TURBOS INTO SERVICE ON TRANS WILTS ROUTE
By Guy Vincent
Monday 5th February saw the launch of former 'Thames Turbos' (class 166) 3 car units on the Westbury-Swindon via Melksham 'Trans Wilts' service. In the space of just 6 weeks, daytime trains on this route have gone from predominantly single class 153 units through 2 car 150 & 158 sets to the three car 166s. This morning I took a trip out to Melksham to see the 'new' trains in action and to observe the special arrangements needed there due to the short platform, something that was never an issue for these trains in the Thames Valley.
Due to the short section of usable platform (37.9 metres) at Melksham station special working arrangements have had to be made and approved in order for the newer trains to call. Despite planning approval being granted 14 months ago to extend the platform at the north (Chippenham) end by 33 metres, giving a total length of 70.9 metres, this work has yet to be started. Class 166 sets were built with DOO (Driver Only Operation) capability and, at each station, it is the driver that releases the doors with no selective operation possible of fewer than all sets on each side of the train. To overcome this, special marker boards have been erected beyond the existing usable platform length instructing the driver to stop but not to release the train doors. The Guard then opens his rear cab door, walks along the platform and manually opens the first set of passenger doors using the external 'butterfly' emergency egress valve. Once passengers have boarded/alighted the guard closes the door, rejoins the train and gives the ready to start signal to the driver. Sets are currently being modified as they arrive in the Bristol area. Intermediate door control panels worked by the guard are being installed and once all units have been completed only the first set of doors in the leading coach will be used, controlled by the guard.
Guy Vincent Many thanks for your up to date report Guy - one wonders if these units will ever operate down in Cornwall?
Still 66187 did make an impressive sight departing Treviscoe with loaded CDAs for Burngullow, first portion of wagons to form the afternoon Carne Point departure.
The nest day, after an icy start, the sky was blue and the light perfect for a wander up to Coldrennick viaduct for 70816 working the cement train down, which ran via Lostwithiel to run around.
I ventured to Largin with the sky becoming heavy with dark clouds, but was fortunate to grab a slice of sun for the loaded tanks storming up the bank.
All the best, Craig Many thanks Craig
I know Bridgend in South Wales is well out of your area but I thought these photos may be of interest as CRS carried a story on 3rd November '17 regarding a Class 47 cab being moved from Plymouth Station. Wayne Phillips had sent in a great nightime shot showing the loco being moved out from Plymouth on a low loader, and Guy Vincent provided an excellent account of the locomotives history.
Well, as Guy wrote, 47738 now resides at the Cab Yard in Bridgend which to give it its full title is the South Wales Locomotive Cab Preservation Group. Unfortunately the locomotive itself is now without its bogie set which has gone to another society. The first photo shows the Class 47 in a temporary position on the site, as Richard Benyon the new owner of 47738, has plans to develop the present layout as the Group now has in excess of 30 cabs of various locomotives. Through the cab window of 47738 on the second shot you can see part of the yard and some of the other loco cabs around the yard. The final photograph shows Richard himself standing in the cab doorway which leads to the engine compartment of the Class 47.
Hope you'll be able to use this on the website. Cheers Adrian
Many thanks Adrian for the 'What happened was!' and the photographs.
Great Western in Cornwall