Category Archives: Bits and Pieces

Chasewater Railway Museum – More from the Archives, Dec 1964, Bits & Pieces 24

Chasewater Railway Museum – More from the Archives, Dec 1964 Bits & Pieces 24

Taken from the ‘Mercian’ December 1964, 3.3

The Chasewater Branch Line

By Brian Kinder.

The Chasewater line is situated round half the perimeter of the Chasewater Pool.  The pool itself is now being extensively developed as one of the largest amusement areas in the Midlands, and to this end Brownhills Council is spending several thousands of pounds.  When development work is completed, it is hoped that a large proportion of Birmingham and area’s population will visit the pool annually.  It will therefore be appreciated, the great potential of a railway museum situated in this location, where there will be such a great concentration in the summer months, of day-trippers.

The proposed track itself was constructed in the main by the Midland Railway, and a small section by a colliery company.  The line was used for mineral traffic from the collieries, however a station was built at Brownhills, at which all passenger traffic terminated.

Due to our section of the line’s sole use for mineral traffic, the track is in a poor state of repair, the poorest part being from the marshalling yard to the north.  The main work therefore will be to relay the track in certain places, and clean out and in some places repipe the drainage system.

The work on the line will have to be completed by the end of 1965, if not sooner, depending on the closure of the connecting line by British Railways.  Therefore we will need everyone’s help to get the work done.

We will not be able to manage with the present sized work party of 14 or so members, as it takes these fellows every Sunday to keep the stock at the depot in order.  We are not asking you to attend every week, but if you could attend monthly or bi-monthly periods, it would help to clear up the situation tremendously.

The line is only one mile from Brownhills Station (BR – LMR) (Still a few months before closure!) and if you could see it, you would see its great potential if a success was made of it.  Success however can only be achieved with 100% help from YOU!!

Action in North StaffordshireNorth Staffordshire Railway – 1845/1923

NSR Signals

The National Coal Board has donated four NSR lower quadrant signals to the RPS.  They are in good condition, with only one exception, when on being removed from the site at the Pinnox Crossings (South of Tunstall Station in the Potteries), Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, left its base firmly implanted in the muddy ground.

The largest of the four has been erected at the depot at Hednesford – an excellent view of the surroundings being commanded from the top.  We hope to plant the other three on the Chasewater Branch.

NSR Rolling Stock

On a recent survey of the internal railway of Shelton Iron & Steel Ltd., several wagons and three box-vans of the North Staffordshire Railway were found.

After talks with the company, we agreed on the following:

  1. The company will save an NSR wagon until March or April 1965, when it will be purchased and collected by the Society.
  2. The company will inform us of the date of withdrawal of the box-vans, giving the RPS a chance to purchase one of them.

It is probable that early this year we may be able to have a tour of their railway, which should prove far more interesting than it appears at first sight.  There are 36 miles of internal railway and there are still several steam locomotives operating.  The most interesting is perhaps an 0-4-0, which has a crane mounted over the boiler. (Now at Foxfield Railway, by Dubs & Co Dubsy to his friends!)

North Staffs Area Meetings

It is hoped that in the new year, meetings of the members who live in or near North Staffordshire will commence at bi-monthy intervals.  Interesting lectures are planned as well as slides and cinematograph shows concerning railway preservation.  Will any members who wish to attend please send a postcard to the Hon. Editor, who will send full details when they become available (emails make life so much easier nowadays!)

The meeting place is at present being arranged, and we need a good turn-out to make them worth while.  A small fee for admission may be charged, and any  non-members will be very welcome.  If you live within reasonable travelling distance of the Potteries, do try to attend.  I assure you that you will not regret it!

Then followed reports on various social events, including the first Annual Dinner and Social Evening, held at the Eaton Lodge Hotel, Rugeley.

At Hednesford, members are still working on the Royal Saloon and the TPO, and, as ever, more help is needed!

 

Chasewater Railway Museum – More from the Archives, Nov 1964 Bits & Pieces 23

Chasewater Railway Museum – More from the Archives, Nov 1964 Bits & Pieces 23

Posted in August 2019 – still a lot of catching up to do!

From The ‘Mercian’ November 1964, 3.2

Due to the Editor Mr. David Bullock having other heavy commitments he resigned with Mr. M. D. Willis taking over.

