Tag Archives: Chasewater Railway Museum

120 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News December 1989

120 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News December 1989

From the Editorial

Looking back, this year has been quite successful for the Railway with relatively few problems to contend with and a number of major advances made.  Train operation, although hectic for the staff involved, ran smoothly and every special event seemed to go well to the extent that our period of ‘survival’ of the last few years has begun to progress into a time of modest expansion.

As 1989 draws to a close and we all wait for Santa’s Special to arrive at Brownhills West, we can begin to plan next year’s work on the line.  It is all very easy to draw up a long list of jobs, but short of ‘asking Anneka’, they wouldn’t get done.

Realistically, in addition to all the regular maintenance work, we could have a platform built at Willowvale Halt ready for Easter, carry on to complete the run round loop at Brownhills West and relay enough track past Willowvale to run a goods train up and down on Gricers Day.  That would be an excellent season’s work, but it is only possible if people put the effort in. Locomotive News

Asbestos – Having worked the majority of this year’s trains, this loco is now due to be taken out of service for its six-yearly major boiler inspection.  The work will involve the removal of the saddle tank and boiler lagging as well as all fittings.  It is likely that a certain amount of repair work will be necessary around the firebox foundation ring and also renewal of a number of boiler tubes.

Sentinel – This engine finally re-entered service on Sunday 6th August when it took over from Asbestos to work he last two trains of the day.  The recent introduction of two-coach trains meant that this little loco has to work really hard against the gradient on the return run to Brownhills West with the regulator wound wide open for most of the distance.  The result of this is that coal consumption appears to have increased slightly over last year’s running, so that the bunker needs topping up towards the end of the day.  To cure the problem it is planned to fit coal rails to the bunker to increase capacity to around 8cwt.

Lion – The good news is that the Boiler Inspector has done his preliminary examination and has given the go ahead for the loco to be re-tubed and prepared for its hydraulic test.  Painting of both the frames and boiler shell has continued, along with work on new fittings and pipework needed before the engine can be steamed.

S100 – The frames of this loco are currently being jacked up in the back of the loco shed so that the wheels can be removed to allow machining of the horn guides.

DL7 – this remains our only working diesel and has continued to run well, although on the morning of the Bonfire Night steaming its contactors had to be quickly cleaned as the traction motor suddenly refused to ‘switch in’.

Fowler – At last the necessary information for the renewal of the blowing cylinder head gasket has been found and the repair work was carried out on Sunday 12th November.  With train operations gradually expanding it is becoming more important that at least one of the two diesels be vacuum brake fitted so that it can be used to work passenger trains if required at short notice or on quiet non-steam days.  Hopefully the work will be carried out shortly.

Other Locos – No work has been carried out on any other locos.

 Carriage & Wagon News

The Gloucester & Wickham trailers have remained coupled together since June to form the operational passenger stock.  The bodywork of the Gloucester is now looking positively tatty and will require repairs and a repaint before next season’s running.  Again no work has been carried out on any rolling stock other than the three DMUs. Permanent Way News

A few dedicated men are still pushing on with the trackwork and as a result the old turnout which marked the start of the Norton loop has been completely removed and the line is gradually increasing in length towards the causeway.  Progress on this work quite honestly is very slow, but when only three or four people on average seem to be prepared to help, and even the shorter rails which have to be moved weigh about a third of a ton, this is to be expected.  Just to give the P. Way gang a break from trackwork and to provide variety in their work, the local toe-rags managed to cut every strand of wire between every fence post from the level crossing right down to the bridge.  This had to be patched up again before trains could run on Gricers Day when everyone was already pushed to near the limit. Operating

August bank Holiday Monday marked the end of the two months of weekly running allowing a very welcome break for all the operating staff.  Gricers Day saw both Asbestos and the Sentinel in steam, with the last two trains of the day being double-headed.  Rumours that this was brought about by one case too many of a certain lager in the buffet car causing the gross train weight to exceed the maximum allowable Sentinel loading were untrue, but merely an example of the Midland Railway Company’s small engine policy in action!   The Sentinel will now work the remaining trains of this year to allow Asbestos to be stripped for boiler examination.

