Category Archives: Bits and Pieces

106 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 2

106 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 2

 News from the line

Mention should be made here that Brian Hames has been forced to resign as General Manager due to McGregor’s decision to redeploy him at Point of Ayr, following the closure of West Cannock No.5.  (Mr. McGregor was the Chairman of the National Coal Board at the time!). Grateful thanks are due to young Brian for services rendered and his successor is Tony Sale (formerly Assistant GM) and the new Assistant GM is Nigel Canning.

Loco News

I’ve tried to remember the numbering system of the locos but failed – miserably.  I have to keep going back through the mags to find them – enough is enough I say!!

The Hibberd diesel is still for sale at a very reasonable price.

Barclay 1223 – all the superstructure of the loco in undercoat, attention has reverted to the boiler and firebox.  The front tube plate is being built up with weld whilst the eighteen stays that were unsuccessfully inserted in the firebox, as mentioned in the last issue, are in the process of being removed in an attempt to straighten the buckled walls of the inner firebox.  The man says ‘this is in fact, proving quite easy’ 

The boiler inspector has been and wants a 9” square piece of the outer firebox to be cut out to investigate the extent of a small crack which has been welded over during a previous overhaul.

Brighter news about Asbestos, rapidly coming to the end of her prolonged overhaul with a return to steam being a matter of weeks rather than months away.

The new GM has been hard at work reassembling the boiler backhead fittings, all attached with new studs, whilst the Fat Controller has been making various bits and pieces which have needed replacement.  The outside motion is being reassembled to find someone a job to keep him off the streets.  During one of the Hairy Youths infrequent visits various pieces of the machine believed to be lost were rediscovered whilst several pieces believed to be ‘in the shed’ were not, so replacements will have to be made.

The Boiler inspector has been and performed an ultra-sonic test to his satisfaction and is returning for a steam test prior to Gricers’ day.

On Sentinel, the Fat Controller has busied himself making good various faults found during the January steam test, and has also painted the beast in an attractive black undercoat after much rust treatment and filling.  A coat of gloss black is to be applied before Gricers’ day.  The Boiler Inspector has been and carried out an ultra-sonic test and having been satisfied he will return for a steam test shortly.  He has also decreed that the boiler needs to be split every five years, not every 14 months as previously feared.

The Controller has carried out his threat of giving the beast a pseudo British Railways identity and has constructed a jolly fine smokebox number plate No.59632.

As yet nobody has had the heart to tell him that vertical boilered Sentinels don’t have smoke boxes!Work on Peckett 917 proceeds as other commitments allow.  The new cabside and the rest of the cab have received several coats of paint whilst the component parts of the new bunker await fitting.  Several men have been seen struggling to excavate layers of fire brick out of the smokebox in order to expose the front tube plate to the eyes of the Boiler Inspector.  Not a wise move as the tube plate appears to be somewhat bulged.  Following further descaling work the Boiler Inspector will return to pass sentence.

The GM has made his first major decision which is that S100 is to be moved into the shed as soon as possible – a sign perhaps of old age creeping up on him?  To speed this process up the loco will be re-wheeled as an 0-4-0 i.e. only two axles will be re-fitted out of doors, the third one will be done under cover.  The owner is at present wrestling with the task of fitting and securing the new main bearings into the axle boxes.

The Other Gentleman made a start on removing the tubes from the Neilson as a mid-summer madness wager that if they were all gone by the end of July then a certain bearded person would purchase a new set!  It is now the end of August and many tubes remain to be removed as those concerned are busy on ‘Asbestos’………Will the offer still hold……. Will the ancient Neilson steam again?  ………………Who knows? …………Watch this space!   Late note; yes the offer does still hold!

Coaching Stock News

In between making cups of tea, Mr. Bull and his crew have been busy repainting and varnishing the interiors of both the Wickham cars in preparation for Gricers’ Day.  As ever, more help is needed as several panes of glass need replacing and seats and tables need to be secured to the floor, however, the work done so far is a definite improvement.

Task Force

Still not happy bunnies!  Nuff said!

Company News

Working on the precept that no news is good news it would seem that the Company is doing just fine.

Well informed sources indicate that the overdraft has virtually disappeared (along with several of the Directors!) but shouldn’t there be an AGM (or three) due?

An unusual piece to end with…

Steam Hauled Sunday Dinner

As an experiment a steam hauled ‘Sunday Dinner’ train will be run on Sunday, 17th November.

In conjunction with the Rob Duffill Catering Corps a steam hauled train will depart from Brownhills West and at the current end of the line a roast chicken dinner will be served in the Wickham Buffet aka ‘The Norton Nasher’.  This is open to members only and is a trial run to see if such a service will be feasible when public services resume.

Would-be guinea pigs should contact Barry Bull as places are strictly limited to twenty.  Remember only working members can travel on CLR trains until the Light Railway Order is granted

N.B. It is expected that all participants will be prepared to spend the rest of the afternoon working so come prepared!

103 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 2

Three post in one – not a lot about locos but interesting ramblings about the Chasewater Railway at that time.

103 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 2

 Carriage & Wagon Notes

Following the AGM the ex GWR Toad brake van has been sold to Les Emery (owner of Barclay No.3).  As this is GWR 150th year it is perhaps worth pointing out that this vehicle was numbered fourth in the first batch of twelve GWR freight vehicles to be built with iron underframes and is thought to be the oldest surviving GWR vehicle.  Incidentally, its sale realises a 13,000% profit to the Society.

The AGM also agreed to the sale of the ex LNWR brake compartment (non-corridor coach known in the vernacular as ‘the paddy’.  This has been advertised for sale and hopefully a buyer can be found as it is neither use nor ornament in its present condition and funds/manpower are not available to rectify the situation.  The ex BSC hopper wagon is having its body removed and will be fitted with timber decking for use as a flat wagon.  This will enable the worst of the present flat wagons to be scrapped (as it had a smashed headstock amongst other diseases) along with the British Reinforced Concrete Ltd. drop sided wagon, which is beyond all hope of redemption.Great Eastern brake

All other wooden bodied stock is in appalling condition due to the ravages of open storage and vandalism.  One seriously wonders if they will be restorable if and when we have the money and manpower to do so.

The Wickham buffet car is in weekly use providing the Society’s main source of income over the winter months, whilst the Wickham trailer and Gloucester trailer await for signs of resumption of train services at which they will be repainted and brought into a fir state for passenger carrying duties.

