Category Archives: Bits and Pieces

Chasewater Railway Museum – Bits and Pieces 55

Chasewater Railway Museum 

Bits and Pieces 55

Asbestos with the Maryport & Carlisle Coach and GW brake van

The follow-on to the previous post.

Everything out of Hednesford

From the Mercian August 1970

Secretary’s Report

They said it couldn’t be done – but it was!!!  Done by sheer hard slogging and the aid of a clapped out tractor.

Little did I think that the Cadbury van and the two open wagons at Hednesford would not be moved by road and that what I jokingly referred to last time would in fact become a reality.  It was!!  Six – yes six – of us spent two nights digging the sunken track and point out of a couple of feet of hard mud and rubble so that we could hand-shunt the wagons off the siding and onto the main section where we could couple them up to the passenger stock for removal by rail.

Deadline was Thursday evening so we had only three nights to organise the job.  It took the whole of Tuesday and part of Wednesday to dig the track out and we managed to move one of the wagons along to the point ready for transhipment.  However it stuck fast and all our efforts failed to make any impression on it.  This did not auger well for the other wagon and the van and we were almost on the point of giving it up as a bad job.

Then we spotted the tractor and after making a few quick calls we discovered that it belonged to the President, albeit he thought it was out of action with some parts missing.  A quick tickle up by the Treasurer soon proved him wrong and all was set.  We found a length of hawser and soon had the first wagon over the point.  Our troubles were solved you might think but unfortunately they were not.  There was no rail beyond the point and the wagon had to be towed onto the semi-hard ground of the yard.  The point (stub type) would not budge so the next problem was how to line up the wheels for the correct road.  This we did by towing the wagon back onto the point and then jacking up one end clear of the rail.  The jack was then knocked away sideways so as to throw the wheel flanges onto the right side of the line.  After much trial and error we managed the first one and it was coupled up to the passenger stock.  The second wagon followed similarly and by this time it was getting dusk.  We held a council of war and decided that unless the van was moved then it would have to remain at Hednesford for ever.  Out came the hurricane lamps and we trundled the van down to the points.  By this time there was quite a groove in the yard surface and the van soon found the level.  We jacked her up and with some pushing and heaving and a tug from the tractor we managed to move her into the right line where she joined the rest of the stock at about 10.30pm.

How stupid – possibly this is your first thought – can some members be? But let me say right here and now that if it wasn’t for such stalwarts and in particular those six who struggled so gamely to do a very important job, the Society would be highly successful resting on the laurels and efforts of its armchair and featherbed members.

I DON’T THINK

Those three vehicles are now at Chasewater thanks to the six, but had it been left to our non-regulars then they would have rotted away at Hednesford.  Members should be thankful that we have a solid core of stalwarts who do care about the future and who will do something about it.

Stirring it up am I – you’re damn right I am.  Where were YOU when we ran our most successful steam weekend to date?  I refer to the 27th/28th June when we were operating a small service and an exhibition as part of the Aldridge/Brownhills Festival of Sport.

I understand from the Social Organiser that he sent 10/- worth (50p) of Draw tickets and appeals for help on the days of the Festival to all members living within a 20 – 25 mile radius of the site in an effort to boost the funds.  Needless to say the response – altogether not unexpected – was NIL.  A few members did manage to sell some tickets and the surprising fact was that most of these were members whose subs were due, and not paid-up members – to me a disgusting state of affairs.

We have about 120 members scattered about the country and I am fully aware that it is not possible for all of you to attend on site due to distance away.  We have certain members who regularly donate £5 – £50 when we need to raise money urgently, we have a member who purchased one of our locos for us.  I am not getting at these members or the faithful band that turn out regularly each weekend.

I am getting at the shower – there is no other word for them – who think we can run on their subs alone.  Like other Societies I think that we can manage without this type of member even if we only have 20 members who care enough to pull their weight when we need them to.

Reverting to the weekend, the weather marred the Saturday operations, however it was all systems go on the Sunday when, had we had about another 20 members available we could have made a very fat profit form the Draw from ticket touting among the crowd which packed the Park.

I have said it many times before and I will say it again, we MUST have more help when we run these steam weekends.  The next Open Day will be Sunday August 30th.  Make a note of it NOW!

We need quite a few hands between now and then for track repairs, stock repairs and restoration and a host of other jobs too numerous to mention.  Every Sunday afternoon from 2.00pm whatever the weather we can find plenty to do, so may we see you on site fully prepared to do a little hard work.

It is a pity that every time I prepare this report all I seem to do is belay a large number of members who are close enough to the site to be able to make at least two or three visits a month.

What a change it will be when the day arrives that I can report that the turnout on working parties each week has been 30 members and that they have now completely relaid the trackwork, the three coaches are fully restored and operational, three steam locos are available and a service will be operated each weekend.

There is no reason why this should not be so if members will rid themselves of their apathy.