The first annual Dinner and Social Evening was announced, to be held at the Eaton Lodge Hotel (demolished about 2006), tickets 12/6d each (62½p) on Monday 30th November 1964.

The Secretary thanked Mr. Bullock for his work over the past few years, wished Mr. Willis well and put out the usual appeal for members to help with the restoration work.

Treasurer’s Report

It is now some considerable time since my last report appeared in these pages and the financial situation has been through many changes.

At the present moment, I am pleased to be able to report that we have the healthiest bank balance there has been to date.  This does not mean, however, that we can afford to relax since much of our money is already committed to paying for such items as the lease for the Chasewater branch, outstanding loans and the E1 0-6-0tank locomotive.  Incidentally, over £200 is still needed to save this engine from the scrapyard.  The deadline is January, so the matter is URGENT.

A few weeks ago we held our AGM at which it was unanimously agreed that the subscription rates be increased from 21/-  (£1.05) to 25/-  (£1.25) for ordinary members and from 5/-  (25p) to 10/-  (50p) for student members.  I would like to state now, that this was done with some reluctance but with every good cause as many members are aware.

F.J.Harvey.  Hon. Treasurer.

General News

We are not responsible

One may have read in the Railway press that the ‘Railway Preservation Society’ is to attempt to purchase a 30 mile stretch of line between Uttoxeter and Buxton.  This is entirely due to a mis-use of the Society’s name.

The Society which appears to be responsible for this irresponsible scheme is the Derbyshire Railway Society, who used our name, and this month, November, has changed it to the ‘National Railway Preservation Society’.  We deplore such use of our Society’s name, or any name which might be remotely confused with ours.

Has this Society yet looked at current branch line prices?  A line of this size would cost at least £100,000.  How could such a line be purchased, and if by some miracle it was, how could any Society afford to maintain it, yet alone run their own trains over it?

Railway enthusiasm in this country does not justify such a hair-raising scheme, as that Society will find out – to their cost!!!

First in a Line?

On June 6th, British Railways held an auction at Stoke-on-Trent.   What was for sale?  The mourning remnants of stations in North Staffs. And South Cheshire, which were closed under Dr. Richard Beeching’s economisation programme.

A rare sight the auction room was!  Scores of platform seats of all types, lined up in two rows to seat their likely buyers.  Station nameboards of all shapes and sizes positioned around the room, intermingled with various types of Railway notices.

The bidding was unexpectedly fierce, two cast iron notices, which the present Hon. Ed. Attempted to purchase for 2/6d  (12½p) almost reached £5, and four well-rotted ‘GENTLEMEN’ notices reached the ludicrous price of 50 shillings  (£2.50).

As always the RPS was in the bidding!  The West Midlands District bought two North Staffordshire Railway Clocks averaging about £9.00 each, and a Midland Railway Lamp Standard, among various other things.  They were joined by Mr. Ken Vincent, Secretary of Dowty RPS and Mr. R. W. F. Smallman, of Yieldingtree Railway Museum Trust fame; their purchases including an NSR platform seat and a GWR short grandfather clock.

British Railways made over £1000 from the so-called ‘rubbish’, the bulk of which would normally provide heat for a cold workman on an icy winter’s day.

Another auction of this type is to be held at Derby on November 7th, and it looks very much as though fantastic prices will be reached yet again.

Recent Additions

The latest relics to arrive at Hednesford are as follows:-

  1. Two private owner wagons of the Cannock & Rugeley Collieries Company.      Bought from the NCB @ £5 each.
  2. A London & North Western Railway Brake/Third, the Guard’s compartment of which has been converted to a fully operational cinema.  It was purchased from the NCB for £10, but needs a lot of attention.
  3. A Midland Railway Crane.  £8.

Midland Railway Royal Saloon

This unique example of Midland Railway Regal coachbuilding has been purchased by the RPS (West Midlands District) from British Railways at a cost of £300.  This was only possible with a loan of £240 from a generous member.

The loan is being paid back at the rate of £10 per month to this fine member, who wished to remain anonymous.  His name was released at the AGM but to save further embarrassment, we will not mention it in these columns, but let it be ‘broadcast’ by word of mouth.Furnishings inside the Midland Royal Saloon

Chasewater Railway Museum – More from the Archives, Jan 1964 Bits & Pieces 22

Chasewater Railway Museum

More from the Archives

Jan 1964  Bits & Pieces 22

Moving along but still 55 years behind!

