MARCH 2015 NEWS : 

Having completed its visit to the West Somerset Railway 'Spring Steam Gala' No.70000 'Britannia' departed back to Southall with its mainline support coach. The loco is due to reappear at Taunton on the 18th April hauling a mainline special and slightly faster speeds than the 25mph it spent most of this weekend operating. No.70000 is seen passing 40 Steps on route back to its current base at Southall. (Photo: Jeff Treece)
Colas Rail Freight rounds off the month of March with perhaps a contender for 'working of the year'. Colas Class 70 No.70810 was provided to haul at rake of HHA coal wagons from store at Gloucester New Yard to Exeter Riverside Yard. Coal has never been a commodity hauled on the rails of the South West to the sight of a coal wagons so far south (and going into storage) is certainly rare. The locomotive is pictured passing Taunton Station hauling the 4V13 14:40 Gloucester Yard to Exeter Riverside Yard. Having stabled the wagons in Exeter, the loco later returned north light engine. (Photo: Paul Clarke)


Sunday 29th March provided a day of mixed sunshine and showers. Between the downpours LMS 2MT No.46521 and No.4270 are seen making a rare double headed working between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard. The pair are pictured arriving into Dunster having just departed from Minehead. (Photo: Phil Izzard)
The West Somerset Railway held their annual Spring Steam Gala between the 26th and 29th of March amidst mixed weather conditions which gradually deteriorated as the weekend progressed. The theme of 'Welsh Steam Locomotives' provided a mixture of large and small locomotives operating over the twenty mile route. Taffy Tank No.5643 (in turn standing in for the damaged visiting No.6695), departs from Crowcombe heading for Minehead from Bishops Lydeard on the 28th March. (Photo: Phil Izzard)
GWR Class 4200 No.4270 rolls downhill through Woolsten Moor between Crowcombe and Williton heading to Minehead. The locomotive 4720 was one of 165 locomotives build for work in the Welsh Coal Fields and was finally restored in 2014 on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire railway in 2014. (Photo: Phil Izzard)
GWR Hall No.6960 Raveningham Hall arrives into Crowcombe Heathfield Station from Minehead on the 28th March complete with coaching stock from the WSRA Quantock Belle within the consist. No.6960's only real connection to Wales was the fact it ended up at Barry scrap yard before it was later saved for preservation. (Photo: Phil Izzard)
LMS 2MT 2-6-0 No.46521 is pictured at Dunster shunting the demonstration goods train having arrived from Minehead. The locomotive is normally based on the Great Central Railway and was another steam locomotive saved for preservation from Barry scrap yard. (Photo: Phil Izzard)


DB Schenker Class 59/2 No.59202 was provided for the Exeter Riverside stone trip on the 24th March, having worked south with the loaded train to Exeter Riverside from the Mendip Quarries, the locomotive returned through Taunton at around mid day with the 7C28 empty MBA wagons returning to Westbury. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
Owing to a shortage of traction in the South West on Tuesday 24th March, Colas Rail Freight hired in a Class 66/5 Locomotive from Freightliner Heavy Haul. In turn to cover for a Class 70 which has been hired to Freightliner Intermodal. The rare Class 66/5 working is pictured passing Allerford near Victory Crossing hauling the 6C54 Chirk - Teigngrace log empties. No.66555 operated the train as far as Exeter Riverside Yard before a Colas Class 70 was provided for the remainder of the journey. (Photo: Quentin Hawkes)
Class 70 No.70804 has made a bit of a name for itself in the South West. After becoming the Class 70 to traverse the Heathfield Branch in Devon on the 23rd March, the locomotive then became the first Class 70 to haul the Teigngrace logs. On the 25th March No.70804 is pictured passing the village of Creech St Michael hauling the loaded train back to the timber processing plant at Chirk. (Photo: Quentin Hawkes)


Sunday 22nd/ Monday 23rd March saw the First Great Western 'Sleeper Shambles' continue unabated. Barely a month goes by without this service being reported having had operational issues. Sunday 22nd saw hire in Class 57/3 No.57306 failed at Penzance before departure with brake defects. Passengers (expecting to sleep) were put onto a standard HST set formed of 43174 and 43040 for their overnight journey to London Paddington. Meanwhile the popular 'daylight empty sleepers' were finally transferred to London by means of FGW's own Class 57/6 No.57604. The normally nocturnal ensemble passing Taunton at 14:35 having had a lie in at Penzance until departing at 10:25 for Old Oak Common. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
Mendip Rail continue their current contract to re supply the virtual quarry at Exeter Riverside Yard with aggregate from the Mendip Hills. Class 59/1 No.59103 'Village of Mells' operated the service on the 23rd March. The Hanson liveried locomotive is pictured at Taunton with the return 7C28 Exeter Riverside - Westbury empties. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
Colas Rail Freight broke new ground with their Class 70's on the 23rd March, taking No.70804 for a ballast drop on the Heathfield Branch. This was the first time the locomotive had traversed the branchline, and it's believe to be the first ballast drop on the freight only line in nearly 20 years. Class 70 No.70804 is pictured returning through Taunton with the 6C30 10:09 Newton Abbot - Westbury empty autoballasters. (Photo: Paul Clarke)


