Chasewater Railway Museum Feb. 1965 Bits & Pieces 26

From the ‘Mercian’ – Newsletter of the Midland Area of the

Railway Preservation Society

February 1965 Vol.4 No.1

 

Last Day on the Churnet Valley Line

 

By R. A. Reed

In 1849, a line from North Rode, near Macclesfield, to Uttoxeter was opened by the North Staffordshire Railway Company.  This was known as the Churnet Valley line and was over 27 miles long.  The section from North Rode to Leek was closed a few years ago and some of the track is now lifted.

On Saturday, January 2nd 1965, the remainder of the line from Leek to Uttoxeter was closed to passenger traffic.  The day was cold but bright and sunny, and, accompanied by the Hon. Editor and friend, we set off from Stoke to Uttoxeter.  As we booked our tickets, from Stoke to Leek via Uttoxeter, 9/- (45p) single, the ticket clerk jovially remarked that it would be ‘cheaper by bus from Hanley – 1/10d (9p) single!’  Probably, these tickets were the first to be issued by this very devious route.

When we arrived at Uttoxeter, we had over an hour to wait, so we went to the waiting room where we found two seats of the North Staffordshire Railway, engraved with NSR and the Staffordshire Knot.  These were in excellent condition and one would be suitable for preservation.Uttoxeter Pic: Wikipedia

It was not long before the train arrived; three non-corridor coaches headed by Standard Class 4, No.75035 of Stoke shed.  The driver was J. Dickson and the fireman was S. Tabinor.  This was the last passenger train from Uttoxeter to Leek.  We occupied the first compartment nearest the engine and waited until the booked departure time at 11.18am, but this was changed to 11.30am at the last minute.  By now the train was filling up, most of the passengers being railway enthusiasts equipped with cameras and tape recorders.

As 11.30 approached the last photographs were taken, and carriage doors closed.  The Guard waved his flag and we were off, amidst shrieking whistles from the engine, detonators on the track and thunderflashes thrown by an enthusiast.Rocester Station Pic & Info: Genuki, Staffs Pasttrack

shannieslittleworld.co.uk

Description: Rocester Train Station 1905. This station was completed in the early 1850s. The North Staffordshire Railway Company’s Churnet Valley line ran through this station taking passengers to Leek and Macclesfield. Another service took passengers to Ashbourne and Buxton. The Ashbourne line closed to passengers in 1954, and regular passenger trains on the Churnet Valley line in 1960.

This picture shows signs on the platform for the Porter’s Room, Gentleman’s First Class Waiting Room, and a Ladies Waiting Room. There are also milk churns on the platform, awaiting collection .

All along the line people were waving as we passed, and the driver acknowledged this by long blasts on the whistle.  Soon we were speeding along and fast approaching the first stop, Rocester.  Here the train was well photographed and after a few minutes we set off again but only as far as the crossover, where we reversed onto the other track and back into the station.  A pilotman then boarded the locomotive and after much waving of green flags by hand-signalmen we finally set off, running on the ‘wrong’ line from here.Site of Denstone Station: Linda Bailey

We had a fast run to Denstone, the next stop, and again there were many spectators, and as we left the station, more firecrackers were thrown.  The section of the line from here to Alton is particularly beautiful and it is surprising that the line would not pay in the summer months.Alton Station: Humphrey Bolton

The next station was Alton, where we crossed back to the down line.  It was extremely tidy and well-kept and typical of NSR design.  The run from Alton to Oakamoor is continuous up-grade and the sound of the engine was music to the ears.  When we arrived at Oakamoor the platforms were quite crowded and many photographs were taken.  Just as we left, the last train from Leek to Uttoxeter passed, headed by a Stanier Class 4 (2-6-4T), and then we plunged into a short tunnel.Oakamoor Station: Rail37.com

Then on to Froghall, which is in an industrial area, but the factories between Leek and Oakamoor will not lose their rail connection.  This section of the line is to be kept open for freight and worked on the ’one engine in steam’ principle.Kingsley & Froghall Station: John ProctorConsall Station: Black Widow Productions

After leaving Froghall, we were soon in the beautiful country surrounding Consall.  This village has no public road to it and ‘outsiders’ cannot get in by car, therefore the railway was the only link (unless one prefers a long walk).Cheddleton Station: John Webber

We quickly arrived at Cheddleton, where most of the passengers left the train to take photographs, and the train waited until they were sure that everyone had finished and boarded the train.Leek Brook Station, Churnet Valley Platform: Wikipedia

The journey was almost over, and as we emerged from a short tunnel we could see Leek in the distance.  When we drew into the station, the engine rapidly uncoupled and ran round the train to haul the stock from the station.  As we left, the station was locked up – the last train had gone.

