Tag Archives: Burntwood

127 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News January 1991

About time for another Bits and Pieces! Thank you Nigel



127Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News January 1991

Editorial – Nigel Canning

At the end of this, another, year we have made further modest progress on our railway.  As yet, the proposed platform at Willow Vale has not been built, but only because a pre-fabricated concrete one, well worth waiting for, has been acquired and awaits removal to Chasewater.

The fact that we have run for the whole year with only one steam loco is in some ways a disappointment, but on the other hand it does show that our engineering standards are as good as anyone’s with no failures having occurred.

With the main line steadily being extended towards the causeway, carriage and wagon restoration proceeding at a pace not seen at Chasewater for many years, and the station site and line in general becoming tidier and more businesslike by the week, 1991 could be the year when we do finally expand and prosper.

Locomotive News

No.4 Asbestos – Progress on this loco is still very slow and as a result it is likely to be well into next year before it steams again.  The boiler and firebox are slowly being cleaned for inspection and following removal of the firebox lagging, which left a lot of mess, the motion has been thoroughly cleaned.Photo: N.Canning

No.5 Sentinel – This is still the line’s only working steam loco and as such will work all the Christmas and New Year trains.  It was painted in camouflage as WD 79632 for the military weekend in September and is now in red undercoat prior to being repainted in its original gasworks red livery.

A number of outstanding minor repairs have recently been carried out, including fitment of a new blower pipe and firing chute, re-machining of a leaking clack shut off valve, and rectification of an engine oil pressure problem followed by an engine oil change.  The loco will shortly be fitted with a new fire grate to replace the rapidly disintegrating one currently held in place with a piece of angle iron secured to the sander pipe by fencing wire.

No.2 Lion – This loco is currently being fitted with sliding cab shutters and is likely to be hydraulic tested at the same time as Asbestos.  The saddle tank has been sent away for repair by contractors and should return shortly in pristine condition.

S100 – The major work being carried out on this loco is still the construction of a machine for grinding the hornguides, which posed more problems than had originally been anticipated.

No.7  Ruston – This loco is still in good running order although there was a minor mishap in July.  After its having stood unused for a number of weeks, the engine bent a pushrod during start-up.  Further investigation revealed that one of the fuel elements in the injection pump was also seized.  Repairs were affected fairly quickly and the engine appears to start more easily than it has for a long while.

No.9 Fowler – This loco is now running reliably and sharing shunting duties with No.7

Smith Rodley 5 ton crane – This vehicle has received a lot of attention recently in preparation for forthcoming work on the track.  The bodywork is being repaired with new windows and a complete repaint.  Work is also being carried out to repair the wooden floor and fit a guard around the open gearing in the cab.

 Permanent Way News

A prefabricated concrete platform has been acquired from the Severn Valley Railway and will shortly be brought to Chasewater.  This is obviously ideal for Willow Vale Halt and will be far superior to the sleeper built affair originally proposed.

Work has continued on extension of the track past Willow Vale in addition to maintenance of the existing running line.  The increased number of working members mentioned in the last magazine seems to have been more than maintained to the extent that we are handling the 45ft and 60ft rails with relative ease.  Unfortunately the overhead power lines which pass over this section of line preclude the use of the crane for quite a distance either side.

Carriage & Wagon News

Activities in this department have continued to increase so that there are currently a number of historic coaches and even wagons being worked on, as follows:

Midland four wheel passenger brake – Following extensive research, this vehicle is being restored to its original Midland Railway condition.  This has so far involved the removal of various post-MR additions, such as the internal partition, door and a bench seat.  Part of the roof is being rebuilt and various bad body panels renewed.

Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln six wheel coach – Restoration of this vehicle has continued with renewal of broken windows and repair or replacement of damaged body panels.

Great Eastern six wheel passenger brake – Restoration of this long-abandoned vehicle has also recently commenced, initially with the stove, but also body panels and windows.  Hopefully the boiler from S100 which has blocked its movement for a number of years will soon be removed to the shed yard allowing the Great Eastern to be moved again.

Ex Cammel Laird hopper wagon – Having been little used since the hopper body was removed for scrap a number of years ago, this wagon has now been completely decked over with chequer plate to form a very sound flat wagon.  Minor repairs have also been carried out to the brake linkage and the whole thing painted in Tri0ang Big-Big Train bright blue.

Wooden five plank wagons – Both of the two examples of this type of wooden framed, wooden bodied wagons at Chasewater have badly deteriorated over the years.  At last a start has been made on one of these to renew all the rotten timbers in the floor and sides.

