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Chasewater Light Railway Society
Newsletter January 1983
News from the line
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.
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.
96 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
Gricers’ Day 11th October, 1981
Welcome to our annual end of season ‘Gricers Day’. This year we have organised a small gathering of preserved buses to create added interest.
1981 has been a good year for CLR and the progress achieved can be seen around the compound area and down the line where the new locomotive shed is gradually taking shape.
A Y.O.P. scheme has helped in the restoration of wooden bodied coaching stock, particularly the ex LNWR non-corridor brake coach on which progress is spectacular as regular visitors will appreciate.
Society members have been kept busy on the overhaul of ‘Asbestos’ which is slowly being reassembled and also the dismantling of the Hudswell Clarke side tank S100, as well as keeping the regular working locos in trim, whilst also running the twice monthly steam trains which have shown a good increase on last year’s figures.
As the average number of volunteers is round about ten, restoration is obviously slow, and more numbers are urgently required – especially with a view to running a longer length of line in the not too distant future – enquire at the booking office for further details.
Wickham – S.Organ video (Video won’t run, sorry)
Two further passenger carrying coaches arrived this week and the diesel gricers will recognise them as DB975005/6, formerly E50416 and E56171 the sole surviving DMU set built by D.Wickhams of Ware in 1957, which have latterly served as the Eastern Region General Manager’s Saloon.
Locomotives in service on the railway today are:
1. ‘Alfred Paget’ built by Neilson’s of Glasgow in 1882 and formerly at Gartsherrie Ironworks, Coatbridge; the oldest working locomotive in the Midlands.
2. ‘The Colonel’ built by Pecketts of Bristol in 1914 and latterly at Swan Hunter shipyard, Wallsend.
3. DL7 built by Ruston & Hornsby’s of Lincoln in 1961 and purchased from the NCB Whitwell Colliery, Derbyshire.
Passenger trains ran at frequent intervals of between 15 and 40 minutes, with freight train run pasts between passenger services.
The freight train will be available for photographic purposes on the as yet unopened section of the line which crosses the lake on a causeway, beyond the limit of the passenger train service.
Don’t forget to visit the museum coach and sales stand at Brownhills West.
List of buses in attendance
At the time of writing only five entries had been confirmed but it is hoped that more vehicles will be present on the day.
1. EA4181 Dennis ‘E’ single decker, 32 seats. Formerly no.32 in the West Bromwich fleet. Built 1929, body by A.Dixon Ltd. Ambulance service 1939 – 1945. Illuminated ‘Christmas Lights’ bus 1948 – 1962. A regular visitor to Chasewater. Courtesy R.Coxon and the 32 Group.
2. BTA59 Dennis Mace, built 1934, single deck, 26 seats. Restored to original colours as Southern National 668. First visit to Chasewater since 1977. Owner A.Gameson, Four Oaks.
JOJ 245 The Transport Museum, Wythall
3. JOJ245 Leyland P52/1, Metro Cammel Weyman 34 seat single deck. Built 1950 for Birmingham City Transport. Owned by Acocks Green Bus Preservation Group and another regular visitor to Chasewater.
4. FJJ86 Bedford MLC with Lee Motors 16 seat bus body, built 1952. Originally Dorset CC Education Committee. Owned by P.Mason, Hereford since 1977 and extensively rallied.
FRC 956 Leyland The Transport Museum, Wythall
5. FRC956 Leyland PD2/12, built 1954 and delivered to Trent. Sold by Trent 1967 and since 1972 owned by the 1926 Preservation Group. Restored to original colours 1976, the interior is also completely refurbished.
Please support the sales stands connected with some of the above listed buses as these small sales help in the restoration and continued running of these vehicles.
The owners will doubtless be pleased to answer your questions, but please do not enter the buses without their permission.
Finally we hope you have an enjoyable time and will come again next year when regular services will start again at Easter.
