108 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 4
Another true anecdote in the series of an excerpt from the Chasewater Fat Controller’s diary. Date line Sunday, 24th March, 1985.
It was about 2 o’clock on a relatively mild afternoon when four men and a dog set off from 21G Hednesford Road to replace stolen chairs from the loop. The freshly greased bearings on the trolley ran easily on the falling gradients towards Norton, with Hairy Youths dog bounding along the four foot a couple of yards in front.
Once over the facing point, the going became much harder as the ever helpful Task Force (remember them?) had dug the ballast out between each sleeper so the dog was having to negotiate ten inch high hurdles, two foot six inches apart. Finally with the leading axle of the trolley rapidly closing on his right ear he decided he had had enough and leapt over the rail to his right – a split second too late. ‘Klunk, klunk, klunk – yelp, yelp, yelp’. The fully laden trolley had run over his back leg leaving a six inch tear in his flesh.
Having bitten his owner and growled at everyone else in range the dog was loaded onto the trolley and sent back to Brownhills West Station where the ubiquitous Spitfire was waiting to take him home. That evening, Nurse Gillian is reputed to have taken the dog to work and rebuilt him bionically – this dog now has a starting tractive effort of 17,000lbs in full gear at 85% boiler pressure and may be used to work passenger trains when we get a Light Railway Order.
The cover photo shows CLR No.11, the Neilson now known as Alfred Paget, shunting near Brownhills West on a special steaming on Saturday, 17th April 1982 for the Industrial Railway Society. Photo by Mike Wood. Good timing as the Society was at Chasewater again only a few weeks ago (2011).
109 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From ‘Chasewater News’ April 1986
Our late friend, Mick Doman, preparing to take ‘Asbestos’ out from Brownhills West, Easter 2007.
News from the line
Asbestos and the Sentinel both performed satisfactorily at Gricers’ Day and both have undergone further work during the winter months. Asbestos has had the vacuum brake finished and the regulator has been the subject of much attention due to its tendency to remain open when shut! The Sentinel (alias No. 59632) is being fitted with vacuum brakes and its water feed pump has been completely stripped and rebuilt. Both engines will be test steamed prior to the Transport Extravaganza in May.
On other fronts, No.6 the Albright & Wilson Peckett needs the extension to its smokebox takeplate replacing due to the severe wastage, as well as replacement of some of the rivets which fix the takeplate to the boiler barrel. It could be that the boiler will have to be removed from the frames. Tony Sale is progressing with overhauling the axle boxes of S100 and it is hoped that re-wheeling will take place soon. The small Andrew Barclay has had a patch let into the side of its firebox so progress should speed up once several stays have been renewed.Sentinel Feb 2004 – Nigel Canning
On the diesel front, No.21 has had its engine removed to enable Colin Marklew to piece together a decent working engine from this and the two spare engines that we possess.
Like the Phoenix, from the rubble of Brownhills West has arisen a splendid new platform which was 90% finished before the West Midlands County Council was abolished at the end of March, and the Task Force left Chasewater, supposedly for good. However, at the beginning of April they reappeared under the guise of Wolverhampton Task Force to finish the job and to complete the drainage of the station site. The Society is left with the job of removing the remaining rubble and fashioning a track bed adjacent to the platform before the Wickham buffet car can be installed.
Just as the railway is recovering from the enforced siesta that it has enjoyed since 1982, comes the news that the infamous North Orbital Route (as an alternative to the crumbling M6) is to plough straight through Chasewater, in fact, it is likely to plough straight through the new platform at Brownhills West!! This of course is a major blow to the intended development of the park, not least the railway.
Despite the likelihood of a public enquiry it is almost certain that this ‘preferred route’ (out of nine possible options) will be built, construction not due to start until 1991. As it will be some 12 to 18 months before detailed plans are published then the Railway will have to have its own plans ready to make maximum use of any compensation it is eligible for. The main options open to the Railway are:
- To forget it all and disperse the collection
- To move lock, stock and barrel to somewhere else
- To move Brownhills West some 200-300yards down the line
- To move operations to the other side of the lake.
The executive committee have appointed Messrs. Hall and Patterson to investigate the feasibility of these and any other options and to find out what the chances of gaining compensation are.
“431 Hudswell Group”
At the Chasewater Light railway Society AGM on 13th November a resolution was passed empowering the Executive Committee to sell the Hudswell Clarke Locomotive No. 431 of 1895 to a consortium of Chasewater members and others. A price of £2,500 was agreed upon provided that the locomotive would remain at Chasewater.
All this led to the formation of the “431 Hudswell Group” which is offering 25 shares in the locomotive at £300 each. This covers £2,500 for purchase, leaving £5,000 for restoration. An easy payment scheme has been set up whereby prospective shareholders pay a minimum of £5 per month per share. (There is a maximum shareholding of two shares per person) and to date 18 shares have been taken up. Each shareholder will be issued with two certificates:
a) When £100 has been donated representing 1/25th of the purchase price – i.e. 1 share – and
b) On completion of restoration work to certify ownership of 1/25th of the locomotive.
No heavy restoration work will take place until the CLRS has been paid in full for the locomotive and there is enough money available to allow restoration to proceed unhindered.
Late News – A deposit of £500 has been paid by the 431 Hudswell Group to the CLRS.
No doubt you will have read elsewhere about Gricers Day. However, from a catering point of view it was both good news and bad. The good news was that we literally sold out of everything and had to send out scouts to locate further supplies. This resulted in the maximum profit being made. The service went well except for the bottleneck around the hatch and doorway, and everyone drank the tea and coffee so it couldn’t have been too bad!
