Chasewater Ralway Museum – Coming Soon –
Moving the Goods – Oct 12/13 2019
Taken from The Mercian, February 1965 4.1
The front page shows the map of the line, including the amusement park and the go-kart track, both long gone. Then follows an interesting Editorial about the future of the RPS movement after a change in government.
Over the last few months of 1964, the winds of change swept through Parliament. A Government which favoured the railways taking the form of a profit making concern was replaced by a Government which believes that the railways should provide a complete social service.
With this news came the resignation of Dr. Richard Beeching, Chairman of the British Railways Board. What effect will these major changes have on our Society and its fellows?
Although the internal affairs of British Railways are nothing to do with our Society, their attitude – based on the policy of the BRB certainly does affect us. Up to the present, the attitude has been somewhat cold, and certainly not what could be called encouraging. British Railways appear to be trying to make a profit on anything that they possibly can, with no sympathy to museums or museum societies, as we have found.
We have been charged extremely high prices for coaches that would be sold to scrap merchants at one third of the price. We do accept the fact that the railways are trying to work at a profit, but this exploitation of an historical society, in its first years and struggling to survive is surely uncalled for.
With the introduction of a socialist Government, we certainly expect the greater part of the Beeching plan to be abandoned, and concerning the connecting branch line to Brownhills and our Chasewater line, we would greatly appreciate a reprieve, but how does the remainder of the plan concern us? Very little indeed! It does affect some small branch lines for sale – at rather high rents, and on the other hand some well loved and beautiful branches which no society could afford to maintain or buy will be swept away.
On the whole, the RPS should look forward to the abandonment of the Beeching plan and perhaps a softening of BR policy towards us, although my personal feelings on the plan are the contrary to those of society in general. Our own attitude seems rather selfish but we aren’t the wealthiest of Societies, and at this critical stage we must be selfish to survive. As it has been said many times before in dealing with other problems, ’the world does not owe us a living!’
Hon. Ed. M.D.Willis
The Titfield Thunderbolt
It’s interesting to see that back in 1965 the Society held a film show at Walton Village Hall and 70 people attended in dreadful weather in January. We have a copy in the Museum right now!
As you will read in the Officers’ reports, work on the Chasewater line will begin in the near future, and a great deal of organisation will be necessary to make it the great success on which we are planning. A great deal of hard work will have to be done by our members, and in order to discuss it openly, individual members will be receiving a visit from an official. (In long macs and dark glasses??!)
With this project will come a great deal of publicity for the Society, and in order to assure that this will be put to the maximum possible use for effect, we must have one united outlook. In order to prevent any contradictions, however petty, will members please send any correspondence about the project to the Committee, via the Secretary so that any such ‘slips of the pen’ may be pointed out.
The Chasewater project was repeated in the Chairman’s report.
Hon. Secretary’s report
ue to wintry conditions, restoration work has temporarily come to a halt at the depot. Work has been maintained on the smaller relics. John Elsley has however continued working on the generator set in spite of the cold. The TPO dynamo coupled to an Austin 6-cylinder lorry engine, donated by the President, comprises the set. It is now in full working order and provides adequate power for our coach batteries. Many thanks to John and his small band of helpers.
Hinges have now been cast for the Maryport & Carlisle carriage doors, an effort will be made to clean up these castings in the near future and fit to the doors.
Plans are now being formulated for our line at Chasewater, and the Committee will be discussing and drawing up plans for the project for some months to come.
A small party of members (7) braved the elements on Sunday 17th January to attend the last train run from Walsall to Rugeley. Two members – D. J. and J. J. Bradbury – attended as official mourners, vintage MR and GWR caps were worn. For our Treasurer, Frank Harvey it was a nostalgic journey, Frank having travelled on the line for some 7 years to and from school.
(The line from Walsall to Hednesford was reopened in 1989, and to Rugeley in 1997.)
D.A.Ives, Hon Sec.
Without doubt, 1965 will prove a most expensive year if all our plans are to be achieved. For the benefit of our more distant members, (And for those of us reading this some 45 years later!) I would like to outline a few of these.
First we must consider the lease of the Chasewater branch. Naturally, we have made preparations for this and the general fund is in a position to be able to settle this account without delay. However, before any of the stock can be moved up there, a building will have to be constructed to provide accommodation. The building which we have in mind will be large enough to house our present collection of large relics with room to spare for future acquisitions. The estimated cost of such a building has been put at around £3,000. This matter is urgent and the full support of all our members is needed. (As a comparison, a three bedroomed detached house in Hednesford at that time would have cost about £3,500, so the equivalent cost would be in the region of some £160,000).
Apart from this, repairs to the line and its accessories will account for another large sum of money.
The time limit given to us by the NCB to raise the money for the Stroudley E1 (Cannock Wood No. 9) has now been reached. £100 out of the £300 needed has been collected. We are hoping that negotiations with the Board to keep the locomotive for a further period of time will be successful. I would like to thank those people who have donated to the fund, but generally speaking, I am rather disappointed at the response shown by our own members. The attitude I am afraid has been rather apathetic. Most of the money has been donated by people who live well outside our own area!
A branch line without a locomotive is a rather ludicrous situation. It is up to us to rectify the position since we will require at least two engines. The Stroudley E1 could so easily be one of these.
Sound coaching stock will also be required. The stock we have at present will not be suitable for service until a vast amount of restoration work has been completed. Carriages which require little or no repair work need to be purchased. These will cost in the region of £300 each.
I realise that our expense problems sound formidable but they can be overcome. After all, preserved standard gauge lines are still very few and far between. There is certainly room for one in the Midlands.
