. D6575
August 11th: Class 33 No. D6566
August 18th: Class 35 No. D7017
August 25th: Class 35 No. D7017
September 15th: Class 35 No. D7017
September 22nd: Class 35 No. D7017

The timings for diesel haulage on the Brown Timetable days are as follows:-

Bishops Lydeard Dep 11:15, Minehead Arr 12:47

Minehead Dep 13:15, Bishops Lydeardd Arr 14:43

Bishops Lydeard Dep 15:15, Minehead Arr 16:47

Minehead Dep 17:15, Bishops Lydeard Arr 18:30


'Clan Line' Steams West

Southern Region Steam returned to the Great Western on Sunday 17th June 2018. Running 36 minutes behind schedule due to a late departure from Bristol, SR Merchant Navy Pacific No. 35028 'Clan Line' wastes no time powering through Creech St Michael hauling 'The Cornishman Express' forming 1Z50 08:03 Bristol Temple Meads - Par.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 17th June 2018

Sunday 17th June 2018 was Torbay Express Ltd operate a steam hauled charter 'The Cornishman' into Cornwall.

The 1Z50 08:03 Bristol Temple Meads - Par charter used Southern Region Merchant Navy No.34028 for the 160 miles trip into Cornwall. The charter departed Bristol Temple Meads 32 minutes behind schedule however by Taunton the locomotive had already cut the deficit to 25 minutes by Plymouyth is was 8 minutes late and arrived into Par just 13 minutes behind schedule. The time taken to takve from Exeter to Plymouth was recorded at 62 minutes and 20 seconds (which we understand is a record for a single headed steam locomotive with this load, which consisted of 10 coaches equalling 385 tons.

The return leg was also impressive beating some HST schedules in Cornwall.


Coats of Many Colours


Published on 16th June 2018

During the 2018 Diesel Gala Weekend at the West Somerset Railway, the Diesel Electric Preservation Group shed was open for visitors.

With almost all the groups' locomotives out operating on the railway, the shed and yard area was unusually quiet. One resident which has now entered the workshops is Class 47 No.D1661.
The locomotive first arrived on the line on the 28th May 2007 when it was handed over from Porterbrook leasing to the care of the DEPG. Before arriving the 47840 was given a full repaint from British Rail Blue (applied by Virgin Trains as part of their locomotive farewell in 2000) into 1960s Two Tone Green. North Star has carried this livery for all of its 11 years on the West Somerset Railway and has spent pretty much all of those 11 years outside. The weather has taken a toll on the locomotive bodywork, particularly the roof sections which are more prone to corrosion.
The locomotive is now undercover in the DEPG shed and receiving attention to its rotting roof panels and bodywork repairs. Her current coat of paint has served the locomotive well but the time has come to attend to the locomotives bodywork which is showing its age. There is also a spell of maintenance planned for the locomotive's engine while it spends time in the workshops at Williton.
While rubbing the locomotive down a complete paint spectrum of its former liveries has been revealed which provides a rare glimpse into the locomotives life since 1965. In total the loco has carried nine different liveries in its lifetime. Its original base coat is a Brown/ Orange Red Oxide, it then carried Two Tone Green (Yellow Warning Panels), Two Tone Green (Full Yellow Ends), British Rail Blue, Intercity (Yellow Cab Sides), Intercity (Swallow), Virgin Trains (Red/Black), British Rail Blue, and finally back to BR Two Tone Green (Yellow Warning Panels) when it entered preservation.
The Class 47 has always been a genuine Western Region locomotive. It was delivered new to Swansea depot in February 1965 and was named at London Paddington on the 20th March of the same year by Ray Gunter (Minister of Labour), after its naming it hauled the 10:42 'North Star Special' to Bristol where sister locomotive D1662 was named 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel'. In 2002 the locomotive was repainted into its iconic British Rail Blue livery by Virgin Trains as part of their Cross Country Class 47 farewell celebrations.
We have provided a selection of images of the locomotive in action on the mainline in its final years before delivery into the care of the Diesel Electric Preservation Group at Williton in 2007.

(Photo: Norman Hawkes)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Hastings 'Thump' South West


Published on 16th June 2018

The Hastings Diesels Limited operated a rare charter into the South West with their Class 201 Hastings unit (Known at Thumpers) on Saturday 16th June 2018.

