News Archive for July 2018

 Time for a break!


Published on 26th July 2018

It's time for Taunton Trains to take a short break.

But don’t worry we won’t be leaving you without any content to enjoy while we are away. Since October last year, we have made huge strides in developing the new Taunton Trains website. There is still more development work in the pipeline and we will bring you news of this as and when we are ready to launch new content.

We are very pleased with the progress made on the new Taunton Trains Database, which now stands at over 25,500 entries (all of which have been added in the past eight months). We would like to thank the dedicated volunteers who have given their time to contribute and help research historical workings which have passed through Taunton. This invaluable data is helping build a bigger picture of train operations through Taunton for the future generations to enjoy. If you would like to help, please do get in contact as we have a special Excel based sheet which can be filled out for upload onto the website.

Our News pages are also progressing backward (as well as forwards). We now have news backdated to October 2016, so please feel free to scroll back through the months to enjoy older news and images.

We would also like to thank all those who regularly contribute modern and archive images, local photographers have been capturing some truly stunning images and its great that Taunton Trains can be a central platform where images can be displayed for everyone to enjoy.

This leads us nicely onto our short break. Over the next ten days, the website will automatically display a new front-page image in what we are calling ‘Gavin Morrison Week’. Gavin is a well-known photographer who has a huge collection of images capturing British Rail scenes from 1953 through to the current day and he has also authored many railway books. He has very kindly offered us the use of his images from the Taunton area for display on Taunton Trains, and as such we were so blown away with the quality of material which Gavin was able to scan, that we will be hosting a permanent Gavin Morrison Gallery on the website to house his wonderful collection of images. Please keep coming back to Taunton Trains throughout the week to see each of the new images as they appear!


Vulcan Roars South


Published on 24th July 2018

More Heritage Class 37 action was witnessed on Tuesday 27th July 2018 when Large Logo liveried Class 37 No. 37424 'Avro Vulcan XH558' hauled inspection saloon coach 'Caroline' through Somerset and into Devon.

The 5Z02 08:00 Crewe Gresty Bridge - Exeter St Davids passed Taunton around 14:10 and was captured at several locations on route through the area. The 28th will see the colourful combination heading to the most southerly point of the mainline rail network to Penzance from Exeter. The unique Class 37 is named after the Avro Vulcan XH558 and also carries the odd 37558 number on the body side, despite the locomotive actually being numbers 37424 'Avro Vulcan XH558'.

The locomotive returns to Crewe on Thursday 26th July at 09:40

(Photo: Simon Harling)

(Photo: Chay Farzaneh)

(Photo: S A Ginn)



GWR Powercar Move

(Photo: Simon Harling)

Published on 24th July 2018

GWR moved a pair of powercars from Wales to Cornwall on Tuesday 24th July 2018, following close behind 37424 and its inspection saloon was No.43182 and No.43020 working 0Z83 11:00 Landore TMD to Penzance T&RSMD .

The rare back to back powercar move is pictured passing Cogload Junction.


 Nine Car Class 800/3 Diagrams to start 28th July 2018


Published on 23rd July 2018

GWR has scaled back the introduction of their Summer Saturday Nine Car Hitachi Class 800/3 diagrams.

In a change to the previous information received the only diagrams to go over to IEP traction on the 28th July 2018 will be:


1C75 08:18 London Paddington - Paignton (Taunton 10:39), returning 1A84 13:08 Paignton - London Paddington (Taunton 14:45)


Heritage Diesel Diagram - WSR


Published on 22nd July 2018

Summer Heritage Diesel services on the West Somerset Railway are continuing throughout the 2018 operating season.

Saturday 22nd July 2018 provided one of the two Class 33s which are based on the line at Williton under the care of the Diesel Electric Preservation Group. Class 33 No.33057 (D6575) operated the 11:15 Bishops Lydeard - Minehead, 13:15 Minehead - Bishops Lydeard, 15:15 Bishops Lydeard - Minehead and 17:15 Minehead - Bishops Lydeard services on Saturday 22nd July 2018.

Sister locomotive No.33048 (D6566) ran into problems while working a Diesel Driving Experience Course sustained what is believed to be a voltage regulation fault which occurred between Blue Anchor and Washford. Thankfully the locomotive was able to limp to Williton where it was removed from the train and replaced by Class 14 No.9526 providing a very rare outing for this locomotive.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



 The Royal Duchy

Published on 22nd July 2018

With steam restrictions still firmly in place due to prolonged periods without rainfall The Royal Duchy charter on Sunday 22nd July, 2018 incorporated a West Coast Railways Heritage Class 37 behind the steam locomotive to do most of the work and prevent stray embers from setting lineside vegetation alight.

