BR’s ‘Bescot Open Day’ took place on Sunday, 6th May. BR had requested that they borrow our venerable Neilson ‘Alfred Paget’ for the event. We replied ‘yes’ but only if they cosmetically restored the engine, insured it and provided the transport.
Ian Edwards then spent many hours repainting the loco and even applied ‘No.11’ to the tank sides and buffer beams, so that the old engine looked very fine. Arrangements were made to move the loco on Good Friday – but were then cancelled (pity no-one thought to tell me!) and re-scheduled for 3rd May. Various Society members told the BR representative that a lifting frame would be needed and that trying to lift the loco with slings under the frames would not be permitted for fear of damaging our loco.
‘Don’t worry’ they said ‘we are professionals.’
The day arrived, and the said ‘professionals’ brought a low loader and a crane, but no lifting frame! Predictably they were unable to lift the loco, and, after six hours of struggling, gave up!
Thanks are due to Ian Edwards for restoring the loco, even though it did not get to Bescot. Thanks are also due to Messrs. Emery, Newbold and Organ, plus a hologram of myself (I wasn’t there as I was off work sick) for organising the shunting and supervising the ‘lift’ – or lack of it!
Further thanks are also due to BR who provided the low loader and the crane. Perhaps next time the ‘professionals’ will listen to us ‘AMATEURS’ who do, after all , have some idea what we are talking about!
Despite this disappointment it wasn’t a total waste of time, for even though our Neilson did not get to the Open Day, our sales stand did, and Mr. Bull added £200 to our coffers in a very successful day’s sales.
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 totake ‘Asbestos’ out from Brownhills West, Easter 2007.
News from the line
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.
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.
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:
To forget it all and disperse the collection
To move lock, stock and barrel to somewhere else
To move Brownhills West some 200-300yards down the line
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.
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:
Chairman (usual duties and to ensure Directors pull in one direction – the one the members want).
General Manager (control, planning, budgeting of on-site work).
Engineering Manager (ensuring that the Railway meets the Inspector’s requirements).
Operations Manager (rue book, staff training, rostering and timetabling).
Commercial Manager (sales, catering, etc., planning of rallies).
Marketing Manager (marketing the Railway, including publicity and advertising, magazine and public relations).
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.
90 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Nov 1978 – 3
Company News from the Joint Meeting
This meeting was called to enable the Board and the Committee to agree on the immediate and medium term goals for the railway and the respective roles of the Company and Society in achieving them. The meeting was well attended, long and friendly and resulted in total agreement on all points.
It was decided to aim to operate the train services to the beginning of the causeway by 1980 and to open the line throughout its present length by March 1983. This would mean rebuilding the causeway, erecting fences, major clearing of undergrowth and the obtaining of a Light Railway Order. New platforms at the north end of the causeway and the far end of the line were also planned. To cope with the increased traffic that the longer line would generate, it was agreed that in the five years up to 1983 a minimum of three locomotives would have to be put into and kept in working order and three additional revenue earning coaches would have to be acquired. It was hoped that when the line was open as far as the causeway, i.e. by the beginning of 1980, two trains would be in operation on busy days and when the line was opened throughout, not less than two trains, each with two coaches, would be working each operating day.
It was also agreed that work should begin as soon as possible on the erection of buildings to house the working locomotives and wooden bodied coaches. By 1981 detailed planning for the main museum complex should start with a view to beginning fund raising in the summer of 1982 and work on the buildings themselves in the winter of 1983.
It was unanimously agreed that the Society was to have sole responsibility for the acquisition, restoration and preservation of items of Railwayana and that the Company would hold all fixed assets such as track, buildings etc. and concern itself with the running of the railway and the raising of capital and income for the project.
Thus the Company will play a vital supporting role to the Society whose original aims – the acquisition, restoration, preservation and display of items of historical railway interest – now becomes the aim of what has come to be called the Chasewater Railway Project. The Company is to raise the money for the attainment of that aim. The Railway will be the principal show place for the Society’s locomotives and coaches.
Asbestos with the Maryport and Carlisle Railway coach.
The STEPS Project
Everything seemed splendid after the meeting and I was duly told off and to write something for Ian Patterson to publish so that the world might know where we were going. Publication was set for September.
