MARCH 2012 NEWS : 

Our Class 58 Pictorial has been updated today with a new selection of images to compliment those already online. This has been a popular addition to the website, and we hope to add further photos to further records the classes' activities in the Taunton Area during their short period of operation in this area.
Further images have been added to our Memories of the Barnstaple Branch pages, including photos from Venn Cross and the final trains to pass over the line before closure.


Colas Rail Freight are continuing to make good use of their pioneer South West log service, it's great to see companies making an investment in the South West to ensure more lorries are removed from the roads. On the 28th March Colas Class 66 No.66745 exits from Whiteball Tunnel with the loaded 6Z51 from Teigngrace to Chirk loaded timber. (Photo: Wayne Potter)


March 22nd - 25th provided 'Part 2' of the West Somerset Railway's Spring Steam Gala events. The second weekend provided much better weather than the first weekend, and was reminiscent of the glorious conditions which occurred during the Autumn Steam Gala in 2011. The final weekend also provided most steam locomotives running boiler first (where possible) and the added bonus that visiting 'Britannia' was able to be turned on the Norton Triangle. The use of a GWR Manor, Hall and King was also very popular with enthusiasts, providing the last change to ride and photograph King Class No.6024 'King Edward I' before its overhaul. The Spring Gala event was also complimented on the Saturday 24th where a group of photographers gathered at Crowcombe after the last train for a paid 'Night Shoot' organised by WSR Journal Editor, David Williams. The unique event used visiting 14XX No.1450 complete with its Autocoach No.178. The loco was posed in several positions within Crowcombe Heathfield station and provided a fitting end to a good days photography, although the amorous couple in the rear coach of the last train probably didn't plan on such a large group of photographers witnessing their own 'steamy' activities!

We have provided a selection of images from Saturday 25th March below, but a much bigger selection have also been hosted on our Weebly Gallery.

Saturday 24th March was also captured on video, and we have provided a link for your viewing pleasure. (Video: Nathan Williamson)


While Triple Headed Class 37's in the year 2012 may be considered somewhat rare, it's worth turning back the clock to provide two examples of this practice taken in 1999. While it's never been common to triple head Class 37's in the South West it has occurred (mainly as part of loco positioning, rather than necessity). In July 1999, Mainline Freight liveried 37077 is seen leading EWS liveried 37714 and an unidentified Class 37 on the Newport - St Blazey Enterprise service. Clearly this load did not require the use of three type thee locomotives, and it's likely at least one of them was required for other work in Cornwall. (Photo: Dave Jones)
Taken in April 1999, unbranded Mainline Freight 37375 leads a UID 'Dutch' Class 37 followed by what is thought to be 37680 or 37686 wearing Railfreight Construction. The locomotives were hauling a length rake of wagons for the Newport - St Blazey Enterprise service, seen passing Taunton Station. 37375 never gained full Mainline Freight branding and spent it's remaining mainline career in this plain blue variation. (Photo: Dave Jones)


Never let it be said that the Railways are boring!! After another eventful week using troublesome DRS Class 37's the South West Network Rail test train returned to Derby in Triple formation. After a mornings testing in Devon the three Class 37's were re-marshaled at Exeter Riverside Yard before the final leg back to Derby. 37229 'Jonty Jarvis' leads 37409 'Lord Hinton' and 97301 (former 37100) through Bathpool on route North. (Photo: Paul Finnimore)
A second shot of the colourful English Electric Trio passing 40 Steps at Taunton provides a stunning sight as they race through Taunton to run ahead of a local stopping service. (Photo: Jeff Treece)
Network Rail supplied its own Class 97/3 to provide power for one of it's own test trains on Wednesday March 21st. 37229 and 37409 had worked South through Taunton with the 1Q13 to Exeter Riverside during the evening of 20th March. However a problem with the rear loco (37409) resulted in 97301 being summoned from Derby to assist the train in the South West for the remaining diagram this week. 97301 is seen passing Taunton light engine on route to Exeter Riverside.(Photo: AMB)
One of the more regular freight services through Taunton is the daily 6C72 / 6C73 HOBC trip working to and from Westbury to load with ballast. On the 20th February 66621 passes a freshly cleared 40 Steps with the return 6C73 Westbury to Fairwater Yard. Recently Network Rail have been carrying out extensive vegetation clearance in this area, and should be commended on their good work! (Photo: AMB)
While First Great Western is doing its best to irradiate any colour other than Blue and Pink from its South West based Units, several example still evade the paint shop. On the 20th March former London Midland Class 153 No.153325 leads FGW 153370 through Taunton with a St Phillips Marsh to Exeter empty stock move. (Photo: AMB)