Vandalism and Theft

Once again, the railway has fallen prey to the attention of juvenile vandals and scrap metal thieves.  As has already been mentioned, all locos kept outside the shed have had all none ferrous fittings removed after some pipework went missing, and locos to be stored outside after restoration will be fitted with vandal-proof shutters.

The ex MSL coach was removed of all its brass grab handles and door handles by a person or persons unknown, though these were later found in the Task Force workers mess van, from which one can draw one’s own conclusions.  Having suffered the above trouble and that mentioned in Mr. Bull’s ‘comment’, we have been of late suffering from thieves steeling cast iron chairs, track spikes, lengths of rail and even sleepers from the causeway and loop areas of the line.

As a result of vandalism and theft we have sold all surplus rail, wooden sleepers and chairs from the causeway as the majority of it was only fit for scrap whilst any decent materials have been secured in the vicinity of Brownhills West.

The theft of wooden sleepers has been halted following the issue of a circular to houses in Norton Canes asking for information.  No fewer than twelve households reported having bought ‘logs’ from a local resident.  These ‘logs’ were in fact sawn-up sleepers and the man in question was arrested whilst burning the evidence in his back garden, having received one of these circulars himself!

Help

A list has been drawn up of the work needed to be done before trains can run again.

The majority if the work calls for hard work and graft rather than fancy engineering skills.  Why don’t YOU give it a try one Sunday?  We don’t bite (well Ted might if provoked) and tea in the buffet car has improved of late.  Seriously though, the more people that help then the quicker we can re-open and form a sound financial platform from which we can begin to think of extending the line across the causeway and beyond.

Task Force

The last issue mentioned that the Task Force had returned with the intention of finishing all outstanding work by Christmas.  Well Christmas has been and gone and the situation is worse than even the Fat Controller can have imagined.  Following demolition of the platform the Task Force moved onto the causeway and dismantled the track there, and then – nothing!  That’s right, they just dismantled the track in situ rendering its recovery impossible except by Shank’s Pony.  Round the Festive Season word got out that Task Force had withdrawn from Chasewater an d were not coming back, not ever, never!

A variety of reasons were rumoured, the one holding most credence being that the head of the Task Force thought Chasewater was too far away (from his office one supposes).  We were not amused and a deputation of Chairman/Solicitor and General Manager were sent to County Hall to register a complaint in no uncertain terms.

Apart from the obvious air of destruction and the resultant lack of train services it is perhaps pertinent to mention that membership of the CLRS has dropped by 50% since the arrival of Task Force.

Catering

A recent plus in this department is the repair of the Baby Belling cooker thanks to Mick Webb, this will enable a wider range of foods to be made available than previously.

104 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 3

104 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 3

An excerpt from the Chasewater Fat Controller’s Diary – dateline Sunday 10th February, 1985

It must have been the coldest day of the winter when the GM brought his car to a stand behind mine in Pool Road.  Having tried to get through the drifts and failed, I had backed out onto the A5 slip road just as a silly wassock in a Sherpa van who, having watched me back out, took a run at the same drift and got stuck.  He was eventually towed out an hour later by the farmer’s tractor.

Following meaningful discussions in the General Manager’s car including how many tools have gone missing during the Task Force Scheme? And who did we know with a Range Rover? We departed for Lichfield Road.

The bearded one was just about to leave, so with two pairs of socks and a spade each, the three of us returned to Chasewater in his large ‘four-coupled’ vehicle.  This time we tried the dirt track off White Horse Road which turned out to be relatively clear and it wasn’t until we were opposite the main gate that we met a snow drift.

“Come on Les, up onto the grass, round the left of that tree, and we’re in” the driver was advised.  Seconds later we had slid into a deep ditch which had been completely hidden by the snow.  The situation was desperate as with only one wheel of each axle in contact with the ground, the chassis resting on the ground and the diff. lock frozen, escape seemed impossible.

Les was left in charge of the wreckage while Brian and myself set out for the loco shed through driving wind and drifts up to four feet deep.  As luck would have it the compound gate and the shed door were clear so we could get inside and gather the necessary rescue equipment.  One large block and tackle, crow bar, key hammer, peckett cylinder wrapper and rope.  By this time the gorilla had landed his spitfire in Hednesford Road and assisted with pulling the ‘peckett sledge’ back towards the gate.  Upon passing Brownhills West Station we were intercepted by the Bull who, having arrived by cattle wagon saw the effort being expended and concluded we must be up to no good and so joined in.

After much struggling the crow bar was hammered into the ground and the block and tackle run between it and the vehicle’s towing ball.  Finally, with a large crowd of onlookers assisting, the vehicle was half winched, half lifted, onto solid ground.

Needless to say we all left the way we had come to search for Les’s 3½”/5” gauge garden railway and a cup of tea.  But at least we had ‘maintained the presence’ at Chasewater for another Sunday.          Nigel Canning

105 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 1

105 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 1

Chasewater Comment – Ian Patterson (aka the Hairy Youth)

Scanning through the draft for this magazine I came to the conclusion that things must be improving as there seems to be a lot happening and even more to look forward to as indeed there is.  However, this illusion is rapidly shattered by a visit to Chasewater where a visitor asked me “is this railway derelict? – I came here expecting to ride behind a steam engine” a tour of the engine shed and a chat with the Sunday regulars changed this person’s view but there must be many more who don’t enquire and merely see what they see – not a pretty sight.  For all intents and purposes the railway is derelict and a hell of a lot of hard work will be needed to run trains again.  With the present day work force there is two to three years work to be done before a passenger train can run again and apart from this, a large amount of money will be needed to pay the legal fees, etc. necessary to gain the all important Light Railway Order.  This brings me to another point and that is the apparent lack of progress on the administrative side of the re-opening process.  Moves are afoot to get things moving and it is to be hoped that the membership will vote on certain resolutions at the forthcoming AGM with the aim of getting the Railway re-opened as quickly as possible, rather than letting personal prejudices cloud their vision.

Provided that West Midlands County Council do rebuild the platform and provided that Walsall District Council do provide us with the necessary leases and Light Railway Order then perhaps next year we can attract more visitors who will be able to believe that real progress is being made, and help dispel the working members’ fears that trains may never run again.  Whilst this uncertainty hangs over the railway’s head the wooden bodied rolling stock is disintegrating before our eyes, doesn’t anyone care?

