Copy of what may have been a locally commercially available postcard depicting a MR Johnson design 3F 0-6-0 of the type introduced in 1885 and rebuilt by Fowler from 1916 with Belpaire boiler.
Looking back through various back numbers of ‘Mercian’, ‘Chasewater News’ and ‘Railway Focus’ it becomes apparent that little has been published to inform members of the history of this branch, part of which trackbed provides us with the base for our own Chasewater Light Railway operations. An even more glaring omission is that we have not made available for publication the few interesting photographs in the museum collection.
On July 1st, 1879 the Midland Railway had opened a line from Castle Bromwich to Walsall with intermediate stations at Penns, Sutton Coldfield, Sutton Park, Streetly and Aldridge. Whilst this line was being constructed, a branch from Aldridge to Walsall Wood was authorised on July 13th, 1876, with further extension to the western shores of Norton Pool being authorised on August 6th, 1880 to give an end-on connection with the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway, just south of the causeway.
The contractors for this 3¾ mile branch were H.Lovatt & Co.Ltd. I am unable, however, to discover any details of the contractor’s locomotives which would undoubtedly been used on this project.
On April 1st, 1882 the branch opened as far as Brownhills West for goods only, with the connection to the CC & WR being opened on November 1st, 1882.
Just north of the A5 road there was a short lived spur to the Coppice Colliery, Wilkin, owned by J.Owen Ltd. (Later the Coppice Colliery Company. This spur closed when the colliery was shut in 1894.
Passenger services commenced to the newly opened stations at Walsall Wood and Brownhills Midland on July 1st, 1884, but colliery traffic continued to be the mainstay of the branch.
Brownhills Midland was over half a mile out of town just north of the A452 Chester Road, whereas the LNWR station on the South Staffs Walsall line was handily situated at the end of High Street so it was no surprise when the LMS withdrew the passenger service on March 31st, 1930, Brownhills Midland being demolished soon afterwards.One amazing survivor is a wooden ‘finger’ which used to point the way to the platforms. This piece owes its continued existence to the gentleman who fortuitously purchased from the site a pile of wood to build himself a garden shed, the finger surviving long enough to find its way by means of a donation to the RPS collection. However, I digress slightly, goods traffic continued on the branch until the closure of former Cannock Chase Colliery pits by the National Coal Board in the late 1950s, the line being lifted between Aldridge and Brownhills West in 1960, with the CC & WR remnants left around the northern shores, mainly going by 1963. Last day of passenger services at Brownhills Midland. A Johnson 3F, No.3277, with two coaches of compartment stock including a clerestory probably dating from the period 1897 to 1916. The porter seems to be holding up a closure notice or something similar perhaps.
What was left owed its continued existence to the NCB Area Workshops which was then just rail connected to the former LNWR Norton Branch via a circuitous route through the closed Conduit Colliery yard reached by a spur just south of the causeway. A small amount of the original Midland Railway metals had been left as a headshunt, this being part of the former exchange sidings with the CC & WR and it was some nine years after the Railway Preservation Society came to Chasewater before British Railways ‘rediscovered’ the sidings left for NCB use in 1960 when the rest of the branch had been lifted. By then of course the Society had extended their track into the park so the still BR owned piece fell in the middle of the Chasewater Light Railway. How this problem was surmounted will be the subject of a future article, as it is a story in itself.Standard MR platform lamps on hexagonal posts are in evidence, but the sawn paled fence seen in the postcard view has been replaced with the sawn diagonal variety by the time these photos were taken.
These form part of the Museum’s collection of local photographs, some of which will be made available to the Editor to feature in future issues of Chasewater News. With 1990 being some 60 years since Brownhills Midland closed its doors to passengers, it is especially pleasing to be able to provide photos of the last day of services, March 31st, 1930.
