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116 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces – January 1988

116 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News January 1988

 From the Editorial

It is eleven years since I last prepared an edition of our Railway’s magazine.  I do so now following our Publicity Director’s decision not to stand for re-election fro personal reasons.  As Company Chairman, however, I intend to act purely as a commissioning editor, so as to avoid any accusation of bias in editorial policy. Rob Curtis has also decided to stand down, as he is about to start a new job and sadly no longer has the time to be as active on the Railway as in the past.

 From the first AGM of the Chasewater Light Railway & Museum Company

The new Board for 1988/89 is composed thus:

Chairman – Steve Organ

Engineering Mgr – T.R.Sale

Operations Mgr – N.V.Canning

Commercial Mgr – B.J.Bull

Financial Mgr – L.J.Emery

Ex Officio – I.M.Newbold, A.C.R.Hall

In addition, the vacant posts of General Manager and Publicity Manager will be covered for the time being by Tony Sale and Steve Organ respectively.  Further, Adrian Hall has offered to continue as Company Secretary.

 The (lost) Causeway

Many of our members have in recent weeks expressed concern about the condition of the causeway which we hope to run passenger trains across to the far side of the lake eventually.  The problem is that some years of neglect, and very high levels of water in Chasewater, coupled with long periods of high winds causing severe wave action to erode the sides of the causeway have combined to completely breach the causeway.Our Company is powerless to do any remedial work, since we at present have no ‘Lawful Interest’ in the causeway, i.e. we don’t lease it at the moment.

Representations have been made to the local authority, Walsall Council, and at a recent meeting of the local authority’s recreation and amenities committee, the Engineer’s Department of Walsall Council were invited to make a detailed study of the problems and to investigate ways of restoring the whole of the causeway to an overall width which would allow both a Railway and a footpath to cross it.  Further, the Waterways Board have said that they will from now on abstract water from Chasewater before any of their BCN reservoirs, and also that this summer, the water level will be kept at a very low level.  This would allow for remedial works to be carried out.

One further point is that a Consulting Civil Engineer has, at our Company’s request, and without charges, examined the causeway, and suggested a relatively low-coast solution to the problem, and as soon as we receive his report, the local authority would like a copy – so perhaps all is not lost.  I hope to bring further news in the July edition of Chasewater News, but be assured that the Board are making as strong a representation as possible to Walsall Council about this vital link to Chasetown.Engineering Manager’s Report

Following a late start in 1987, we were able to run a train service for the first time since 1982, for which two locos, Asbestos and the Sentinel, and the Gloucester trailer coach were available.  No failures or serious faults occurred, although it has become apparent in this first season of continuous brake operation that improvements to the system can be made by relatively simple alterations to the system.  This work, along with annual maintenance, is now being carried out in readiness for the 1988 season, for which initially the same locos and coach will be used.

Work on four privately owned locos is currently being carried out on site, and their owners continue to put in a great deal of work on the Railway as well as their own locos.  The most likely of these to be steamed first is No.2 ‘Lion’ probably followed by No.7 ‘Invicta’ or No.3 ‘Colin McAndrew’.  Please feel free to come and see work in progress on these on any Sunday.

One priority job for the loco dept in 1988 must be the fitting of vacuum brake gear to one of the diesels to enable trains to be run on non-steaming days, and to provide cover in the event of a steam loco failure.  The cost of fitting this equipment, about £250, would be easily covered by the train fares taken on the event of ‘opportunist’ train operations i.e. where lots of people are in the park and we are not scheduled to run trains.

Another project for 1988 is the repair and restoration of the Wickham Trailer car.  This will allow us to run two-car trains for the first time, and doing so will allow us to generate extra income through the opening of a bar car, will give us extra braking power on trains, and will allow us the luxury of a spare coach in the event of a failure.

The coach is in basically sound condition, but requires seven new windows, and the doors require stripping and re-building.

Extension News

On 7th March, I formally applied to British Railways Board for License to operate passenger trains over the section of line from Willowvale Bridge to the Causeway.

The application to BR followed the purchase of the land from BR by Walsall Council, which was completed in November last.  Our Company’s predecessors bought the track on the land some years ago, but the Council slowed down the procedure of buying the land when our group ran out of steam in the early eighties, and only revived when our New Company breathed new life into the Chasewater Railway Project in October 1986.

Because we bought the track, BR gave us permission some years ago to maintain the formation of this section of line, so we very recently carried out work on the bridge, so that if BR give us the license we need, we can very rapidly move on to the section: I would feel we should be running trains along this stretch within 9 months of possession, to maintain the impetus of development of the line.  Steve Organ

 Civil Engineering

Work in this area has been concentrated in the last year on maintenance and simplification of the trackwork, incorporation of the Railway Inspectorates requirements, such as the installation of trap points, Annets locks, fencing, etc.  Whilst this work may seem tiresome, it is part and parcel of the business of running a railway and allows us to operate in confidence and in SAFETY.  We are fortunate in the field of trackwork to have over the last year, gained a member, Chris Chivers, with experience and enthusiasm for p-way work (when he’s not setting things on fire).

We have also to thank Mr.J.L.Townsend, M.I.C.E., who has recently undertaken an inspection of Willowvale Bridge, and provided a formal report and detailed specifications for remedial work to it, work which is likely to be largely complete by the time you read this.

In view of the progress made in the last year, we are now making detailed plans for the future.

115 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces, January 1988

Our latest picture of my personal favourite Cannock Chase Colliery Loco, Sharp Stewart No. 6, 2643/1876,  complete with ‘tender’.  Nothing to do with the post but I like it!

115 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News January 1988

 This Newsletter is issued with the annual membership renewal form.  If you do not renew your membership you will not receive the next magazine, due out in time for Easter.

The photographs included are those of Bagnall 0-4-0 ST 2648-1941 in various liveries.

Boardroom Notes

The Chasewater Light Railway Co. Ltd. AGM was held in the expected ten minutes.  The accounts for both the Company and the Society are being brought up to date and a Society AGM will be held shortly.

The Chasewater Light Railway & Museum Co. Annual Report is currently being compiled for distribution in early February, with the CLR & M Co. AGM being held at Brownhills West Station on Saturday 5th March at 2.30 pm.

Some progress has been made on the office/shop development though more work is still needed.

On the motorway front, the Public Enquiry is expected to begin in mid-April and will take about eight weeks to hear 1,500 objections to the scheme, 75% of which centre on the proposed development in the Chasewater area!

Anyone interested in joining the Board should contact the Company Secretary.

Membership Report

The renewal form for those whose membership is due on 28th February is enclosed with this Newsletter.  Please complete it NOW, not in two months time.  We need the membership money now to complete our Winter work programme.  Failure to renew will deprive you of the Easter edition of Chasewater News and the opportunity of helping on operating days.  All train crews, station staff and other helpers must be members for insurance purposes.

News from the Line

Trackwork – Work on the point connecting 2 & 3 roads is almost complete with 3 road re-connected to the rest of the railway whilst 2 road is at present being relaid.  It is hoped to construct the southern end of the run round at Brownhills West during the year – weather, manpower and materials permitting.

Engineering – Work is in hand to finish the equipment demanded by the Railway Inspector’s last report, namely Annetts Key locks on point lever frames, facing point locks and level crossing gates as well as several minor items.