I hope members will visit the railway on Gricers’ Day (13th October) and see for themselves what needs to be done – perhaps it will inspire you to come and give a hand or perhaps it will finally convince you that your membership is a waste of time and that the Society will finally collapse after all.  The choice is yours – if thirty working members turned up every weekend from now until next Easter then one could confidently say that services could re-open next May – think about it, your apathy could be the final nail in the Railway’s Coffin.

Now from a rather pessimistic outlook with a touch of optimism towards the end to some really sad news:

Obituary

It is with great regret that we have to report the death of Charles Ives, Society Vice President and former President and benefactor for many years.  Ill-health has for some time forced Charles to take a back seat in Society matters but his influence in the formative years of the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands District) can never be undervalued.Charles provided the Society with its original home on siding space at his Hednesford engineering establishment.  For ten years the Society had free use of the siding including an overall roof to assist early members in their restoration work.

His presence at Committee Meetings was always welcome with his sense of wit and countless anecdotes and sayings.  In his own way Charles was one of the pioneers of the preservation movement although perhaps a name that might not readily spring to mind.  A true character he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.  Our condolences go to his widow.  B. Bull

Anyone who has followed this blog cannot fail to recognise the contribution of Charles Ives to the RPS West Midlands District and ultimately the Chasewater Light Railway Society. CWS

102 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 1

102 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 1

After the last post’s slightly more optimistic outlook it seems to have slipped backward – oh dear!

Editor’s Notes – Ian Patterson

Much of what follows is of a depressing nature but there is little point in glossing over the severe handicaps that we face at the current time, and perhaps it will spur one or two to take an active part in what should, when all is said and done, be a pleasurable hobby.

Chasewater Comment

This issue’s writer is Barry Bull, Hon.Sec. of the CLRS and a member for 16 years.

When I was asked by H.Y. the ‘Managing Director’ of ‘Chasewater News’ to write this piece I was hoping to write in a more light-hearted vein than of late.

However, those of us committed to the cause of operating a railway and associated museum seem to have been dealt one body blow after another by a series of events over which we have little or no control.  The worst aspect, since the closing of the railway for passenger services in October, 1982 has been the way we have been left open to the vagaries of West Midlands County Council and their Task Force Programme.  Despite the valiant efforts of John Selway the expected successes of the Task Force Programme have not materialised,

Whatever feelings we may have as regards the work actually completed on site the main problem has been behind the scenes at County Hall.  You will have read in the last issue of Chasewater News of the intention of WMCC to reconstruct the platform drainage at Brownhills West and Stadium Halt (which was a possible halt opposite Willow Vale Nursery), fencing of the line and associated crossing gates – all to be finished by Christmas (we presumed 1984!).  Well, as those of us who attend Chasewater on a regular basis will know, none of this happened.

I’m afraid that this report went on for another three or four paragraphs all very similar, with tales of vandals, metal thieves and arsonists at all the organisations using Chasewater.

Loco News

No.1  Hibberd Diesel  The AGM in October agreed to sell this loco as it is surplus to requirements and it has duly been advertised.  Further developments are awaited.

No.2  Peckett 1351  This engine stands next to the shed door with a hopeful look on its face/smokebox.  Does its owner still realise that he owns it?

No.3  Barclay 1223  The restoration of this loco has suffered a setback as, when the new stays were riveted up, the inner firebox walls buckled around the stayheads.  The Boiler Inspector’s verdict is awaited with trepidation as he is unlikely to pass the repair, insertion of copper patches or even a new inner firebox may be the answer.

Despite this the new cab, bunkers and footplating are being installed, and jolly fine they look too!

No.4  Asbestos  Since the last set of notes great strides have been made with the restoration of ‘Asbestos’.  After much bickering the worst of the cladding sheets were replaced  with new material, generously donated by a member.

Once these had been cut to size they were fitted following lagging of the boiler with new hygienic fibreglass cladding.  The following week the tank was refitted and for the first time in some eight years ‘Asbestos’ looks like a complete steam engine.

Much work remains to be done, however, but refitting of the regulator and cleaning up of backhead fitting faces is underway.

No.5  Sentinel  The Sentinel was first steam tested on November 25th (having had the dubious honour of being the first loco to steam at Chasewater since ‘Invicta’ on 16th October, 1982).  Following this, minor adjustments were made and a second steam test followed on 6th January though a shortage of coal hampered its steaming capabilities on this occasion.  Further minor adjustments are being made whilst a new grate is on its way.  Vandal-proof shutters have been fitted to enable the loco to be left outside without fear of fittings being stolen.

During the spring the Fat Controller (for it is he that owns the beast) plans to repaint the loco in a pseudo BR black livery with large yellow numbers as No.59632 (there’s no accounting for taste, is there?)

It is planned to steam the Sentinel at regular intervals on works train duties to enable much needed maintenance to be done on the Ruston diesel No.7.No.6  Peckett 917  Slow progress is at present being made on this loco with  the installation of a new cab side and front with a new bunker to follow.  However, with the end in sight on ‘Asbestos’ progress should speed up during the year and thoughts are turning towards repairing the water tank rather than a wholesale replacement.

No.7  Ruston diesel DL7  As mentioned above, the big Ruston requires a fair amount of maintenance to make it a more reliable machine.  This will be done as soon as there is space in the shed for it.  Meanwhile, a search is on for equipment to fit the loco with vacuum brakes.

No.8  Invicta  Invicta stands outside the shed minus cab fittings – removed for safety’s sake, and whilst being nominally serviceable it is unlikely to steam this year.S100 Frame & Wheels

No.10  Hudswell Clarke S100  The new main bearing have been machined and the axle box horn faces have been trued.  Re-wheeling will soon become a priority as it needs to be moved to enable track work alterations to be done at Brownhills West.

No.11  Alfred Paget  The ancient Neilson awaits attention – new tubes and water tank repairs, but sadly it is impossible to say when this will begin.No.15  Hudswell Clarke 431  The big news is that the chimney has fallen off.  Thankfully, the AGM refused to give the committee authority to dispose of this fine machine and, hopefully, plans for its restoration can be formulated soon. (nobody has defined ‘soon’!)

It is perhaps relevant to ask what will be the loco department’s next project as within the next 12 – 18 months locos Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and possibly 10 are likely to be ready for use.  Are we really going to need 7 locomotives to pull two coaches over a three quarter mile of track?  ( No.3 took about 20 years to steam and Nos. 6 and10 still haven’t!  No.8 ‘Invicta’ left for pastures new in between times).