New arrival in 1961

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.

117 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces – Spring 1989

117ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Spring 1989

Topham & Austerity No.7 by Mike Wood.

 From the Editorial

No Chasewater News for the last twelve months and still no new Editor – but promises of better things to come!

At long last, the fruits of the reorganisation of two years ago are beginning to show.  The pace of progress at the Railway, both in administration and in physical terms, has reached a point where real new achievements are evident, as distinct from the earlier ‘marking time’.  This can be seen wherever you look; at Brownhills West, the station and yard are at their tidiest ever – the stock in the yard is all visibly presentable – the booking office, station office and shop are all established and contribute to both the appearance and good-working of our business – the trackbed is commendably tidy, and at last growing in length – the Gloucester coach and the Wickham coach are both being refurbished, and we are looking forward to the inclusion of a bar car in trains later this year.  Add to that the near completion of our run round loop’s refurbishment, the completion of the revised S & T arrangements, and a record turnover last year, and you can see that in the first complete commercial season of the new Company’s operation of the trains we’ve introduced, the Chasewater Light Railway has become a real hive of industry; projects are planned, materials are at hand, and to maintain the present impetus, we need your help!

Then followed the usual appeal for help on Saturdays, Sundays and train operating days.

 Carriage & Wagon Notes

Gloucester DMU driving trailer (BR Class 100)

This vehicle was acquired in 1968 by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands) for operation on their Chasewater running line, and was the first of four of this type of vehicle to go for preservation, the other three being, one which resides at the Gwili Railway, and two at the Swanage preservation site, where two driving motor cars of this type are also kept.The Gloucester this year celebrates its 21st anniversary in preservation, it’s been at Chasewater for twice as long as it was in BR service, and the interior still had the same seat coverings as when it rolled out of the Gloucester C & W workshops in 1957.  Sadly, these furnishings have inevitably become very worn, some torn and pierced by cigarette burns, and all suffering from old age.  Unfortunately, it’s not been possible to obtain the same pattern maquette to replace the old; however, the entire vehicle is being reupholstered, hopefully in time for Easter.  Also the floor is receiving attention, and new carpet fitted in the newly reinstated first-class section.

Externally, the vehicle quite recently received a repaint, including the roof, but some attention to the body is being undertaken as a preventative measure against the weather.  The lavatory compartment is being used as a store, since the pan is broken and there seems little point in replacing it when the Wickham trailer, complete with a perfect working order loo will shortly be joining it in service fro two-car running in the summer.

Wickham Driving Motor Kitchen Car

This vehicle has been the subject of a winter overhaul internally.  Starting in the dining saloon, the ceiling has been repainted, and a thorough cleaning given to al other surfaces.  The kitchen area has been completely emptied of all loose items so that the whole interior could be thoroughly scrubbed down, disinfected, etc., and the only items that have been returned there are those which are absolutely essential for daily catering service.  By doing this, a drastic reduction in the amount of items to be tidied and kept clean has been achieved, providing whoever works in there with a better environment. Less cluttered workspace, and a little more time to spend on the smaller number of items to be kept clean.  This is in line with general Railway policy of making tasks essential to our statutory duties as simple as possible – the smaller the task, the more likely it is to be done, and properly.

A start has been made on the overhaul of the doors, which, being made of a soft wood framing, have become severely warped over the years.

Wickham Driving Trailer

At last!  A policy decision backed with cash has been taken to restore this vehicle to operational use.  Last year’s traffic levels clearly demanded extra capacity, and the receipts from the 1988 operation have left us with enough money to start to replace windows and seats, as well as to repaint the exterior, all of which are scheduled to commence between the Easter and Whitsun steamings.

