Chasewater Railway Museum
VE Day 75 Years
A few pictures showing something of the railways involvement during
A few pictures showing something of the railways involvement during
A look back at a proud moment for the Museum in 2011, nine years ago
Industrial Railway Society Day at Chasewater Railway.
The day started with the unveiling of the Eric Tonks Collection of locomotive nameplates and worksplates, this was, of course held in the Museum.Following this, and many photographs, a number of rides down the line with ‘Asbestos’ and ‘Linda’ taking turns in hauling the train. I think that ‘Colin McAndrew’ was in steam later.Pic by oakparkrunner
The Marston’s Baguley diesel shunter and the Class 08 were also put through their paces.
There was a buffet lunch on the first floor of the Heritage Centre which was well appreciated – well done Linda and Mavis and anyone else involved.
Occasionally, some of your visitors may see an advertisement here,
Thirty Years Plus Ten
Much as I enjoyed reading about Chasewater Railway in thirty years time, it never stood a realistic chance of happening.
After the cessation of coal traffic in the 1960s the line over the causeway was abandoned and the causeway itself fell into disrepair. The track was lifted and passenger traffic suspended for a number of years. The main part of the 30-years-on idea had also gone missing in the intervening years – the line from the proposed Norton Junction to Norton Crossing. The track which ran below the dam for the Swag pool was lifted and presumably sold for scrap. The idea of a railway with a main line and a short branch disappeared.
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.
IN 1993 a successful scheme to restore the causeway was started. About 120,000 tons of fill material were imported to the site. This work was completed in 1994 and Lakeside Station was reopened in December. From 1985 till the reopening of Lakeside trains only ran push-pull from the old station to the Willow Vale Bridge.
Since 1995 a great deal of work has been done, firstly to extend the line to Chasewater Heaths and Chasetown. Next came the new Brownhills West station and yard, to replace the old station and compound, now buried beneath the M6 Toll. The engine shed was refurbished and another station opened at Chasewater Heaths – finally, so far, the Heritage Centre was built to hold the heritage stock and Museum.
The 30-years-on idea was not to be, it would have been fun in my opinion, and at that time, as stated in Post No.50, the rolling stock was owned by the railway – no steaming fees to be paid. Of the stock mentioned in Post 51, the E1 left, never having steamed at Chasewater. The Hudswell Clarke also has never steamed here – but it is still with us, although not owned by the railway. The Peckett went too, although we now have another one. The Royal Saloon and Travelling Post office have also gone.
From the Mercian of September 1969
Secretary’s Report – A.A.Chatfield Acting Hon. Secretary
Vandalism at Hednesford
It is my sorry duty to inform all members that as a result of a break-in by some unknown gang of juvenile delinquents the interior of the Royal Saloon – our most priceless vehicle – looks as if it has been under the axe of some demolition contractors. Irreplaceable panelling has been deliberately smashed in, interior door panels including glass mirrors stove in completely and a wanton trail of damage to the tune of at least £150 done to the interior. (A great deal of money some 40 years ago!).
The police have been to the depot but without some positive information they are unable to do very much at this stage. The depot at Hednesford is vulnerable seven days a week and until the stock is moved to Chasewater en bloc where it will be afforded more protection then we are going to suffer even more vandalism which will not only delay the restoration process, but increase our expenditure and, what is more important, lose us our most valued working members to whom these sorts of acts are extremely disheartening.
Then followed an appeal for £800 to move the bogie vehicles at least from Hednesford to Chasewater.
The acting Hon. Treasurer, Laurence Hodgkinson, repeated the appeal and stated that, if the work at Chasewater continued at its present rate, the compound would be ready for the stock from Hednesford by the Autumn.
Amongst the new members joining the Society – B.J.Bull Esq.
The next three posts are sort of connected.
The first sets out the thinking behind the Railway Preservation Society,
The second takes a look into a possible future for the railway.
The third tries to give the reason why the second didn’t happen!