101 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – 1984 – 2

101 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – 1984 – 2

Loco News

Now that we have a new numbering system, it goes into operation.  I shall use the numbers but not ask you to refer to the previous post – I’ve got the numbers and locos on the page in front of me – you haven’t!

No. 3  Barclay 1223  Since a change of ownership last October the engine has been completely dismantled above the frames, and the boiler and firebox have been examined by the Boiler Inspector.  Members of long standing may recall that this loco’s boiler was virtually condemned some 15 years ago and has stood idle ever since.  We must now be in a more enlightened age as, apart from replacement of some 18 firebox stays and welding a small patch on the firebox side and renewal of several smokebox tubeplate rivets, the Boiler Inspector is quite happy for the boiler to be returned to steam.  Much of the platework of the loco has been replaced with new – I.E cab, bunkers, footplating and a new smokebox has been fabricated.

A new set of boiler tubes has arrived and those responsible for the loco hope to see it in steam in early 1985 – they must be confident as they’re looking for another loco!

No. 4  Asbestos  Following a successful hydraulic test the boiler has at last been reunited with the frames, for the first time in six years.  Despite the misguided belief that interest (work) would speed up following refitting of the boiler – this has not yet happened, putting a 1984 steaming in considerable doubt at the time of writing (mid-July)

Despite this, slow progress is being made by one man (without dog!) in assembling a useable set of cladding sheets from the mangy set of originals.  Also the cab fittings have been overhauled off-site.

No. 5  Sentinel  Since the last report the boiler has passed its visual test and following reassembly was hydraulically tested.  On testing the superheater several holes were found, the only remedy being replacement.  Without too much difficulty a firm was found who could manufacture a new one and this was duly ordered and delivered – at considerable expense to the owner!

The boiler duly passed its hydraulic test as did the new superheater.  Reassembly is well under way with many components being replaced at the same time.

The owner expects to steam the loco later this year and run trials with it to ascertain its suitability for passenger work before considering fitting vacuum brakes.

No. 6  Peckett 917  Slow progress has been made on this loco, recent work being confined to stripping and painting the cab and removal of fire bricks out of the smokebox to reveal a somewhat wasted tube plate.  Work should speed up when ‘Asbestos’ (wot – no number?!) is finished.

No.10  Hudswell Clarke 1822 (S 100) First the bad news – during the winter we suffered a spate of break-ins which resulted in the loss of the main bearing brasses as well as a complete set of new ones.  Now the good news – the wheelsets have been sent to Bridgnorth for tyre and journal turning and have returned ready for refitting, the axle boxes which will shortly be sporting new main bearings which are being supplied at a good competitive rate.

Whilst this was going on, the owner overhauled the lathe and miller in the loco shed and is now using them to true the horn faces on the axle boxes.

All being well, the frames should be reunited with the wheels before the end of the year, enabling further reassembly to take place under cover.

Following a request from the Honourable Secretary to reintroduce a system of credits for work done, here goes…….

Barclay 1223 – Les, Gorilla and friends.  New cab and bunkers – Comex Workshop, Walsall.  New Smokebox – Angle Ring Co. Ltd.  New boiler tubes – Charlie from Embsay via Newmans Tubes Ltd., Wednesbury.

Asbestos  Boiler – Tony and Brian.  Cladding – HY.  Cab fittings – PCK

Sentinel – Mr. K9

Peckett 917  Les and kids, young Pete and the Wossacks.

Hudswell Clarke S100  Axle brasses – Wednesbury Foundry Training School.  Lathe and Miller – Mr. Sale.  Wheel Turning – Severn Valley Railway.

Loco Numbers  HY.

Black Paint  (Someone has been working on the principle that if it’s stationary and rusty – paint it black!)  Assorted young kids and men with beards!

 Task Force

The new siding mentioned in the last magazine was subsequently found to be unnecessary and consequently was not built.

The Task Force then turned their attention to putting the southern point in for the Brownhills West run round, however, following a survey of the line by West Midlands County Council Surveyor’s Department, further work was suspended until the proposed track plans and gradient profiles were approved by the Railway Inspectorate.  As a result, Brownhills West still looks as though a bomb has hit it, though in recent weeks some Task Force workers have returned and started slowly demolishing what remains of the platform in preparation for its long awaited rebuild.  Despite this apparent lack of progress we have been assured that all the work – reconstruction of platform, drainage of Brownhills West, run round loops at Brownhills West and Stadium Halt (?), fencing of the line and associated crossing gates will be finished by Christmas (one presumes 1984!)

If this is so then services can be resumed following inspection by HM Railway Inspectorate.

 Track Work

During the lull in Task Force activities a hastily formed track gang relaid the point leading to the loco shed some 45 feet nearer to Brownhills West to give a longer siding and also ease the alignment which was somewhat tight.  This was achieved within a matter of two months, much credit going to Mr. K9, a man with a beard and a (semi) tame Gorilla who performed Herculean feats of strength (some may call it stupidity) in moving large pieces of point and many concrete sleepers in preparation for Sunday working parties.

Chasewater Light Railway Company Notes

Since the end of the YOP Scheme the Company has slowly sorted out its finances to such a degree that it knows to whom it owes what amounts of money.  The two creditors are:

1.    The Overdraft Facility taken out at Barclays Bank.

2.    Money overspent on the YPO Scheme and owed to the Manpower Services Commission.

To ease matters the Society took stock of its assets and was able to identify several items which were not imperative to keep the CLR project a viable proposition.  To this end it was agreed in a series of General Meetings to dispose of:

1.    Andrew Barclay Saddle Tank 1223

2.    Sentinel Loco 9632

3.    LNWR TPO coach

4.    LNWR brake coach (Paddy Coach).

Of these items, the first three have been sold with only the TPO going off-site, whilst a deal to sell the ‘Paddy’ has fallen through, though hopefully a new purchaser can be found.  Despite the resulting influx of money, the Company still has a sizeable overdraft to pay off, which will hinder any future plans for expansion until it is eradicated.  At present the Company has only three forms of income:

1.    Donations from the Society

2.    Sale of Shares

3.    Sale of Shares in DL7

Museum Notes

The only notable acquisition of late has been a wooden shield presented by the LMS to Trent Valley Station following three successive victories in the station gardens competition, 1924 – 1926

100 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – 1984 – 1

100 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – 1984 – 1

Chasewater News – Editorial

 The Society is approaching its 25th Anniversary which will be celebrated at the Society AGM on 13th October and at a Bus Rally and Railwayana Fair at Chasewater on the following day (October 14th) 11.00 – 4.30, admission free.