In August one John Selway, a Zebedee-like creature who telephones me from time to time to see if I am still awake, said ‘had I heard of STEPS and if not, why not?’
The Special Temporary Employment Programme is a creation of the present Government under which they will pay the wages of men hired under approved schemes to do work of value to the community which would not otherwise be done. A grant towards materials would also be payable. The Severn Valley, Festiniog and Midland Railway Trust have all benefited from the programme.
Frantic discussions were held with the Manpower Services Commission who operate the programme. They seemed very keen to have us. After much discussion and some reservation the Board decided to apply for a STEPS scheme. The principal reservation concerned the quality of the overall supervision. This was overcome by the Manpower Services Commission agreeing to allow us to appoint our own nominee as the site engineer – to be paid by them – provided he became unemployed first. The gentleman concerned will have handed his notice in by the time you read this.To cut a long story short, the scheme was applied for and approved for 52 weeks starting on the 2nd January 1979. The Company will be employing up to 30 men to work on the railway. The total wage bill, all paid by the Government, is £79,000, and in addition we shall receive a £5,250 grant towards the material cost of this work. The scheme involves the reopening of the line throughout, including the rebuilding of the causeway and the erection of fences and platforms, by March 1980 – three whole years ahead of the rather optimistic date agreed at the joint meeting in July.
To cope with the administrative problems which the scheme will create, we have acquired a site office – a mobile portacabin kindly loaned free of charge for the duration of the project by Cox’s Plant Hire of Brownhills and a telephone has been installed.
Of course, although one major problem is now solved – the re-opening of the line – another is created. To provide the additional capacity necessary to cope with the increased traffic that the longer line should produce – and thus make more money for the project – we have got to have three locomotives in steam and three more revenue earning vehicles. The original date for this was 1983, at the earliest. Obviously it would be wrong to say that we must have them when the line opens throughout in 1980. However, it is equally obvious that we cannot realise the railway’s full potential without them and so the sooner we can get them the better.
When the line is paid for in 1979, some £1,200 – £1,500 will be left in the development fund. Before we can operate the line at maximum efficiency and put up the two buildings mentioned above, at least another £10,000 will be needed. It can and will be raised. One way in which I hope to raise money is by running a development fund lottery for the next few years. This will be quite unlike the old weekly tote. It will be on a much bigger scale and will take place about three times a year. Tickets will be sold principally to members of the public visiting the railway rather than by Society members to their friends. Properly managed such lotteries should raise between £1,000 and £2,000 per annum. I shall however need help with the sales of tickets and I shall be pleased to hear from anyone who would be willing to sell lottery tickets at Chasewater at the following times: the first operating Bank Holiday of the season, Sunday and Monday plus the next operating Sunday afternoon: Transport Scene Saturday and Sunday and the next operating Sunday afternoon: the Saturday and Sunday of the Model Railway Exhibition and Gricers’ Day. How about you?
The Future What of the future? Apart from the obvious delights of having two miles to operate over as opposed to 700 yards, much work must be done. The Board will soon be considering the future of the Norton branch: the nature of the STEPS programme to follow the present one: the possible extension of the railway to the north and or south: the museum and workshop buildings and, perennially, the raising of money.
All these are continuing evidence of the new sense of professionalism which has brought so much progress in less than two years. We are all determined however, that this professionalism, which we must maintain, will not stop the railway being fun. As Keith Sargeant said to me recently – we must never forget that CLR is our train set. Quite true – but there is no doubt that the longer the line and the more bits and pieces on it, the more fun a train set is.
It is the Company’s job to provide the longer line and those extra bits and pieces.John Macmillan
Some thoughts about the future from 1969.Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 51 and 52
ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces 82 – March 1978
The Railway Preservation Society Newsletter
Chasewater News 23 – Part 1
The operating season is now a mere fortnight away as I write this Newsletter and despite a fair response to the appeals in the last Newsletter, the purchase of the line is still as precarious as ever. To date we have raised £1,200, less than 25% of the total amount of £5,400 required. It is quite clear that some drastic action will be required during the next six months in order to effect the purchase of the line, the favourite course of action amongst the ‘hard-core’ at Chasewater being the sale of the E1 locomotive ‘Cannock Wood’ for reasons already expanded upon in these pages and elsewhere. Suffice to say it is time for those who care to stand up and be counted (many members already have) or accept the consequences.
