Category Archives: Bits and Pieces

More from the early days

More from the early days

From RPS Newsletter July 1960 Vol  2 No. 1

From the General Secretary’s Page

More Activity Wanted

You will read in the West Midland notes the present state of our first scheme to be launched.  From the enthusiasm of one member, David Ives, and a group of his friends and acquaintances has grown the reality of rolling stock being restored on a length of line which has been offered as temporary accommodation.  There is no reason why similar successes could not be recorded from most areas of dense population.  We have enough members in the South-East, North-West and North-East to make a start.

Well done the West Midland District – later to become Chasewater Railway.

 

West Midland District

 

Stafford – Uttoxeter Line.  Great Northern Railway

Date: 23 April 1957Description: The Stephenson Locomotive Society (Midland Area) ran the last train on the Uttoxeter to Stafford line on 1957. The locomotive is seen here arriving at Stowe-by-Chartley Station with 200 railway enthusiasts on board.

The line was opened in December 1867 by the Stafford-Uttoxeter Railway Company. Nineteen years later the company folded and the line was sold to the Great Northern Company.

Passenger traffic was withdrawn in 1939, but the line was kept open for milk traffic. The high cost of maintenance proved too expensive and the line closed in 1951, having never shown a profit. It was broken up in 1959.

Staffordshire Past Track – Pic & Info

This was one of the lines under consideration as a running line for the WMD.

Date: 1920 – 1930 (c.)

Description: Stafford Common Railway Station was built in 1867, to serve the Stafford-Uttoxeter line.

The station closed to passengers in 1939, but continued to carry freight. It closed completely in the 1970s.

 

Staffordshire Past Track – Pic & Info

16 members of the West Midland District walked along the Great Northern Railway disused branch line from Chartley to Stafford on Sunday, 27th March.  Members assembled at Stafford Station and were taken by car to Chartley.  Our President, Mr. C. E. Ives, although not being able to take part in the walk, very kindly took members to the starting point.  A considerable number of photographs were taken en route for record purposes, as demolition of this line had already begun.  Very keen interest was shown in station buildings at Chartley, Ingestre and Weston and Salt.  Hopton cutting was duly noted as a great work of civil engineering, a tribute to the railway navvies of the 1860s.  The walk finished at Stafford Common Station (part of which is still worked by BR) where a welcome cup of tea brewed by Mr. A. Holden was much appreciated by all.  A special note must be made concerning one of our very enthusiastic members, Vice President Mr. J. Strong of Hereford, who stayed overnight in Stafford in order to take part.

Stowe and Chartley Station looking neglected. Note the two lines merging in the distance and the crossover in the foreground. Photo Hixon Local History Society.

.Unlike The building on the left was not demolished and was still there in 1990 and 1991 when we walked there. It now has been completely restored and has been moved to the Amerton Railway nearby.
Jan en Fons

Aug 7, 2008 9:52 PM

Depot

The West Midland District Depot has been kindly offered to us by our President Mr. C. E. Ives as temporary accommodation until a branch line has been acquired.  It is situated at Penkridge Engineering Co., Chase Works, Rugeley Road, Hednesford, Staffs.  This can be reached from Cannock along the Rugeley Road and from Rugeley along the Hednesford Road and is adjacent to Messrs. Bestmore Drop Forgings Ltd.

The depot consists of approx. 150 yards of siding with access to BR and NCB sidings.  Good covered space covers approx 50 yards of the track.  Members have already been advised of times of working parties, etc. and will continue to get these each month through the summer.  Negotiations are going ahead for the acquisition of two six-wheeled coaches, a full 3rd Maryport & Carlisle Railway and a full brake Great Eastern Railway.  It is hoped to have these under our covered space by the time this Newsletter reaches you.

More hands wanted at Hednesford

 

On June 3rd the Honorary Yardmaster, Albert Holden, gave a talk on the practical side of track maintenance to a group of members.  He expressed disappointment at the turnout of members and pointed out that work was being carried out by a small proportion of members.  If they did not get the support of more members they could become discouraged and work cease altogether.

It is the declared intention of the WMD to lease or purchase a line and run its own services.  But this needs a reservoir of skilled members and a strong organisation.  This depot gives us a chance to introduce all members to the technical side of maintenance of rolling stock and permanent way.  If full use is made of it, we shall have a reliable band of voluntary workers who can restore a line to serviceable condition in the shortest possible time.

