Tag Archives: Cannock

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces – No.97

Chasewater Light Railway Society

1982-1985

Newsletter January 1983

News from the line

Loco Shed

The loco shed is now completed and the engineering department has taken up occupation.  At present the shed houses the Sentinel 4wVBT, MSLR 6-wheeled coach and Asbestos.

The shed was built with the aid of a Manpower Services Commission Youth Opportunities Programme under the direction of Derek Cartwright. Unfortunately the scheme overspent by a sum well into four figures.  Whilst a small sum was inevitable on the end of the final scheme, the size of the present liability has to be met by the Company is of particular concern to the Directors.

West Midlands County Council Task Force

The Directors have chosen this as a means of achieving further developments at Chasewater, in the light of experience with the loco shed.  A special thanks goes to John Selway for getting the scheme off the ground.

The scheme is exclusively devoted to improving trackwork and associated facilities to a standard acceptable to the Railway Inspectorate.  This will entail the relaying of the track on the entire length of the line and the construction of a run round loop at Brownhills West Station. A material grant of £10,000 is available which has been earmarked for the purchase of rail and concrete sleepers.  Labour is provided by WMCC, who are also responsible for day to day administration.

Work on this scheme will shortly begin in earnest, with progress dependant on the weather conditions during the coming months.  This work will commence before the 1983 running season and it is likely that the running season will not start at Easter.

Asbestos

This loco will operate the first passenger train in 1983, after its prolonged overhaul is completed.  The loco will emerge in a new blue livery and will be fitted with vacuum brake equipment, which is a necessary feature of all future working locos.

Society members are currently working on the loco which is the first priority, ahead of the striping for boiler examination of the Sentinel.

That is the end of the Jan 1983 Newsletter, and considering the piece which follows, mainly taken from the history of Chasewater Railway, they really didn’t know what was coming!  There were no passenger trains from October 1982 until Spring 1985.  And, just as a matter of interest, ‘Asbestos’ in blue wasn’t a success either!

The Society had been proud to be represented at the Stockton & Darlington 150th celebrations in 1975 by the restored Maryport & Carlisle coach, but by 1982 things were not going too well at Chasewater. Vandalism and theft were rife, especially during the time when a Manpower Service Commission programme had been engaged on construction work for a new engine shed and some track work.

The Railway effectively closed in October 1982 when a miserable wet Saturday saw just two fare-paying passengers carried on the last train of the day. Although no trains were to be run for the foreseeable future, it was decided to soldier on behind the scenes as a Society. However, further problems occurred during a West Midlands County Council Task Force Scheme the following year when, after construction of a bay platform to accommodate the museum coach, the remainder of the platform was demolished by the Task Force – who then failed to return to rebuild and extend the platform as promised, for nearly 18 months.

It was not until 1985 that regular steamings began again, but in the intervening three steam-less years, membership had dropped by some 50 per cent. The Society deemed it necessary to prune its stock as it was realised that without an injection of cash, the whole affair might fold. The L&NWR Travelling Post Office went to Tyseley; a small “Planet” diesel went to Brian Roberts’ Tollerton Farm Railway, while individual members purchased two steam locos and one diesel loco in order that they could remain safely at Chasewater.

Working membership fell to single figures, but that small band succeeded in rescuing this early standard gauge preservation scheme from the brink of extinction. Subsequently, as described later, a new company was formed in 1985 – the Chasewater Light Railway and Museum Company – and achieved status as a Registered Charity.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.88

Peckett No 917

88 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

Chasewater News No.25 – November 1978 – 1

Editorial

This Newsletter is somewhat late but is somewhat lengthy, reflecting the great progress being made these days at Chasewater.  Unfortunately to progress one has to be somewhat ruthless and differences of opinion result in some people opting out of active roles and it is extremely unfortunate that several people have resigned this year as the railway is, after all, primarily a leisure activity (though I’m beginning to wonder!) but that’s life, I suppose.

However, the end of 1978 finds the Society in perhaps its strongest position ever, especially with regard to finance.  The money for the line is at present in the building society, earning interest, as the sale of the land and track to Walsall Council has been held up by technicalities, again, purchase not being likely until the New Year.

1979 promises to be a year of great strides forward, especially with the STEPS scheme and the realisation of re-opening the railway, if all goes to plan.