DMU Coaching stock – The Gloucester and Wickham trailer cars have remained coupled together as our passenger train throughout the season.  The left hand side of the Gloucester, which for some reason always seems to be more susceptible to body rot than the other, has received a few more patch repairs and a repaint.

The Wickham power car has remained in use as the station buffet.  However, when the new portacabin is opened for business, this coach could re-enter passenger service, steam hauled, or even under its own power.

New Acquisition – One of our members has just purchased from BR via Tyseley diesel depot, a DMU centre car.  Full details are not yet available, although it is No.59444, asbestos-free, in excellent condition and until very recently running on BR.  Further details, and hopefully an article, will appear in the next magazine.  This of course makes possible some very interesting train formations and raises the question ‘will we shortly be needing longer platforms?’

General News From The Line

A large portacabin has been acquired and will be put next to the booking office, and when fitted out will become the station buffet.  Mains power will be provided from the newly rewired site supply and it is rumoured that running water will also be plumbed in.

Photo: N.Canning

Work has continued on tidying up the station area by clearing away the assorted rubbish which continually seems to appear from nowhere.  Grass is now being encouraged to grow in the area in the middle of the run round loop to form a rough lawn and kept trimmed with a strimmer.  The stationary engine displaced by the new buffet is likely to be permanently mounted in the middle of the loop, and possibly made operational by a buried pipe to a compressed air or steam supply from one of the locos.

Sewer pipes have been run from the portacabins and portaloo out into the culvert in the park.  Most of the trench digging was done by a rented (cheaply!) JCB but a lot of work had to be finished off by hand.  This involved around a dozen or so people and is another example of what can be achieved by our steadily expanding volunteer workforce.

Stop Press

Following a problem with the release of the portacabin mentioned above from its current owners, a further two smaller portacabins have been acquired and arrived on site on December 1st.  Due to various problems, these units took two days to unload from the lorry and a further three Sundays to winch them through the fence and into position.  There are plans afoot to make one of the cabins into a mess room for members, and the other into a washroom with showers, lockers, etc.

Image

Chasewater Railway Museum News

126 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pie

126Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News August 1990

Editorial

This year has seen a continued increase in volunteers and therefore in the amount of work carried out on the railway.  For the first time in a long while a number of major jobs have been carried out simultaneously, such as trackwork, carriage and wagon repairs and loco maintenance, even when trains are running.

A lot still remains to be done, and with a visit from the Railway Inspectorate now promised within the next couple of months, it is even more important that this level of activity continues.

Following the Railway Inspector’s visit we should know exactly what work is required to extend the line, or indeed to continue running the existing section, and will be able to plan accordingly.  After all, it would still be nice to run trains into a platform at Willow vale Halt later this year.  (Nigel Canning – Editor))

Locomotive News

No.4 Asbestos – Having been at a virtual standstill for a number of months, work has now re-commenced in earnest on the firebox repairs and preparation for the major boiler examination of this loco.  A number of new tubes are to be purchased and will be fitted to replace those leaking when the loco was taken out of service.  Hopefully the loco will re-enter service before No.5’s boiler certificate expires in October.Sentinel pausing at Willow Vale – Nigel Canning

No.5 Sentinel – This loco has so far handled all of this year’s trains.  Recently adjustments have been made to the camshaft driven valve gear with, eventually, improved running as a result.  Various minor steam leaks still remain to be attended to.

No.2 Lion – The new boiler tubes for this loco have now been fitted and work is progressing towards its first hydraulic examination.

S100 – Work is still progressing with the machining of the hornguides of this loco.

No.11 Alfred Paget – This loco received a very nice paint job and superficial restoration for the Bescot Open Day and has been placed on display at Brownhills West station.

No.7 – Ruston – This loco is still in good running order.

No.9 Fowler – Investigation into the starting problems of this loco which had been thought to be due to a damaged starter ring, revealed that in fact a multi-plate clutch built into the starter motor had become fouled with oil and was slipping under load.  This clutch was cleaned and re-tensioned giving perfect first time starting on this loco.

Carriage & Wagon News

Work has recently started on two of our historic coaches, the Midland four-wheel passenger brake, and the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln Railway six-wheeler.  Both have been in need of extensive renovation for some time, but now look set to receive it.

The Gloucester and Wickham trailer cars are still running coupled together to form the passenger train whilst the Wickham power car remains in use as the station buffet.