From the Editorial of the November/December 1969 Mercian
Food for Thought
It has often been said that the first ten years of marriage are the most difficult and if this is any yardstick then our first ten years have been one continuous struggle. Members may ask the question ‘Why?’ when they can see all around us other schemes, which are as little as two years old, flourishing with membership in the thousands. Here we are in our eleventh year and what have we got to show for it? May I try to explain a very subtle difference between our Society and other schemes which flourish around us and leave us completely in the shade?
We are a preservation Society first and foremost, we are not interested in ‘playing trains’ on some unwanted British Railways branch which can be snapped up for anything from £200 to £400,000 in order to be re-opened as a tourist attraction with weekend traffic to satisfy the ‘locals’. Our first aim is to preserve, what we do with the items after that depends a great deal upon what they are. Our range is therefore very extensive, running from a button to a carriage or locomotive, and to this end our record at the moment is pretty formidable.
We do not rely, as do many of our competitors, on other people loaning us locos or rolling stock with which to operate, we have paid for all our relics the hard way – THEY ARE OURS.
You might then ask ‘but if we are a preservation group only, why are we hoping to run trains at Chasewater?’ This can be answered quite simply. We are restoring, within the confines laid down by the Local Authority, a stretch of track which formed part of the old Midland Railway branch line from Brownhills, and by restoring I mean every sleeper, chair, nut, bolt and rail completely from scratch, in other words, preserving something which is part of the local railway history.
Obviously it would be a complete waste of time if after doing this we let the track become derelict again, and so primarily for the benefit of our members and also for the enjoyment of the visiting public, we hope that we shall be able to put some of our assets to workup and down the short stretch of line which has been relaid.
We have started from scratch, from the ballast upwards, that is where our difference lies from the other preservation groups around us who are enjoying more success.
It seems that every enthusiast will interest himself in a scheme if he can be an engine driver, but when it comes down to relaying track, restoring locos and carriages or doing the other thousand and one back-breaking menial jobs that have to be done he just does not want to know.
Who is going to be the loser in the long run? I do not think it will be our Society because we have so much in preservation experience from the bottom to the top to offer and yet still have a long way to go.
‘We have never had it as good’ if I may alter a well known saying. (For those who remember Harold MacMillan – Prime Minister 1957/1963).
Other schemes may fade away when the novelty wears off or when setbacks arise but we have had more than our fair share of setbacks over the past ten years and we have learned to take them on the chin and what is more, to come back fighting again as full of spirit as ever.
Pockets may be very deep when it comes to paying out hard cash and this may be very good for the enthusiast’s conscience, but when you ask yourself honestly – ‘am I really preserving?’ – is the answer always YES. I often wonder. After ten years as a Society may we all hope that the next decade will see the realisation of the efforts which have been put into the Society by a list too long to mention.
From the Mercian of July 1969
Following a disagreement the Committee published a special message announcing the resignation of the Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer and Vice-Chairman.
The acting Hon. Sec. A.A.Chatfield put together a report at short notice, stating that the usual progress is being slowly maintained, but more hands were still needed.
Mike Lewis had been packing the track near the compound and helped to alleviate the flooding problem. Steve Allsopp and Brian Hames have completed the overhaul of No.21 and have given her a spanking new coat of paint.
Derek Luker has been working on the steam locos with his small band of helpers and ‘Asbestos’ is now ready for a hydraulic test. New tubes are on order for the other locos and it is hoped to deal with them as soon as labour becomes available.
A limited amount of maintenance has been started inside the Royal Saloon thanks to Richard Middle and Arthur Chatfield, again a couple more members here would help out, particularly while the weather holds good.
Two of the younger members whose names escape me at present have been putting a coat of protective paint on the E1, again a much needed job well done.
From time to time we get requests from various bodies and individuals to help in storing rolling stock and in particular steam locomotives.
I feel that in the interests of all concerned it would be a sensible idea to say that while we have every sympathy and will try to advise such bodies and individuals, we cannot offer any hope of storage space either at Chasewater or Hednesford. Our present commitments with our own existing stock preclude us from offering help. I would ask all who read this to realise the difficult position that we are in with regard to this matter, for it is better to put you in the picture than to disappoint you later.
Make no mistake about it however, for as soon as we are able I am sure that we shall assist all we can.