Category Archives: Chasewater Railway Museum

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 – New Website

Chasewater Railway Museum 

New Website

Please have a look at our new website – it’s all there!!

catalogue.chasewaterrailwaymuseum.uk

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)

Some More Old Stuff

Some More Old Stuff

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.

Railway Memorabilia Display

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Aldridge Library situated in Rookery Lane Aldridge, is currently displaying an exhibition of Railway Memorabilia courtesy of Chasewater Railway Museum. The display is housed in two glass cabinets.

To compliment the cabinet display is a screen presentation of the aspects of Chasewater Railway.

The display which was organised by Susan Satterthwaite (a volunteer at Chasewater Railway) will run until the end of May. The Library is open from Tuesdays until Saturdays, (closed Mondays & Sundays).

The artifacts displayed are just a selection of the many on display in the free to enter,  Chasewater Railway Museum, which is situated at Brownhills West Station, and is open on train running days.

Why not visit and relive the past.

Chasewater Railway – Don’t forget Volunteers’ Day – This Saturday – 30 March 2019

Don’t forget Volunteers’ Day 

This Saturday – 30 March 2019

For those who would like to help but are not as young as they used to be there is always the Museum, we need more volunteers too – just move occasionally and we won’t stick a label on you!

  • Chasewater Railway Museum
    We are looking for a volunteer to join
    the Museum Team to help maintain and
    manage the records of our obects and
    archives.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Museum itself is open on
    days when trains are scheduled to run.
    The role is very suitable for someone who has
    recently retired, knows his/her way round a
    computer, and is looking for something interesting
    to do with their free time.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Some knowledge of railways and local history
    could be beneficial when dealing with items with
    local connections.
    And tea & biscuits freely available!
    Interested?
    Just speak to one of our Museum Volunteers
    on duty.

Chasewater Railway Museum – Colourful Wagon Plate

Chasewater Railway Museum

Colourful Wagon Plate

A new addition to the museum collection is this large – 14.75″x 9.75″ – wagon plate.

Manufactured by the Birmingham Wagon Company Ltd.

Chasewater Railway Museum – Another Local Item

Chasewater Railway Museum

Another Local Item

A Single-Line Staff. 

A wooden staff with chain attached and three quite worn brass plates:

Holly Bank Colliery

Lewis Tileries

And Essington Wood

Essington Wood was the signal box controlling the Holly Bank Branch.  This information came from Frank Allen’s book :

“The Cannock Line – Fourteen Miles of History”

The staff was donated by Barry Bull.

 

Chasewater Railway Volunteers’ Day

Chasewater Railway

Volunteers’ Day, Saturday 30th March 2019

For those who would like to help but are not as young as they used to be there is always the Museum, we need more volunteers too – just move occasionally and we won’t stick a label on you!

 

Chasewater Railway Museum – Good to be back!

Chasewater Railway Museum 

Good to be back!

It felt good to be open yesterday after being closed for a while. There were more than 150 visitors through the door – more than we could have hoped for given the weather at the start of the day.

Sentinel above and DL7 below.

I have been busy sorting out photographs, some taken around Chasewater and others taken around Hednesford’s old station.

Hednesford old station buildings, looking towards Walsall.

Walsall end of the up platfrom, looking towards Rugeley.

There will be more when I manage to get them sorted and onto the database.