Permanent Way News

Brownhills West Loop – Nigel Canning

The new points at Brownhills West are now virtually complete along with their associated trap point set and lever frame.  This means that we now have a complete run round loop for the first time in our railway’s history.

Weedkilling of the running line took place, rather belatedly, during May.  Bad weather and financial restrictions having prevented this vital job being done earlier in the year.  In addition, a number of worn sleepers have been renewed, and on particularly bad joint repaired.  It is intended to grease the remaining fish plates on the line and re-pack any dipped joints in the next month or so.

The dramatic increase in members in recent months means that work continues even on event days when trains are running.  In the near future the large steel gate at the shed yard entrance is to be moved down to the level crossing to complete the pair of gates there.  A replacement for the shed yard has recently been donated in the form of a pair of wooden gates which when in position, will give slightly wider access for the large vehicles such as the coal merchant’s lorry.

125Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

125Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News April 1990

Midland Railway – Brownhills Branch – B. Bull

Copy of what may have been a locally commercially available postcard depicting a MR Johnson design 3F 0-6-0 of the type introduced in 1885 and rebuilt by Fowler from 1916 with Belpaire boiler.

Looking back through various back numbers of ‘Mercian’, ‘Chasewater News’ and ‘Railway Focus’ it becomes apparent that little has been published to inform members of the history of this branch, part of which trackbed provides us with the base for our own Chasewater Light Railway operations.  An even more glaring omission is that we have not made available for publication the few interesting photographs in the museum collection.

 On July 1st, 1879 the Midland Railway had opened a line from Castle Bromwich to Walsall with intermediate stations at Penns, Sutton Coldfield, Sutton Park, Streetly and Aldridge.  Whilst this line was being constructed, a branch from Aldridge to Walsall Wood was authorised on July 13th, 1876, with further extension to the western shores of Norton Pool being authorised on August 6th, 1880 to give an end-on connection with the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway, just south of the causeway.

The contractors for this 3¾ mile branch were H.Lovatt & Co.Ltd.  I am unable, however, to discover any details of the contractor’s locomotives which would undoubtedly been used on this project.

On April 1st, 1882 the branch opened as far as Brownhills West for goods only, with the connection to the CC & WR being opened on November 1st, 1882.

Just north of the A5 road there was a short lived spur to the Coppice Colliery, Wilkin, owned by J.Owen Ltd.  (Later the Coppice Colliery Company.  This spur closed when the colliery was shut in 1894.

Passenger services commenced to the newly opened stations at Walsall Wood and Brownhills Midland on July 1st, 1884, but colliery traffic continued to be the mainstay of the branch.

Brownhills Midland was over half a mile out of town just north of the A452 Chester Road, whereas the LNWR station on the South Staffs Walsall line was handily situated at the end of High Street so it was no surprise when the LMS withdrew the passenger service on March 31st, 1930, Brownhills Midland being demolished soon afterwards.One amazing survivor is a wooden ‘finger’ which used to point the way to the platforms.  This piece owes its continued existence to the gentleman who fortuitously purchased from the site a pile of wood to build himself a garden shed, the finger surviving long enough to find its way by means of a donation to the RPS collection.  However, I digress slightly, goods traffic continued on the branch until the closure of former Cannock Chase Colliery pits by the National Coal Board in the late 1950s, the line being lifted between Aldridge and Brownhills West in 1960, with the CC & WR remnants left around the northern shores, mainly going by 1963.  Last day of passenger services at Brownhills Midland.  A Johnson 3F, No.3277, with two coaches of compartment stock including a clerestory probably dating from the period 1897 to 1916.  The porter seems to be holding up a closure notice or something similar perhaps.

What was left owed its continued existence to the NCB Area Workshops which was then just rail connected to the former LNWR Norton Branch via a circuitous route through the closed Conduit Colliery yard reached by a spur just south of the causeway.  A small amount of the original Midland Railway metals had been left as a headshunt, this being part of the former exchange sidings with the CC & WR and it was some nine years after the Railway Preservation Society came to Chasewater before British Railways ‘rediscovered’ the sidings left for NCB use in 1960 when the rest of the branch had been lifted.  By then of course the Society had extended their track into the park so the still BR owned piece fell in the middle of the Chasewater Light Railway.  How this problem was surmounted will be the subject of a future article, as it is a story in itself.Standard MR platform lamps on hexagonal posts are in evidence, but the sawn paled fence seen in the postcard view has been replaced with the sawn diagonal variety by the time these photos were taken.

