More from the early days

More from the early days

From RPS Newsletter July 1960 Vol  2 No. 1

From the General Secretary’s Page

More Activity Wanted

You will read in the West Midland notes the present state of our first scheme to be launched.  From the enthusiasm of one member, David Ives, and a group of his friends and acquaintances has grown the reality of rolling stock being restored on a length of line which has been offered as temporary accommodation.  There is no reason why similar successes could not be recorded from most areas of dense population.  We have enough members in the South-East, North-West and North-East to make a start.

Well done the West Midland District – later to become Chasewater Railway.

 

West Midland District

 

Stafford – Uttoxeter Line.  Great Northern Railway

Date: 23 April 1957Description: The Stephenson Locomotive Society (Midland Area) ran the last train on the Uttoxeter to Stafford line on 1957. The locomotive is seen here arriving at Stowe-by-Chartley Station with 200 railway enthusiasts on board.

The line was opened in December 1867 by the Stafford-Uttoxeter Railway Company. Nineteen years later the company folded and the line was sold to the Great Northern Company.

Passenger traffic was withdrawn in 1939, but the line was kept open for milk traffic. The high cost of maintenance proved too expensive and the line closed in 1951, having never shown a profit. It was broken up in 1959.

Staffordshire Past Track – Pic & Info

This was one of the lines under consideration as a running line for the WMD.

Date: 1920 – 1930 (c.)

Description: Stafford Common Railway Station was built in 1867, to serve the Stafford-Uttoxeter line.

The station closed to passengers in 1939, but continued to carry freight. It closed completely in the 1970s.

 

Staffordshire Past Track – Pic & Info

16 members of the West Midland District walked along the Great Northern Railway disused branch line from Chartley to Stafford on Sunday, 27th March.  Members assembled at Stafford Station and were taken by car to Chartley.  Our President, Mr. C. E. Ives, although not being able to take part in the walk, very kindly took members to the starting point.  A considerable number of photographs were taken en route for record purposes, as demolition of this line had already begun.  Very keen interest was shown in station buildings at Chartley, Ingestre and Weston and Salt.  Hopton cutting was duly noted as a great work of civil engineering, a tribute to the railway navvies of the 1860s.  The walk finished at Stafford Common Station (part of which is still worked by BR) where a welcome cup of tea brewed by Mr. A. Holden was much appreciated by all.  A special note must be made concerning one of our very enthusiastic members, Vice President Mr. J. Strong of Hereford, who stayed overnight in Stafford in order to take part.

Stowe and Chartley Station looking neglected. Note the two lines merging in the distance and the crossover in the foreground. Photo Hixon Local History Society.

.Unlike The building on the left was not demolished and was still there in 1990 and 1991 when we walked there. It now has been completely restored and has been moved to the Amerton Railway nearby.
Jan en Fons

Aug 7, 2008 9:52 PM

Depot

The West Midland District Depot has been kindly offered to us by our President Mr. C. E. Ives as temporary accommodation until a branch line has been acquired.  It is situated at Penkridge Engineering Co., Chase Works, Rugeley Road, Hednesford, Staffs.  This can be reached from Cannock along the Rugeley Road and from Rugeley along the Hednesford Road and is adjacent to Messrs. Bestmore Drop Forgings Ltd.

The depot consists of approx. 150 yards of siding with access to BR and NCB sidings.  Good covered space covers approx 50 yards of the track.  Members have already been advised of times of working parties, etc. and will continue to get these each month through the summer.  Negotiations are going ahead for the acquisition of two six-wheeled coaches, a full 3rd Maryport & Carlisle Railway and a full brake Great Eastern Railway.  It is hoped to have these under our covered space by the time this Newsletter reaches you.

More hands wanted at Hednesford

 

On June 3rd the Honorary Yardmaster, Albert Holden, gave a talk on the practical side of track maintenance to a group of members.  He expressed disappointment at the turnout of members and pointed out that work was being carried out by a small proportion of members.  If they did not get the support of more members they could become discouraged and work cease altogether.

It is the declared intention of the WMD to lease or purchase a line and run its own services.  But this needs a reservoir of skilled members and a strong organisation.  This depot gives us a chance to introduce all members to the technical side of maintenance of rolling stock and permanent way.  If full use is made of it, we shall have a reliable band of voluntary workers who can restore a line to serviceable condition in the shortest possible time.