Hon Sec. A.A.Chatfield

 

Now a follow-up from the General Manager’s stock news

Chasewater News

Apart from the usual lack of manpower things have been happening on site this past three or four weeks in preparation for the Festival Weekend and other events.

In the last issue I summarised the various jobs to be done and this met with a fair response so I will repeat it again this month.

Asbestos

I am pleased to report that she is now fully operational and was successfully steamed on June 20th on the occasion of the visit paid by the L.C.G.B  Under the able hands of Mike Lewis she was again performing for the Festival Weekend and proved quite an attraction.

Barclay

The boiler inspector’s report has now been received and he has condemned her boiler.  This means we shall have to either order a new one, which at this stage is financially out of the question, or we may be able to buy a reasonable second-hand one from one of three or four of the same class which are known to be still operational.  To help defray the cost we propose to sell the old boiler as scrap.  In the meantime the loco will be put back together as a static exhibit.

Neilson


Work will now be put in hand to strip this loco down for a boiler inspection.  We understand that the boiler is in good condition and that we should be able to get the loco operational by next summer providing we have enough man-power to work on her.  Mike Lewis will again be dealing with the job and he will need some assistance.  Any offers?

Hudswell and Lance

These will be kept oiled and painted until after the work on the Neilson has been done.  Again, any offers?

Cannock Wood

I am pleased to report that this is now safely at Chasewater having been delivered on June 26th.  It is unlikely that she will run in the foreseeable future as a new boiler will be needed if reports which we have are correct.  Work will therefore be confined to a thorough repaint and general restoration as a static exhibit.  This should keep a couple of members fully occupied for the next few months, so may I have some volunteers?

 

Diesel No.1

This is still out of commission, have we any members who are knowledgeable enough to work on her, please?

Diesels 20/21

Pic – Ross Lockley

These are both running now and are in need of a repaint.  I hope to make one or the other available fro this purpose during the next month or so.  It should not take too long to refurbish the paintwork on both of them and if any members would like to help then please contact the Secretary on site.  He will be supervising this part of the work.

Petrol No.1

Through the efforts of Arthur Chatfield who did the bulk of the restoration work on this loco, it was just about ready for display at Messrs. Dorman’s Ltd. exhibition in Stafford from June 22nd to July 4th.  I am grateful to him, for the hard work he put in on this project and for the assistance that he received from the Chairman.  The loco proved to be quite an attraction at Dorman’s and I am sure we may receive some benefit from the resulting publicity.

Other Rolling Stock

Apart from the stock already on site you will have read in this issue that the two open wagons and the Cadbury van have now been delivered to Chasewater.  These have also bee joined by the Maryport & Carlisle coach and the LNWR Brake bogie van.  The ‘Paddy’ coach and the TPO coach are due in the very near future and also the GER six-wheeler.   This will only leave the Royal Saloon, and the Committee have agreed in principle, subject to various safeguards, that this vehicle should be placed on loan to the Midland Railway Project Group at Derby.  Should the Group decline then arrangements will be made to transfer it to Chasewater.

From this you will note that all our assets will be at one site and there is a lot of work to be done on them.  John Elsley has already offered to repair the roof on the Maryport & Carlisle and to do other jobs on it so that it may be available for the Bank Holiday weekend.  A start has been made by Bob Ives and Phil Dunning on repainting one of the open wagons.  There is plenty of other work to do particularly reproofing jobs and if John Elsley can have two more members to assist him he is prepared to tackle the GWR Brake, the LNWR Brake and the SECR Brake roofs, so that they may be watertight before the winter sets in.

Another top priority will be the laying of the other siding in the compound so that all the stock may be put under lock and key.  It is imperative that this work should be completed as quickly as possible and as many hands as possible will be needed.  I should like to see this job done before the middle of August and if we can get a real good turnout we should be able to meet this deadline.  Is it too much to ask, in spite of the holiday period?

Well that’s about the size of it.  There is plenty to do and enough to keep 50 members fully occupied between now and the end of the year.  We can find plenty of tools and materials to do these jobs – what we also need are the hands to do them!

You have read what six members can achieve when pushed hard, please try and think what 30 regulars could do at a more leisurely pace if I could persuade them to turn up on site each Sunday afternoon for the next two or three months.

Won’t you give it a try?

A. Holden, General Manager, Chasewater Site.

Chasewater Railway Museum – Bits and Pieces 54 from the ‘Mercian’ May 1970

Chasewater Railway Museum – Bits and Pieces 54 from the ‘Mercian’ May 1970

 

Rolling Stock Report

Chasewater Site

The following schedule of commitments refers only to the present stock on site; these will be greatly enhanced when certain other stock has been safely delivered from Hednesford.  We have a tight schedule to keep if we are going to provide a steam operated line this year and it is imperative that we get under way as soon as possible.