The 1C50 08:48 Bristol Temple Meads - Par excursion is pictured at Taunton with No.44871 leading No.37706 to Cornwall.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Robert Latham)


Seeing Double


Published on 15th July 2018

With driver training and testing on the new Hitachi Class 800 and 802 Bi-mode units in full swing, Friday 13th July 2018 saw to diagrams passing Taunton within two minutes of one another.

First to pass south was nine car set No.802101 operating 5Z22 09:22 London Paddington - Plymouth, next to pass through was Class 802 pair No.802001 & No.800002 operating the 5Z83 09:39 Laira - London Paddington diagram. The 28th July will see the introduction Class 800/802 diagrams for passenger use south of Taunton.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: S A Ginn)

(Photo: S A Ginn)



 The Royal Scotsman heads West

(Photo: Simon Harling)


Published on 10th July 2018

The Royal Scotsman normally luxury sleeping and dining train spends the majority of its life touring Scotland as its name suggests.

However, since GBRf have been operating the train more imaginative and forward thinking has seen it take occasional forays to other far-flung parts of the UK mainline. Tuesday 10th July 2018 was an early start with the train leaving Gloucester at 04:17 for the slightly less than glamorous location of Newton Abbot. The purpose of the tour was to provide passengers with an early morning breakfast with a view of the South Devon Sea Wall. The southbound trip passed Taunton at 05:54. Having run around the train at Newton Abbot the two dedicated Royal Scotsman locomotives No.66743 and No.66746 formed the 1Z80 07:23 Newton Abbot - Bath Spa leg of the unique dining experience. The pair is seen climbing Whiteball with breakfast very much consumed taking passengers to their Bath Spa destination.


 Testing Times for Class 37

Published on 10th July 2018

Former DRS Blue Class 37 No.37612 (now owned by Harry Needle) spent a day stabled in Taunton on the 10th July 2018.

The locomotive has been operating a series of Network Rail test trains in the South West. As testing is mainly carried out at night the locomotive is pictured stabled (in the what could be described as a nature reserve) in the tamper sidings behind Platform 1. The locomotive is booked to depart Taunton on Tuesday 10th July with the 21:38 to Penzance.

(Photo: Chay Farzaneh)


Hot Freight Action


Published on 9th July 2018

On one of the hottest days on record in the Taunton area, Sunday 8th July witnessed two morning freights heading north within ten minutes of each other.

Captured passing Creech St Michael and Silk Mills on the 8th of July 2018 was former DRS Class 66/4 No.66413 operating 6Y97 08:15 Lipson Junction - Westbury returning the long welded rail train from an overnight rail drop. Following close behind was Freightliner Class 66 No. 66593 '3MG Mersey Multimodal Gateway' hauling 6Y15 09:18 Fairwater Yard to East Somerset Junction with partner No. 66592 'Johnson Stevens Agencies', the pair were transporting the Network Rail HOBC to an engineering blockade to carry out ballast cleaning work.

(Photo: Ashley Harris)

(Photo: Ashley Harris)

(Photo: S A Ginn)



GWR Class 165 appears at Taunton

(Photo: 50006Neptune)

Published on 9th July 2018

GWR Class 165s began to make their appearance in the South West during W/C 2nd July.

It's believed the first Class 165 (in passenger service) to visit Taunton was on Tuesday 3rd July. However this example was captured on Saturday 7th July 2018 having arrived with the 2C83 16:54 Bristol Temple Meads - Taunton service No.165119 is pictured at Taunton. The two-car variant of the Class 166 then worked the return 2U28 18:08 Taunton - Bristol Temple Meads stopping service.


Nine Car Class 800/3 Diagrams to start 28th July 2018


Published on 8th July 2018

Following recent testing and driver training on the nine-car Class 800/3 Hitachi IET sets, Summer Saturday diagrams with the class will start to operate on 28th July 2018.

Three diagrams will initially operate using the class.

1C75 08:18 London Paddington - Paignton (Taunton 10:39), returning 1A84 13:08 Paignton - London Paddington (Taunton 14:45)

1C78 10:18 London Paddington - Paignton (Taunton 12:35) returning 1A88 14:50 Paignton - London Paddington (Taunton 16:12)

1C83 12:18 London Paddington - Paignton (Taunton 14:36), returning as 1A91 17:00 Paignton - London Paddington (Taunton 18:31)


The new diagrams will be the first booked passenger trains using the Class 800 fleet south of Taunton into Devon.


