Chasewater Railway Museum
Taken from the Officers’ Reports, Mercian Jan-Feb 1966, Vol.5 No.1
The Editorial was largely taken up by explaining who was doing what. Malcolm Willis was to be the Membership Secretary and A.A.Chatfield was to take over as Editor.
The present content will remain as in my predecessor’s time but I shall be introducing new ideas as I go along.
The most difficult thing will be to find ‘copy’ and you can all help by sending in articles, comment, criticisms – constructive or destructive – and anything else of both preservation and general railway interest.
I want to make Mercian really interesting from all angles – a start has been made by ‘Tre Pol and Pen’ and ‘Casey Jones’ (articles to come about branch lines and loco classes) – but there are other avenues of preservation still untapped such as railway architecture, carriages and wagons and signalling. Who will start the ball rolling?????
Hon. Treasurer’s Report – F.J.Harvey
I am pleased (you don’t see a Treasurer’s report start with those words very often!!) to be able to make my first report for 1966 quite a good one. If the Society can maintain the good start to the New Year our position will be more healthy than it has been for some time.
The Society aims to complete payments on the Stroudley E1 this year – £115 is still owing. Anyone who is interested in this locomotive is invited to send in a donation to this as payments are being maintained from the general funds at present. Whilst talking about donations I would like to sincerely thank Mr. J. Strong and Mr. G. Wildish for their donations towards the removal of the Peckett 0-4-0STs. More contributions are requested to this fund also.
Hon. Social Organiser – A.L.Holden
A brief report about the Annual Dinner and Whist Drive – both successful, with two junior members – Andrew Horton and William Ives – selling a huge number of Whist Drive tickets.
The Hon. Treas. and Hon. Soc. are promoting a weekly Tote amongst members and friends to raise money for the Society. I believe that this Tote proved to be successful and continued for a number of years. (I’ll let you know if it didn’t!)
Hon. Chasewater Secretary – E. W. Barlow
Museum Building. Without beating about the bush it will be as well if all members know that the loan repayments for the building will be approximately £245 per annum. We urgently need members over 21 years of age to act as guarantors. Will any such members please write to me in strict confidence NOW. If 20 members are prepared to guarantee £20 each we shall be there.
MS & LR Coach. This vehicle, the first relic ever to be purchased by the RPS will soon be on its way to a temporary home at the HQ of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. (Lovely railway, lovely people!) To move and begin initial restoration will cost £140. The Vintage Carriage Trust are finding this money, but have asked us to help out with as big a donation as possible. Will all members interested in yet another appeal aimed at their pockets please send donations to our Hon. Treasurer. Amounts over £5 will be acknowledged in this magazine.MSL Coach in Chasewater Railway Heritage Centre 2010
On Sunday January 9th we moved the ex North Staffs Railway wagon which we purchased from the Shelton Iron & Steel Co., Etruria, to Chasewater. In spite of a biting cold wind the operation went off reasonably smoothly. (I would have been surprised if there hadn’t been a biting wind at Chasewater in January!). My thanks to all those who assisted, particularly Bob Wormington and our good friend Jake Bacon, who provided his low loader.
Judging by the old photographs of the Chasewater site, it must have been wide open to the elements with very few trees providing shelter from the wind. Anyone who has worked on the track in the winter months, even now, especially on the causeway, deserves the thanks and recognition of all members).
Taken from the Mercian, December 1965 Vol.4 No.6
As you will notice, this issue of ‘Mercian’ is shorter than we have recently been used to. This is due to the indisposition of the Editor, Malcolm Willis, who has entered hospital. I am sure all members will wish Malcolm a speedy recovery, and hope that he may soon return to the most valuable work which he does fro the Society.
Malcolm Willis returned to the Society, but not to the Editorship of the ‘Mercian’, taking on the role as Membership Secretary. He did an excellent job of expanding the Magazine and would surely be missed.
This is the last edition of Mercian this year, a year which has been very rewarding for the Society. We have realised one of our major schemes, the purchase of our branch line at Chasewater. Work has been going on there for some months, and track-laying has gone on steadily. Early next year we hope to have a permanent building erected, and several locomotives delivered. If work is to go ahead as planned in the New Year, more assistance will be needed, and I appeal to all members who can help in any way to visit the Hednesford depot or the Chasewater branch any Sunday, when you will be made very welcome.
