MAY 2017 NEWS : 

THEN - 31-05-1969 (15:00)
NOW - 31-05-2017 (15:00)
For the last day of May we bring you this image special. The left image was recently purchased from Ebay showing a simple station scene from Taunton without any trains in the image, however the scene was too good to let slip, the original photographer is untraceable but upon scanning it was noticed the slide carried the date 31st May 1969, and the clock on the station read 15:00. So it seemed fitting that 48 years later at exactly 15:00 on the 31st May 2017, we would be able to repeat the same photo. It proves that Taunton has changed very little of the years in overall appearance. It's clear there's far more clutter and signage on the station now than back in the day, but the same core victorian features of the station still stand out. We would also like to extend our thanks to Paul Clarke who very kindly took time out of his day to make sure he was in position at 15:00 today to take this comparison image!



Monday 29th May saw more LNER action on former GWR territory, when A1 Pacific No.60163 'Tornado' hauled 'The Cornishman' from London Paddington to Penzance. The steam locomotive just beat the rain to the area and is seen passing Cogload Junction hauling the 1Z63 08:02 London Paddington to Penzance charter. Tornado will be spending a summer break at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway over the coming week, and the tour was returned to London by DB Cargo diesel locomotive Class 59/2 No.59202 which was equally rare traction for the return trip. (Photo: S A Ginn)
With LNER A1 Pacific No.60163 'Tornado' taking a break in Cornwall and staying in the care of the Bodmin and Wenford Railway, DB Cargo provided a Class 59/2 for the return journey to London Paddington from Penzance. These locomotives are more akin to hauling 2000 tonne freight trains to and from the Mendip's, but can put in a good turn on speed when let loose on a railtour. No.59202 'Alan Meadows Taylor - MD Mendip Rail Limited' passes Norton Fitzwarren with the 1Z65 to London Paddington from Penzance. (Photo: Phil Izzard)


Sunday 28th May saw the first daylight appearance of the future IEP Class 800 to Taunton. Most of the testing of these units has been happening overnight under the cover of darkness, however the 28th May a 5X81 path was added from Southall to Taunton. Having already worked down from Doncaster five car variant Class 800 No.800010 ended up running 110 minutes early. The 5X81 16:45 Southall - Taunton is pictured passing Cogload Junction under moody skies passing at 17:31. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Once in Taunton the Class 800 reversed direction and formed the 5X35 19:41 Taunton - Stoke Gifford. Again the unit left well ahead of schedule at 17:42 running 119 minutes early. The set is seen returning through Charlton on the approach to Cogload Junction. (Photo: Brian Garrett)


It's been quite some time since we've had a lengthy HOBC set operating into Taunton, on Saturday 27th May Freightliner operated the 6Y15 18:00 Wooten Bassett Junction - Fairwater Yard returning from overnight engineering work. The full set was hauled south by Class 66/5 No.66520 with counterpart No.66502 'Basford Hall Centenary' located on the rear of the set. It's pictured here arriving slowly into Taunton in the evening sunlight. (Photo: Brian Garrett)


In order to get stock in the right position for the start of Flying Scotsman's two trips on the 26th May, stock was delivered to the West Somerset Railway early on the 26th May by West Coast Railways Class 47 No.47746. This locomotive was then removed at Bishops Lydeard and replaced by the DEPG's own former mainline Class 47/8 No.D1661 (47840) 'North Star'. Early on the 26th May D1661 arrives into Williton heading for Minehead looking very at home on the maroon coaching stock rather than it's normal Chocolate and Cream stock it normally hauls along the length of the line. (Photo: Thomas Courtney)

The 26th May very much the day of Flying Scotsman, with the locomotive booked to make two circular trips from the West Somerset Railway via Bristol, Bath, Westbury and Castle Cary. We have put together a set of superb images charting the two round trips which coincided with some of the hottest and most beautiful weather we've seen in the area for a long while. Taken from an adjacent field No.60163 'Flying Scotsman' passes Charlton near Cogload Junction with the 1Z42 10:00 Bishops Lydeard - Bishops Lydeard morning circular. (Photo: Dave Elliot)