The photographs

These form part of the Museum’s collection of local photographs, some of which will be made available to the Editor to feature in future issues of Chasewater News.  With 1990 being some 60 years since Brownhills Midland closed its doors to passengers, it is especially pleasing to be able to provide photos of the last day of services, March 31st, 1930.

124 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces from April 1990

The Museum will be open on Sunday, 5th June. 11.00am Entry from the rear of the heritage centre

124Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News April 1990

 A telephoto view of a Sentinel hauled train passing the shed yard – Dave France

Editorial

This winter’s mild weather seems to have promoted a lot of activity at Brownhills West station, and with much of the work being carried out by new members.  In addition to the trackwork mentioned in ‘PW News’, a hell of a lot of effort has been put in n the platform and buildings to the extent that this very public face of our activities is on the verge of looking even better than it did in 1982 before the old platform was demolished.  Work already carried out includes re-levelling of the Booking Office and fitting of an extended canopy, installing an old GPO phone box on the platform, laying a concrete path to the buffet coach and laying of grassed areas at the back of the platform.  If only we could keep this level of progress up for the rest of the season!

Locomotive News

No.4 Asbestos – This loco has now had all fittings removed and the tank lifted in readiness for its six-yearly boiler examination.  A professional boilersmith has been contracted to carry out repairs around the foundation ring where the rivets have become wasted with consequent leakage past the inner wrapper.  Work is also progressing on other minor repairs and adjustments and it is hoped that the loco will be back in service before Transport Scene.

No.5 Sentinel – This loco is still in working order, although drained down, having worked the Christmas and New Year trains.  The recently re-routed ejector exhaust has proved to be a lot quieter, allowing the driver and fireman to chat politely across the cab when running.  Only a few minor adjustments and a crank case oil change remain to be carried out before next season’s running.

No.2 Lion – Progress is still being made re-tubing the boiler and mounting of cab fittings.

S100 – Both crossheads have been separated from their piston rods, another job involving a great deal of heat and force.  Preparations are also underway for the machining of the hornguides using a patent homemade machine which grinds as it sweeps as it cleans!

No.7 Ruston – This loco is still in good running order.

Fowler – This loco performs well once running, but due to a number of teeth missing from the starter ring is tricky to start when cold.  The only recent minor failure was that of one of the vee belts which drives the air compressor.  Looking on the positive side, the dynamo control box has now been rebuilt allowing the batteries to charge correctly.

Other locos – No work has been carried out on any other loco.

Carriage & Wagon News

A number of minor but important jobs have been carried out to the interior of the Gloucester and Wickham trailers which still remain coupled together.  Hopefully the bodywork will be tidied up and repainted as soon as weather permits.

No other C & W work has been carried out.

Permanent Way News

Pete,Arthur & Steve ballast new track at Willow Vale – Dave France.

Quite a lot of progress is being made in this area despite the pitiful number of people involved.  At last a start has been made on completing the run-round loop at Brownhills West by installing the missing turnout from the end of the platform across to the buffers on No.2 road.  This work will be completed mostly using parts already on site, although a few additional timbers will probably have to be bought.  In order to ease the construction of the new loop at Norton, a complete turnout has been purchased from the Baddesley Colliery Railway, currently being demolished.  In addition to this, a large number of fishplate bolts have also been acquired involving four or five members making repeated trips to the site to unbolt them from the sidings there.

Work has continued to progress on the extension of track through the site of the new Willow Vale Halt towards the causeway.  This is now likely to be curtailed slightly during work on Brownhills West loop and on the Willow Vale platform.

Operating

Sentinel 59632 eases stock out of (21G) Hednesford Road shed yard. – Dave France

Luckily this winter the weather has again been very mild and so there was no problem with water supplies for the locos, or in attracting passengers.  The running of Christmas and New Year trains went smoothly and was financially successful.

Father Christmas was in attendance on 17th December and distributed presents to the children from his grotto in the ‘blue van’.  On 31st December the mince pie specials did good business attracting plenty of people to ride on the railway.

On 28th January there was an extra steaming when the ARPS visited us following their meeting in Birmingham.  In addition to this there was a car rally in the park so again we had a very profitable day.

The 1990 season proper looks set to start on Easter Sunday, which being a little later this year, will give us valuable extra time to carry out maintenance and repairs.

Any member wishing to volunteer to work on the train or on the station should obtain a roster form from the Booking Office.

122/123 Chasewater Railway Bits and Pieces, Toad.

122Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News December 1989 – 3

A Tale of Toad – Part 1 – I.Newbold

Following the arrival of this Fowler 0-4-0 Diesel-Hydraulic locomotive, two problem areas were identified.  The first was the reason for its withdrawal from commercial use; the coolant pump had expired and circulated most of the cooling water straight out onto the track.  Also the starting batteries (all four of them) had decayed during the loco’s period of inactivity.

Having removed the water pump and taken it to work, it was duly dismantled, in my own time of course, and it was only then that its reason for failing became apparent.  The sump had obviously been apart before, probably for the same reason, but unfortunately it had been put back together wrongly.  The rotating carbon seal had had its fixed running face installed back to front, and the seal which had been fitted had the wrong diameter lip for the water pump’s shaft. This meant that water could get past the seal into the bearing housing.  Now this might not have been so serious as this sort of seal usually tends to allow a very small amount of fluid past as a lubricant for the rubber faces, and the bearing housing has a drain hole in its face to allow this to escape.  Unfortunately the bearing housing had been put on upside down so the drain hole was at the top so the bearings had been immersed in water and had also expired.

Fortunately at this time a rep for the carbon-faced seal suppliers paid us a visit at work and was hi-jacked for a while.  He supplied a data sheet giving seal/shaft dimension correlations.  Armed with this information the seal face was fitted correctly, a collar turned down to fit on the shaft for the seal lip to sit against, and some new bearings found.  The water pump was then re-fitted three times before the gasket face with the cylinder block could be persuaded to seal.  Two of these occasions were in the rain and, although there is a fair amount of room under the hood, you invariably end up with water running down your neck on various occasions.  By this point I had become convinced of the advantage of air-cooled engines!

The loco then served a useful spell of duty requiring only a split air-hose to be removed.

As the months passed, the batteries became more of a problem and a blowing noise started to be heard from under the hood.  Investigation revealed the cause to be a blow from No.1 or No.2 cylinder.  This engine, in common with many automotive diesel (or more correctly oil) engines has a single piece six-cylinder block with a pair of three cylinder heads fitted.  As the blow was from the cylinder to the outside rather than into the oil or water systems, the loco could still be used with care if required.  A new set of four six-volt batteries were fitted, courtesy of the kind auspices of the loco’s major owners, Andy Cavelot.

Now the fun really started, as any of you have ever messed around with older cars, through interest or necessity, will know that getting hold of the technical manuals is a major part of the battle.  The information that came with the loco appears to have made a successful escape bid (if anyone out there knows where it is please could we have it back, even now) and Halford’s didn’t seem to stock a Haynes manual for a Fowler 0-4-0diesel hydraulic loco, so we had a problem.  The engine fitted to ‘Toad’ is a Leyland 900 series vertical lorry engine, so I started by ringing the Leyland dealer who contract services our works vans.  He revealed tat the head gasket sets could still be obtained, at a price, but he did not have a manual on these engines, in fact only one of their staff could ever remember seeing one.  He did, however, suggest that I try ringing Leyland or B.R.E.L. at Derby.  Thinking logically for a change, I decided to start with Leyland.

123Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News April 1990

A Tale of Toad – I.Newbold – Part 2

I rang directory enquiries and asked for Leyland/Daf; phone number actually in Leyland, Lancs.  No such luck, their computerised system could not find it.  Oh well, try a different tack.  I rang BREL at Derby and after about four phone calls managed to speak to someone who knew the Leyland 900 engine.  Unfortunately, after speaking to him, I was probably more depressed than before.  BR had employed the horizontal version on some of their stock and they had not exactly been the most spectacular success story ever.  Initially the engines had employed a wet linered cylinder block, there had been a change in piston design, followed by a change in crankshaft design, followed by a change to dry linered cylinder block.  The last modification was to cure an inherent problem of blowing head gaskets, not totally successful either, he added.  The outcome was that he could not be sure which variant we had, even from the engine number, his only suggestion was to go away and measure the cylinder head stud diameters, find out if washers were incorporated under the head nuts, etc. etc.  As a final comment, after giving various gasket fitting tips, he said that in BR use a good engine of this type would run for about a year between blowing gaskets.  Our ‘Toad’, it appears, had done so every couple of years, Leyland must have been taking lessons from Crossley.

Parallel to this, I decided to try to find Leyland again, but how?  Ring up the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust thinks I, well they only deal with cars but their non-computerised system had a record of Leyland’s phone number.  Computers 0, Card Index 1

So, feeling a little perkier I rang Leyland – Daf as it is now, and after a few tries I got through to their technical publications department.