I like this photo as it shows the Valley pit in the background (left, above the wagons) and the Hednesford War Memorial in the background (right, above the carriage) JD
Once again we are almost at the end of another eventful year for the Society with the prospect for 1966 even brighter.
A great deal of work has been done at Chasewater and at Hednesford by our gallant band of stalwarts who give their time each weekend to further our aims and ambitions. Lots more work has still to be done and many more workers are needed to help carry the burden.
The Society is deeply indebted to one of our members, namely Dr. Plummer, for his generosity in purchasing and cost of transporting a locomotive to Chasewater.
Any Society which is to survive in these days of rising costs must have a healthy Bank Balance, and I strongly urge all members to participate in all money-raising efforts which are organised to help the Society to stay solvent.
We are fortunate in having many friends who are sympathetic to our cause, even if they are not members, who give willingly in so many ways, such as refreshments or prizes for various events, helping at Open Days and last, but not least, rummage for our annual event which Mr. Wooding organises each year.
Chasewater Light Railway Report – D.A.Ives. Hon. Sec.
Good progress was made during the golden month of October. Work has slowed down during the winter months. However, a few real stalwart members have continued to lift and relay track in spite of cold and wet conditions. Work parties are being conducted on Saturday afternoons, weather permitting. Track-laying must continue during these winter months if the full length is to be completed by April. The Chasewater party consists of approx. 12 regular members, who are now resigned to the fact that the job will have to be completed by them and them alone.Chasewater 1966 – Laurence Hodgkinson
Stop Press!!! A strong steel door has been fitted to the platelayers hut at Chasewater, where we intend to store all our track-laying tools.
Treasurer’s Report – F.J.Harvey.
I would like to begin my report by thanking all those members who have renewed their membership subscriptions since the last issue of Mercian. There are still quite a lot of lapsed members, however. This is the time of year for giving, so please help the Society by sending your subscriptions as soon as possible.
The loan which was needed to buy the Midland Railway Royal Saloon has now been completely repaid. We shall now be able to give more attention to clearing the outstanding debt on the Stroudley E1 as outlined in the last issue.
So far we have received no offers of financial help towards the transportation of the Peckett 0-4-0ST from Warrington. As I have pointed out before, this is a matter of extreme urgency. Unless we have some support, we shall be throwing away a working locomotive. Please see what you can do to help. Any donation, no matter how small, will be most welcome.
Still not enough working members or money – but they kept going!
Taken from the Mercian October 1965 Vol.4 No.5
Another long magazine, with three more pages dealing with general preservation issues and a further two pages devoted to a humorous look at ‘Meetings’, which does not concern the vast majority of our members – our meetings are too short to be funny!!
Excerpts from the Officers’ reports
Treasurer’s Report – F.J.Harvey
Once again we start a new financial year, one which no doubt will provide a great many headaches for the committee.
In order that our projects can go ahead our financial position must improve a great deal. We have just paid our first year’s rent for the Chasewater branch which has rather depleted our bank balance. I would like to appeal to all members for financial support. This is urgent as we have several items of expenditure looming up.
One of the platelayers cabins on the Chasewater branch is in need of considerable repair. This will have to be done in the next few weeks so that our track laying equipment can be stored there in safety. A petrol trolley would be a tremendous asset if the money was forthcoming. Members are having to push a loaded trolley, weighing over two tons, for over half a mile and this distance is increasing each week as we lay more track.
We are also faced with the problem of moving the Peckett 0-4-0ST from Warrington. This is likely to be quite expensive and anyone who is interested in seeing the locomotive in steam at Chasewater next year is requested to give some financial support.
Turning to a more cheerful note, the loan for the Midland Railway Royal Saloon should be paid off completely by December. We hope that this will enable us to concentrate on paying off the outstanding money on the E1 0-6-0T (Cannock Wood) £125. Donations are still urgently required here.
The committee are trying to raise money but we do need the support of all members. This is a crucial moment in the life of our society. Please help now while there is still time. If any member is prepared to help us in raising money, please contact one of the committee immediately. If we can raise £300 we will almost certainly succeed at Chasewater. This is not a large sum considering the size of the project and I am certain that it can be raised if all members help.Inside the old Museum Coach – Barry Bull
AGM Report – from our Publicity Officer.
I’ve skipped the Chairman’s Report this time, most of it is included here.