Photo:  M. Denholm

 

Taken from the ‘Mercian’ Jan, 1964 3.1

Editorial

We enter yet another year – and enthusiasm still seems to be very strong.  You will see from Frank Harvey’s report that we have not done too badly during 1963.  Let’s hope that we have an even better year this year.

There are a number of exhibitions and open days planned for this year, but to help them go really well we are relying on our own members’ support – so please come along if you can.  The cold weather is not, we know, the best for depot work, but work has gone on all the same with a faithful few.

We were all rather concerned to find vandalism striking the depot; we only hope it will not occur again, because our funds are limited to make damage of this sort good.  You will notice that the committee has decided to change this newsletter to quarterly to alternate with the Forum, mainly being due to insufficient copy for a bi-monthly and to help keep costs down.

Ed. D.B.

Hednesford Progress Report

Work has still been maintained during the winter, a few members have gone into hibernation but we hope to see them as the sun starts to warm up and the days draw out.

The Midland Royal Saloon has now arrived at the Hednesford Siding, and certain work has already been done on this vehicle, the ladies have been along with polish and given the saloon a much needed clean and polish.  Mike Lewis has removed and serviced all the carriage door locks, and of course replaced same; the whole of the vehicle is now burglar proof.  The Depot Master, John Elsley has fixed up the lighting in the saloon, the batteries are now being charged every weekend.  John has also designed a very useful mobile generator, it is hoped to run this set very shortly.  The set will provide power both for battery charging and welding, etc.

The LBSC E1 loco has arrived (No.9 Cannock Wood to the uninitiated), this loco requires a lot of cleaning down etc., before painting – may we again appeal to all members who are interested in this work.  The depot is open every Sunday afternoon, Please Help! put this loco into a respectable condition before Open Weekend at Easter.

Our Treasurer Frank Harvey still continues to work on the Maryport & Carlisle door which he has built up from scratch – well done Frank!   Perhaps members will note that there are still three more doors yet to be made, Frank would welcome some help from anyone who has first class woodwork experience.

D. A. Ives Hon. Sec.

Taken from the Treasurer’s Report

I am taking the liberty of turning the latter part of this report into an appeal.  An appeal on behalf of the ex-LBSCR Stroudley E1 loco 0-6-0 tank. As some members may know, this locomotive, the sole survivor of its type, was withdrawn from service by its owners, the National Coal Board, some months ago.  They have very kindly loaned it to us for one year giving us the option to purchase it at the end of that time.

Photograph of the loco in pre NCB livery from Barry Bull’s collection.

The sum required is £300.  This is most reasonable as a locomotive of similar size off British Railways would cost in the region of £650 – £700.  We are establishing a fine collection of items of rolling stock but we do need an engine.  Would it be too much to ask ALL members to make the following New Year resolution – to make a donation towards the preservation of this 86 year-old locomotive?  Unless something is done, by this time next year it will be in the breaker’s yard.

Finally, I would like to mention the Midland Royal Saloon.  This vehicle has arrived at the depot through the kind generosity of one member who loaned the balance required (£240) to complete its purchase.  This is enthusiasm at its greatest!

F.J.Harvey, Midlands Area Treasurer

London District

The LRPS are planning to open another depot at Luton under the charge of a very keen member, Mr. John Payn.

L44 a London Transport Met. Tank has been acquired and is awaiting delivery to the Bishops Stortford Depot.  Another appeal has been launched for a Beattie 2-4-0 Well Tank, 30585 – £750 will be needed for its purchase, £250 has already been raised.I love this photo, but where I got it from I haven’t a clue.  It is marked 30585 – Helland.  Can anyone tell me if this is Helland in Cornwall?  At our Spring Gala in 2004 at Chasewater we had a visit from her sister engine, 30587.Photo by M. Denholm.  The loco suited the Chasewater Railway very well!

Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire carriage

Working party members are contributing to the cost of moving this vehicle from Yorkshire to the Midlands.  A total of some £18 has now been contributed, this fund has also been contributed to by two London RPS members.  We are most grateful to all these members.

E1 Fund.