The Committee and the Board are all firmly convinced that the Chasewater Light Railway has got great potential and the past two years, and the resultant changes, have been essential to enable that potential to be tapped.  There is now a greater degree of professionalism about the railway which is essential as the railway expands – you cannot ’play trains’ on two miles of standard gauge railway.  Despite all these changes the railway is still great fun and the active members amongst us derive a great deal of pleasure from it and that alone justifies its continued existence.  I am sure that the amount of fun will increase along with the size of the railway.

Dave IvesIt was with a good deal of sadness that Dave Ives stepped down as President of the Society at the recent Annual General Meeting.

Dave Ives on the left – in front of one of the Worthington diesel locos, early days at Chasewater.

Dave was present at the inaugural meeting of the Railway Preservation Society at the Station Hotel, Stafford, in October 1959 and holds membership number 2.

He was Secretary of the Society from 1959 till 1968 and has been on the Committee until his recent resignation.

In recent years he has been in disagreement with certain policies, notably the sale of the ‘E1’, which others have seen as being essential to the continued progress of the railway.  I personally feel that this is in part due to a change in emphasis on the railway – away from the original static museum concept and towards a fully operational Light Railway.

Having only been in the Society since 1972, I scarcely feel qualified to comment on Dave’s contribution to the Society and to the preservation movement as a whole.  Perhaps it is sufficient to say that the Chasewater Light Railway is testimony to the belief of those people present at Stafford in 1959 that Standard Gauge railway preservation was possible and that ‘the man in the street’ could play an active role – provided he had the necessary enthusiasm.

Dave’s presence at Committee meetings and Board meetings will be missed and I am sure that everyone involved with the railway wishes him the best of health in his ‘retirement’ from the preservation movement.

Ian Patterson.

News from the Line

The past months have seen a series of comings and goings with a vast amount of work getting done in the meantime.

On Friday August 4th the Peckett locomotive from Albright & Wilson Ltd. was moved from Oldbury to the railway, transported by Messrs. Brackmills of Northampton who handled the move with their customary efficiency.  This was the start of a somewhat hectic weekend as the next day we moved the ex Mersey Docks and Harbour Board Crane from Victoria Docks (South Side) Birkenhead to Chasewater.  This was a somewhat tricky operation as there was a good 25 feet of the jib overhanging the rear of the low-loader, which caused one or two motorists anxious moments, especially the idiotic ones who tried to drive underneath the jib.  However the move was completed successfully and the next day the crane was put through its paces, lifting the side tanks off S100.

The crane was built by Messrs. Smith and Rodley of Leeds in 1947 as a vertical boilered steam crane.  In 1968 it was completely rebuilt with a new Perkins diesel engine fitted with a torque converter.  The crane is self-propelled, weighs 24 tons, has a jib 45 feet long and has a maximum lift of five tons.  It has already proved its worth and by the end of the year it will have paid for itself by the amount of work it is performing at present.  Needless to say it is in excellent condition and has been little used since 1968.

Thanks are due to Mr. J.C.James for spotting the crane and to Messrs. John Moores Lid. of Hixon for the transport.

Monday 11th September saw the departure of the ‘E1’ locomotive to Cranmore.  The move was quite involved and beset by difficulties.At Chasewater ‘Alfred Paget’ was in steam to push the loco onto the low-loader, which was achieved after much effort.  On the journey down the low-loader was subject to a blowout which caused much delay, the loco being offloaded at 10.30 pm, assisted by Cranmore’s Dubs crane tank locomotive. 

Dubs steam crane at East Somerset – pic by R.P.Wiesham, 1981, now at Foxfield Railway, Staffs.

The locomotive was unloaded in a neighbouring field and temporary track was laid to the loco shed as their site is somewhat restricted and British Rail would not allow the loco over their lines.

The Lord Fisher Loco Group plan to start work on the loco soon and it will be turned out as BR No.32110 which will no doubt shock many purists, but this is the number the loco would have carried had it lasted into British Rail ownership.

Saturday 28th October saw the arrival of a box van body from Cashmore’s Ltd. of Great Bridge.  During the winter the body will be turned out as a waiting room cum refreshment room and it is at present situated on the platform.  Thanks are due to Bassett Roadways of Tittensor for the transport of the van body.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces Nos.85 and 86

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

No. 86

From the Chasewater News Magazine No. 24 July 1978 – 2

E1 Locomotive

‘Lord Fisher’ Barclay 0-4-0ST 1398/1915 – Pic by John CorneliusThis loco is now at the Yeovil Railway Centre where it will be restored with the Gartell Light Railway.