The 6th Annual General meeting of the Midlands Area was held at the YMCA in Wolverhampton on 18th September 1965 with 25 people present. In his address, the Chairman, A.Holden, thanked the Committee for their support during the past year, John Elsley and his band of helpers for the hard, heavy work being done at Chasewater, and also thanked the Editor of Mercian, Malcolm Willis for his work. He also thanked everyone who attended the Annual Dinner arranged last year, and said that it had been a turning point for the Society with regards to the number of people who had been introduced to it.
David Ives, in his report , stressed the point that we desperately need more help with the track laying at Chasewater if we are to succeed, and that it was a pity that we had so many apathetic members. He also said that money-making activities were essential to keep up the funds.
Frank Harvey said that the past year had been a fairly good one financially, but in the next twelve months we were going to need a great deal more money and support if we were going to fulfil our aims.
All members were urged to renew their subscriptions if they had lapsed, and to really try and help the society in some way, as the next year will be a testing time for us. If however we all work together we will succeed.
In order that we may keep to schedule with track laying and be in a position to build the depot/museum in early 1966, it has been decided that we should provide full facilities for working parties on SATURDAY AFTERNOONS. As you have read in other parts of this issue we desperately need more manpower, and it is imperative that this need is met. We implore members to take advantage of this work party if they cannot reach those on Sundays. Please, please help!
The next plea is more or less a legal matter. With the loan for the building, we will need to payback to Brownhills Urban District Council £245 per annum. In order to meet the terms of the loan we need GUARANTORS to assure payment of this amount if the society should fail – which is highly unlikely. If you could guarantee only £1 we should be highly grateful. If you are willing to help in this way or even if you are only toying with the idea in your mind, we appeal to you to write for further details to the Chasewater Secretary.‘Smoke on the Water’ – this time from Barry Bull in the 1980s!
This post is taken from the Mercian of August 1965 Vol.4 No.4
One of the longest Mercians so far, but the first three pages were taken up by an article on railway preservation in general in the early days – I’m afraid that I didn’t manage to read it all.
There are three articles which I shall reproduce, two about other branch lines and one about steam locomotive classes from a ‘leisurely’ era.
This post just contains the officers’ reports, which give an indication of progress being made by the Midlands Area of the Railway Preservation Society, especially concerning the transfer to Chasewater.
From the Chairman’s Report. – A.L.Holden
Since my last report, developments have been going ahead at Chasewater, the track, having been inspected by a British Railways Permanent Way Ganger, was found to be in better condition than hoped. Weeding and general tidying up has been started by various members but more willing hands are needed to help carry on this operation.
A meeting will be held at the Lamb and Flag Hotel, Little Haywood to discuss track maintenance with a professional P. Way ganger.
The proposed visit to the Talyllyn Railway will take place on Sunday, September 5th – tickets priced at 15/- (75p).
Changing ends, Nant Gwernol
Nant Gwernol station is the end of the line for the Talyllyn Railway and the locomotive is run round the coaches to pull them back down to Tywyn Wharf.
© Copyright E.Gammie and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Secretary’s Report – D.A.Ives
Our open weekend held on the 19th and 20th June was a reasonable success. A lot of members’ faces were absent, but a very grateful vote of thanks to all who helped. These I may add were the usual working party, committee members and wives. Several new members were enrolled, this is always encouraging.
Special mention should be made of the interest that was shown at the Kingsmead Secondary School, Hednesford ‘After School Activities Exhibition’, some 30 societies exhibiting, including the RPS. Some good work was put in by school members of the RPS, Brian Hames and Frank Craddock, in manning our stand. A very good job has been done by Stephen Ferreday in casting an axlebox cover for the Maryport & Carlisle Railway coach; this is an extremely good replica of the original. We’re all very indebted to these junior members.
We hope to announce some definite progress re. Chasewater building in the near future and we do appeal to any members who have time on their hands during the summer school holidays to write in and offer their services. Mention must be made here of the very useful restoration work put in by Mike Lewis, Vivian Miles and Maurice Harper during their annual holiday. We are most grateful to these members for the giving of their time.
A special membership drive is envisaged in the near future, a membership build-up being vital in order that the Chasewater project can be carried through to its successful conclusion. The success stands or falls by the determination of society members.
