Category Archives: Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces

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

Chasewater Railway Museum – More from the Archives, Feb 1965, Bits & Pieces 25

 

Taken from The Mercian, February 1965 4.1

The front page shows the map of the line, including the amusement park and the go-kart track, both long gone. Then follows an interesting Editorial about the future of the RPS movement after a change in government.

Editorial

Over the last few months of 1964, the winds of change swept through Parliament.  A Government which favoured the railways taking the form of a profit making concern was replaced by a Government which believes that the railways should provide a complete social service.

With this news came the resignation of Dr. Richard Beeching, Chairman of the British Railways Board.  What effect will these major changes have on our Society and its fellows?

Although the internal affairs of British Railways are nothing to do with our Society, their attitude – based on the policy of the BRB certainly does affect us.  Up to the present, the attitude has been somewhat cold, and certainly not what could be called encouraging.  British Railways appear to be trying to make a profit on anything that they possibly can, with no sympathy to museums or museum societies, as we have found.

We have been charged extremely high prices for coaches that would be sold to scrap merchants at one third of the price.  We do accept the fact that the railways are trying to work at a profit, but this exploitation of an historical society, in its first years and struggling to survive is surely uncalled for.

With the introduction of a socialist Government, we certainly expect the greater part of the Beeching plan to be abandoned, and concerning the connecting branch line to Brownhills and our Chasewater line, we would greatly appreciate a reprieve, but how does the remainder of the plan concern us?  Very little indeed!  It does affect some small branch lines for sale – at rather high rents, and on the other hand some well loved and beautiful branches which no society could afford to maintain or buy will be swept away.

On the whole, the RPS should look forward to the abandonment of the Beeching plan and perhaps a softening of BR policy towards us, although my personal feelings on the plan are the contrary to those of society in general.  Our own attitude seems rather selfish but we aren’t the wealthiest of Societies, and at this critical stage we must be selfish to survive.  As it has been said many times before in dealing with other problems, ’the world does not owe us a living!’

Hon. Ed. M.D.Willis

The Titfield Thunderbolt

It’s interesting to see that back in 1965 the Society held a film show at Walton Village Hall and 70 people attended in dreadful weather in January.  We have a copy in the Museum right now!

The Chasewater Project

As you will read in the Officers’ reports, work on the Chasewater line will begin in the near future, and a great deal of organisation will be necessary to make it the great success on which we are planning.  A great deal of hard work will have to be done by our members, and in order to discuss it openly, individual members will be receiving a visit from an official. (In long macs and dark glasses??!)

With this project will come a great deal of publicity for the Society, and in order to assure that this will be put to the maximum possible use for effect, we must have one united outlook.  In order to prevent any contradictions, however petty, will members please send any correspondence about the project to the Committee, via the Secretary so that any such ‘slips of the pen’ may be pointed out.

The Chasewater project was repeated in the Chairman’s report.

Hon. Secretary’s report

ue to wintry conditions, restoration work has temporarily come to a halt at the depot.  Work has been maintained on the smaller relics.  John Elsley has however continued working on the generator set in spite of the cold.  The TPO dynamo coupled to an Austin 6-cylinder lorry engine, donated by the President, comprises the set.  It is now in full working order and provides adequate power for our coach batteries.  Many thanks to John and his small band of helpers.

Hinges have now been cast for the Maryport & Carlisle carriage doors, an effort will be made to clean up these castings in the near future and fit to the doors.

Plans are now being formulated for our line at Chasewater, and the Committee will be discussing and drawing up plans for the project for some months to come.

A small party of members (7) braved the elements on Sunday 17th January to attend the last train run from Walsall to Rugeley.  Two members – D. J. and J. J. Bradbury – attended as official mourners, vintage MR and GWR caps were worn.  For our Treasurer, Frank Harvey it was a nostalgic journey, Frank having travelled on the line for some 7 years to and from school.

