Tag Archives: Burntwood

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.

114 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces, Winter 1987

114Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News Winter 1987

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

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

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

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

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

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

News from the Line

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

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

Carriage & Wagon Department

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All other Vehicles – No work carried out.

Loco Department

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

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

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

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

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

Sentinel – December 1989

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

Peckett 917 at Albright & Wilson 21-4-1951

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chasewater Events 1987

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

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

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

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

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

From the Archives

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

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

112 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.1

From ‘Chasewater News’ Summer 1987

 Chasewater Comment

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

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

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

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

Boardroom Note  (By the Company Secretary)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carriage and Wagon Notes (By Steve Organ)

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

Appeal:

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

Work in Progress Completed

L&NWR Suburban Brake

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

Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln Brake

The Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln coach with Asbestos

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

Maryport & Carlisle

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

Midland Railway Passenger Brake

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

Great Eastern Passenger Brake

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

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

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

DMU Vehicles

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

The Ex BSC Newark Hopper Wagon

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

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

Locomotive Notes

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

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

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

No.3  Boiler repairs continue.

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

No.5  In service.

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

No.7  Serviceable.

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

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

New Arrival

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

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

111 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

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

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

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

The Officers of CLR & M Co. are:

CHAIRMAN – Steve Organ

GENERAL MANAGER – Tony Sale

ENGINEERING Manager – Nigel Canning

OPERATING MANAGER – Les Emery

COMMERCIAL MANAGER – Barry Bull

MARKETING MANAGER – Ian Patterson

FINANCIAL MANAGER – Bob Curtis

NON-EXECUTIVE – Colin Marklew

COMPANY SECRETARY – Adrian Hall

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

There are at present two directors:

COMPANY SECRETARY – Adrian Pearson

CLR & M Co. NOMINEE – Adrian Hall

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

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

The above mentioned are also the Trustees of the Society.

 News from the Line

Loco Department

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neilson, Alfred Paget and Barclay Invicta

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

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

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

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

Wickham DMU

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

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

Trackwork

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

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

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

Wooden Bodied Stock

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

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

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

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

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

 431 Hudswell Group Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit of the Railway Inspectorate 3-12-1986

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

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

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

The Future

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

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

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

110 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces

 From ‘Chasewater News’ September 1986

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

 News from the line

Loco Dept.

Asbestos – Robin Stewart-Smith

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

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

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

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

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

Carriage & Wagon Dept.

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

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

Civil Engineering

Brownhills West Station June 1978

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

Museum Notes

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

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

Reorganisation News – Adrian Hall

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

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

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

The Future

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

431 Hudswell Group

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

Locomotive Stock List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

109 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From ‘Chasewater News’ April 1986

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

 News from the line

 Loco Dept.

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

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

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

Task Force

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

Motorway Madness

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

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

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

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

“431 Hudswell Group”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catering News

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

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

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

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

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

Re-organisation Committee Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City of Truro at Hampton Loade

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

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

Chasewater Transport Rally Report

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

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

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

Chasewater Transport Extravaganza

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

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