Just yards from the first photographic location the classic morning scene is captured from Charlton Footbridge/ Cogload Junction where crowds gathered to watch the locomotive pass from a safe and easily accessible public location. (Photo: Tony Christie)
Having already traveled to Bristol and back via Westbury along the Berks and Hants route, Flying Scotsman opens up on the approach to Charlton while working the 1Z42 10:00 Bishops Lydeard - Bishops Lydeard which arrived back to Taunton around 13:30. (Photo: S A Ginn)
Having made its last stop at Taunton No.60163 'Flying Scotsman' comes to a short pause before proceeding back onto the West Somerset Railway. The wreath carried on the front of the locomotive during its trips was planed there as a mark of respect for the victims of the Manchester tragedy which had occurred earlier in the week. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
After servicing and turning on the West Somerset Railway during the afternoon Flying Scotsman was prepared for its evening excursion via the same route it had taken during the morning. Bang on time the locomotive is seen at speed approaching Banklands (near Durston) while working the 1Z43 18:45 Bishops Lydeard to Bishops Lydeard via Bristol, Bath, Westbury and Castle Cary. the train arrived back into Taunton at 22:30 before the support locomotive No.47746 returned the stock to Southall. Flying Scotsman remains on the West Somerset Railway (although not in use) at Bishops Lydeard until Wednesday 31st May when it works under the cover of darkness as the 05:32 Bishops Lydeard to Salisbury where it will arrive to work a Salisbury - Southampton circular Cathedrals Express charter.(Photo: Brian Garrett)
The unsung heroes of the railway and charter industry at the Class 47's which continue to provide sterling service operational availability, painted in the most unworthy colour's these locomotives are painted in such a way to be inconspicuous to the devoted steam lovers who pay to travel on such locomotives at Flying Scotsman. But without these veteran machines still providing a frontline service many charters would ever get to their start locations or return to the correct depots on time. Class 47/7 No.47746 assisted over week long visit of Flying Scotsman in the Taunton area. Built in 1964 the locomotive has carried 7 liveries and two names. It's probably best known as a frontline member of the Rail Express Systems pool in the 90's hauling parcels and mail traffic UK wide, at the time it was named 'The Bobby' which had been transferred from a crash damaged classmate No.47743. The West Coast maroon locomotive is seen at Bishops Lydeard ready to shunt stock. (Photo: Phil Izzard)


The 24th May provided a rare double headed Colas Class 70 working in the South West all be it a rescue mission more than twice the power. Brand new Class 70/8 No.70814 failed at Exeter Riverside on the 23rd May with an air compressor fault. With the locomotive unable to build air to release the brakes the train was cancelled. The next day Colas sent No.70809 to Exeter to tow the 7C28 Exeter Riverside - Westbury stone empties back to Wiltshire. The pair are seen rolling through the Somerset Levels, with Colas Rail Freight continuing to provide cover for non available crew at DB Cargo. (Photo: Paul Wilkins)


We were planning to bring you more lovely photos of Flying Scotsman on Taunton Trains today but instead we bring you more examples of moronic behaviour by the general public in relation to the Flying Scotman's two booked charter trains from Taunton today. We stress that photographers and enthusiasts are respecful of the UK railway system, as plenty of good vantage points can be used. These images circulating on Social Media show just how stupid people are prepared to be in order to see Flying Scotsman. This first image was taken at the girder bridge crossing the River Parrett, North Town Moor, Langport stood eating food and on his mobile phone on a stretch of line where HST's reach speeds of up to 100mph. Two such services passed this individual prior to Flying Scotsman arriving. (Photo: Phil Wakey)

This second image captured another individual from the the A361 overbridge just north of Cogload Junction, this cheeky person used a Network Rail access point to climbing over a locked gate gain access to the line and then took a stoal alongside the mainline. If anyone recognises these members of the general public putting their own and others saftey at risk or can provide any information such as car registraion numbers please report them to the British Transport Police using reference number 425 26052017(Photo: Phil Wakey)



