The Society is approaching its 25th Anniversary which will be celebrated at the Society AGM on 13th October and at a Bus Rally and Railwayana Fair at Chasewater on the following day (October 14th) 11.00 – 4.30, admission free.
Throughout its 25 years the Society’s membership has fluctuated around the 100 mark whilst its aims have switched from creating a static museum to an operating railway. Despite the lack of passenger trains during the last two seasons the Society membership has held its own and so far this year over 15 new members have been enrolled. To these people we say thank you for having faith in the Chasewater Project. Inside this magazine you will find a membership form and we are appealing for every member to enrol a new member to give us enough people to operate trains next season (as we are led to believe that we will be in a position to do so).
Members may have read elsewhere about plans to spend up to 14 million pounds on Chasewater Park and the Society/Company have drawn up plans to expand the Railway, should this scheme come to fruition. All this is dependent on us having enough manpower to run services on a regular basis so it is up to the present membership to either come forward and operate the services or to find new members to do the same. Members may also have read of a scheme to build a new motorway which may or may not pass through the park. If it does come through the park then we are wasting our time.
News from the line
Loco Department – It has for sometime been felt that there ought to be a numbering system for locos at Chasewater in order to give a proper Light Railway image.
A start was made some years ago when ‘Invicta’ emerged from a repaint sporting a painted No.8 (it was then the eighth steam engine on site) on the front buffer beam and brass plates (GWR style) on the cab sides.
The following system has been devised and will be put into practice as engines are repainted, although the GWR style plates on ‘Invicta’ will not be featured on other locos as brass plates with the loco number and the legend ‘Chasewater Light Railway’ have been designed. Some locos will also bear fictitious 21G shed plates as the Operating Superintendent reckons 21G would have been the shed code for Brownhills West (Hednesford Road) had it existed in BR days.
Hibberd Diesel 1 First loco to arrive
Peckett 1351 2 No. 2 at Wallsend Slipway
Barclay 1223 3
Sentinel 9632 5 May be painted black as BR 59632
Peckett 917 6
R & H Diesel 7 No.7 at Whitwell Colliery
Hudswell Clarke 1822 10
Alfred Paget 11 No.11 at Gartsherrie
Hudswell Clarke 431 15
Ex bass Diesel 21
L & Y Petrol 1
It seems strange to have two No.1s when starting a new system, even if they didn’t stay much longer!
99 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Late 1983
Editorial: Several things have happened, but little has changed.
Several significant things have happened at Chasewater since the last magazine was printed and these will be detailed in the next few pages.
Little has changed because we are still short of manpower and cash, of these two shortages surely the lack of manpower must be the more inexcusable. On one Sunday this summer there were only two members at Chasewater and I make no apology for the fact that we spent the day working in the shed whilst the public looked through the locked gates of Brownhills West Station. Fifty per cent of those people must have thought that it was a railway scrapyard and the other fifty per cent, who knew better, probably thought that we had closed down for good!
If we are very lucky, sometime next year, we may have a railway which is once again fit to run passenger trains on and probably a couple of locos and coaches in useable condition, but will we have the people to run them?
Nigel Canning – Operating Superintendent
Asbestos – The six missing firebox stays have been riveted into place and the boiler will shortly be hydraulically tested. If this is successful the loco can be reassembled, steam tested and the newly installed vacuum brake equipment tested.
Sentinel heading past the old rear of the loco shed in 1992
Sentinel – The Boiler Inspector will carry out a visual examination on the boiler and superheater of this loco when Asbestos is hydraulically tested. Work will then continue until completed. A trial will have to be carried out to see if this loco is capable of successfully operating passenger trains before any though is given to fitting vacuum brake equipment.
S-100 – Tony has been making use of the summer weather to paint various parts of this loco whilst trying in vain to find somewhere to have its wheels turned.
DL7 – This loco continues in fairly regular use and is to be repainted with a bogus BR ‘D’ number. However, one or two points should be remembered:
If it is to be used on passenger trains again it will have to be vacuum brake fitted.
The brake and starting air tanks will, under new regulations, shortly to be introduced, require to be insured and regularly tested.
Small Peckett – Albright & Wilson, the Company from whom this loco is on loan, have recently offered to help pay for a replacement saddle tank. The tank has been measured and drawn so that quotes can be sought for both a complete assembled tank and for a rolled plates do-it-ourselves kit.