“Have you still got any data on the 900 series?” asks I, “Good grief” say they.  After a five minute rummage, I was asked to ring back in a couple of days.  A couple of days later I rang back:  Bad news and good news, they had disposed of all their old manuals, but most had gone to the British Commercial Vehicle Museum.  However, they could not guarantee their having passed a 900 series engine manual on as it really was an Albion engine, built in Scotland.  I could try the Albion owners club.  This I did, but they didn’t seem to want to answer the phone.

The other parallel course was still grinding onward and after a measuring session of head stud diameters, etc. I rang BREL back: the chap I wanted was on holiday.  Ho Hum.

I decided to ask the loco’s previous owners if they knew anything about it.  Now I don’t know if you have ever tried to find the phone number of a military establishment, but it’s not quite as straight forward as it could be.  Deciding not to bother with Directory Enquiries, I rang the War Office, sorry, Ministry of Defence, in London and eventually got the requisite number.  I rang Radway Green, only to be told that I had just missed the Head of Transport, he had just gone home.  I rang back the next day – he was not in.  The third day I rang I was given a vital piece of information, they were shut down for holiday, could I ring back next week?  OK folks, don’t invade us or declare war – we’re on holiday!

Next week I rang back and spoke to the head of the transport department, they certainly remembered ‘Toad’, but did not repair it themselves, some chaps used to come from ‘somewhere near Derby’ to repair it.  I was passed on to the fitter, who was uncertain about whether it was wet or dry linered, and did not know the head torques.

Not long afterwards I traced the British Commercial Vehicle Museum phone number, BT’s computer had this one in memory – shock, horror, anyway I gave them a ring.

“The chap you want is out, can you ring back tomorrow?”  This sounded familiar, so I rang back the next day and found the relevant person and gave him the by now very well rehearsed patter.  He sounded quite hopeful and asked me to ring back in a few days.  This I duly did and was rewarded with the information we required.  Just for the record, if anyone else wants to fit a Leyland 900 head gasket, the torques are:  200lb/ft on the ⅝” UNF studs, and 100lb/ft on the ½” UNF studs.  Eureka!  They could even sell us a copy of the engine manual.  It is at this point that someone comes up and says ‘I could have told you that’ – if they do I’ll scream!

Now all we’ve got to do is buy a head gasket and fit it….

Then there is the dynamo control box to set up……

Then the exhauster to fit…….

Then the……..

Update 2011 – ‘Toad’ is now owned by R. Fredwoods (not sure about the spelling!) and is awaiting a new engine…..

119 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Autumn 1989

119 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Autumn 1989

From the Editorial

This magazine sees another change of Editor as I (Nigel Canning) volunteered to take some of the load off Steve Organ.  We both spend a lot of time at Chasewater so we have up to date material for the magazine, but perhaps the problem is recognising it.  A number of members and visitors who had not been to Chasewater for a while have expressed amazement at the recent improvements and are obviously delighted, whilst those of us who work there every week tend to have on our minds want we haven’t done yet rather than what we have.  As you read the various sections of this magazine you will see the usual excuse for jobs not being completed, ‘lack of manpower’, however, if you look back through previous magazines the problem has subtly changed, hopefully for the better.

It used to be:  ‘Insufficient manpower to rebuild the railway to allow train operation’.

Then:  ‘Insufficient manpower to run trains more often’.

Now:  ‘Insufficient manpower to open the bar every week’.

Next perhaps:  ‘Insufficient manpower to sell tickets at Willowvale Halt’.

All of this shows that we must be making progress and makes me wonder what we will have insufficient manpower for in, say, ten years time???

Locomotive News

Asbestos – This engine has worked all of this year’s trains so far with only various minor leaks having needed attention.  The recent introduction of two coach trains has proved to be no problem at all for it, with only apparent minimal increase in coal consumption.

Sentinel – Getting this loco through the various stages of a major (five yearly) boiler examination has proved to be a long drawn out business, however it is now ready for its steam test and should be back in traffic by the time you read this magazine.   In addition to the statutory inspection work, an extra water level gauge has been fitted to the boiler, also a new, larger ashpan ready for working the new Norton Expresses.

Lion – Much enthusiastic work has continued on this engine, mainly getting the boiler ready for its initial major examination.  In addition to this, various new boiler fittings have been procured and machined, further vacuum brake pipework added and more paint applied to the frames.  Hopefully the loco will enter service during 1990.