Approximately £7 has been collected to date, a very poor effort. Please! Please! Send donations to the Hon. Treasurer to help secure the future of this fine loco.

Midland Crane and GWR Signal Frame.

Arrangements are at present being made for the collection of the Midland Railway Crane which is at Repton and the GWR signal lever frame from Llanfair.  Both these items we hope to have at our depot for Open Day.One of the items that has stayed with us – rebuilt by Jim Twigge and Tom Mitchell.

A Day Out

Our very agile Hon. Sec. Dave Ives, Frank Harvey and Mike Lewis took a trip down to Wolverton Carriage Works on Saturday, February 15th to collect the bits and pieces that were missing from the Royal Saloon.

We gather, from a somewhat loaded Hon. Sec’s, car that they had a very good day all round.  Among the small relics acquired were a uniform, carpets, pictures from coach compartments, a Midland Railway Bible in very good condition (which has sadly gone missing over the years) to name but a few, down to a few coat hooks.

A trip was made to a few stations, one being Turvey where a few more relics were added to the collection.    As they sped back to Hednesford, the three gentlemen were no doubt very pleased with their days work for the Society.

Mr. Ives says that at Wolverton they are burning two or three coaches a week.  If other departments of BR are working as fast as this there will be nothing left for us to preserve.  So we must work very fast indeed to save what we can before Dr. Beeching has his final clear up or we will wake up one day and find the railways ‘modernised’.

Midland Royal Saloon

This vehicle is now safely stabled at our own siding at Hednesford.  Thanks mainly to a wonderfully generous offer of a member, who has provided an interest-free loan.  We still have a further £270 to pay off this vehicle, donations will be gratefully acknowledged by the Hon. Treasurer.

East Midlands District News

The activities in the East Midlands District have been dormant for the last few months.  A period of hibernation for those in the south of the region.  Future activities for the Northamptonshire members include: Excursions and Social Evenings.  It is hoped that a small party will travel to Holyhead and North Wales reviewing the branch lines en route sometime in March, whilst another party will visit Swindon and Gloucester.

With the opening of the London District Depot at Luton, it is hoped again that members from this area will be able to visit on Sundays to help with the practical work.

Members in Lincolnshire and East Anglia are invited to contact Mr. M. N. Gubbins for details of activities in the two areas, as it is hoped that the East Midlands will cover this area of the country also.

With the Spring and Summer months approaching we hope that all members in all regions will continue their vital work on various photographic surveys, as this is one of the most interesting and inexpensive works that can assist the RPS.

Finally a note to lapsed members.  Please renew your membership as your Guinea could save something from the dreaded ‘Beeching Axe’.

John M. Harvey.  (East Midlands District Organiser).

Chasewater Railway Museum – Taken from our Archived Publications – Bits & Pieces No.19

Chasewater Railway Museum 

Taken from our Archived Publications

I enjoyed this piece as it showed the stock available for preservation in the early 1960s – Princess Elizabeth would have looked nice in Hednesford and just imagine her in the Heritage Centre now!!

The Mercian – Sept,Oct, Nov,Dec, 1962

From the West Midlands District 3rd AGM

Held in Wolverhampton September 29th 1962

We were fortunate to have with us Mr. Bell, Secretary of the Princess Elizabeth Preservation Fund, and Mr. K Vincent of Dowty Sports.

Mr. Bell mentioned that No.46201 Princess Elizabeth must be purchased on withdrawal from service with B.R. for preservation.  As the money will have to be raised very quickly the Society concerned cannot possibly afford a site for the loco at the moment.

The W.M.D. said they might be able to help out for the time being by either accommodating the loco at the Hednesford Depot or with the help of Mr. Vincent to accommodate it at Messrs. Dowty’s Ashchurch or Tewkesbury factories. Not only is this going to save the loco but it would give added attraction to the R.P.S. and may even boost membership in both Societies.

Mr. Cotterell ( Hon. Treasurer of the 0-6-0 ex Midland Tank engine) reminded us that up until now he had not received any donations from any R.P.S. members!  He also mentioned that we are going to need a loco for our branch line to pull the stock that we already have, and at the moment this one (last off works) seems to be the most likely.  So it rests with us to support these funds and publicise them as much as possible as we all want to see our own train on our own branch line very soon.