The Rest

Virtually no attention has been given to any other of the rolling stock, due to lack of manpower.  This year will see a repeat of the 1987 operation of trying to prevent further deterioration in the historic vehicles, since the provision of much more extensive accommodation is now being actively pursued by the Company, which would allow us to spend time and money much more effectively than we can at present on these vehicles.  However, the LNWR West Coast Joint Stock full brake (the ‘James’), which houses part of the small  relic collection will certainly have attention to its roof soon – a simple task awaits anyone prepared to play with bituminous coatings – come along to the site suitably attired and ask for ‘Clippie’ and the materials will be provided!  P.S. free tea is provided for workers on Saturdays!

 THE BIG LEAK – OR, WHO PULLED THE PLUG OUT?

Regular visitors to Chasewater will have observed the dramatic drop in the level of the reservoir in the last few months.  Railway members at first thought it was the water board’s response to our request for consideration of the condition of the causeway on which the railway crosses the lake, which had been adversely affected by the very high water level during 1987, in which year the causeway had actually been breached during a storm.  (This sounds familiar – low reservoir, breached causeway but this time it was natural causes!  For those who may not have been following the recent happenings at Chasewater, the lake has been virtually emptied and a culvert put through the causeway!)  However, the British Waterways Board have said that they can only attribute this to a leak and to the very low level of rainfall for the last nine months.  They have ‘no idea’ as to the reason for the scale of the water loss, but are ‘investigating’.  Meanwhile, they have ceased to abstract water for the Wyrley and Essington Canal from Chasewater, and we have the benefit of being able to see the whole of the causeway embankment down to its base – and a very sobering site it is too!  But at least we now have a much better idea of what we need as regards the type of materials to use in our planned repair of this essential link in our future enlarged railway.

Permanent Way Notes

Winter 1988 at last saw the completion of phase one of the Brownhills West station yard relaying.  For several years, with the threat of the Birmingham North Orbital Road hanging over the station, we have simply patched up as necessary in the station yard.  However, it’s been recognised for some time that if we were to stay at this location at all beyond 1988, we would need to completely relay the point leading to the sidings (No.2 point) and the centre road, since these had been laid in 1970 and largely untouched since.  The completion of this task has been greeted by all with a sigh of relief since it demanded a lot of what we are short of – manpower.  One really good thing to come out of it, apart of course from the comfort of the demonstration of concern for safety, is that the opportunity of revising the geometry of No.2 point was taken, and where we previously had a point taking up acres of land, with long leads (someone once said that it would make a good 70mph turnout if the sleepers weren’t so knackered and you could trust the brakes on loco No.21, we now have a much shorter point with sharper turnout and therefore a greater length of siding accommodation behind.At the other end of the line, work commenced in earnest in December on the extension towards the causeway.  This work consists of removing both the running line and loop (which is to be relocated at the new station site at Norton East) and relaying the running line in plain track with the concrete sleepers we already have in hand.  To this end, because of the great weight of the concrete sleepers, and because we have good hard standing access to the land immediately adjacent to the railway on this section, we are trying to find someone who will bring along and operate for a day, a HIAB truck, that is, a truck with a mechanical arm attached to it, to move the sleepers from the storage point near the level-crossing to the work-site – so if anyone out there can help, please get in touch.

Locomotive Notes

The 1988 season saw the greatest number of steaming days so far achieved by our group, and the forthcoming season will require even more loco availability than last.  The loco department certainly did the Railway proud as there were no loco failures all season.  Asbestos and the Sentinel were the stalwarts of the whole passenger service, tended in the greatest part by Colin Marklew and Nigel Canning respectively.  Over the 1988/89 winter, they have been stripped down for boiler examinations and general servicing.  Because of the need to completely dismantle the boiler of the Sentinel,   work on this commenced soon after the October ‘Gricer’s Day’. This meant that we were totally reliant on Asbestos for the ‘Mince Pie Specials’, and there she was, gleaming in the sunlight on Tuesday the 27th December, in service on one of the nicest and busiest days of the year.The use of Asbestos at Christmas, however, meant that the loco department then needed to strip it down, have the boiler inspected, rectify any defects and re-assemble it by Easter, as the Sentinel will not be ready for a return to service before Whitsun.  Will they do it? Come along at Easter and find out.

