Category Archives: Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces

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.

Chasewater Railway Museum – More from the Sixties

Chasewater Railway Museum

More from the sixties

Taken from the RPS Newsletter Vol 3  No.2 – Date – Summer, 1961?

West Midlands District

Our covered space at the Hednesford depot now houses the London North-Western Webb coal tank, together with the London North-Western TPO van, Maryport & Carlisle and Great Eastern coaches, which are in various stages of restoration.. A considerable amount of really hard work has been carried out during the last three weekends.

Photo: Andrew Handley

Collection of small relics continues to grow, thanks in no small measure being due to two of our junior members, Brian Kinder and Maurice Harper, of  Walsall.  Donations to the TPO fund were received from some 18 members.

 

The West Midlands District also toured the railway system of the Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton Company at Burton-on-Trent.  The trip was organised as a joint effort by Stafford Railway Circle, and the party travelled in a four-wheeled directors’ saloon of 1889 vintage.  Acquired from the Midland Railway, the vehicle was built by the Railway Carriage & Iron Co. Ltd. at Manchester.Bass Locos – Published by Bass Museum

The following piece is taken from an article written by A. A. Chatfield (Vice-Chairman of the West Midlands District).

The Webb Coal Tanks of the LNWR

 

With the arrival at our Hednesford depot of number 1054, the last of the celebrated Webb coal tank engines, A. A. Chatfield has outlined a brief history of the class.

The first of these locomotives was constructed at Crewe works in 1881, and during the ensuing years no fewer than 300 were built.  Initially they were a tank version of the very successful coal engines with the addition of a pair of trailing wheels running in a radial axle box under the bunker and rear wheel tank.  Designated for working heavy mineral trains in the colliery areas of Lancashire and the South Wales valleys, the design changed very little over the years except that quite a few were fitting with the vacuum brake for working branch line passenger trains.

Main dimensions were: cylinders  17in. x 24in., pressure 150lbs., grate area 17 sq. ft., total heating surface 10,548 sq. ft., weight in working order 43 tons. Water capacity 1,150 gallons, height 13ft. 1in., and tractive effort 16,530lbs.

It is a strong testimony to the workmanship put into these locomotives that many of them survived for so long after the Grouping, as the total was still quite large even after the close of the second world war when some of the survivors were at least 60 years old.  It is strange that so many of Webb’s simple designs should have lingered on for so long, for by the time the railways were nationalised quite a few octogenarians of this design could be found happily and usefully employed in the quiet backwaters of the LMSR.

Naturally the coal tanks were very prominent in the ranks for 30 of them were still at work in these out of the way corners when the 1950s dawned.  By this time numbers were thinning out but still the coal tanks chuffed on until only one, 1054 or 58926 as she had become, remained – latterly employed ignominiously as a stationery boiler at Pontypool Road MPD.

However, the old lady still had her final fling to come, for she was cleaned up and hauled out to pilot an LNWR 0-8-0 on the last special train over the Merthyr – Abergavenny line on which duty she was filmed and recorded for posterity.  After this brief appearance in the limelight she was sumped in a siding at Pontypool Road depot to await the last call to Crewe for breaking up.

Fortunately the story has had a happy ending for through the good offices of Mr. J. M. Dunn and a large group of enthusiasts who were familiar with these engines in their hey-day, number 1054 has been saved for posterity, decked out in her original finery, and has been put into the custody of the West Midland District of the RPS at Hednesford within a stones throw of her old birthplace.

During 1963, Mr Dunn and his supporters arranged for 1054 to be transferred into the ownership of the National Trust for display at Penrhyn Castle in North Wales, not far from where the engine worked in the 1920s.

Although Penrhyn provided public access in safe and secure surroundings, facilities for effectively exhibiting the locomotive were limited. After nine years at Penrhyn, and with the growth of railway preservation groups providing improved facilities, some of the locomotive’s original trustees arranged for the engine to be cared for by the ‘Bahamas’ Locomotive Society at their Dinting Railway Centre near Glossop in Derbyshire.