The future of railway preservation in the West Midlands is in your hands.  Let’s all pull together and show the rest of the RPS how to run a branch line!

Stop Press

The first two coaches were moved in Hednesford depot at 9.45 am on Wednesday, 22nd June 1960.  How about coming along and helping with their restoration?

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.6

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.6

The photo has nothing to do with the article, but it’s old!

The first newsletter of the RPS was published in July 1959 and followed the information given in the previous leaflet.

It invited members “to send letters, articles and news items for inclusion in future issues”.

Other items raised were “Why don’t we take over a Branch Line?” The short answer was – not enough members.

“What type of Branch Line are we interested in?”

“The type of branch line we are interested in would have adequate storage space for relics and must be within easy access of large centres of population.  The exact criteria will be the subject of investigation by your committee, but we must bear in mind that the bulk of traffic would come from visitors on summer weekends and Bank Holidays who would not necessarily be railway enthusiasts.  We should be able to offer such people other attractions in the way of fine scenery and a terminus that is a natural tourist attraction with good facilities for meals, sight-seeing, etc”.

“Where will this Branch Line be?”

The early RPS members studied a proposal for taking over a line in South Devon but after consideration turned it down for two reasons

“1) Too small membership to make it possible.

2) Too far from the large centres of population where the      greatest support would come from.”

The thinking behind ‘Districts’ was explained.

“We think it desirable that wherever possible members should be able to visit a place where active work is going on during summer weekends or even just for an hour or two in the evening.  Also by concentrating our collection of relics in one place, we would deprive many members of the opportunity of seeing the relics of their local railways.

“Working from this basis, we have evolved the idea of an organisation built up of districts, each playing their own part within a national plan for preserving a collection of relics.  The first district has been formed, covering the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, and this is called the West Midland District.  A meeting of local members has been called to discuss plans for a London and Home Counties District.  The suggested area is the counties of Bucks, Essex, Herts, Kent, London, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex.  Other suggested areas for similar schemes are East Midlands, N.W England, Scotland, South Wales, Tyne/Tees and Yorkshire.”

Other items were – How do we form a District, Increasing our Membership, and the names and addresses of the officers of the RPS.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.5

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.5

These posts are taken from old publications, newssheets and magazines produced by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands Division). Chasewater Light Railway Society and Chasewater Light Railway and Museum.

I know that it’s not the newsletter referred to but I needed a picture  in a hurry!!

Chasewater Railway Museum 1958 Bits & Pieces 5

This post was taken from the ‘Railway Preservation Society’ leaflet of 1958 – the start of the railway preservation movement in this country.  I found it interesting to know how the movement started – I hope that other people will  too!

Railway Preservation Society

The national society for the preservation of relics from the standard gauge railways of Great Britain.

Keep the steam era alive – join the RPS

Introduction

At the present time the railways of Great Britain are going through a period of complete change in the principal method of traction.  The steam engine is condemned, though many years will pass before it finally goes.  So as to provide a worthy memorial to the steam engine, the Railway Preservation Society was founded in 1958 by a group of railway enthusiasts.  We plan to co-ordinate the efforts of individuals and widen the field of railway preservation.  Our main aim is the establishment of living museums on our own branch lines, where the steam engine would still be the main source of power and the railway could be seen in the full glory of its Edwardian Splendour.

It is still possible to find engines of many of the old pre-grouping companies in use, and to recreate trains representative of those found on our lines 50 years ago.

But time is running out fast!

Organisation of the RPS

Our members are being grouped in Districts, each consisting of an area of dense population and the surrounding lesser populated area.  Each district will concentrate on collecting relics of the railways serving its area, re-capturing the individual character of the Edwardian railway companies.

The relics preserved will range from a button to a branch line.  Amongst the items we seek to recreate are the rural stations of yesterday, the signal boxes, the trains, each with its own appearance, which varied from company to company.

Each District will establish a depot as a short term project, until arrangements have been made for leasing or purchasing a branch line.  This will give it a working site for the restoration and display of engines, carriages, signals, etc., in a locality convenient to the greater part of the population of the District.  It will also enable us to concentrate our first efforts on the urgent need to preserve suitable locomotives.