At the committee meeting of the 22nd March it was decided that positive action to safeguard the loopline was needed and in the view of the committee the best course of action was to offer the ex. LBSCR (London, Brighton & South Coast Railway) ‘E1’ locomotive for sale.  This decision was reached after much heated discussion, during the course of the meeting Andrew Louch resigned.  The rest of the members of the committee present were unanimous in their decision to sell the locomotive.  The Hon. Sec. was instructed to obtain offers for the locomotive and at the meeting of 24th May it was decided to sell the loco to ‘The Lord Fisher Loco Group’ who reside at the East Somerset Railway at Cranmore, Somerset. ‘Lord Fisher’ Barclay 0-4-0ST 1398/1915 – Pic by John CorneliusThis loco is now at the Yeovil Railway Centre where it will be restored with the Gartell Light Railway.

The LFLG own five engines at present, the ‘E1’ will be their sixth locomotive and if it is restored to their previous standards, then it will be well worth a visit.  They have every confidence of seeing the loco in steam during the early eighties and work will start as soon as it leaves Chasewater.

Members of the Chasewater Light Railway Society will be informed of progress upon the locomotive in this newsletter and the locomotive’s plates will remain at Chasewater as well as the unique tapered Rawnsley chimney, which will be mounted on the platform at Brownhills West.

The sale of the locomotive realised £5,000, which has virtually paid for the loopline.  Appeals in the newsletter and elsewhere have raised over £2,000, which gives us room to breathe a little easier, though we estimate at least another £5,000 is needed to realise our plans for the Chasewater Light Railway during the next three years.

The E1 arrived at Cranmore, Somerset in September, 1978.  The overhaul started in 1986 and she returned to service in 1993 – in green livery, number 110.  Firebox problems forced a premature withdrawal from traffic in 1997.  During 2000 work commenced stripping the loco down to assess the state of the firebox.The chimney is still at Cranmore, last heard of being used as a donation box.In the yard at Cranmore – Pic Bob Fowler

News from the line

The main news is that the purchase of the loopline is secure, as we have the money.  British Rail granted access to works trains as from the 18th April and completion of the purchase should be made by the end of this month (July).  However, this is just the start, as the line must be completely fenced before we can think of extending our services to satisfy the Railway Inspectorate and quite a bit of trackwork is needed, though generally the loop is in excellent condition.

Engineering Works

Over Easter weekend the point at the south end of the loop was dismantled and a start made upon reassembling it on a new alignment away from the edge of the embankment.  Part of the loop has been slewed to meet the new alignment and hopefully the gap will be completed before August Bank Holiday, to enable works trains to start removing scrub from the loopline.  The extension to the platform is now virtually complete, lacking only coping stones before it can be put into use.  The majority of the wall was built by Brian Hames over Spring bank Holiday weekend, infilled with hardcore supplied by courtesy of Walsall Council and surfaced with red ash by courtesy of Chasewater Power Boat Club.

Train Operations

This year has seen a welcome increase in the amount of money taken per steaming, only partially due to the modest fare increase implemented at the start of the season.  After 13 steamings receipts were 230% up on last year with an average of 380 people visiting the railway per operating day.

Small Relics Collection.Recent additions to the collection include a St. Helens Canal & Railway memo; an LMS/GWR joint lines trespass sign; a Midland and Great Northern Tyers tablet (Long Sutton – Gedney) and an LNER ‘Carter to Call’ card.Tyers Tablet

Brownhills CID has apprehended two local youths (thanks to the help of several CLRS members), who are due in court shortly to explain why they were in possession of many items from the museum coach.  Following the trial the missing items will be returned – at present Brownhills Police Station has a fair collection of railway relics!!

A visit to Derby Carriage Works is being arranged so that Society members can view progress on the restoration of our Royal Saloon (ex Midland Railway), which many members will know is on loan to Derby Corporation until 2020 if they take up their full option. (I think this was another of the crown jewels to be sold!)

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

No. 85

From the Chasewater News Magazine No. 24 July 1978

Time to get back to some Bits & Pieces – I found this article in Magazine 24.

The Society’s Pump Handle Trolley’s next adventure.