London and North Western Railway Webb 0-6-2T ‘Coal Tank’ class locomotive number 1054 giving brake van rides on the demonstration line at the Dinting Railway Centre, Higher Dinting. Sunday 3rd October 1982. Photo:  David Ingham

In 1980 the engine was overhauled, put into working order, and restored to the LNWR condition in which it would have appeared just prior to the First World War. In May that year it attended the great exhibition at Rainhill near Liverpool. This was held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the ‘trials’ won by George Stephenson’s famous Rocket, and the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830.

In the years since, 1054 has performed reliably and well.

LNWR Loco 1054 at Hednesford depot.

To the best of my knowledge, 1054 is owned by The National Trust. It is currently undergoing overhaul by volunteer members of the’Bahamas’ Locomotive Society, who have cared for the engine since 1973.

The work is being undertaken at the Society’s Museum & Workshop –
Ingrow Loco – on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in
Yorkshire, and is supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.Pictured at Oxenhope on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway by John Winters.

For video footage go to:

www.geoffspages.co.uk/grp/Movies01/index.html

Chasewater Railway Museum – More Early Stuff

Chasewater Railway Museum 

More Early Stuff

From the RPS Newsletter Oct 1960 Vol 2 No.1

From the General Secretary’s Page

Following a proposal from the Middleton RPS that they would form part of the national organisation envisaged by the RPS, a plan was drawn up outlining an organisation of autonomous groups, each covering a heavily populated area and taking over all responsibility for voluntary preservation in their area.  The national level of the organisation would transact such matters as were more effectively handled on a country-wide basis and would provide a common pool of information for all groups to draw on.  This was expected to be the most important subject at the AGM on October 22nd 1960.

The District Report

West Midlands

The next item to be moved into Hednesford depot will be a LNWR travelling post office van built in 1909.  This carriage keeps most of its original fittings, though the ‘pick-up and drop’ apparatus has been removed at some time and a plain panel used to cover the resulting gap.  This is not only a fine relic in itself, but will give covered space for display of historic relics.  The British Transport Commission preserves a replica of the original TPO on the London and Birmingham Railway which was built by LMS.  Now we have preserved an example of the type used during the early years of the 20th century.

D. Ives Collection

Requirements of the post office were standard for all types of TPO and the appearance of these vehicles only varied with the roof contour and panelling details of the companies who operated them.  A very high proportion of pre-grouping types have remained in service until recently when British Railways put in hand the building of complete new trains.  An interesting survival was reported a few years ago in the model railway press.  This was a six-wheeler TPO of the GNWR stripped and used as a tool van on a break-down train.

Late Extra

 

Progress on Great Eastern Coach

 

West Midland District

Ray Hallworth

Despite rather thin attendance at working parties, progress of restoration work on the recently acquired Great Eastern coach has been very satisfactory.  It is hoped that the interior will eventually form the first railway museum in the West Midland District.  A temporary exhibition will be staged there for our annual meeting on October 22nd.

Inside walls have been scraped and have received a generous coat of priming paint.  Most of the woodwork has been repaired.  The small brake compartment at the end of the coach has been converted into a tool store.

Improvements are slowly but surely being made to the exterior, one side and end facing the main Hednesford – Cannock line having been completely stripped of paint.  Over half of this has been primed.  Quite o lot of the panelling had to be replaced, particularly at one of the corners where to our dismay, we found that not only had the panels gone rotten, but also the framework.  Fortunately this has now been repaired and new panels fitted.

Work has not yet begun on restoring the Maryport & Carlisle coach, and it may have to be next spring before a start is made.  Continual appeals are still being made for more members to come and lend a hand, especially the more local people.  Working parties are held every Saturday from 3.00pm to 6.00pm and on Sundays from 2.30pm to 6.00pm.

