Category Archives: Chasewater Light Railway Archives

Chasewater Railway Museum – From the Scrapbook, 1998, on to Chasewater Heaths.

Chasewater Railway Museum 

From the Scrapbook,1998,

on to Chasewater Heaths.

Sleepering Partner

Rail contractor Centrac, Tarmac’s track renewal company, came to the rescue when it heard that Chasewater Railway at Burntwood, Staffordshire, was struggling to extend its line due to a shortage of sleepers.

Birmingham-based Centrac offered to supply 600 sleepers from its main recycling depot at Northampton.

The Donated sleepers mean that Chasewater Railway’s volunteer workforce can extend its line to a planned new station near the proposed Burntwood by-pass entrance to the Chasewater Country Park.

The line currently serves the Brownhills West end of the park, carrying passengers around Chasewater Lake – and across the lake on a recently rebuilt causeway – to a station opened 18 months ago in the Norton wildfowl reserve.

The track represents the only remaining mineral line from the vast Cannock Chase coalfield network, and runs small tank locomotives retrieved from industrial locations, including a steam shunting engine from Pleck gasworks, providing scenic leisure trips for passengers.

Chasewater Railway general manager Steve Organ welcomed the donation of the sleepers saying “We are absolutely delighted with Centrac’s generous help – quite simply we could not have achieved so much without them.  This shows the value of recycling materials.”

Lorne Gray, who is in charge of Centrac’s recycling operations, commented: “The particular type of sleeper we have donated would normally be stripped down to the bare components.  The baseplates and fixings would be sold off by the tonne to scrap merchants and the sleepers sold for use in heavy industry and agriculture.

“The fact that they will now be used for their intended purpose, albeit on a reduced specification basis, is very satisfying.”

Chasewater Railway Museum – 2004 Royal Visit

Chasewater Railway Museum 

2004 Royal Visit

It’s full steam ahead – royal style

The Duke of Gloucester was in his element as he took control of ‘Asbestos’ – Chasewater Railway’s flagship steam locomotive.

With a blast on the whistle the Duke shifted the regulator and the steam engine edged forward.

For the next ten minutes the Duke indulged one of his greatest passions – steam trains – oblivious to the wired-up security agent positioned half-way along the section of track.

The royal visit to Chasewater Railway  was the third stop on the Duke of Gloucester’s tour of the area last Thursday (4-11-2004).

Accompanying the Duke in the engine’s cab were Driver Mark Sealey and Fireman Steve Williams.

Steve said ” He knew exactly where all the controls were, we didn’t really have to help him.  I think he would have liked to have gone a bit further down the track.”

Mark added “We talked about the engine and where it had come from and he asked us about the length of the track.”

The Duke also toured the newly constructed Heritage Centre where restoration work on Chasewater’s collection of railway carriages takes place.

And while in the Centre he unveiled a plaque to commemorate the visit.

Restoration engineers Jim Twigge and Don Mitchell chatted with the Duke.

“He is the kind of person you can speak with easily,” said Jim.

Don added ” We knew he was a train enthusiast and former architect.

Architecture and railways are his two passions.”

Before leaving, the Duke took an impromptu trip on a modern engine – the Parry People Mover – and the clockwork coordination of the event suddenly seemed at risk!

Station Master Eric Balaam remarked ” The Duke said it is nice to see people restoring the carriages for future generations to appreciate.”

As the bespectacled Duke in dark grey suit and beige overcoat climbed into his Jaguar, Chasewater Railway’s general manager Steve Organ reflected on the Royal visit.

“I think it has gone really well with this our first Royal visit.

This is a very significant milestone, giving credibility to the railway and enabling members to take a pride in it.”

Chasewater Railway Museum – Catalogue, CLR Archives

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue

CLR Archives

Click on the link below to see the full list

All CLR Archives – XL Files 18-3-2018

Caption text: Object number, name, description, creator, location.

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More from the August 1968 ‘Mercian’ Turner’s Asbestos Cement Co. Ltd ‘Asbestos’ Hawthorn Leslie 2780 of 1909

More from the August 1968 ‘Mercian’

 Turner’s Asbestos Cement Co. Ltd ‘Asbestos’

Hawthorn Leslie 2780 of 1909

 By Gerald Wildish

 asbestos at trafford park 2At Trafford Park

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.

7423 B-Hills West 20-6-09

Brownhills West 2009