Throughout its 25 years the Society’s membership has fluctuated around the 100 mark whilst its aims have switched from creating a static museum to an operating railway.  Despite the lack of passenger trains during the last two seasons the Society membership has held its own and so far this year over 15 new members have been enrolled.  To these people we say thank you for having faith in the Chasewater Project.  Inside this magazine you will find a membership form and we are appealing for every member to enrol a new member to give us enough people to operate trains next season (as we are led to believe that we will be in a position to do so).

Members may have read elsewhere about plans to spend up to 14 million pounds on Chasewater Park and the Society/Company have drawn up plans to expand the Railway, should this scheme come to fruition.  All this is dependent on us having enough manpower to run services on a regular basis so it is up to the present membership to either come forward and operate the services or to find new members to do the same.  Members may also have read of a scheme to build a new motorway which may or may not pass through the park.  If it does come through the park then we are wasting our time.

News from the line

Loco Department – It has for sometime been felt that there ought to be a numbering system for locos at Chasewater in order to give a proper Light Railway image.

A start was made some years ago when ‘Invicta’ emerged from a repaint sporting a painted No.8 (it was then the eighth steam engine on site) on the front buffer beam and brass plates (GWR style) on the cab sides.

The following system has been devised and will be put into practice as engines are repainted, although the GWR style plates on ‘Invicta’ will not be featured on other locos as brass plates with the loco number and the legend ‘Chasewater Light Railway’ have been designed.  Some locos will also bear fictitious 21G shed plates as the Operating Superintendent reckons 21G would have been the shed code for Brownhills West (Hednesford Road) had it existed in BR days.

Loco                                                          No.

Hibberd Diesel                                 1                 First loco to arrive

Peckett 1351                                    2                  No. 2 at Wallsend Slipway

Barclay 1223                                   3

Asbestos                                            4

Sentinel 9632                                   5                 May be painted black as BR 59632

Peckett 917                                       6

R & H Diesel                                       7                 No.7 at Whitwell Colliery

Invicta                                                    8

Hudswell Clarke 1822                     10

Alfred Paget                                         11               No.11 at Gartsherrie

Hudswell Clarke 431                       15

Ex bass Diesel                                     21

L & Y Petrol                                            1

It seems strange to have two No.1s when starting a new system, even if they didn’t stay much longer!

99 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Late 1983

99 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Late 1983

Editorial: Several things have happened, but little has changed.

Several significant things have happened at Chasewater since the last magazine was printed and these will be detailed in the next few pages.

Little has changed because we are still short of manpower and cash, of these two shortages surely the lack of manpower must be the more inexcusable.  On one Sunday this summer there were only two members at Chasewater and I make no apology for the fact that we spent the day working in the shed whilst the public looked through the locked gates of Brownhills West Station.  Fifty per cent of those people must have thought that it was a railway scrapyard and the other fifty per cent, who knew better, probably thought that we had closed down for good!

If we are very lucky, sometime next year, we may have a railway which is once again fit to run passenger trains on and probably a couple of locos and coaches in useable condition, but will we have the people to run them?

Nigel Canning – Operating Superintendent

 Locomotives

Asbestos – The six missing firebox stays have been riveted into place and the boiler will shortly be hydraulically tested.  If this is successful the loco can be reassembled, steam tested and the newly installed vacuum brake equipment tested.

Sentinel heading past the old rear of the loco shed in 1992

 Sentinel – The Boiler Inspector will carry out a visual examination on the boiler and superheater of this loco when Asbestos is hydraulically tested.  Work will then continue until completed.  A trial will have to be carried out to see if this loco is capable of successfully operating passenger trains before any though is given to fitting vacuum brake equipment.

 S-100 – Tony has been making use of the summer weather to paint various parts of this loco whilst trying in vain to find somewhere to have its wheels turned.

 DL7 – This loco continues in fairly regular use and is to be repainted with a bogus BR ‘D’ number.  However, one or two points should be remembered:

  • If it is to be used on passenger trains again it will have to be vacuum brake fitted.
  • The brake and starting air tanks will, under new regulations, shortly to be introduced, require to be insured and regularly tested.

 Small Peckett – Albright & Wilson, the Company from whom this loco is on loan, have recently offered to help pay for a replacement saddle tank.  The tank has been measured and drawn so that quotes can be sought for both a complete assembled tank and for a rolled plates do-it-ourselves kit.

28 Presentation plaque Peckett 917 Unknown R5.B1.S3

 No.21 – This loco is still operational if tow-started and has been used on occasion to move items of stock into sidings to pass DL7 in the absence of a run round loop.  A complete engine rebuild is probably necessary to enable it to be started from the battery.

Carriages & WagonsWickham Class 109 at Llangollen Station. Photographed during the Llangollen Railcar Gala weekend, 16-17 July 2005.  

Wickham Motor car 50416 – Throughout the summer this vehicle has been in use as a station buffet.  A considerable amount of work has been carried out including enlargement of the kitchen hatch, removal of one of the internal bulkheads and screwing down of tables.  A start has now been made on completely replacing the guttering so that the coach can be repainted before next year.

Wickham Trailer 56171 – Progress has also been made with this vehicle with the fitting of seats from a Cravens DMU and the removal of rain guttering.

Gloucester Trailer 56301 – No work has been carried out on this vehicle although it will require a repaint and clean up before re-entering service.

http://postalheritage.org.uk/collections/museum/transport/mailbyrail

TPO 30244 – Following the offer from Tyseley Museum this vehicle was sold for £1,000 and left Chasewater on September 8th.  It is reputed to have twisted one of its bogie frames when one corner broke through the floorboards due to being stood on uneven ground during loading.

 Six-Wheeled Coaches – One new end has been fitted to the M & C Coach and replacement luggage rack netting is being fitted to the MS & L.

 Loco Shed

The only work carried out in this building during the summer has been the painting of ‘Asbestos’.  A three phase cable has been obtained so that during the winter the workshop can be wired up and used.

