A Dented Earl!

On the 17th March 1945, 5050 'Earl of St Germans' is seen parked outside Taunton MPD running workshops after an accident. The locomotive collided with the rear of a coal train at Creech Jn. Note the front end damage, with a twisted buffer beam and damaged smoke box.The locomotive was subsequently taken back to Swindon where she underwent a complete overhaul and front end rebuild. She emerged as a brand new locomotive and her first outing in the Taunton area was in the capable hands of driver Horris Mervyn Jones. 5050 was originally built in May 1936, she was finally scrapped in August 1963 by Coopers Metals Ltd (Sharpness). Her total mileage at the point of scrapping was recorded as: 1,135,797 Miles!

Photo: Supplied by D Jones, Taken by R Venning (Uncontactable at time of upload)

Further details to be added, there was no official accident report as it happened during the war. However some written notes do exist which we hope to upload soon.



Cogload Cement Chaos!

(Photo: Andy Hunt)

Taunton Trains is currently researching an event which happened at Cogload Jn on either 17th/18th August 1986. A South bound overnight Cement service left the rails just South of Cogload Jn causing a major derailment. The four track mainline was closed while the clear up operation took place, with single lines later reopened to traffic once wagons had been cleared from the running lines and track had been repaired. Loco's reported in the clean up operations are as follows: 47144 37304 33004 and 47015. The derailment was caused by the train having run from Westbury with a wagon handbrake on, the impending wheel flat got so deep that hit a check rail at Cogload Junction and derailed the train.

*Information from David Smith (Western Rails Consultancy) & Barry Stephens (Arlington Fleet Services)

Barry was a member of the Eastleigh breakdown crew in 1986 and the fixed jib crane featured in the photos below are of the Eastleigh's 76 Tonne crane ADRC96707 (now resides at Bury alive and kicking). In order to get the crane to the derailment site it was routed via the southern mail line from Salisbury to Exeter. It was then propelled on Cogload Junction from Exeter. Ffrom the pictures it's noticable that the other crane was able to pick up the loaded wagons and put them on to the far line down road but due to not having such a long reach the fixed jib 76T Crane from Eastleigh had to put the wagons behind on the up road.

David Smith was the Operations and Train Crew Manager at Westbury until the takeover by the AM Bristol in April 1986. HE has told Taunton Trains that they had a "Train Prepared" procedure in place prior to the takeover. The train which derailed was involved in that procedure. Simply stated, the procedure involved a member of the yard staff inspecting the train prior to departure to ensure its fitness to travel. If the locomotive was attached, the train handbrakes were taken off, leaving the locomotive brake to secure the stationery train. The reason for this procedure was to reduce the time in the main line traincrew's diagram in that they could simply walk to the train, start the locomotive, carry out the brake continuity test and proceed, the train having been prepared by the member of the yard staff. Each train involved in the procedure was detailed in an instruction to the staff involved that was updated and re-issued at every time table change. The incoming "team" of the AM Bristol saw fit to discontinue this procedure but failed to put anything else in its place so the train which actually derailed was left with a wagon parking brake on. The brake was not checked or released before departure with the consequences pictured on Taunton Trains..

37203 is seen at the head of the Exeter Re railing Train parked at Cogload Jn. 33004 can also be sighted just behind the crane. (Photo: Paul Clarke)

37304 is seen at the head of the Exeter breakdown train, while 47144 stands just to the South of the incident sight. Could this possibly be the loco which was hauling the cement at the time it de-railed? (Photo: Andy Hunt)

The clear up operation was swift, once cranes has removed the damaged PCA Cement Tanks, ballast and engineering trains attended the scene to repair damage to the track.