The two loco funds were: 46201 Princess Elizabeth £2610 and ex Midland 0-6-0 tank £750.  Not much in 2010 but very large sums in 1962!

46201 was bought by the then Princess Elizabeth Locomotive Society straight from BR service when withdrawn in 1962. Initially kept at the Dowty Railway Preservation Society’s premises at Ashchurch, Glos, and then subsequently at the Bulmers Railway Centre in Hereford. When the Bulmers Centre closed in the 1990s the loco moved to the East Lancashire Railway. Since April 2009 it has been based at the Crewe Heritage Centre Princess Elizabeth is one of two preserved Princesses; the other being 46203 Princess Margaret Rose.

News in Brief

Chasewater

Chasewater, the piece of line which the West Midlands District were negotiating for might now seem impracticable for our Branch Line owing to inadequate storage and water supply, etc.  This matter has been left pending from the A.G.M. for the new Committee to discuss.

The Mysterious “Gents”!!

In the Autumn edition of Forum it was stated that the W.M.D. of the R.P.S. were negotiating with B.R. for a Victorian cast iron vintage ‘gents lavatory’, its position was on the disused Stowe-by-Chartley station in Staffordshire.

While negotiations were still in progress for the purchase of the above relic, it disappeared mysteriously from the station.  B.R. were contacted about the disappearance, they are looking into the matter.  Whereas the RPS are of the opinion it was (to quote our Hon. Sec.) the work of some unscrupulous scrap merchant, and he certainly went to a lot of trouble for half a ton of iron by dismantling it and carrying it away.

The National Press did get hold of the story and it may have given us some much needed publicity!!

East Midlands District News

The result of our second membership has been 100% successful. A collection of small relics has been donated by a new member – Mr. R. J. Buckler, including a LNWR signal wire pulley.

The Nottinghamshire members have been very active during the last few months, especially P. Gibbons, who has been concerned with a written survey.  The Northamptonshire members too have not been idle.  Messrs. Webb, Popham and myself have been occupied with the membership campaign, and Messrs. Gubbins and Buckler have written an historical account of one of our local disused branch lines.

Membership in Leicestershire and Derbyshire is very low.  Could members in these areas possibly remedy this?

J. M. Harvey (East Midlands District Organiser)

Chasewater Railway Museum – Taken from our Archived Publications

Chasewater Railway Museum – Taken from our Archived Publications

Taken from the Mercian May, June 1962 1.3

Anyone who has been reading this blog may have noticed, in ‘Bits & Pieces’ in the 1970s and early 80s, the mention of a Travelling Post Office (TPO). Our museum curator has recently acquired a book for the museum’s reference library – ‘An Illustrated History of the Travelling Post Office’ in which the Railway Preservation Society’s purchase is mentioned. It was bought for £200 and housed at Hednesford, later being transferred to Chasewater and sold in 1983 for £1,000,

Taken from the Mercian May, June 1962 1.3

From the Editorial

Everyone notices, even more so now, that Diesels are rapidly taking over and replacing steam on most trains.  If you are lucky you might chance to see a ‘Scot’ or even an ‘A4’ on a goods or shunting.

While standing on Welwyn Station the other evening Sir Nigel Gresley came thundering out of the tunnel with a south-bound express; a marvellous sight I might add, never to be replaced once the ‘Green Devils’ have fully taken over.  Sir Nigel would turn in his grave and shudder at the thought of his own engine being degraded to trundling goods trucks, let alone shunting them.

I suppose this is almost inevitable under the present modernisation plan, all we can do is wait and see what will happen.

D.B.

In the event of the following, I think that he would have been immensely proud!Leaving Bridgnorth March 2009 – Photo by Black Widow Productions

In 1937 the London and North Eastern Railway built its 100th ‘Pacific’ locomotive and the Railway honoured its designer by giving the locomotive number 4498 his name, Sir Nigel Gresley.  The locomotive was initially allocated to London Kings Cross ‘Top Shed’ where it returned in the 1950s after a spell at Grantham, by then carrying its British Railways number 60007. In this period it became associated with driver Bill Hoole and in 1959 Sir Nigel Gresley, driven by Hoole, achieved a post war speed record for steam of 112mph. The locomotive finished its British Railways career in Scotland, having run approximately 1,500,000 miles in revenue-earning service over some 30 years. In 1966 the locomotive was saved by a group of determined people, who set up the A4 Preservation Society.  This became the A4 Locomotive Society Ltd, which underwent a further evolution into a registered charity as The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust Ltd.

