Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.77

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 77 – June 1977

The Railway Preservation Society Newsletter

Chasewater News 20

The Editorial pointed out  that the more active members of the RPS are just getting over the ‘Jubilee Weekend’ to be straight away flung into the run in to the ‘Transport Scene’ weekend – the same dozen or so have to carry on the normal operating season as well!  There followed the usual appeal for more help, but explained that ‘if the response to this appeal is the usual one, then I’ve been wasting my time, but unless we get more active support then the Chasewater Project will go backwards, not forwards, and disillusionment will set in amongst the members, ending in the folding of the RPS in the not too distant future.  I’m not being alarmist but unless we are able to purchase the loop line then the active membership will be decimated and that is fact, remember ‘Bridge that gap – buy a Yard of Track’.

News from the line

There’s been plenty going on at Chasewater since the last report.  On the locomotive front ‘Invicta’ passed its boiler and steaming tests and is in the final stages of a repaint, whilst ‘Alfred Paget’ carries on regardless, being smartened up in between steamings. ‘Asbestos’ has had its tank jacked up and boiler lagging removed in preparation for an ultrasonic boiler test, which will ascertain what, if any, repairs are necessary.  Depending upon what the result and cost is, it will be reassembled as a static exhibit or be returned to traffic, hopefully the latter.

The DMU vehicle has been professionally repainted in maroon livery at great expense.  It is to be lined out and have transfers added as and when time permits.  The repainting of this vehicle has, in my opinion, been the greatest step forward taken by the railway for some considerable time.  The interior of the vehicle is to be refurbished during the wintertime.

The extension to the platform continues and the lever frame is being installed with associated interlocking and track improvements.

Stop Press: it is hoped to acquire Hednesford No.3 signal box to house the lever frame, negotiations with BR are underway.  The station has been improved by the installation of two gas lamp standards and a few cast iron signs to give a more business like appearance.  The present terminus will be named ‘Brownhills West’ on completion of the platform.

Further up the line much packing and levelling, along with spot sleeper replacement, has gone on in order to finish off the present stretch of line and to give a smoother run.

Operating Days

As you may realise we are chronically understaffed on operating days with the brothers Curtis performing sterling work in the bookstall as well as being the usual guard/ticket collector crew and managing to be in three places at once.

Train receipts are down on last season, mainly due to the inclement weather of our operating days.  Easter Monday has been the most successful day, over 700 people taking a journey.

Over Jubilee weekend, another RPS first was notched up, with trains being run on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, all being hauled by the Neilson locomotive ‘Alfred Paget’.

No.11 Neilson 0-4-0ST 2937-1882 Taken at either Bedlay or Gartsherrie, still working for a living!

Receipts were poor and the Tuesday steaming was done mainly for good public relations, 93 people from the Hednesford Road street party being given free rides to strengthen relations between the railway and the local people.  This has also resulted in a good publicity plug, as we were the only railway to run in conjunction with a street party.

The TPO roof is now watertight and re-panelling of the sides will take place in due course, whilst its tarpaulins have been placed over the LNWR 3rd brake coach in order to hide it as it continues to fall apart!

The GWR brake van has suffered at the hands of some juvenile delinquents who set fire to it.  Fortunately damage was confined to the verandah but restoration will not be speedy unless someone volunteers to take it on – outside of the usual workforce.

Chasewater Light Railway Company notes

The Kraken hath awoke and the first AGM for eighteen months was held in April.  The Board are now trying to formulate future policy for the railway in conjunction with the RPS Committee and hopefully sensible plans will emerge in the next few weeks, details of which will be placed in the newsletter for members’ comments.

Track Fund

Only £120 has been raised so far, a pathetic reflection upon the concern about the future of the Society by the members.  Money is needed now as time is running short.

E1 Fund

Most of the money so far raised has been spent on advertising.  If you feel you can contribute anything to this fund contact us.

The locomotive has been inspected by Messrs. Barlow of Warrington, a reputable firm of boiler makers, who have given an extremely reasonable set of quotes for repair of the locomotive boiler.  Time is running short if this locomotive is to remain at Chasewater as the AGM two years ago instructed the committee to dispose of the loco as a last resort to buy the loop line, and unless someone pumps a hell of a lot of money into either the E1 fund or the track fund, then the Society will have to face what seems to be inevitable – the loss of our only ‘local engine’ which is also  our only ‘main line’ loco, and the  most interesting of all our locos.

Notes from Barry Bull Hon. Sec.

The arrival of a complete 7¼” gauge railway, with a steam loco, heralded a possibility of something being in steam every Sunday at Chasewater this summer.  Unfortunately the loco blew its superheaters on a trial steaming and has been relegated to a static display.  The loco is based on the Southern Region ‘Schools’ class of loco and was one of a pair built in 1934 and so is a worthy exhibit in its own right.

Items purchased or donated during the past few months include an LNWR ‘Beware of the Trains’ sign, a concrete GCR boundary post, a few items of LNER cutlery, a selection of Kent & East Sussex Railway paper work, a Wemyss Private Railway rule book and a sign of LMS origin.

Transport Scene July 23/24

Rapid developments regarding this event have taken place and the organiser sent the following note for inclusion:-

‘This event is aimed at raising money towards our track fund and towards giving our railway a publicity boost.  This is perhaps the most important event to have been organised by the RPS so far, so I would have thought that some of our armchair members would have offered their services to our already hard pressed stalwarts.  However, this does not appear to be so.  In fact, so far, I have received only three offers of help.  We are in our most critical year, which could literally make or break our Society, so please, please help us, even if it is only in a small way’.

‘Chasewater News’ is written by Ian Patterson, typed by Dorothy Ives and printed by Rob Ives.

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