 

What a Comeback!  Churnet Valley Railway – 2010 version.Pic: Black Widow Productions

The first passenger services outside the confines of Cheddleton yard began on August 24th 1996, this being a “push and pull” operation of a little over a mile between Cheddleton and Leek Brook Junction, the latter being the junction with the mothballed Railtrack line between Stoke on Trent and Caldon Quarry. Trains were initially operated by hired-in “Jinty” tank loco 47383, this and resident 4F 44422 being the mainstays of the service for the first season’s operations. Although only a short run, this operation proved to be an ideal training ground for the railway’s staff, and got everyone used to operating outside the goods yard.

Saturday 11th July 1998 saw the first southward extension of the railway, when the section between Cheddleton and Consall was reopened for passenger traffic. This brought the railway’s operational length to approximately 3 1/4 miles. The next extension, to Kingsley and Froghall, opened to traffic on 11th August 2001, giving an operational length of approximately 5 1/2 miles.Pic: Black Widow Productions

Chasewater Railway Museum – More Early Stuff

Chasewater Railway Museum 

More Early Stuff

From the RPS Newsletter Oct 1960 Vol 2 No.1

From the General Secretary’s Page

Following a proposal from the Middleton RPS that they would form part of the national organisation envisaged by the RPS, a plan was drawn up outlining an organisation of autonomous groups, each covering a heavily populated area and taking over all responsibility for voluntary preservation in their area.  The national level of the organisation would transact such matters as were more effectively handled on a country-wide basis and would provide a common pool of information for all groups to draw on.  This was expected to be the most important subject at the AGM on October 22nd 1960.

The District Report

West Midlands

The next item to be moved into Hednesford depot will be a LNWR travelling post office van built in 1909.  This carriage keeps most of its original fittings, though the ‘pick-up and drop’ apparatus has been removed at some time and a plain panel used to cover the resulting gap.  This is not only a fine relic in itself, but will give covered space for display of historic relics.  The British Transport Commission preserves a replica of the original TPO on the London and Birmingham Railway which was built by LMS.  Now we have preserved an example of the type used during the early years of the 20th century.

D. Ives Collection

Requirements of the post office were standard for all types of TPO and the appearance of these vehicles only varied with the roof contour and panelling details of the companies who operated them.  A very high proportion of pre-grouping types have remained in service until recently when British Railways put in hand the building of complete new trains.  An interesting survival was reported a few years ago in the model railway press.  This was a six-wheeler TPO of the GNWR stripped and used as a tool van on a break-down train.

Late Extra

 

Progress on Great Eastern Coach

 

West Midland District

Ray Hallworth

Despite rather thin attendance at working parties, progress of restoration work on the recently acquired Great Eastern coach has been very satisfactory.  It is hoped that the interior will eventually form the first railway museum in the West Midland District.  A temporary exhibition will be staged there for our annual meeting on October 22nd.

Inside walls have been scraped and have received a generous coat of priming paint.  Most of the woodwork has been repaired.  The small brake compartment at the end of the coach has been converted into a tool store.

Improvements are slowly but surely being made to the exterior, one side and end facing the main Hednesford – Cannock line having been completely stripped of paint.  Over half of this has been primed.  Quite o lot of the panelling had to be replaced, particularly at one of the corners where to our dismay, we found that not only had the panels gone rotten, but also the framework.  Fortunately this has now been repaired and new panels fitted.

Work has not yet begun on restoring the Maryport & Carlisle coach, and it may have to be next spring before a start is made.  Continual appeals are still being made for more members to come and lend a hand, especially the more local people.  Working parties are held every Saturday from 3.00pm to 6.00pm and on Sundays from 2.30pm to 6.00pm.

Visit to Oakamoor Station

 

Twenty-four members and friends of the WMD visited Oakamoor Station on the ex-North Staffordshire line in the Churnet Valley on June 18th.Rail37.com  Churnet Valley Railway Oakamoor Station

The Stationmaster, Mr. Lister, took members on a conducted tour of the station buildings and adjacent copper works sidings.  Much interest was shown in an ex-NSR battery electric locomotive, a relic of prime importance, being built at Stoke works in 1916.  Still in excellent working condition and used for shunting work in the siding, Mr. Lister demonstrated the vehicle by giving members a short trip up and down.Rail37.com Oakamoor Station –  same view as previous.

Returning to the station, members were shown several items of interest including an old print of Oakamoor station in North Stafford days, and two lovely old NS office chairs with the Staffordshire Knot carved on each back-rest.  Each member of the party was presented with a sealing wax impression of the NS Railway Oakamoor seal.