(No, we haven’t!)
News from the line
Much activity during the winter has been centred upon putting in a new siding leading up to the platelayers’ cabin. Access to this siding is controlled by a two lever ground frame which marks the start of interlocking on the railway.
It is intended to extend the siding up to the crossing at a later date and outline planning permission is available for construction of a building over the siding.
The present end of the siding has a railbuilt buffer stop – another first at Chasewater.
Work is now concentrated upon improvements to the two points leading into the compound and the installation of their associated control gear which will, in due course, be controlled by the platform lever frame after the running line has been slewed to clear the extension to the platform.
The extension to the platform will be built once the worst of the frosts are over.
The platform fence has been painted black, Midland style, and a box-van body is being acquired to be used as a waiting room and to provide some much needed shelter.
The bookstall now sports a new roof, by courtesy of Adrian Pearson, and it is actually waterproof! The brothers Grimm have been noticed performing strange exercises which, apart from resulting in the bookstall being repainted in Midland Railway colours, are reputed to be in readiness for the ‘forthcoming influx’ (of visitors I presume!).
The rear compartment of the DMU coach has undergone refurbishing, which has included repainting the roof, seat frames and heating ducts, re-covering the seat backs and a thorough clean. The rest of the coach is to receive similar treatment next winter.
(I don’t know if it’s just my reading of this section, but it gives me the impression of being much more optimistic than past articles.)
Invicta – this is currently being prepared for the new season, its yearly boiler test not being due until July, when it is hoped to give it a final top coat of paint.
Alfred Paget & Invicta – Gricers’ Day 9-10-1977
Alfred Paget – currently being prepared for its annual boiler test and it should be back in service by May.
Asbestos – The hydraulic test will take place within the next few weeks, when a final decision will be taken as to whether the necessary firebox repairs can be afforded. Hopefully the money will be forthcoming as ‘Alfred Paget’ is due for its six yearly hydraulic test next year.
Work involved entails lifting the saddle tank, stripping of boiler cladding and lagging to expose the boiler, repairs to the saddle tank and overhaul and refitting of all boiler and cab fittings. Mechanically the loco is sound. The loc is to be renamed ‘Colonel’ using the nameplate off the now scrapped Hudswell Clarke loco, latterly at Granville Colliery, as a pattern.
Lion – Following a change of ownership, plans are being made to give this loco its six yearly major boiler test during the summer, with a view to steaming it at the tail end of the season.
05406 The Colonel 0-6-0ST HC 1073-1914 at Granville 12-6-1964
The name is doubly appropriate as ‘Lion’ started its working life at Woolwich Arsenal, whilst the name ‘Colonel’ conjures up visions of Colonel Holman F. Stephens the godfather of light railways, and who would probably be highly delighted at the current set up at Chasewater.
Long standing members will recall that the loco was originally purchased minus safety valves. Happily the recent sale of loco spares held at Chasewater was of particular value, as a pair of Ross pop safety valves were obtained suitable for the loco.
It is considerably less than pleasing to report that on the afternoon of Monday 23rd January someone broke into the compound and deliberately set fire to the brake end of the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln coach. There can be no doubt that this was a deliberate malicious action and if it wasn’t for a sharp-eyed resident of Hednesford Road then every wooden bodied vehicle in the compound would have been razed to the ground.
The damage is estimated to coast at least £1,000 to repair. Allied to this fire, has been the theft of several items from the museum coach on three separate occasions. It is interesting to note that all three break-ins occurred during the school holidays. Two vacuum gauges, lettered MSL, were not recovered from the wreckage of the coach, though it is of small comfort that they were, in fact, BR gauges with false lettering.
The nature of the break-ins suggest that the person(s) responsible were familiar with the way things are run at Chasewater and the nature of the stolen items suggests that they knew what they were after and knew where to get it from.
The Police have been informed, but as it was the 270th crime reported in Brownhills in the first five weeks of the year, it is unlikely that they will have any success.
Changing the subject, it is indeed pleasing to report the acquisition of two more locomotives for use at Chasewater.
ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces 74 – Feb 1977
The Railway Preservation Society Newsletter
Chasewater News 18 – Part 1
From the Editorial
Recent activity at Chasewater has mainly centered on general maintenance, including some considerable tidying up of the entrance to the compound. Footings for a lever frame have been dug at the present end of the platform and we now await some good weather to mix the necessary concrete. The flat wagon on which the petrol crane sits has been re-timbered and strengthened and the crane itself has had some much needed maintenance. On the locomotive side, work has been centred on the Neilson ‘Alfred Paget’ which has been re-assembled after its boiler test. The coupling rods are at present dismantled to enable the crosshead slippers to be replaced with a spare pair which have been re-metalled. It is hoped this will cure some of the knocks emanating from the front end of this engine.
Neilson in 1978
Extracts from the report of the visit of Major Olver of the Railway Inspectorate to Chasewater on 22-7-1976.
1. Major Olver stated that he was quite satisfied with the present mode of passenger operation at Chasewater. He asked that a facing point lock be fitted at the end of the main running line.
2. When the tipping within the park has stopped, a concrete raft with the rails set into it should be installed at the road crossing.
3. There is a major problem of trespass in the region of the causeway which is used as a public right of way. This problem must be looked into in detail before the Society even thinks of running trains along this section of line.
4. The arrangements for repair and restoration of locos are perfectly satisfactory.
5. In reference to the need for a Light Railway Order, Major Olver explained that the section of line owned by British Railways was a statutory railway and therefore a Light Railway Order was needed to transfer its ownership. He went on to say that common sense indicated that any Light Railway Order obtained should be made to apply to the whole of the Railway. The Railway Inspectorate and Railway Administration side of the department will be happy to advise on the question of the Light Railway Order at the appropriate time. Major Olver suggested that the most satisfactory solution may lie in the precedent set by the West Somerset Railway, which would be for Walsall Metropolitan Council to obtain the LRO and to incorporate it into the leasing arrangements.
6. Training for drivers – the present arrangements were far from ideal as the Society relies on its own resources to train drivers. Major Olver stated that drivers should be passed out by an independently qualified supervisor from either British Railways or the National Coal Board. Major Olver explained that in the case of an accident there should be no room to question the basic abilities of the loco driver to drive the locomotive efficiently. At the present time this was not proven. Editor’s Note – This was the only point on which we were criticised and steps to rectify this are underway.
News on the purchase of the line
The executive committee heard that the Council couldn’t purchase the land and track until the 15th July. There appear to be two present options:
1. The Council buy the loopline and we repay £1,400 rent for ten years.
2. We buy and pay a nominal rent to the Council.
Much discussion is at present taking place amongst members on this question and further suggestions are welcomed by contacting the Hon.Sec.
The Stroudley E1 Restoration Fund
E1 at Cannock Wood
This body is the result of the meeting held at Chasewater on 22nd January. Only nine people turned up to this meeting, perhaps indicating the level of interest for this project within the Society.
The first aim of the Society is to raise enough money to purchase the E1 from the Society, a figure in excess of £3,000. There are now four Societies at least, interested in buying the E1 if the RPS has to sell it.
£155.50 has so far been raised and local press coverage has been good but due to the lack of local interest the appeal must go national. Offers of help, monetary or otherwise, should be sent to Mr. Albert Haywood.
ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces 72 – Dec 1976
The Railway Preservation Society Newsletter
Chasewater News – Part 1
From the ‘Editorial’
Less than 24 hours ago, I was standing in the compound with a group of members, discussing the lack of recent Society literature, when jokingly I suggested I could piece together a newsletter. Well here I am trying to write one.
Sincere apologies are due for the non-arrival of ‘Chasewater Express’ No.3, due to printing problems, etc. Hopefully the next edition will revert to the magazine format, which has produced some favourable comments. (Sorry folks – it didn’t!).
Much activity has taken place at Chasewater during the long dry summer and the short wet autumn. No less than three engines have been seen in steam at Chasewater this year, a record for the Society. It is estimated that over 8,000 people visited us, so there is every confidence of getting into five figures in 1977. ‘Alfred Paget’ the Neilson 0-4-0ST handled the bulk of the season’s traffic faultlessly (well almost!),
Alfred Paget and Invicta
whilst ‘Asbestos’ was steamed on a couple of occasions, but succumbed to rotten tubes in August and so was taken out of service pending the annual boiler inspection.