Since the summer of 1975, when three anonymous persons were jettisoned off the causeway at great speed, the Society’s pump handle trolley has been living in retirement (or was it disgrace?) off the rails, festooned with various cast iron signs.

During a recent tidy-up the trolley was ‘re-discovered’ by one of our younger members and once the day’s running was over the trolley was re-railed, oiled and found to be in a rather sorry state of repair.  Gary Kay foolishly offered to rebuild the trolley, so it was decided to give it a final run prior to overhaul.  The party was formed of the more lunatic fringe of the Society (though Graham has since had his hair cut) namely Messrs. Attwood, Bull, Owen, Webb, Patterson and last but not least, the brothers ‘Grimm’.

At first the run was to be to the crossing and return, but before we could say ‘every confidence’ or even ‘doom and despondency’ we were carrying the trolley across the infamous ‘gap’ (the ‘gap’ was out of the Brownhills West gate and over the bridge by the fishing pool) and onto the loopline.  The loopline was found to be passable – well almost – despite a few hassles with the odd wayward bush, but an attempt at a run down the Norton branch (to the Norton East Road and Conduit No. 3, not the Pelsall to Hednesford line) was thwarted by the locals having covered the track with rubbish – everything from a three piece suite to a dead cat.  After this an attempt at ascending the causeway was made, but this too was blocked, this time by several tons of hardcore tipped by the Council.

The return trip provided more excitement, a hasty start left Mr. Bull stranded brandishing a shovel, and quite a speed was attained.  Unfortunately we were halted in full steam by a large overgrown gorse bush, which forced an evacuation of the trolley rather sooner than most of the crew anticipated as they were jettisoned, arms and legs akimbo, and ended up with rather sore arms and legs and backs, though the elder ‘Grimm’ was more concerned about his station master’s hat which landed dangerously near a large puddle.

After several minutes of recovery time the trolley was re-railed and a slow return to Brownhills West was made, and although it had been proved that track still existed beyond the ‘gap’ there are several members who are beginning to think that perhaps 800 yards of railway is more than enough, especially for pump handle trolley racing!!Following the successful  re-enactment of the bucket-chain a couple of years ago, I asked Mr. Bull about a possible re-enactment of the trolley trip-  unfortunately his reply is not for publication!

Now tucked away in the Heritage Centre

Hand Pump Trolley

This trolley was purchased (after a whip –round!) from the British Rail permanent way yard in Walsall in the 1970s.  A few years later, in their 1981 session, it was renovated by students of the West Bromwich College of Commerce and Technology.

Chasewater Railway Museum – Correction

Chasewater Railway Museum

Correction to Friday’s Post

Just seen the blog but there’s a slight snag.  The photo is of the former Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway van Cadbury No 144, which arrived at Chasewater in 1970, having been at Hednesford for several years previously following a donation from Cadbury’s.  The 1973 acquisition, also a kind donation, was the North Eastern Railway box van number 100 684, this being the last wooden-bodied box van left at Bournville amongst a fleet of steel bodied vans. The van had been kept for the storage of permanent way equipment.  I recall the road transport bill to bring it to Chasewater was £28.  Not long after the van arrive a photo of it’s unloading at Chasewater was published in Railway Forum.

Barry Bull

Chasewater Railway Museum – Bits and Pieces No 60 March 1973 and No 61 May 1973

Taken from the ‘Mercian’ of December 1970

There doesn’t appear to have been another ‘Mercian’ for some time.

 

The Railway Preservation Society produced a newsletter, starting in March 1973 – Here are extracts from the first one.

 

‘This newsletter is not intended to replace our Society journal ‘Mercian’, we (the Committee) must apologise for the non-appearance of ‘Mercian’, but this has been due to technical hitches, etc.  We shall endeavour to maintain a newsletter at least every two months, and may we all hope that ‘Mercian’ will put in an appearance before too long.’

 

The remainder of the newsletter covers various on-going renovation work, including the overhaul of the Neilson, in the very capable hands of the General Manager, Derek Luker, ably assisted by Keith Sargeant and Colin Thomas – repairs to the smokebox and fire box – further expense is envisaged for retubing the engine.

Restoration of the MSLR carriage was continuing, with one compartment beautifully restored, fitted with new seats and original GC pictures re-hung.  This vehicle has been completely re-roofed and original ventilators and gas lamps refurbished and fitted.  A lot of work still has to be done to complete the vehicle and more volunteers were needed.