 

Asbestos

Boiler lagging and fittings have been removed and all applicable joints packed for a hydraulic test.  The initial inspection has been carried out by the boiler inspector who has okayed the boiler as fit, subject to some plugs being replaced and another test run before he issues the certificate.

The boiler barrel and underside of the tank are being red-leaded and painted.  Work is under the supervision of Mike Lewis who will need another two reliable assistants as soon as possible.  Work on lowering the tank, etc. will be done as soon as the boiler inspector has finished his tests.

 

Barclay – Colin McAndrew

This has been completely dismantled in preparation for repairs to the firebox stays by an outside contractor.  All the old tubes have also been withdrawn and will be replaced when the other repairs are done.  A lot of work will then be required to put the loco together ready for the boiler tests and final restoration including painting.  Mike Lewis is again supervising and needs two more assistants.

 

Neilson, Hudswell & Lance

Work on these three will have to be confined to oiling, greasing and generally touching up of paintwork, etc. until work has been satisfactorily done on the other two locos.  Volunteers are required for this.

 

Diesel No.1

This is at present out of commission with gear and clutch trouble.  Have we any reliable members who have knowledge of the workings of diesels and who could take this loco in hand?  Our regular fitters are already taxed to the limit with the other diesels.

 

Diesels Nos. 20/21

Minor repairs to the injectors and other routine work is well in hand on these two.  Both are due for a complete repaint and again volunteers conversant with the trade are asked to come forward.  Arthur Chatfield would be pleased to hear from you.

 

Petrol No.1

Cleaning down work is now well in hand.  This loco has to be ready for exhibition at Dorman’s Ltd., Stafford for week commencing June 22nd.  This leaves very little time for the two regulars seconded to the job.  More help is needed here; again, volunteers are required most urgently.

 

Other Rolling Stock

This has been lumped together because the variety of jobs required on most of the vehicles is almost identical.  Two of the coaches are sheeted over due to leaking roofs, anybody care to take on the job of re-felting them?  It will need at least two people.  There are also a considerable number of loose or cracked panels which need attention before they are painted in undercoat.  The running board on the Great Western brake needs repairing and re-bolting and of course a real good start on painting the interiors of the passenger stock would not be amiss.  There is enough work to allocate at least three people to each item of stock or a gang of five regulars tackling each item in order of urgency.  We cannot spare this number from the present compliment; we need more of you on site to help us do this vital work.

It may also be stated that there is a lot of work to be done to the Trackwork and again more help is needed.

No offer of assistance will be refused – this cannot be afforded.

A. Holden – General Manager, Chasewater Site.

 

 

Secretary’s Report from the ‘Mercian’ May 1970

 

It seems that my forecast for the movement of the smaller items of stock from Hednesford to Chasewater was way off the beam.  Let me hasten to add that several snags cropped up which had to be examined with regard to the transport.

Those of you who are familiar with the layout of the yard at Hednesford will know that there is an acute angle bend to be negotiated by any road vehicle which is delivering to or conveying from the yard any bulky items.  This unfortunately precludes all but the smallest type of low-loader, and the one that we had lined up for moving the four wheelers would not go round the corner.

We have, through the good offices of our President, made another approach to a different operator and we hope that he has a vehicle which can do the job.  If this fails then we shall have to dig out the point to the spur upon which the wagons are standing, this having sunk into the thick mud, so that we can shunt the wagons onto the main siding for removal by rail with the other stock.  The Coal Board have informed us that they will move the stock up to Cannock Wood Colliery yard either the first or second week of May and we now await clearance from British Rail that the stock is fit to run over the line to the Colliery which is their property.  Once the stock is at the Colliery yard it will be put under lock and key in the compound and the smaller items, such as the six-wheelers, E1, and, if necessary the four-wheelers will be shipped from there to Chasewater by road as there are better loading facilities at the Colliery yard to manoeuvre a big low-loader.

I sincerely hope that my forecast that most of the smaller stock will be at Chasewater by the time you either read this or receive the next edition will in fact be true for we shall require some of it for use at the Festival of Sport and also for the late Bank Holiday in August.

To impress upon you the need for better turnouts at working parties, you will find included in this issue (following) a run down on the various items of rolling stock and brief details of work which urgently needs to be either started and carried through, or which has already been started and which needs completing.

It is an impossible task for the present working parties to cope with the amount of work available, and I plead to all members with cars to try and get along to the site prepared to put in at least a couple of hours graft.  The weather seems to be picking up so we must pray for plenty of sunshine as we rely on this due to the present lack of covered space where we can operate if it rains.  May I count on your help over the next few Saturdays and Sundays???

May I, before closing this report, welcome on your behalf our newly co-opted Social Organiser, Gordon Loach.  Gordon has had many years experience in running carnivals, garden parties and other such fund raisers, and with the help of his good lady Mrs. Loach and, we hope, a ladies committee, he will be able to bring a bit of social life to the society which is lacking at the present.