'The South Devon Coaster' departed Hastings at 06:32 and conveyed passengers to the heart of the Devon Riviera at Paignton. The set was formed of powercars No. 60118 'Tunbridge Wells' and No. 60116 'Mountfield' with unpowered intermediate vehicles 60501 69337 70262 60529. The southbound charter passed Taunton around 11:15 and returned from Devon at 16:40.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Phil Izzard)



Early Morning Test Train



Published on 11th June 2018

Passengers waiting for Pathfinder Tours 'Peak District Explorer Charter on Saturday 9th June 2018 were treated to some early morning English Electric noise by means of the 3Q06 17:43 Derby RTC to Riverside.

No.37219 is seen pushing the Network Rail test train westbound through Taunton. The train from formed of DBSO 9701, leading and test coaches 62384, 72630, 99666, 9523. (Video: Nathan Williamson)




Published on 10th June 2018

Sunday 10th June 2018 Colas Rail Freight Class 37 No.37219 passed through Taunton working the 3Z08 09:02 Exeter Riverside - Derby RTC test train for Network Rail. The locomotive had previously operated a test train down during the early hours of Saturday morning at 05:40. (Video: Nathan Williamson)


The Peak District Explorer


Published on 10th June 2018

Pathfinder Tours operated 'The Peak District Explorer' charter from Taunton on Saturday 9th June 2018.

The tour featured a DB Cargo Class 66 locomotive from Taunton to the West Midlands (and also assisting with movements in the Peak District) and a Class 56 from Colas Rail Freight from the West Midlands to Buxton. The stock for the tour as hauled overnight from Eastleigh to Westbury by No.66129, however, a brake fault at Westbury on that locomotive resulted in No.66177 being used to haul the stock to Taunton arriving 55 minutes late at 05:56, it subsequently then hauled the charter (and also assisting with various movements in the Peak District). Because of Engineering work, the tour did not return to Taunton that night, instead, passengers were provided with road coach transfer from Bristol Parkway to Taunton by Chauffeurhire Coaches with passengers arriving back at 00:05 on Sunday morning.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Heritage Traction Bonznaza


Published on 10th June 2018

Taunton was treated to Heritage Traction Bonanza both 9th and 10th June with several charters operating through Taunton, and the West Somerset Railway Diesel Gala in full swing it's been a very busy weekend for both Steam and Diesel action in the area.

Sunday 10th June 2018 provided two workings using heritage Class 37 locomotives. Colas Rail Freight Class 37 No.37219 passed through Taunton working the 3Z08 09:02 Exeter Riverside - Derby RTC test train for Network Rail. The locomotive had previously operated a test train down during the early hours of Saturday morning at 05:40.

West Coast Railways Class 37 No.37668 hauled the diesel leg of Steam Dreams 'The Cathedrals Express' charter on Sunday 10th June 2018. The locomotive is pictured passing Cogload Junction while hauling the 1Z50 07:15 from London Paddington to Kingswear. At Taunton, the Class 37 was switched to the rear of the train, and Steam Traction in the shape of LMS Black 5 No.45212 took over to haul the charter to Kingswear.

(Photo: Nathan Williamson)

(Photo: Simon Harling)



West Somerset Railway - 2018 Diesel Gala


Published on 9th June 2018

The West Somerset Railway Diesel Gala held between 8th and 10th June 2018 provided a variety of former British Rail locomotives with the theme 'Vintage Diesels to the Seaside'.


The 2018 gala gave the chance for enthusiasts to travel behind locomotives from their youth and to pass on their summer holiday memories to those who were not of an age to have remembered such times.
Locomotives from visiting railways operated alongside those from the home DEPG fleet which gave a wide variety of locomotive types operating over the length of the line. The 2018 gala timetable was a vast improvement on those of previous years, and the Beer Festival at Washford was a great addition for something to build upon in future years.

The event wasn't without its problems but overall these issues were overcome, the trains kept rolling and the gala timetable was completed! As the final engine stop button is pressed we and the final piston slowly stops we have set up a gallery to begin to record some of the super images taken in the Somerset countryside over the three-day event. If you would like to contribute any images to this gallery please contact Taunton Trains

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



Great Western Steam to make a comeback?