(The line from Walsall to Hednesford was reopened in 1989, and to Rugeley in 1997.)

D.A.Ives, Hon Sec.

Treasurer’s Report

Without doubt, 1965 will prove a most expensive year if all our plans are to be achieved.  For the benefit of our more distant members, (And for those of us reading this some 45 years later!) I would like to outline a few of these.

First we must consider the lease of the Chasewater branch.  Naturally, we have made preparations for this and the general fund is in a position to be able to settle this account without delay.  However, before any of the stock can be moved up there, a building will have to be constructed to provide accommodation.  The building which we have in mind will be large enough to house our present collection of large relics with room to spare for future acquisitions.  The estimated cost of such a building has been put at around £3,000.  This matter is urgent and the full support of all our members is needed. (As a comparison, a three bedroomed detached house in Hednesford at that time would have cost about £3,500, so the equivalent cost would be in the region of some £160,000).

Apart from this, repairs to the line and its accessories will account for another large sum of money.

The time limit given to us by the NCB to raise the money for the Stroudley E1 (Cannock Wood No. 9) has now been reached.  £100 out of the £300 needed has been collected.  We are hoping that negotiations with the Board to keep the locomotive for a further period of time will be successful.  I would like to thank those people who have donated to the fund, but generally speaking, I am rather disappointed at the response shown by our own members.  The attitude I am afraid has been rather apathetic.  Most of the money has been donated by people who live well outside our own area!

A branch line without a locomotive is a rather ludicrous situation.  It is up to us to rectify the position since we will require at least two engines.  The Stroudley E1 could so easily be one of these.

Sound coaching stock will also be required.  The stock we have at present will not be suitable for service until a vast amount of restoration work has been completed.  Carriages which require little or no repair work need to be purchased.  These will cost in the region of £300 each.

I realise that our expense problems sound formidable but they can be overcome.  After all, preserved standard gauge lines are still very few and far between.  There is certainly room for one in the Midlands.

With all the development work done by Lichfield Council on the Chasewater Country Park, the Chasewater Railway is better situated than ever in the heart of the West Midlands.

 

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, 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.21

Chasewater Railway Museum – Taken from our Archived Publications – Bits & Pieces No.21

Chasewater Causeway – No Rails

 

WE HAVE A BRANCH LINE AT LAST! And many of you will probably by now know that we have acquired the Chasewater Line from the NCB.  The legal details, lease, etc., are to go through the usual channels to be tied up, and we will keep you informed of progress made.

Every member (and non-members) who travelled on the Great Central Special agreed that it was a very enjoyable day all round, although the train ran at a very heavy loss.  The loss mainly being due to the lack of support by our own members.  We appeal to you all now to donate what you can to help clear this deficit on the Special.The Flying Scotsman uncoupled at Marylebone Station

This trip was organised by Mr. Eric Cowell on 15th June 1963.  The Flying Scotsman hauling the train down the Great Central Line from Sheffield Victoria to Marylebone and back.  Only 27 out of a possible 160 members attended, resulting in a loss of £100.

 

Open Weekend at Hednesford Depot (June 29th-30th 1963)

In spite of the awful weather the attendance both on Saturday and Sunday exceeded all expectations, approx. 300 people attending for the two days.  People came from as far afield as Halifax, Manchester, Leicester, London and Somerset.  It is sad to report however that there was a noticeable absence of members, just the usual faithfuls plus a few of the not so active.

A great deal of interest was aroused by our modest collection of relics, the Maryport & Carlisle coach was pushed out on the Sunday for photographic purposed, cameras were clicking all over the place.Maryport & Carlisle Coach in 1905 Livery

All in all it was a most successful weekend.  A very special thanks to our lady members Mrs. F. Watson, Miss Mary Watson, Mrs. J. Harvey, Mrs. D. Ives and Mrs. Townsend for manning the buffet car (Great Eastern Brake) and to Mrs. F. Lewis and Mrs. Wormington for providing refreshments.  What would we do without the ladies?  Bless ‘em!