Visit to Oakamoor Station

 

Twenty-four members and friends of the WMD visited Oakamoor Station on the ex-North Staffordshire line in the Churnet Valley on June 18th.Rail37.com  Churnet Valley Railway Oakamoor Station

The Stationmaster, Mr. Lister, took members on a conducted tour of the station buildings and adjacent copper works sidings.  Much interest was shown in an ex-NSR battery electric locomotive, a relic of prime importance, being built at Stoke works in 1916.  Still in excellent working condition and used for shunting work in the siding, Mr. Lister demonstrated the vehicle by giving members a short trip up and down.Rail37.com Oakamoor Station –  same view as previous.

Returning to the station, members were shown several items of interest including an old print of Oakamoor station in North Stafford days, and two lovely old NS office chairs with the Staffordshire Knot carved on each back-rest.  Each member of the party was presented with a sealing wax impression of the NS Railway Oakamoor seal.

Above: The delightful crossing keeper’s house at Oakamoor, just south of Oakamoor Tunnel, which can be seen in the background. This building looks as if it is another of Pugin’s designs, but we have been unable to confirm this. Oakamoor station was situated a short distance behind the photographer and was the next stop north of Alton. 10 November 2007. (Bob Prigg)

Finally members went by train to Alton Towers, a local beauty spot – not without noticing the magnificent NSR stove at Alton station.

Above: This is Alton station in Staffordshire, which was renamed Alton Towers in 1954 – only to close ten years later. (Surely the line might still be busy with a modern theme park en route?) The station was designed by Augustus Pugin (1812-1852), an English architect of the Gothic revival who is better known for his church designs and his work on the interior of the Houses of Parliament. However, Pugin did accept some more modest commissions, including this one for the North Staffordshire Railway, and the railway cottages at Windermere, Cumbria. Alton station is now owned by The Landmark Trust and can be rented for self-catering holidays. The trackbed is used as a railway path linking Oakamoor to the north and Denstone to the south. 10 November 2007. (Bob Prigg)

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.9 More from the Early Days – From 1960 April RPS Newsletter Vol 1 No.4

More from the Early Days

From 1960 April RPS Newsletter Vol 1 No.4

West Midlands District

This picture shows the old headquarters in Hednesford.  The building which the carriages are partly inside is still standing, although it is bricked up now.  The white buildings on the other side of the line to Rugeley was the wagon works – long gone.

Public Meeting, Saturday, March 5th 1960

Mr. G. T. Cox,  WMD Chairman, opened the meeting at 3.00pm.  He expressed his regret that there were not more people present, and said that possibly the unusually fine weather had diverted persons to outdoor pursuits.

Mr. Cox went on to say, “Many of us often look back to the bygone days.  We younger ones can only remember the pre-nationalisation days, whilst older ones can remember quite clearly the pre-grouping companies and put down their memories in black and white.”

“The best way of showing any exhibition piece is in its natural surroundings, and this is what the RPS means by a ‘living’ museum.  You will not get one by asking, but you will if you support the RPS to the best of your ability.  There is little preserved in contrast to the vast scrapped during the last 50 years.  It is within our reach to extend the range, if action is taken now.”

The General Secretary, D. Noel Draycott, briefly described the origins of the RPS and the district organisation which gives local groups the chance to build p local collections.  The first programme for the WMD has been drawn up, covering the purchase of rolling stock and other large relics.  The programme is divided into three stages, but it is not necessarily the order in which items will be purchased.  The selection of relics depends on the speed with which our funds grow.

Mr. R. De Lacy-Spencer pointed out that many relics were kept by persons who did not realise their historic interest to railway enthusiasts.  An example of this was the Midland Railway stationmaster’s hat which had been presented to the RPS by a lady living in Lincolnshire.

The WMD Secretary, D. A. Ives, gave an account of progress in the area.  Membership was growing and a keen committee were considering more plans for the future.  Members were contributing many smaller relics, and a good selection was on view.  He had been corresponding with BR for some time about a possible depot site, but with no result to date.

Mr. F. J. Harvey read a branch line survey he had recently made.  It was an account of the present condition of the MR branch from Aldridge to Brownhills and Chasewater.  The civil engineering features appeared to be in good condition, but the permanent way was neglected towards the end of the branch and part had been lifted.  At present only a section of it was used for a daily freight trip.