95 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
21st Anniversary Edition – 2
Twenty one not out
Hednesford Depot (The wagons in the background are on the line to Cannock Wood pit, now a footpath. The building still stands, the sides bricked up and the doorway filled in. 2021)
The history of the Chasewater Light Railway goes back to a meeting called at the Station Hotel, Stafford on October 10th, 1959. This meeting led to the formation of the West Midlands District of the Railway Preservation Society, whose aim was to set up regional depots around the country where railway relics could be collected, restored and eventually returned to their native area.
1054 at Hednesford
The first West Midlands Division was set up at Hednesford, Staffs. in a siding belonging to Penkridge Engineering Limited, and was in fact the 3rd Standard Gauge Preservation Society.The first items of stock acquired were the Maryport and Carlisle and Great Eastern coaches from the National Coal Board, Rawnsley. The siding at Hednesford was partially covered and so in 1962 the ex London & North Western Railway coal tank 1054 was offered a home there. This engine later went to Penrhyn Castle, North Wales, and then to Dinting Railway centre, appearing at the ‘Rocket 150’ celebrations in 1980.
The West Midlands District decided in the early 1960s to find a suitable length of line on which to operate their growing collection of rolling stock.
The state of the track
In 1963 it was suggested that the remnants of the Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton Railway around Chasewater would make a suitable length of line. At this time the area was desolate, and it wasn’t until 1967 that the Society actually moved to Chasewater, development of a Pleasure Park had made the line more attractive. By this time all the National Coal Board buildings and workshops had been demolished and all that was left was 600 yards of double track belonging to British Rail (ex Midland Railway) and 1½ miles of former Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton Railway, plus a 300 yard spur which formerly led to Conduit Colliery, upon which a lease was taken.
The first task at Chasewater was to lay over 800 yards of track, partially along the former Midland Railway track bed and partly along new formation into the Pleasure Park. Much of this work was done by hand – even the first wagon was a luxury.
It wasn’t until late 1967 that motive power arrived in the shape of Pittsteel Hibberd No.1. Development at Chasewater was slow and laborious and it wasn’t until 1970 that all stock at Hednesford had been transferred to Chasewater and the Hednesford depot closed.
To return briefly to general aspects of Railway Preservation Society’s history, apart from Hednesford, depots had been set up at Quainton Road (London Railway Preservation Society and Falkirk (Scottish Railway Preservation Society). However the main movement of Railway Preservation was to either preserve solitary engines or complete branch lines and so the broader aspects of Railway Preservation Society policy evolved into a body known as the Association of Railway Preservation Societies, which is an advisory body which gives help, advice and information to many preservation groups and has over 200 member societies.
Returning to Chasewater, as already stated all stock was there by 1970 housed in a security compound and thought was given to giving regular steam-hauled train rides.
During 1968/9 and 1970 several open days had been held with either AB1223 (Colin McAndrew) or HL 2780 (Asbestos) in steam, and limited train rides were given. The formation of the Chasewater Light Railway Company in 1970 was necessary to enable trains to be run legally. In 1971 a regular service was given using Nos. 20 and 21 at either end of the Maryport & Carlisle coach whilst ‘Asbestos’ was under repair. Regular steam-hauled services began in September 1972 when ‘Asbestos’ was re-commissioned. For the rest of the 1972 season ‘Asbestos’ hauled a train comprising of the 1875 Maryport & Carlisle six-wheeler and the 1880s 16 ton Great Western brake van – as far as the bridge at the South end of the double track section where the embankment was burning. 1973 saw a start made on building a permanent platform at what is now Brownhills West and also saw the purchase, from British Rail, of E56301 (non-powered) driving trailer – ideal for observation and working push-pull.E56301 on her way
E56301 in through the farm gate at Chasewater
(Trailer car 56301 was the first diesel multiple unit car to enter preservation in 1969, originally being used at the Chasewater Railway)
The Society’s aims were to run a service along the whole two miles of railway as and when track was brought into usable condition. In 1974 British Rail ‘rediscovered’ that they owned what is now the central section of Chasewater Light Railway and banned any use of it, due to the burning of the embankment. This was a major blow as Society members were just ready to start work on this section. In 1975 British Rail allowed work to start on the burning embankment, which was completely dug out and replaced with non-combustible material and negotiations were opened for the purchase of this section. The purchase price was raised by 1978, actual purchase taking place in 1980.