 Taskforce & Trackwork

During the summer all of the plain track from Brownhills West to Norton East has been relayed with concrete sleepers and work has started on installing a new siding between the station and the shed.  Run round loops at both ends still remain to be installed plus level crossing gates and fencing.

Brownhills West station platform has remained half demolished throughout the summer awaiting funds for rebuilding.  A grant of £15,000 due in September never materialised and we await a possible grant of £5,000 to be applied for in November.

Some form of sleeper built platform may also be constructed at Norton East if funds and manpower permit.

At the present state of progress it will be touch and go whether the railway will be running next year.

Vandalism

Since the last magazine was published the following instances of vandalism have occurred:

1.    Half drum of steam oil drained onto floor.

2.    Two large coach windows smashed.

3.    Three small coach windows smashed.

4.    Paint poured into Gloucester trailer heater fuel tank.

5.    Fence cut at least once a week.

 Museum Notes

The arrival of the LNWR 50 foot passenger brake in its own platform in time for Easter has given a much easier access to the vehicle for old and young alike.

Various item have been acquired this year, some have come by way of donation – others have actually cost money although usually as part of a deal where other items have been acquired to offset the cost.

Relics, mainly paperwork previously kept in the TPO had to be removed in some haste following the decision to sell the vehicle to the Birmingham Railway Museum.  Much of what had been kept in the TPO had suffered from the damp conditions that had prevailed in that vehicle for many years following problems with the roof.  Most of the old GWR drawings obtained by Mike Lewis many years ago were still in a reasonable condition but some of the larger ledgers and books were virtually no more than mould and were consigned to the bonfire.

Despite what has been happening to the station area (demolition and not much else!) things have ticked over quite nicely in the museum.  Obviously fewer visitors without steaming but with more time to listen to comments from visitors it makes one realise how much importance our collection of small relics is to the Railway.  Whatever 1984 brings you can be assured that the museum will be open whatever happens outside.

98 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Summer 1983

98 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Summer 1983

 Editorial – Chasewater in Crisis

On behalf of the Society I must apologise for the long gap between this and the last magazine due to a long list of reasons.  There has just not been either the time or the money to expend on such a publication.

At present our membership wavers around the 100 mark, of which around 10% manage to visit regularly.  It seems unfortunate that each week we rely on the same members attending to the Railway’s needs, without the active support of the other 90%.  It is little wonder that the veterans are fast becoming despondent with the work load being foisted on them.

Unless there is a significant change in the attitude of our membership, one of two things will happen:  either the Railway stock will have to be drastically pruned to the minimum required to run a service, or we shut the doors and sell the lot.

I beg more of you to attend, if only on an occasional basis.  It always seems strange to me how many of you can attend the AGM and that’s the last we see of you for twelve months.

Tony Sale – Assistant General Manager.

Locomotives

Asbestos – This engine has now been in the process of restoration for about five years, due mainly to shortage of manpower.  The frames and wheels have been re-assembled, the boiler tubed and the tank and cab are being repainted.  Now we have to complete the boiler repairs and drop it into the frames and one day we may have a working engine.

Invicta – This engine is now in store pending the fitting of vacuum brake gear and the overhaul of the main bearing brasses.  Work is hoped to commence on completion of Asbestos.

Sentinel taking water at our old HQ

Sentinel – The boiler was split to reveal the inner firebox for the boiler inspector but work has now been shelved in order to concentrate work on Asbestos.Ruston & Hornsby DL7 entering the old Brownhills West Station

DL7 – The mainstay of our shunting force has performed reasonably well over the last two years and it holds the distinction of being our only regularly working engine.  This diesel locomotive is subject to an appeal to maintain its presence at Chasewater, which you may or may not like to subscribe to.

S100 – If I didn’t have to assist running the Railway I might find more time to devote to this rather large jigsaw puzzle, but despite all, progress is still being made, weather permitting, you would be amazed how much one person can achieve by himself, so if someone would like to assist, twice as much could be accomplished.

All other locomotives are stored unserviceable for the foreseeable future, including the Neilson, which requires new tubes.  It can only be hoped that decay can be kept to a minimum to ensure resurrection in years to come.

Carriages and Wagons

Here I hoped to bring glad tidings, but unfortunately the only news is that the MSLR carriage is still in the shed and has been largely untouched due to the fact that there are no carpenters in our midst.  The only other news is that a few more doors have dropped off the Maryport & Carlisle coach and the rest are generally suffering from many years of neglect.

The other snippet is that the Midland Crane had to be dismantled in order to stop it falling apart over the rails.What about it lads – who still cares?

Another late snippet is that someone wants to buy the TPO.  Your Committee is in favour and I myself fully support them, but the choice is yours, so make it known fast, it will be no good grumbling after it has left.

Catering

As many of you know, much of the money needed to support the Railway is generated in the form of sales of soft drinks and chocolates.  Recently the Wickham DMU was acquired in order to branch out further into the prepared food department, all we need is one interested member prepared to buy, prepare and sell.  If anyone would come to volunteer we would be only too happy to assist in any way, as well as supplying a warehouse card which could also be used for their own benefit.

Shed News

The new loco shed has certainly proved to be one of the most important developments at Chasewater.  Not only does it supply ideal conditions for thorough restoration, it also allows work to continue after dark.  Although this building has been with us for over a year there are still improvements to be made, i.e. fitting of three phase electric cables within the building and also fitting of a compressed air circuit.  Once the former has been completed, all our machinery can be powered and the shed can be said to be fully operational.Taken from DL7, approaching the loco shed from the same direction as we do now – obviously before the changes!

Task Force Notes

A new task force was supplied together with finance and a new Manager, to commence work on the track layout.  After last season the Railway lost its powers of running the line until such times as the whole of the permanent way was relaid in order to comply with the Railway Inspectorate’s standards.

In short, the platform front has been demolished to supply the necessary clearance, (rebuilding is now underway) and a run round loop is being built in the vicinity of the compound.  Next the line will be lifted and replaced with better quality materials down to the old exchange sidings where another run round loop will be constructed.  Upon completion a further visit by the Railway Inspectorate will then be made, and hopefully we shall run again.  I can only say that I hope all goes well for the Task Force and both luck and weather is on their sides.

 On behalf of the Company I have been asked by our Chairman to include the following appeal.

Save DL7 for Chasewater

The Company needs money to service a large overdraft and whilst the Railway is not running, little money is being repaid and understandably the Bank Manager is a little distressed.

