MARCH 2014 NEWS : 

The village of Creech St Michael has recently seen some attention from Network Rail in regards to cutting back. Some of the undergrowth was getting to the point of almost touching trains as they passed. Although only 'limited' clearance has taken place, two previously difficult shots have been opened up. This image shows a Voyager heading towards Taunton, taken from the main road bridge in Creech St Michael looking north. This location provides a safe location (with a pavement) from which to obtain an image. (Photo: Cameron Walker)
By comparison we have provided this image of how the shot looked in 1986 with a pair of Class 20's passing through the village of Creech St Michael, taken from the same location as above. 28 years of uncontrolled vegetation growth has severely narrowed the vista at this location in the village.. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
The northbound shot from the occupation bridge in Creech St Michael has now been opened out, with a large section of the previous tree now removed. Some troublesome branches have been left in place, so in time the tree will continue to grow to cause the same problem in a short preiod of time. (Photo: Cameron Walker)
By comparison we have provided this image of Class 47 No.47972 passing through the same location in 1995. In just 9 years the embankments through the village had filled out with undergrowth and even mature trees. This view taken on the 29th March 1995 shows an all together different and tidy scene. (Photo: Alan Randle)


The West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala has been in full swing over the past three days, with visiting locomotives from Didcot, Mid Hants and Swanage taking part in the Southern Themed 'Withered Arm' Gala. Sadly No.34070 'Manston' from the Swanage Railway failed on Friday 28th and had to be retired from the gala. Visiting BR Mogul No.5322 was a surprise workhorse of the event, sounding superb as it worked hard to haul trains between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard. The loco also carries the 83A 'Newton Abbot' shed plate on the smoke box door. The class were a common sight in the South West on local duties. No.5322 is pictured rounding the curve at Roebuck Crossing hauling the 14:35 from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Weather during the Saturday of the event was somewhat indifferent, however occasional glimpses of sun did break through, although it was still very cold. BR Black liveried Southern Region 'U' Class No.31806 is pictured departing from Washford while working the 13:03 from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
In the early morning haze the first train of the day is seen arriving into Crowcombe Heathfield Station. SR Westcountry No.34007 'Wadebridge' makes a smoky arrival climbing the last part of the bank into the station area while hauling the 09:00 from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead. More images from the weekend events will be added to our 83B Gallery Website. (Photo: Brian Garrett)


A busy scene was recorded at Minehead on Wednesday 26th March as locomotives prepared for the start of the 2014 Spring Steam Gala weekend. On shed were 2-8-0 No.3850, 'U' No.31806, 4-6-0 No.88 & No.6960 'Raveningham Hall'. SDJR No.88 later departed light engine to Washford to deliver timber (located in its tender) ahead of the weekend. (Photo: Derek Garrett)
Steam Locomotives have been manourving to the West Somerset Railway over the past two weeks in preperation for the WSR Spring Steam Gala. One of the last to arrive on the 26th was Westcountry No.34070 'Manston' from the Swanage Railway. The steam locomotive is seen in the unusal setting of Greenway Road/ Staplegrove Road, Taunton while on route to Bishops Lydeard. The locomtovie will join two other Southern Reigon locomotives No.34007 'Wadebridge' and 'U' No.31806 (Photo: Jeff Treece)
"Welcome on board this First Great Western service to Plymouth, your next services stop will be Taunton Deane Services". With Devon and Cornwall still cut off from the rest of the First Great Western network, road haulage is the only option to transfer powercars between depots from essential maintenance. On the 22nd March, Alleleys Heavy Haulage transfered FGW Class 43 No.43010 to Plymouth's Laria depot, and is pictured here taking a break in Taunton Deane's southbound services. (Photo: Mike Rowland)
Having delivered around 500 tonnes of ballast to Dawlish Colas Rail Freight's Class 70's returned to Westbury on Saturday 22nd March. The locomotives remained in the same 'top and tail' formation, with No.70803 leading back to Westbury. It's expected that over the next week several more deliveries of supplies and ballast will make their way to Dawlish from Westbury as the track repair reaches it's conclusion. While the Dawlish repair is going well, the Teignmouth controlled landslip seems a little more uncertain at this stage, as Network Rail and the Army continue to try and stabilise the cliffs along the second sea wall section. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Having passed through Taunton the two Class 70's speed through Cogload Junction before taking the B&H route to Castle Cary and Westbury. The colourful Colas livery certainly stands out in the countryside, and its certainly a welcome sight to see a company investing in new rolling stock to operate alongside their existing UK fleet. (Photo: Bob Lathem)
Taunton Station is currently undergoing a makeover to the roof and canopy sections of the station. The canopy steelwork is currently being stripped back to bare metal during night shifts. Areas which are beyond repair are being replaced using non traditional nut and bolt methods (which look a little out of place next to the traditional Great Western rivets). Hopefully as the weeks progress the station will be transformed allowing more natural light to flood through the canopy, and new paint applied to the canopy roof trusses. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Just days after the first visit of a Class 70 to Taunton, Colas Rail Freight sent their first pair deep into Devon. Two Class 70's No.70802 & No.70803 operated in top and tail formation from Westbury to Dawlish sandwiching a rake of Network Rail 'Falcons' loaded with fresh ballast. The train will be unloaded at Dawlish during the weekend in preparation for the relaying of the tracks at the breached sea wall section. No.70802 is seen passing through Taunton (Photo: Paul Finnimore)
On the rear of the 6Z47 from Westbury to Dawlish was Class 70 No.70803. The set first worked forward to Dawlish Warren where the train stabled for the night. The next day the train was moved forward to the worksite at Dawlish where it was stabled. It's worth noting that no part of the Dawlish Sea Wall (or beach) is accessible between Dawlish Warren and Teignmouth. The entire length has been closed to the public, and this includes all bridges, walkways and potential vantage points. The only safe viewpoint/ location is Dawlish Town or Marine Parade. (Photo: Paul Finnimore)
Saturday 15th March provided a rare glimpse of old and new rolling stock at Norton Fitzwarren. Class 33 No.D6575 and Class 47 No.D1661 top and tail a Mk1 coach around the Norton Fitzwarren Triangle on the West Somerset Railway, as a Cross Country HST service passes by on the mainline. The 47 and 33 on the WSR were involved in a joint Training Exercise with FGW and Network Rail, so they could experience laying Detonator Protection for Possessions and failed trains, clipping points. (Photo: Tony Hayman)


