Category Archives: Chasewater Railway Museum

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 – Volunteer Award

Volunteer of the Year awarded to
Barry Bull, Curator, Chasewater
Railway Museum in individual
category, West Midlands Museum
Development Awards

Barry Bull receives Volunteer of the
Year award in the individual category,
West Midlands Museum Development
Volunteer Awards, 11th
September 2019
at Birmingham Hippodrome.
Museum Curator Barry Bull (centre)
holds his Volunteer of the Year Award,
with Chris Copp, Staffordshire
Museums Service (left) and David
Bathurst, Chair Chasewater Railway
Museum Committee (right).

AGENORIA

The latest artefact to be donated to Chasewater Railway Museum is the nameplate AGENORIA

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The nameplate was originally fitted to a Midland Metro Tram No 15.

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Arranged by Councillor Richard Worrall, and Graham Wilkes, the plate was presented on September 10th 2019, by Anthony Stanley & Carl Williams from Midland Metro

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Although not strictly a Railway item there is a Railway connection, as Agenoria was the name of a historic local steam locomotive built in Stourbridge in 1829.

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Named Agenoria after the Roman Goddess of Industry, the 0-4-0 loco hauled coal from the Earl of Dudley’s Collieries in Shutt End, down to the Staffs & Worcester canal at Ashwood Basin. Withdrawn from service in 1864, it as been preserved and now stands proudly in the National Railway Museum at York.

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This nameplate compliments the other tram nameplate in the Museum’s collection, from No 5 Sister Dora.

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

Chasewater Railway Museum 

From the Scrapbook,1998,

on to Chasewater Heaths.

Sleepering Partner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chasewater Railway Museum – 2004 Royal Visit

Chasewater Railway Museum 

2004 Royal Visit

It’s full steam ahead – royal style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Architecture and railways are his two passions.”

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

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

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

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

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

Chasewater Railway Museum – 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 – Wickham Trolleys.

Some recent additions at Chasewater Railway, are 3 Wickham Trolleys on display in the Heritage Centre at Brownhills West Station. The Wickham Trolley was a Railway Engineering personnel carrier used on track inspection duties.

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Also at Chasewater is the Wickham No 6878, which was used by the ministry of supply at Longmoor Camp, and also used in the film The Great St Trinians Train Robbery.

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Chasewater Railway Museum – Sister Dora Nameplate.

Another item kindly donated to the museum collection, is the nameplate                            SISTER DORA

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This was removed from a Midland Metro Tram No 5, after being withdrawn from service.

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Although not a Railway item as such, it has a local connection, as it was named after a Walsall Legend Dorothy Patterson. Dorothy or Sister Dora, as she was known worked in the cottage Hospital in Bradford Street in the mid 1800’s. A group of railway workers carried the coffin at her funeral.

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The nameplate which was acquired by Councillor Richard Worrall, and Graham Wilkes, was presented to the Museum on Sunday August 11th 2019.

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Chasewater Railway – Walk into History.

On Saturday August 10th 2019, local historian Gerald Reece ( now living in Devon ), celebrated his 80th birthday with a walk around Brownhills.

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Along with his family and close friends, Gerald set off on the walk he called, Brownhills a walk into history, at 10.00 from the Brownhills West Station of Chasewater Railway.

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After braving the atrocious weather conditions, the party returned to Chasewater, and a social get together and natter was held in the Railway Museum.

During his visit Gerald kindly donated to the museum, 2 old maps of Chasewater from the early 1800’s.

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Despite the weather a good day was had by all, and Chasewater Railway Museum was pleased to help Gerald celebrate his Octogenarianism.

Photographs by David Evans & Oakparkrunner.

 

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)