Thanks must also be expressed to the Sutton Coldfield and North Birmingham Model Engineering Society (Affiliated Member) for displaying the lovely Live Steam Models. A big thank you to all members who worked hard and long to make the show the success that it was.

RPS on the air

Mr. C. Ives and Mr. D. Ives were interviewed when BBC’s ‘Down Your Way’ team visited Hednesford on Sunday October 6th.

News in Brief

The ex London, Brighton and South Coast Railway E1 Stroudley loco should soon be stabled in the depot at Hednesford, the NCB has very kindly consented to us having it on free loan for 12 months.

Three new items for Hednesford

We are expecting delivery of the Midland Royal Saloon, L. & Y. Van and Midland Crane all within the next two or three weeks.The Stroudley E1 is expected about the same time as the above rolling stock.

Through the very kind auspices of Mr. K. Vincent (member) Secretary of the Dowty RPS we are taking delivery of the L & Y van.  Two vans were donated to the Dowty RPS and Ken Vincent has very kindly offered one to us at Hednesford.

Lancs & Yorks Railway Box Van

This goods van was constructed at Newtonheath in 1895, eventually passing from the L & Y to the London, Midland & Scottish Railway at the 1923 grouping.  At an unknown date the vehicle was sold to the Rolling Stock Company, Darlington and, after renovation, sold on to the well-known chocolate manufacturers, Cadbury’s of Bournville and numbered 144 in Cadbury’s wagon fleet.

During 1963, with the arrival of new all-steel box vans at Cadbury’s, the majority of the old internal user vans were withdrawn, with 144 being donated to the Railway Preservation Society and transported to the Hednesford depot before later being transferred to Chasewater.

The van carried the ‘Cadbury’ logo in white at the top of one end, with its stock number at the opposite, lower end.  Overall livery was reddish brown.

Of particular note is the canvas roof flap, a once-common feature enabling goods vans to be loaded from overhead hoists.

Rail traffic at the Bournville factory ceased in 1976.

Chasewater Railway Museum – Taken from our Archived Publications – Bits & Pieces No.20

Chasewater Railway Museum – Taken from our Archived Publications – Bits & Pieces No.20

Taken from the Mercian 2.1 June –July 1963

GC Special Issue

Part Editorial

The Flying Scotsman, 4472, certainly gets an airing in its ‘preserved state’, as many Societies now take advantage of hiring out this fine loco for their Specials.  Mr. Pegler has done a fine job in purchasing it for preservation. The RPS is most proud to have’4472’ to head its Great Central Special on June 15th which we are hoping will bring the Society much publicity and many more members.

D. B.

Hednesford Progress Report

As there has not been a ‘Mercian’ for some time now my report covers quite a few months of work at the depot.

Despite the Wintry conditions that prevailed in the early part of this year, small parties continued to press on with restoration work on the Maryport & Carlisle coach.  This consisted in the main of burning off the paint in two of the compartments and sanding down in preparation for priming paint.

The next job consisted of reglazing the windows in the same compartments already mentioned.  Some good work has also been done by two members renovating old books and documents that we have in our possession.  This is vital work!  As we all know, these items are completely irreplaceable.

The Webb Coal Tank continues to get regular attention and maintenance.  An excellent job has been made of the cab fittings by Mr. and Mrs. Roger Bell (Princess Elizabeth Fund) and all members join me in expressing their appreciation and thanks for their much devoted labour and wish them luck with their Princess Fund.

D. A. Ives Hon. Sec.

Great Central Rail Tour

Although the Railway and Model Press are carrying details of the GC trip, we would like here to give members a brief reminder.

The train will now depart Sheffield Victoria 8.50am and not 9.00am as previously advertised. There will be refreshment car facilities on the train, and also a short souvenir history of the Great Central Railway.