The meeting was wound up at 4.30pm and Mr. A. Holden from the audience proposed a vote of thanks to the speakers which was carried.

Stop Press! – Depot established in WMD

We are pleased to announce that negotiations for the establishment of a depot have reached a definite stage.  The site is at Hednesford, about 11 miles from Wolverhampton, and contains 150 yards of siding, part of which is under cover.  Fuller details were given to members at the visit to the Stafford/Uttoxeter branch on Sunday, March 27th.  These details are not to hand at the time of writing this, and a description with information about working parties will appear in the next issue of the newsletter.

This will enable the WMD to launch an intensive campaign to purchase rolling-stock, etc., of the Cambrian, Great Western, London & North Western, Midland and North Staffordshire Railways.  All persons interested in these railways are invited to send donations direct to the West Midlands Treasurer, RPS.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.8. From the Railway Preservation Society Newsletter Vol 1, No 3

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.8.

RPS Newsletter Vol 1 No.3

Early days of the Railway Preservation Society

(West Midlands Division)

( Later to become Chasewater Railway)

 

The General Secretary’s page discussed the setting up of a Carriage & Wagon Section, to include as much information, as detailed as possible, about vehicles which are still used as well as those no longer seen other than in photographs.

For Posterity

On looking forward to the continued expansion of the RPS over the next 50 years, I wish to express the view that it will be desirable to reproduce the trains of main and branch lines at different periods in the steam age.

Settle & Carlisle Railway

Assuming that it may be possible to acquire such secondary main lines as Settle – Carlisle, Exeter – Plymouth, Midland & South West Junction Railway, and Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway among others, in the event of them being closed by British Railways, which occurrence is not entirely without the bounds of possibility, the running of semi-fast and local services forming scenic excursions and conveying intermediate traffic would be possible.

The bridge carries Pine Road over the old S&D trackbed (closed 1966) to the east of the site of Corfe Mullen Halt (closed 1956). © Copyright David Spencer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

In this connection the point to stress is the need to acquire a few of the older express types such as the ‘Sandringhams’, ‘King Arthurs’, ‘Patriots’ and ‘Schools’ which are threatened with extinction.  Whatever weight restrictions exist on original branch lines to be acquired let us at least endeavour to save a few more typically British express engines before it is too late.

This bridge crosses the dismantled Midland and South Western Junction Railway just west of Notgrove. It is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the Jurassic limestones exposed here. © Copyright Tamara Kwan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

It is also obvious that the efforts of various small preservation societies dedicated to the saving of one particular branch line would be better used within the united effort of the RPS as not all such branches could hope to survive by themselves.  The selection of branches in each area could then be carefully considered.

The point concerning all lines is that ‘period’ trains reproducing the locomotives, rolling stock and livery of, say, a Southern ‘Green Train’ or a 1930  ‘East Anglian Express’ could provide not only variety and colour in a standardised age, but would be in itself a strong appeal.

Of course this is assuming that the RPS becomes a railway company at some future date.  But why not?  Will someone design a suitable crest to super-impose on ‘period’ liveries?

Let us all contribute to making this a reality some day.

Platforms 5 and 4, for trains to and from upcountry, from the southern end. An Exmouth train is waiting at platform 1. © Copyright Derek Harper and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

West Midlands District

 

Inaugural Meeting

About 20 people met at the Station Hotel, Stafford, on Saturday 21st November for the inaugural meeting.  The General Secretary opened the meeting and sketched out the reasons leading to the formation of the RPS and future plans.  He explained that this was the first District to be inaugurated and though the general outline had been planned out, the detailed application of this would be the concern of the WMD committee.

Mr. D. A. Ives, who has been acting as Secretary, gave a report on progress to date.  He reported that membership was over 25 and that they had received a good response from individuals contacted.  The first step was to secure a small depot in a convenient locality, where relics could be stored and members work on their restoration.  The ideal site would contain a certain amount of covered accommodation as well as rail space for carriages and wagons.  He believed the support was there in the West Midlands, it was only a question of publicity and personal contact.