(Above Left) A BR Blue Class 47 is seen at the head of an engineering train preparing to replace damaged track. (Above Right) A Large logo Class 50 is seen at the head of the Exeter crane after re railing a damaged cement PCA. (Photos: Derek Garrett)

50004 passes the scene of the accident on a South bound passenger service from London Paddington. Note the lack of 'Health and Safety' it's certainly a scene we wouldn't be able to photograph happening these days, the line would almost certainly be shut!! (Photo: Derek Garrett)

A view taken from adjacent fields of the crash site, another photo that in the modern age of 'health and safety' would not be possible unless the photographer beats the authoritarians to the scene! (Photo: Andy Hunt)

This image shows PCA tank 11104 in the process of being jacked and packed in an effort to re-rail the wagon, to enable it to be moved off site. (Photo: Norman Hawkes)

A closer view of PCA 11104 bring jacked back into postion (Photo: Norman Hawkes)

A UID Class 47 passes a rake of stricken and damaged PCA tanks at Cogload having been lifted back onto the rails. (Photo: Norman Hawkes)

This image was taken from a passing train and shows how a rail has punctured a PCA from bottom to top as the wagons have been dragged along the track once they derailed. (Photo: David Keogh)

Do you remember any details of this accident? Do you have photos? Can you remember what happened? Why not Email Taunton Trains and let us know!



Anne goes off the rails!

These two images were taken on the 27th May 1986 at Obridge, just to the East of Taunton Station. 08576 complete with the name 'ANNE' written in foot high chalk lettering, dropped off the rails while shunting two mail vans destined for Taunton.

08576 can been seen with a gaggle of orange jackets around her awaiting the arrival of the Plymouth breakdown train. Note the bent side rods where the locomotive is now unevenly propped! (Photo: Jeff Treece)

Prior to the arrival of the Plymouth breakdown train, 08576 is seen marooned at Obridge with it's two BR Blue parcels vans which were being shunted into a bay platform at Taunton. (Photo: Jeff Treece)

Although not directly related to Taunton as a photo, there is a link to the above story. This shot of 50010 passing Teignmouth Station on the 27th May 1986 is actaully towing the breakdown train from Laira to Taunton in order to got and sort out 'Anne' which had managed to come off the track at Obridge, Taunton. (Photo: John Mills)

Can anyone recall the significance of the name 'ANNE' chalked onto the side of the Class 08? Or can you remember anything else of how this little mister miner occurred? Why not Email Taunton Trains and let us know!



Coaches off the Track

This incident happened on the 15th August 1974,The points were put back to quickly before the last coach's rear bogie had cleared them. with bogies on different lines the coach was pulled broadside on towards the signalbox. Luckily the train was stopped before the coach caused any damage. However with the coach was then stradled across all four running lines,this caused serious delays to all trains until it was moved. Some down trains were reversed out of the station and were sent via the goods loop to Silk Mills where they regained the down main,whilst up trains had to wait for the carriage
to be moved enough to enable the up relief line to be used. The driver of the train was Linoel Cox. We would like to thank John Cornelius for the information and additional images below.

This colour image shows the recovery operation taking place at Taunton with a Class 08 shunter attached to one of the stricken coaches. (Photo: Paul Conibeare)

John Cornelius was able to provide additional images of the clear up operation which took place to move the coaching stock back onto the correct track. Un unidentified Class 25 is also seen in the above images.

Can anyone recall anything in relation to this incident at Taunton. Why not Email Taunton Trains and let us know!



Bradford on Tone Fire

The 16th of May 1991 saw one of the largest crashes in recent times occur at Bradford on Tone. A train carrying kerosene, petrol and diesel derailed in the Bradford on Tone area. The train was loaded with some 50,000 gallons of highly flammable liquids causing a large scale explosion, and fire. The cause of the accident was put down to an axle failure on one of the TTA tank wagons.

The severity of the fire caused by the mix of chemicals in the tanks can be seen here with the fire in full flow (Photo: Unknown)

The fire took two days to full extinguish, and the environmental cleanup was huge. Although it would appear the removal of the wagons and track repairs were completed very quickly. The line may have reopened on or around the 20th May.Below are a set of images taken (with permission of the Fire Brigade at the time from an adjacent field) of the day after the crash, wagons can been seen littering the tracks, while the Fire Service douse the final wagons with foam to prevent any further fires from starting. (Photos: Paul Webber)

The scenes of devastation above closed the mainline between Taunton and Exeter, as a result most services were diverted via Yeovil Jn. Waterloo - Exeter STD services were terminating at Yeovil Central and the HSTs were providing the intermediate services between there and Exeter. 