40 Years Ago - Taunton Sleeper Fire

(Photo: )

by Jeff Treece
Published on 6th July 2018

40 Years ago was the date of one of the worst rail disaster in ever to occur in the South West.

Local resident Jeff Treece recalls the tragic events of the terrible night. The Taunton Sleeper Fire happened on the 6th July 1978 when Sleeping carriages on the 'up' overnight sleeper from Penzance caught fire. The train stopped by Fairwater Close which at least did enable the fire service and other emergency services to access the line relatively easily. It could have been much worse if the train had stopped well out in the sticks where access would have be very difficult indeed. The coaches were at some stage dumped in the bay platform on the Railway Street side of the Station as I recall seeing there about 8.30am that morning on my diverted way to work. All train services had been suspended and although Staplegrove Road was buzzing with activity when the train stopped and the air was filled with acrid smoke. Cause of the fire was a pile of bed-linen which had been placed on a heater in the end vestibule (which had inadequate guards). When the heater came on after the train was connected up to the locomotive's power supply, the linen caught fire although clearly, the loco had been on the train from Penzance. I guess maybe the linen was moved en route or some other fault developed with the heater - eg linen prevented adequate ventilation and heat built-up etc. It was the smoke from this, in a confined space, that caused the carbon monoxide that killed ten passengers. The Fire Brigade did complain about locked doors hindering access to fight the fire. That was a separate issue to do with saving property rather than life and following the fire Somerset's Chief Fire Officer (Nigel Musselwhite) made a series of recommendations to radically improve the design and fire safety of sleeping carriages which were incorporated into a new design and build. Sadly, Nigel died a few years ago. According to the Official Report, the train came to a stand adjacent to Fairwater Close at about 02.41. The first Police vehicle arrived at 02.52: the first Ambulance at 02.54 and the first Fire Brigade appliance at 02.55
To read more on this terrible event please visit our Memories Page


Diverted Cement

(Photo: Simon Harling)

Published on 4th July 2018

Colas Rail Freight Class 70 No.70810 emerges from Somerset into a wet Devon on Wednesday 4th July 2018.

It's incredibly rare to be able to capture the southbound loaded cement into Cornwall as it normally passes Taunton during the early hours, however, on this occasion, the train was running later because of the Severn Tunnel engineering closure and was therefore diverted via Gloucester. The locomotive is pictured at Whiteball during an equally rare summer downpour which brought some respite from the recent heat wave.

To view the gallery, please click here.


IET Testing & Driver/ Crew Training


Published on 4th July 2018

Hitachi IEP Class 800s and 802s are becoming an all more common sight in the Taunton area.

While the Class only generally operate a handful of services between Taunton and London Paddington each day, testing and driving/ crew training of the class south of Taunton has been increasing rapidly ahead of their introduction later this month on more long distance services. Two such workings on Wednesday 4th July were No.800302 working 5Z05 08:26 Stoke Gifford - Goodrington & 5Z06 13:15 Goodrington - Stoke Gifford. Class 802 No.800001 operated the 5Z86 04:54 Laira - Southall and 5Z87 10:56 Southall - Penzance diagram before returning to Laira.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Simon Harling)

(Photo: S A Ginn)



Sulzer Power for the English Riviera Express

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

Published on 1st July 2018

Saphos Trains operated their second summer charter in the South West on Sunday 1st July 2018.

Because of the ongoing heat wave, the decision was taken with Network Rail to place veteran Class 47 D1935 (No. 47805 'Roger Hosking MA 1925-2013 ') inside steam locomotive No. 34046 'Braunton' and provided the majority of the power to reduce the risk of stray embers from the steam locomotive. With Network Rails undergrowth in the south-west in full growth and unkept combined with such dry weather conditions, the chances of fire were too high. With the weather having clouded in the for the first time in a couple of weeks (due to localised rain and thunderstorms which were forecast) horses graze in their paddock seemingly oblivious to the history passing them by at Creech St Michael as the locomotives haul the 1Z27 09:06 Bristol Temple Meads - Kingswear 'The English Rivera Express' with the Class 47 powering the train west.


To view news stories from June 2018, click here, or for news from August 2018, click here.