The big news however has been the completion of the overhaul of ‘Invicta’ the Barclay 0-4-0ST and its use in service pulling the vintage train on a couple of occasions at the end of the season. Already it has proved to be quite powerful, despite its somewhat diminutive size. Many thanks are due to Mike Wood for the purchase of this engine.
The boiler inspector has visited the site and passed ‘Alfred Paget’ and ‘Invicta’ for use next year, subject to steam tests. Unfortunately ‘Asbestos’ is due for a major test entailing the removal of tank and lagging, so it may not steam next year, for the first time in five years.
Paget with Asbestos
It is hoped that work will start on the Peckett 0-4-0ST ‘Lion’ in the New Year, so there is plenty of work for anyone interested in loco repairs – don’t be shy, come and volunteer to strengthen our loco fleet.
Both ‘Invicta’ and ‘Paget’ are to be repainted prior to next season. The little Barclay, ‘Lion’ and the Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST have been repainted this summer, considerably improving the ‘scrap-yard’ image of the compound. The planned repaint of ‘Asbestos’ will also be done, made easier by the need to dismantle it.
The other major scene of activity has been the current terminus of the line where the burning embankment has been dug out and refilled with non-combustible material. The track here has been slewed across to avoid placing stress on the edge of the embankment. Further relaying has taken place using concrete sleepers, extending the line by 50 yards or so. Many thanks to Colin Vincent for the loan of his bulldozer.
Further relaying has ceased pending purchase of the loopline from British Railways. It seems that the purchase will have to be completed without financial aid from the Council in view of the current economic and political climate (sound familiar!). To this end several interested bodies have offered substantial sums of money for the ‘E1’ locomotive ‘Cannock Wood’. A subject of much heated discussion at the moment. (See separate letter. In the next post – cws). The selling of E1 can only be done as a last resort, if all other means fail. Any sensible suggestions regarding fund-raising, etc. should be forwarded to the Hon. Sec.
Other progress has been seen with regard to re-fencing of the compound following two break-ins, when £40 worth of relics were stolen from the museum vehicle. The police have the addresses of the probable culprits so the items may be recovered.
Major Olver of the Railway Inspectorate visited the line and was reasonably satisfied with the current state of affairs – the full report will appear in the next magazine. It is to be hoped that the Chasewater Light Railway Company will finance the repainting of the DMU coach, so that it can match the current excellence of the two six-wheelers.
The Model Railway Exhibition held in September was another financial success, though the level of help, especially of the Friday night, was poor. Many thanks to Andrew Louch, the organiser and to Mr. and Mrs. Duffill for the refreshments.
The Editor wishes to state that he is in no way responsible for the ensuing passages, which emanate from the pen of a Black Country ex- butcher who nowadays works (?) for the only railway company in the country which is known to have in its stocklist a few hundred Brush 4s, a couple of dozen class 87 locos, etc. Spelling and grammatical errors are his, not mine.
The Restoration of a Rusty Beast
The Gospel According to Keith Sargeant
One particularly wet and generally normal Chasewater morning whilst shovelling (rubbish!) out of one very rusty coal bunker, I thought ‘will this thing ever go again?’ ‘’Course it will’ cried D.Luker, as he walked by for the tenth time that morning.
Well, it does go now and I will attempt to show how it was done.
In the winter of 1973/74, the boiler was stripped down and cleared of all the rotten lagging upon it, the firebox was cleared out in the space of one Sunday, the smokebox, however, was a completely different matter. A very crude but effective spark arrester was cut out, never to be replaced; the next four hours (was!) were spent devoted to the removal of the blastpipe which was only held in with two taper cotters. Evidence of neglect was showing through, on removal of the blastpipe a cup of tea was summoned and obtained. ‘I’m not working on that thing in the rain any more’ Derek grunted through a sort of mist that arises off Chasewater tea.
The next weekend was devoted to building a ‘Tent’ upon the loco and fitting electric lights up to work on the loco in the dark. Once it was completed, three weeks were devoted to clearing off the front tube plate. To our horror, Derek’s clearing off of this revealed that the tube plate was less than half its original thickness for most of the lower 3” and non-existent at the flange with the barrel. The smokebox bottom, which is formed of an extension of the boiler barrel, was also gone without trace. A very awesome sight that left us wondering if the knuckles we had lost were lost in vain.