Rolling Stock

It is hoped to restore and refurbish the Wickham trailer car so that it can be used to form a two coach train set for steam hauled services this season.  Extra help for this work would be most appreciated as would finance for the internal refurbishment and re-glazing required.  Use of the Wickham trailer with its ‘bar’ facilities will enable on train catering to be attempted and help increase our profit margins on operating days.

Extension of Services

The Railway inspectorate have given us provisional approval to extend services to the bottom of the causeway bank, now that this land is owned by Walsall Council, who are prepared to lease it to us, (i.e. the end of the former BR owned section of line) providing a license is obtained from British Rail.  (This license will enable us to extend services whilst a Light railway Order for the whole of the Railway is obtained).  The Railway Inspectorate is prepared to let us propel trains over this length of line initially, providing an extra coach is used to increase braking power, hence the urgency in getting the Wickham trailer ready for services.  However, run round facilities will have to be installed as a matter of some urgency.  Extension of services can only take place when the aforementioned license is granted (work on obtaining this is under way) and when the relevant track is brought up to standard as well as the necessary fencing and ancillary fittings.  Hopefully extended services can begin during the 1988 season provided the necessary work is done.

Extension of the running line will give us a chance of running services from somewhere to somewhere (Brownhills West to Norton East/Willow Vale Halt?) for the first time, as well as giving a decent length of line for our engines to show their paces.  It is hoped to build a platform at the ‘end of the line’, enabling passengers to walk up to the lakeside and view the increasing variety of wildfowl which reside upon the lake as well as enjoying the chance of using the north side of the lake which is grossly under-used and inaccessible at present.

Since 1971 (when diesel hauled services using Nos. 20 & 21 started) the CLR has patiently awaited the day when services could be extended – at last the opportunity is within our grasp – with your help it will happen this year!

Looking to the future, Walsall Council are planning to undertake a full survey of the causeway with regard to rebuilding it to a suitable width for railway and footpath and are concerned about the ‘massive erosion’ caused by wave action due to British Waterways Board keeping the lake level too high.

Mutual Improvement Classes

A series of classes are to be held during late February and March and all members wishing to take part in train operations in the coming season are urged to attend as only participants will be considered for future footplate and station duties.

The course will consist of the following subjects:

  1. First Aid
  2. General Safety
  3. Footplate Management
  4. Railway Operations at Chasewater

Although there is of necessity a certain amount of technical content, much of the course is based on common sense and is of a basic nature.

During the season further practical instruction will be given to any members new to the operating side of things.

Bagnall Linda in action – leaving Chasewater Heaths for Chasetown Church Street with Our late friend Mick Doman driving.

114 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces, Winter 1987

114Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News Winter 1987

Featured photo: Kerr, Stuart    Works No 3063    D249 Willy 0-4-0WT Pic – RMWebb

Chasewater Comment – This issue’s comment is not the usual message of doom and despondency and may help prove that all the recent effort has been worthwhile. (This page was ok but it soon went back to the old story – we’ve not got any money!)

From the Boardroom Notes – Most of the hassle is being caused by the motorway mentioned in the last notes, of which more later.  Many problems are being caused because the railway’s records are scattered among the directors, especially the accounting records which really do need to be housed centrally.  To this end the office at Brownhills West was planned, agreed and the basic structure provided, but despite the plea for funds in the last magazine, none have been forthcoming.  The situation is now becoming very grave, as it will soon be impossible to meet the statutory requirements for administration of the business.  The company has no money available for capital expenditure before Easter, nor to cover commercial stock and publicity for next season.  This is largely due to our inability to make more money from operations, hence the need for the above expenditure. (Seems like a vicious circle – after being in similar circumstances for some time before this point, the people running the railway must have been very enthusiastic to keep carrying on!).

The AGM in March will see all of the present Board standing down and in some cases seeking re-election.  Anyone interested in taking part in the management of the railway should contact the Secretary as soon as possible.  Essential requirements are enthusiasm and commitment. (As Mr. Punch once said: “That’s the way to do it!”).

The Chairman and Secretary have been engaged in a considerable amount of planning, lobbying and briefings connected with the development of the Railway now that the motorway route has been published.  The Company is objecting to the destruction of Anglesey Basin by the Burntwood by-pass and its link road.  Development of the rest of the line should be unaffected but long leases are unavailable at present.  Negotiations will however continue and preparatory research is now being undertaken for the Light Railway Order.  The Board has produced a report on the options available.  The basic proposals include continued development of works and storage facilities adjacent to the present shed and location of land for visitor facilities and a museum next to a re-sited Brownhills West Station.  It is this latter point which is causing problems as the Council seems to be unwilling to commit to anything at the present time.

By the time you read the next boardroom notes our surveyors and solicitors will be playing a much more active role in ensuring the future of the railway, with special reference to the reinstatement of lost facilities and opportunities at Brownhills West.

News from the Line

Permanent Way Department – Following a couple of derailments, the points next to the water column controlling 2 & 3 roads have been completely dismantled and rebuilt in a shorter configuration.  Work is expected to be completed well before Christmas and as a result, 3 road should be around 60 feet longer.  After completion of this work a start may be made on the much awaited run round loop at Brownhills West.

There are still a number of jobs outstanding to satisfy the Railway Inspector, notably provision of level crossing gates, facing point locks and Annets Key lever frames.  It is hoped that this work, along with the usual repairing of fences and packing track, will be completed this winter.  All volunteers will be most welcome!

Carriage & Wagon Department

Gloucester Trailer (E56301) – This vehicle has run its first year on passenger trains with the vacuum brakes in use.  The roof and bodywork have been repaired and a number of batteries have been replaced.

Wickham Power Car – This vehicle has again been in use as a stationary buffet car earning vital income.  Replacement guttering has been completed and the roof repainted.  A number of damaged batteries have been replaced.  Attention is now required to repair its warped doors, and to repair and repaint the body and re-decorate the interior.

Wickham Trailer – This vehicle is still relatively derelict with a large number of broken windows.  It has, however had its replacement guttering completed, roof repainted and a number of windows are now available to replace those stolen or damaged.

LNW Milk Van – ‘James’ has had a couple of body panels renewed following attempted break-ins and has also had mains lighting and a burglar alarm fitted.  It is hoped that the ‘motorway move’ will allow it to be re-connected to the rest of the railway.

MR Passenger Brake – This for wheeler has been repainted inside and out and has been in use on steam days as an extra exhibition coach.

GW Brake Van – This van has been beautifully restored internally and now only requires ‘finishing off’ and attention to the running gear.

M&C, MSL, & LNW Brake End – All of these vehicles have received a certain amount of ‘preventive renovation’ and look quite presentable from a distance.

Hopper Wagon – This wagon has had the hopper completely removed and is to be fitted with sleeper decking for use as a flat wagon.

One of the ex Holly Bank Colliery 5-plank wagons has been repainted in a livery reminiscent of Stroudley’s improved engine green.

All other Vehicles – No work carried out.

Loco Department

No.1 – no work done, needs painting and superficially renovating.

No.2 – ‘Lion’ is still progressing under its new ownership, having had its chimney cap repaired, paint stripped and re-applied, and the boiler prepared for inspection.

No.3 – ‘Colin McAndrew’ work is still progressing on boiler repairs.

No.4 – ‘Asbestos’ has run well after a late start this season.  It will require minor work on valve gear, boiler and regulator ready for next season.

No.5 – ‘Sentinel’ 59632 has completed its first full season of passenger work and on 11th October was griced in the traditional manner by a man with a long mac and notebook from the field opposite the shed.