Colas Rail Freight keep providing Taunton with interesting workings during March. On the 14th one of their brand new Class 70 Locomotives visited Taunton becoming the first member of the type to do so. Class 70 No.70805 hauled the 6Z47 from Cardiff Canton to Fairwater Yard conveying Network Rail HOBC wagons from overhaul. Many hope that Freightliners own Class 70's would migrate west when they were first delivered, but the new striking General Electric locomotives have taken this crown. No.70805 is pictured passing a rather foggy Creech St Michael, near Taunton. (Photo: Quentin Hawkes)
The striking new livery applied to the Class 70 makes it look more like a tonka toy than a powerful locomotive, but the Class 70's have now settled down into revenue earning service with Freightliner and Colas. The Colas examples also carry an access door modification (clearly visible in this photograph) at the same location where may Freightliner examples have been known to set themselves alight. No.70805 is seen passing Broomhay Crossing near Bathpool with the 6Z47 from Cardiff. (Photo: Paul Finnimore)
Having arrived into Taunton Station, Class 70 No.70805 was passed by EWS liveried Class 66 No. 66171 which was working the 7C28 Exeter Riverside - Westbury stone empties. The colourful combination is pictured in the dull coniditons at Taunton Station (Photo: Tony Christie)
The old and the new locomotives stand next to one another at Fairwater Yard. Freightliners own fleet of Class 66's is now approaching 10-15 years old with some examples now looking very un cared for. Colas represent the latest order of powerful and efficient locomotives from General Electric but orders for the loco type have been smaller than anticipated. (Photo: Jeff Treece)
Colas Rail Freight brightened the March scene on the 5th March by passing through Creech St Michael with another of the popular Colas 'Log Trains'. Class 56 No.56302 operated the 6V54 05:40 Chirk - Exeter Riverside empties for loading with logs in Devon. The service operated via the Castle Cary and the Somerset Levels, with logs currently being delivered to Exeter Riverside while engineers repair the Dawlish Seawall. In sunny conditions (is spring finally on the way?) the Class 56 passes Creech St Michael. (Photo: Ron Westwater)


To coincide with this years Southern themed, West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala event being held between Thursday 27th March and Sunday 30th March, a special evening 'Night Photographic Shoot' will be held at Williton Station on Friday 28th. The night shoot will feature Southern ‘Mogul '2-6-0 No.31806 formed on a ballast train with a Southern Van. Full details and a booking form for the event can be found on the West Somerset Railway Association website, while full details of the Spring Steam Gala can be found on the West Somerset Railway website.



2014 NEWS
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