Treasurer’s Report – F.J.Harvey
Generally speaking, the year has been quite a good one but we do need more members. This is where everyone in the Society can play a part. Our nucleus of working members have, over the past few years, introduced a number of people to the Society. It would be a great help if people who lived some distance from the depot could recruit more members in their own area, even if they cannot visit us very often. We do not expect everyone to come and work at the depot each week although we are delighted to see new faces.
Please go round to your friends who may be interested and sign them up. It’s their subscription we want when all said and done! Some people offer the lame excuse that they cannot join the society because they are unable to take an active part. This is ridiculous! If everyone adopted this attitude there would be no railway preservation societies of any sort. Everyone can help in some way or other and recruitment of new members is as good as any. If you know of anyone interested, write to the editor and ask him to send details.
The more money we have, the more we can preserve, and the sooner we shall have our own working railway.
Chasewater Secretary’s Report – E.W.Barlow
In this, my first report to you, I am pleased to be able to say that the negotiations regarding the financing of the building at Chasewater have been satisfactorily completed.
The target date for the Museum at Chasewater is April 1966. This gives us only a short time in which to complete the building and to prepare the track.
We must have the assistance of every member who is able to help at Chasewater as often as possible. Would all members who are willing to help at Chasewater let me know and I will be able to give details of the working party arrangements.
North Staffordshire Meetings
At the June meeting, where Mr. Gibson gave a lecture on the North Eastern Railway, I was disappointed with the attendance. After much research work, Mr. Gibson’s efforts were heard by only about twelve people, and I hope that he was not too greatly embarrassed by this.
At the meeting on August 31st, Mr. C.A.Moreton will be motoring from Coventry to give a lecture on the North Staffordshire Railway. He is an authority on this subject and I hope to see a great number of new faces there.
Taken from the Mercian June 1965 Vol.4 No.3
There are some changes to the format and content in this and future issues of the Mercian, those that relate to the Midlands Area I shall reproduce – others I probably shall not. The Editorial explains the changes.
Since I took over the Editorship of Mercian last September, I have made a series of major alterations in format, the primary result being the last issue but one, and concerning long term policy, the last issue being the first of its type.
Mercian will now be composed of three sheets – as it has been in the last few issues; the extra two pages being devoted to a series of articles of general interest, for example:
Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era by Casey Jones.
Renowned Branch Lines by Tre Pol and Pen.
In the planning stage at present is a series called ‘ARPS round-up’, which will take a look at the background and work of the various societies and companies in the RPS. This will be unique in that the series will be a joint effort between the Midlands area and the London RPS.
Perhaps my most difficult task is trying to cater for all tastes, as each series is not going to appeal to all members. Whereas say, Mr. Gibson’s articles will satisfy all those interested in the evolution of railways, they do not meet the requirements of those who will find most interest in Casey Jones’ articles and vice versa.
One of the aspects not covered yet is that ‘Oh! so neglected’ subject, Carriages and Wagons. Is there anyone amongst our readers who would care to write a series for us?
I hope that you will appreciate the changes, and the authors and myself would like to hear your views on these articles.
Members will be pleased to hear that we expect to take delivery of another locomotive later this year thanks to the generosity of one of our members, Dr. P.G.Plummer who has offered to purchase it for us. Although Dr. Plummer is one of our furthest-flung members, spending most of his time in Germany, he does not let his distance from the depot dampen his enthusiasm.
The locomotive is a Hudswell-Clarke 0-6-0ST built for the Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Company in 1895 (Works No. 431). It was transferred to its present location, Desborough Warren Quarry, Northamptonshire, in March 1951 and was due for withdrawal in July when the quarry closes. It is believed to be the oldest Hudswell-Clarke locomotive still in working order and once carried the number 15. Now it has no number or name, although known as “Sheepbridge No.25”.
Painted in apple green it should be a valuable addition to stock already acquired, and will be of considerable use when we move to Chasewater.
As it will probably have to be delivered by road transport, costs may be quite high and we would welcome any donations to help in this matter.
And Another and Another.
To take this good news still further, we have been donated two other locomotives by the Whitecross Company of Warrington. They are Peckett 0-4-0STs of 1900 and 1904 vintage respectively.
Both locomotives were withdrawn from service by the company in 1961, being replaced by two most handsome Fowler diesel locomotives. They carried names up to withdrawal, the older being ‘Baden-Powell’ and the younger ‘Lancet’ – the nameplates of the latter being transferred to the diesel No.1 and those of the former being acquired by local enthusiasts. Alas! Only the ‘Lancet’ will be able to run again, but we hope to exhibit ‘Baden-Powell’ as a static display.
