Tag Archives: Hednesford

99 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Late 1983

99 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Late 1983

Editorial: Several things have happened, but little has changed.

Several significant things have happened at Chasewater since the last magazine was printed and these will be detailed in the next few pages.

Little has changed because we are still short of manpower and cash, of these two shortages surely the lack of manpower must be the more inexcusable.  On one Sunday this summer there were only two members at Chasewater and I make no apology for the fact that we spent the day working in the shed whilst the public looked through the locked gates of Brownhills West Station.  Fifty per cent of those people must have thought that it was a railway scrapyard and the other fifty per cent, who knew better, probably thought that we had closed down for good!

If we are very lucky, sometime next year, we may have a railway which is once again fit to run passenger trains on and probably a couple of locos and coaches in useable condition, but will we have the people to run them?

Nigel Canning – Operating Superintendent

 Locomotives

Asbestos – The six missing firebox stays have been riveted into place and the boiler will shortly be hydraulically tested.  If this is successful the loco can be reassembled, steam tested and the newly installed vacuum brake equipment tested.

Sentinel heading past the old rear of the loco shed in 1992

 Sentinel – The Boiler Inspector will carry out a visual examination on the boiler and superheater of this loco when Asbestos is hydraulically tested.  Work will then continue until completed.  A trial will have to be carried out to see if this loco is capable of successfully operating passenger trains before any though is given to fitting vacuum brake equipment.

 S-100 – Tony has been making use of the summer weather to paint various parts of this loco whilst trying in vain to find somewhere to have its wheels turned.

 DL7 – This loco continues in fairly regular use and is to be repainted with a bogus BR ‘D’ number.  However, one or two points should be remembered:

  • If it is to be used on passenger trains again it will have to be vacuum brake fitted.
  • The brake and starting air tanks will, under new regulations, shortly to be introduced, require to be insured and regularly tested.

 Small Peckett – Albright & Wilson, the Company from whom this loco is on loan, have recently offered to help pay for a replacement saddle tank.  The tank has been measured and drawn so that quotes can be sought for both a complete assembled tank and for a rolled plates do-it-ourselves kit.

28 Presentation plaque Peckett 917 Unknown R5.B1.S3

 No.21 – This loco is still operational if tow-started and has been used on occasion to move items of stock into sidings to pass DL7 in the absence of a run round loop.  A complete engine rebuild is probably necessary to enable it to be started from the battery.

Carriages & WagonsWickham Class 109 at Llangollen Station. Photographed during the Llangollen Railcar Gala weekend, 16-17 July 2005.  

Wickham Motor car 50416 – Throughout the summer this vehicle has been in use as a station buffet.  A considerable amount of work has been carried out including enlargement of the kitchen hatch, removal of one of the internal bulkheads and screwing down of tables.  A start has now been made on completely replacing the guttering so that the coach can be repainted before next year.

Wickham Trailer 56171 – Progress has also been made with this vehicle with the fitting of seats from a Cravens DMU and the removal of rain guttering.

Gloucester Trailer 56301 – No work has been carried out on this vehicle although it will require a repaint and clean up before re-entering service.

http://postalheritage.org.uk/collections/museum/transport/mailbyrail

TPO 30244 – Following the offer from Tyseley Museum this vehicle was sold for £1,000 and left Chasewater on September 8th.  It is reputed to have twisted one of its bogie frames when one corner broke through the floorboards due to being stood on uneven ground during loading.

 Six-Wheeled Coaches – One new end has been fitted to the M & C Coach and replacement luggage rack netting is being fitted to the MS & L.

 Loco Shed

The only work carried out in this building during the summer has been the painting of ‘Asbestos’.  A three phase cable has been obtained so that during the winter the workshop can be wired up and used.

 Taskforce & Trackwork

During the summer all of the plain track from Brownhills West to Norton East has been relayed with concrete sleepers and work has started on installing a new siding between the station and the shed.  Run round loops at both ends still remain to be installed plus level crossing gates and fencing.

Brownhills West station platform has remained half demolished throughout the summer awaiting funds for rebuilding.  A grant of £15,000 due in September never materialised and we await a possible grant of £5,000 to be applied for in November.

Some form of sleeper built platform may also be constructed at Norton East if funds and manpower permit.

At the present state of progress it will be touch and go whether the railway will be running next year.

Vandalism

Since the last magazine was published the following instances of vandalism have occurred:

1.    Half drum of steam oil drained onto floor.

2.    Two large coach windows smashed.

3.    Three small coach windows smashed.

4.    Paint poured into Gloucester trailer heater fuel tank.

5.    Fence cut at least once a week.

 Museum Notes

The arrival of the LNWR 50 foot passenger brake in its own platform in time for Easter has given a much easier access to the vehicle for old and young alike.

Various item have been acquired this year, some have come by way of donation – others have actually cost money although usually as part of a deal where other items have been acquired to offset the cost.

Relics, mainly paperwork previously kept in the TPO had to be removed in some haste following the decision to sell the vehicle to the Birmingham Railway Museum.  Much of what had been kept in the TPO had suffered from the damp conditions that had prevailed in that vehicle for many years following problems with the roof.  Most of the old GWR drawings obtained by Mike Lewis many years ago were still in a reasonable condition but some of the larger ledgers and books were virtually no more than mould and were consigned to the bonfire.

Despite what has been happening to the station area (demolition and not much else!) things have ticked over quite nicely in the museum.  Obviously fewer visitors without steaming but with more time to listen to comments from visitors it makes one realise how much importance our collection of small relics is to the Railway.  Whatever 1984 brings you can be assured that the museum will be open whatever happens outside.