Above: The delightful crossing keeper’s house at Oakamoor, just south of Oakamoor Tunnel, which can be seen in the background. This building looks as if it is another of Pugin’s designs, but we have been unable to confirm this. Oakamoor station was situated a short distance behind the photographer and was the next stop north of Alton. 10 November 2007. (Bob Prigg)

Finally members went by train to Alton Towers, a local beauty spot – not without noticing the magnificent NSR stove at Alton station.

Above: This is Alton station in Staffordshire, which was renamed Alton Towers in 1954 – only to close ten years later. (Surely the line might still be busy with a modern theme park en route?) The station was designed by Augustus Pugin (1812-1852), an English architect of the Gothic revival who is better known for his church designs and his work on the interior of the Houses of Parliament. However, Pugin did accept some more modest commissions, including this one for the North Staffordshire Railway, and the railway cottages at Windermere, Cumbria. Alton station is now owned by The Landmark Trust and can be rented for self-catering holidays. The trackbed is used as a railway path linking Oakamoor to the north and Denstone to the south. 10 November 2007. (Bob Prigg)

Chasewater Railway Museum – Bits and Pieces No.3

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.3

These posts are taken from old publications, newssheets and magazines produced by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands Division). Chasewater Light Railway Society and Chasewater Light Railway and Museum.

This post is taken from the earliest newsletter found so far amongst the ‘Duplicate Magazine ‘ file.

I reproduced the first part just to show that our aims haven’t really changed in the last 50 years.

Taken from the Railway Preservation Society Newsletter, Feb 1961

What is our eventual aim?

It is obvious that we want to run a railway.  But what sort of railway is this to be?   What picture do we want to give to the general public?  We could push together a train, grab a piece of line and say this is a preserved railway.  But will it mean anything to the general public?

Each district will, inevitably, form its own collection of smaller relics which eventually we hope to show to the public in exchange for money.  As a railway enthusiast, a mass of cast iron plates, old faded photographs, tattered maps, dog-eared tickets and general bric-a-brac fascinates me and I can spend hours contemplating such a collection, but I would strongly suspect this would leave the general public with a feeling of mental indigestion and a fixed idea that railway enthusiasts are really mad.

Any preserved railway depends on the general public for the main part of its traffic.  We must study their interests and make sure that we attract them back and their friends to which they have passed a recommendation.  It must not be an overcrowded museum, but a ‘vintage railway’ — a living example of how the railways were run, laid out so the general public can see it tick.  The steam engine is to us a balanced collection of boiler, firebox, cylinders, pistons, crossheads, etc.  But to the ordinary man-in-the-street it is largely a mystery.  Our exhibits must be self-explanatory.  We must try to explain why the railways grew into such a complex system of competitive lines with so many odd connections.

I am not suggesting that we forget the railway enthusiast.  I am asking that we consider the picture we are presenting to the general public.  These points are not immediately applicable, but we should give consideration to them and encourage the artists and architects amongst us to sketch out their ideas on this basis.

Arrival at Hednesford of our T.P.O

January 11th (1960) was a red letter day for members of the West Midlands District when a 27 ton 1909 Royal Mail coach, purchased by us for £200, rolled into our Hednesford depot.

Sold by British Railways the 50 foot bogey coach, complete with letter pigeon holes and half-penny stamp post-box – as good as new – it has joined our other two museum passenger coaches, an 1895 Great Eastern Railway brake vehicle and an 1875 Maryport & Carlisle Railway coach.

The mail coach travelled up from Verney, near Wolverton in Buckinghamshire, and celebrated its historic run by charging up the batteries to give full lighting inside.  It was shunted into the depot sidings by an NCB tank engine.

Unlike the other two vehicles, the T.P.O. is too high to be placed under cover in our vehicle shed, but members are planning to lower the track to enable it to enter.

Final Passenger Train on the Churnet Valley Line

Frank Harvey

Twenty R.P.S. members were among the passengers to travel on the last train from Macclesfield to Uttoxeter by the Churnet Valley line of the ex-North Staffordshire Railway on November 5th (1960).

Some of our members had departed from Macclesfield early in the afternoon in order to break the journey at Oakamoor and again make the acquaintance of the station master, Mr. Lister.

Macclesfield was reached early enough for members to have a look round the town before returning to catch the last train.  Several relics were noted at Macclesfield (Hibel Road) station, including a NSR/LNWR boundary post.

Bellringers

The train left on time at 8.35pm behind Stanier 2-6-4T No. 42670.  The coaches were quite full, two of the enthusiastic passengers ringing handbells loudly for most of the journey.