In keeping with its aims, the Railway Preservation Society changed its name to the Chasewater Light Railway Society in 1977, owning most of the rolling stock and relics whilst Chasewater Light Railway Company is responsible for the legal implications of running trains, i.e. insurance, etc.
The Neilson with Gloucester E56301 working at Chasewater.
In 1979 a great step forward was taken with using a Government sponsored STEPS project for rebuilding the railway, especially the causeway across the lake, which had been much eroded by wash from power boats on the lake. The work accomplished in 12 months would have taken Society working parties 3 to 4 years to accomplish and will allow regular steam-hauled services to run over the majority of the line in 1982, subject to the granting of a Light Railway Order and a satisfactory inspection by the Railway Inspectorate.
94 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
21st Anniversary Edition – 1
News from the Line
As a follow-on from the previous post, there is another comprehensive report on the locos, so I thought that I would reproduce it to check on the progress on the engines.
No.2 ‘The Colonel’
This loco finally entered service on Gricers’ Day, 12th October, after several test steamings. Many repairs were carried out to the tank before it was refitted. The loco appears to be very powerful and is mechanically superb and will come into its own when services are eventually extended. The external finish however leaves a lot to be desired and it is hoped that the owners will rectify this in the near future.
Since the last report a vast amount of work has been carried out on this loco. The boiler returned from Park Holland Ltd. in February after having the necessary fire box repairs. Following this little work was done on the loco due to work on other engines but after mechanical problems with the ex MD and HB crane the wheels were despatched to the SVR wheel lathe at Bridgnorth and were back at Chasewater in October. Their return signalled renewed vigour upon the loco and the wheels were stripped to the bare metal and given five coats of paint before the axle boxes were refitted. The first weekend of 1981 saw the frames back on the wheels making the loco mobile again after eighteen months of elevation. Following this the inside motion has been refitted and retubing of the boiler has started. Hopefully the boiler will be hydraulically tested during the spring and refitted to the frames. Although no firm date can be given, ‘Asbestos’ should return to steam this year.
The big Ruston has run trouble free most of the time and has earned its corn by performing several ‘master shunts’ over the last twelve months. A rather garish ‘Bull inspired’ livery has been applied and has been met with the usual mixed CLR reaction to such creations.
I believe we should be told what the’Bull inspired’ livery was??
No.8 ‘Invicta’From Railway Forum, 1975
After another trouble free year the loco is in store until the new season starts at Easter. Unfortunately the six-yearly hydraulic test is due at the end of June, immediately after ‘Transport Scene’ 1981 which will be its last appearance for a while. The hydraulic teat will be carried out during the winter of 1981/82 and hopefully no problems should ensue.
The dawning of a new decade saw the re-emergence of one Mr. T.R.Sale Esq. which has resulted in dramatic changes – i.e. the loco is completely strewn to the four winds! The boiler was jacked up out of the frames and then lifted onto a flat wagon and finally deposited on a pile of sleepers next to the Great Eastern mess van. The boiler inspector has been and shaken his head at three corners of the firebox and given instructions as to what must be done and where, which basically involves building up of wasted plate work and a dozen or so new rivets. Following removal of the boiler the chassis has been dismantled and the wheels removed which are to follow in the step (?) of ‘Asbestos’ and spend a day or so on the Bridgnorth lathe. Most of 1981 will be spent cleaning frames, etc. which should keep one or two people out of harm’s way!
No.12 ‘Sentinel’1992 D.Bathurst Collection
This is the first time that any progress can be reported on this loco which is the ex Walsall Gas Works Sentinel loco No. 9632 of 1957. The loco is still at Butterley on the Midland Railway Project Group’s line but following various excuses and delays the boiler has been re-tubed, successfully hydraulically tested and refitted to the frames and at the time of writing new pipework is being fabricated. Current thoughts seem to indicate that the loco will finally arrive at Chasewater in June or July. For newer members it should be explained that the loco (in working order) forms part of the exchange deal for the ex Midland Railway Royal Saloon Coach which was agreed upon back in 1978.
