Please note there will be no further updates to Taunton Trains between the 1st June and 15th June due to a extended holiday break.
|This was the view of the Cyril Street side of the new 40 Steps bridge on Sunday June 1st after overnight lifting and fitting had taken place. The huge walkway may be open on the sides but step ladders will defiantly be required to allow photographs to be taken over the side balustrades which are around 1200mm -1500mm from the ramp level. (Photo: Roger Manning)|
Taunton's replacement for the former 40 Steps Footbridge finally took a step closer to reality on Saturday 31st May 2014. The first sections of the main bridge span arrived on site at Chip Lane during Saturday along with a multitude of lifting equipment from Ainscough Lifting. The bridge was transported to Taunton on three separate oversized loads, which were then held at Taunton Deane Services before picking up their allotted escort vehicles into Taunton via the A38. Nusteel (who have manufactured the bridge) have two overnight work windows in order to join the bridge sections together (this weekend) and then lift into position (next weekend). During each weekend Ainscough will be providing the lifting power via their 200 Tonne and 500 Tonne cranes, these will travel to Taunton each weekend for the required lifts.
Unfortunately we are able to confirm that the main span of the bridge is completely enclosed and meshed in, with no opportunity for a photographic viewpoint. This also raises questions about personal safety of persons using the bridge, as their is also no obvious way persons can be seen while walking through the bridge from the outside. The side panels also provide a perfect blank canvas for graffiti to be applied. We can only hope that some form of photographic vantage point will be possible from the ramped walkways of the bridge.
|Mainline steam returned to Somerset on the 24th May in the shape of LNER A4 Pacific No.60009 'Union of South Africa'. The locomotive hauled 'The West Somerset Explorer' from Kidderminster to Bishops Lydeard. At Bishops Lydeard the A4 was removed from the train for servicing, while WSR loco SDJR 7F No.88 hauled the 11 coach train through to Minehead and back. No.60009 is pictured in the pouring rain passing Longlands Farm between Norton Fitzwarren and Bishops Lydeard. (Photo: Adam Snow)|
|Colas Rail Freight Class 70's are slowly spreading their wings venturing to pastures new. Just days after the first visit of two Class 70's to Cornwall, Colas sent No.70805 to Par with the long welded rail train for an overnight rail drop. On the 21st May No.70805 is pictured at Cogload Junction powering away from a standing start having been held for two passenger services to pass by from the Bristol line. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Saturday 17th May saw UK Railtours operate their 'Lorna Doone' charter from London Waterloo to Bishops Lydeard via Salisbury & Westbury. The charter utilised two Class 159 units from South West Trains, these units have had a surprising uptake from passengers and UK Railtours are already planning to take them to other parts of the South West on weekend passenger excursions from the London area. Class 159's No.159020 & 159004 are pictured arriving onto the West Somerset Railway with the originating 1Z61 07:31 Waterloo - Westbury, and actual 1Z62 10:18 Westbury - Bishops Lydeard charter. Unfortunately the tour was unable to proceed onwards to Minehead due to 'gauge clearance' issues in the Watchet area. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Colas Rail Freight provided two more 'firsts' on the 15th May, the first visit to Taunton of newly delivered Class 70 No.70807 and the first ever pair of Class 70's to visit Cornwall. During the evening of Thursday 15th May No.70807 & No.70804 rolled their way south hauling the 6C65 17:34 Westbury - St Erth engineers, the pair of locos were coupled either end of five Network Rail Autoballasters. The colourful service is pictured passing Creech St Michael in the evening sunlight. (Photo: Brian Garrett)|
|Direct Rail Services served up a new livery for the South West on the 15th May, by operating Class 37/4 No.37423 complete with the latest reincarnation of the DRS livery. The locomotive has recently received attention at Eastleigh works and has been operating in plain blue livery prior to this stunning vinyl application. The locomotive is pictured passing Banklands (Durston) with the 6Z40 09:39 Crewe - Keyham empty flask wagons destined for Devonport MOD. (Photo: Adam Snow)|
|Following closely behind the DRS Class 37 was even more heritage in the shape of GWR Hall No.4396 'Kinlet Hall'. The locomotive and support coach were working between Kidderminster (Severn Valley Railway) and Bishops Lydeard (West Somerset Railway). The rare 5Z36 movement is pictured passing Banklands with the 11:40 from Kidderminster. (Photo: Adam Snow)|
|Having spent the weekend in Taunton Class 56 No.56312 'Jeremiah Dixon' departed Taunton on Monday 12th May. The loco operated to the Dean Forest Railway where it collected two locomotives (No.31466 & No.73001) before departing to the Nene Valley Railway via the East Lancashire Railway. No.56312 is pictured passing Cogload Junction. (Photo: Quentin Hawkes)|
