Chasewater Railway Museum
Taken from the Mercian October 1965 Vol.4 No.5
Another long magazine, with three more pages dealing with general preservation issues and a further two pages devoted to a humorous look at ‘Meetings’, which does not concern the vast majority of our members – our meetings are too short to be funny!!
Excerpts from the Officers’ reports
Treasurer’s Report – F.J.Harvey
Once again we start a new financial year, one which no doubt will provide a great many headaches for the committee.
In order that our projects can go ahead our financial position must improve a great deal. We have just paid our first year’s rent for the Chasewater branch which has rather depleted our bank balance. I would like to appeal to all members for financial support. This is urgent as we have several items of expenditure looming up.
One of the platelayers cabins on the Chasewater branch is in need of considerable repair. This will have to be done in the next few weeks so that our track laying equipment can be stored there in safety. A petrol trolley would be a tremendous asset if the money was forthcoming. Members are having to push a loaded trolley, weighing over two tons, for over half a mile and this distance is increasing each week as we lay more track.
We are also faced with the problem of moving the Peckett 0-4-0ST from Warrington. This is likely to be quite expensive and anyone who is interested in seeing the locomotive in steam at Chasewater next year is requested to give some financial support.
Turning to a more cheerful note, the loan for the Midland Railway Royal Saloon should be paid off completely by December. We hope that this will enable us to concentrate on paying off the outstanding money on the E1 0-6-0T (Cannock Wood) £125. Donations are still urgently required here.
The committee are trying to raise money but we do need the support of all members. This is a crucial moment in the life of our society. Please help now while there is still time. If any member is prepared to help us in raising money, please contact one of the committee immediately. If we can raise £300 we will almost certainly succeed at Chasewater. This is not a large sum considering the size of the project and I am certain that it can be raised if all members help.Inside the old Museum Coach – Barry Bull
AGM Report – from our Publicity Officer.
I’ve skipped the Chairman’s Report this time, most of it is included here.
The 6th Annual General meeting of the Midlands Area was held at the YMCA in Wolverhampton on 18th September 1965 with 25 people present. In his address, the Chairman, A.Holden, thanked the Committee for their support during the past year, John Elsley and his band of helpers for the hard, heavy work being done at Chasewater, and also thanked the Editor of Mercian, Malcolm Willis for his work. He also thanked everyone who attended the Annual Dinner arranged last year, and said that it had been a turning point for the Society with regards to the number of people who had been introduced to it.
David Ives, in his report , stressed the point that we desperately need more help with the track laying at Chasewater if we are to succeed, and that it was a pity that we had so many apathetic members. He also said that money-making activities were essential to keep up the funds.
Frank Harvey said that the past year had been a fairly good one financially, but in the next twelve months we were going to need a great deal more money and support if we were going to fulfil our aims.
All members were urged to renew their subscriptions if they had lapsed, and to really try and help the society in some way, as the next year will be a testing time for us. If however we all work together we will succeed.
In order that we may keep to schedule with track laying and be in a position to build the depot/museum in early 1966, it has been decided that we should provide full facilities for working parties on SATURDAY AFTERNOONS. As you have read in other parts of this issue we desperately need more manpower, and it is imperative that this need is met. We implore members to take advantage of this work party if they cannot reach those on Sundays. Please, please help!
The next plea is more or less a legal matter. With the loan for the building, we will need to payback to Brownhills Urban District Council £245 per annum. In order to meet the terms of the loan we need GUARANTORS to assure payment of this amount if the society should fail – which is highly unlikely. If you could guarantee only £1 we should be highly grateful. If you are willing to help in this way or even if you are only toying with the idea in your mind, we appeal to you to write for further details to the Chasewater Secretary.‘Smoke on the Water’ – this time from Barry Bull in the 1980s!
Rail contractor Centrac, Tarmac’s track renewal company, came to the rescue when it heard that Chasewater Railway at Burntwood, Staffordshire, was struggling to extend its line due to a shortage of sleepers.
Birmingham-based Centrac offered to supply 600 sleepers from its main recycling depot at Northampton.
The Donated sleepers mean that Chasewater Railway’s volunteer workforce can extend its line to a planned new station near the proposed Burntwood by-pass entrance to the Chasewater Country Park.
The line currently serves the Brownhills West end of the park, carrying passengers around Chasewater Lake – and across the lake on a recently rebuilt causeway – to a station opened 18 months ago in the Norton wildfowl reserve.
The track represents the only remaining mineral line from the vast Cannock Chase coalfield network, and runs small tank locomotives retrieved from industrial locations, including a steam shunting engine from Pleck gasworks, providing scenic leisure trips for passengers.
Chasewater Railway general manager Steve Organ welcomed the donation of the sleepers saying “We are absolutely delighted with Centrac’s generous help – quite simply we could not have achieved so much without them. This shows the value of recycling materials.”
Lorne Gray, who is in charge of Centrac’s recycling operations, commented: “The particular type of sleeper we have donated would normally be stripped down to the bare components. The baseplates and fixings would be sold off by the tonne to scrap merchants and the sleepers sold for use in heavy industry and agriculture.
“The fact that they will now be used for their intended purpose, albeit on a reduced specification basis, is very satisfying.”