Work was suspended while Derek went cap-in-hand to the man with the money to ask for £300 which the Society had not got. The remarkable thing was, they gave it to him. He then got in touch with a bloke what mends boilers and after lengthy discussions with our boiler inspector and the boiler mender it was decided that the boiler was in such a good state that it was worth spending money on expensive repairs to it. The contractor’s job was to replace 13 1” rivets and build up the smokebox tube plate to its original thickness and build up the corners of the firebox likewise. This work was carried out in the space of three days, and restoration by Society members then re-commenced.
During the repairs, 10 flue tubes were replaced – bloody good ones they were too. All boiler fittings were overhauled and replaced. The regulator valve was taken home by Derek to Stafford where his neighbours were worried at the sound of him grinding ‘IT’ on the hearth rug.
The boiler was hydraulically tested and passed with flying colours.
Now with the boiler out of the way, the mechanics were looked at – ‘Boy, what a mess!’
4 tattered main bearings, 2 seized pistons, no side rods brassed, 2 valve spindles worn like egg-timers, and a partridge in a pear tree – PEAR TREE! Oh yes Boyo, we spent a few hours in there sampling the delicious tremblings, Boyo!
Work was suspended from the summer of ’74 to the winter of 74/75 fro work to be done on ‘Asbestos’, and also we built a workshop containing several mechanical works of art enabling Derek and Brian to while away the winter months machining the main bearings. When they were done and fitted, the loco was lowered back on its wheels, the boiler was lagged and the tank was found to have more holes in it than a hairnet! Six weeks were taken filling these in – we found the rest when it was on the loco!!
The loco was re-mated with the tank and the (Barkeus? Sorry, can’t decipher – Editor) nicely patched up and painted a delicate shade of black and red. Now we had what looked almost like a steam loco, it was then decided to borrow the lubricator off of the Hudswell-Clarke. This is where Brian Hames came into his own. His short, Coal Board figure was just the ticket for getting round the little bits of engine that get in the way when you are laying lubrication pipes all over the place. After that was done a steam test was made, the boiler steamed well and the injectors worked like two humming birds. After eight months derelict and 18 months stripped down, only one leak in sight – and a very tiny one from a blown joint at that!
Now the moving parts. As she stood they listed two seized pistons and valves, two weighbar shaft bearings (ready for a gallop) and one very rusty steam brake valve, complete with bent brake gear (a relic from Bruno days). Something tells me I have (Sorry about this next bit of indecipherable script – Ed.) Wol’t fhat Bit a £ove –
After re-metalling the four main bearings and weighbar shaft brasses we set to putting it together again, first the pistons and valves, the valves took a lot of buggering about with and a great deal of patience on Derek’s part. The siderods took about twelve weeks to fit as we had to make all the brasses from a similar but younger loco.
When Alfred Paget (as we had decided to call it) was back together again and had been made to look respectable with the aid of two gallons of black paint, we steamed it – what a day!!
06.30 we lit the fire and raised steam Lewis fashion (slowly – Ed). By 11.00 we had got 50 lbs of steam, and it would not budge – what had we forgotten to do, I thought? ‘Give it a nudge’ said a very dirty and unhygienic NCB Brian. So we did. Chuff, chuff, wheeze she went, like a ‘Super D’ with not a bit of trouble. The brakes didn’t work for a few weeks until they were worn in – but now we have one beautifully repaired Neilson 0-4-0ST loco of 1882 vintage and it was in steam for the 150th Anniversary to boot!
No mention yet has been made of the carriage and wagon tapping fraternity who are a body of MEN?? Who delight in making life difficult for us engine bashers. Still, as I haven’t mentioned them before, I won’t bother now!!
Jotted by the most photographed driver at Cheesewater and published by the Keith Sargeant Appreciation Society.1975 Open Day – He’s in the middle! Andrew Louch on the right, with Brian Hames on the left. Thanks Bob.
The original ‘Alfred Paget’ 0-4-2ST No.204/1861, acquired new by the Cannock Chase Colliery Company, scrapped by NCB at Chasetown circa 1952. ‘Paget’ was the family name of the Marquis of Anglesey, one of the major land-owners in the district, and Chasewater Railway has kept the name – now on a Neilson engine.
‘Alfred Paget’ – the Neilson version.- 2937-1882 0-4-0ST,