Our Local Railway Society Talks and Slide Shows page has been updated with all the latest information. The next talk to be held at the GWRSA Railway Club will be by Alan Randle on the 2nd April, entitled 'Home and Away'. Click on the image to browse through the forthcoming talks.
We are pleased to announce the latest of our 'PICTORIALS' for Taunton Trains. The Class 58 has been worked upon over the past few weeks, and we are now in a position to upload the page for your viewing. Should anyone be able to help contribute towards the images on this page, then please do not hesitate to contact TauntonTrains.


Not to be forgotten from the weekend's activities was the first weekend of the West Somerset Railway's Spring Steam Gala. Star attraction was Britannia Class No.70000 'Britannia'. The locomotive had been painted in BR Black when it last visited the line, but now carries BR Green. After a recent stint on mainline passenger specials, the loco settled down to a slightly slower pace of life for the first weekend of the Spring Gala. 70000 is seen at Bishops Lydeard on the 17th March between duties. (Photo: Darren Jones)


Sunday 18th March saw another 'last' event at Taunton, although I'm sure many wouldn't of driven miles to witness it. Former Central Trains/Centro/ London Midland Class 150/1 No.150108 became the last of the sub class to operate in non FGW colours. 150108 is seen arriving into Taunton Station with the final 2C81 from Bristol Temple Meads to Taunton, before returning with the 2M66 17:11 departure to Bristol. From here the unit is expected to enter the workshops ending another colourful livery variation in the South West. The unit will soon emerge in FGW Blue. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Seen earlier in the day the colourful Class 150/1 (Known as 'Slabs' because of their straight 'slab' front end) passes Hyde Lane Crossing with the 2M57 from Taunton to Cardiff. The former Central Trains livery was much liked for it's colourful appearance, which suited the Class 150 units it was applied to. Sadly the First Great Western all over Blue with Pink Doors does not provide so much cheer! (Photo: Sclub)
The final diagram of the day, In low evening light 150108 passes Charlton Farm near Cogload Junction with the 2M66 17:11 to Bristol Temple Meads. (Photo: Sclub)


With a mainline career spanning well over 10 years, GWR King Class Locomotive No.6024 'King Edward I' made it's last mainline passenger outing on the 17th March 2012 hauling Pathfinder Railtours 'The Torbay Limeted' steam leg from Bristol to Kingswear and back. The locomotive has very much been at the forefront of the South West mainline steam operations during it's long operational period, but the time has now come for the locomotive to enter the works for a major overhaul. Because of the exceptional reliability and popularity of the locomotive, it has become easy to be complacent with the use of the locomotive on regular steam services, such as 'The Torbay Express', but that said it's also surprising just how many images have been recorded over the years. So while many will be a the line side recording their last 'frames' or 'pixels' of the loco operating on the mainline, we thought it would be a good point to look back and record some of the scenes we've featured on Taunton Trains during this period.
 OVP Productions have very kindly allowed us to provide this link to this stunning clip of 6024 hurtling through Taunton on Saturday 17th March returning to Bristol. It's very rare to see the King at full speed through Taunton as often the locomotive is booked to stop here. The final fling is seen passing Taunton at speed. (Video: Steam1989)


