112 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.1
From ‘Chasewater News’ Summer 1987
This issue’s contributor is Adrian Hall, Chasewater Light Railway & Museum Co. Company Secretary and a member of some 11 years standing.
The railway has long avoided making an important decision. For it to become a museum of light and industrial railways, or an industrial loco group? If the former then it must plan now to develop a museum complex which will draw visitors and exhibits, and have the ability to fund operations. If the latter then it should dispose of everything except the most basic track maintenance stock, one passenger coach and the steam engines. A basic platform with a short running line is all that would be required for the occasional Open Day, and funding would come from the small group of members in the ‘club’.
A museum requires a large building, visitor facilities of good quality to provide funding, and a line of sufficient length to give a real purpose to the railway. All of this needs to be planned now, and implemented in the next few years (two or three, not ten or twenty). It also requires commitment and enthusiasm.
So which is it to be? The decision must be made now, or it will be made for us and will be neither of the above, but an end to the Chasewater Light Railway altogether.
Boardroom Note (By the Company Secretary)
There has been much activity in the boardroom of late, where in addition to the general management of the railway, work still continues to complete the corporate reorganisation.
The railway is run on a day-to-day basis by the six departmental managers, to whom general enquiries, etc., should be addressed, the board being responsible for co-ordination and strategic planning.
The assets and liabilities of the Society have now been taken over by the new Company, as have most of those of the old Company. It is hoped that these transfers will soon be completed, enabling the two ‘old ladies’ to be finally wound up.
Administration should be eased greatly soon once work is completed on the new office at Brownhills West. Inevitably shortage of funds is slowing the project, which will also provide a new booking office, the old one met its demise at the hands of the tractor last year!) and a small shop unit. If anyone can help with this (about £100 for wood, etc. is all that is needed) then their contribution will be gratefully received.
Thirty pounds or more will secure your name on a brass plate within this new and much needed facility.
As most of you are aware by now, the railway is to be crossed y the ‘Birmingham Northern Relief Road’ (now known as the M6 Toll Road), the motorway will orbit the northern side of the conurbation, which will relieve the M6 (or will it?). The motorway will completely alter the South shore of Chasewater, including demolishing the Brownhills West Station site. Informal negotiations have taken place with the Local Authority and the Department of Transport, and we have now engaged Solicitors and Surveyors to act for us in the formal negotiations to come.
We are obviously going to have to re-locate our main site, and anyone with any thought on this matter is urged to write to me as soon as possible. We cannot put much in print at the moment, but I hope to be able to furnish more details in the next magazine. In the meantime if you want to know more come along to Chasewater and ask.
A new set of membership rules were passed by the Board recently, mainly to tidy up the existing arrangements and make them clearer. It is intended to send them to all future members when they join, and to existing members with a subsequent mailing when finances permit.
Among the new members listed are: C. Chivers, K.R.Sargeant, D.M.Bathurst and M.Webb.
Carriage and Wagon Notes (By Steve Organ)
Work is in progress on a number of vehicles in order to preserve and tidy the collection until such time as they can be placed under cover.
Winter 1987 should see some of the vehicles protected from the worst of the weather by a ‘tent’ in the station yard, although this is dependant upon the continuous flow of the following materials, which we would ask all members to look out for and drop into Chasewater in any quantities, however small: Tarpaulins, scaffold tubes (any length from 1 foot upward), scaffold planks (any length from 1 foot upward) and scaffold fittings.
Work in Progress Completed
L&NWR Suburban Brake
The roof has been overhauled and re-coated. The ’lake‘ side has been stripped back to bare wood and primed with a fungicidal primer to combat the mildew problem, as this side suffers from the worst weathering. The doors are being re-fitted and LNWR livery is being applied.
Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln Brake
The Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln coach with Asbestos
Has been stripped to bare wood and Cuprinol 5-star anti-rot applied. Repaint is proceeding in light chocolate and silver grey. Mock doors are being fitted on the brake end, which was burnt out, to tidy up the coach’s appearance and keep out the weather until new doors can be made (any carpenters out there?).
Maryport & Carlisle
No further work is being undertaken at the moment but supplies of paint are on hand if anyone would like to come and paint both ends (which are in undercoat) or start work re-panelling the ‘lee’ side.
Midland Railway Passenger Brake
The roof has been completely overhauled and re-coated. The body has been re-panelled as far as possible, but not yet re-beaded. The basic maroon livery has been applied externally and the interior painted lime green and white to match the LNWR 50’ brake ‘museum’ livery. One half is being used as a gallery of railway prints, the other half is full of milk churns and ’luggage’ to represent an authentic ‘in service’ appearance.
Great Eastern Passenger Brake
Still in a disgraceful condition, we now have some panelling to hand ready to clad the sides of this vehicle. Some of the existing panelling is still good and only requires painting. We have the paint – we need painters! Scaffolding is now available to work safely on this and other vehicles so come and help us with this basic work!
Ex GWR 16 ton ‘Toad’ Brake Van, Asbestos with the Maryport & Carlisle coach and the GWR ‘Toad’ brake in 1972
Now in private ownership, the ex Littleton Colliery ‘Toad’ is undergoing extensive re-panelling and replating to make good fire damage caused by vandals some years ago.
The Wickham units have now been fitted with new gutters, a difficult and time-consuming task. The roofs of both the Wickhams and the Gloucester have been repainted, and then in the projected C & W tent they can be painted into a uniform livery after body repairs are completed.
The Ex BSC Newark Hopper Wagon
This has now had its body removed and awaits decking before entering service as a flat wagon which will be most useful for track work.
So there it is. Whilst progress is being made, we still need more help to complete these vehicles’ (and others’) conservation programmes. We have the materials – come and help us use them!
Despite mutterings from various people about supplying your editor with copious notes about what has gone on ‘down the shed’ the end result has been the usual – not even a blank piece of paper!
A brief layman’s résumé could be written as follows:
No.2 Following a change of ownership (its third since arrival at Chasewater!) the large Peckett has been stripped for its ten-yearly boiler inspection and hydraulic test.
No.3 Boiler repairs continue.
No.4 In service following being fitted with a new set of boiler washout plugs.
No.5 In service.
No.6 The ex Albright & Wilson Peckett has had its boiler removed in preparation for smoke box and tube plate repairs.
No.8 ‘Invicta’ has been stripped for its major boiler examination and hydraulic test.
No.10 Following the insertion of new fitted bolts in the front end, Mr. Sale is about to start work on trueing the hornguides which should stop S100 from ‘waddling’ (which those who are old enough to remember say it suffered from when last steamed at Embsay).
A group of CLR & M.Co. members have purchased a Fowler 200 hp diesel hydraulic locomotive from the MOD at Radway Green in Cheshire. The loco (numbered 7 at Radway Green, but presumably to be numbered No.12 at Chasewater) is in working order and arrived at Chasewater on 14th July and was on display at the Military Weekend of July 25th /26th following a hasty repaint in an olive green livery.