A few people had gathered at nearly every station to watch the train depart, and at 9.48pm the train arrived at its final destination, Uttoxeter.  It marked the last moments of a regular passenger service on the Churnet Valley line for 110 years.

 

The  present Churnet Valley Railway is a volunteer-run organisation. The operating company, the Churnet Valley Railway (1992) plc, is supported by the North Staffordshire Railway Co (1978) Ltd., a Charitable Trust.

Activities recorded on film

BBC television news cameras have filmed activities at our Hednesford depot on two occasions in recent weeks.  Both items were shown on ‘Midland News’ and have done much to foster interest in the Society.

On the occasion of the first visit, members were shown at work on the restoration of the Great Eastern Railway coach.  Several of our relics, housed in the coach, were also shown.

The cameras were again at the depot on January 11th 1960 to record the arrival of the T.P.O. Several newspaper representatives also visited us for this event, a very full report of the work, profusely illustrated with photographs, appearing in the ‘Cannock Courier’

The Coalport Branch Line

 

Notes by D. Noel Draycott

This was one of three lines under consideration when looking for a permanent home for the railway.

On Sunday, October 23rd 1960, a small party consisting of David Ives, James Slater, T. Jones, Frank Harvey and myself visited the Coalport to Hadley line in North Shropshire.  Built by the London & North Western Railway, it runs from the very attractive Vale of Severn across high land and through an early centre of the iron and steel industry to a junction on the Wellington to Stafford line.

The branch had a terminus at Coalport Station which stands on a long shelf, part cut out and part built up on the steep bank of the Severn.  The station buildings comprise a booking office, general and ladies waiting rooms, backing on to the station master’s house.  The signal box was demolished and a ground frame installed shortly before services were withdrawn in 1952.  The goods shed has also been demolished, but the three short sidings remain in the yard.

Further along the shelf past the station, there is a carriage shed sufficient for four bogie carriages, and an engine shed for two locomotives.  These buildings are in fair condition, and the engine shed contains a large workshop space as well as a pit.  All these buildings back on to the hillside, and on the opposite side there is a pleasant stretch of wooded land before it falls steeply away to the river which forms the boundary of the railway property.

The line rises steeply from Coalport Station with attractive views across and up the Severn Valley before it turns away to cross pleasant rolling countryside to the small town of Madeley.  Here the station building is used as an office by an engineering firm, but the yard of some half dozen sidings is practically disused.

The line then continues to Dawley and Stirchley Station where a total of some 15 wagons of coal showed that an active coal merchant used the yard.  As dusk was falling, the tour of inspection finished at this point.  All the members of the party were impressed by the potentialities of the line for day trippers.

Before we left the area, we were fortunate to meet a resident interested in the line who presented the R.P.S. with smaller relics. These included an LMS inkwell, labels and official books.  We were very pleased to receive these on behalf of the W.M.D.’s collection of local relics.

Chasewater Railway Museum – Bits and Pieces No.3

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.3

First posted  on 29-1-2010

This post is taken from the earliest newsletter found so far amongst the ‘Duplicate Magazine ‘ file.

I reproduced the first part just to show that our aims haven’t really changed in the last 50 years.

Taken from the Railway Preservation Society Newsletter, Feb 1961

What is our eventual aim?

It is obvious that we want to run a railway.  But what sort of railway is this to be?   What picture do we want to give to the general public?  We could push together a train, grab a piece of line and say this is a preserved railway.  But will it mean anything to the general public?

Each district will, inevitably, form its own collection of smaller relics which eventually we hope to show to the public in exchange for money.  As a railway enthusiast, a mass of cast iron plates, old faded photographs, tattered maps, dog-eared tickets and general bric-a-brac fascinates me and I can spend hours contemplating such a collection, but I would strongly suspect this would leave the general public with a feeling of mental indigestion and a fixed idea that railway enthusiasts are really mad.

Any preserved railway depends on the general public for the main part of its traffic.  We must study their interests and make sure that we attract them back and their friends to which they have passed a recommendation.  It must not be an overcrowded museum, but a ‘vintage railway’ — a living example of how the railways were run, laid out so the general public can see it tick.  The steam engine is to us a balanced collection of boiler, firebox, cylinders, pistons, crossheads, etc.  But to the ordinary man-in-the-street it is largely a mystery.  Our exhibits must be self-explanatory.  We must try to explain why the railways grew into such a complex system of competitive lines with so many odd connections.

I am not suggesting that we forget the railway enthusiast.  I am asking that we consider the picture we are presenting to the general public.  These points are not immediately applicable, but we should give consideration to them and encourage the artists and architects amongst us to sketch out their ideas on this basis.