Work continues on S100, Lion and the little Barclay, and the race to be the first newly restored loco to run on the new extension in 1990.  Looks likely to be either Lion or the little Barclay.

On the diesel front, both the Fowler and DL7 are available for services, and the loco dept. are looking towards vacuum fitting one of these (probably the Fowler) during the summer.
The Wickham set has benefited from the attentions of the loco dept also, various refurbishments on the engine and transmission front are being undertaken to complement the C. & W. work on the bodies of these, and both engines have now recently been successfully ‘run-up’.

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Chasewater Railway Museum 2022 opening times

116 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces – January 1988

116 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News January 1988

 From the Editorial

It is eleven years since I last prepared an edition of our Railway’s magazine.  I do so now following our Publicity Director’s decision not to stand for re-election fro personal reasons.  As Company Chairman, however, I intend to act purely as a commissioning editor, so as to avoid any accusation of bias in editorial policy. Rob Curtis has also decided to stand down, as he is about to start a new job and sadly no longer has the time to be as active on the Railway as in the past.

 From the first AGM of the Chasewater Light Railway & Museum Company

The new Board for 1988/89 is composed thus:

Chairman – Steve Organ

Engineering Mgr – T.R.Sale

Operations Mgr – N.V.Canning

Commercial Mgr – B.J.Bull

Financial Mgr – L.J.Emery

Ex Officio – I.M.Newbold, A.C.R.Hall

In addition, the vacant posts of General Manager and Publicity Manager will be covered for the time being by Tony Sale and Steve Organ respectively.  Further, Adrian Hall has offered to continue as Company Secretary.

 The (lost) Causeway

Many of our members have in recent weeks expressed concern about the condition of the causeway which we hope to run passenger trains across to the far side of the lake eventually.  The problem is that some years of neglect, and very high levels of water in Chasewater, coupled with long periods of high winds causing severe wave action to erode the sides of the causeway have combined to completely breach the causeway.Our Company is powerless to do any remedial work, since we at present have no ‘Lawful Interest’ in the causeway, i.e. we don’t lease it at the moment.

Representations have been made to the local authority, Walsall Council, and at a recent meeting of the local authority’s recreation and amenities committee, the Engineer’s Department of Walsall Council were invited to make a detailed study of the problems and to investigate ways of restoring the whole of the causeway to an overall width which would allow both a Railway and a footpath to cross it.  Further, the Waterways Board have said that they will from now on abstract water from Chasewater before any of their BCN reservoirs, and also that this summer, the water level will be kept at a very low level.  This would allow for remedial works to be carried out.

One further point is that a Consulting Civil Engineer has, at our Company’s request, and without charges, examined the causeway, and suggested a relatively low-coast solution to the problem, and as soon as we receive his report, the local authority would like a copy – so perhaps all is not lost.  I hope to bring further news in the July edition of Chasewater News, but be assured that the Board are making as strong a representation as possible to Walsall Council about this vital link to Chasetown.Engineering Manager’s Report

Following a late start in 1987, we were able to run a train service for the first time since 1982, for which two locos, Asbestos and the Sentinel, and the Gloucester trailer coach were available.  No failures or serious faults occurred, although it has become apparent in this first season of continuous brake operation that improvements to the system can be made by relatively simple alterations to the system.  This work, along with annual maintenance, is now being carried out in readiness for the 1988 season, for which initially the same locos and coach will be used.

Work on four privately owned locos is currently being carried out on site, and their owners continue to put in a great deal of work on the Railway as well as their own locos.  The most likely of these to be steamed first is No.2 ‘Lion’ probably followed by No.7 ‘Invicta’ or No.3 ‘Colin McAndrew’.  Please feel free to come and see work in progress on these on any Sunday.

One priority job for the loco dept in 1988 must be the fitting of vacuum brake gear to one of the diesels to enable trains to be run on non-steaming days, and to provide cover in the event of a steam loco failure.  The cost of fitting this equipment, about £250, would be easily covered by the train fares taken on the event of ‘opportunist’ train operations i.e. where lots of people are in the park and we are not scheduled to run trains.