The future of railway preservation in the West Midlands is in your hands.  Let’s all pull together and show the rest of the RPS how to run a branch line!

Stop Press

The first two coaches were moved in Hednesford depot at 9.45 am on Wednesday, 22nd June 1960.  How about coming along and helping with their restoration?

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.

Chasewater Railway Museum – 60th Anniversary – and more early stuff.

Chasewater Railway Museum – 60th Anniversary – and more early stuff.

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces 2

These posts are taken from old publications, newssheets and magazines produced by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands Division). Chasewater Light Railway Society and Chasewater Light Railway and Museum.

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

Midlands RPS Open Day display

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

New locomotives preserved in Midlands

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

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

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

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

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

Chasewater Railway Museum – Chasewater Railway Publications No.4

Chasewater Railway Museum

Chasewater Railway Publications No.4

First posted Feb 1st 2010

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.

tpo-h-ford

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!)

 

 

Progress Report

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.

Restoration Plans

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

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Chasewater Railway Museum – Bits and Pieces No.3

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.3

First posted  on 29-1-2010

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


This picture was taken from what is now the footpath round the back of Hednesford Park.  The building which the carriage is going into still exists but the walls and frontage have been bricked up.

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.

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Chasewater Railway Museum – In the Stores

Chasewater Railway Museum – In the Stores

First posted in Chasewaterstuff’s Blog, 2011

 I thought I might publish a few pictures of some of the station furniture which the museum has tucked away, as do many other museums, in store.This item is a roll-fronted ticket rack from about 1938.This is a wooden chair with a Staffordshire Knot carved in the back, formerly of the North Staffs Railway.Finally for this time, another wooden chair, with a cut-out letter ‘M’ in the back, from the Midland Railway.

While it is good that the museum has these and more items in store, it would be nice to think that sometime in the future (probably distant) the museum could be extended and these items could be restored to their former glory and put on show.

Chasewater Railway Museum – Hednesford Railways 1

Chasewater Railway Museum

Hednesford Railways 1

From December 2009

The view in 2009, looking towards Rugeley from Hednesford Station bridge.  (See below for latest signal box picture.)As it was in the late 1950s, a very busy railway location, with pits sending coal into the sidings from all directions.

Looking forward and to the left, the line leads to West Cannock Colliery No.5 and to the right, to Cannock & Rugeley Collieries at Cannock Wood and the Valley Pit.

From the rear, coal comes in from West Cannock Collierys Nos. 1, 3 and 4 – situated in the  Pye Green Valley.

The picture shows the site of West Cannock No.1 and No.4 Plants circa 1920s, it looks north east towards the top end of Green Heath Road.  No.4 Plant is just above the top of the chimney and steam can be seen coming from its winder stack.  The brickworks is the furthest building centre/right at the base of the mound.  A fourth shaft to the north of the brickworks has been covered by the mound.  The picture shows the enormity of the West Cannock Company’s operation in the middle of Pye Green Valley.

From here, the railway ran down to Hednesford Station via a bridge under the road by the ‘Bridge’ public house.  It then went through the left-hand arch (looking towards Rugeley) and into the sidings.With the closure of West Cannock Collieries 1-4, lines to the left found little usage.  The old station building, imposingly symetrical on the overbridge, castle-like dominated the access to the platforms.  One of  Bescot’s 0-8-0s, 49373, sorted out the empties to transfer to the collieries.

On the other side of the bridge, the sidings opened out into the marshalling yard.William Stanier designed 2-cylinder 2-6-4T no.2579, built by the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow in 1936 and withdrawn in June 1962, runs in with a Rugeley Trent Valley to Walsall local passenger.  The station was demolished after the passenger service was withdrawn in January 1965 and the sidings were removed following the closure of almost all local collieries in the 1970s.  The signal box (formerly No.1), seen behind the water tower remains in operation. No.2 signal box closed on January 14th 1973 and No.3 from 18th December 1977.  Passenger services were reinstated from Walsall to Hednesford in 1989, using newly built platforms.  The service was later extended to Rugeley and Stafford, although, by 2009, it terminated at Rugeley Trent Valley.This is a cold view of West Cannock No.5, which continued producing coal until 1982.  The locomotive in the photo is Bagnall 0-6-0ST  ‘Topham’ 2193/1922.

DSCF9028

Hednesford No.1 Signal Box in the park. It’s had a touch of paint and is now awaiting further developments (Dec. 2015)