WSR gala success marred by ‘Western’ transmission failure

THE West Somerset Railway’s June 7-10 diesel gala was declared a success, with more than 2,000 visitors carried and receipts well up on previous diesel events.

The loco line-up was enhanced from recent years with five visitors: ‘Deltic’ No. 55019 Royal Highland Fusilier, Class 50 No. 50035 Ark Royal, Class 45 No. 45041 Royal Tank Regiment, and Class 20s Nos. 20142 Sir John Betjeman and 20189.

The event did not pass without incident, however. Resident Class 52 No. D1010 Western Campaigner suffered a B-end transmission failure on Friday evening at Bishops Lydeard.

It had been hoped ‘Hymek No. D7018 would be ready to enter traffic during the WSR’s June 7-10 gala, following its 22-year long overhaul, but this was not to be. When nearly complete it had to give up its voltage regulator to sister No. D7017 so that loco could fulfil its engagement at the recent Swanage Railway diesel gala. A replacement regulator has been adapted from a Class 47 unit. The Class 35 was started up outside Williton shed on June 9 and is seen here ticking over with a clear exhaust a few minutes later. The test was declared a success and it remained on display for the rest of the afternoon. PETER NICHOLSON

The transmission was manually locked in neutral to permit the loco to be towed to the Diesel & Electric Preservation Group’s base at Williton. Only after removing the cooler group will it be possible to look inside the gearbox to see the extent of the problem.

The loco was still at Bishops Lydeard more than a week later, and it is thought it will be out of action for the rest of this year.

No. D1010 had returned to service in June 2016 following a major overhaul, and in 2017 clocked up its highest annual mileage for many years.

Its place in this year’s gala was taken by Class 33 No. D6566, newly returned to traffic following overhaul. This meant splitting it from No. D6575, the two ‘Cromptons’ having been booked to double-head for the weekend.

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