Another project for 1988 is the repair and restoration of the Wickham Trailer car.  This will allow us to run two-car trains for the first time, and doing so will allow us to generate extra income through the opening of a bar car, will give us extra braking power on trains, and will allow us the luxury of a spare coach in the event of a failure.

The coach is in basically sound condition, but requires seven new windows, and the doors require stripping and re-building.

Extension News

On 7th March, I formally applied to British Railways Board for License to operate passenger trains over the section of line from Willowvale Bridge to the Causeway.

The application to BR followed the purchase of the land from BR by Walsall Council, which was completed in November last.  Our Company’s predecessors bought the track on the land some years ago, but the Council slowed down the procedure of buying the land when our group ran out of steam in the early eighties, and only revived when our New Company breathed new life into the Chasewater Railway Project in October 1986.

Because we bought the track, BR gave us permission some years ago to maintain the formation of this section of line, so we very recently carried out work on the bridge, so that if BR give us the license we need, we can very rapidly move on to the section: I would feel we should be running trains along this stretch within 9 months of possession, to maintain the impetus of development of the line.  Steve Organ

 Civil Engineering

Work in this area has been concentrated in the last year on maintenance and simplification of the trackwork, incorporation of the Railway Inspectorates requirements, such as the installation of trap points, Annets locks, fencing, etc.  Whilst this work may seem tiresome, it is part and parcel of the business of running a railway and allows us to operate in confidence and in SAFETY.  We are fortunate in the field of trackwork to have over the last year, gained a member, Chris Chivers, with experience and enthusiasm for p-way work (when he’s not setting things on fire).

We have also to thank Mr.J.L.Townsend, M.I.C.E., who has recently undertaken an inspection of Willowvale Bridge, and provided a formal report and detailed specifications for remedial work to it, work which is likely to be largely complete by the time you read this.

In view of the progress made in the last year, we are now making detailed plans for the future.

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).

113 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.2, Summer 1987

113 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.2

From ‘Chasewater News’ Summer 1987

Permanent Way

Under the leadership of Chris Chivers a small group of workers have made a start on clearing the lineside undergrowth along the running line whilst a group of students spent a week clearing the passing loop beyond the current limit of operations.

The line has been weedkilled to give a more workmanlike look to the track and a catch point has been installed on the loco shed siding.

Work is now centred on the point connecting Nos. 2 & 3 roads in the compound, which were comprehensively written off by the new diesel!

From the Archives

Something which we expect to make a regular feature of in Chasewater News in which we feature anecdotes and snippets from items in the Museum Collection.  We begin this feature with items of local interest taken from the LMS Sectional Appendix to the Working Timetables dated March 1937.

Stafford

Stafford No.5 to Venables Sidings (LNT).  Drivers of trains not conveying passengers, proceeding to the LNE line must be prepared to receive a green hand signal when passing No.5 signal box.  The exhibition of this green hand signal will indicate that Venables Timber Yard crossing gates may be across the railway and drivers must be prepared accordingly.

Norton Branch

Five Ways Mineral Branch – between Five Ways and Conduit new Sidings.  In addition to LMS trains, the Five Ways Colliery Company’s engines work over this branch, and the Conduit Colliery Company’s engines work over a section of the branch between Conduit Colliery Sidings and Conduit Junction, and between Conduit Colliery Sidings and Conduit New Sidings.

Two keys are provided for padlocking the trap points – which must be obtained from the pointsman at Conduit Junction and must be returned to him on completion.

Five Ways

Before proceeding towards Five Ways, the guard must satisfy himself that the Colliery Company’s engine is stationary, and must set the road for the single line to the Colliery Sidings.   The line between the trap points and the sidings is used as the Colliery Company’s shunting neck, and on arrival from Conduit, train men having to place wagons in the sidings must at once place the signal provided for the purpose to danger to warn the Colliery enginemen that they must not come out on the shunting neck from the Colliery Sidings.  Before returning to Conduit the signal must be taken off, its normal position is ‘clear’.