The committee to serve for the current year was then elected.

Future plans were discussed and the decision taken to launch a publicity campaign leading up to a public meeting in the New Year.  The site of the public meeting was fixed as being Birmingham, but emphasis was laid on arranging future meetings in different towns to give better contact with the public and members.

Three reporters attended the meeting, leading to reports in the ‘Stafford Newsletter’ and the ‘Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel’.

The public meeting was fixed for Saturday, March 5th in the Small Theatre at the Birmingham & Midland Institute, Paradise Street, Birmingham at 2.30pm.  Everyone welcome.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.7 – Oct 1959

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.7

From the Railway Preservation Society Newsletter October 1959

Vol 1  No.2

Chairman’s Page

Anything from a button to a branch line

Yes, we are interested in anything of railway origin and historic interest.  We have no prejudices.  We are anxious to preserve all classes of relics from all pre-grouping companies, the big four and British Railways.  In fact, we want to build up a truly comprehensive collection of relics that will form a supplement to the British Transport Commission’s own invaluable collection of historic relics.

At the moment we do not possess either a button or a branch line!    We own about 50 relics from the range in between these two types.  Our largest is a 6-wheeled carriage, and we expect that we shall soon have satisfactory accommodation for this so that our members can work on its restoration.

The rest of our collection comprises small items, and until we have acquired the necessary rail space and land, we cannot expand our collection of large relics.  Both the West Midland and London & Home Counties Districts are working on this problem, and both hope to be able to announce a satisfactory conclusion to their searches.

We already have our eye on a few larger items such as signals, 4-wheeled, 6-wheeled and bogie coaches, as well as goods vehicles.  The number of larger items we buy each year is governed by the speed by which our membership grows.

Once again we are enclosing a second copy of this newsletter.  Please pass it on to somebody who is interested in the activities of the only national society dedicated to the preservation of standard gauge relics.

West Midland District

 

Outing to the Much Wenlock Branch, Saturday, 19th September.

A rather small but enthusiastic party attended the District’s first get-together and outing, exact figures being seven members, plus seven relations and friends.

The smallness of numbers did not mar the day, however, and a very enjoyable time was had by all.  The main party started from Stafford station and was joined by another member at Wellington.  The Station Master at Wellington came over prior to departure for Much Wenlock; he appeared most sympathetic to our aims, and reflected sadly on the closure of branch lines.

Wellington Station – Roger Shenton

The train pulled out on time from Wellington, headed by a 57xx class pannier tank No.3732.  The quaint halts en route to Buildwas Junction were noted, the driver, leaning through his cab window, pointed out several places of interest.  Coalbrookdale Iron Works were keenly watched by members, with interest in the fact that the first iron bridge in the world was cast there.  This was seen spanning the Severn as the train passed over a parallel bridge further up-stream.

Much Wenlock – Wellington

This delightful photograph epitomises the action on so many evocative branch lines in the West Midlands.  2-6-2T No.4142 was running under easy steam at Farley Dingle on 23rd April 1957 on a Much Wenlock to Wellington afternoon local service.  As so often happens when rural railway services are withdrawn, the trackbed was transformed into part of the modern road system.

Geoff Bannister

Buildwas Junction proved of interest, an ancient wagon turn-table being spotted, also the two platform levels, one for the Wenlock branch and one for the Severn Valley line.Buildwas Junction

The train passed Buildwas Abbey, a very picturesque sight on the west bank of the Severn.Buildwas Abbey

The gradients and curves then became very pronounced as the train made its way to the Wenlock terminus through the beautiful Shropshire countryside.

A member living at Much Wenlock met the party on arrival and very kindly took four members to Longville in his car, this line being open to freight only.  This excursion through the lovely Wenlock Edge was greatly appreciated.

The goods yard, sidings box and single engine shed (without loco) were inspected by the remaining members.  The ladies of the party visited the ancient Guildhall and Abbey, which proved full of historical interest.

After tea and a final look around Much Wenlock station, the party caught the 7.05 back to Wellington headed by the same pannier tank, but a different crew.