Hon. Sec. A.A.Chatfield

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces 52

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces 52

Thirty Years Plus Ten

Travelling Post Office

Much as I enjoyed reading about Chasewater Railway in thirty years time, it never stood a realistic chance of happening.

After the cessation of coal traffic in the 1960s the line over the causeway was abandoned and the causeway itself fell into disrepair.  The track was lifted and passenger traffic suspended for a number of years. The main part of the 30-years-on idea had also gone missing in the intervening years – the line from the proposed Norton Junction to Norton Crossing.  The track which ran below the dam for the Swag pool was lifted and presumably sold for scrap.   The idea of a railway with a main line and a short branch disappeared.

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.

IN 1993 a successful scheme to restore the causeway was started.  About 120,000 tons of fill material were imported to the site.  This work was completed in 1994 and Lakeside Station was reopened in December. From 1985 till the reopening of Lakeside trains only ran push-pull from the old station to the Willow Vale Bridge.

Since 1995 a great deal of work has been done, firstly to extend the line to Chasewater Heaths and Chasetown.  Next came the new Brownhills West station and yard, to replace the old station and compound, now buried beneath the M6 Toll.  The engine shed was refurbished and another station opened at Chasewater Heaths – finally, so far, the Heritage Centre was built to hold the heritage stock and Museum.

The 30-years-on idea was not to be, it would have been fun in my opinion, and at that time, as stated in Post No.50, the rolling stock was owned by the railway – no steaming fees to be paid.  Of the stock mentioned in Post 51, the E1 left, never having steamed at Chasewater.  The Hudswell Clarke also has never steamed here – but it is still with us, although not owned by the railway. The Peckett went too, although we now have another one.  The Royal Saloon and Travelling Post office have also gone.

The Royal Saloon

Chasewater Railway Bits and Pieces 51 Jan 1969 Mercian

Pittsteel loco

This post pre-dates the previous one, which set out the way of thinking when this post was written.

Taken form the Mercian of January 1969

This article was written by Trevor Cousens, Hon.Sec. at the time, and looks forward, after the railway had been in operation for almost ten years, to how things may have been in another thirty years, 1998.

Reading it now in 2010 it gives a fascinating insight into what may have been expected or, at least, hoped for, some time ago.The purple mark is where Brownhills West used to be.  The red mark would have been Norton Crossing.The green mark – Norton Junction and the black mark Norton East.

 

Chasewater in thirty years time.

 

A glimpse into the future to show what might happen IF we could have more working members.

The scene, a fine May morning in the year 1998, the time 8.30am – a Saturday.  A group of members are just putting the finishing touches to the paint of a little halt known as Brownhills West.  The E1 stands glimmering in the early morning sunshine, fresh from its overhaul with a set of two corridor coaches in the maroon and gold livery of the Chasewater Light Railway Company.

In the distance there is the sound of a hydrofoil being started up in preparation for the day’s big event on the lake – the International Hydrofoil Race due to start at 10.30am.

A restored vintage train of coaches is pulled out of the museum building by diesel No.20, these coaches are for a special train in the afternoon when a visiting Society will be taken down the line; but first they have to be cleaned.  There are four six-wheeled vehicles and a four-wheeled brake van from five different pre-grouping railways, and not one under 70 years old.  Several members are concentrating their efforts on raising steam with the Hudswell Clarke of 1895 vintage, which will haul the special.  In her old livery of apple green with white lining she looks rather splendent.

Passengers are already starting to fill the waiting two coach train standing in the platform, the booking office and sales counter are already doing brisk trade.

At 9.00am, the E1 with a toot of her whistle and a wave of the flag from the guard draws out of the station on the first journey of the day to Norton Junction and Norton East.  The journey is but two miles, but this takes 25 minutes with a stop because of the Light Railway restriction of 15 mph.

The E1, with her injectors gurgling and safety valves occasionally blowing off, pulls towards ‘Entrance Crossing’ where the North Staffs crossing gates are signalled by North Staffs signals.  The signal is for us as the gates are open; a queue of cars is waiting to cross into the park.  We gather speed over the small bridge on to the loop; here we notice a small permanent was train standing, compromising of a small Peckett, a crane and some flat wagons, with a tool van in the rear.  They are waiting to follow us on to the main line to replace some rotten sleepers.

At Norton East we stop, nobody boards and nobody alights, it is a timetabled stop.  In the afternoons a shuttle service is operated from Norton Crossing to Norton Junction to connect with the main line to bring people into the park by railway, the authorities allowing this for a portion of the receipts.  The Peckett we noticed on the works train will be train engine on this push-pull service.

We pull out of Norton Junction up the 1 in 50 incline, on to the causeway, which divides Chasewater Pool.  Poplars have been planted here as a windbreak.  Over the causeway now we catch site of the small bathing chalets and notice one or two early swimmers.