This loco has been loaned to the Bass Brewery museum at Burton-upon-Trent for an initial period of ten years. The main reason for this is that the engine is in need of a drastic rebuild and as the sister engine No.21 is in full working order (and newly painted) neither the time nor the money will be available to repair it in the foreseeable future.
Photo from British Locomotive Preservation – 1969
This loco is, as already stated, in full working order and was repainted by the Brothers Grimm to celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the Society.
92 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1979 1
From the Editorial.
In common with many other railways, the Chasewater Light Railway has had a mixed season and if the success of the 1970s in the preservation world is to be sustained into the 1980s then two problems need solving and solving fast. The first is the much publicised fuel crisis, caused in the main by the sharp increase in the price of crude oil (1979 or 2011 – some things don’t change much!). This undoubtedly has, and will continue to do so, restricted the freedom of people to go out in leisure time as often as in recent years. As the CLR is on the fringe of a large conurbation the problem should not be as great as on a good many of the standard gauge railways and perhaps we will gain an increase of visitors being close at hand.
The other problem is the ending of the Government sponsored job creation schemes, on which many railways have benefited over the past few years. The sudden termination of paid 5 day week staff will surely hit routine maintenance on our longer brothers and will lead to the need for railway sponsored full-timers or greater numbers of regular volunteers.
Perhaps it is fair comment to say that at Chasewater the era of Government sponsored full-time staff is ending at the right time. Throughout the year the number of volunteers has slowly dwindled, all too often comments being along the lines of ‘Oh, if I don’t turn up, STEPS will do it during the week.’ Well next year there won’t be any full-time staff so if a job is left undone by a volunteer then that’s the way it will remain. There has also been a feeling of it not being ‘our’ railway with full-time staff, and the communal atmosphere of Sundays at Chasewater is one of the nicest things about the CLR. Perhaps these factors and the end product of the STEPS scheme (i.e. a longer serviceable railway) will pull back the missing faces and some new ones as well, and with effort applied in the right directions our 21st year should be the most successful yet. Looking down ‘The Branch’ before clearing (towards the Norton East Road)
The scheme Is scheduled to finish on the 31st December although a limited extension with a few workers may see work carry on into March 1980.
The only way to describe the work being done is to give a list of the jobs done so far. Any comments about the scheme and the feeling of CLRS members is, in the final analysis, rendered somewhat superfluous by the sheer volume of hard physical graft that has gone on as well as the supply of materials for rebuilding the railway. One thing is certain and that is that Society members have been saved from 3 to 4 years of hard, back-breaking work, and that alone is something to be thankful for.
The jobs that have been done are listed in no particular order. (This sentence was written long before Philip Schofield and ‘Dancing on Ice’ or any of the other singing and dancing shows were on the telly. It was new then – it drives me crackers now!!)
1. Packing and repair of main running line which has resulted in a smoother ride, especially in the DMU trailer.
2. Finishing of point on south end of the loop – started by members last year.
3. Shortening of loop and removal of the two points at the northern end of the loop. In fact the whole of the loop has been lifted; the shortened loop awaits arrival of extra sleepers before it can be relaid.
4. Lessening of gradient of bank up to causeway.
5. Tipping on causeway and subsequent levelling.
6. Relaying of causeway – at present the causeway is wide enough for the railway but further tipping is necessary to widen the formation to provide adequate footpath facilities.
7. Digging out of top end of line – this has revealed the track to be in a very poor state and much work is needed to bring the track into a comparable state to the rest of the railway.
8. Digging out of ‘Branch’ prior to reclaiming track materials.
9. Moving of point and lengthening of ‘Elsley’s Siding’. This was completed in three weeks during a lull in train services at the end of July and beginning of August.
