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