No.21 – This loco is still operational if tow-started and has been used on occasion to move items of stock into sidings to pass DL7 in the absence of a run round loop. A complete engine rebuild is probably necessary to enable it to be started from the battery.
Carriages & WagonsWickham Class 109 at Llangollen Station. Photographed during the Llangollen Railcar Gala weekend, 16-17 July 2005.
This image was taken from the Geograph project collection. on the Geograph. The copyright on this image is owned by Mark Riley and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.
Wickham Motor car 50416 – Throughout the summer this vehicle has been in use as a station buffet. A considerable amount of work has been carried out including enlargement of the kitchen hatch, removal of one of the internal bulkheads and screwing down of tables. A start has now been made on completely replacing the guttering so that the coach can be repainted before next year.
Wickham Trailer 56171 – Progress has also been made with this vehicle with the fitting of seats from a Cravens DMU and the removal of rain guttering.
Gloucester Trailer 56301 – No work has been carried out on this vehicle although it will require a repaint and clean up before re-entering service.
TPO 30244 – Following the offer from Tyseley Museum this vehicle was sold for £1,000 and left Chasewater on September 8th. It is reputed to have twisted one of its bogie frames when one corner broke through the floorboards due to being stood on uneven ground during loading.
Six-Wheeled Coaches – One new end has been fitted to the M & C Coach and replacement luggage rack netting is being fitted to the MS & L.
The only work carried out in this building during the summer has been the painting of ‘Asbestos’. A three phase cable has been obtained so that during the winter the workshop can be wired up and used.
Taskforce & Trackwork
During the summer all of the plain track from Brownhills West to Norton East has been relayed with concrete sleepers and work has started on installing a new siding between the station and the shed. Run round loops at both ends still remain to be installed plus level crossing gates and fencing.
Brownhills West station platform has remained half demolished throughout the summer awaiting funds for rebuilding. A grant of £15,000 due in September never materialised and we await a possible grant of £5,000 to be applied for in November.
Some form of sleeper built platform may also be constructed at Norton East if funds and manpower permit.
At the present state of progress it will be touch and go whether the railway will be running next year.
Since the last magazine was published the following instances of vandalism have occurred:
1. Half drum of steam oil drained onto floor.
2. Two large coach windows smashed.
3. Three small coach windows smashed.
4. Paint poured into Gloucester trailer heater fuel tank.
5. Fence cut at least once a week.
The arrival of the LNWR 50 foot passenger brake in its own platform in time for Easter has given a much easier access to the vehicle for old and young alike.
Various item have been acquired this year, some have come by way of donation – others have actually cost money although usually as part of a deal where other items have been acquired to offset the cost.
Relics, mainly paperwork previously kept in the TPO had to be removed in some haste following the decision to sell the vehicle to the Birmingham Railway Museum. Much of what had been kept in the TPO had suffered from the damp conditions that had prevailed in that vehicle for many years following problems with the roof. Most of the old GWR drawings obtained by Mike Lewis many years ago were still in a reasonable condition but some of the larger ledgers and books were virtually no more than mould and were consigned to the bonfire.
Despite what has been happening to the station area (demolition and not much else!) things have ticked over quite nicely in the museum. Obviously fewer visitors without steaming but with more time to listen to comments from visitors it makes one realise how much importance our collection of small relics is to the Railway. Whatever 1984 brings you can be assured that the museum will be open whatever happens outside.
A photo for the older members, and maybe a history lesson for the younger ones.
Do you recognise the building in the photograph?
It is, or was, the Queens Arms in Hednesford, now, in 2021, undergoing considerable changes.
Notice the houses where the car park used to be.
After a hard day’s work at the Railway Preservation Society’s Hednesford Headquarters, members would retire to the Queens Arms for a swift ‘alf and to get the result of the Weekly Tote – a major source of income at the time.
It was the first of a number of pubs used by members, there was the Pear Tree, now demolished, off the Brownhills Road, and when I first started in 2002, the Prince of Wales on the A5 was frequented.
98 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Summer 1983
Editorial – Chasewater in Crisis
On behalf of the Society I must apologise for the long gap between this and the last magazine due to a long list of reasons. There has just not been either the time or the money to expend on such a publication.
At present our membership wavers around the 100 mark, of which around 10% manage to visit regularly. It seems unfortunate that each week we rely on the same members attending to the Railway’s needs, without the active support of the other 90%. It is little wonder that the veterans are fast becoming despondent with the work load being foisted on them.