10. Building of compound and loading platform at ‘Elsley’s Siding’. This is a great improvement and the addition of a box van body will make it very griddy, very Colonel Stephens.
11. Relaying of level crossing, which is now much smoother.
12. Fencing the line from Brownhills West to bottom of causeway bank with concrete posts and five strands of wire.Looking up the causeway bank after clearance.
The transformation upon the railway is somewhat devastating to the casual observer and if you haven’t seen the work done yet, then come on over – it’s YOUR taxes that have paid for it!
1980 should see consolidation of the work done under the auspices of the STEPS programme and promises to be every bit as exciting as 1979 has been.
The CLR Co. are planning to purchase a further passenger carrying coach as well as locomotive DL7, and making money available for any further capital expenditure needed.
Providing the purchase of the land and track (plus associated Light Railway Order) finally goes ahead then there is every confidence of services being extended to at least the north end of the causeway, with passengers being able to alight there and explore the previously out of reach NE shore of Chasewater. This will enable fares to be increased to give more much needed revenue as well as being far more interesting than the present 800 yard shuttle to enthusiasts, public and volunteers alike.
Of course, hopefully more volunteers will turn up to help (or else the improvements won’t be realised to their full potential) or will they……?Ruston & Hornsby 458641-61 at Brownhills West (Later known as DL7)
Featured Pic – ‘The Colonel’ Hudswell Clarke 1073/1914
91 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces June 1979 1
News from the Line
The close season has seen a tremendous amount of work done, though with the start of the STEPS programme on 2nd January this is not altogether surprising. By the middle of March there were twenty one men in employment on the railway, their basic task being to rebuild it! Our thanks go to Derek Cartwright for giving up his job at British Rail, Derby to oversee the project. Due to the severe winter the STEPS workers have done a variety of smaller tasks including repainting the interiors of the Great Eastern and Midland passenger brake vans and completing the refurbishing of the DMU trailer coach. Their greatest impact so far is to be seen on the loopline where one line has been dug out and weeded. Great activity can also be seen in the vicinity of the causeway which has slowly been washed away over the last few years. The track has now been dug out in preparation for lifting and a start has been made on tipping some of the estimated 8,000 tons of hardcore needed to rebuild the causeway. Other tasks completed include extending the compound fencing around the station area and digging out and re-aligning the level crossing.
Whilst the STEPS programme has been busy there has been no let up on the volunteer’s workload, despite the inclement weather.
Since the last Newsletter there have been two new additions to stock. A three plank dropsied wagon has been donated by British Reinforced Concrete Limited of Stafford, and the Chasewater Light Railway Company has purchased a Ruston & Hornsby 0-4-0 diesel electric locomotive No. 458641/61 (which is, incidentally, the most modern item of rolling stock on the line) which will be ideal for pulling works trains and deputising for a failed steam loco if required. In both cases transport was provided by John Moores Limited of Hixon.
‘The Colonel’ Work proceeds apace on the restoration of this loco which should see service before the end of the summer. The boiler inspector has given the go-ahead for conversion to coal-firing and so all the oil-firing equipment, including the hideous fuel tank of the cab roof, has been removed. Other work done on the loco includes removal of the tank, removal of boiler cladding and lagging, replacement of the dumb buffers by proper Peckett style buffers (these were taken off AB 1223 which has since been fitted with ‘Barclay’ style buffers off Hibberd diesel No.1, construction of a coal bunker on the rear of the cab, descaling of boiler and preparation for its hydraulic test. Removal of all the paint off the saddle tank reveals that it is not as rotten as first feared and thus the anticipated repairs will not be as expensive as first feared.
Inspired by this, the owner has ordered a set of name and number plates, the loco becoming No.2 ‘The Colonel’. The loco above was, in fact, ‘Lion’ with the’Colonel’ nameplate attached for the photograph.