The Museum will be open on Sunday, 5th June.11.00am– Entry from the rear of the heritage centre
124 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News April 1990
A telephoto view of a Sentinel hauled train passing the shed yard – Dave France
This winter’s mild weather seems to have promoted a lot of activity at Brownhills West station, and with much of the work being carried out by new members. In addition to the trackwork mentioned in ‘PW News’, a hell of a lot of effort has been put in n the platform and buildings to the extent that this very public face of our activities is on the verge of looking even better than it did in 1982 before the old platform was demolished. Work already carried out includes re-levelling of the Booking Office and fitting of an extended canopy, installing an old GPO phone box on the platform, laying a concrete path to the buffet coach and laying of grassed areas at the back of the platform. If only we could keep this level of progress up for the rest of the season!
No.4 Asbestos – This loco has now had all fittings removed and the tank lifted in readiness for its six-yearly boiler examination. A professional boilersmith has been contracted to carry out repairs around the foundation ring where the rivets have become wasted with consequent leakage past the inner wrapper. Work is also progressing on other minor repairs and adjustments and it is hoped that the loco will be back in service before Transport Scene.
No.5 Sentinel – This loco is still in working order, although drained down, having worked the Christmas and New Year trains. The recently re-routed ejector exhaust has proved to be a lot quieter, allowing the driver and fireman to chat politely across the cab when running. Only a few minor adjustments and a crank case oil change remain to be carried out before next season’s running.
No.2 Lion – Progress is still being made re-tubing the boiler and mounting of cab fittings.
S100 – Both crossheads have been separated from their piston rods, another job involving a great deal of heat and force. Preparations are also underway for the machining of the hornguides using a patent homemade machine which grinds as it sweeps as it cleans!
No.7 Ruston – This loco is still in good running order.
Fowler – This loco performs well once running, but due to a number of teeth missing from the starter ring is tricky to start when cold. The only recent minor failure was that of one of the vee belts which drives the air compressor. Looking on the positive side, the dynamo control box has now been rebuilt allowing the batteries to charge correctly.
Other locos – No work has been carried out on any other loco.
Carriage & Wagon News
A number of minor but important jobs have been carried out to the interior of the Gloucester and Wickham trailers which still remain coupled together. Hopefully the bodywork will be tidied up and repainted as soon as weather permits.
No other C & W work has been carried out.
Permanent Way News
Pete,Arthur & Steve ballast new track at Willow Vale – Dave France.
Quite a lot of progress is being made in this area despite the pitiful number of people involved. At last a start has been made on completing the run-round loop at Brownhills West by installing the missing turnout from the end of the platform across to the buffers on No.2 road. This work will be completed mostly using parts already on site, although a few additional timbers will probably have to be bought. In order to ease the construction of the new loop at Norton, a complete turnout has been purchased from the Baddesley Colliery Railway, currently being demolished. In addition to this, a large number of fishplate bolts have also been acquired involving four or five members making repeated trips to the site to unbolt them from the sidings there.
Work has continued to progress on the extension of track through the site of the new Willow Vale Halt towards the causeway. This is now likely to be curtailed slightly during work on Brownhills West loop and on the Willow Vale platform.
Sentinel 59632 eases stock out of (21G) Hednesford Road shed yard. – Dave France
Luckily this winter the weather has again been very mild and so there was no problem with water supplies for the locos, or in attracting passengers. The running of Christmas and New Year trains went smoothly and was financially successful.
Father Christmas was in attendance on 17th December and distributed presents to the children from his grotto in the ‘blue van’. On 31st December the mince pie specials did good business attracting plenty of people to ride on the railway.
On 28th January there was an extra steaming when the ARPS visited us following their meeting in Birmingham. In addition to this there was a car rally in the park so again we had a very profitable day.
The 1990 season proper looks set to start on Easter Sunday, which being a little later this year, will give us valuable extra time to carry out maintenance and repairs.
Any member wishing to volunteer to work on the train or on the station should obtain a roster form from the Booking Office.
This magazine sees another change of Editor as I (Nigel Canning) volunteered to take some of the load off Steve Organ. We both spend a lot of time at Chasewater so we have up to date material for the magazine, but perhaps the problem is recognising it. A number of members and visitors who had not been to Chasewater for a while have expressed amazement at the recent improvements and are obviously delighted, whilst those of us who work there every week tend to have on our minds want we haven’t done yet rather than what we have. As you read the various sections of this magazine you will see the usual excuse for jobs not being completed, ‘lack of manpower’, however, if you look back through previous magazines the problem has subtly changed, hopefully for the better.