A vote of thanks must be recorded to the BR Staff at WR Wellington, for the kind way in which they answered questions, thus making the trip thoroughly worthwhile.

It is to be hoped that another outing of this nature will be better attended so that the RPS will continue to thrive and gain more publicity.  How about it, WMD members.

Date: 2002

Description: Buildwas Junction formed part of the Severn Valley line that ran from Hartlebury, near Droitwich, to Shrewsbury through Bridgnorth and Ironbridge. However, the line was disbanded in 1963 following Dr Beeching’s review of the railways. A section of track between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth has been preserved by the Severn Valley Company, but the track from Bridgnorth onto Shrewsbury was pulled up in the 1960’s and can no longer be used.

Chasewater Railway Museum – Bits and Pieces No.3

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.3

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.

This post is taken from the earliest newsletter found so far amongst the ‘Duplicate Magazine ‘ file.

I reproduced the first part just to show that our aims haven’t really changed in the last 50 years.

Taken from the Railway Preservation Society Newsletter, Feb 1961

What is our eventual aim?

It is obvious that we want to run a railway.  But what sort of railway is this to be?   What picture do we want to give to the general public?  We could push together a train, grab a piece of line and say this is a preserved railway.  But will it mean anything to the general public?

Each district will, inevitably, form its own collection of smaller relics which eventually we hope to show to the public in exchange for money.  As a railway enthusiast, a mass of cast iron plates, old faded photographs, tattered maps, dog-eared tickets and general bric-a-brac fascinates me and I can spend hours contemplating such a collection, but I would strongly suspect this would leave the general public with a feeling of mental indigestion and a fixed idea that railway enthusiasts are really mad.

Any preserved railway depends on the general public for the main part of its traffic.  We must study their interests and make sure that we attract them back and their friends to which they have passed a recommendation.  It must not be an overcrowded museum, but a ‘vintage railway’ — a living example of how the railways were run, laid out so the general public can see it tick.  The steam engine is to us a balanced collection of boiler, firebox, cylinders, pistons, crossheads, etc.  But to the ordinary man-in-the-street it is largely a mystery.  Our exhibits must be self-explanatory.  We must try to explain why the railways grew into such a complex system of competitive lines with so many odd connections.

I am not suggesting that we forget the railway enthusiast.  I am asking that we consider the picture we are presenting to the general public.  These points are not immediately applicable, but we should give consideration to them and encourage the artists and architects amongst us to sketch out their ideas on this basis.

Arrival at Hednesford of our T.P.O

January 11th (1960) was a red letter day for members of the West Midlands District when a 27 ton 1909 Royal Mail coach, purchased by us for £200, rolled into our Hednesford depot.

Sold by British Railways the 50 foot bogey coach, complete with letter pigeon holes and half-penny stamp post-box – as good as new – it has joined our other two museum passenger coaches, an 1895 Great Eastern Railway brake vehicle and an 1875 Maryport & Carlisle Railway coach.

The mail coach travelled up from Verney, near Wolverton in Buckinghamshire, and celebrated its historic run by charging up the batteries to give full lighting inside.  It was shunted into the depot sidings by an NCB tank engine.

Unlike the other two vehicles, the T.P.O. is too high to be placed under cover in our vehicle shed, but members are planning to lower the track to enable it to enter.

Final Passenger Train on the Churnet Valley Line

Frank Harvey

Twenty R.P.S. members were among the passengers to travel on the last train from Macclesfield to Uttoxeter by the Churnet Valley line of the ex-North Staffordshire Railway on November 5th (1960).

Some of our members had departed from Macclesfield early in the afternoon in order to break the journey at Oakamoor and again make the acquaintance of the station master, Mr. Lister.

Macclesfield was reached early enough for members to have a look round the town before returning to catch the last train.  Several relics were noted at Macclesfield (Hibel Road) station, including a NSR/LNWR boundary post.

Bellringers

The train left on time at 8.35pm behind Stanier 2-6-4T No. 42670.  The coaches were quite full, two of the enthusiastic passengers ringing handbells loudly for most of the journey.

