146 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – From Chasewater News Spring 1992 – Part 2
Permanent Way News
The majority of the work carried out in this department is still the extending of the line towards the causeway. Around half a dozen people are now regularly involved in the work and a dozen or so 60 foot lengths of track have been added to the existing extension.Work has been greatly speeded up by the use of the JCB which by clearing the track bed, moving rails and sleepers and depositing ballast exactly where it is needed has left the track gang free to lay track rather than spend hours, or even weeks, just shovelling. Accordingly, the lads would like to thank Ian Buswell for his superb driving of this ’52 manpower’ machine.
The JCB has also filled the breach in the causeway, and was driven across to the other side in triumph on 8th March where work then began on widening the trackbed opposite the existing brick platform so that a run round loop can eventually be installed.
Walsall Council have now agreed to provide and dump ‘road scrapings’ to widen the causeway in the very near future. It is hoped that enough of this material will be available to provide sufficient width for a footpath next to the railway.
Whilst progress on the track so far has been relatively rapid, our supply of track materials is likely to run out before the causeway is reached. If anyone knows where we could obtain rail chairs, keys, fishplates and bolts, or even rail cheaply could they please contact the PW department at Chasewater?
Carriage & Wagon News
Maryport & Carlisle six-wheel coach – This vehicle remains sheeted up, protected against the weather,
Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln six-wheel coach – This vehicle has also remained sheeted up.
Great Eastern six wheel passenger brake – This coach has with one almighty pull rotated its wheels shedding rust from its brake blocks accumulated since its last move in 1977. The new position has made access easy, and working on cutting and fitting the missing panels, undercoating and top glossing has already been completed leaving only a small section around the door areas. The temporary two-tone blue will remain, sealing the wooden body for some time. The Great Eastern coach, once left forlornly down in the undergrowth to rot, now boasts to be the most used vehicle on our railway. It provides a hearth and meeting place at Brownhills West for early arrivals on Saturday and Sunday, warm overnight accommodation, a place to make a hot drink, and about three times a day, a debating room.
CCCC Brake Van – Referred to in magazines as a ’CRC’ Brake Van but it was in fact from Cannock Chase Colliery Co., not Cannock & Rugeley Colliery. Keith has now sealed the roof, replaced the wooden blanks with Perspex windows, re-timbered some of the verandah planking and fitted lids to the inside cabin lockers.
Midland four-wheel passenger brake – This vehicle has remained sheeted up over the winter, but inspection has revealed that even though the tarpaulin was in good condition and fitted snugly, it didn’t stop all the rain from entering the coach. Thus began the Carriage & Wagon Shed (planning permission exempt).
Over the Christmas period an experiment was carried out to make a canopy support strong enough to carry the weight of a tarpaulin and snow, and rigid enough to remain intact against our famous Chase winds. A free standing structure made of scaffolding and point rodding looked good on paper, but in reality the constant adjustment of the uprights to keep everything square was a problem. The damn thing was just walking slowly into the woods! The use of two bracing cables across the roof of the Great Eastern coach and secured down to the rail did the trick. After another two weekends work the structure was complete and awaiting tarpaulins.
A shunt round now is needed to get maximum protection from the weather for perhaps the Midland, or, with John Elsley’s consent the MS & L or Hudswell 431.
Maunsell Southern Brake van No.62861 – This van has received attention to its roof, as the flaking top skin of bitumen had exposed the Hessian backing in places allowing leakage. These have been re-sealed, and during the last rain storm the patches seemed to be weather tight.
Cadbury Van – This has now become a useful workshop with temporary mains power and lighting, and is used frequently by our brightest and best young member, Chris Hatton. (If only we had another ten like Chris our future would be certain).
Great Western Brake Vans – These vehicles are in service nearly every week on the permanent way train, the tool van kept tidy by Arthur, and the mess van kept warm by Arthur and Steve stoking up the pot-bellied stove.
16 Ton Mineral Wagon – With the help of Arthur, Steve, Jonathan Clegg and others, the coal has now been removed from the wagon and spread in the four-foot for use in our pot-bellied stoves. One of the side doors has been freed off and the wheels and under-frames painted with oil.Derby Centre Car W59444 – The bodywork of this coach is being prepared for painting prior to its entering service coupled to the Wickham trailer at the start of the season.
Wickham Trailer E56171 – It is hoped that, with the agreement of the Railway Inspector, we will be propelling our trains from the opposite end this year, in which case the Guard (or second driver) will travel in this coach. In view of this, a certain amount of refurbishment will be necessary in the driving compartment but otherwise the vehicle is in reasonable condition.
Gloucester Trailer E56301 – It is intended that this coach should remain out of service for a while until repair have been carried out.
Wickham Power car E50416 – The greatest step forward by the C & W dept recently has been the work carried out by new members Ken, Andy and Larry on this vehicle. They have assisted Dave Whittle with the bodywork, but more importantly on the technical side of replacing batteries, rewiring, test running the engines, vacuum and air equipment, as well as interior restoration. Working mid-week and Saturdays and Sundays, they forecast ‘the set’ will be available for service trains in the near future. With Chris, Ken, Larry and Andy’s help this has certainly boosted the C & W dept’s hands-on membership team.
Dave Borthwick.Pictures by Dave Borthwick, Nigel Canning and Tony Wheeler.
Holly Bank No.3 leaving Chasewater Heaths for Church Street, first day of steaming in 2023 – May 7th