S100 – Work has concentrated on splitting, cleaning and re-assembling the springs of this loco, a job involving a lot of heat and brute force.

DL7 – This loco has again run well, performing all the shunting and works train movements.  The only minor failure was that of a bearing in the small battery charging dynamo which was repaired fairly easily.  Following a bout of vandalism by local tow-rags the loco has been repainted in ‘Rail Blue’ complete with yellow and black striped ends to cover the graffiti.

Fowler – This has remained ‘standby diesel’ due to a blowing cylinder head gasket.  Attempts at finding the necessary details required for the repair, type of head gasket, torques and torquing sequence, etc. gave been somewhat protracted due to the engine manufacturer’s inability to provide the information even when the block number was quoted.  This loco is also in the process of being repainted, but in Longmoor Military style of blue with the motion and other details picked out in red.

Other Locos – Little or no work has been carried out on any other loco since the last magazine.Carriage & Wagon News

The big news is that the Wickham trailer entered service on Saturday 17th June coupled to the Gloucester to form the first regular two-coach train.  The following day there was another first when the bar was opened and refreshments were served on the moving train.  Although a certain amount of finishing off work is still required to the interior, the coach has run every week since its inaugural day and has been a great success.  A finishing touch currently underway is a pub sign ‘The Wickham Bar’ being painted on the large unglazed body panel at the gangway end of the vehicle.  A precedent for this was the Southern Region ‘Tavern Cars’ which ran for a while in the fifties in ‘ blood & Custard’ livery with brickwork and a pub sign painted at one end.  Other than the three DMUs, no work has been carried out on rolling stock due to lack of manpower.Permanent Way News

One problem with running trains every Sunday is that it doesn’t leave enough people to do much in the was of trackwork.  However, the track we are currently running on is in reasonable condition and, by our standards, is remarkably free of weeds.  In view of the above situation, all efforts will be concentrated later in the year, starting around September, on a number of projects.  These will be; packing rough bits of the existing line, repairing the fencing again, completing the run round loop at Brownhills West, building a platform at Willowvale and then extending the line towards the causeway.  Any volunteers for this work will receive a warm welcome and a choice of shovels!

Operating

So far this year operating the railway has been even more hectic than usual for a number of reasons.  A lot more trains have been scheduled, running every Sunday in July and August, which is another ‘first’ for the railway.  In addition to this, steam trains were run on Monday July 3rd, two school specials, and the first ever Birthday Party Special, all of which were very successful and will hopefully be repeated regularly.  The recent addition of two-coach trains in itself has been no problem, but when the bar is in use at least one extra person is needed to staff it.  For the obvious security reasons the day’s work involves loading every item of stock onto the train and unloading every remaining item at the end of the day.  As a result, so far this year the bar has been open only on special days when staff have been available.  A similar problem has of course existed for a long time with the Wickham buffet car with all stock having to be transported to and from safe storage.  As usual any volunteers will receive a warm welcome and a choice of whatever the apparatus for this work might be!

118 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Summer 1989

118Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Summer 1989

From the Editorial

Well, what a surprise! A magazine on time, as promised in the last issue, and, I hope, some news that will be of interest to all.

A brilliant start to the season’s train operations, which has now been sustained into June, and thus the annual swelling of our coffers, has encouraged the regular volunteers and the Board to look forward with greater confidence to the future plans for the Railway, both long term and short term, and some of those plans are discussed in greater detail elsewhere in this issue.  However, the greatest shortage we currently face is a lack of manpower – unless some of the membership come along and help to get our show on the rails we can’t hope to carry on achieving as rapidly as we have during the last twelve months.The Wickham Trailer Car project is almost complete, and the vehicle will shortly be joining the Gloucester carriage on trains, probably in time for the Transport Scene.  The station area has been paved and fenced with new fencing in Midland Railway style, and the electrical supply system completely renewed.  These tasks have all been carried out by volunteer labour.  Now, we are looking at phase two of this year’s portion of the development plan.  This will involve the establishment of a halt at Willowvale, which will then become the staging point for progress on the extension towards the Causeway, the said extension being the third planned phase of development for 1989.  The latter project can only be achieved if the halt is built, and it all comes down to manpower.I know that many former and present members of the Railway have had their resolution and enthusiasm dampened and in some cases almost destroyed in the past, especially by the events of the six years from 1980 to 1986, but I would appeal especially to those formerly active members to give the Railway a second chance, we’ve proved that we now have the management capability to put together a really professional little project, firstly by clearing the Old Company’s debts, then by transforming the site, and now by establishing the basis  for the first real expansion of the Railway’s activities, signified by the imminent operation of two car trains for the first time, and with serious, financially planned and viable extensions to both the running line and to our covered accommodation in order to properly preserve our historic stock.  Now is the time to come along to the Railway and see how much we have changed.  Former regulars will be welcomed – we need the skills of craftsmen who used to enjoy restoring and maintaining our Railway, and I hope that some of you will come and see the renaissance at Chasewater for yourselves.