It used to be: ‘Insufficient manpower to rebuild the railway to allow train operation’.
Then: ‘Insufficient manpower to run trains more often’.
Now: ‘Insufficient manpower to open the bar every week’.
Next perhaps: ‘Insufficient manpower to sell tickets at Willowvale Halt’.
All of this shows that we must be making progress and makes me wonder what we will have insufficient manpower for in, say, ten years time???
Asbestos – This engine has worked all of this year’s trains so far with only various minor leaks having needed attention. The recent introduction of two coach trains has proved to be no problem at all for it, with only apparent minimal increase in coal consumption.
Sentinel – Getting this loco through the various stages of a major (five yearly) boiler examination has proved to be a long drawn out business, however it is now ready for its steam test and should be back in traffic by the time you read this magazine. In addition to the statutory inspection work, an extra water level gauge has been fitted to the boiler, also a new, larger ashpan ready for working the new Norton Expresses.
Lion – Much enthusiastic work has continued on this engine, mainly getting the boiler ready for its initial major examination. In addition to this, various new boiler fittings have been procured and machined, further vacuum brake pipework added and more paint applied to the frames. Hopefully the loco will enter service during 1990.
S100 – Work has concentrated on splitting, cleaning and re-assembling the springs of this loco, a job involving a lot of heat and brute force.
DL7 – This loco has again run well, performing all the shunting and works train movements. The only minor failure was that of a bearing in the small battery charging dynamo which was repaired fairly easily. Following a bout of vandalism by local tow-rags the loco has been repainted in ‘Rail Blue’ complete with yellow and black striped ends to cover the graffiti.
Fowler – This has remained ‘standby diesel’ due to a blowing cylinder head gasket. Attempts at finding the necessary details required for the repair, type of head gasket, torques and torquing sequence, etc. gave been somewhat protracted due to the engine manufacturer’s inability to provide the information even when the block number was quoted. This loco is also in the process of being repainted, but in Longmoor Military style of blue with the motion and other details picked out in red.
Other Locos – Little or no work has been carried out on any other loco since the last magazine.Carriage & Wagon News
The big news is that the Wickham trailer entered service on Saturday 17th June coupled to the Gloucester to form the first regular two-coach train. The following day there was another first when the bar was opened and refreshments were served on the moving train. Although a certain amount of finishing off work is still required to the interior, the coach has run every week since its inaugural day and has been a great success. A finishing touch currently underway is a pub sign ‘The Wickham Bar’ being painted on the large unglazed body panel at the gangway end of the vehicle. A precedent for this was the Southern Region ‘Tavern Cars’ which ran for a while in the fifties in ‘ blood & Custard’ livery with brickwork and a pub sign painted at one end. Other than the three DMUs, no work has been carried out on rolling stock due to lack of manpower.Permanent Way News
One problem with running trains every Sunday is that it doesn’t leave enough people to do much in the was of trackwork. However, the track we are currently running on is in reasonable condition and, by our standards, is remarkably free of weeds. In view of the above situation, all efforts will be concentrated later in the year, starting around September, on a number of projects. These will be; packing rough bits of the existing line, repairing the fencing again, completing the run round loop at Brownhills West, building a platform at Willowvale and then extending the line towards the causeway. Any volunteers for this work will receive a warm welcome and a choice of shovels!
So far this year operating the railway has been even more hectic than usual for a number of reasons. A lot more trains have been scheduled, running every Sunday in July and August, which is another ‘first’ for the railway. In addition to this, steam trains were run on Monday July 3rd, two school specials, and the first ever Birthday Party Special, all of which were very successful and will hopefully be repeated regularly. The recent addition of two-coach trains in itself has been no problem, but when the bar is in use at least one extra person is needed to staff it. For the obvious security reasons the day’s work involves loading every item of stock onto the train and unloading every remaining item at the end of the day. As a result, so far this year the bar has been open only on special days when staff have been available. A similar problem has of course existed for a long time with the Wickham buffet car with all stock having to be transported to and from safe storage. As usual any volunteers will receive a warm welcome and a choice of whatever the apparatus for this work might be!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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
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.