Into the long cutting with its long grass and myriad of flowers and insects and we finally pass the loco shed at Norton East into the terminus.  While we are waiting for the engine to run around the coaches, we have a look around the engine shed; the Barclay is undergoing a boiler washout, so it is rather damp and messy inside.  The shed is quite a simple affair comprising one road capable of holding two saddle tanks, a pit underneath the track, a small workshop adjoining the main building, a bucket coaling stage outside and a 5,000 gallon water tank.  ‘Asbestos’, the Hawthorn Leslie stands at the back of the shed awaiting new tubes and a forlorn Peckett stands on a spur behind the shed awaiting overhaul.  Just in front of the shed are two piers built alongside the tracks with a piece of rail concreted between them for lifting boilers, etc.

The engine whistles, so we dart back to the sleeper-built platform – there is no station building here yet – and on to the train.  We start back at 10.00 am calling at Norton Junction again – the platform is triangular to serve the branch to Norton Crossing as well, the building is of prefabricated construction until a GWR type of building can be erected.

After departing from the junction we pass a small ground frame controlling the junction point and signals; we are then brought to a halt in the loop, where after five minutes, we look out of the window to see a small plume of smoke approaching; this is the permanent way train drawing into the loop to leave the line clear.  A green flag is waved, the signal drops and we once again cross the bridge and ‘Entrance Crossing’ back to Brownhills West.  The engine is uncoupled and runs up to the compound gates for water, we follow it and pass through the gates where we notice the Hudswell Clarke and the vintage train being cleaned in the siding.

We go into the museum for a look.  As most of the items are in use today, we see the LNWR compartment coach completely stripped down, the MR Royal Coach awaiting one or two finishing touches and the LNWR Travelling Post Office coach completely restored in its former livery.  These are the only vehicles at the moment in the museum, but there is room for the three six-wheelers in here also.  The walls are covered with historic photographs, plates, documents and drawings, whilst there are glass cases holding some small items such as block instruments, tablets, etc. The building is of concrete blocks with Perspex roof-lights and also with daylight balanced fluorescent lighting so that the colour of the liveries can be seen accurately.  There are not many people here, it is a bit early yet for visitors, and the staff are having a cup of tea with our engine crew in the Great Western brake van standing just outside,

Now it is lunch time, so we depart, having had a really enjoyable visit; the people are beginning to flock on to the 1.00pm train, we have done well to miss the crowds.  We hand in our ticket and make our way to our Turbocar!

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Nos. 49 & 50 Late 1969

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No 49

From the Mercian of September 1969

Secretary’s Report – A.A.Chatfield Acting Hon. Secretary

Vandalism at Hednesford

It is my sorry duty to inform all members that as a result of a break-in by some unknown gang of juvenile delinquents the interior of the Royal Saloon – our most priceless vehicle – looks as if it has been under the axe of some demolition contractors.  Irreplaceable panelling has been deliberately smashed in, interior door panels including glass mirrors stove in completely and a wanton trail of damage to the tune of at least £150 done to the interior. (A great deal of money some 40 years ago!).

The police have been to the depot but without some positive information they are unable to do very much at this stage.  The depot at Hednesford is vulnerable seven days a week and until the stock is moved to Chasewater en bloc where it will be afforded more protection then we are going to suffer even more vandalism which will not only delay the restoration process, but increase our expenditure and, what is more important, lose us our most valued working members to whom these sorts of acts are extremely disheartening.

Then followed an appeal for £800 to move the bogie vehicles at least from Hednesford to Chasewater.

The acting Hon. Treasurer, Laurence Hodgkinson, repeated the appeal and stated that, if the work at Chasewater continued at its present rate, the compound would be ready for the stock from Hednesford by the Autumn.

Amongst the new members joining the Society – B.J.Bull Esq.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No 50

The next three posts are sort of connected.

The first sets out the thinking behind the Railway Preservation Society,

The second takes a look into a possible future for the railway.

The third tries to give the reason why  the second didn’t happen!

 

From the Editorial of the November/December 1969 Mercian

Food for Thought

It has often been said that the first ten years of marriage are the most difficult and if this is any yardstick then our first ten years have been one continuous struggle.  Members may ask the question ‘Why?’ when they can see all around us other schemes, which are as little as two years old, flourishing with membership in the thousands.  Here we are in our eleventh year and what have we got to show for it?  May I try to explain a very subtle difference between our Society and other schemes which flourish around us and leave us completely in the shade?

We are a preservation Society first and foremost, we are not interested in ‘playing trains’ on some unwanted British Railways branch which can be snapped up for anything from £200 to £400,000 in order to be re-opened as a tourist attraction with weekend traffic to satisfy the ‘locals’.  Our first aim is to preserve, what we do with the items after that depends a great deal upon what they are.  Our range is therefore very extensive, running from a button to a carriage or locomotive, and to this end our record at the moment is pretty formidable.

We do not rely, as do many of our competitors, on other people loaning us locos or rolling stock with which to operate, we have paid for all our relics the hard way – THEY ARE OURS.

