Chasewater Railway Museum – A newly published book – Royal Arsenal Railways

Chasewater Railway Museum

A newly published book

Royal Arsenal Railways

Main cover photo from the Chasewater Railway Museum collection.

Royal Arsenal Book

The Royal Arsenal Railways

The Rise and Fall of a Military Railway Network

 By

Mark Smithers

The main cover illustration of the recently published book from ‘Pen and Sword’ on the Royal Arsenal Railways depicts the 1917-built Peckett 0-4-0ST locomotive works number 1491, named ‘Vanguard’.  At first thought this might seem an odd choice to show, but it must, of course, be realised that photographs at this important military establishment during its period of operation are not easy to source.

The reason, however, for going back to the original thought of it being an odd choice is that ‘Vanguard’ with its crew stands in front of coaches of the Brereton ‘Paddy Train’ having been disposed of a mere three years after arrival at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.  Following its sale to Brereton Collieries, ‘Vanguard’ soldiered on and indeed hauled the final train of coal from the pit on 1st July 1960.  Moving via Cannock Wood Colliery to Hamstead Colliery, ‘Vanguard’ finally went to the scrapyard during November 1962.

Page 145 in the book shows the same photograph as on the cover, credited to the Chasewater Railway Museum, the caption suggests that the view is towards the end of the life of ‘Vanguard’, however, it is more likely that the photo dates from the 1930s.

The Author, Mark Smithers, has produced a fine work, well-illustrated, on the railways of an establishment that contributed a great deal during both World Wars until finally run down and closed in 1967.

‘Pen and Sword’ website:  http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk

Barry Bull

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