On the 18th of May 47355 is seen passing through Yeovil Jn with the brake down train heading for Exeter. It's possible this may have been in connection with the derailment at Bradford on Tone, possibly using the train to access the southern end of the crash scene from Exeter Riverside Yard. (Photo: Jeff Treece)

Martin Shelly, a retired BR Driver from Exeter was kind enough to Email this info to us:

I was the 06:00 spare driver at Exeter on that morning, and as I booked on the reports where just comming in of the incident. The movements supervisor asked me to go to Bradford, ASAP, by taxi. We arrived at Bradford about 06:30 to be stopped at the police cordon, and although explaining that I was to relive the driver, was turned back.
Due to my local knowledge I instructed the taxi driver to take me to Pool brick works, here I made my way along the line to meet the driver of the oil train, who had managed to uncouple the wagons and seperate the loco from the train, the Driver of the oil train was Norman Buttifant of Exeter(later nicknamed storming Norman, as a result of the fire) He traveled back to Exeter via the taxi to lots of form filling and interviews. I stayed with the loco for the rest of the day, until returning to Exeter depot at about tea time. I was told by the firemen at the scene that they were unable to control the fire due to the pressure of the flames bursting out of the ruptured tanks, until the foam tender from RNAS Yeovilton arrived, this was due to the volume of foam that it could deliver, at one time. The pressure of the fire was pushing the small amount of foam away, that they could apply with there fire appliances . They also stated that if this incident happened at Wellington Station with the adjacent gas tanks at the airosol factory, much of Wellington would have dissapeared in a fire ball !

Can you remember this incident? What was the working?

If you have any further images or can add to the details already supplied why not Email Taunton Trains



Fairwater Yard experienced a major incident on Saturday 28th March 2009 during the arrival of the 6Y33 from the Bridgwater. The TRT (Track Renewal Train) (or TRS 'Track Renewal System' as Network Rail prefer to call it) was returning from an engineering blockade in the Bridgwater area. It was hauled by 66596 from Freightliner Heavy Haul, although they were not responsible for the incident. It would appear upon entering the reception roads three wagons were derailed which resulted in one ending up on it's side. The cause of the derailment is thought to have been points which split under the train as it moved forward into the yard. This action of the point blades splitting sent some of the train wagons onto one track while others were routed onto another. The impending derailment happened as a result of the wheels no longer being able to stay on the rails and one wagon ending up on it's side.Despite the derailment the main operating passenger lines remain open and are unaffected by the derailed wagon. The derailment did cause the temporary closure of Fairwater Yard, although limited access was available via the Southern half of the yard. Network Rail's track relaying schedule and daily operations to and from Fairwater Yard were also put on hold until such time as the wagon could be moved.

The wagon which derailed is a YJA (possibly No.78801). The wagon conveys an overhead moving gantry which collects sleepers from the rear of the train and deposits them onto a conveyer. It then collects used sleepers and drops them back into empty slots on the rear wagons which were previously occupied by new sleepers. It's a vital piece of equipment for the TRT. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

During Monday 30th March, efforts were made to clear the affected derailment area and isolate the toppled wagon to allow a crane to lift to take place. Because of the location of the derailment a standard road crane could not access the stricken wagon without a stable area being constructed. This is why Network Rail keep several rail based cranes around the country for just such an event. During Monday afternoon DB Skenker's 66077 'Benjamin Gimbert GC' hauled the 2Z99 from East Usk Yard (Wales) to Fairwater Yard, arriving just before 18:00.