As the evenings draw out it's possible to record Saturday engineering services operated by both DB Schenker and Freightliner Heavy Haul. On the 17th March 2012, 66532 ' P&O Nedlloyd Atlas' climbs Whiteball Bank with the 6Y25 Rail Train from Hackney Yard heading for Stoke Works Junction. 66532 is a Freightliner Intermodal locomotive hired to Heavy Haul for the weekend. Monday morning will see the loco back in Bristol ready to work standard Freightliner Services. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Saturday 10th March saw A1 Pacific No.60163 'Tornado' breeze through Taunton with the Cathedrals Express working from London Paddington to Plymouth. After Winter maintenance the the loco was originally planned to work double headed into Devon 71000 'Duke of Gloucester' but owing to a recent shunting incident the loco had to be widthdrawn from traffic. Instead 60163 handled the charter solo to Exeter where DB Schenker provided the brightest of Diesel Traction they could find, to assist the charter over the Devon Banks. Tornado is seen passing Westford Crossing near Wellington. (Photo: John White)
Working the 0Z20 10:15 Westbury - Exeter Riverside light engine movement, DB Schenker liveried 66152 passes Westford Crossing in Wellington. The loco was attached to the Cathedrals Express at Exeter Riverside yard (marshalled behind Tornado), and provided additional power over the Devon Banks to Plymouth. (Photo: John White)
A large amount of cloud had gathered in the Taunton area for the passing of the first Class 56 in quite some time. To the sound of the Ruston Paxman power unit, 56302 leads 47375 through Hyde Lane Foot Crossing near Bathpool on route to Burton on Trent. (Photo: Paul Finnimore)
Thursday 8th March marked the return of Nemesis Rail and their movement of stored China Clay Slurry tanks 'Silver Bullets' from Burngullow through to Burton on Trent. Unlike the previous movement of wagons (on the 30th November 2011) this time the Class 56 lead the train on the return through Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. Wearing former Fastline livery 56302 leads 47375 North through Wellington with the 6Z23 from Cornwall to the Midlands. (Photo: John White)
Nemesis Rail operated another movement into Cornwall on Tuesday 6th March using their Class 47 No.47375 & former Fastline Class 56, 56302. (Now de branded). The pair worked the 0Z21 from Burton on Trent through to Burngullow where they will collect another rake of redundant Silver Bullet wagons for transportation back to Burton on Trent. It's likely these wagons will be overhauled and put back into the European China Clay slurry flows, which now operate from Belgium to the UK. 47375 and 56203 are seen passing Westford Crossing near Wellington (Photo: John White)
Freightliner Heavy Haul operated a rare late afternoon service from Thorney Mill to Hackney Yard on Monday 5th March. 66614 conveyed a rake of empty JGA wagons for onward transit to Brungullow later in the week. The grubby loco and wagons are seen at Cogload Junction nearing Taunton. We are also informed that some cutting back of undergrowth is currently underway at Charlton on the Southbound trackside which has opened up the morning photographic opportunities. We hope much more will be done in the coming weeks. Well done Network Rail !! (Photo: Steve Yarde)


Branches and Boxes! Taunton Trains is pleased to announce two new galleries have been added to our 'Memories Pages' for readers to enjoy. 'Memories of the Barnstaple Branch' and 'Taunton Signal Boxes'. It's likely that both galleries will be updated in coming weeks as more information and photos become available. We would like to thank all those who've contributed to help produce these galleries.


Network Rail finally managed to operate one of its Radio Survey trains on Friday 2nd March in the South West after various loco failures reported on Taunton Trains during the last week. In a rare Type 2/ Type 3 combination, replacement Class 37 No.37688 is seen working in multiple with 31602 (on the rear) departing from Taunton (running 3 days late). The 1Q13 07:00 Exeter Riverside to Derby RTC operated via Castle Cary / Honiton / Exeter / Honiton / Castle Cary / Exeter and later back to Cheltenham at Derby. The impressive complete buildings from the first part of the Firepool Development now dominate the scene at 40 Steps (Photo: Nathan Williamson)
Freightliner Heavy Haul certainly wouldn't win any prizes for 'best presented loco'. Shanks liveried 66522 is still operating in the Taunton area with mud caped on the loco from operating coal trains in Scotland during the January snow fall. On the 2nd March 522 exits Fairwater Yard with a short afternoon 6A72 trip working to Westbury for loading with ballast. (Photo: Nathan Williamson)
Operating Northbound on the 3rd March 31602 'Driver Dave Green' passes Taunton having visited Castle Cary, Honiton, Exeter, Honiton, Castle Cary and Exeter the loco leads the train North (with 37688 on the rear) heading back to Derby. (Photo: Nathan Williamson)

2012 NEWS
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