Sentinel – December 1989

No.6 – The Albright & Wilson Peckett has had the cab and boiler removed to allow work on re-plating the bottom of the smokebox to proceed.

Peckett 917 at Albright & Wilson 21-4-1951

No.7 – The Ruston is still operational with no problems.

No.8 – ‘Invicta’ has been prepared for boiler testing and has had part of the driver’s side cab cut away for re-plating.

Invicta – Station Master: Rob Curtis (AKA Elder Grimm)

No.10 – ‘S100’ Work has progressed on steam chest fastenings, frames and spring hangers.

No.11 – ‘Alfred Paget’ remains out of use although it was recently repainted.

No.12 – The Fowler, following its recent arrival, remains out of use pending replacement or repair of its batteries.

No.15 – The Hudswell remains out of use with no work having been carried out.

No.21 – The Bass pudding remains out of use with the engine removed.  Some work has been carried out on de-rusting and painting the bodywork.

Chasewater Events 1987

Our first full operating season since 1982 saw four special events organised by the Chasewater Light Railway and Museum Company.

The first event was held on 26th April when, in addition to a Norton Motor Cycle Rally, we held a Railwayana Fayre.  The event was a reasonable financial success with eighty plus Nortons in attendance plus around a dozen sales stands.  Nigel Canning’s Sentinel performed admirably on trains, as indeed it has all season.

Sunday 21st June, a somewhat overcast day saw both ‘Asbestos’ and the Sentinel in steam on the occasion of our first Model Engineers Day.  Attendance both of the public and, perhaps even more disappointing, of exhibits was low.  Thanks go to John Rickers for bringing along six of the thirteen visiting exhibits.  John has been a good supporter of or rallies for several years now and his models are of a very high standard.  However, the star of the show was Roy Prime’s Sentinel steam wagon, built to ¾ scale, attending only its second rally.

One new event of which we had high hopes was the military weekend held in conjunction with the West Midland World War 2 Re-enactment Group.  Approximately twenty military vehicles attended the show, which was held over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday 25th & 26th July.  Apart from the mock battle held at 3.30pm on the Sunday ( unfortunately just as rain began to fall), highlights were an attack on Asbestos-hauled train and a 1943 Bren Gun carrier giving rides.  The Sentinel also saw use during the weekend.  Thanks in particular to Peter Bick, Chairman of the re-enactment Group.  The show was a moderate success and hopefully we can make various improvements for a similar event in July 1988.

Our biggest and best event was the annual end of season Transport Rally held on 11th October.  Two hundred and fifty exhibits were on display, including a 1904 Marshall traction engine.  It was nice to see the former West Bromwich Corporation Dennis ‘E’, now 59 years old and coming to its first rally since a major engine re-build.  A good selection of vintage and classic cars was well backed by 20 odd military vehicles, and a handful of commercials, more than in recent years, and a good display of motor-cycles and stationary engines.  Thanks in particular on this day go to Angela and Jill fro their work assisting Rob Duffill in the buffet coach.  Also special thanks to Ralph and Vera Amos for manning the sales stand at our major events this year.

From the Archives

Again this section features something of local interest.The Ennals Toy Fair handbill dates back to approximately 1935 – not only are the prices a revelation but just look at the various departure points, out of 38, only 12 remained open in 1987.  (Probably still fewer in 2011).

113 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.2, Summer 1987

113 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.2

From ‘Chasewater News’ Summer 1987

Permanent Way

Under the leadership of Chris Chivers a small group of workers have made a start on clearing the lineside undergrowth along the running line whilst a group of students spent a week clearing the passing loop beyond the current limit of operations.

The line has been weedkilled to give a more workmanlike look to the track and a catch point has been installed on the loco shed siding.

Work is now centred on the point connecting Nos. 2 & 3 roads in the compound, which were comprehensively written off by the new diesel!

From the Archives

Something which we expect to make a regular feature of in Chasewater News in which we feature anecdotes and snippets from items in the Museum Collection.  We begin this feature with items of local interest taken from the LMS Sectional Appendix to the Working Timetables dated March 1937.

Stafford

Stafford No.5 to Venables Sidings (LNT).  Drivers of trains not conveying passengers, proceeding to the LNE line must be prepared to receive a green hand signal when passing No.5 signal box.  The exhibition of this green hand signal will indicate that Venables Timber Yard crossing gates may be across the railway and drivers must be prepared accordingly.

Norton Branch

Five Ways Mineral Branch – between Five Ways and Conduit new Sidings.  In addition to LMS trains, the Five Ways Colliery Company’s engines work over this branch, and the Conduit Colliery Company’s engines work over a section of the branch between Conduit Colliery Sidings and Conduit Junction, and between Conduit Colliery Sidings and Conduit New Sidings.

Two keys are provided for padlocking the trap points – which must be obtained from the pointsman at Conduit Junction and must be returned to him on completion.

Five Ways

Before proceeding towards Five Ways, the guard must satisfy himself that the Colliery Company’s engine is stationary, and must set the road for the single line to the Colliery Sidings.   The line between the trap points and the sidings is used as the Colliery Company’s shunting neck, and on arrival from Conduit, train men having to place wagons in the sidings must at once place the signal provided for the purpose to danger to warn the Colliery enginemen that they must not come out on the shunting neck from the Colliery Sidings.  Before returning to Conduit the signal must be taken off, its normal position is ‘clear’.

After placing wagons in the sidings at Five Ways, engines waiting for loaded wagons must stand on the single line protected by the trap points before a train worked by either the Colliery Company’s or the LMS men leaves Five ways towards Conduits, the trap points must be set for the running line, and after the passage of such train must at once be reversed and securely padlocked for the trap by the guard.

Curator’s Notes

Peckett 0-6-0ST Hanbury

The Conduit Colliery locos referred to in the above would have been the four or perhaps five Manning Wardle 0-6-0STs in the Company’s ownership at that time.  Locos known to have been at Five Ways were the Peckett 0-6-0ST Hanbury and a Kitson 0-6-0T.  None of these locos survive but our museum does contain one nameplate and one worksplate ex Conduit Colliery and a brass No.2 off the Kitson.Coppice Coll. No.2 0-6-0T Kitson 5358-1921

East Somerset Railway and Cannock Wood

‘Cannock Wood’ No.9  in LBSC Livery

Older members may recall that when the E1 was sold to the Lord Fisher Locomotive Group in 1978 regular reports of its progress were to be received.  We make no apologies for giving news of the loco which left Chasewater nearly nine years ago.  The loco is now 110 years old – the hundredth engine built at the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway’s works at Brighton by William Stroudley and the doyen of the Cannock & Rugeley Colliery Co. fleet from 1926 through nationalisation and into National Coal Board days until withdrawal in 1963.

It is of interest to note that despite their intention to restore the loco to main line order as BR 32110, it never carried that number in service.  All reports refer to her as ‘Cannock Wood’ or number 9.

The boiler has been removed from the frames and detubed.  A boiler inspection has revealed the probable need of a new front tubeplate and the definite need of a new inner firebox with consequent restaying and a new foundation ring.  It is estimated that a further £20,000 is needed to put the boiler into a steamable condition.  The wheels have been sent to Swindon for tyres and bosses to be turned.  New side tanks are required.  Springs are being re-tensioned.  Loose horn guide bolts have been replaced.  Much platework is being replaced and a new bunker is virtually complete.  The frames have been needle gunned and received two coats of paint, new footplating is being fitted to the frames.

