Chasewater Railway Museum Feb. 1965 Bits & Pieces 26

From the ‘Mercian’ – Newsletter of the Midland Area of the

Railway Preservation Society

February 1965 Vol.4 No.1

 

Last Day on the Churnet Valley Line

 

By R. A. Reed

In 1849, a line from North Rode, near Macclesfield, to Uttoxeter was opened by the North Staffordshire Railway Company.  This was known as the Churnet Valley line and was over 27 miles long.  The section from North Rode to Leek was closed a few years ago and some of the track is now lifted.

On Saturday, January 2nd 1965, the remainder of the line from Leek to Uttoxeter was closed to passenger traffic.  The day was cold but bright and sunny, and, accompanied by the Hon. Editor and friend, we set off from Stoke to Uttoxeter.  As we booked our tickets, from Stoke to Leek via Uttoxeter, 9/- (45p) single, the ticket clerk jovially remarked that it would be ‘cheaper by bus from Hanley – 1/10d (9p) single!’  Probably, these tickets were the first to be issued by this very devious route.

When we arrived at Uttoxeter, we had over an hour to wait, so we went to the waiting room where we found two seats of the North Staffordshire Railway, engraved with NSR and the Staffordshire Knot.  These were in excellent condition and one would be suitable for preservation.Uttoxeter Pic: Wikipedia

It was not long before the train arrived; three non-corridor coaches headed by Standard Class 4, No.75035 of Stoke shed.  The driver was J. Dickson and the fireman was S. Tabinor.  This was the last passenger train from Uttoxeter to Leek.  We occupied the first compartment nearest the engine and waited until the booked departure time at 11.18am, but this was changed to 11.30am at the last minute.  By now the train was filling up, most of the passengers being railway enthusiasts equipped with cameras and tape recorders.

As 11.30 approached the last photographs were taken, and carriage doors closed.  The Guard waved his flag and we were off, amidst shrieking whistles from the engine, detonators on the track and thunderflashes thrown by an enthusiast.Rocester Station Pic & Info: Genuki, Staffs Pasttrack

shannieslittleworld.co.uk

Description: Rocester Train Station 1905. This station was completed in the early 1850s. The North Staffordshire Railway Company’s Churnet Valley line ran through this station taking passengers to Leek and Macclesfield. Another service took passengers to Ashbourne and Buxton. The Ashbourne line closed to passengers in 1954, and regular passenger trains on the Churnet Valley line in 1960.

This picture shows signs on the platform for the Porter’s Room, Gentleman’s First Class Waiting Room, and a Ladies Waiting Room. There are also milk churns on the platform, awaiting collection .

All along the line people were waving as we passed, and the driver acknowledged this by long blasts on the whistle.  Soon we were speeding along and fast approaching the first stop, Rocester.  Here the train was well photographed and after a few minutes we set off again but only as far as the crossover, where we reversed onto the other track and back into the station.  A pilotman then boarded the locomotive and after much waving of green flags by hand-signalmen we finally set off, running on the ‘wrong’ line from here.Site of Denstone Station: Linda Bailey

We had a fast run to Denstone, the next stop, and again there were many spectators, and as we left the station, more firecrackers were thrown.  The section of the line from here to Alton is particularly beautiful and it is surprising that the line would not pay in the summer months.Alton Station: Humphrey Bolton

The next station was Alton, where we crossed back to the down line.  It was extremely tidy and well-kept and typical of NSR design.  The run from Alton to Oakamoor is continuous up-grade and the sound of the engine was music to the ears.  When we arrived at Oakamoor the platforms were quite crowded and many photographs were taken.  Just as we left, the last train from Leek to Uttoxeter passed, headed by a Stanier Class 4 (2-6-4T), and then we plunged into a short tunnel.Oakamoor Station: Rail37.com

Then on to Froghall, which is in an industrial area, but the factories between Leek and Oakamoor will not lose their rail connection.  This section of the line is to be kept open for freight and worked on the ’one engine in steam’ principle.Kingsley & Froghall Station: John ProctorConsall Station: Black Widow Productions

After leaving Froghall, we were soon in the beautiful country surrounding Consall.  This village has no public road to it and ‘outsiders’ cannot get in by car, therefore the railway was the only link (unless one prefers a long walk).Cheddleton Station: John Webber

We quickly arrived at Cheddleton, where most of the passengers left the train to take photographs, and the train waited until they were sure that everyone had finished and boarded the train.Leek Brook Station, Churnet Valley Platform: Wikipedia

The journey was almost over, and as we emerged from a short tunnel we could see Leek in the distance.  When we drew into the station, the engine rapidly uncoupled and ran round the train to haul the stock from the station.  As we left, the station was locked up – the last train had gone.

 

What a Comeback!  Churnet Valley Railway – 2010 version.Pic: Black Widow Productions

The first passenger services outside the confines of Cheddleton yard began on August 24th 1996, this being a “push and pull” operation of a little over a mile between Cheddleton and Leek Brook Junction, the latter being the junction with the mothballed Railtrack line between Stoke on Trent and Caldon Quarry. Trains were initially operated by hired-in “Jinty” tank loco 47383, this and resident 4F 44422 being the mainstays of the service for the first season’s operations. Although only a short run, this operation proved to be an ideal training ground for the railway’s staff, and got everyone used to operating outside the goods yard.