After placing wagons in the sidings at Five Ways, engines waiting for loaded wagons must stand on the single line protected by the trap points before a train worked by either the Colliery Company’s or the LMS men leaves Five ways towards Conduits, the trap points must be set for the running line, and after the passage of such train must at once be reversed and securely padlocked for the trap by the guard.

Curator’s Notes

Peckett 0-6-0ST Hanbury

The Conduit Colliery locos referred to in the above would have been the four or perhaps five Manning Wardle 0-6-0STs in the Company’s ownership at that time.  Locos known to have been at Five Ways were the Peckett 0-6-0ST Hanbury and a Kitson 0-6-0T.  None of these locos survive but our museum does contain one nameplate and one worksplate ex Conduit Colliery and a brass No.2 off the Kitson.Coppice Coll. No.2 0-6-0T Kitson 5358-1921

East Somerset Railway and Cannock Wood

‘Cannock Wood’ No.9  in LBSC Livery

Older members may recall that when the E1 was sold to the Lord Fisher Locomotive Group in 1978 regular reports of its progress were to be received.  We make no apologies for giving news of the loco which left Chasewater nearly nine years ago.  The loco is now 110 years old – the hundredth engine built at the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway’s works at Brighton by William Stroudley and the doyen of the Cannock & Rugeley Colliery Co. fleet from 1926 through nationalisation and into National Coal Board days until withdrawal in 1963.

It is of interest to note that despite their intention to restore the loco to main line order as BR 32110, it never carried that number in service.  All reports refer to her as ‘Cannock Wood’ or number 9.

The boiler has been removed from the frames and detubed.  A boiler inspection has revealed the probable need of a new front tubeplate and the definite need of a new inner firebox with consequent restaying and a new foundation ring.  It is estimated that a further £20,000 is needed to put the boiler into a steamable condition.  The wheels have been sent to Swindon for tyres and bosses to be turned.  New side tanks are required.  Springs are being re-tensioned.  Loose horn guide bolts have been replaced.  Much platework is being replaced and a new bunker is virtually complete.  The frames have been needle gunned and received two coats of paint, new footplating is being fitted to the frames.

Eccentric straps, big end straps, connecting rods and valve roads have been cleaned, checked and are ready for re-fitting.  More news in future issues.

From the Museum

On Tuesday April 14th we suffered yet another break-in at Chasewater.  This time it was the LNWR 50 ft brake coach which was the subject of the robber’s intensions.. Having failed to gain access through the end door nearest the waiting room, and the lock refusing to give way on the normal entrance door used, the miscreant managed, presumably at some length, to chop his way with a pickaxe through one of the double doors on the platform side.  A quantity of railway rule books and the entire collection of some 160 odd LNWR postcards was taken plus a few other books and sundry items.

The following week saw the return of some items following a visit by Ralph Amos to a second-hand bookshop in Walsall which some of the books had been sold to by the criminal.  Unfortunately some pieces had already been sold by the shop owner who was unaware that he was dealing with stolen goods.

Latest news is that the police have picked up a Walsall man who confessed to the crime, amongst others as one might suspect.

There is some good news to report.  There is now an annex to the museum coach in the form of the recently restored ex Midland Railway circa 1880 four-wheel passenger brake which sees a display of railway prints, etc. on Open Days.  A selection of Chas. Butterworth’s very fine drawings was displayed therein on April 26th at the Railwayana Fayre.

Additions to the collection include official postcards of the LNWR, GNR, L & Y, Furness Railway and cards from the following railways which are all new to the collection.  Corris, Cambrian, LNWR and LYR Joint, GCR, NER, SECR, LSWR, Metropolitan Railway and Douglas Southern Electric Tramway.  Other nice additions are a ticket from pre-preservation days of the Talyllyn Railway and an LNWR ‘Birmingham’ dinner fork, courtesy of Rob Duffill.

Taken on Chasewater Railway’s Brewery Day, 2017

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.