You might then ask ‘but if we are a preservation group only, why are we hoping to run trains at Chasewater?’  This can be answered quite simply.  We are restoring, within the confines laid down by the Local Authority, a stretch of track which formed part of the old Midland Railway branch line from Brownhills, and by restoring I mean every sleeper, chair, nut, bolt and rail completely from scratch, in other words, preserving something which is part of the local railway history.

Obviously it would be a complete waste of time if after doing this we let the track become derelict again, and so primarily for the benefit of our members and also for the enjoyment of the visiting public, we hope that we shall be able to put some of our assets to workup and down the short stretch of line which has been relaid.

We have started from scratch, from the ballast upwards, that is where our difference lies from the other preservation groups around us who are enjoying more success.

It seems that every enthusiast will interest himself in a scheme if he can be an engine driver, but when it comes down to relaying track, restoring locos and carriages or doing the other thousand and one back-breaking menial jobs that have to be done he just does not want to know.

Who is going to be the loser in the long run?  I do not think it will be our Society because we have so much in preservation experience from the bottom to the top to offer and yet still have a long way to go.

‘We have never had it as good’ if I may alter a well known saying. (For those who remember Harold MacMillan – Prime Minister 1957/1963).

Other schemes may fade away when the novelty wears off or when setbacks arise but we have had more than our fair share of setbacks over the past ten years and we have learned to take them on the chin and what is more, to come back fighting again as full of spirit as ever.

Pockets may be very deep when it comes to paying out hard cash and this may be very good for the enthusiast’s conscience, but when you ask yourself honestly – ‘am I really preserving?’ – is the answer always YES. I often wonder.  After ten years as a Society may we all hope that the next decade will see the realisation of the efforts which have been put into the Society by a list too long to mention.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 48 Mercian July 1969, plus a few photos from 2009

5448 Wimblebury No.7 0-6-0ST H 3839-1956 June 1969 Hunslet

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 48 Mercian July 1969, plus a few photos from 2009

From the Mercian of July 1969

Following a disagreement the Committee published a special message announcing the resignation of the Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer and Vice-Chairman.

The acting Hon. Sec. A.A.Chatfield put together a report at short notice, stating that the usual progress is being slowly maintained, but more hands were still needed.

Mike Lewis had been packing the track near the compound and helped to alleviate the flooding problem.  Steve Allsopp and Brian Hames have completed the overhaul of No.21 and have given her a spanking new coat of paint.

Derek Luker has been working on the steam locos with his small band of helpers and ‘Asbestos’ is now ready for a hydraulic test.  New tubes are on order for the other locos and it is hoped to deal with them as soon as labour becomes available.

A limited amount of maintenance has been started inside the Royal Saloon thanks to Richard Middle and Arthur Chatfield, again a couple more members here would help out, particularly while the weather holds good.

Two of the younger members whose names escape me at present have been putting a coat of protective paint on the E1, again a much needed job well done.

From time to time we get requests from various bodies and individuals to help in storing rolling stock and in particular steam locomotives.

I feel that in the interests of all concerned it would be a sensible idea to say that while we have every sympathy and will try to advise such bodies and individuals, we cannot offer any hope of storage space either at Chasewater or Hednesford.  Our present commitments with our own existing stock preclude us from offering help.  I would ask all who read this to realise the difficult position that we are in with regard to this matter, for it is better to put you in the picture than to disappoint you later.

Make no mistake about it however, for as soon as we are able I am sure that we shall assist all we can.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 47, Mercian April 1969

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 47, Mercian April 1969

Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire coach pre-Chasewater

 

This post was taken from various reports in the Mercian of April 1969

This Mercian seems to cover March/April and May/June 1969.

There as a new Editor for the magazine and the poor man in charge appears to have similar problems to any other magazine – a lack of articles!

 

Secretary’s Report – T.G.Cousens

After slow progress during the winter months at Chasewater, in which time only the arrival of the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln Railway coach broke the monotony of packing the track with red ash, progress is again in evidence.MSL Coach at Easingwold

The appointment of Mr.A.Holden to General Manager has seen marked changes in only a few short weeks, the most noticeable being the complete levelling of the compound and laying of track foundation into it.  Behind the scenes however, small departments have been formed to work on various aspects of the line with people responsible for each of the allocated tasks.

However, working parties are small so progress will be slow – do we have to wait until the line is operating to see 90% of the membership?!  Why not come down one Sunday afternoon and do a bit of shovelling, things will then begin to come to life.

A successful Open Day was held in conjunction with Messrs. Courtaulds Ltd., Coventry and organised by Gerald Wildish with the Company.  Many visitors arrived to photograph the two Pecketts, one, ‘Rocket’ was seen at work on the Foleshill Railway.  Many items were sold from the RPS stand which resulted in a fair profit to us.