113 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.2
From ‘Chasewater News’ Summer 1987
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
112 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.1
From ‘Chasewater News’ Summer 1987
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.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).
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.
Another true anecdote in the series of an excerpt from the Chasewater Fat Controller’s diary. Date line Sunday, 24th March, 1985.
It was about 2 o’clock on a relatively mild afternoon when four men and a dog set off from 21G Hednesford Road to replace stolen chairs from the loop. The freshly greased bearings on the trolley ran easily on the falling gradients towards Norton, with Hairy Youths dog bounding along the four foot a couple of yards in front.
Once over the facing point, the going became much harder as the ever helpful Task Force (remember them?) had dug the ballast out between each sleeper so the dog was having to negotiate ten inch high hurdles, two foot six inches apart. Finally with the leading axle of the trolley rapidly closing on his right ear he decided he had had enough and leapt over the rail to his right – a split second too late. ‘Klunk, klunk, klunk – yelp, yelp, yelp’. The fully laden trolley had run over his back leg leaving a six inch tear in his flesh.
Having bitten his owner and growled at everyone else in range the dog was loaded onto the trolley and sent back to Brownhills West Station where the ubiquitous Spitfire was waiting to take him home. That evening, Nurse Gillian is reputed to have taken the dog to work and rebuilt him bionically – this dog now has a starting tractive effort of 17,000lbs in full gear at 85% boiler pressure and may be used to work passenger trains when we get a Light Railway Order.
The cover photo shows CLR No.11, the Neilson now known as Alfred Paget, shunting near Brownhills West on a special steaming on Saturday, 17th April 1982 for the Industrial Railway Society. Photo by Mike Wood. Good timing as the Society was at Chasewater again only a few weeks ago (2011).
109 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From ‘Chasewater News’ April 1986
Our late friend, Mick Doman, preparing totake ‘Asbestos’ out from Brownhills West, Easter 2007.
News from the line
Asbestos and the Sentinel both performed satisfactorily at Gricers’ Day and both have undergone further work during the winter months. Asbestos has had the vacuum brake finished and the regulator has been the subject of much attention due to its tendency to remain open when shut! The Sentinel (alias No. 59632) is being fitted with vacuum brakes and its water feed pump has been completely stripped and rebuilt. Both engines will be test steamed prior to the Transport Extravaganza in May.
On other fronts, No.6 the Albright & Wilson Peckett needs the extension to its smokebox takeplate replacing due to the severe wastage, as well as replacement of some of the rivets which fix the takeplate to the boiler barrel. It could be that the boiler will have to be removed from the frames. Tony Sale is progressing with overhauling the axle boxes of S100 and it is hoped that re-wheeling will take place soon. The small Andrew Barclay has had a patch let into the side of its firebox so progress should speed up once several stays have been renewed.Sentinel Feb 2004 – Nigel Canning
On the diesel front, No.21 has had its engine removed to enable Colin Marklew to piece together a decent working engine from this and the two spare engines that we possess.
Like the Phoenix, from the rubble of Brownhills West has arisen a splendid new platform which was 90% finished before the West Midlands County Council was abolished at the end of March, and the Task Force left Chasewater, supposedly for good. However, at the beginning of April they reappeared under the guise of Wolverhampton Task Force to finish the job and to complete the drainage of the station site. The Society is left with the job of removing the remaining rubble and fashioning a track bed adjacent to the platform before the Wickham buffet car can be installed.
Just as the railway is recovering from the enforced siesta that it has enjoyed since 1982, comes the news that the infamous North Orbital Route (as an alternative to the crumbling M6) is to plough straight through Chasewater, in fact, it is likely to plough straight through the new platform at Brownhills West!! This of course is a major blow to the intended development of the park, not least the railway.
Despite the likelihood of a public enquiry it is almost certain that this ‘preferred route’ (out of nine possible options) will be built, construction not due to start until 1991. As it will be some 12 to 18 months before detailed plans are published then the Railway will have to have its own plans ready to make maximum use of any compensation it is eligible for. The main options open to the Railway are:
To forget it all and disperse the collection
To move lock, stock and barrel to somewhere else
To move Brownhills West some 200-300yards down the line
To move operations to the other side of the lake.
