88 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
Chasewater News No.25 – November 1978 – 1
This Newsletter is somewhat late but is somewhat lengthy, reflecting the great progress being made these days at Chasewater. Unfortunately to progress one has to be somewhat ruthless and differences of opinion result in some people opting out of active roles and it is extremely unfortunate that several people have resigned this year as the railway is, after all, primarily a leisure activity (though I’m beginning to wonder!) but that’s life, I suppose.
However, the end of 1978 finds the Society in perhaps its strongest position ever, especially with regard to finance. The money for the line is at present in the building society, earning interest, as the sale of the land and track to Walsall Council has been held up by technicalities, again, purchase not being likely until the New Year.
1979 promises to be a year of great strides forward, especially with the STEPS scheme and the realisation of re-opening the railway, if all goes to plan.
The Committee and the Board are all firmly convinced that the Chasewater Light Railway has got great potential and the past two years, and the resultant changes, have been essential to enable that potential to be tapped. There is now a greater degree of professionalism about the railway which is essential as the railway expands – you cannot ’play trains’ on two miles of standard gauge railway. Despite all these changes the railway is still great fun and the active members amongst us derive a great deal of pleasure from it and that alone justifies its continued existence. I am sure that the amount of fun will increase along with the size of the railway.
Dave IvesIt was with a good deal of sadness that Dave Ives stepped down as President of the Society at the recent Annual General Meeting.
Dave was present at the inaugural meeting of the Railway Preservation Society at the Station Hotel, Stafford, in October 1959 and holds membership number 2.
He was Secretary of the Society from 1959 till 1968 and has been on the Committee until his recent resignation.
In recent years he has been in disagreement with certain policies, notably the sale of the ‘E1’, which others have seen as being essential to the continued progress of the railway. I personally feel that this is in part due to a change in emphasis on the railway – away from the original static museum concept and towards a fully operational Light Railway.
Having only been in the Society since 1972, I scarcely feel qualified to comment on Dave’s contribution to the Society and to the preservation movement as a whole. Perhaps it is sufficient to say that the Chasewater Light Railway is testimony to the belief of those people present at Stafford in 1959 that Standard Gauge railway preservation was possible and that ‘the man in the street’ could play an active role – provided he had the necessary enthusiasm.
Dave’s presence at Committee meetings and Board meetings will be missed and I am sure that everyone involved with the railway wishes him the best of health in his ‘retirement’ from the preservation movement.
News from the Line
The past months have seen a series of comings and goings with a vast amount of work getting done in the meantime.
On Friday August 4th the Peckett locomotive from Albright & Wilson Ltd. was moved from Oldbury to the railway, transported by Messrs. Brackmills of Northampton who handled the move with their customary efficiency. This was the start of a somewhat hectic weekend as the next day we moved the ex Mersey Docks and Harbour Board Crane from Victoria Docks (South Side) Birkenhead to Chasewater. This was a somewhat tricky operation as there was a good 25 feet of the jib overhanging the rear of the low-loader, which caused one or two motorists anxious moments, especially the idiotic ones who tried to drive underneath the jib. However the move was completed successfully and the next day the crane was put through its paces, lifting the side tanks off S100.
The crane was built by Messrs. Smith and Rodley of Leeds in 1947 as a vertical boilered steam crane. In 1968 it was completely rebuilt with a new Perkins diesel engine fitted with a torque converter. The crane is self-propelled, weighs 24 tons, has a jib 45 feet long and has a maximum lift of five tons. It has already proved its worth and by the end of the year it will have paid for itself by the amount of work it is performing at present. Needless to say it is in excellent condition and has been little used since 1968.
Thanks are due to Mr. J.C.James for spotting the crane and to Messrs. John Moores Lid. of Hixon for the transport.
Monday 11th September saw the departure of the ‘E1’ locomotive to Cranmore. The move was quite involved and beset by difficulties.At Chasewater ‘Alfred Paget’ was in steam to push the loco onto the low-loader, which was achieved after much effort. On the journey down the low-loader was subject to a blowout which caused much delay, the loco being offloaded at 10.30 pm, assisted by Cranmore’s Dubs crane tank locomotive.
The locomotive was unloaded in a neighbouring field and temporary track was laid to the loco shed as their site is somewhat restricted and British Rail would not allow the loco over their lines.
The Lord Fisher Loco Group plan to start work on the loco soon and it will be turned out as BR No.32110 which will no doubt shock many purists, but this is the number the loco would have carried had it lasted into British Rail ownership.
Saturday 28th October saw the arrival of a box van body from Cashmore’s Ltd. of Great Bridge. During the winter the body will be turned out as a waiting room cum refreshment room and it is at present situated on the platform. Thanks are due to Bassett Roadways of Tittensor for the transport of the van body.