 If you would like to give some money to this appeal, you will be helping DL7 because if the Company is declared bankrupt, DL7 will certainly be seized as an asset.  If the engine belongs to the membership it is safe along with the rest of the Society’s collection from the grips of the Liquidators

If you cannot afford a share, buy one together with some friends – you may buy as many as you like.

Shares are available in multiples of £10.00.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces – No.97

Chasewater Light Railway Society

1982-1985

Newsletter January 1983

News from the line

Loco Shed

The loco shed is now completed and the engineering department has taken up occupation.  At present the shed houses the Sentinel 4wVBT, MSLR 6-wheeled coach and Asbestos.

The shed was built with the aid of a Manpower Services Commission Youth Opportunities Programme under the direction of Derek Cartwright. Unfortunately the scheme overspent by a sum well into four figures.  Whilst a small sum was inevitable on the end of the final scheme, the size of the present liability has to be met by the Company is of particular concern to the Directors.

West Midlands County Council Task Force

The Directors have chosen this as a means of achieving further developments at Chasewater, in the light of experience with the loco shed.  A special thanks goes to John Selway for getting the scheme off the ground.

The scheme is exclusively devoted to improving trackwork and associated facilities to a standard acceptable to the Railway Inspectorate.  This will entail the relaying of the track on the entire length of the line and the construction of a run round loop at Brownhills West Station. A material grant of £10,000 is available which has been earmarked for the purchase of rail and concrete sleepers.  Labour is provided by WMCC, who are also responsible for day to day administration.

Work on this scheme will shortly begin in earnest, with progress dependant on the weather conditions during the coming months.  This work will commence before the 1983 running season and it is likely that the running season will not start at Easter.

Asbestos

This loco will operate the first passenger train in 1983, after its prolonged overhaul is completed.  The loco will emerge in a new blue livery and will be fitted with vacuum brake equipment, which is a necessary feature of all future working locos.

Society members are currently working on the loco which is the first priority, ahead of the striping for boiler examination of the Sentinel.

That is the end of the Jan 1983 Newsletter, and considering the piece which follows, mainly taken from the history of Chasewater Railway, they really didn’t know what was coming!  There were no passenger trains from October 1982 until Spring 1985.  And, just as a matter of interest, ‘Asbestos’ in blue wasn’t a success either!

The Society had been proud to be represented at the Stockton & Darlington 150th celebrations in 1975 by the restored Maryport & Carlisle coach, but by 1982 things were not going too well at Chasewater. Vandalism and theft were rife, especially during the time when a Manpower Service Commission programme had been engaged on construction work for a new engine shed and some track work.

The Railway effectively closed in October 1982 when a miserable wet Saturday saw just two fare-paying passengers carried on the last train of the day. Although no trains were to be run for the foreseeable future, it was decided to soldier on behind the scenes as a Society. However, further problems occurred during a West Midlands County Council Task Force Scheme the following year when, after construction of a bay platform to accommodate the museum coach, the remainder of the platform was demolished by the Task Force – who then failed to return to rebuild and extend the platform as promised, for nearly 18 months.

It was not until 1985 that regular steamings began again, but in the intervening three steam-less years, membership had dropped by some 50 per cent. The Society deemed it necessary to prune its stock as it was realised that without an injection of cash, the whole affair might fold. The L&NWR Travelling Post Office went to Tyseley; a small “Planet” diesel went to Brian Roberts’ Tollerton Farm Railway, while individual members purchased two steam locos and one diesel loco in order that they could remain safely at Chasewater.

Working membership fell to single figures, but that small band succeeded in rescuing this early standard gauge preservation scheme from the brink of extinction. Subsequently, as described later, a new company was formed in 1985 – the Chasewater Light Railway and Museum Company – and achieved status as a Registered Charity.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces, No. 96

96 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

Gricers’ Day 11th October, 1981

Welcome to our annual end of season ‘Gricers Day’.  This year we have organised a small gathering of preserved buses to create added interest.

1981 has been a good year for CLR and the progress achieved can be seen around the compound area and down the line where the new locomotive shed is gradually taking shape.

A Y.O.P. scheme has helped in the restoration of wooden bodied coaching stock, particularly the ex LNWR non-corridor brake coach on which progress is spectacular as regular visitors will appreciate.

Society members have been kept busy on the overhaul of ‘Asbestos’ which is slowly being reassembled and also the dismantling of the Hudswell Clarke side tank S100, as well as keeping the regular working locos in trim, whilst also running the twice monthly steam trains which have shown a good increase on last year’s figures.

As the average number of volunteers is round about ten, restoration is obviously slow, and more numbers are urgently required – especially with a view to running a longer length of line in the not too distant future – enquire at the booking office for further details.

Wickham – S.Organ video (Video won’t run, sorry)

Two further passenger carrying coaches arrived this week and the diesel gricers will recognise them as DB975005/6, formerly E50416 and E56171 the sole surviving DMU set built by D.Wickhams of Ware in 1957, which have latterly served as the Eastern Region General Manager’s Saloon.

Locomotives in service on the railway today are:

1.         ‘Alfred Paget’ built by Neilson’s of Glasgow in 1882 and formerly at Gartsherrie Ironworks, Coatbridge; the oldest working locomotive in the Midlands.

2.         ‘The Colonel’ built by Pecketts of Bristol in 1914 and latterly at Swan Hunter shipyard, Wallsend.

3.    DL7 built by Ruston & Hornsby’s of Lincoln in 1961 and purchased from the NCB Whitwell Colliery, Derbyshire.

Passenger trains ran at frequent intervals of between 15 and 40 minutes, with freight train run pasts between passenger services.

The freight train will be available for photographic purposes on the as yet unopened section of the line which crosses the lake on a causeway, beyond the limit of the passenger train service.

Don’t forget to visit the museum coach and sales stand at Brownhills West.

List of buses in attendance

At the time of writing only five entries had been confirmed but it is hoped that more vehicles will be present on the day.

transport-illustrated.blogspot.com

1.    EA4181  Dennis ‘E’ single decker, 32 seats.  Formerly no.32 in the West Bromwich fleet.  Built 1929, body by A.Dixon Ltd.  Ambulance service 1939 – 1945.  Illuminated ‘Christmas Lights’ bus 1948 – 1962.  A regular visitor to Chasewater.  Courtesy R.Coxon and the 32 Group.

oxford-chiltern-bus-page.co.uk

2.    BTA59  Dennis Mace, built 1934, single deck, 26 seats.  Restored to original colours as Southern National 668.  First visit to Chasewater since 1977.  Owner A.Gameson, Four Oaks.