The executive committee have appointed Messrs. Hall and Patterson to investigate the feasibility of these and any other options and to find out what the chances of gaining compensation are.
“431 Hudswell Group”
At the Chasewater Light railway Society AGM on 13th November a resolution was passed empowering the Executive Committee to sell the Hudswell Clarke Locomotive No. 431 of 1895 to a consortium of Chasewater members and others. A price of £2,500 was agreed upon provided that the locomotive would remain at Chasewater.
All this led to the formation of the “431 Hudswell Group” which is offering 25 shares in the locomotive at £300 each. This covers £2,500 for purchase, leaving £5,000 for restoration. An easy payment scheme has been set up whereby prospective shareholders pay a minimum of £5 per month per share. (There is a maximum shareholding of two shares per person) and to date 18 shares have been taken up. Each shareholder will be issued with two certificates:
a) When £100 has been donated representing 1/25th of the purchase price – i.e. 1 share – and
b) On completion of restoration work to certify ownership of 1/25th of the locomotive.
No heavy restoration work will take place until the CLRS has been paid in full for the locomotive and there is enough money available to allow restoration to proceed unhindered.
Late News – A deposit of £500 has been paid by the 431 Hudswell Group to the CLRS.
No doubt you will have read elsewhere about Gricers Day. However, from a catering point of view it was both good news and bad. The good news was that we literally sold out of everything and had to send out scouts to locate further supplies. This resulted in the maximum profit being made. The service went well except for the bottleneck around the hatch and doorway, and everyone drank the tea and coffee so it couldn’t have been too bad!
However, running the kitchen is hard work and we would not have coped except for volunteers who turned up who are not Society members via the Hon.Sec. Thanks go to all concerned. For future occasions if they are not available, ordinary members will have to be rostered for these duties, as the money raised by this service will be essential. Other Societies have learnt that they can increase their income considerably by offering an efficient service and although none of us joined to make tea and wash up, this is part of the price you pay to see the engines running again and to keep them running.
Barry Bull is again providing sterling service on Saturdays and Sundays to members and the few brave souls who appear during the winter months.
On November 17th we ran the first ever “Chase Diner Train”, which taught us a few lessons – we must be mad!! However, despite a few obvious points such as the gap between courses and lack of heat in the vehicle, it went reasonably well considering it had never been done before. Apart from a longer cooking time than anticipated, due to overloading of the electricity supply, it proved what can be done when we are fully organised and better equipped.
Remember – help support our project “Eat, drink and be merry”.
Re-organisation Committee Report
We are still dealing with the Charity Commissioners who require more information than previously thought and so this is taking longer than expected, though there should be no problem in having the new Company set up by the Autumn. Meanwhile, the Re-organisation Committee (gang of four!) are working hard to ensure a smooth changeover when the time comes.
The management structure was agreed at the last committee meeting and consists of seven Director Offices covering the main area of the business – the sub-board structure being a matter for the Directors to determine later. The intention is for seven (of the possible maximum of ten) Directors to be elected to office concurrent with their election as Directors at the AGM. The offices are:
Chairman (usual duties and to ensure Directors pull in one direction – the one the members want).
General Manager (control, planning, budgeting of on-site work).
Engineering Manager (ensuring that the Railway meets the Inspector’s requirements).
Operations Manager (rue book, staff training, rostering and timetabling).
Commercial Manager (sales, catering, etc., planning of rallies).
Marketing Manager (marketing the Railway, including publicity and advertising, magazine and public relations).
Financial Manager (treasury, liquidity and cash-flow management, budgetary control system, VAT/Revenue).
Association of Railway Preservation Societies (ARPS) AGM25-1-1986
For the first time in over four years the Society sent a delegation to an ARPS meeting, this year’s AGM being held in London.
The only really useful part of the meeting was a talk by Major Olver of the Railway Inspectorate on various current problems facing the preservation movement, certain aspects of which were discussed in a private conversation between Major Olver and the CLR delegation (Steve Organ and Adrian Hall) after the meeting.