However, running the kitchen is hard work and we would not have coped except for volunteers who turned up who are not Society members via the Hon.Sec. Thanks go to all concerned. For future occasions if they are not available, ordinary members will have to be rostered for these duties, as the money raised by this service will be essential. Other Societies have learnt that they can increase their income considerably by offering an efficient service and although none of us joined to make tea and wash up, this is part of the price you pay to see the engines running again and to keep them running.
Barry Bull is again providing sterling service on Saturdays and Sundays to members and the few brave souls who appear during the winter months.
On November 17th we ran the first ever “Chase Diner Train”, which taught us a few lessons – we must be mad!! However, despite a few obvious points such as the gap between courses and lack of heat in the vehicle, it went reasonably well considering it had never been done before. Apart from a longer cooking time than anticipated, due to overloading of the electricity supply, it proved what can be done when we are fully organised and better equipped.
Remember – help support our project “Eat, drink and be merry”.
Re-organisation Committee Report
We are still dealing with the Charity Commissioners who require more information than previously thought and so this is taking longer than expected, though there should be no problem in having the new Company set up by the Autumn. Meanwhile, the Re-organisation Committee (gang of four!) are working hard to ensure a smooth changeover when the time comes.
The management structure was agreed at the last committee meeting and consists of seven Director Offices covering the main area of the business – the sub-board structure being a matter for the Directors to determine later. The intention is for seven (of the possible maximum of ten) Directors to be elected to office concurrent with their election as Directors at the AGM. The offices are:
- Chairman (usual duties and to ensure Directors pull in one direction – the one the members want).
- General Manager (control, planning, budgeting of on-site work).
- Engineering Manager (ensuring that the Railway meets the Inspector’s requirements).
- Operations Manager (rue book, staff training, rostering and timetabling).
- Commercial Manager (sales, catering, etc., planning of rallies).
- Marketing Manager (marketing the Railway, including publicity and advertising, magazine and public relations).
- Financial Manager (treasury, liquidity and cash-flow management, budgetary control system, VAT/Revenue).
Association of Railway Preservation Societies (ARPS) AGM25-1-1986
For the first time in over four years the Society sent a delegation to an ARPS meeting, this year’s AGM being held in London.
The only really useful part of the meeting was a talk by Major Olver of the Railway Inspectorate on various current problems facing the preservation movement, certain aspects of which were discussed in a private conversation between Major Olver and the CLR delegation (Steve Organ and Adrian Hall) after the meeting.
The need for agreement between railways and private owner stock was raised which is something the CLR will have to look at before we recommence train operations. The Annual ARPS Award was intended for BR for organising the Marylebone – Stratford dinner trains but as they are ineligible – not being members of ARPS you understand – the Award was given instead to the owners of the engines used on said trains. As the Award is supposedly for an outstanding contribution to the Railway Preservation movement, there were surely better qualified contenders such as the KWVR for the splendid restoration of the unique Haydock Foundry built ‘Bellerophon’;Bellerophon at Caverswall Road, Foxfield Railway
City of Truro at Hampton Loade
the SVR’s restoration of ‘City of Truro’; the North Norfolk’s Gresley buffet car; the Llangollen Railway’s extension to Berwyn, etc., (or even the CLR’s nine year restoration of ‘Asbestos’!).Berwyn Station on the Llangollen Railway – and the former Chasewater Wickham. Hondawanderer.com
The Best Preserved Station Award went to the SRPS for Boness Station. This is interesting in that it is not strictly a preserved station, being an amalgam of various Scottish station buildings brought in from other sites. Enquiries were made to see if Brownhills West would be eligible – apparently it would so we shall have to see what can be done in the future!! – Any (sensible) ideas are welcome!
Chasewater Transport Rally Report
Sunday October 13th not only brought a return to steam to the railway but also the largest event held since the last Transport Scene in June 1982. It was also one of the warmest days of the year! A total of 129 exhibits were in attendance, ranging from buses to stationary engines. As organiser of the event it was a great pleasure to realise that although we may have gone through bad times over the past three years we have certainly not lost our friends in the world of preserved vintage transport. Thinking back to the original Transport Scene organised by Andrew Louch in 1977 when we had about 70 exhibits over a summer weekend, who would have thought that an October day eight years later would see almost double the number of exhibits and sales stands with free admission and still enough money raised on sales stands, our own refreshment and miscellaneous sales to make a healthy profit.
Aside from the obvious thanks to all the exhibitors who attended and members who assisted on the day, I would like a special vote of thanks to be accorded to Angela, the two Sues and Tim – all non-members who were coerced into helping out in the Wickham buffet. It is fair to say that without their help profits would have been minimal as most of the profit came from refreshment sales. The day’s refreshment sales realised £165, by far the highest achieved in the Wickham in one day.
One spin-off from the event was our first major publicity in the railway press for years, with photos of the Sentinel and/or Asbestos appearing in ‘Steam Railway’, ‘Railway Magazine’ and ‘Railway World’. We were also featured in the Lichfield Mercury and shortly afterwards a photo of the ex-Walsall Gasworks Sentinel appeared in the Walsall Observer.
Chasewater Transport Extravaganza
Yes, another transport event is in the formative stages. A group of enthusiasts headed by our friend Peter Magee of Lichfield are hoping to organise a weekend event in the Park on May 17th – 18th. Admission will be free and they hope to cover costs by selling trade space and by means of donation. An enjoyable informal event is promised and will include guest appearances by up to half-a-dozen steam traction engines. Any profit made is being donated to the Chasewater Light Railway Society.
The unique 1957 built Wickham & Co Class 109 DMU (50416 & 56171) pulls away from Berwyn station on 26 June 2010 with the 16:50 Llangollen to Carrog service, during the Llangollen Railway’s Railcar Gala. The station occupies a very restricted site, next to the main Llangollen to Corwen road, and perched high above the River Dee.