The consist was as follows: 66077 + QVA ADB 975612, QQA ADB 975494,QPA ADB 975573,ZIA ARDC 96714

The locomotive stabled the train and returned to Westbury light engine. After the arrival of the crane from Wales a second rail based crane would be required to allow the wagon to be lifted safely. This was worked down from Bescot during Tuesday 31st in the consist of the 6X12 to Didcot behind 66148 and 66177. 66077 (from the first crane move) should have worked light engine from Westbury to Didcot, but because of a defective windscreen the locomotive a driver was sent to Didcot to use 66177 instead. The crane was moved onwards to Taunton as the 2Z99 06:22 Didcot - Fairwater via Reading West. Upon arrival at Taunton it stabled in Westbury Down Yard for a short period before being tripped to Taunton. 66177 and the crane arrived into Fairwater Yard at 11:15 and was stabled.

The consist was as follows: 66177 + QVA ADB 975613, QPA ABD 975574, QVA ABD 976611, ADRC 96715

A planned blockade of the mainlines was put into place so that the stricken wagon would be lifted overnight between Tuesday 31st March and Wednesday 1st April. Both rail cranes were made operational during the day ready for the overnight lift to take place. Unfortunately one of the rail cranes managed to strike the 132Kv overhead power cable which is located at the South end of Fairwater Yard during Tuesday 31st March. This in turn burnt out the local Taunton Signaling electrics and most likely damaged local track circuits and the crane as well. Obviously the major incident (in which it's believed no one was hurt) resulted in the cancellation of the planned lift. The damaged signaling caused chaos with train services throughout Wednesday, many services were cancelled and others ran hours behind schedule. However tireless efforts by Network Rail engineers during Wednesday saw signals restored overnight in time for services on Thursday morning!

Taken from a passing northbound passenger service on evening of April 1st is 66177 seen stabled with one of two brakedown trains in Fairwater Yard (Photo: Nathan Williamson)

The latest incident had now left the wagon lift with a crippled crane, so third and final crane had to be tripped South from Wigan. This was done during Wednesday when the crane reached South Wales. During Thursday 2nd April 66177 was used again to work light engine to Wales in order to collect the third rail crane and bring it to Fairwater Yard.

66177 is seen passing Creech St Michael in the fading light with the 2Z99 17:30 Newport ADJ to Fairwater on Thursday 2nd April hauling rail crane ZIB 96713 South to Taunton. As a passing note, the white patches on the cab ends are not a new livery embellishment by DB Shenker/ EWS. These were added as an experiment in the Summer of 2008 using reflective paint to bounce the sun away from the locomotive cabs in order to help them stay cool in hot weather. Class 66's used on the continent are fitted with roof mounted air conditioning units, this is something which the UK locomotives can't have due to the UK loading gauge. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

On April 4th 66177 is seen stabled with the former Old Oak Common breakdown train while Network Rail staff attend to points and track within the yard complex. The rail cranes can be seen to the right along with the former Cardiff Canton breakdown train. Of note is the recent tarmac road which has been installed at Fairwater Yard to allow staff to access the yard in a safer way. Although a 5mph speed limit is still enforced for any vehicle using the complex. This image was captured from the adjacent public footpath. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

Never before have some many rail cranes been gathered in one part of the country. Rail Cranes ADRC96715 ADRC96713 ADRC96714 are seen in Fairwater Yard on the 4th April. It's believed that ADRC96715 (Former Toton based crane) which touched the overhead power cable, although this is unconfirmed. The crane pony trucks can be seen in the foreground having been shunted onto a separate road as they are only required when the cranes are in transit. All three cranes were built in 1977 by Cowans Sheldon of Carlisle. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

Saturday 4th April/ Sunday 5th April finally saw two operational cranes venture up to the stricken wagon at the North end of Fairwater Yard. Having waited for Freightliners 66584 to pass through working the 6Y29 22:11 Westbury to Cowley Bridge Jn the cranes could move into position ready to start the various lifts which were required. Cranes ADRC96713 (Wigan) & ADRC96714 (Margam/ Canton) were used for the operation, meaning that ADRC96715 (Toton) was the crane which had previously taken the 132Kv blow from the overhead power line.