Unless there is a significant change in the attitude of our membership, one of two things will happen: either the Railway stock will have to be drastically pruned to the minimum required to run a service, or we shut the doors and sell the lot.
I beg more of you to attend, if only on an occasional basis. It always seems strange to me how many of you can attend the AGM and that’s the last we see of you for twelve months.
Tony Sale – Assistant General Manager.
Asbestos – This engine has now been in the process of restoration for about five years, due mainly to shortage of manpower. The frames and wheels have been re-assembled, the boiler tubed and the tank and cab are being repainted. Now we have to complete the boiler repairs and drop it into the frames and one day we may have a working engine.
Invicta – This engine is now in store pending the fitting of vacuum brake gear and the overhaul of the main bearing brasses. Work is hoped to commence on completion of Asbestos.
Sentinel taking water at our old HQ
Sentinel – The boiler was split to reveal the inner firebox for the boiler inspector but work has now been shelved in order to concentrate work on Asbestos.Ruston & Hornsby DL7 entering the old Brownhills West Station
DL7 – The mainstay of our shunting force has performed reasonably well over the last two years and it holds the distinction of being our only regularly working engine. This diesel locomotive is subject to an appeal to maintain its presence at Chasewater, which you may or may not like to subscribe to.
S100 – If I didn’t have to assist running the Railway I might find more time to devote to this rather large jigsaw puzzle, but despite all, progress is still being made, weather permitting, you would be amazed how much one person can achieve by himself, so if someone would like to assist, twice as much could be accomplished.
All other locomotives are stored unserviceable for the foreseeable future, including the Neilson, which requires new tubes. It can only be hoped that decay can be kept to a minimum to ensure resurrection in years to come.
Carriages and Wagons
Here I hoped to bring glad tidings, but unfortunately the only news is that the MSLR carriage is still in the shed and has been largely untouched due to the fact that there are no carpenters in our midst. The only other news is that a few more doors have dropped off the Maryport & Carlisle coach and the rest are generally suffering from many years of neglect.
The other snippet is that the Midland Crane had to be dismantled in order to stop it falling apart over the rails.What about it lads – who still cares?
Another late snippet is that someone wants to buy the TPO. Your Committee is in favour and I myself fully support them, but the choice is yours, so make it known fast, it will be no good grumbling after it has left.
As many of you know, much of the money needed to support the Railway is generated in the form of sales of soft drinks and chocolates. Recently the Wickham DMU was acquired in order to branch out further into the prepared food department, all we need is one interested member prepared to buy, prepare and sell. If anyone would come to volunteer we would be only too happy to assist in any way, as well as supplying a warehouse card which could also be used for their own benefit.
The new loco shed has certainly proved to be one of the most important developments at Chasewater. Not only does it supply ideal conditions for thorough restoration, it also allows work to continue after dark. Although this building has been with us for over a year there are still improvements to be made, i.e. fitting of three phase electric cables within the building and also fitting of a compressed air circuit. Once the former has been completed, all our machinery can be powered and the shed can be said to be fully operational.Taken from DL7, approaching the loco shed from the same direction as we do now – obviously before the changes!
Task Force Notes
A new task force was supplied together with finance and a new Manager, to commence work on the track layout. After last season the Railway lost its powers of running the line until such times as the whole of the permanent way was relaid in order to comply with the Railway Inspectorate’s standards.
In short, the platform front has been demolished to supply the necessary clearance, (rebuilding is now underway) and a run round loop is being built in the vicinity of the compound. Next the line will be lifted and replaced with better quality materials down to the old exchange sidings where another run round loop will be constructed. Upon completion a further visit by the Railway Inspectorate will then be made, and hopefully we shall run again. I can only say that I hope all goes well for the Task Force and both luck and weather is on their sides.
On behalf of the Company I have been asked by our Chairman to include the following appeal.
Save DL7 for Chasewater
The Company needs money to service a large overdraft and whilst the Railway is not running, little money is being repaid and understandably the Bank Manager is a little distressed.
If you would like to give some money to this appeal, you will be helping DL7 because if the Company is declared bankrupt, DL7 will certainly be seized as an asset. If the engine belongs to the membership it is safe along with the rest of the Society’s collection from the grips of the Liquidators
If you cannot afford a share, buy one together with some friends – you may buy as many as you like.
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.
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.