Flying Scotsman steamed into the South West today with the final leg of a series of 'Cathedrals Express' charters. It was the first time since 2002 an absence of fifteen years. The locomotive attracted crowds from far and wide to see the countries most popular steam locomotive pass by. The LNER A3 Pacific No.60103 'Flying Scotsman' lead 1Z63 16:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Minehead is seen passing Banklands near Durston. The locomotive only worked the charter as far Bishops Lydeard where a WSR locomotive 7F No.53808 took over. The West Somerset Railway putting out a statement that clearance checks between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead had not been carried out in time, preventing the locomotive from operating over the full length of the line. West Coast Railways Class 47 No.47746 (which was on the rear of the train) later returned the train and passengers to Bristol. Flying Scotsman will remain on the West Somerset Railway at Bishops Lydeard for the next two days (although not in steam) before working its booked charters on Friday. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
After arriving onto WSR metals the switch between the WSR's 7F No.53808 to work forward to Minehead happened at Norton Fitzwarren on a non public viewing location. No.60163 'Flying Scotsman' later worked forward to Bishops Lydeard where the locomotive was then taken onto the servicing shed where it was then stabled for the next three days. (Photo: Phil Izzard)


The stabling of Locomotives in Platform 6 at Taunton has always been incredibly rare, not least that the platform is often used by passenger trains, so locomotives stabled in this bay platform are normally kept to a minimum. On Monday 22nd May Freightliner Class 66/9 No.66952 was captured stabled in the Platform 6 at Taunton in-between duties. (Photo: 50006Neptune)
Sunday 21st May provided one of Colas Rail Freights ever increasingly popular Class 70's return from an overnight rail drop in Cornwall. Colas Rail Class 70/8 No.70801 is seen heading towards Ash Bridge at Nynehead, hauling the 08:50 Par to Westbury CWR train. (Photo: Simon Harling)
DRS Class 68's visited Taunton on Sunday 21st May and this shot shows the results of an experiment by pressing the lens of the camera up against the square mesh installed on the 40 Steps footbridge. This effort allows the former 'classic' shot at 40 Steps to still be captured. The image shows that a reasonable shot is still possible, bringing back the possibility of all those traditional compositions we used once feature on Taunton Trains before the monstrosity of a bridge was installed at Chip Lane. The on board passengers enjoying the fine dining experience Class 68 No.67017 'Hornet' power's the train south towards Plymouth. (Photo: S A Ginn)
Direct Rail Services 68017 'Hornet' & 68012 'Intrepid' 'top & tail' 1Z68 12:35 Swindon to Plymouth 'Northern Belle' via Bristol, on Sunday 21st May 2017. The train is seen passing the former Silk Mills road crossing from Silk Mills bridge as the train heads south towards its destination in Plymouth. (Photo: Thomas Courtney)


Colas Rail Freight has returned a large amount of previously preserved locomotives back to the mainline in order to operate many of its Network Rail test train. One such example is split headcode example No.37099 (37324). The locomotive spent many years in preservation at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway in BR Blue livery wearing its 37324 number, later it moved up to the East Lancashire Railway. During 2016 the locomotive returns to mainline operations with Colas Railfreight and was renumbered back to 37099. On Thursday 18th May the locomotive is seen passing Taunton while working the 3Z99 07:57 Exeter Riverside - Crewe test train. (Photo: Thomas Courtney)