|Saturday 10th May saw DC Rail Class 56 No.56312 stabled in Taunton's New Sidings for the weekend before proceeding to Lydney on Monday. The locomotive is pictured stabled while passing below is a 1960's Bristol FLF/ECW Bus. The Western National Bus is a type widley used in Taunton
during the 1960's / 1970's, and was taking part in only the second 'Taunton Vintage Bus Running Day'. This particular example worked out of Cambourne, Plymouth and Totnes depts before withdrawal in 1981. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
|A secondary view of Class 56/3 No.56312 has been provided here. The locomotive arrived into Taunton during the 10th May having operated the 0Z56 1158 Willesden Euroterminal-Taunton. After staying for the weekend it then departed on Monday 12th May heading for Lydney Junction on the Dean Forest Railway. (Photo: Jason Prole) *Photo taken with permission by trained & qualified personnel with permission.|
|Vintage Trains operated their charter on the 10th May using a double tour to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Whiteball speed record. Class 52 Western No.D1015 'Western Champion' operated a morning charter from Solihull to Plymouth with a full rake of of 10 coaches. At Plymouth the train was split into two separate returning tours. D1015 departed first with the 1Z53 14:30 Plymouth - Tyseley formed of just 4 coaches, making a very novel sight as it headed north. The loco is pictured passing Banklands near Cogload Junction. (Photo: Bob Tucker)|
|During Saturday 9th May No.5043 'Earl of Mount Edgcumbe' had already operated to Plymouth with its water tender and support coach. Castle No.5043 then formed the 1Z48 15:10 Plymouth - Solihull hauling the remaining coaches from Plymouth. The 1Z48 charter is seen passing Banklands on route back to the midlands (Photo: Bob Tucker)|
|The 9th and 10th May saw both Vintage Trains and Pathfinder Railtours mark the 50th Anniversary of GWR Castle No.7029 'Clun Castle' reaching 96mph while descending Wellington Bank while itself hauling a charter commemorating the 60th anniversary of the, unofficial, 100mph run by GWR 3700 class 4-4-0 No. 3440 'City of Truro'. By the wonders of modern technology we have been able to provide a 50 year comparison photograph taken at Taunton by the same photographer!! The left hand images show No.5029 'Nunney Castle' passing Taunton on the 9th May 2014 and No.5043 'Earl of Mount Edgcumbe' passing Taunton on the 10th May. The right hand images show 7025 'Sudeley Castle' at Taunton the Ian Allan tour on 9th May 1964 - 7025 had taken over the down leg at Taunton from Hall 6999 which had itself replaced the failed 4079 Pendennis Castle at Westbury, while the lower image features 1Z48 passing Taunton at speed in the same year of 1964. (Photos: Mike Pollard)|
|The 7th May provided a very rare sight at Taunton, part of the 23 strong vehicle Windhoff/Network Rail 'High Output Panel System' electrification MPV train visited Taunton. The train was formed of five vehicles (Nos. 99 70 9131 001 to 005), and worked a driver training run to Taunton as the 6Y61 09:57 Swindon to Swindon via Westbury and Taunton. The Network Rail Electrification Train is pictured at Taunton before returning to Swindon. (Photo: Tony Christie)|
|Vehicle No. 99 70 9131 001 is pictured in Platform 3 at Taunton, shortly after arriving into Taunton from Swindon, these purpose built vehicles will be used as part of the Great Western Mainline electrification program recently announced by the Government. Sadly the 'wires' won't reach Taunton so train services into the South West will remain diesel fueled for many years to come. (Photo: Tony Christie)|
|May 2014 started with Network Rail providing colourful heritage traction in the South West. The 2nd May featured Class 31 No.31285 operating the 3Z07 10:00 Derby - Exeter Riverside structure gauging test trains. The veteran Class 31 is pictured passing Taunton heading south towards Exeter where the train stabled for the night. (Photo: Nathan Williamson)|
|The 3rd May saw No.31285 return north to Derby from Exeter. This time the set was lead by DBSO driving trailer No. 9708 leading with coaching stock 62384 977985 977986. The 3Z01 10:00 Exeter Riverside - Derby is pictured heading away from the camera at Silk Mills nearing Taunton Station. (Photo: Nathan Williamson)|
2014 WSR Diesel Haulage:
The 2014 season will again see the DEPG Diesel Fleet working Friday and Saturday passenger services during the peak holiday season in July and August. A one Day Rover ticket on the WSR costs £17.00 (which has been frozen at the 2012/2013 price) but if you book in advance you can get this ticket for £15.30.
The 2014 Diesel Diagram has been altered by the WSR, which means you must now check the 'Yellow' or 'Green' timetable for your day of travel, and there is no longer two return trips provided 'back to back'. Lengthy breaks in the Diesel service at Minehead means the Diesel's see a vastly reduced daily diagram compared to previous years!!
In addition to the booked 'Diesel Diagram' a new venture this year will be the use D832 'Onslaught' on two rare weekend 'Quantock Belle' services. Advance booking is recommended, it is possible to book on the Quantock Belle dining service by calling the following number: 01823 433856
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