The end of 1978 saw the closing of the ‘gap’ between the present running line and the loopline. This enabled us to get a train up to the causeway and a start was made on filling up the holes which had undermined the trackbed. This was incredibly tedious work, unloading 8 ton wagons by hand, and thankfully this work is now in the hands of the STEPS workers. Following this we turned our attention to the station area and it was found that last year’s extension to the platform was slowly slipping away due to inadequate drainage. To this end, a series of trenches have been dug to drain the area, including the overflow from the water tower. The associated pipework now drains directly into the lake. With this problem overcome, work can be completed on the platform including the provision of lighting, and facing the platform walls with red bricks.
The brothers Grimm have been busy converting the box van body into a refreshment room cum waiting room which will enable hot food to be served due to the provision of electricity in the van body and the neighbouring office (yet another trench!) The other project done this winter has been to install mercury-vapour lighting in the compound area which will enable the various lamp posts in the compound to be installed on the platform. One other task has been to hire a JCB and driver to dig a drainage ditch alongside the loopline to prevent the ballast being washed away.
Passenger figures for the 1978 season show a 25% increase on those for 1977. Due to the modest fare increase implemented, receipts were double those for 1977. During the coming season trains will operate on the second and fourth Sundays of each month, starting at Easter.
One benefit already gained off the STEPS programme is the Cox’s Portakabin which has been set up as an office and contains all the Society’s files and information accrued over the past 20 years. The office is also on the phone, and will be used as an information centre on operating days.
‘Lion’ was built by Peckett & Sons of Bristol as works number 1351 of Class E, completed on 8th August, 1914. It is an 0-4-0 saddle tank with 15 inch diameter by 21 inch stroke cylinders working at 160 lbs./sq. inch (originally 180 lbs./sq. inch as built) generating 16,810 lbs. tractive effort or 448 hp at 10 mph (as built with the higher boiler pressure). ‘Lion’ was supplied new to the Royal Arsenal Railway, Woolwich, London
The Colonel 0-6-0ST Hudswell Clarke 1073/1914. Ordered by Houghton Main Colliery Co.Ltd., Yorkshire on William Harrison’s behalf. Probably delivered new to Brownhills.
The loco was named after Colonel Harrison, Chairman of Harrison’s Grove Colliery. He was also Chairman of Cannock & Rugeley Colliery. After a spell at Area Central Workshops – May 1960 to June 1961, went back to Grove then to Coppice Colliery at Heath Hayes for a few months in 1963 before transfer to Granville Colliery in November 1963
Featured image – Bagnall ‘Linda’
Neison – Alfred Paget crossing the causeway
90 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Nov 1978 – 3
Company News from the Joint Meeting
This meeting was called to enable the Board and the Committee to agree on the immediate and medium term goals for the railway and the respective roles of the Company and Society in achieving them. The meeting was well attended, long and friendly and resulted in total agreement on all points.
It was decided to aim to operate the train services to the beginning of the causeway by 1980 and to open the line throughout its present length by March 1983. This would mean rebuilding the causeway, erecting fences, major clearing of undergrowth and the obtaining of a Light Railway Order. New platforms at the north end of the causeway and the far end of the line were also planned. To cope with the increased traffic that the longer line would generate, it was agreed that in the five years up to 1983 a minimum of three locomotives would have to be put into and kept in working order and three additional revenue earning coaches would have to be acquired. It was hoped that when the line was open as far as the causeway, i.e. by the beginning of 1980, two trains would be in operation on busy days and when the line was opened throughout, not less than two trains, each with two coaches, would be working each operating day.
It was also agreed that work should begin as soon as possible on the erection of buildings to house the working locomotives and wooden bodied coaches. By 1981 detailed planning for the main museum complex should start with a view to beginning fund raising in the summer of 1982 and work on the buildings themselves in the winter of 1983.
It was unanimously agreed that the Society was to have sole responsibility for the acquisition, restoration and preservation of items of Railwayana and that the Company would hold all fixed assets such as track, buildings etc. and concern itself with the running of the railway and the raising of capital and income for the project.
Thus the Company will play a vital supporting role to the Society whose original aims – the acquisition, restoration, preservation and display of items of historical railway interest – now becomes the aim of what has come to be called the Chasewater Railway Project. The Company is to raise the money for the attainment of that aim. The Railway will be the principal show place for the Society’s locomotives and coaches.