A few people had gathered at nearly every station to watch the train depart, and at 9.48pm the train arrived at its final destination, Uttoxeter.  It marked the last moments of a regular passenger service on the Churnet Valley line for 110 years.

 

The  present Churnet Valley Railway is a volunteer-run organisation. The operating company, the Churnet Valley Railway (1992) plc, is supported by the North Staffordshire Railway Co (1978) Ltd., a Charitable Trust.

Activities recorded on film

BBC television news cameras have filmed activities at our Hednesford depot on two occasions in recent weeks.  Both items were shown on ‘Midland News’ and have done much to foster interest in the Society.

On the occasion of the first visit, members were shown at work on the restoration of the Great Eastern Railway coach.  Several of our relics, housed in the coach, were also shown.

The cameras were again at the depot on January 11th 1960 to record the arrival of the T.P.O. Several newspaper representatives also visited us for this event, a very full report of the work, profusely illustrated with photographs, appearing in the ‘Cannock Courier’

The Coalport Branch Line

 

Notes by D. Noel Draycott

This was one of three lines under consideration when looking for a permanent home for the railway.

On Sunday, October 23rd 1960, a small party consisting of David Ives, James Slater, T. Jones, Frank Harvey and myself visited the Coalport to Hadley line in North Shropshire.  Built by the London & North Western Railway, it runs from the very attractive Vale of Severn across high land and through an early centre of the iron and steel industry to a junction on the Wellington to Stafford line.

The branch had a terminus at Coalport Station which stands on a long shelf, part cut out and part built up on the steep bank of the Severn.  The station buildings comprise a booking office, general and ladies waiting rooms, backing on to the station master’s house.  The signal box was demolished and a ground frame installed shortly before services were withdrawn in 1952.  The goods shed has also been demolished, but the three short sidings remain in the yard.

Further along the shelf past the station, there is a carriage shed sufficient for four bogie carriages, and an engine shed for two locomotives.  These buildings are in fair condition, and the engine shed contains a large workshop space as well as a pit.  All these buildings back on to the hillside, and on the opposite side there is a pleasant stretch of wooded land before it falls steeply away to the river which forms the boundary of the railway property.

The line rises steeply from Coalport Station with attractive views across and up the Severn Valley before it turns away to cross pleasant rolling countryside to the small town of Madeley.  Here the station building is used as an office by an engineering firm, but the yard of some half dozen sidings is practically disused.

The line then continues to Dawley and Stirchley Station where a total of some 15 wagons of coal showed that an active coal merchant used the yard.  As dusk was falling, the tour of inspection finished at this point.  All the members of the party were impressed by the potentialities of the line for day trippers.

Before we left the area, we were fortunate to meet a resident interested in the line who presented the R.P.S. with smaller relics. These included an LMS inkwell, labels and official books.  We were very pleased to receive these on behalf of the W.M.D.’s collection of local relics.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces 2

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces 2

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.

Another couple of bits and pieces from the Railway Forum – Winter 1965.  The first is a display of name and number plates, loaned by one of the members, and laid out in the Royal Saloon – which left Hednesford  in  1970 for the British Railways carriage works at Derby for restoration and then on to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley.

Midlands RPS Open Day display

An interesting display of locomotive nameplates and numbers was arranged in the Royal Saloon for inspection by visitors at the Midlands R.P.S. Open Day.

New locomotives preserved in Midlands

Members of the Midlands area, R.P.S. expect to take delivery of another locomotive later this year which has been acquired through the generosity of one of their members, Dr. P.G. Plummer, who has offered to purchase it for them.

The locomotive is a Hudswell-Clarke 0-6-0ST built for the Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Company in 1895 (Works No. 431).  It was transferred to its present location, Desborough Warren Quarry, Northamptonshire, in March 1951 and was due for withdrawal in July.  It is believed to be the oldest Hudswell-Clarke locomotive still in working order and once carried the number 15.  Now it has no number or name, although known as “Sheepbridge No.25”.