Saturday 11th July 1998 saw the first southward extension of the railway, when the section between Cheddleton and Consall was reopened for passenger traffic. This brought the railway’s operational length to approximately 3 1/4 miles. The next extension, to Kingsley and Froghall, opened to traffic on 11th August 2001, giving an operational length of approximately 5 1/2 miles.Pic: Black Widow Productions

Chasewater Railway Museum – More Early Stuff

Chasewater Railway Museum 

More Early Stuff

From the RPS Newsletter Oct 1960 Vol 2 No.1

From the General Secretary’s Page

Following a proposal from the Middleton RPS that they would form part of the national organisation envisaged by the RPS, a plan was drawn up outlining an organisation of autonomous groups, each covering a heavily populated area and taking over all responsibility for voluntary preservation in their area.  The national level of the organisation would transact such matters as were more effectively handled on a country-wide basis and would provide a common pool of information for all groups to draw on.  This was expected to be the most important subject at the AGM on October 22nd 1960.

The District Report

West Midlands

The next item to be moved into Hednesford depot will be a LNWR travelling post office van built in 1909.  This carriage keeps most of its original fittings, though the ‘pick-up and drop’ apparatus has been removed at some time and a plain panel used to cover the resulting gap.  This is not only a fine relic in itself, but will give covered space for display of historic relics.  The British Transport Commission preserves a replica of the original TPO on the London and Birmingham Railway which was built by LMS.  Now we have preserved an example of the type used during the early years of the 20th century.

D. Ives Collection

Requirements of the post office were standard for all types of TPO and the appearance of these vehicles only varied with the roof contour and panelling details of the companies who operated them.  A very high proportion of pre-grouping types have remained in service until recently when British Railways put in hand the building of complete new trains.  An interesting survival was reported a few years ago in the model railway press.  This was a six-wheeler TPO of the GNWR stripped and used as a tool van on a break-down train.

Late Extra

 

Progress on Great Eastern Coach

 

West Midland District

Ray Hallworth

Despite rather thin attendance at working parties, progress of restoration work on the recently acquired Great Eastern coach has been very satisfactory.  It is hoped that the interior will eventually form the first railway museum in the West Midland District.  A temporary exhibition will be staged there for our annual meeting on October 22nd.

Inside walls have been scraped and have received a generous coat of priming paint.  Most of the woodwork has been repaired.  The small brake compartment at the end of the coach has been converted into a tool store.

Improvements are slowly but surely being made to the exterior, one side and end facing the main Hednesford – Cannock line having been completely stripped of paint.  Over half of this has been primed.  Quite o lot of the panelling had to be replaced, particularly at one of the corners where to our dismay, we found that not only had the panels gone rotten, but also the framework.  Fortunately this has now been repaired and new panels fitted.

Work has not yet begun on restoring the Maryport & Carlisle coach, and it may have to be next spring before a start is made.  Continual appeals are still being made for more members to come and lend a hand, especially the more local people.  Working parties are held every Saturday from 3.00pm to 6.00pm and on Sundays from 2.30pm to 6.00pm.

Visit to Oakamoor Station

 

Twenty-four members and friends of the WMD visited Oakamoor Station on the ex-North Staffordshire line in the Churnet Valley on June 18th.Rail37.com  Churnet Valley Railway Oakamoor Station

The Stationmaster, Mr. Lister, took members on a conducted tour of the station buildings and adjacent copper works sidings.  Much interest was shown in an ex-NSR battery electric locomotive, a relic of prime importance, being built at Stoke works in 1916.  Still in excellent working condition and used for shunting work in the siding, Mr. Lister demonstrated the vehicle by giving members a short trip up and down.Rail37.com Oakamoor Station –  same view as previous.

Returning to the station, members were shown several items of interest including an old print of Oakamoor station in North Stafford days, and two lovely old NS office chairs with the Staffordshire Knot carved on each back-rest.  Each member of the party was presented with a sealing wax impression of the NS Railway Oakamoor seal.

Above: The delightful crossing keeper’s house at Oakamoor, just south of Oakamoor Tunnel, which can be seen in the background. This building looks as if it is another of Pugin’s designs, but we have been unable to confirm this. Oakamoor station was situated a short distance behind the photographer and was the next stop north of Alton. 10 November 2007. (Bob Prigg)

Finally members went by train to Alton Towers, a local beauty spot – not without noticing the magnificent NSR stove at Alton station.

Above: This is Alton station in Staffordshire, which was renamed Alton Towers in 1954 – only to close ten years later. (Surely the line might still be busy with a modern theme park en route?) The station was designed by Augustus Pugin (1812-1852), an English architect of the Gothic revival who is better known for his church designs and his work on the interior of the Houses of Parliament. However, Pugin did accept some more modest commissions, including this one for the North Staffordshire Railway, and the railway cottages at Windermere, Cumbria. Alton station is now owned by The Landmark Trust and can be rented for self-catering holidays. The trackbed is used as a railway path linking Oakamoor to the north and Denstone to the south. 10 November 2007. (Bob Prigg)