After its 4th major overhaul in the ownership of the Trust, 60007 is now based at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and continues to run on the UK main line network from time to time hauling rail tours to locations as diverse as Chester, York, Carlisle, Bristol, London and Dundee.

The Trust is dedicated to keeping the locomotive running, both on heritage railways and on the main line.  She is part of this nation’s history and our aim is to keep the locomotive as living history.  It is only when a locomotive is in steam and in action, truly alive, that you experience the full glory and feel the magic.  Nothing can match the spectacle and magnificence of a great steam engine running at full speed.  That is what the Trust aims to maintain.

The down side is that keeping a big express locomotive in good running order takes a lot of effort.  Sir Nigel Gresley is now over seventy years old.  There always seems to be something wearing out!  Dirty and often very hard work, too – her parts tend to be large, solid chunks of metal, immensely heavy to lift.  On top of the day-to-day repairs and maintenance, the locomotive must have a regular ‘heavy’ overhaul – every seven years if she is to run on Network Rail, extending to a maximum of ten when running on private railways.  The latest heavy overhaul took place at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, at a total cost of around £800,000.  This has included fitting TPWS and OTMR safety systems to meet the latest Network Rail standards.  The Heritage Lottery Fund has supported this overhaul with a very generous grant of £322,000.

Whether operating on heritage railways or in full cry on the main line, she turns heads wherever she goes!

Reproduced with the permission of The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust Ltd.”

Leaving Bridgnorth March 2009, Photo by  Black Widow Productions

Hon. Secretary’s Notes & Report

The West Midland District, Midland Area, acted as hosts on Saturday, 19th May for a full RPS meeting which was held in the TPO at our Hednesford depot.  We were pleased to welcome D. Noel Draycott and David Alexander London District, James Slater North West and John Harvey East Midlands Districts.   The meeting was also attended by some 12 members of the West Midlands.

A general discussion took place, and Society policy agreed upon.  It was agreed that the next Society conference should be held in York on 22nd September 1962 (provisional).

National Officers Elected

National President:                Rev. R. de Lacy-Spencer

General Secretary:                D. Noel Draycott

National Treasurer:                R. T. Yates, F.C.A.

The visitors enjoyed a visit to Chasewater the following day (Sunday), and a general inspection of the Depot in the afternoon.  I should like to thank very sincerely all members (Wives and Mothers) who offered such excellent overnight hospitality to our guests.

Working Parties

Work still continues at a steady pace each Sunday, we should still like to see a few more people attend however.  The Midland Block instruments and bells are now in working order, these were wired up by Peter Dring.  Any other member who is interested in telecommunications should come along to the depot and chat with Peter.

John Elsley and Terry Jones are now attempting to fix the side rode on the Coal Tank, all you loco enthusiasts – now is the chance to offer some practical help!

Work on the TPO still continues, this work is being carried out by Frank Harvey, Nigel Hadlow, George Cox and myself.  Tony Lewis and Bob Wormington continue to press on with repanelling the Maryport & Carlisle coach and are making steady progress.  The Midland horse-drawn van is being slowly renovated by Arthur Chatfield, please give him a helping hand someone?

Brian Kinder and Maurice Harper have made a good job of waterproofing the Great Eastern roof in the vicinity of the stove chimney pipe, Bob Wormington has also worked on the GE brake and painted the roof with bitumastic paint.

David Ives Hon. Sec.

Treasurer’s Report

In my report in the last issue of Mercian I seemed only to complain about the financial state of affairs.  I am afraid this must be the main theme thence in this report too.

(Nearly 50 years on now and nothing seems to have changed!! – but we’re still here!)

East Midlands

Results from our membership campaign have been good during these last few weeks, although the Crewe excursion was not fruitful, I must mention Michael Gubbins and David Webb who made the trip so enjoyable.

The major activity at the moment is the collection of many small relics and various photographic surveys are being completed, notably around Nottinghamshire by P. Gibbons of Southall.