Taunton's railway scene burst into life during Saturday 13th May in one of the busiest Saturdays we've seen in the area for a long time. Three charter trains were booked to visit the area, two GWR powercar transfers between GWR depots at Laira and St Philips Marsh, along with a Departmental stock movement provided plenty of activity to keep Taunton's avid enthusiast community happy.
UK Railtours was the first charter of the day to appear on the 13th May, hauled by DB Cargo (EWS liveried) Class 67 No.67024. The faded locomotive and coaching stock formed the 1Z14 06:41 Letchworth - Paignton 'The Torbay Flyer' formed of coaching stock 21269 3120 3066 1651 3098 3097 3119 1691 3068 3123 1832 4927 4946. The tour is seen passing 40 Steps, Taunton on route to the Devon Riviera. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Second charter on May 13th was operated by West Coast Railways. 'The English Riviera Statesman' was hauled by top and tail Class 57/3's. Complete with a scratch from one end of the loco to the other No.57313 leads the 1Z84 05:25 Crewe - Paignton charter through Taunton formed of coaching stock 9497 3188 3438 99679 3312 3360 1211 3395 3313 5991 5912. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
The third charter for May 13th was the GWR/125 Group's 'Somerset Explorer' this used Green GWR set LA15 with powercars No.43093 and No.43002 'Sir Kenneth Grange'. It had been hoped INTERCITY liveried No.43185 would lead the set however a failure in traffic resulted in 43093 deputizing. The HST set operated the 1Z66 08:36 Paddington - Bishops Lydeard where passengers were transferred to the waiting DEPG Western No.D1010 'Western Campaigner' for the trip to Minehead and back. Originally the HST was booked to have traveled through to Minehead however operational issues resulted in the traction change at Bishops Lydeard, D1010 being a fine replacement service. The two iconic designs are seen next to one another at Bishops Lydeard. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
While D1010 whisked passengers to Minehead and back, the GWR set returned to Taunton station and was stabled in Platform 2 at Taunton for two hours before returning to Bishops Lydeard. This operational move blocked the down relief at Taunton for two hours while all other passenger trains were rerouted to use Platform 3. No.43002 'Sir Kenneth Grange' is pictured at Norton Fitzwarren trailing the 1Z26 14:30 Taunton - Bishops Lydeard to collect passengers in time for the return service to London Paddington. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
Thought to be the only operational Class 31 on the UK Network No.31452 from DC Rail collected Network Rail's Lorum Rail Grinder from Okehampton on May 13th. Having already worked light engine from Bristol to Okehampton in the morning, the veteran machine is seen passing North Fitzwarren while working the 4Z02 Okehampton to Chaddesden Sidings with DR79401, 402, 403 and 404 in tow. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
GWR operated two powercar transfers on May 13th, during the morning No.43087 & No.43187 had moved either end of TGS Mk3 No.44000 between Laira and St Philips Marsh. In the afternoon powercars No.43098 and No.43087 returned between TGS Mk3 No.44000, the afternoon working (5Z77 St Philips Marsh - Laira) is seen passing Banklands near Durston. (Photo: Brian Garrett)
With passengers having enjoyed the best the Devon Riviera can offer, UK Railtours whisked passengers back to Letchworth. The faded EWS liveried Class 67 speeds the mixed rake of stock through Taunton hauling the 1Z15 17:40 from Paignton to Letchworth. (Photo: Nathan Williamson)


It's not often you get the chance to photograph such a selection of colourful trains in such a short period of time, but with the First Great Western livery in a state of flux now being revised to GWR, and numerous 'celebrity' liveried powercars operating. GWR services are becoming even more colourful. In just 22 minutes on Wednesday 10th May the following services were recorded at Cogload Junction.

43198 (GWR Green) + 43142 (FGW Blue) - 1C22 16:35 London Paddington - Taunton passing Cogload Junction 19:24

43194 (GWR Green) + 43028 (FGW Blue) - 1A94 15:59 Penzance - London Paddington passing Cogload Junction 19:43 (Not photographed)

43126 (Bristol 2015) + 43169 (FGW Blue) 1C91 17:33 London - Paddington - Paignton passing Cogload Junction 19:39

43185 (Intercity) + 43002 (Intercity 125) 1C92 18:03 London Paddington - Penzance 'The Golden Hind' formed between a new rake of GWR Mk3 coaching stock passing Cogload Junction 19:46

With the impending introduction of the new Hitachi IEP Bi Modal units in the South West, the days of the common sight HST's are beginning to be numbered. This summer will be the last time you will be able to see the entire First Great Western/ GWR fleet running as a whole before they are removed from their stomping ground in the South West. (Photos: Brian Garrett)


