Chasewater Railway Museum
July 2017 Newsletter
From the March/April 1962 ‘Mercian’
Bi-monthly news sheet of the Midlands Area of the R.P.S.
From the Hon. Secretary’s notes and reports.
These notes were from the early days when the depot was at Hednesford.
G.E. – Great Eastern, T.P.O. – Travelling Post office
News has been rather scarce this time. I have only had articles from the Hon. Treasurer and T. C. Jones, it is difficult to keep making up copy and I do hope that members will co-operate and send in articles. Otherwise the ‘Mercian’ will soon cease to function. Pleas send in articles, no matter how small, copy must be sent in by the 8th May.
(Some things don’t change!)
A new siding has now been completed, the G.E.Brake is now stabled on this siding, this has allowed room for the T.P.O. and the Coal Tank to be moved further under the covered space, giving greater protection from the weather. The whole scheme of the new siding was planned by the Assistant Depot Manager, John Elsley, the installation was very ably carried out by him and his small, but willing band of helpers. New glass has now been fitted in the windows of the G. E. Brake, the toilet of the T.P.O is now in the process of being repainted, whilst the interior of this vehicle has been thoroughly cleaned.
We hope that the T.P.O. will be finished this Summer (on one side at least) this could easily be achieved if we had a few more willing expert hands. Our woodwork expert Frank Harvey has had a considerable amount of new panelling to do, he is being ably assisted by Fred Lewis. A considerable amount of painting has yet to be done on the T.P.O. so any member who is handy with a paint brush will be very welcome indeed. The Maryport & Carlisle coach still has to be completely reglazed and we earnestly appeal to members for offers of glass
David A. Hives, Hon. Sec.
Working Parties at R.P.S. Depot, Hednesford
The Society holds working parties every Sunday, these commence at 2.30pm. There are however, a number of members who would like to attend working parties, but cannot attend those held on Sundays. During the Summer we are hoping to recommence working parties on Saturdays and Wednesday evenings. Would you please specify on the form below the days you wish to attend, and return form to the Secretary, alternatively contact by post card.
Terry C. Jones
First posted in 2010
Another couple of bits and pieces from the Railway Forum – Winter 1965. The first is a display of name and number plates, loaned by one of the members, and laid out in the Royal Saloon – which left Hednesford in 1970 for the British Railways carriage works at Derby for restoration and then on to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley.
Midlands RPS Open Day display
An interesting display of locomotive nameplates and numbers was arranged in the Royal Saloon for inspection by visitors at the Midlands R.P.S. Open Day.
New locomotives preserved in Midlands
Members of the Midlands area, R.P.S. expect to take delivery of another locomotive later this year which has been acquired through the generosity of one of their members, Dr. P.G. Plummer, who has offered to purchase it for them.
The locomotive is a Hudswell-Clarke 0-6-0ST built for the Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Company in 1895 (Works No. 431). It was transferred to its present location, Desborough Warren Quarry, Northamptonshire, in March 1951 and was due for withdrawal in July. It is believed to be the oldest Hudswell-Clarke locomotive still in working order and once carried the number 15. Now it has no number or name, although known as “Sheepbridge No.25”.
Painted in apple green it should be a valuable addition to stock already acquired, and will be of considerable use at the Chasewater branch line which has been leased by this group.
Two other locomotives have also been donated by the Whitecross Co. of Warrington. They are Peckett 0-4-0STs of 1900 and 1904 vintage. They were withdrawn from service by the Company in 1961, being replaced by two Fowler diesel locomotives. They carried names up to withdrawal, the older being “Baden Powell” and the younger “Lancet” the nameplates of the latter being transferred to the Diesel No.1, and those of the former being acquired by local enthusiasts. Only “Lancet” will be able to run again. It is hoped to exhibit “Baden Powell” statically.
The second is about new locomotives coming to Chasewater. Sadly the Hudswell Clarke, although we still have the loco, has never steamed here. The two Pecketts fared even worse. The ‘Lance’ (not Lancet) 1038/1906 was scrapped in March 1972, and another Peckett – 1823/1931 was also scrapped at the same time. The Loco ‘Baden Powell’ was in too bad a condition to be moved. The other loco was an 0-4-0F a fireless Andrew Barclay locomotive 1562/1917 – scrapped in March 1973.
The articles were writtten in 1965, the photos taken in 1969
This picture was taken from the cover of the magazine.
Mr. W. Ives of Hixon, near Stafford, purchased this signal box from British Railways intending it to be preserved by the Midland R.P.S. Unfortunately contractors taking up the metals of the old Stafford and Uttoxeter Line also demolished the signal box. Now Mr. Ives (pictured) is wondering where he can get another. (Photo: Express & Star, Wolverhampton.)