Eccentric straps, big end straps, connecting rods and valve roads have been cleaned, checked and are ready for re-fitting.  More news in future issues.

From the Museum

On Tuesday April 14th we suffered yet another break-in at Chasewater.  This time it was the LNWR 50 ft brake coach which was the subject of the robber’s intensions.. Having failed to gain access through the end door nearest the waiting room, and the lock refusing to give way on the normal entrance door used, the miscreant managed, presumably at some length, to chop his way with a pickaxe through one of the double doors on the platform side.  A quantity of railway rule books and the entire collection of some 160 odd LNWR postcards was taken plus a few other books and sundry items.

The following week saw the return of some items following a visit by Ralph Amos to a second-hand bookshop in Walsall which some of the books had been sold to by the criminal.  Unfortunately some pieces had already been sold by the shop owner who was unaware that he was dealing with stolen goods.

Latest news is that the police have picked up a Walsall man who confessed to the crime, amongst others as one might suspect.

There is some good news to report.  There is now an annex to the museum coach in the form of the recently restored ex Midland Railway circa 1880 four-wheel passenger brake which sees a display of railway prints, etc. on Open Days.  A selection of Chas. Butterworth’s very fine drawings was displayed therein on April 26th at the Railwayana Fayre.

Additions to the collection include official postcards of the LNWR, GNR, L & Y, Furness Railway and cards from the following railways which are all new to the collection.  Corris, Cambrian, LNWR and LYR Joint, GCR, NER, SECR, LSWR, Metropolitan Railway and Douglas Southern Electric Tramway.  Other nice additions are a ticket from pre-preservation days of the Talyllyn Railway and an LNWR ‘Birmingham’ dinner fork, courtesy of Rob Duffill.

Taken on Chasewater Railway’s Brewery Day, 2017

112 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.1 Summer 1987

112 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.1

From ‘Chasewater News’ Summer 1987

 Chasewater Comment

This issue’s contributor is Adrian Hall, Chasewater Light Railway & Museum Co. Company Secretary and a member of some 11 years standing.

The railway has long avoided making an important decision.  For it to become a museum of light and industrial railways, or an industrial loco group?  If the former then it must plan now to develop a museum complex which will draw visitors and exhibits, and have the ability to fund operations.  If the latter then it should dispose of everything except the most basic track maintenance stock, one passenger coach and the steam engines.  A basic platform with a short running line is all that would be required for the occasional Open Day, and funding would come from the small group of members in the ‘club’.

A museum requires a large building, visitor facilities of good quality to provide funding, and a line of sufficient length to give a real purpose to the railway.  All of this needs to be planned now, and implemented in the next few years (two or three, not ten or twenty).  It also requires commitment and enthusiasm.

So which is it to be?  The decision must be made now, or it will be made for us and will be neither of the above, but an end to the Chasewater Light Railway altogether.

Boardroom Note  (By the Company Secretary)

There has been much activity in the boardroom of late, where in addition to the general management of the railway, work still continues to complete the corporate reorganisation.

The railway is run on a day-to-day basis by the six departmental managers, to whom general enquiries, etc., should be addressed, the board being responsible for co-ordination and strategic planning.

The assets and liabilities of the Society have now been taken over by the new Company, as have most of those of the old Company.  It is hoped that these transfers will soon be completed, enabling the two ‘old ladies’ to be finally wound up.

Administration should be eased greatly soon once work is completed on the new office at Brownhills West.  Inevitably shortage of funds is slowing the project, which will also provide a new booking office, the old one met its demise at the hands of the tractor last year!) and a small shop unit.  If anyone can help with this (about £100 for wood, etc. is all that is needed) then their contribution will be gratefully received.

Thirty pounds or more will secure your name on a brass plate within this new and much needed facility.

As most of you are aware by now, the railway is to be crossed y the ‘Birmingham Northern Relief Road’ (now known as the M6 Toll Road), the motorway will orbit the northern side of the conurbation, which will relieve the M6 (or will it?).  The motorway will completely alter the South shore of Chasewater, including demolishing the Brownhills West Station site.  Informal negotiations have taken place with the Local Authority and the Department of Transport, and we have now engaged Solicitors and Surveyors to act for us in the formal negotiations to come.

We are obviously going to have to re-locate our main site, and anyone with any thought on this matter is urged to write to me as soon as possible.  We cannot put much in print at the moment, but I hope to be able to furnish more details in the next magazine.  In the meantime if you want to know more come along to Chasewater and ask.

A new set of membership rules were passed by the Board recently, mainly to tidy up the existing arrangements and make them clearer.  It is intended to send them to all future members when they join, and to existing members with a subsequent mailing when finances permit.

Among the new members listed are: C. Chivers, K.R.Sargeant, D.M.Bathurst and M.Webb.

Carriage and Wagon Notes (By Steve Organ)

Work is in progress on a number of vehicles in order to preserve and tidy the collection until such time as they can be placed under cover.

Appeal:

Winter 1987 should see some of the vehicles protected from the worst of the weather by a ‘tent’ in the station yard, although this is dependant upon the continuous flow of the following materials, which we would ask all members to look out for and drop into Chasewater in any quantities, however small: Tarpaulins, scaffold tubes (any length from 1 foot upward), scaffold planks (any length from 1 foot upward) and scaffold fittings.

Work in Progress Completed

L&NWR Suburban Brake

The roof has been overhauled and re-coated.  The ’lake‘ side has been stripped back to bare wood and primed with a fungicidal primer to combat the mildew problem, as this side suffers from the worst weathering.  The doors are being re-fitted and LNWR livery is being applied.

Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln Brake

The Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln coach with Asbestos

Has been stripped to bare wood and Cuprinol 5-star anti-rot applied.  Repaint is proceeding in light chocolate and silver grey.  Mock doors are being fitted on the brake end, which was burnt out, to tidy up the coach’s appearance and keep out the weather until new doors can be made (any carpenters out there?).

Maryport & Carlisle

No further work is being undertaken at the moment but supplies of paint are on hand if anyone would like to come and paint both ends (which are in undercoat) or start work re-panelling the ‘lee’ side.

Midland Railway Passenger Brake

The roof has been completely overhauled and re-coated.  The body has been re-panelled as far as possible, but not yet re-beaded.  The basic maroon livery has been applied externally and the interior painted lime green and white to match the LNWR 50’ brake ‘museum’ livery.  One half is being used as a gallery of railway prints, the other half is full of milk churns and ’luggage’ to represent an authentic ‘in service’ appearance.

Great Eastern Passenger Brake

Still in a disgraceful condition, we now have some panelling to hand ready to clad the sides of this vehicle.  Some of the existing panelling is still good and only requires painting.  We have the paint – we need painters!   Scaffolding is now available to work safely on this and other vehicles so come and help us with this basic work!

Ex GWR 16 ton ‘Toad’ Brake Van, Asbestos with the Maryport & Carlisle coach and the GWR ‘Toad’ brake in 1972

Now in private ownership, the ex Littleton Colliery ‘Toad’ is undergoing extensive re-panelling and replating to make good fire damage caused by vandals some years ago.

DMU Vehicles

The Wickham units have now been fitted with new gutters, a difficult and time-consuming task.  The roofs of both the Wickhams and the Gloucester have been repainted, and then in the projected C & W tent they can be painted into a uniform livery after body repairs are completed.