 

Other work included the relaying of track to the crossing from the Hednesford Road, another 300 yards needs to be done.  Work was progressing on the new platform at the Chasewater Terminus (now under the M6 Toll!).  Work had been started on tidying up the site, ready for the 1973 running season.  The Worthington Diesel No.20 (now on loan at Coors Museum, Burton-on-Trent) was having an overhauled replacement engine fitted and should be ready by the end of March 1973.

 

The final piece of news was regarding  a Railway Exhibition to be held at the Forum Theatre, Cannock, on the weekend of 30th June and 1st July.  It will consist of Model Railway Layouts, our own ‘Railwayana’ display, plus other preservation stands, Model Engineering Society stands refreshments and bar.  As usual, more help was needed.

Compiled by D.A.Ives (Chairman)

Also taken from the ‘Mercian’ of December 1970

 

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.61

 

RPS Newsletter No.2 – May 1973

 

Since the last newsletter (March) we have been pleased to see a few members turn up at Chasewater as a result of the appeal for more support.  We would like to see a few more however.  There is an interesting variety of jobs, i.e. trackwork, platform building, locomotive and carriage restoration, installation of signals and signalling equipment. (Sounds familiar!!)

There was a successful Easter Weekend Steaming in spite of awful weather, and a thank you to the members who stayed overnight to light up, and those who operated the service in such vile weather.

DMU Trailer UnitPic – Lawrence Hodgkinson

This vehicle has now arrived at Walsall from March, Cambs. And is now awaiting collection and transportation by low-loader from Walsall to Chasewater.  This should prove a spectacular operation (albeit a costly one). We deserve to get maximum publicity from this enterprise.  As most members will realise, this carriage has been purchased to give maximum seating capacity for the summer season’s running, also to replace our vintage Maryport & Carlisle coach now in service.  The M & C now needs some restoration work, new panelling and a complete repaint.Pic – Lawrence Hodgkinson – Top of Pleck Road, Walsall

Stop Press – 3rd May!!

This vehicle is now safely in the compound at Chasewater, after a hectic day by a small party of members and being filmed going through the streets of Walsall by ‘ATV Today’

Pic – Lawrence HodgkinsonComing through the farm gate at Chasewater.

NER 8 Ton Box Van

Due to the efforts of our Hon. Sec. Barry Bull, the Society has acquired the last wooden bodied Box Van used by Messrs. Cadbury of Bournville.  Messrs. Cadbury have very kindly donated the vehicle to the Society, arrangements have now been made for collection of this vehicle on May 5th.  Our grateful thanks to both Messrs. Cadbury for donating this vehicle and to Barry Bull for negotiating the deal.

Chasewater Railway Museum – List of Chasewater Railway Events – 2020

Chasewater Railway Museum –

List of Chasewater Railway Events – 2020

A real diary filler for you – all the events happening at Chasewater Railway during 2020.

Chasewater Railway’s 2020 leaflet, including the timetable.

Chasewater Railway’s 2020 leaflet

including the timetable.

 

CR-2020-leaflet

Click link to open

Chasewater Railway Museum – From loan to own

Chasewater Railway Museum

From loan to own

After a fair few years with the Museum on loan, our friend, known as ‘Meccano Joe’ has very kindly given these 3 large and some smaller items from his large collection to Chasewater Railway Museum.

They have always created great interest from kids young and not-so-young, and evoked many memories, as I’m sure they will for years to come.

These items, along with many more, were on show some years ago at Christmas in the Heritage Centre, where Santa used to reside.  (Picture below).

Many, many thanks Joe.

The models can be seen on this photo, with the never-to-be-forgotten talking robot, wired for sound, who talked to the children with no apparent human aid!  He got some amazing looks!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone And a Happy New Year

 

From all the Chasewater Railway Museum Staff, thank you for your support over the past year – hopefully we shall see you again next year.

Photographs by kind permission of Godfrey Hucker

Chasewater Railway Museum – a bit tidier!

Chasewater Railway Museum – a bit tidier!

 

Godfrey has been very busy tidying up the signal box nameboards.

They used to lie flat and were very attractive for small feet to walk on!

No more, Godfrey made some brackets so now they stand at an angle, and also they can be seen so much better.

Pop in and have a look.