GWR 4-6-0 Castle No. 5043 'Earl of Mount Edgcumbe' double heads with GWR Hall No. 4965 'Rood Ashton Hall' away from Taunton on 5th May 2010 hauling Vintage Trains 'The Cornishman' charter. The 1Z43 07:01 Birmingham Snow Hill - Plymouth is pictured passing 40 Steps

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 7th June 2018

It has been reported by Railway Herald Magazine that the Railway Touring Company has advertised four 'Royal Duchy' trips as being potentially hauled by a GWR 'Castle'.


The charters are booked to run to Par in the 22nd July, 2nd September and 16th September 2018. They are currently shown as being operated by operated by either SR 'West Country' No. 34046 'Braunton' (in its Lord Dowding guise) or Tyseley-based No. 5043 'Earl of Mount Edgcumbe'
Vintage Trains has confirmed that discussions are underway with the tour operator over the use of Earl of Mount Edgcumbe on one of RTC's 'Royal Duchy' trips. There is also another charter potentially on the horizon with a trip to Minehead. However, the final confirmation is awaited and the actual dates have yet to be decided. With the South West has been devoid of any Great Western steam for some time now, it will be great to see GWR Steam back in the South West operating on its old territory!


2018 West Somerset Diesel Gala - Nearly Here!


Published on 6th June 2018

It's nearly time for the big Diesel event of the year in the South West.

The arrival of an (almost) BR Blue convoy from Kidderminster marks the countdown to the West Somerset Railway Diesel Gala. The fun kicks off this Thursday with Class 45 No. 45041 'Royal Tank Regiment' and Western No. D1010 'Western Campaigner' both operating a round trip departing from Bishops Lydeard and Minehead respectively at 13:15. Rover Tickets on the Thursday are priced at just £5!.
The convoy of locomotives from Kidderminster was formed of BR Blue Class 20 No.20189 leading, London Transport Class 20 No.20142, BR Blue Class 50 No. 50035 'Ark Royal', BR Blue Class 45 No. 45041 'Royal Tank Regiment' and BR Blue Deltic No. 55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier'. The 0Z20 10:55 Kidderminster - Bishops Lydeard was captured passing Banklands and Norton Fitzwarren.

(Photo: Jamie Waters)

(Photo: Paul Wilkins)



 DB Cargo

Published on 6th June 2018

In the stunning evening light, DB Cargo Class 66 No. 66055 'Alain Theuvette' passes Allerford on the 6th June 2018 working the 6W98 16:38 Westbury - Burngullow Long Welded Rail Train.

The set will drop fresh rail in Cornwall overnight before returning to Westbury on Thursday morning. The locomotive hauling the train is also fitted with an additional spotlight on the front nose end as it is one of five locomotives fitted with this modification for banking heavy freights up the Licky Incline between Bromsgrove and Barnt Green. The light was to allow a better view of the coupling during night time operations.

(Photo: Thomas Courtney)


 Colas cover for DB Cargo

Published on 5th June 2018

Colas Rail Freight was back providing cover for DB Cargo on June 4th, 2018 hauling the Mendip Stone trip to Exeter Riverside.

Class 70/8 No.70808 is pictured climbing Whiteball Bank with the return 7C28 13:44 Exeter Riverside - Whatley Quarry, with a lengthy rake of wagons in tow.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Simon Harling)


First Torbay Express of 2018

(Photo: S A Ginn)

Published on 3rd June 2018

SR 'Merchant Navy' Class 4-6-2 No. 35028 'Clan Line' heads the first Torbay Express charter of the 2018 season on Sunday, May 3rd.

Having departed Bristol Temple Meads 36 minutes late the 1Z27 08:00 Bristol Temple Meads to Kingswear had regained 30 minutes of lost time upon arrival at Taunton having clocked up 47 miles in 44 minutes, this time was achieved with 12 coaches in tow. After its booked servicing stop at Taunton, the locomotive headed west to Devon and by Whiteball Summit where we see it here it was running 2 minutes ahead of schedule. The return run from Kingswear in the evening Clan Line was reported to have easily topped Whiteball Summit at a casual 70mph.

To view the gallery, please click here.


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