Arrival at Hednesford of our T.P.O


This picture was taken from what is now the footpath round the back of Hednesford Park.  The building which the carriage is going into still exists but the walls and frontage have been bricked up.

January 11th (1960) was a red letter day for members of the West Midlands District when a 27 ton 1909 Royal Mail coach, purchased by us for £200, rolled into our Hednesford depot.

Sold by British Railways the 50 foot bogey coach, complete with letter pigeon holes and half-penny stamp post-box – as good as new – it has joined our other two museum passenger coaches, an 1895 Great Eastern Railway brake vehicle and an 1875 Maryport & Carlisle Railway coach.

The mail coach travelled up from Verney, near Wolverton in Buckinghamshire, and celebrated its historic run by charging up the batteries to give full lighting inside.  It was shunted into the depot sidings by an NCB tank engine.

Unlike the other two vehicles, the T.P.O. is too high to be placed under cover in our vehicle shed, but members are planning to lower the track to enable it to enter.

Final Passenger Train on the Churnet Valley Line

Frank Harvey

Twenty R.P.S. members were among the passengers to travel on the last train from Macclesfield to Uttoxeter by the Churnet Valley line of the ex-North Staffordshire Railway on November 5th (1960).

Some of our members had departed from Macclesfield early in the afternoon in order to break the journey at Oakamoor and again make the acquaintance of the station master, Mr. Lister.

Macclesfield was reached early enough for members to have a look round the town before returning to catch the last train.  Several relics were noted at Macclesfield (Hibel Road) station, including a NSR/LNWR boundary post.

Bellringers

The train left on time at 8.35pm behind Stanier 2-6-4T No. 42670.  The coaches were quite full, two of the enthusiastic passengers ringing handbells loudly for most of the journey.

A few people had gathered at nearly every station to watch the train depart, and at 9.48pm the train arrived at its final destination, Uttoxeter.  It marked the last moments of a regular passenger service on the Churnet Valley line for 110 years.

The  present Churnet Valley Railway is a volunteer-run organisation. The operating company, the Churnet Valley Railway (1992) plc, is supported by the North Staffordshire Railway Co (1978) Ltd., a Charitable Trust.

Activities recorded on film

BBC television news cameras have filmed activities at our Hednesford depot on two occasions in recent weeks.  Both items were shown on ‘Midland News’ and have done much to foster interest in the Society.

On the occasion of the first visit, members were shown at work on the restoration of the Great Eastern Railway coach.  Several of our relics, housed in the coach, were also shown.

The cameras were again at the depot on January 11th 1960 to record the arrival of the T.P.O. Several newspaper representatives also visited us for this event, a very full report of the work, profusely illustrated with photographs, appearing in the ‘Cannock Courier’

The Coalport Branch Line

Notes by D. Noel Draycott

This was one of three lines under consideration when looking for a permanent home for the railway.

On Sunday, October 23rd 1960, a small party consisting of David Ives, James Slater, T. Jones, Frank Harvey and myself visited the Coalport to Hadley line in North Shropshire.  Built by the London & North Western Railway, it runs from the very attractive Vale of Severn across high land and through an early centre of the iron and steel industry to a junction on the Wellington to Stafford line.

The branch had a terminus at Coalport Station which stands on a long shelf, part cut out and part built up on the steep bank of the Severn.  The station buildings comprise a booking office, general and ladies waiting rooms, backing on to the station master’s house.  The signal box was demolished and a ground frame installed shortly before services were withdrawn in 1952.  The goods shed has also been demolished, but the three short sidings remain in the yard.

Further along the shelf past the station, there is a carriage shed sufficient for four bogie carriages, and an engine shed for two locomotives.  These buildings are in fair condition, and the engine shed contains a large workshop space as well as a pit.  All these buildings back on to the hillside, and on the opposite side there is a pleasant stretch of wooded land before it falls steeply away to the river which forms the boundary of the railway property.

The line rises steeply from Coalport Station with attractive views across and up the Severn Valley before it turns away to cross pleasant rolling countryside to the small town of Madeley.  Here the station building is used as an office by an engineering firm, but the yard of some half dozen sidings is practically disused.

The line then continues to Dawley and Stirchley Station where a total of some 15 wagons of coal showed that an active coal merchant used the yard.  As dusk was falling, the tour of inspection finished at this point.  All the members of the party were impressed by the potentialities of the line for day trippers.

Before we left the area, we were fortunate to meet a resident interested in the line who presented the R.P.S. with smaller relics. These included an LMS inkwell, labels and official books.  We were very pleased to receive these on behalf of the W.M.D.’s collection of local relics.

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