Christmas Eve can sometimes provide no railway interest in Taunton, but other years everything seems to occur on the same day. On the 24th December 2009, DB Schenker arranged to operate their 6M72 St Blazey - Cliffe Vale china clay service as far as Bescot. At just before mid day on Christmas Eve, 66171 is seen arriving into Taunton with a lengthy loaded train. 6M72 was held at Taunton for the 11:51 Cross Country service to pass by. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
The new FGW loco hauled diagram has suffered from a few failures since its introduction on December 15th. Nearly all of these failures have been related to the coaching stock and not the locomotives. On December 24th the set was taken from Bishops Lydeard to Eastleigh for work to be carried out between Christmas and New Year. 66844 is seen on the rear of the 5Z57 Bishops Lydeard - Eastleigh. Unfortunately the progress of the ECS was hampered by more signal cable thefts at Cogload Jn. It took the train an hour to reach Taunton Station from here! (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Freightliner Heavy Haul have been rather quiet in recent months as the HOBC and TRT have not been operational. From January both sets should see active use on the South West Track Renewals once again. On the 21st December after a bitterly cold night, 66613 is seen passing Cogload Jn with the 6Z87 10:25 Fairwater Yard - Crewe Basford Hall wagon move. The train conveyed 1 YSA Equipment container and 6 YDA empty ballast wagons from the HOBC set. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Having worked Empty from Weston Super Mare to Taunton, Arriva Trains branded Class 57 No. 57315 leads the 2U14 11:02 Taunton - Cardiff, North through Hyde Lane Foot Crossing. The mix and match colorful set has certainly brightened up the local railway scene, and we are sure these popular locomotive hauled diagrams will be welcomed by local passengers. (Photo: Cameron Walker)
GBRF have settled into their daily loco hauled operations from Taunton. After initial problems on the first day the colorful set has made a welcome sight on the local diagrams. On the 18th December 57303 'Alan Tracey' is seen heading South at Cogload Jn with the 5Y10 Empty Coaching Stock move from Weston Super Mare to Taunton. (Photo: Cameron Walker)
On the 18th December Network Rail's NMT visited the area on it's regular track testing diagram. The NMT worked the 1Z18 0517 Old Oak Common Plymouth before returning with the 10:01 from Plymouth to Paddington. The distinctive set is seen passing Hyde Lane foot crossing on route back to the Capital. All NMT powercars are now fitted with the popular MTU power units rather than the previous original Valenta power units. (Photo: Cameron Walker)
Its 'Thunderbird 3' to the rescue. After a poor start to the first day in service GBRF switched locomotives on the 14th at Oxley, before returning late to Bishops Lydeard. 57303 'Alan Tracey' was attached to the South end of the loco hauled set after the removal of 57316. At 11:00 on the 15th the First Great Western Arriva Anglia Virgin Trains service prepares to depart Taunton with the 2U14 11:02 to Cardiff. (Photo: 50006 Neptune)
The 14th December saw the start of second First Great Western 'loco hauled' service. In one of the most confusing operations on the UK Network, GBRF hired in Arriva Trains Branded Class 57's to work with Anglia Liveried Stock on a First Great Western service! The first day of the new service didn't get off to a good start after the train later failed near Yatton. The set was later moved back to Taunton before being taken to Oxley (Birmingham) to dispatch 57316 and swap it for a Virgin Trains liveried 57303! (Photo: Steve Yarde)
Monday 14th also saw the DB Schenker Class 67 loco hauled set switch to its new daytime diagram. Having already worked from Bristol to Cardiff to Paignton, back to Cardiff and then to Taunton, 67016 prepares to depart from Taunton with the 2M68 19:18 Taunton - Bristol. It's worth noting this service now uses Platform 3 for the evening departure rather than the previous Platform 2. Both locos were turned out with festive gold buffers for their new service! (Photo: Steve Yarde)
Taunton witnessed yet more Heritage Traction on the 14th December, with 31454 making another welcome appearance on one of Network Rails test trains from Derby. Sadly the DBSO driving vehicles have put an end to 'top and tail' Class 31 operation, but images are still possible of these elderly locomotives when paused at Taunton. Working the 4Z08 12:17 Derby - Exeter Riverside, 31454 prepares to depart Taunton heading South on the rear of the set. (Photo: Steve Yarde)
Friday 11th December was the last day of operation for the DB Schenker Class 67's on their current diagram for First Great Western. From Monday the set will work through to Paignton during mid morning returning North during mid afternoon. For more details see our 'LOCO HAULED' pages for confirmation of the complete operational diagram. On the 11th December 67017 'Arrow' is pictured at a foggy Taunton having arrived with the usual ECS from Weston Super Mare. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Shortly after the arrival of the 2C79 from Cardiff, 57316 followed with the 5V57 Crewe - Bishops Lydeard stock move in preparation for next weeks Class 57 take over. Here are Taunton a rare chance was provided to record three different loco classes at Taunton. 67017, 57316 and 66844 are all seen at Taunton. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Coaching stock for the new Class 57's hauled Taunton - Cardiff diagram will be former Anglia Railway s Mk2 coaching stock, similar to the Cargo D stock currently used. The coaches are painted in former Anglia Trains Turquoise, with Anglia Trains brown/ orange seat covers. Coaching stock numbers are confirmed as 9520, 5998, 5964, and 5929. Anglia Trains is very much a defunct company, but in order to present a uniform set, former Virgin Trains liveried 9520 has been repainted to match and also had it's interior reupholstered to match! Its new livery can be seen opposite, taken at Bristol today. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Also passing through Taunton's platforms on the 11th December (following closely behind 57316) were a pair of Class 31 locomotives. 31601 and 31106 were standing in for the normal Class 150 (950001) which is out of service. The 2Z08 08:02 Westbury - Exeter via Reading and Bristol passes 67016 at Taunton. 31601 has recently lost it's former Wessex Trains pink livery in favor of DCR (Devon Cornwall Railway) Green livery! (Photo: Brian Garrett)