The need for agreement between railways and private owner stock was raised which is something the CLR will have to look at before we recommence train operations. The Annual ARPS Award was intended for BR for organising the Marylebone – Stratford dinner trains but as they are ineligible – not being members of ARPS you understand – the Award was given instead to the owners of the engines used on said trains. As the Award is supposedly for an outstanding contribution to the Railway Preservation movement, there were surely better qualified contenders such as the KWVR for the splendid restoration of the unique Haydock Foundry built ‘Bellerophon’;Bellerophon at Caverswall Road, Foxfield Railway
City of Truro at Hampton Loade
the SVR’s restoration of ‘City of Truro’; the North Norfolk’s Gresley buffet car; the Llangollen Railway’s extension to Berwyn, etc., (or even the CLR’s nine year restoration of ‘Asbestos’!).Berwyn Station on the Llangollen Railway – and the former Chasewater Wickham. Hondawanderer.com
The Best Preserved Station Award went to the SRPS for Boness Station. This is interesting in that it is not strictly a preserved station, being an amalgam of various Scottish station buildings brought in from other sites. Enquiries were made to see if Brownhills West would be eligible – apparently it would so we shall have to see what can be done in the future!! – Any (sensible) ideas are welcome!
Chasewater Transport Rally Report
Sunday October 13th not only brought a return to steam to the railway but also the largest event held since the last Transport Scene in June 1982. It was also one of the warmest days of the year! A total of 129 exhibits were in attendance, ranging from buses to stationary engines. As organiser of the event it was a great pleasure to realise that although we may have gone through bad times over the past three years we have certainly not lost our friends in the world of preserved vintage transport. Thinking back to the original Transport Scene organised by Andrew Louch in 1977 when we had about 70 exhibits over a summer weekend, who would have thought that an October day eight years later would see almost double the number of exhibits and sales stands with free admission and still enough money raised on sales stands, our own refreshment and miscellaneous sales to make a healthy profit.
Aside from the obvious thanks to all the exhibitors who attended and members who assisted on the day, I would like a special vote of thanks to be accorded to Angela, the two Sues and Tim – all non-members who were coerced into helping out in the Wickham buffet. It is fair to say that without their help profits would have been minimal as most of the profit came from refreshment sales. The day’s refreshment sales realised £165, by far the highest achieved in the Wickham in one day.
One spin-off from the event was our first major publicity in the railway press for years, with photos of the Sentinel and/or Asbestos appearing in ‘Steam Railway’, ‘Railway Magazine’ and ‘Railway World’. We were also featured in the Lichfield Mercury and shortly afterwards a photo of the ex-Walsall Gasworks Sentinel appeared in the Walsall Observer.
Chasewater Transport Extravaganza
Yes, another transport event is in the formative stages. A group of enthusiasts headed by our friend Peter Magee of Lichfield are hoping to organise a weekend event in the Park on May 17th – 18th. Admission will be free and they hope to cover costs by selling trade space and by means of donation. An enjoyable informal event is promised and will include guest appearances by up to half-a-dozen steam traction engines. Any profit made is being donated to the Chasewater Light Railway Society.
The unique 1957 built Wickham & Co Class 109 DMU (50416 & 56171) pulls away from Berwyn station on 26 June 2010 with the 16:50 Llangollen to Carrog service, during the Llangollen Railway’s Railcar Gala. The station occupies a very restricted site, next to the main Llangollen to Corwen road, and perched high above the River Dee.
Mention should be made here that Brian Hames has been forced to resign as General Manager due to McGregor’s decision to redeploy him at Point of Ayr, following the closure of West Cannock No.5. (Mr. McGregor was the Chairman of the National Coal Board at the time!). Grateful thanks are due to young Brian for services rendered and his successor is Tony Sale (formerly Assistant GM) and the new Assistant GM is Nigel Canning.
I’ve tried to remember the numbering system of the locos but failed – miserably. I have to keep going back through the mags to find them – enough is enough I say!!
The Hibberd diesel is still for sale at a very reasonable price.