The West Somerset Railway Special Events Planning Team has now confirmed visiting locomotives for the forthcoming 'Mixed Traffic' Gala Weekend being held between the 5th and 7th June. The guest locos are newly restored Class 37 No. 37057, making only its second appearance on a heritage line in preservation, and Class 45 'Peak' No. 45060 "Sherwood Forester" , both from the collection normally kept at Barrow Hill Engine Shed nr Chesterfield. Also attending will be BR Blue Class 56 No. 56006 which normally resides at Leicester. All three locos will be moved from Barrow Hill to the Swanage Railway for their diesel gala event in May and then onwards to Didcot to appear there for a weekend and then onwards again to Bishops Lydeard for the West Somerset Railway event. They will return north immediately after the gala. The moves are being carried out with great help GB Railfreight who will utilise Class 59 No. 59003 which GBRF are bringing to the event for a private function on the Friday and it will be on display at the WSR during the Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the guests we will also have the home based DEPG locos Hymek D7017, Warship D832 "Onslaught" , Class 33 No. D6515 and Class 47 D1661 making an impressive line up of 7 heritage diesel locos for the weekend. A mega train will also run with Fish & Chips available, as per the 2014 event, on the Friday evening but it not yet known which loco(s) will work this train.


Also passing Taunton on the 20th March 2015, was BR Steam Locomotive No.70000 'Britannia', the locomotive operated as the 5Z70 07:29 Southall to Bishops Lydeard. The loco will soon be taking a staring role in the West Somerset Railway's 'Spring Steam Gala' weekend. No.70000 is pictured passing the ever changing scene at 40 Steps, on route to the West Somerset Railway at Bishops Lydeard. (Photo: Chay Farzaneh)
HRH Queen Elizabeth II passed through Taunton during the early hours of the 20th March heading to Plymouth where she rededicated HMS Ocean at the Royal Navy Dockyard after a £65m refit. The train operated overnight from London Euston to Plymouth recessing on the Heathfield Branch until it was time for the train depart for Plymouth. The empty set is pictured passing 40 Steps, Taunton formed of the normal top and tail Class 67's. No.67006 and No.67026 were provided for this service, although neither locomotive was 'spectacularly presented' such is the lack of care which goes into providing a locomotive to haul our monarchs. (Photo: Chay Farzaneh)


This powerful image was taken from the new ramped section of the 40 Steps footbridge, the extention of the public walkway towards the Staplegrove Road Bridge means that the photographer is that much closer to the shot. On the 11th March Class 56 No.56105 double heads with No.56078 on the approach to 40 Steps hauling the loaded 6M51 Teigngrace - Chirk logs. (Photo: S A Ginn)
Colas Rail Freight provided two Class 56's to operate their Log service from Teigngrace to Chirk on the 11th March. No.56105 and No.56078 are pictured passing Taunton with the loaded 6M51 logs from Teigngrace. The locomotives provided a stunning sight passing through the station with the heavily loaded train. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
Mendip Rail Class 59's have also see in action on heavy stone trains operating to replenish the stockpile of aggregate at Exeter Riverside Yard. On the 11th March No. 59101 'Village of Whatley' is pictured hauling the empty 7C28 Exeter Riverside - Westbury with a rake of EWS Monster Box Wagons in tow. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
The Network Rail TRT has recently returned to Fairwater Yard for a short period of time, during the week several movements were observed in relation to the trains relocation. On the 11th March Freightliner liveried Class 66/9 No.66952 passes through Taunton with three loaded sleeper wagons from the TRT set. (Photo: Paul Clarke)


Sunday 8th March saw two engineers trains return from overnight work in Devon. The first to pass Taunton was EWS liveried Class 66 No.66199. The loco worked the 6W25 08:09 Exeter St Thomas - Westbury engineers, passing Taunton shortly after 08:30. The loco is pictured on the approach to Hyde Lane Crossing (Bathpool), which has recently seen extensive line side vegetation removed by Network Rail. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
The second engineers to return to Westbury was hauled by Mendip Rail Class 59/1 No.59101 'Village of Whatley'. The 6W26 09:55 Newton Abbot - Westbury is pictured passing Norton Fitzwarren on the approach to Taunton. (Photo: Phil Izzard)


Former London Midland liveried Class 153 No.153325 is now sporting a brand new livery. The unit has been wrapped in red vinyl's branded with (Citizens ' Rail is an EU Interreg IVB project that brings people together to create better regional railways in England, France, Germany and the Netherlands). The colourful unit is pictured arriving into Taunton with the 2C67 Cardiff Central - Paignton diagram leading a First Great Western Class 150 unit on the 6th March 2015. (Photo: Paul Clarke)



2015 NEWS
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