Asbestos with the Maryport and Carlisle Railway coach.
The STEPS Project
Everything seemed splendid after the meeting and I was duly told off and to write something for Ian Patterson to publish so that the world might know where we were going. Publication was set for September.
In August one John Selway, a Zebedee-like creature who telephones me from time to time to see if I am still awake, said ‘had I heard of STEPS and if not, why not?’
The Special Temporary Employment Programme is a creation of the present Government under which they will pay the wages of men hired under approved schemes to do work of value to the community which would not otherwise be done. A grant towards materials would also be payable. The Severn Valley, Festiniog and Midland Railway Trust have all benefited from the programme.
Frantic discussions were held with the Manpower Services Commission who operate the programme. They seemed very keen to have us. After much discussion and some reservation the Board decided to apply for a STEPS scheme. The principal reservation concerned the quality of the overall supervision. This was overcome by the Manpower Services Commission agreeing to allow us to appoint our own nominee as the site engineer – to be paid by them – provided he became unemployed first. The gentleman concerned will have handed his notice in by the time you read this.To cut a long story short, the scheme was applied for and approved for 52 weeks starting on the 2nd January 1979. The Company will be employing up to 30 men to work on the railway. The total wage bill, all paid by the Government, is £79,000, and in addition we shall receive a £5,250 grant towards the material cost of this work. The scheme involves the reopening of the line throughout, including the rebuilding of the causeway and the erection of fences and platforms, by March 1980 – three whole years ahead of the rather optimistic date agreed at the joint meeting in July.
To cope with the administrative problems which the scheme will create, we have acquired a site office – a mobile portacabin kindly loaned free of charge for the duration of the project by Cox’s Plant Hire of Brownhills and a telephone has been installed.
Of course, although one major problem is now solved – the re-opening of the line – another is created. To provide the additional capacity necessary to cope with the increased traffic that the longer line should produce – and thus make more money for the project – we have got to have three locomotives in steam and three more revenue earning vehicles. The original date for this was 1983, at the earliest. Obviously it would be wrong to say that we must have them when the line opens throughout in 1980. However, it is equally obvious that we cannot realise the railway’s full potential without them and so the sooner we can get them the better.
When the line is paid for in 1979, some £1,200 – £1,500 will be left in the development fund. Before we can operate the line at maximum efficiency and put up the two buildings mentioned above, at least another £10,000 will be needed. It can and will be raised. One way in which I hope to raise money is by running a development fund lottery for the next few years. This will be quite unlike the old weekly tote. It will be on a much bigger scale and will take place about three times a year. Tickets will be sold principally to members of the public visiting the railway rather than by Society members to their friends. Properly managed such lotteries should raise between £1,000 and £2,000 per annum. I shall however need help with the sales of tickets and I shall be pleased to hear from anyone who would be willing to sell lottery tickets at Chasewater at the following times: the first operating Bank Holiday of the season, Sunday and Monday plus the next operating Sunday afternoon: Transport Scene Saturday and Sunday and the next operating Sunday afternoon: the Saturday and Sunday of the Model Railway Exhibition and Gricers’ Day. How about you?
The Future What of the future? Apart from the obvious delights of having two miles to operate over as opposed to 700 yards, much work must be done. The Board will soon be considering the future of the Norton branch: the nature of the STEPS programme to follow the present one: the possible extension of the railway to the north and or south: the museum and workshop buildings and, perennially, the raising of money.
All these are continuing evidence of the new sense of professionalism which has brought so much progress in less than two years. We are all determined however, that this professionalism, which we must maintain, will not stop the railway being fun. As Keith Sargeant said to me recently – we must never forget that CLR is our train set. Quite true – but there is no doubt that the longer the line and the more bits and pieces on it, the more fun a train set is.
It is the Company’s job to provide the longer line and those extra bits and pieces.John Macmillan
Some thoughts about the future from 1969.Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 51 and 52