Barclay 1223 – all the superstructure of the loco in undercoat, attention has reverted to the boiler and firebox. The front tube plate is being built up with weld whilst the eighteen stays that were unsuccessfully inserted in the firebox, as mentioned in the last issue, are in the process of being removed in an attempt to straighten the buckled walls of the inner firebox. The man says ‘this is in fact, proving quite easy’
The boiler inspector has been and wants a 9” square piece of the outer firebox to be cut out to investigate the extent of a small crack which has been welded over during a previous overhaul.
Brighter news about Asbestos, rapidly coming to the end of her prolonged overhaul with a return to steam being a matter of weeks rather than months away.
The new GM has been hard at work reassembling the boiler backhead fittings, all attached with new studs, whilst the Fat Controller has been making various bits and pieces which have needed replacement. The outside motion is being reassembled to find someone a job to keep him off the streets. During one of the Hairy Youths infrequent visits various pieces of the machine believed to be lost were rediscovered whilst several pieces believed to be ‘in the shed’ were not, so replacements will have to be made.
The Boiler inspector has been and performed an ultra-sonic test to his satisfaction and is returning for a steam test prior to Gricers’ day.
On Sentinel, the Fat Controller has busied himself making good various faults found during the January steam test, and has also painted the beast in an attractive black undercoat after much rust treatment and filling. A coat of gloss black is to be applied before Gricers’ day. The Boiler Inspector has been and carried out an ultra-sonic test and having been satisfied he will return for a steam test shortly. He has also decreed that the boiler needs to be split every five years, not every 14 months as previously feared.
The Controller has carried out his threat of giving the beast a pseudo British Railways identity and has constructed a jolly fine smokebox number plate No.59632.
As yet nobody has had the heart to tell him that vertical boilered Sentinels don’t have smoke boxes!Work on Peckett 917 proceeds as other commitments allow. The new cabside and the rest of the cab have received several coats of paint whilst the component parts of the new bunker await fitting. Several men have been seen struggling to excavate layers of fire brick out of the smokebox in order to expose the front tube plate to the eyes of the Boiler Inspector. Not a wise move as the tube plate appears to be somewhat bulged. Following further descaling work the Boiler Inspector will return to pass sentence.
The GM has made his first major decision which is that S100 is to be moved into the shed as soon as possible – a sign perhaps of old age creeping up on him? To speed this process up the loco will be re-wheeled as an 0-4-0 i.e. only two axles will be re-fitted out of doors, the third one will be done under cover. The owner is at present wrestling with the task of fitting and securing the new main bearings into the axle boxes.
The Other Gentleman made a start on removing the tubes from the Neilson as a mid-summer madness wager that if they were all gone by the end of July then a certain bearded person would purchase a new set! It is now the end of August and many tubes remain to be removed as those concerned are busy on ‘Asbestos’………Will the offer still hold……. Will the ancient Neilson steam again? ………………Who knows? …………Watch this space!Late note; yes the offer does still hold!
Coaching Stock News
In between making cups of tea, Mr. Bull and his crew have been busy repainting and varnishing the interiors of both the Wickham cars in preparation for Gricers’ Day. As ever, more help is needed as several panes of glass need replacing and seats and tables need to be secured to the floor, however, the work done so far is a definite improvement.
Still not happy bunnies! Nuff said!
Working on the precept that no news is good news it would seem that the Company is doing just fine.
Well informed sources indicate that the overdraft has virtually disappeared (along with several of the Directors!) but shouldn’t there be an AGM (or three) due?
An unusual piece to end with…
Steam Hauled Sunday Dinner
As an experiment a steam hauled ‘Sunday Dinner’ train will be run on Sunday, 17th November.
In conjunction with the Rob Duffill Catering Corps a steam hauled train will depart from Brownhills West and at the current end of the line a roast chicken dinner will be served in the Wickham Buffet aka ‘The Norton Nasher’. This is open to members only and is a trial run to see if such a service will be feasible when public services resume.
Would-be guinea pigs should contact Barry Bull as places are strictly limited to twenty. Remember only working members can travel on CLR trains until the Light Railway Order is granted
N.B. It is expected that all participants will be prepared to spend the rest of the afternoon working so come prepared!