The Ex BSC Newark Hopper Wagon

This has now had its body removed and awaits decking before entering service as a flat wagon which will be most useful for track work.

So there it is.  Whilst progress is being made, we still need more help to complete these vehicles’ (and others’) conservation programmes.  We have the materials – come and help us use them!

Locomotive Notes

Despite mutterings from various people about supplying your editor with copious notes about what has gone on ‘down the shed’ the end result has been the usual – not even a blank piece of paper!

A brief layman’s résumé could be written as follows:

No.2  Following a change of ownership (its third since arrival at Chasewater!) the large Peckett has been stripped for its ten-yearly boiler inspection and hydraulic test.

No.3  Boiler repairs continue.

No.4  In service following being fitted with a new set of boiler washout plugs.

No.5  In service.

No.6  The ex Albright & Wilson Peckett has had its boiler removed in preparation for smoke box and tube plate repairs.

No.7  Serviceable.

No.8  ‘Invicta’ has been stripped for its major boiler examination and hydraulic test.

No.10 Following the insertion of new fitted bolts in the front end, Mr. Sale is about to start work on trueing the hornguides which should stop S100 from ‘waddling’ (which those who are old enough to remember say it suffered from when last steamed at Embsay).

New Arrival

A group of CLR & M.Co. members have purchased a Fowler 200 hp diesel hydraulic locomotive from the MOD at Radway Green in Cheshire.  The loco (numbered 7 at Radway Green, but presumably to be numbered No.12 at Chasewater) is in working order and arrived at Chasewater on 14th July and was on display at the Military Weekend of July 25th /26th following a hasty repaint in an olive green livery.

111 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces, from Chasewater News 1986/7

111 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From ‘Chasewater News’ Winter 1986/7Magazine cover – a drawing of CLR No.5, the ex Walsall Gas Works Sentinel, by Steve Bent.

Following the “Reorganisation Day” of 22nd November there are at present three bodies which together form the Chasewater Project.

1       – Chasewater Light Railway and Museum Company – The CLR&M Co is responsible for the day to day and long term policies of the Railway as well as being the body to which the supporters and sympathisers of the Railway join.

The Officers of CLR & M Co. are:

CHAIRMAN – Steve Organ

GENERAL MANAGER – Tony Sale

ENGINEERING Manager – Nigel Canning

OPERATING MANAGER – Les Emery

COMMERCIAL MANAGER – Barry Bull

MARKETING MANAGER – Ian Patterson

FINANCIAL MANAGER – Bob Curtis

NON-EXECUTIVE – Colin Marklew

COMPANY SECRETARY – Adrian Hall

2       – Chasewater Light Railway Company – The old Company will remain in existence until its assets, debts and liabilities are transferred to the new Company.

There are at present two directors:

COMPANY SECRETARY – Adrian Pearson

CLR & M Co. NOMINEE – Adrian Hall

3       – Chasewater Light Railway Society – The Society is remaining in existence until such time as the CLR & M Co. attains charitable status, in order to safeguard the rolling stock and relics as well as holding the leases.

At present the CLRS has the following members: L.Hodgkinson, D.Ives, T.Sale, B.Bull and I.Patterson (CLR & M Co. Nominee)

The above mentioned are also the Trustees of the Society.

 News from the Line

Loco Department

No.2 is awaiting its turn for overhaul, a change of ownership is rumoured.

No.3 Slow progress with the firebox repairs may result in the frames making way for the GM’s machine (S100) in the shed.

No.4 Asbestos has performed satisfactorily during the season and is due for attention to its side rod brasses and regulator valve during the winter months.

No.5 59632 has also performed well and gets better with every steaming.  The vacuum brake system works to the required standard, much to the relief of all concerned.

No.6 All that can be reported is that we have exchanged a spare set of side rods in our possession for some missing boiler fittings (stolen some years ago).

No.7 The Ruston has been used occasionally for shunting but happily the increased use of ‘real’ motive power has made the engine somewhat redundant.

Neilson, Alfred Paget and Barclay Invicta

No.8 Invicta may well return to service during 1987 following a full boiler examination, platework repairs and fitting of vacuum brakes.

No.10 The frames of S100 have descended from their lofty perch and are temporarily mobile.  Once installed in the shed the wheelsets will be re-removed for attention to the hornguides and following a probable orgy of machining and highly technical stuff, the motion and valve gear can be reassembled – sounds easy, but it could take years (and years!).

No.11 The ancient Neilson languishes outside the shed awaiting its turn for attention.  (it’s now got as far as the workshop!)

No.21 The ex Bass Worthington ‘pudding’ awaits its replacement engine.

Wickham DMU

Several windows have been replaced following a spate of vandalism and new rainwater gutters have been fabricated and fitted.

The presence of blue asbestos (the mineral not the engine!) has been noted by the Railway Inspectorate and it will have to be removed from all three DMU coaches in the not too distant future.

Trackwork

Following Gricers Day work was concentrated on relaying Nop.1 road back to the remnants of S100.

This was swiftly accomplished and as mentioned elsewhere the frames of S100 were removed.  Once the boiler of S100 is removed the Great Eastern Coach should be rendered mobile, last having moved in about 1973!

Following the visit of Major Olver of the Railway Inspectorate on 3rd December work has centered on the installation of a catch point on Elsley’s siding which has been relaid.  The catch point is necessary to stop any stock rolling onto the main line when passenger trains are being operated.

Wooden Bodied Stock

Steve Organ has started the unenviable task of restoring the wooden bodied coaches, or at least making them weatherproof and presentable.

He is aiming to have the three six-wheelers and the four-wheel MR passenger brake fit for running demonstration trains (i.e. non-passenger carrying) by Gricers Day on 11-10-1987.

Needless to say all offers of help will be most welcome as the success of this laudable project rests on ADDITIONAL help coming forward.

So far the ex Maryport & Carlisle coach is nearly in the initial stage of acceptability whilst Mr. X (I can’t remember his name) is having a go on returning the ex MR four-wheeler to its pre MSC scheme condition.

Being highly optimistic, Organic Steve hopes to fit in a renovation of the brake end of the ex LNWR coach as a picture gallery (a what!!!!?)The afternoon ‘Paddy’ on the Hednesford to Cannock Wood line during the late 1950s.  The loco is the 1866 built Lilleshall 0-6-0ST ‘Rawnsley’ and the coach is the ex LNWR non-corridor composite now awaiting restoration at Chasewater.

 431 Hudswell Group Notes

The fund is approaching the half-way mark towards the purchase of the locomotive, so by this time next year the locomotive should be in the ownership of the group.

The recent visit of the Railway Inspectorate has provided the Group with a major setback as the boiler lagging of the locomotive must be professionally removed before restoration can begin, at a cast of well in excess of £500.

 Progress Report on ‘E1’ No.9 ‘Cannock Wood’The ex London, Brighton and South Coast Railway E1 No.110 ‘Burgundy’ seen coasting down te Cannock Wood branch in its later form as Cannock & Rugeley Colliery’s No.9 ‘Cannock Wood’

We have received the following report about the restoration of the E1, which members of long-standing will recall was sold to the East Somerset Railway at Cranmore in 1978.

“Work has progressed well……well sort of.  Things have not come apart as they should and caused some anxious moments for crane drivers and merriment for those on the ground.