The exhibition team was also at work at Huyton, Liverpool, at the preservation exhibition, the Open Day at Chasewater during the Easter week-end and the Stafford Railway Circle exhibition.

Well done to the members who attended these stands, especially the Huyton one.

The Barclay ‘Colin McAndrew’ was in steam on Easter Sunday and Monday under the able direction of Mike Lewis and Derek Luker.  She unfortunately blew a tube on the Sunday but after a quick trip by Rob Duffill (our hero!!) to Hixon for a spare, the locomotive crew replaced the defective tube and raised steam for a second time the same day!  No stock was hauled because of work required on the track – members please note.  Until this work is done Open Days will be severely restricted, so may we see more of you assisting at Chasewater.Colin McAndrew at Greening Wireworks, Warrington.

From the Public Relations Officer’s Page – G. Wildish

 

The first mention was of the next Open Days, June 28th and 29th 1969, with the expectation of large numbers of visitors and asking for members to come along and help.

There was a request for more photographs for the cover of the magazine, which unfortunately do not reproduce very well.  The Foleshill Railway Open Day had to be cut short and apologies were given to anyone affected.

A number of publications were mentioned – ‘Preserved locomotives of the World’ and ’Narrow Gauge Steam 1969’ for which a second impression is being prepared, later to be followed by ‘Narrow Gauge Steam 1970’

A publication for continental travellers – ‘German Steam’ has been prepared by an RPS member, so the Society is getting half of the profits, with thanks.

The final two publications were – ‘Railway Modeller’ which contained an article by Gerald Wildish and ‘Railway Enthusiasts Guide 1969/70’ which contained some information about the RPS.

There was an appeal for funds to move a locomotive of the Taff Vale Railway, and another appeal for volunteers to join a ‘paint in’ at Chasewater to give the rolling stock a much needed coat of paint.

Chasewater Railway Museum Jan 1969 Bits & Pieces 46

From the ‘Mercian’ of January 1969

From the Secretary’s Report  – Trevor G. Cousens

On 21 September 1968, the Society held its 9th Annual General Meeting at the Pear Tree Inn, Brownhills.  The attendance was very poor considering the attraction of a steam trip down the line afterwards.

After the meeting, sandwiches were supplied by Pete Parker, proprietor of the Pear Tree, and then members crossed the road where in brilliant evening sunshine stood the Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST, (Colin McAndrew) immaculate in green and red, with polished brass and copper-work.

Members were invited on to the train comprising the Midland (or Coal Board) brake van, the Midland brake coach and the Great Western brake.  The train departed with Mr. Civil driving and Mr. Luker firing, the team, who with Mike Lewis had so painstakingly restored the locomotive.  She was opened up to pull the train up the 1 in 50 bank to the causeway causing the steam pressure to drop rather drastically to 40 lbs per square inch, but this is probably the longest run the loco has ever made without running over the same tracks twice, and its small boiler and firebox being designed more for a 3’ 6” gauge loco, this is not surprising.

Over the causeway, we ran on to the shore again until we were held up by some rather enthusiastic ditching by Bob Wormington, which caused the loco cylinders to come into contact with the spoil.  We ran on until we reached the end of the line, where a stop was made to raise steam for the return journey.  The loco was once again admired by the members, its rather peculiar mechanical pump a feature of interest on the running plate.

The return journey was made almost without incident, a point switched the wrong way round caused a minor sensation, but we returned safely to the Compound, where some rather complicated shunting was carried out before putting the engine to bed.  In fact, it was 9.00pm and dark when Laurence Hodgkinson finally put the diesel in with the rest of the stock which had been parked in the loop out of the way.

So ended the third RPS steaming at Chasewater, giving some encouragement to those who had worked so painstakingly to make this event possible.  But, it made one think about the amount of work still to be done, principally on track, but also on locos and stock before these steamings become a regular feature.

In the Treasurer’s Report by Frank Harvey, it was noted that, among others, Mr. R. Duffill  joined the Society!

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 45 More Aug 1968 Mercian

Chasewater Railway Museum

Photo: Robin Stewart-Smith.

More from the August 1968 ‘Mercian’

Turner’s Asbestos Cement Co. Ltd ‘Asbestos’

Hawthorn Leslie 2780 of 1909

By Gerald Wildish

Many of you will by now have seen our splendid new locomotive.  Two years ago exactly to the day that she left Trafford Park, I first found ‘Asbestos’ – 15th June 1966.  She was not working on that particular occasion and had been specially hauled out of the shed for me and put in a photographic position.  She appeared in excellent condition.  On the occasion of my visit I learnt that she was likely to finish working that September, and I duly put in a bid for the RPS.  I was informed that the Society’s interest had been noted.