On the outward journey it will call at Chesterfield Central (if the loop is still open), Nottingham Victoria, Loughborough Central, Leicester central, Rugby Central, Woodford Halse, Quainton Road, Aylesbury Town, Harrow-on-the-Hill and Marylebone, with four hours stay in London, during which time a visit will be made to the BTC Museum at Clapham as both large and small relics are now on display.  On the return journey call at Rugby, Leicester and Nottingham only to set down passengers.Picture: Sharman-Corbis

The motive power will be 4472, Flying Scotsman, (by courtesy of Mr. Pegler) and coaching stock ex-LNER. Members who have not yet booked and would like to travel on this train may be lucky to get a ticket at this late date.  But it should be noted that seating accommodation is strictly limited.  For further information and details please contact Mr. E. Cowell, Sheffield, using the form which was enclosed with ‘Forum’ immediately. Our thanks and appreciation go to Mr. Cowell for the wonderful effort he has made to organise this trip in spite of a recent injury to his back.  We hope it is a great success and that many more trips of this nature spring from his idea.  The proceeds after expenses are to go to the Carriage & Wagon Preservation Fund.

Open Weekend at Hednesford

Members will probably have already read in the Railway Press that the Society is holding an open weekend at the depot.  It is hoped that members will give this function their utmost support, a lot of hard work has been put in by the ‘faithful few’ and we do appeal to the less active people to give a hand to act as stewards, etc.

Remember that these events are designed to give people an idea of the aims of the Society, and of course as money raising schemes without which, the aims cannot possibly be put into effect!

Therefore the depot will be open from 2.00pm Saturday, June 29th until 7.30pm, and again on Sunday, June 30th from 2.00pm until 5.30pm.

Working model layouts and a good photographic display, as well as all our vintage stock can be seen.  Please bring your friends, neighbours, etc.  A small admission fee will be charged, which we hope to help boost our funds with (as preservation is a costly business).

Refreshments will also be available.  Members who could, or wish to volunteer their services on either day should contact the Hon. Sec. — Please help!

 

Visit to Swithland Hall. Pic – Wikipedia

A small party of Midland Area members paid a visit to Lord Lanesborough’s ancestral home on Saturday, April 27th.  His Lordship entertained members by operating his extensive model layout.  This was followed by a trip to Swithland sidings, where his Lordship answered questions on the Great Central line; he also outlined the Great Central association’s scheme for the takeover from British Railways.

The Hon. Sec. proposed a vote of thanks to his Lordship in allowing members to visit the hall and sidings, the party then continued to Mountsorrel Granite Quarry to inspect the workings and railway installations.

David A. Ives

Carriage and Wagon Fund

BR are continually pressing for the final payment on the Midland Royal Saloon, some £240 is still owing on this vehicle and we would remind members to make a special effort and donate to the fund in order to clear the account.

Other items awaiting purchase include a LNWR lower quadrant home signal and a Midland dumb buffer crane, which the Society hopes to put to good use. The cost of the crane being £8.  A small fund for this crane has now been launched, and £2 has already been donated, we should like to cover the cost of transport for this very interesting relic.  All donations to the Hon. Treasurer please.

News in Brief

Council for British Archaeology

Thanks were expressed in this important National Report for the work that the Midlands Area of the RPS and the Stafford Railway Circle had done jointly in the survey of Railways for the Industrial Revolution section.

The Warwickshire and Worcestershire (May) Magazine have included an article on Lord Lanesborough and also mentions the Society.  There will be a follow up article in the June Edition with pictures of the RPS in action at Hednesford.

Late News

Chasewater Line

This line has been offered to the Society by the NCB for the very low rental of £10 per annum, other extras such as maintenance, fencing, etc. are not included.  A resolution was passed at the last committee meeting that the Society accept this very reasonable offer, a further meeting with the NCB to discuss the legal and other aspects is to be conducted very shortly.Pic – L. Hodgkinson

There are still seats left for the GC Tour on June 15th — book yours now if you have not already done so!

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.

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