The first part to come off this project was the right-hand intermediate axle box oiling pot, since then many other parts have been removed, cleaned, repaired, painted in works grey (we have a lot of grey) and given an I.D. disc.  This is then entered in a log book recording what the part is, where it comes from and what it does, sometimes accompanied by a small drawing to help relocation when we fling the engine back together!

The front sand boxes took a great deal of effort to part them from the frames due to two hundredweight of one hundred-year-old wet sand which corroded all the metal bits together.  These are well on the way to being rebuilt.

The brake rigging has caused some problem with the steam brake being rusted up solid, a badly pitted cylinder bore, the main shaft bent considerably and pull rod equalizer rods bent.

The side tanks came off using the Dubs crane tank and the ‘lift and move quickly backwards’ method, with much screeching and tearing of metal (must remember to burn off ALL the bolts next time!).

The cab roof came off with much reluctance, and when lowered on the ground it collapsed in a heap of rust.  As normal the bunker came off with difficulty leaving the bottom of the rear sand boxes still attached by rust, twisted and torn, to the frames.

Boiler work is coming along slowly with half the tubes out, pulled by the digger.  Some of the tubes are nearly new with no scale on, but a thin layer of rust.  The cab roof is to be repaired, whilst drawings are being prepared for the new side tanks.  The bunker will be remade on site by us in the near future.  The boiler has been de-lagged at a cost of £800 and should be lifted to enable the wheels to be removed and a start made on the waggly bits underneath.

Further news gleaned from the pages of Steam Railway (Jan 1987) reveals that restoration will cost in excess of £25,000 and may include a new firebox.

The loco will be finished in Southern Railway black livery as E110 and will be in as near to original condition as is practicable.

The unique Rawnsley chimney and the nameplates, etc. are to be returned to Chasewater in due course.”

Visit of the Railway Inspectorate 3-12-1986

Briefly they require some extra work on the track to that previously expected, but this should not present any problems.  The use of push-pull operations was agreed until such time as the motorway outcome was known.  However, a bell system between loco and coach must be installed and in the near future locos intended for passenger duties must be fitted with vacuum activated steam brake valves.

Apart from this, the major difficulty is the presence of blue asbestos as mentioned elsewhere.

Provided we comply with the Inspectorate’s requirements, a further inspection in the spring should leave us free to recommence regular steam hauled passenger trains.

The Future

The project engineer for the motorway has been to the railway and vaguely indicated as to where the new road may cross the railway.  Detailed plans are to be drawn up by the Departments consultants and will be put on public exhibition during the autumn.  Prior to this there is rumoured to be a public meeting in Burntwood Baths during April (What’s wrong with the lake at Chasewater?!).

Unless the railway can get a firm idea of how and where it can expand then the good work and impetus gained during 1986 will be lost.  To this end, a short list of possible alternative sites has been drawn up to be further investigated if it becomes apparent that we are ‘flogging a dead horse’ by remaining at Chasewater.

110 Chasewater Railway Bits and Pieces, from ‘Chasewater News’, September 1986

110 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces

 From ‘Chasewater News’ September 1986

 For once it is possible to report good news!  Following the visit of Mr. Abbott of the Railway Inspectorate on 17th August we have been given permission to recommence steam hauled passenger services, subject to certain tasks being carried out, hopefully in time for Gricers Day on 12th October.  A further satisfactory inspection next spring should enable a full season of trains to be operated, the first since 1982.

 News from the line

Loco Dept.

Asbestos – Robin Stewart-Smith

No.4 Asbestos has been steamed half-a-dozen times so far this year and following trouble with a leaky blow-down valve (now successfully cured) the major problem is still the regulator which continues to insist on blowing through when closed!  Further investigations will no doubt reveal the cause of the trouble during the winter months when it is hoped that the outside motion will also receive attention to cure various knocks and bangs.

N0.5 Sentinel No.59632 has also been steamed on several occasions and following each steaming various adjustments, modifications and improvements are made by its owner.

Both Nos. 4 and 5 are now fitted with vacuum brakes, a necessary modification for running passenger trains.

No.7 the Ruston diesel has received a repaint and now sports a green livery which the owner claims is similar to BR Brunswick Green.  It looks very smart anyway.

No.10 S100 – continued progress is being made with getting components ready for re-wheeling the loco and as the “head of steel” gets ever nearer (it has lain isolated from the rest of the railway since 1983) it should take to the rails again before the year is out.

Carriage & Wagon Dept.

The buffet section of the Wickham sees extensive use, providing us with our main source of income.  Various improvements to the plumbing have been made and both coaches have been fitted with new rainwater gutters which will enable the much needed repaint to take place in the not too distant future.

The Maryport & Carlisle Coach has seen ‘Clippie’ steadily working to get this coach into a reasonable state of repair before it gets beyond redemption.  The coach is now in a uniform green undercoat and looks much more presentable.

Civil Engineering

Brownhills West Station June 1978

By the time the Task Force had completed the platform there was little over a month left to get the railway ready for receiving visitors during the Transport Extravaganza.  The platform had to be surfaced with a 6” layer of black ash and coping stones had to be laid alongside the museum coach.  The major work however, was to fashion a new track bed and lay track along the platform and then raise it over 9”.  A vast quantity of black ash was purchased and packed under the track in order to get the track level in the platform.  This work was completed in the nick of time so as to get the Wickham buffet in the platform for the Transport Extravaganza.  After that weekend work concentrated on regarding the line from the platform down towards the point for Elsley’s siding (more black ash!), and No.1 point was rebuilt.  Once this was completed the line was treated with weedkiller and fences were repaired and installed where necessary.  Nigel Canning is in the process of constructing a set of level-crossing gates to be installed at the road access to the loco shed and also at the level-crossing to the north of the loco shed.  Recent weeks have seen work proceeding on relaying No.1 road in order to remove S199 and the GER brake coach so that the Wickham buffet can be moved clear of train movements on operating days.  A fair amount of cosmetic work has been carried out around the platform, most noticeably a large pond known as ‘Lake Clippie’ after its constructor which has played host to several frogs, toads, a solitary newt and a steam powered model boat!

Museum Notes

Little to report other than the acquisition of several official postcards including a particularly rare example of a folded GWR card depicting King George V published in 1928 and valued at recent auctions at up to £60 – yes £60 for one card and one which we obtained as part of a collection costing just £25.

Mike Wood has generously donated various photographs of Cannock Chase Colliery locos which will eventually be displayed, and a friend of the Society, Robert Cadman, has given us a couple of local colliery lamp checks.

Reorganisation News – Adrian Hall

The appeal in the last Newsletter for candidates for management positions in the new company generated a very poor response.  There are still a couple of key positions without any likely contenders and anyone interested should get in touch with me as soon as possible.

Negotiations are still proceeding very slowly with the Charity Commissioners and in view of the need to be on a firm footing for negotiations over the motorway we have decided to incorporate a new Company as quickly as possible.

The necessary documents will probably be with the Registrar of Companies by the time you read this and it is hoped that the Certificate of Incorporation will be issued by mid-October, allowing the inaugural General Meeting to take place in late November/early December, probably concurrent with the Society AGM.

The Future

Negotiations with the Department of Transport have begun with regard to any compensation that we will get when the Northern Relief Road (M6 Toll) is built through Chasewater.  It is clear that the current terminus facilities will have to be moved north to a position at least adjacent to the shed (it is likely that the shed will not have to be demolished).  A planning proposal asking for outline planning permission to construct new terminal facilities is at present being drawn up, but is likely to be rejected as no development will be permitted along the line of a new road until the road is built.  This could well make our position at Chasewater untenable and to this end several alternative sites are being investigated.  It is hoped that the executive committee will have reached a firm preference which can be put forward at the AGM in November, along with the feasible alternatives.