A little over a year later a letter arrived from Turner’s asking me if I would care to bid for the engine – I made an offer of £50, and shortly afterwards received a telephone call informing me that a scrap merchant had offered £100 – we could have her if we could reach that figure.  By this time we were in October and I was already engaged in trying to raise funds for the Neilson.  My reply said that if they could hold the locomotive until after our Christmas raffle, we would do our best, but I did not hold out a great deal of hope.  Considering all things, the raffle was a success, but we did not raise the sums necessary to allow us to move in two directions and I informed the Company that we would have to let her go.

My surprise could not have been greater, when Mr. Francis, the manager of the buying department, rang me to say that we could have ‘Asbestos’ free of charge.  Without doubt this was one of the happiest days of my life.  I made arrangements to go to Trafford Park to arrange the handover and had an excellent morning.  The handover was arranged for a date three weeks later when the presentation plaque could be fixed to the locomotive.

I could not have been dealing with nicer people throughout the negotiations, right from the time of my first visit to the works.  Our thanks must go to Mr. A.H.Wailes, the Works Director, Mr. T.Noble, the Purchasing Director, Mr. T.N.Chadwick, the Works Manager, who also arranged for the locomotive to be ‘done up’ for us during the week before the handover, to Mr. W.D.Francis, the Purchasing Manager, who dealt with most of the negotiations and Mr. S.McCormick.

Little is known of the history of ‘Asbestos’.  She was built by Hawthorn Leslie in 1909, for the Washington Chemical Co. in County Durham, where she became No.2, along with two other Hawthorn Leslies and a Fox Walker engine.  A further Hawthorn Leslie was added in 1918, and presumably replaced the Fox Walker.  In 1920, the Company became part of the Turner and Newall group.

In 1933, two of the locomotives were transferred to the Turner’s Asbestos Cement Company works at Trafford Park, becoming ‘Turnall’ and ‘Asbestos’.  Turnall was scrapped in 1965, leaving ‘Asbestos’ with two diesel locomotives (Planets).  ‘Asbestos’ was placed in store as the reserve engine in 1966 and presented to the RPS on 25th May of this year(1968);  she was transferred to Chasewater on 15th June, and started work in revenue service eight days later.

Photo: Oct 1985 – Tony J.Griffin

Photo – Russ Hillier

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 44 Aug. 1968

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 44 Aug. 1968

Latest Arrivals at Chasewater

People living in the houses adjacent to the line have by now become used to seeing various types of low-loaders arriving with miscellaneous items of rolling stock, in fact on one memorable day two vehicles arrived at the same time.  One often wonders what the thoughts of these people are as more and more large relics appear at Chasewater.

Several items have arrived over the last two months.  The first and in many ways the most important was the Midland Railway crane from Hednesford.  Without this, our track laying project could not have been fulfilled and over the last eight weeks it has more than made up for its three years of inactivity at Hednesford.  Apart from being a valuable historic item, it is a most useful piece of equipment.

The Whitsuntide holiday saw the arrival of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway 6-wheel full brake from the Derwent Valley Light Railway at York.

Pic: http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk

SECR Brake No.1601

This six-wheeled van, built in 1905, is unusual in that it has both a “birdcage” lookout on the roof and side duckets for the guard. In addition to accommodation for the guard, the rest of the space was used for luggage. On withdrawal it was transferred for service use as an ARP Cleansing Van, based at Bricklayers Arms Locomotive Depot in London.

With no further use for it after the war, in 1947 it was sold to the independent Derwent Valley Light Railway in Yorkshire. On its second withdrawal from service it was bought by the Southern Locomotive Preservation Co., who moved it, with the rest of their stock, to the Bluebell in late 1971 and early 1972.

The van’s eventual restoration will require, as its first stage, the complete reconstruction of its wooden/flitch-plated underframe.

It was at Chasewater for five years before being transferred to the Bluebell Railway.  It had to be left outside for the haulage company to make an early start, and in those few hours every window was smashed. ( I know there aren’t many but…..)

This was most eventful since it arrived a day early.  The usual entrance was locked and the haulage contractors came through the main entrance.  This involved a considerable amount of shunting on their part and eventually necessitated the complete removal of the main gates.  After becoming entangled with overhead power cables the vehicle was finally unloaded without a hitch!  The carriage is in the nature of a joint venture between the Society and our good friends the Southern Locomotive Preservation Company, the latter having purchased the coach while the RPS provided the bulk of the money needed for transportation.

The next arrival, on June 15th, was the Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST ‘Asbestos’ from Turners Asbestos Cement, Trafford Park, Manchester.  In contrast to the previous item, this arrived about five hours late and completely disrupted work for the day.  However, the sight of this immaculately maintained locomotive more than made up for any inconvenience.Pic: DM Bathurst

This was followed one week later by our most distant acquisition, the Neilson 0-4-0ST from Glasgow, vandalised the day before collection, as posted elsewhere.

Before the next influx of new items, more track will have to be laid into the compound. As soon as this is done, the peace of the neighbourhood will once again be shattered by the noise of heavy haulage vehicles.

Frank Harvey