140/141 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces

Please Note: the Museum will be open on Easter Sunday and Monday

140Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Autumn 1991 – Part 3

A Goods Train for Gricers Day

 When Baddesley Colliery was demolished in 1990 we managed to get a set of points at a reasonable price, so when Lea Hall closed earlier this year (1991) ‘your management’ (in the Steve, Clippie, Organ, Les Emery era) paid a visit.

This time, a couple of steel bodied mineral wagons were singled out as being worthy of preservation, and in due course, a price was agreed.  British Coal/NCB have always been good to us over the years, so £50 plus VAT was probably the sort of good deal we would expect.  When, however, a check of the contents of the wagons reveals about three or four tons of coal left in the bottom, worth something approaching £100 per ton, it’s mot bad value at all!

To put the purchase price into perspective, an ‘0’ gauge model of a similar wagon would cost around £15, and , being in kit form, would have to be assembled and painted.  Ours are ready to run!Collection and delivery to Chasewater was arranged for Saturday 13th July, with one low loader making two round trips.  At 7.30am loading of the first 21 ton wagon commenced using the tractor unit to pull the wagon onto its own low loader trailer.  Additional power was provided during the operation by a fork lift truck pushing and lifting the wagon from behind.

At Chasewater the fencing had been removed from around the level crossing, and various tools and jacks gathered together.  The trailer was positioned on the crossing and a short ramp built in the general direction of the track.  With the Fowler diesel pulling via a cable on one end and the Southern brake van controlling the descent via a chain from the other, the wagon was dragged off the trailer and into the ballast.  After a bit of traverse jacking and pulling up re-railing ramps, the wagon was finally shunted into the shed yard.

Unloading the second, smaller, 16 ton wagon went more smoothly, requiring only a gentle sideways pull from the lorry to drop the wheel flanges between the rails.  By 4.00pm both wagons were safely on CLR metals, which, with only five CLR members and the truck driver helping, was not bad going.

The only details of the two wagons, which were painted various shades of blue and green, have been taken from the plates on their solebars as follows:

BC 503 – B316711 – 21 T – Re-bodied Shildon – 1972

BC 517 – B274600 – 16 T – Tees Side B & E Co. – 1957 – Lot 2817

Both are on the CLR stocklist of August 2011

Whilst the bodywork of both vehicles has rotted through in places, their running gear appears to be in excellent condition, which is why they were chosen from a number of others.  Both vehicles now require work to free off their doors, especially the end opening ones, as these will be ideal for ballasting track.  A repaint in a more suitable colour will give us quite a respectable goods train this Gricers Day, with a choice of brake vans!

Nigel Canning


141ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Autumn 1991 – Part 4

More Sid Browne Memories – Pete Aldridge

More Flat Tyres

When Sid started working on the railway, the London & North Western had only recently become part of the LMS.  To the disgust of the ex LNWR men, most of the policies of the hated rival Midland Railway were forced on the former ‘Premier Line’.  In particular, the Midland ‘small engine policy’ now prevailed.  A bitter pill for the LNWR who had always taken great pride in their own much larger locos.  Sid’s own personal favourite loco was the LNWR ‘Cloughton’ class of 4-6-0.  These express engines did not fit in with the ex Midland way of thinking at all.  To make things worse, there were a number of design faults with the Cloughtons, so that although they could perform brilliantly when fresh from an overhaul, the performance soon deteriorated.  By the Second World War only a handful remained, downgraded to fast goods trains.  One winter’s day, Sid had a last encounter with the last remaining Cloughton, No.6004, once called ‘Princess Louise’.Re-boilered Claughton No.6004 ‘Princess Louise’ with a down express.  W.L.Good.

The day was bitterly cold, and the train, a Bescot to Willesden goods, was a long one.  The train was made up of vans, sixty of them, and many of them were old with grease type axle box bearings.  The loco, grimy, out of condition, but still in express engine red, prepared to leave.  Instead of the slow, measured exhaust beat, the loco slipped furiously and repeatedly as it inched its way onto the main line.  Even when it was clear of the long siding, the train was still crawling along and the loco struggling to accelerate.

A couple of miles up the line they were brought to a standstill next to a signal box.  “Oi Browny!” yelled the signalman, “You’ve left all your brakes on.”

Sid was puzzled.   He climbed off the brake van and walked along the train inspecting the wagons.  All the brake levers were correctly in the off position.  Sid told the signalman.

“They must be on, Sid” he protested, “I just watched you come past and none of your wheels were going round!”

After some discussion, Sid asked the driver to move the train forwards a few yards.

Once again, the loco slipped as it attempted to start the heavy train, but the reason was now clear.  The wheels on the wagons were indeed not going round.

A few moments investigation proved the axle boxes had frozen solid, and at least half the train had been skating along the line instead of rolling!  No wonder the old loco was hard pressed to pull the train.The last ‘Claughton’ of all to remain in service was large boilered No.6004, formerly named ‘Princess Louise’ until the ‘Princess Royal’ class Pacific No.6204 appeared with the same name, is seen here passing Kilburn High Road with the 6.15 pm Camden –Birmingham goods on June 7th, 1939.  This was a regular turn at the rime for this engine and No.6017 ‘Breadalbane’, both being allocated to Willesden.  No. 6004 was withdrawn in 1949, eight years after the previous ‘Claughton withdrawals.  E.R.Wetherset.

Some oily rags were wrapped around a wheel sprag (a short stick used for stopping wagons when shunting) and a match applied, turning it into a mediaeval style torch.  This was then used to thaw out the offending axle boxes and, after much delay, the train continued on its way.  Of course, most of the wagons had spectacular ‘flats’ on their wheels and as the loco, now unimpeded, gathered speed, the noise from the train can only be imagined.  Being rather late, the driver was keen on making up some lost time.  The old racehorse may not have recaptured the speeds she attained in her youth, but by the time 6004 arrived at Willesden, Sid felt he had travelled at two hundred miles per hour rather than fifty!

Easter 2007 – Hawthorn Leslie – Asbestos, pulling DMU ‘Daisy’, and Barclay 1964 (701) with the three coach set, preparing to leave Brownhills West Station, 16 years ago.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s