I’m not sure where this photo was taken, but assuming it’s on ‘our’ line it might be between Norton East Road and Brownhills Road, judging by the position of the houses. Any other suggestions will be gratefully received!
This, and the other track photos in this post were obviously taken before Chasewater trains were running.
The Chasewater Branch – by F.J.Harvey and L.E.Hodgkinson
Chasewater was constructed by the Wyrley & Essington Canal Company by building a low dam. A reservoir 1¼ miles in length was thus formed for the purpose of feeding the nearby canals.
At one time Chasewater was encircled by railways; the earliest of these was the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway incorporated by an Act of Parliament on July 29th 1864. A connecting link was constructed from the London & North Western Railway Cannock Chase mineral extension which was incorporated in 1862.
In 1884 a branch was built by the Midland Railway from Aldridge. This was for mineral traffic, although passengers were conveyed as far as Brownhills. The passenger service was withdrawn on March 29th 1930. The direct link with the LNWR was broken in favour of a more circuitous connection via the Conduit Colliery Company’s yard.
With the closure of the Cannock Chase collieries, the Midland Railway branch from Walsall Wood to Brownhills was lifted in 1960, followed by the CC & WR track in 1963, leaving the remainder of the lines as they are today. These were retained in order to connect the National Coal Board area workshops with the main line.
In recent years the possibilities of Chasewater as a pleasure resort were realised by Brownhills Urban District Council; an amusement park was constructed and facilities were provided for more specialised interests such as go-carts, speedboats, hydroplanes and yachts.
With the increase in visitors each year it was felt by the Midlands area of the Railway Preservation Society that the line would be suitable for development as a working railway museum and a lease of about two miles of track was taken out. Much work has to be done to bring the line up to passenger carrying standards and it will probably be several years before a regular passenger service can be maintained. This largely depends on the number of volunteers that are prepared to help with the track restoration.
The immediate aim of the Society is to construct a building to house the larger items of rolling stock where they can be fully restored and displayed to the public. This building will form the permanent headquarters of the Chasewater Railway.
The Society would appreciate any help, practical or otherwise, from people interested in this project. With sufficient support a limited service could be in operation by next summer.
By Gerald Wildish
Many of you will by now have seen our splendid new locomotive. Two years ago exactly to the day that she left Trafford Park, I first found ‘Asbestos’ – 15th June 1966. She was not working on that particular occasion and had been specially hauled out of the shed for me and put in a photographic position. She appeared in excellent condition. On the occasion of my visit I learnt that she was likely to finish working that September, and I duly put in a bid for the RPS. I was informed that the Society’s interest had been noted.
A little over a year later a letter arrived from Turner’s asking me if I would care to bid for the engine – I made an offer of £50, and shortly afterwards received a telephone call informing me that a scrap merchant had offered £100 – we could have her if we could reach that figure. By this time we were in October and I was already engaged in trying to raise funds for the Neilson. My reply said that if they could hold the locomotive until after our Christmas raffle, we would do our best, but I did not hold out a great deal of hope. Considering all things, the raffle was a success, but we did not raise the sums necessary to allow us to move in two directions and I informed the Company that we would have to let her go.
My surprise could not have been greater, when Mr. Francis, the manager of the buying department, rang me to say that we could have ‘Asbestos’ free of charge. Without doubt this was one of the happiest days of my life. I made arrangements to go to Trafford Park to arrange the handover and had an excellent morning. The handover was arranged for a date three weeks later when the presentation plaque could be fixed to the locomotive.
I could not have been dealing with nicer people throughout the negotiations, right from the time of my first visit to the works. Our thanks must go to Mr. A.H.Wailes, the Works Director, Mr. T.Noble, the Purchasing Director, Mr. T.N.Chadwick, the Works Manager, who also arranged for the locomotive to be ‘done up’ for us during the week before the handover, to Mr. W.D.Francis, the Purchasing Manager, who dealt with most of the negotiations and Mr. S.McCormick.
Little is known of the history of ‘Asbestos’. She was built by Hawthorn Leslie in 1909, for the Washington Chemical Co. in County Durham, where she became No.2, along with two other Hawthorn Leslies and a Fox Walker engine. A further Hawthorn Leslie was added in 1918, and presumably replaced the Fox Walker. In 1920, the Company became part of the Turner and Newall group.
In 1933, two of the locomotives were transferred to the Turner’s Asbestos Cement Company works at Trafford Park, becoming ‘Turnall’ and ‘Asbestos’. Turnall was scrapped in 1965, leaving ‘Asbestos’ with two diesel locomotives (Planets). ‘Asbestos’ was placed in store as the reserve engine in 1966 and presented to the RPS on 25th May of this year(1968); she was transferred to Chasewater on 15th June, and started work in revenue service eight days later.