Believe it or not, it has now been 25 years since the first Class 59 Co-Co Diesel Electric locomotive, No.59 001 entered service with Foster Yeoman. Built by General Motors in the USA, the 3,300 bhp locomotives were introduced into service on the former British Railways system on 17th February 1986.
To mark this historic event, Mendip Rail, successor to Foster Yeoman, are sponsoring the 2011 West Somerset Railway Mixed Traction Gala on 10, 11 & 12 June 2011. That very first class 59 will be present at the event together with three others as follows:
1. 59001 Yeoman Endeavor will be in Aggegates Industries Livery
2. 59002 Alan J Day will be in Mendip Rail Livery
3. 59103 Village of Mells will be in Hansons Livery
4. 59206 John Yeoman – Rail Pioneer will be in DB Schenker Livery
The Diesel & Electric Preservation Group’s Class 52 Western No D1010 Western Campaigner will be dressed as sister locomotive D1035 Western Yeoman for the occasion.
WSR’s home fleet of class 42 Warship, class 35 Hymek, Class 14, Class 25 and Class 33 will all be in use and 2 Network Rail class 31 locomotives will be on display at Bishops Lydeard with a track recording vehicle
Friday will be all diesel traction, on Saturday & Sunday there will be one steam round trip each day.
Also on Friday the West Somerset Railway will be reviving its tradition of transporting beer. The Quantock Brewery will transport its beer on the line from Stogumber to the Hairy Dog in Minehead and the Bird in Hand in Bishops Lydeard.