Taken from the ‘Mercian’ December 1964, 3.3
The Chasewater Branch Line
By Brian Kinder.
The Chasewater line is situated round half the perimeter of the Chasewater Pool. The pool itself is now being extensively developed as one of the largest amusement areas in the Midlands, and to this end Brownhills Council is spending several thousands of pounds. When development work is completed, it is hoped that a large proportion of Birmingham and area’s population will visit the pool annually. It will therefore be appreciated, the great potential of a railway museum situated in this location, where there will be such a great concentration in the summer months, of day-trippers.
The proposed track itself was constructed in the main by the Midland Railway, and a small section by a colliery company. The line was used for mineral traffic from the collieries, however a station was built at Brownhills, at which all passenger traffic terminated.
Due to our section of the line’s sole use for mineral traffic, the track is in a poor state of repair, the poorest part being from the marshalling yard to the north. The main work therefore will be to relay the track in certain places, and clean out and in some places repipe the drainage system.
The work on the line will have to be completed by the end of 1965, if not sooner, depending on the closure of the connecting line by British Railways. Therefore we will need everyone’s help to get the work done.
We will not be able to manage with the present sized work party of 14 or so members, as it takes these fellows every Sunday to keep the stock at the depot in order. We are not asking you to attend every week, but if you could attend monthly or bi-monthly periods, it would help to clear up the situation tremendously.
The line is only one mile from Brownhills Station (BR – LMR) (Still a few months before closure!) and if you could see it, you would see its great potential if a success was made of it. Success however can only be achieved with 100% help from YOU!!
The National Coal Board has donated four NSR lower quadrant signals to the RPS. They are in good condition, with only one exception, when on being removed from the site at the Pinnox Crossings (South of Tunstall Station in the Potteries), Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, left its base firmly implanted in the muddy ground.
The largest of the four has been erected at the depot at Hednesford – an excellent view of the surroundings being commanded from the top. We hope to plant the other three on the Chasewater Branch.
NSR Rolling Stock
On a recent survey of the internal railway of Shelton Iron & Steel Ltd., several wagons and three box-vans of the North Staffordshire Railway were found.
After talks with the company, we agreed on the following:
It is probable that early this year we may be able to have a tour of their railway, which should prove far more interesting than it appears at first sight. There are 36 miles of internal railway and there are still several steam locomotives operating. The most interesting is perhaps an 0-4-0, which has a crane mounted over the boiler. (Now at Foxfield Railway, by Dubs & Co Dubsy to his friends!)
North Staffs Area Meetings
It is hoped that in the new year, meetings of the members who live in or near North Staffordshire will commence at bi-monthy intervals. Interesting lectures are planned as well as slides and cinematograph shows concerning railway preservation. Will any members who wish to attend please send a postcard to the Hon. Editor, who will send full details when they become available (emails make life so much easier nowadays!)
The meeting place is at present being arranged, and we need a good turn-out to make them worth while. A small fee for admission may be charged, and any non-members will be very welcome. If you live within reasonable travelling distance of the Potteries, do try to attend. I assure you that you will not regret it!
Then followed reports on various social events, including the first Annual Dinner and Social Evening, held at the Eaton Lodge Hotel, Rugeley.
At Hednesford, members are still working on the Royal Saloon and the TPO, and, as ever, more help is needed!
The latest artefact to be donated to Chasewater Railway Museum is the nameplate AGENORIA
The nameplate was originally fitted to a Midland Metro Tram No 15.
Arranged by Councillor Richard Worrall, and Graham Wilkes, the plate was presented on September 10th 2019, by Anthony Stanley & Carl Williams from Midland Metro
Although not strictly a Railway item there is a Railway connection, as Agenoria was the name of a historic local steam locomotive built in Stourbridge in 1829.
Named Agenoria after the Roman Goddess of Industry, the 0-4-0 loco hauled coal from the Earl of Dudley’s Collieries in Shutt End, down to the Staffs & Worcester canal at Ashwood Basin. Withdrawn from service in 1864, it as been preserved and now stands proudly in the National Railway Museum at York.
This nameplate compliments the other tram nameplate in the Museum’s collection, from No 5 Sister Dora.
Rail contractor Centrac, Tarmac’s track renewal company, came to the rescue when it heard that Chasewater Railway at Burntwood, Staffordshire, was struggling to extend its line due to a shortage of sleepers.
Birmingham-based Centrac offered to supply 600 sleepers from its main recycling depot at Northampton.
The Donated sleepers mean that Chasewater Railway’s volunteer workforce can extend its line to a planned new station near the proposed Burntwood by-pass entrance to the Chasewater Country Park.
The line currently serves the Brownhills West end of the park, carrying passengers around Chasewater Lake – and across the lake on a recently rebuilt causeway – to a station opened 18 months ago in the Norton wildfowl reserve.
The track represents the only remaining mineral line from the vast Cannock Chase coalfield network, and runs small tank locomotives retrieved from industrial locations, including a steam shunting engine from Pleck gasworks, providing scenic leisure trips for passengers.
Chasewater Railway general manager Steve Organ welcomed the donation of the sleepers saying “We are absolutely delighted with Centrac’s generous help – quite simply we could not have achieved so much without them. This shows the value of recycling materials.”
Lorne Gray, who is in charge of Centrac’s recycling operations, commented: “The particular type of sleeper we have donated would normally be stripped down to the bare components. The baseplates and fixings would be sold off by the tonne to scrap merchants and the sleepers sold for use in heavy industry and agriculture.
“The fact that they will now be used for their intended purpose, albeit on a reduced specification basis, is very satisfying.”