J. M. Harvey.  East Mids. District Organiser.

London District

The London District of the RPS has been renamed The London Railway Preservation Society covering North London and three Home Counties, namely Essex, Hertfordshire and Middlesex.

Social Activities

The trip to Wolverton was very poorly attended, eight members making the effort.  We do hope that this can be improved on for future visits.

Much Wenlock Branch

The last passenger train will run on this line sometime in June.  This branch, as some members will be aware, is a very interesting one.  Please give us your support.

Coaching Stock Preservation Fund

A fund has now been launched to buy coaching stock; this will be published in the general railway press.  Vehicles under consideration are as follows: The Midland Royal Saloon, L & Y Inspectors Saloon, ECJS Bogie coach in original livery.  Other coaches which could be added are: Cambrian Bogie Coach, GWR Clerestory Bogie Coach, and WCJS Bogie Coach.

News in Brief

Our Hednesford Depot and Webb Coal Tank were mentioned on BBC TV’s Railway Roundabout of May 20th (my 19th birthday!! – seems a long time ago!) by John Adams and Patrick Whitehouse who said they might look in on their way up for a game of golf!

It has been officially stated that Paddington Station will not be closed yet!

Chasewater Railway Museum – Taken from our Archived Publications

Chasewater Railway Museum

Taken from our Archived Publications

Bits & Pieces 15

Coal Tank 1054 at Hednesford

Taken from the first ‘Mercian’ Jan/ Feb 1962

Bi-Monthly Newssheet for the Midlands District of the RPA

In my previous post I reported that the Railway Preservation Society was in future to be called the Railway Preservation Association.  For some reason, four times on the first page of the first ‘Mercian’ the RPS is referred to – curious.

The idea was to publish the Newssheet by the 23rd of each bi-month.  Anyone who takes on the job of Editor of a newssheet or magazine of this type has my greatest admiration (and sympathy!) as they always seem to struggle for articles after the initial burst of enthusiasm.

Progress report to date during 1961

Good progress has been made at our Hednesford depot, accomplishments to date include track lowering, to allow the stabling under cover of the Webb Coal Tank and our own TPO van, this vehicle has a lot more work to be done on it, but it has now been completed in undercoat livery of the LNWR on one side.  This was done by the very able direction of our Assistant Depot Master, and the woodwork renovations being done by our Hon. Treasurer, Frank Harvey.  The interior of the TPO is now in good shape due to the efforts of our Chairman, Arthur Chatfield.  Incidentally, he could do with some more help in this direction.  How about it some of you people who have not yet shown up?

Work continues on the Maryport & Carlisle coach, this is slow work and is mainly due to lack of materials which are most costly, perhaps any members who could help out in these matters in cash or kind would they kindly contact me?  Glass, wood and hardboard are most urgently required.Maryport & Carlisle coach before work started.

The Great Eastern brake has now been converted to a temporary workshop, and part is the museum.  It now has a genuine relic in the form of an LNWR signal box stove which has proved a most useful asset during this winter period.Great Eastern brake before work started.

John Elsley, the Assistant Depot Master and his usual few stalwarts namely, Bob Wormington, Terry Jones, David Bradbury, John Bradbury and Fred Lewis continue to press on with tracklaying in spite of the recent cold snap, all you people interested in tracklaying, now is your chance to give a hand.

Mention must be made last but by no means least of Maurice Harper and Brian Kinder who are always at hand to help out with any task which might crop up.  The tea is always made by these men and it is most appreciated by all the working parties.

A final word of gratitude to our President Charles E. Ives (no relation to David Ives) who so kindly allows the Society free and complete use of the depot.  Good luck to you all in 1962.

David A. Ives Hon. Sec.

East Midlands District Report

We in the East Midlands have just passed through the first stage of the intensive publicity campaign that was started in mid December.  So far the response has been quite good and I think the main contributory factor to this was the excursion to Ashford and Stratford Railway Works on January 3rd of this year.  Owing to bad weather we were delayed for over two hours but this did not dishearten the prospective members who found the visit very enjoyable.

One of our more recent members, Mr. Popham of Raunds has shown great interest in our cause, he rendered invaluable assistance on our Ashford venture.  He and I are making a survey of the Kettering – Cambridge branch line.  We hope to publish our results in the National Newsletter.  Another outing for prospective members will be arranged around April time to Lancashire and Cheshire.