Painted in apple green it should be a valuable addition to stock already acquired, and will be of considerable use at the Chasewater branch line which has been leased by this group.

Two other locomotives have also been donated by the Whitecross Co. of Warrington.  They are Peckett 0-4-0STs of 1900 and 1904 vintage.  They were withdrawn from service by the Company in 1961, being replaced by two Fowler diesel locomotives.  They carried names up to withdrawal, the older being “Baden Powell” and the younger “Lancet” the nameplates of the latter being transferred to the Diesel No.1, and those of the former being acquired by local enthusiasts.  Only “Lancet” will be able to run again.  It is hoped to exhibit “Baden Powell” statically.

The second is about new locomotives coming to Chasewater.  Sadly the Hudswell Clarke, although we still have the loco, has never steamed here. The two Pecketts fared even worse.  The ‘Lance’ (not Lancet) 1038/1906 was scrapped in March 1972, and another Peckett – 1823/1931 was also scrapped at the same time.  The Loco ‘Baden Powell’ was in too bad a condition to be moved.  The other loco was an 0-4-0F a fireless Andrew Barclay locomotive 1562/1917 – scrapped in March 1973.
The articles were writtten in 1965, the photos taken in 1969.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 1

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 1

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.

This post was taken from the magazine of the Railway Preservation Societies – the ‘Railway Forum’ Winter 1965.

This picture was taken from the cover of the magazine.

Mr. W. Ives of Hixon, near Stafford, purchased this signal box from British Railways intending it to be preserved by the Midland R.P.S.  Unfortunately contractors taking up the metals of the old Stafford and Uttoxeter Line also demolished the signal box.  Now Mr. Ives (pictured) is wondering where he can get another.  (Photo:  Express & Star, Wolverhampton.)

I’m not sure where this photo was taken, but assuming it’s on ‘our’ line it might be between Norton East Road and Brownhills Road, judging by the position of the houses.  Any other suggestions will be gratefully received!

This, and the other track photos in this post were obviously taken before Chasewater trains were running.

The Chasewater Branch – by F.J.Harvey and L.E.Hodgkinson

Chasewater was constructed by the Wyrley & Essington Canal Company by building a low dam.  A reservoir 1¼ miles in length was thus formed for the purpose of feeding the nearby canals.

At one time Chasewater was encircled by railways; the earliest of these was the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway incorporated by an Act of Parliament on July 29th 1864.   A connecting link was constructed from the London & North Western Railway Cannock Chase mineral extension which was incorporated in 1862.

In 1884 a branch was built by the Midland Railway from Aldridge.  This was for mineral traffic, although passengers were conveyed as far as Brownhills.  The passenger service was withdrawn on March 29th 1930.  The direct link with the LNWR was broken in favour of a more circuitous connection via the Conduit Colliery Company’s yard.

With the closure of the Cannock Chase collieries, the Midland Railway branch from Walsall Wood to Brownhills was lifted in 1960, followed by the CC & WR track in 1963, leaving the remainder of the lines as they are today.  These were retained in order to connect the National Coal Board area workshops with the main line.

In recent years the possibilities of Chasewater as a pleasure resort were realised by Brownhills Urban District Council; an amusement park was constructed and facilities were provided for more specialised interests such as go-carts, speedboats, hydroplanes and yachts.

With the increase in visitors each year it was felt by the Midlands area of the Railway Preservation Society that the line would be suitable for development as a working railway museum and a lease of about two miles of track was taken out.  Much work has to be done to bring the line up to passenger carrying standards and it will probably be several years before a regular passenger service can be maintained.  This largely depends on the number of volunteers that are prepared to help with the track restoration.

The immediate aim of the Society is to construct a building to house the larger items of rolling stock where they can be fully restored and displayed to the public.  This building will form the permanent headquarters of the Chasewater Railway.

The Society would appreciate any help, practical or otherwise, from people interested in this project.  With sufficient support a limited service could be in operation by next summer.

We know where this one was taken – you can see the entrance to the farm gate.  The houses at the top were demolished to make way for the M6 Toll.