The Diesel Electric Preservation Group and West Somerset Railway ran their first 'Maybach Memories' heritage diesel service. The service will be operated by either a Class 35 Hymek or Class 52 Western. The first service on the 6th May was hauled by D1010 'Western Campaigner'. The train covers two return trips between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. Sadly the Western experienced an electrical issue later in the day and a Class 33 replaced the loco for the remaining service. However the issue was soon fixed at Wiliton Depot and D1010 was made ready for Sunday 7th May. This inspired service rekindles operations from the past and provides additional heritage diesel action during the summer months. Sunday 14th May will see D7017 taking the next service, with D1010 scheduled again for Saturday 20th May. For more details on forthcoming allocations and workings, refer to the West Somerset Railway website. (Photo: Sclub)


Having spent the night in Cornwall, turned around and serviced the Southern and LMS steam locomotives teamed up to return to London Paddington via Bristol on 7th May. The return trip first traveled up through Cornwall into Devon with an afternoon break and servicing stop planned at Exeter St Davids. The Great Britain X then formed the 1Z48 15:50 Exeter - London Paddington. Originally the pair of locomotives were booked to take water at Taunton but this was later revised to Bristol providing a non stop run through Platform 5 at the station.

Bottom Left: BR rebuilt Pacific No.34046 'Braunton' (running as 34056 'Lord Dowding') and LMS 7P No.46100 'Royal Scot' pass through Norton Fitzwarren with the eleven coach train heading for London Paddington from Exeter (Photo: Chay Farzenah)

Bottom Right: On the approach to Taunton the pair of British Railways liveried locomotives coast into Taunton passing the ill fated Taunton Northern Inner Distributor road (formerly the Taunton avoiding line) to which there is still no date for opening despite construction having started some four years ago, it's hoped it may open within the next couple of months. (Photo: Brian Garrett)


Having spend the weekend in Cornwall the annual visit of the Bellmond British Pullman was brought to an end on Sunday 7th May with the two DB Cargo locomotives returning the prestigious dining train to London. Royal Locomotive No.67006 'Royal Sovereign' leads EWS liveried No.67022 north through Taunton working the 1Z33 12:25 Truro to London Victoria through 40 Steps, Taunton. (Photo: Brian Garrett)


The special charter season kicked off in style over the weekend of the 6th and 7th April with a weekend of double headed trains entering and exiting the South West. Friday 5th May saw passengers board the Bellmond British Pullman at London Victoria to be whisked into Cornwall for a weekend of opulent travel, dining, activities and accommodation. DB Cargo provided one standard EWS liveried Class 67 and one Royal Class 67 for the weekend trip away. During Saturday the pair provided a day trip to Bath from Penzance before returning passengers to London during Sunday afternoon. On Saturday 6th May 2017, the 1Z80 17:30 Bath Spa to Penzance 'Belmond British Pullman' passes westbound through Cogload Junction double-headed by EWS liveried Class 67 No.67022 & Royal Class 67 No.67006 'Royal Sovereign'. (Photo: S A Ginn)


Bottom Left: The second charter of the weekend was the annual 'Great Britain' charter which has was also celebrating its 10th year of operation. The annual charter which operates from one end of the country to the other via various destinations always provides a large variety of steam locomotives throughout the several weeks it operates. BR rebuilt Pacific No.34046 'Braunton' (running as 34056 'Lord Dowding') and LMS 7P No.46100 'Royal Scot' are seen at storming through Bradford on Tone while on route to Plymouth where heritage diesel traction would take over. (Photo: Lisa Waters)

Bottom Right: On Saturday 6th May BR rebuilt Pacific No.34046 'Braunton' (running as 34056 'Lord Dowding') and LMS 7P No.46100 'Royal Scot' were paired to double-head Day 8 of 'THE GREAT BRITAIN X'. Running some eight minutes ahead of schedule the pair are seen passing the former site of the Silk Mills level crossing at speed as they head west with 1Z46 08:07 Bristol Temple Meads to Plymouth from where the tour then continued onwards to Penzance behind a West Coast Class 47. (Photo: S A Ginn)


DC Rail moved a band new Lorum Network Rail, Rail Grinder from Derby to Okehampton on the Friday May 5th. Passing Taunton at around 20:30 the veteran Class 31/4 No.31452 is seen passing Norton Fitzwarren with the new four car grinder heading for the edge of Darmoor. (Photo: Phil Izzard)



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