431 Hudswell Group

The fund is ticking over quietly, giving the Society a monthly injection of cash.  By the end of the year the fund should be approaching half-way in raising the purchase price of the locomotive.  A few shares are still available.

Locomotive Stock List

In response to several requests here is a summary of locomotives on the CLR as at 1st September, 1986.  A full guide/stockbook will be produced when sufficient funds are available.  The next issue of Chasewater News will include a list of coaches, wagons and other rolling stock.

108 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 4 and 109 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From ‘Chasewater News’ April 1986

108 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 4

Another true anecdote in the series of an excerpt from the Chasewater Fat Controller’s diary.  Date line Sunday, 24th March, 1985.

It was about 2 o’clock on a relatively mild afternoon when four men and a dog set off from 21G Hednesford Road to replace stolen chairs from the loop.  The freshly greased bearings on the trolley ran easily on the falling gradients towards Norton, with Hairy Youths dog bounding along the four foot a couple of yards in front.

Once over the facing point, the going became much harder as the ever helpful Task Force (remember them?) had dug the ballast out between each sleeper so the dog was having to negotiate ten inch high hurdles, two foot six inches apart.  Finally with the leading axle of the trolley rapidly closing on his right ear he decided he had had enough and leapt over the rail to his right – a split second too late.  ‘Klunk, klunk, klunk – yelp, yelp, yelp’.  The fully laden trolley had run over his back leg leaving a six inch tear in his flesh.

Having bitten his owner and growled at everyone else in range the dog was loaded onto the trolley and sent back to Brownhills West Station where the ubiquitous Spitfire was waiting to take him home. That evening, Nurse Gillian is reputed to have taken the dog to work and rebuilt him bionically – this dog now has a starting tractive effort of 17,000lbs in full gear at 85% boiler pressure and may be used to work passenger trains when we get a Light Railway Order.

The cover photo shows CLR No.11, the Neilson now known as Alfred Paget, shunting near Brownhills West on a special steaming on Saturday, 17th April 1982 for the Industrial Railway Society.  Photo by Mike Wood.  Good timing as the Society was at Chasewater again only a few weeks ago (2011).

109 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From ‘Chasewater News’ April 1986

Our late friend, Mick Doman, preparing to take ‘Asbestos’ out from Brownhills West, Easter 2007.

 News from the line

 Loco Dept.

Asbestos and the Sentinel both performed satisfactorily at Gricers’ Day and both have undergone further work during the winter months.  Asbestos has had the vacuum brake finished and the regulator has been the subject of much attention due to its tendency to remain open when shut!  The Sentinel (alias No. 59632) is being fitted with vacuum brakes and its water feed pump has been completely stripped and rebuilt.  Both engines will be test steamed prior to the Transport Extravaganza in May.

On other fronts, No.6 the Albright & Wilson Peckett needs the extension to its smokebox takeplate replacing due to the severe wastage, as well as replacement of some of the rivets which fix the takeplate to the boiler barrel.  It could be that the boiler will have to be removed from the frames.  Tony Sale is progressing with overhauling the axle boxes of S100 and it is hoped that re-wheeling will take place soon.  The small Andrew Barclay has had a patch let into the side of its firebox so progress should speed up once several stays have been renewed.Sentinel Feb 2004 – Nigel Canning

On the diesel front, No.21 has had its engine removed to enable Colin Marklew to piece together a decent working engine from this and the two spare engines that we possess.

Task Force

Like the Phoenix, from the rubble of Brownhills West has arisen a splendid new platform which was 90% finished before the West Midlands County Council was abolished at the end of March, and the Task Force left Chasewater, supposedly for good.  However, at the beginning of April they reappeared under the guise of Wolverhampton Task Force to finish the job and to complete the drainage of the station site.  The Society is left with the job of removing the remaining rubble and fashioning a track bed adjacent to the platform before the Wickham buffet car can be installed.

Motorway Madness

Just as the railway is recovering from the enforced siesta that it has enjoyed since 1982, comes the news that the infamous North Orbital Route (as an alternative to the crumbling M6) is to plough straight through Chasewater, in fact, it is likely to plough straight through the new platform at Brownhills West!!  This of course is a major blow to the intended development of the park, not least the railway.

Despite the likelihood of a public enquiry it is almost certain that this ‘preferred route’ (out of nine possible options) will be built, construction not due to start until 1991.  As it will be some 12 to 18 months before detailed plans are published then the Railway will have to have its own plans ready to make maximum use of any compensation it is eligible for.  The main options open to the Railway are:

  1. To forget it all and disperse the collection
  2. To move lock, stock and barrel to somewhere else
  3. To move Brownhills West some 200-300yards down the line
  4. To move operations to the other side of the lake.

The executive committee have appointed Messrs. Hall and Patterson to investigate the feasibility of these and any other options and to find out what the chances of gaining compensation are.

“431 Hudswell Group”

At the Chasewater Light railway Society AGM on 13th November a resolution was passed empowering the Executive Committee to sell the Hudswell Clarke Locomotive No. 431 of 1895 to a consortium of Chasewater members and others.  A price of £2,500 was agreed upon provided that the locomotive would remain at Chasewater.

All this led to the formation of the “431 Hudswell Group” which is offering 25 shares in the locomotive at £300 each.  This covers £2,500 for purchase, leaving £5,000 for restoration.  An easy payment scheme has been set up whereby prospective shareholders pay a minimum of £5 per month per share. (There is a maximum shareholding of two shares per person) and to date 18 shares have been taken up.  Each shareholder will be issued with two certificates:

a)    When £100 has been donated representing 1/25th of the purchase price – i.e. 1 share – and

b)    On completion of restoration work to certify ownership of 1/25th of the locomotive.

No heavy restoration work will take place until the CLRS has been paid in full for the locomotive and there is enough money available to allow restoration to proceed unhindered.

Late News – A deposit of £500 has been paid by the 431 Hudswell Group to the CLRS.

Catering News

No doubt you will have read elsewhere about Gricers Day.  However, from a catering point of view it was both good news and bad.  The good news was that we literally sold out of everything and had to send out scouts to locate further supplies.  This resulted in the maximum profit being made.  The service went well except for the bottleneck around the hatch and doorway, and everyone drank the tea and coffee so it couldn’t have been too bad!

However, running the kitchen is hard work and we would not have coped except for volunteers who turned up who are not Society members via the Hon.Sec.  Thanks go to all concerned.  For future occasions if they are not available, ordinary members will have to be rostered for these duties, as the money raised by this service will be essential.  Other Societies have learnt that they can increase their income considerably by offering an efficient service and although none of us joined to make tea and wash up, this is part of the price you pay to see the engines running again and to keep them running.

Barry Bull is again providing sterling service on Saturdays and Sundays to members and the few brave souls who appear during the winter months.

On November 17th we ran the first ever “Chase Diner Train”, which taught us a few lessons – we must be mad!!  However, despite a few obvious points such as the gap between courses and lack of heat in the vehicle, it went reasonably well considering it had never been done before.  Apart from a longer cooking time than anticipated, due to overloading of the electricity supply, it proved what can be done when we are fully organised and better equipped.