At 8 minutes before midnight the two cranes arrive on site to begin setting up their support legs and rigging. ADRC96714 is seen closest to the camera with it's jib extended and 96713 is behind. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

The wagon bogies needed to be repositioned in order to allow the wagon to be dropped back down into place. The bogie is seen here being lifted onto the correct track before being chocked to prevent it rolling away. Once the wagon was lifted the wheelsets were rolled under into position. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

While one wagon bogie is maneuvered by crane 96714. At 00:40 crane 96713 cranks into life as it's jib is raised ready to carry out it's bogie move. Ironically the generators which supplied the lighting were actually twice as loud as the rail cranes while in operation. (Photo: Brian Garrett)

At 01:59 on the 5th April a large bang signified the up righting of the stricken wagon as it hit the large amount of timber blocks which had been set to break the fall of the wagon as it was tipped upright (Photo: Steve Yarde)

At 02:31 DR78801 is lifted clear of it's bogies to allow them to be rolled under the wagon and set back into position. (Photo: Steve Yarde)

02:46 the wagon is re-railed and receives cheers from the crew who had worked all night to faultlessly lift and clear the wreckage. The wagon remained in this position until morning when a locomotive from Freightliner Heavy Haul was used to tow the wagon into the main yard complex. During Sunday work would continue on the track to repair the damage and open the yard for business. (Photo: Steve Yarde)

We have also recorded a two part video of the re-railing process as the lights were so bright it made video of this unique operation very easy to obtain from the public over bridge on Staplegrove Road,

(Video Part 1 Below Left: Brian Garrett, Video Part 2 Below Right: Steve Yarde)


After the clear up operation was complete the task of returning cranes and equipment to various locations around the UK fell to EWS and 66177. Having formed up two re-railing trains in the yard during Monday 6th April, 66177 departed Taunton around 18:00 as the 2Z99 Fairwater Yard East Usk. The train conveyed the following:

QVA ADB 975612, QQA ADB 975494,QPA ADB 975573,ZIA ARDC 96714 QVA ADB 975613, QPA ABD 975574, QVA ABD 976611, ZIB ARDC 96713

Having been stranded in Fairwater Yard since April, NR Railcrane ADRC96715 finally left Fairwater Yard on the 6th July using a slightly unconventional mode of transport. ADRC 96715 was the crane which was damaged during the first night lift attempt on the derailed wagon in Fairwater Yard. The crane got to close to an overhead power line and had it's electronics severely damaged by the ensuing high voltage power transfer. The carne will be taken away for a detailed assessment of the damage. Meanwhile it's likely that crane ADRC96710 (currently out of service at Eastleigh) could be bought back into use in order to supplement crane 15's absence.

ADRC96715 was superbly captured leaving Fairwater Yard at 17:10 on the 6th July. (Photo: Steve Yarde)




Fairwater Yard suffered another derailment on the 25/ 26th July 2009, although no where near as serious as the previous wagon incident which occurred back in April. Freightliners 66510 was the culprit this time, with one bogie set having jumped from the track in the Southern Section of Fairwater Yard. The North entrance to the yard (from Taunton Station) was shut for most of the morning, and the returning 6Y11 from Wooten Basset was held in the Newbury area pending developments from the re railing team at Fairwater Yard. By 13:10 the locomotive had been successfully re-railed and was towed slowly back into the yard complex by Freightliner/ Shanks liveried 66522.We have provided a selection of images below, all of which were taken from the public footpath which runs behind the length of the yard. We would like to thank Phil Izzard for spending the time watching this fascinating process while waist high in brambles and wheat !!

Network Rail supervise the re-railing procedure of 66510 while a team of men from the DB Shenker Re railing Team assess the locomotive lift. (Photo: Phil Izzard)

With the bogies and frame packed up on timber supports, air lines are run to the powerful jacks in order to lift the locomotive. (Photo: Phil Izzard)

A more detailed view of the jacks behind used to lift the locomotive and bogie on 66510. (Photo: Phil Izzard)