Wednesday 9th December saw another series of amazing moves involving GBRF and hired in Arriva Trains Class 57's. 57316 teamed up with 57315 in top and tail formation to work the 5Z77 10:30 Bishops Lydeard - Laira in order to collect a rake of redundant First Great Western Buffet Cars and take them to Eastleigh. However at Fairwater Yard 57316 was removed and sent on light engine to Crewe as the 0M57 11:27 from Norton Fitzwarren. 57315 then worked South to Laira where it formed the emtpy stock move back to Eastleigh.

The stock transfer from Laira to Eastleigh consisted of: 57315 + 9526 40747 40208 40209 40731 40228 40717 and 5792.

(Photo Top: Jeff Treece, Photo Top Left: Malcom Anderson (WSR), Photo Bottom Right: Jon Gill)


First GBRF carried our various movements on the 7th December 2009 in order to begin training for the forthcoming introduction of a second locomotive hauled set on the Taunton - Cardiff diagrams for First Great Western. In an odd turn of events GBRF hired in two Arriva Trains Class 57's to work stock forward from Westbury. It's unlikely the pair will operate the 'actual' service trains for First Great Western but they will be used for the crew training runs over the next week. The Intercity stock from Eastleigh is also thought not to be to 'actual' stock which will be used either. This is expected to return to Crewe with the 57's in a week or so, where it will be replaced and returned to Taunton. 66844 worked 5V66 from Eastleigh to Westbury where it met with 57315+57316 (having worked light engine from Crewe). The pair of 57/3's then took charge of the train and lead to Bishops Lydeard. They are seen passing Taunton opposite, this was the first ever visit of an Arriva Trains liveried Class 57 to Taunton. (Photo: Steve Yarde)
Also taken on the 7th December, this image captures 57315 and 57316 passing the current Taunton Loco Hauled diagram (67016+67017) as they pass through Platform 2 at Taunton. The Class 67's were waiting to depart with the 2U24 16:13 Taunton - Cardiff service. (Photo: Stacey Thew)
Having worked back from Bishops Lydeard to Taunton, 66844 was stabled in Platform 1 for the night. The loco has an interesting history, more so than other Class 66's. The loco was delivered new in 2003 from the GM/ EMD plant in Ontario, Canada. It arrived as part of a large consignment of locomotives for DRS (Direct Rail Services). It was delivered painted in their striking DRS Compass livery and was originally numbered 66409. The loco stayed with DRS until November 2008 when it was taken off lease and moved to Glasgow works. Here the loco underwent a period in store, before being leased to Advenza Freight in July 2009 at the same time the gained a new livery and number (66844). Unfortunately Advenza Freight didn't last much longer as the company was wound up in October 2009. However less that 20 days later GBRF leased the loco (along with 66843) to complement part of their fleet. 66844 (former 66409) now carries the former base colours of Advenza Freight with Firstgroup decals on the cab ends. (Photos: Brian Garrett)


Rail Heat Treatment Train duties are not the most glamorous of duties for a locomotive, however they are an essential part of Autumn and Winter activities for Network Rail to ensure trains run on time and don't cause damage to trains or track with slipping wheels!66119 is seen paused at Taunton at 07:30 in the morning waiting for the road North to Westbury in a filthy state. It's pointless to wash the locomotive when so much mud and grime is applied on each trip! (Photo: Michael Copham)