Remember – help support our project “Eat, drink and be merry”.

Re-organisation Committee Report

We are still dealing with the Charity Commissioners who require more information than previously thought and so this is taking longer than expected, though there should be no problem in having the new Company set up by the Autumn.  Meanwhile, the Re-organisation Committee (gang of four!) are working hard to ensure a smooth changeover when the time comes.

The management structure was agreed at the last committee meeting and consists of seven Director Offices covering the main area of the business – the sub-board structure being a matter for the Directors to determine later.  The intention is for seven (of the possible maximum of ten) Directors to be elected to office concurrent with their election as Directors at the AGM.  The offices are:

  1. Chairman  (usual duties and to ensure Directors pull in one direction – the one the members want).
  2. General Manager  (control, planning, budgeting of on-site work).
  3. Engineering Manager  (ensuring that the Railway meets the Inspector’s requirements).
  4. Operations Manager  (rue book, staff training, rostering and timetabling).
  5. Commercial Manager  (sales, catering, etc., planning of rallies).
  6. Marketing Manager  (marketing the Railway, including publicity and advertising, magazine and public relations).
  7. Financial Manager  (treasury, liquidity and cash-flow management, budgetary control system, VAT/Revenue).

Association of Railway Preservation Societies  (ARPS) AGM25-1-1986

For the first time in over four years the Society sent a delegation to an ARPS meeting, this year’s AGM being held in London.

The only really useful part of the meeting was a talk by Major Olver of the Railway Inspectorate on various current problems facing the preservation movement, certain aspects of which were discussed in a private conversation between Major Olver and the CLR delegation (Steve Organ and Adrian Hall) after the meeting.

The need for agreement between railways and private owner stock was raised which is something the CLR will have to look at before we recommence train operations.  The Annual ARPS Award was intended for BR for organising the Marylebone – Stratford dinner trains but as they are ineligible – not being members of ARPS you understand – the Award was given instead to the owners of the engines used on said trains.  As the Award is supposedly for an outstanding contribution to the Railway Preservation movement, there were surely better qualified contenders such as the KWVR for the splendid restoration of the unique Haydock Foundry built ‘Bellerophon’;Bellerophon at Caverswall Road, Foxfield Railway

City of Truro at Hampton Loade

the SVR’s restoration of ‘City of Truro’; the North Norfolk’s Gresley buffet car; the Llangollen Railway’s extension to Berwyn, etc., (or even the CLR’s nine year restoration of ‘Asbestos’!).Berwyn Station on the Llangollen Railway – and the former Chasewater Wickham.  Hondawanderer.com

The Best Preserved Station Award went to the SRPS for Boness Station.  This is interesting in that it is not strictly a preserved station, being an amalgam of various Scottish station buildings brought in from other sites.  Enquiries were made to see if Brownhills West would be eligible – apparently it would so we shall have to see what can be done in the future!!  – Any (sensible) ideas are welcome!

Chasewater Transport Rally Report

Sunday October 13th not only brought a return to steam to the railway but also the largest event held since the last Transport Scene in June 1982.  It was also one of the warmest days of the year!  A total of 129 exhibits were in attendance, ranging from buses to stationary engines.  As organiser of the event it was a great pleasure to realise that although we may have gone through bad times over the past three years we have certainly not lost our friends in the world of preserved vintage transport.  Thinking back to the original Transport Scene organised by Andrew Louch in 1977 when we had about 70 exhibits over a summer weekend, who would have thought that an October day eight years later would see almost double the number of exhibits and sales stands with free admission and still enough money raised on sales stands, our own refreshment and miscellaneous sales to make a healthy profit.

Aside from the obvious thanks to all the exhibitors who attended and members who assisted on the day, I would like a special vote of thanks to be accorded to Angela, the two Sues and Tim – all non-members who were coerced into helping out in the Wickham buffet.  It is fair to say that without their help profits would have been minimal as most of the profit came from refreshment sales.  The day’s refreshment sales realised £165, by far the highest achieved in the Wickham in one day.

One spin-off from the event was our first major publicity in the railway press for years, with photos of the Sentinel and/or Asbestos appearing in ‘Steam Railway’, ‘Railway Magazine’ and ‘Railway World’.  We were also featured in the Lichfield Mercury and shortly afterwards a photo of the ex-Walsall Gasworks Sentinel appeared in the Walsall Observer.

Chasewater Transport Extravaganza

Yes, another transport event is in the formative stages.  A group of enthusiasts headed by our friend Peter Magee of Lichfield are hoping to organise a weekend event in the Park on May 17th – 18th.  Admission will be free and they hope to cover costs by selling trade space and by means of donation.  An enjoyable informal event is promised and will include guest appearances by up to half-a-dozen steam traction engines.  Any profit made is being donated to the Chasewater Light Railway Society.

The unique 1957 built Wickham & Co Class 109 DMU (50416 & 56171) pulls away from Berwyn station on 26 June 2010 with the 16:50 Llangollen to Carrog service, during the Llangollen Railway’s Railcar Gala. The station occupies a very restricted site, next to the main Llangollen to Corwen road, and perched high above the River Dee.

107 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 3

107 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 3

Restoration of the Sentinel – One man’s battle against adversity

The Sentinel at Walsall Gas Works the day it was delivered brand new in 1958 – photo Mike Wood.

In 1981, as part of the exchange deal for the Royal Saloon, the railway acquired ‘in working order’ a 100h.p. Sentinel shunting loco.  This was duly steamed and trundled up and down with three or four wagons whilst waiting for the promised boiler certificates.  These eventually arrived but consisted of a boiler maintenance card, a Hydraulic certificate for somebody’s crane and a steam test certificate for 9632 which was later rejected by our Boiler Inspector as ‘not worth the paper it was written on’ because no hydraulic or visual examination had been carried out.

The only solution to the problem was to drop the firebox and start again from scratch.  It was this action which revealed a long list of both major and minor faults which all required rectification.  Luckily the boiler shell and firebox were in good condition but the superheater had holes in it and the spark arrestor box and chimneys were rotten enough to require replacement.  Eventually, following inspection, the boiler was re-assembled and passed its 413psi hydraulic test. Since then the rest of the loco has been gradually rebuilt, and as during last winter we had serious problems with thefts and vandalism, the opportunity was taken to fit lockable sliding yobo-proof screens to the cab along with wire reinforced glass and bars over the windows.

The Sentinel shuffling past the loco shed at Chasewater during a test steaming shortly after arrival from Butterley, after which it was dismantled for overhaul – photo Sid Mills.

During 1984 the loco was test steamed twice revealing more minor problems.  The steam brake would not release properly because the valve body had been machined badly out of true; the engine blow through drain valve would not work because its pipe was blocked with twelve inches of solidified sludge; even the injector water valve could not be operated properly from the cab.  However, following each steaming of the loco, more faults are corrected or improvements made.

Two faults which need to be checked at the next steaming are the boiler feed pump which so far has refused to work, and the engine oil pump which has to be primed with oil before it will pump pressure.  Hopefully the recently installed stainless steel balls in the non-return valve matrix may have cured the oil pump problem.

At the present time the loco is being re-assembled after its second visual boiler inspection and painted BR black for the Open Day in October.  Hopefully, three years after it arrived it can at last be seen running in public.

The Chasewater Fat Controller – Nigel Canning.At the time of writing – May 2011 the Sentinel is coming to the end of its latest overhaul.