J. M. Harvey, East Midlands District Organiser.

Diary dates were given for social gatherings of the West Midlands District and the Stafford Railway Circle.

Chasewater Railway Museum – And More From the Sixties

Chasewater Railway Museum

And More From the Sixties

More from the very early days of preservation, not a line in sight yet.

Chasewater Railway Museum Winter 1961/2 RPS 3.3 Bits & Pieces 14

Taken from the RPS Newsletter, Winter 1961/2

From RPS to RPA

Changes in Policy

Plan to encourage co-ordination.

On Saturday, October 21, representatives of Bluebell RPS., Middleton RPS., and the RPS itself, met at Leeds to discuss and agree upon a national organisation for the following objects:

a)    To act as a general clearing house and meeting place for all railway preservation societies.

b)    To circulate information on existing and proposed schemes.

c)    To foster and encourage co-ordination between existing and proposed schemes.

d)    To organise and assist full exchange of information between all societies on preservation of railway ethics.

e)    To co-ordinate and assist with publicity.

It was unanimously agreed this organisation should be known as the Railway Preservation Association, and that members of any constituent society should be welcome to meetings and to activities of other constituent societies.

The RPA will not be another society which will appeal for individual members. It is being established as a national organisation where representatives of schemes accepting the underlying principles will meet regularly. It is planned as a forum where consultations and co-operation can be mutually beneficial.

News from the Districts

West & East Midlands

We are still in the market for a branch line.  Members are probably aware that our negotiations with British Railways for part of the Coalport Branch have fallen through, due to the excessive annual rentals of £1,500.Coalport.  Would’ve been nice – including the Coal Tank!

But we are hoping that further news concerning the Mountsorrel mineral line.  This has been discussed with our Patron, the Earl of Lanesborough, and something should materialise in the not too distant future, and so provide a definite start for our East Midland members.

Response to a correspondence campaign launched to build up membership in the East Midlands, has so far been poor.  Several informal meetings are planned fro this winter to tell prospective members about our cause.

John Betjeman, the historian and an authority on railway architecture, has agreed to join Lord Lanesborough as a Patron.  Further details will be announced later.

A New Chapter Opens

Pooling our resources

This is the last issue of the ‘Newsletter’ in its present form.  Our National Council has decided that the Society shall in future be known as ‘The Railway Preservation Association’, to which all organisations connected with railways may seek affiliation and take advantage of our space and distribution scheme.

When we publish again in the Spring your news and features will appear in a new magazine called ‘Forum’, which will be distributed nationally, and which we hope will assist greatly in interesting the public in our endeavours.

During the three years that the ‘Newsletter’ has been circulated our achievements have been considerable.  We believe that ‘Forum’ will widen further the prospects that lie ahead for all of us.

As far as these posts are concerned, I shall continue to follow the interests of the West Midlands District though their magazine ‘The Mercian’ I assume that somewhere in our archives we have copies of the ‘Forum’ and if so, I shall have a look for items of local interest.

The organisations involved at the start of the Railway Preservation Association were given as: London District, West Midlands District, East Midlands District, North-West District, Scotland District, Bluebell RPS, and Middleton RPS.

More from the early days

More from the early days

From RPS Newsletter July 1960 Vol  2 No. 1

From the General Secretary’s Page

More Activity Wanted

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

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

 

West Midland District

 

Stafford – Uttoxeter Line.  Great Northern Railway

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

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

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

Staffordshire Past Track – Pic & Info

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

Date: 1920 – 1930 (c.)

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

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

 

Staffordshire Past Track – Pic & Info

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

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

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

Aug 7, 2008 9:52 PM

Depot

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

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

More hands wanted at Hednesford

 

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

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

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

Stop Press

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

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.6

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.6

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Where will this Branch Line be?”

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

“1) Too small membership to make it possible.

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

The thinking behind ‘Districts’ was explained.

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

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

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

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.5

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.5

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

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

Chasewater Railway Museum 1958 Bits & Pieces 5

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

Railway Preservation Society

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

Keep the steam era alive – join the RPS

Introduction

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

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

But time is running out fast!

Organisation of the RPS

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

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

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

Appearance of a branch line

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

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

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

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

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

There is still a  chance

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

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

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

Keep the steam era alive – Join the RPS