Appearance of a branch line

The type of branch line we are interested in is one which runs through scenery of natural beauty to a place of tourist attraction.  The major proportion of our passengers would not be railway enthusiasts, and we must take them to a place that is attractive in itself and offers them ample facilities for recreation and refreshment.  It is only by satisfying our customers so that they recommend the service we offer, that we can hope to succeed.

The length of the line would depend on whether it was a combined effort by more than one District or a solitary venture.  It would have exchange facilities with BR at least at one end, so that traffic could be attracted from as wide an area as possible.  The stations would be restored to their Edwardian appearance, and the trains run in a similar manner to those of that era.  At the same time we should have to satisfy the stringent regulations of the Ministry of Transport, so that our passengers would be guaranteed a high degree of safety.

At the terminus will be found the engine shed, carriage sidings and museum.  Here rolling stock not in use at the time could be seen by the public, and their design and the methods of construction and maintenance be on show.  Displays of smaller relics, maps, prints, etc. will be arranged to show the growth of the railway network and its influence on the life and trade of the District.  Though primarily catering for the railway enthusiast, a keen eye would be kept on our exhibits so as to make sure they were intelligible and interesting to the general public.

The operation of the line on an all-the-year round basis would be actively considered.  But as the branch line would be one of the unremunerative lines closed by BR, the possibility of this is somewhat remote.  The main effort would be concentrated on running an intensive service during summer weekends and the months of July, August and September, when the large number of voluntary helpers could be fully employed.  We would provide hostel accommodation on the line, so that our members who wanted to spend a weekend or part of their holidays on the line, would be assured cheap, reasonable accommodation on site.

We would offer the general public the opportunity to travel in a similar manner to our grandparents in the early years of this (last) century.

There is still a  chance

We can succeed.  There are still thousands of steam engines on BR, but very few left from the early years of this (last) century  The British Transport Commission have announced their intention of applying for permission to close another 2,000 miles of unremunerative lines.  There will be plenty of branches for us to choose from.

We can preserve two typical trains of yesteryear for the price of a Rolls Royce car!

All this adds up to a great opportunity.  We must seize it now, or see it go for ever.

Keep the steam era alive – Join the RPS

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.4

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.4

These posts are taken from old publications, newssheets and magazines produced by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands Division). Chasewater Light Railway Society and Chasewater Light Railway and Museum.

From the March/April 1962 ‘Mercian’

Bi-monthly news sheet of the Midlands Area of the R.P.S.

From the Hon. Secretary’s notes and reports.

These notes were from the early days when the depot was at Hednesford.

G.E. – Great Eastern, T.P.O. – Travelling Post office

News has been rather scarce this time.  I have only had articles from the Hon. Treasurer and T. C. Jones, it is difficult to keep making up copy and I do hope that members will co-operate and send in articles.  Otherwise the ‘Mercian’ will soon cease to function.  Please send in articles, no matter how small, copy must be sent in by the 8th May.

(Some things don’t change!)

Progress Report

A new siding has now been completed, the G.E.Brake is now stabled on this siding, this has allowed room for the T.P.O. and the Coal Tank to be moved further under the covered space, giving greater protection from the weather.  The whole scheme of the new siding was planned by the Assistant Depot Manager, John Elsley, the installation was very ably carried out by him and his small, but willing band of helpers.  New glass has now been fitted in the windows of the G. E. Brake, the toilet of the T.P.O is now in the process of being repainted, whilst the interior of this vehicle has been thoroughly cleaned.

Restoration Plans

We hope that the T.P.O. will be finished this Summer (on one side at least) this could easily be achieved if we had a few more willing expert hands.  Our woodwork expert Frank Harvey has had a considerable amount of new panelling to do, he is being ably assisted by Fred Lewis.  A considerable amount of painting has yet to be done on the T.P.O. so any member who is handy with a paint brush will be very welcome indeed.  The Maryport & Carlisle coach still has to be completely reglazed and we earnestly appeal to members for offers of glass

David A. Ives,  Hon. Sec.

Working Parties at R.P.S. Depot, Hednesford

The Society holds working parties every Sunday, these commence at 2.30pm.  There are however, a number of members who would like to attend working parties, but cannot attend those held on Sundays.  During the Summer we are hoping to recommence working parties on Saturdays and Wednesday evenings.  Would you please specify on the form below the days you wish to attend, and return form to the Secretary, alternatively contact by post card.