As parts are common to both locomotives, we should be able to exchange those necessary between ’Lancet’ and ‘Baden-Powell’ to render the former serviceable. The company has also given us all the spares they possess, and have offered to give ‘Lancet’ a boiler test, provided that we pay for the presence of an inspector. In fact the test should be carried out whilst this issue of ‘Mercian’ is in the post.
We will have to pay for transport, so please send any donations to the treasurer.
Sadly the Hudswell Clarke, although we still have the loco, has never steamed here. The two Pecketts fared even worse. The ‘Lance’ (not Lancet) 1038/1906 was scrapped in March 1972, and another Peckett – 1823/1931 was also scrapped at the same time. The Loco ‘Baden Powell’ was in too bad a condition to be moved. The other loco was an 0-4-0F a fireless Andrew Barclay locomotive 1562/1917 – scrapped in March 1973.
North Stafford Wagon
We are hoping to buy a North Stafford wagon from the Shelton Iron & Steel Company of Stoke-on-Trent for £15. The matter is now one of some little urgency, and the fund has been opened with a donation of £2 by the Secretary and myself. Any donations for this interesting wagon should be sent to the ‘Carriage & Wagon Fund’ c/o Hon. Treasurer.
Work is now underway after a rather unprofitable winter, the main setback being the lack of numbers in working parties.
Greatest progress has been made upon the Royal Saloon; the primer of red oxide paint being almost complete. This has to be rubbed down and undercoats applied. With this coach being so large, the process of rubbing down will be no mean task, and anyone skilled in the use of ‘wet and dry’ will be greeted with open arms!
Brian Kinder and Maurice Harper are lavishing their attentions on the E1 ‘Cannock Wood’, and will shortly be giving her another coat of green oxide underpaint, whilst Mike Lewis is giving the GWR Merryweather steam pump a thorough overhaul.
Amongst the freight stock, the L. & Y.R. van is in the middle of a repaint, and is at present receiving an undercoat of red oxide. Robert Ives is doing the same on the Midland Railway crane, which sadly needed this care.
According to information sent in by Mr. Plyer of the Great Eastern Railway Group, our brake coach was numbered 44, and built at Stratford works in 1885. The GER Group own a similar brake to ours, and we offer our thanks to Mr. Plyer who has worked to furnish us with this information. We are wondering whether any of our members could do the same on the M. & C. R. coach which will be structurally complete on the building and fitting of another door.
Our final piece of news is from Roger Bell who says that he hopes to STEAM the ‘Princess Elizabeth’ on June 5th at Dowty’s. On behalf of the Society may I convey to Roger and his wife – who in no small way has contributed to the successful preservation of this locomotive – our heartiest congratulations!
I am pleased to report that due to the appeal in my last report several lapsed members have now renewed their subscriptions, plus a few donations.
A new rule to be proposed at the AGM is that all members not renewing their subscription over a period of three months will not receive Mercian or Forum and as such will be deemed lapsed members. The Society just cannot afford to subsidise these people, especially with increased postal costs.
The committee are now awaiting quotations for buildings suitable for use at Chasewater. We hope to go ahead with plans for the building after the final permission from Brownhills UDC has been granted.
We should welcome help from members who feel they can assist with organisation of the Chasewater project.
Sir Alfred Owen has kindly offered the services of Mr. P. Srear, Director of Research at Rubery Owen to help us in this sphere.
D.A.Ives. Hon. Secretary.
Many people think that when a carriage is successfully purchased all worry automatically ceases. In fact, it is quite the reverse. Apart from the labour required to restore a vehicle there is quite often the question of purchasing the materials required.
I do not intend to bore our readers with details of restoration costs since most people are aware of the price of paint, timber and the like. I would, however, for example, ask just how far a gallon of paint goes in restoring a railway carriage. The answer is, of course, that it does not go very far at all.
So far I have only mentioned common-place materials. Rolling stock consists of many specialised parts which are most expensive to replace if they are worn out. Consequently, in many cases, it costs as much to restore a vehicle as it does to purchase it.
You can help, however, if not by donating money but by donating materials. If you have the odd tin of paint or spare pane of glass we can put it to good use and you will have played an important part in restoring these relics.
F.J.Harvey. Hon. Treasurer