The 6V62 Fawleys project was born in the late 90's when www.tauntontrains.co.uk in collating notes for workings which had previously passed through the Taunton area it was realised that there was a large amount of records for this train, after putting initial information into a spreadsheet the idea was born to try and trace workings and photographs of this unique train.
During the early years the 6V62 Fawley - Tavistock Jn. conveyed fuel and bitumen from Fawley oil refinery (near Southampton, owned by Esso) to Exeter, and Tavistock Jn near Plymouth. After the withdrawal of ‘Speedlink' services from Westbury area by Railfreight Distribution in January 1990, the Petroleum Traffic carried on the speedlink services were reorganised to form a single block train. During 1989 several ‘specials' were run, Until 22nd January 1990 when the 6V62 Fawley – Tavistock Jn was added into the full working timetable (WTT) This service was shown to call at Westbury, Bristol and Exeter on route to Tavistock.
The original trial trains ran as:
6V62 10:56 SX Fawley – Tavistock Jn
6079 21:15 SX Tavistock Jn – Eastleigh
From the 14/5/90 the timings were tweaked to run as:
6V62 10:44 SX Fawley – Tavistock Jn
6O79 22:02 SX Tavistock Jn - Eastleigh
6V62 started off running every day of the week, it then switched to run on a Monday, Tuesday, and Friday , although it also occasionally rans on a Wednesday due to bank holidays etc. During the big timetable change in December 2004. The train was further cut back only to run on a Tuesday and Friday. It would also incorporate clay and scrap wagons on a regular basis for the return 6O34 from Tavistock JN. A few years later the flow was cut back to one day a week (Tuesday) running as a bulk flow.
HOWEVER IT'S NOT QUITE THIS SIMPLE!
On Mondays the train used to run as the 6V62 Fawley - St. Phillips Marsh but stopped at Westbury to detach tanks for Plymouth, which were tripped down by a Westbury loco ( or the same loco which took the tanks to Bristol). It ran under the 6C62 Westbury Yard - Tavistock Jn head code and back as the 6O34 Tavi Jn - Eastleigh Yd. This service often only made it as far as Exeter before returning to Westbury or Eastleigh, with the return wagons (or light engine). This trip working was often only 2 or 3 wagons! (As of 13-12-04 the 6C62 moved to a (Q) path which only ran as required)
On Tuesdays the train ran as the 6V62 Fawley - Tavistock Jn but also conveys bitumen as well as fuel and returns as the 6O34 Tavi Jn - Eastleigh Yd, this could often be a lengthy train.
Wednesdays the train is not booked to run, however in the past it has run to cover bank holidays, which means Mondays train will be done on Tuesday, and Tuesdays will be run on Wednesday.
On Thursdays the train runs as the 6V34 Fawley - Canton and Margam conveying fuel for both depots. This does not pass through Taunton, instead taking the main line to Bristol from Westbury and on into Wales.
On Fridays it was back to Plymouth again, as the 6V62 with fuel and bitumen in tow, for Exeter and Tavistock Jn and returning as the 6O34 Tavi Jn - Eastleigh Yd. Fridays can now also include 'China Clay' for the Dollands Moor traffic which also comes out of Exeter and Tavistock.
Train lengths on all trains could vary so some nights you can have as many as 25 TTA's in tow, other nights you can have 1, or even none! The loco may just run to Tavi to pick up the empties. Train length depended on the demands on the depots it served.
On occasions it's not unknown for the 6V62 to combine with an engineers train to save a path to Exeter or Tavistock, Looking back to March 2004 it's also possible for 'China Clay Empties' and 'Scrap Wagons' to now be added to the train to get them back to Exeter or Tavistock. More often than not this will be added to Fridays train, but can also turn up at other times of the week as well!
Currently the train now only operates at a block flow, once a week from Fawley to Tavistock via St Phillips Marsh Depot. The train uses two headcodes, 6V62 as far as Bristol St Phillips Marsh and then 6C62 from St Phillips Marsh to Tavistock Junction.
The haulage is now predominantly in the hands of the infamous EWS Class 66's, however it wasn't always this way. In the early nineties Class 47's were the normality with a dedicated pool of loco's working the train. In the mid to late ninety's the train was in the hands of a Class37's before later being run almost exclusively by 'Heavyweight' Class37's from a dedicated pool of locos. In September 1998 Class 58's started to appear as well, when Mainline Freight were running the service. There was also a very occasional sighting of a Class 60 until the introduction of the EWS's Class 66's in Aug 98. However the Class 58's shared the turn with the 66's until Dec 99 when the 58's became almost unheard of!
The Fawleys were always booked down through Taunton at 6pm every night it runs, returning at 10:45pm. However times could vary. The down times were often nearer 17:40. As of 13th December 2004 the train was re timed to pass Taunton at 17:25 The introduction of the Class 66's has stabilized the times with less chance of variation, however we do have records of the Fawleys running as early as 17:00 and as late as 21:00 on a down train! When the flow was reduced to one train a week the timings were adjusted again so that the flow passes Taunton at 16:30 each Tuesday.
The mission is to record every working of the Fawley tanks that has come through Taunton since the 6V62 started running. We currently have thousands of entries entered into a spreadsheet which have been filled in each night the train operates. We also have a Fawley tally chart where we record how many times each loco has worked the train and any special comments which need to be added. The photographic record contains over 600 images of 6V62 but we would ask you to note that while there are some superb images there are also some (for a variety of reasons) which wouldn't normally be shown, however as the aim is to record the history of the service, every image has been included.
Please feel free to email: Taunton Trains if you have any information you think could be relevant to the quest!
Many thanks to the for all the information supplied so far there are so many people to mention, here are just a few:
Jeff Treece, Steve Thompson, Paul Webber, Michael Stevens, Peter North, Dave Mitchell, John Mills, Andy Griffith's, Adam Hiscock, KK, Mike Rowland, Chris King, Adrian Roberts, Mark Bridel, Chris Perkins, Charles Woodland, Phil Izzard, Dave Jones, David Robinson, The Late: Terry Harper, Keith Mantle, Daryl Hector, Mark Few, Nic Joynson, Nathan Williamson, Steve Yarde, Cameron Walker, Bob Tucker, & Guy Vincent.
Keep up the good work, and don't forget, any information or photos which you may have will be of use and can be added to the already huge list!!!