BirminghamNorth Orbital Road – M6 Toll

The agony of prolonged waiting to hear the outcome of the enquiry into the proposed route of the road has now been extended even further.  A letter received from the Department of Transport indicates that the decision on the road’s route has been ‘temporarily’ shelved, whilst the Government investigates the possibility of construction of the road by private enterprise, which they are going to do by means of a design competition between private contractors, the winner of which will probably be invited to build the road, which will be sponsored by the constructor, who will then recoup the costs, and take a profit, by charging people through tolls for using it.  Ultimately, we shall be subjected to considerable further delay and uncertainty about the effects on Chasewater of this new road.

The New Shed

The proposed new shed at Chasewater is coming along apace in terms of estimates and financial proposals.  Sadly however, until the matter of the North Orbital Road is finalised, we can’t make a planning proposal to the Local Authority because of planning blight.  Broadly, however, the scheme being pursued is the establishment of a two or three road shed of sufficient length to hold all of the wooden bodied stock and the Company’s locomotives, as well as a number of privately-owned locomotives, on a site parallel to the existing shed, with room for three roads between the two, with galvanised steel stockade fencing between the two buildings to provide secure storage for capital stock (the service carriages), these sidings having the additional benefit of being sheltered from the damaging wind-born horizontal rain and snow which howls down from the Chase and across the lake.

Trackside

Fencing is still a problem.  Every time we run trains we have to run a P-Way Special first with a fence repair kit, due to some irresponsible people removing fence wires so that they can cross the line to go fishing, which leads rather neatly into a Company policy statement.

THEFT AND CRIMINAL DANAGE

 A POLICY STATEMENT FROM THE CHAIRMAN OR THE CLR&M CO.

Company Policy is now that any person seen damaging fencing, which amounts to Criminal Damage with intent to endanger life, or any person causing other criminal damage or committing theft from the Railway will be prosecuted, and the Company will include in the summons an application for restitution of costs of repairs or replacement as necessary by order of court, and this will include juveniles; so if the police ask the Company to agree to a juvenile caught committing these acts being cautioned, the Company’s representative may not accept that caution and the Company will itself prosecute the individual concerned.

Locomotive Department Notes

The Sentinel, after a major boiler examination, is expected to return to traffic on June 17th or 18th.  This follows seven months of hard labour for Nigel Canning, during which the boiler was removed and stripped down to its constituent parts to the satisfaction of the Boiler Inspector.

Asbestos continues to give good service, and has been used on all trains this year.

Lion is now being re-tubed by the redoubtable Mr. Newbold, after a de-tubing exercise which is alleged to have come close to costing him his sanity, since the tubes, being hardened, took far more effort than any others encountered at Chasewater to date.  Comment as to whether the loco boiler or its owner should be certified has been voiced, but I’m sure that Mr. Newbold’s gnashing of teeth will be sufficient to work off his frustrations with the ‘damn lump of iron’ out of his system, especially when he drives it across the causeway.

The Hudswell has now passed into the ownership of the ‘Hudswell Group’, and I believe that they still have more shares available at £100 cash or £5 per month with a standing order.  One excellent piece of news is that the boiler cladding, having been sampled and analysed has been declared to be not asbestos, as we had feared, but fibre glass.  This will provide a welcome reduction in the overall restoration cost.

Transport Scene

A major event of the year in the Midlands rally calendar, this year’s Transport Scene doubles up as an official City of Birmingham Centenary event, and includes in its title ‘City of Birmingham Centenary Bus and Vintage Vehicle Run’ It will start from Sheepcote Street, near the City centre, proceed around the City, and then make its way to Chasewater via Perry Barr, Bar Beacon and Aldridge.  The dates of this event, Saturday 17th June ( more of a setting up day really, with a social in the Jolly Wazzock Bar of the newly refurbished Wickham Trailer car to which all are duly invited) and the Main Event on Sunday 18th June 1989.

Image

Chasewater Railway Museum 2022 opening times

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.