JOJ 245 The Transport Museum, Wythall

3.    JOJ245  Leyland P52/1, Metro Cammel Weyman 34 seat single deck.  Built 1950 for Birmingham City Transport.  Owned by Acocks Green Bus Preservation Group and another regular visitor to Chasewater.

4.     FJJ86  Bedford MLC with Lee Motors 16 seat bus body, built 1952.  Originally Dorset CC Education Committee.  Owned by P.Mason, Hereford since 1977 and extensively rallied.

FRC 956 Leyland The Transport Museum, Wythall

5.     FRC956  Leyland PD2/12, built 1954 and delivered to Trent.  Sold by Trent 1967 and since 1972 owned by the 1926 Preservation Group.  Restored to original colours 1976, the interior is also completely refurbished.

Please support the sales stands connected with some of the above listed buses as these small sales help in the restoration and continued running of these vehicles.

The owners will doubtless be pleased to answer your questions, but please do not enter the buses without their permission.

Finally we hope you have an enjoyable time and will come again next year when regular services will start again at Easter.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.95

95 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

21st Anniversary Edition – 2

Twenty one not out

Ian Patterson

Hednesford Depot (The wagons in the background are on the line to Cannock Wood pit, now a footpath. The building still stands, the sides bricked up and the doorway filled in. 2021)

The history of the Chasewater Light Railway goes back to a meeting called at the Station Hotel, Stafford on October 10th, 1959.  This meeting led to the formation of the West Midlands District of the Railway Preservation Society, whose aim was to set up regional depots around the country where railway relics could be collected, restored and eventually returned to their native area.

1054 at Hednesford

The first West Midlands Division was set up at Hednesford, Staffs. in a siding belonging to Penkridge Engineering Limited, and was in fact the 3rd Standard Gauge Preservation Society.The first items of stock acquired were the Maryport and Carlisle and Great Eastern coaches from the National Coal Board, Rawnsley.  The siding at Hednesford was partially covered and so in 1962 the ex London & North Western Railway coal tank 1054 was offered a home there.  This engine later went to Penrhyn Castle, North Wales, and then to Dinting Railway centre, appearing at the ‘Rocket 150’ celebrations in 1980.

The West Midlands District decided in the early 1960s to find a suitable length of line on which to operate their growing collection of rolling stock.

The state of the track

In 1963 it was suggested that the remnants of the Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton Railway around Chasewater would make a suitable length of line.  At this time the area was desolate, and it wasn’t until 1967 that the Society actually moved to Chasewater, development of a Pleasure Park had made the line more attractive.  By this time all the National Coal Board buildings and workshops had been demolished and all that was left was 600 yards of double track belonging to British Rail (ex Midland Railway) and 1½ miles of former Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton Railway, plus a 300 yard spur which formerly led to Conduit Colliery, upon which a lease was taken.

Pittsteel No.1

The first task at Chasewater was to lay over 800 yards of track, partially along the former Midland Railway track bed and partly along new formation into the Pleasure Park.  Much of this work was done by hand – even the first wagon was a luxury. 

It wasn’t until late 1967 that motive power arrived in the shape of Pittsteel Hibberd No.1.  Development at Chasewater was slow and laborious and it wasn’t until 1970 that all stock at Hednesford had been transferred to Chasewater and the Hednesford depot closed.

To return briefly to general aspects of Railway Preservation Society’s history, apart from Hednesford, depots had been set up at Quainton Road (London Railway Preservation Society and Falkirk (Scottish Railway Preservation Society).  However the main movement of Railway Preservation was to either preserve solitary engines or complete branch lines and so the broader aspects of Railway Preservation Society policy evolved into a body known as the Association of Railway Preservation Societies, which is an advisory body which gives help, advice and information to many preservation groups and has over 200 member societies.

Returning to Chasewater, as already stated all stock was there by 1970 housed in a security compound and thought was given to giving regular steam-hauled train rides.

During 1968/9 and 1970 several open days had been held with either AB1223 (Colin McAndrew) or HL 2780 (Asbestos) in steam, and limited train rides were given.  The formation of the Chasewater Light Railway Company in 1970 was necessary to enable trains to be run legally.  In 1971 a regular service was given using Nos. 20 and 21 at either end of the Maryport & Carlisle coach whilst ‘Asbestos’ was under repair.  Regular steam-hauled services began in September 1972 when ‘Asbestos’ was re-commissioned.  For the rest of the 1972 season ‘Asbestos’ hauled a train comprising of the 1875 Maryport & Carlisle six-wheeler and the 1880s 16 ton Great Western brake van – as far as the bridge at the South end of the double track section where the embankment was burning.  1973 saw a start made on building a permanent platform at what is now Brownhills West and also saw the purchase, from British Rail, of E56301 (non-powered) driving trailer – ideal for observation and working push-pull.E56301 on her way

E56301 in through the farm gate at Chasewater

(Trailer car 56301 was the first diesel multiple unit car to enter preservation in 1969, originally being used at the Chasewater Railway)

The Society’s aims were to run a service along the whole two miles of railway as and when track was brought into usable condition.  In 1974 British Rail ‘rediscovered’ that they owned what is now the central section of Chasewater Light Railway and banned any use of it, due to the burning of the embankment.  This was a major blow as Society members were just ready to start work on this section.  In 1975 British Rail allowed work to start on the burning embankment, which was completely dug out and replaced with non-combustible material and negotiations were opened for the purchase of this section.  The purchase price was raised by 1978, actual purchase taking place in 1980.

In keeping with its aims, the Railway Preservation Society changed its name to the Chasewater Light Railway Society in 1977, owning most of the rolling stock and relics whilst Chasewater Light Railway Company is responsible for the legal implications of running trains, i.e. insurance, etc.

The Neilson with Gloucester E56301 working at Chasewater.

In 1979 a great step forward was taken with using a Government sponsored STEPS project for rebuilding the railway, especially the causeway across the lake, which had been much eroded by wash from power boats on the lake.  The work accomplished in 12 months would have taken Society working parties 3 to 4 years to accomplish and will allow regular steam-hauled services to run over the majority of the line in 1982, subject to the granting of a Light Railway Order and a satisfactory inspection by the Railway Inspectorate.