Chasewater Railway – one for the older members

 

Photo by Val Daft

A photo for the older members, and maybe a history lesson for the younger ones.

Do you recognise the building in the photograph?

It is, or was, the Queens Arms in Hednesford, now, in 2021, undergoing considerable changes.

Notice the houses where the car park used to be.

After a hard day’s work at the Railway Preservation Society’s Hednesford Headquarters, members would retire to the Queens Arms for a swift ‘alf and to get the result of the Weekly Tote – a major source of income at the time.

It was the first of a number of pubs used by members, there was the Pear Tree, now demolished, off the Brownhills Road, and when I first started in 2002, the Prince of Wales on the A5 was frequented.

1054 at Hednesford
TPO at Hednesford
As it was – photo by Mick Malpass

Chasewater Railway’s 2021 Coal Train Day.

Just a few video clips and stills from a short visit to this excellent event.

98 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Summer 1983

98 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Summer 1983

 Editorial – Chasewater in Crisis

On behalf of the Society I must apologise for the long gap between this and the last magazine due to a long list of reasons.  There has just not been either the time or the money to expend on such a publication.

At present our membership wavers around the 100 mark, of which around 10% manage to visit regularly.  It seems unfortunate that each week we rely on the same members attending to the Railway’s needs, without the active support of the other 90%.  It is little wonder that the veterans are fast becoming despondent with the work load being foisted on them.

Unless there is a significant change in the attitude of our membership, one of two things will happen:  either the Railway stock will have to be drastically pruned to the minimum required to run a service, or we shut the doors and sell the lot.

I beg more of you to attend, if only on an occasional basis.  It always seems strange to me how many of you can attend the AGM and that’s the last we see of you for twelve months.

Tony Sale – Assistant General Manager.

Locomotives

Asbestos – This engine has now been in the process of restoration for about five years, due mainly to shortage of manpower.  The frames and wheels have been re-assembled, the boiler tubed and the tank and cab are being repainted.  Now we have to complete the boiler repairs and drop it into the frames and one day we may have a working engine.

Invicta – This engine is now in store pending the fitting of vacuum brake gear and the overhaul of the main bearing brasses.  Work is hoped to commence on completion of Asbestos.

Sentinel taking water at our old HQ

Sentinel – The boiler was split to reveal the inner firebox for the boiler inspector but work has now been shelved in order to concentrate work on Asbestos.Ruston & Hornsby DL7 entering the old Brownhills West Station

DL7 – The mainstay of our shunting force has performed reasonably well over the last two years and it holds the distinction of being our only regularly working engine.  This diesel locomotive is subject to an appeal to maintain its presence at Chasewater, which you may or may not like to subscribe to.

S100 – If I didn’t have to assist running the Railway I might find more time to devote to this rather large jigsaw puzzle, but despite all, progress is still being made, weather permitting, you would be amazed how much one person can achieve by himself, so if someone would like to assist, twice as much could be accomplished.

All other locomotives are stored unserviceable for the foreseeable future, including the Neilson, which requires new tubes.  It can only be hoped that decay can be kept to a minimum to ensure resurrection in years to come.

Carriages and Wagons

Here I hoped to bring glad tidings, but unfortunately the only news is that the MSLR carriage is still in the shed and has been largely untouched due to the fact that there are no carpenters in our midst.  The only other news is that a few more doors have dropped off the Maryport & Carlisle coach and the rest are generally suffering from many years of neglect.

The other snippet is that the Midland Crane had to be dismantled in order to stop it falling apart over the rails.What about it lads – who still cares?

Another late snippet is that someone wants to buy the TPO.  Your Committee is in favour and I myself fully support them, but the choice is yours, so make it known fast, it will be no good grumbling after it has left.

Catering

As many of you know, much of the money needed to support the Railway is generated in the form of sales of soft drinks and chocolates.  Recently the Wickham DMU was acquired in order to branch out further into the prepared food department, all we need is one interested member prepared to buy, prepare and sell.  If anyone would come to volunteer we would be only too happy to assist in any way, as well as supplying a warehouse card which could also be used for their own benefit.

Shed News

The new loco shed has certainly proved to be one of the most important developments at Chasewater.  Not only does it supply ideal conditions for thorough restoration, it also allows work to continue after dark.  Although this building has been with us for over a year there are still improvements to be made, i.e. fitting of three phase electric cables within the building and also fitting of a compressed air circuit.  Once the former has been completed, all our machinery can be powered and the shed can be said to be fully operational.Taken from DL7, approaching the loco shed from the same direction as we do now – obviously before the changes!

Task Force Notes

A new task force was supplied together with finance and a new Manager, to commence work on the track layout.  After last season the Railway lost its powers of running the line until such times as the whole of the permanent way was relaid in order to comply with the Railway Inspectorate’s standards.

In short, the platform front has been demolished to supply the necessary clearance, (rebuilding is now underway) and a run round loop is being built in the vicinity of the compound.  Next the line will be lifted and replaced with better quality materials down to the old exchange sidings where another run round loop will be constructed.  Upon completion a further visit by the Railway Inspectorate will then be made, and hopefully we shall run again.  I can only say that I hope all goes well for the Task Force and both luck and weather is on their sides.

 On behalf of the Company I have been asked by our Chairman to include the following appeal.

Save DL7 for Chasewater

The Company needs money to service a large overdraft and whilst the Railway is not running, little money is being repaid and understandably the Bank Manager is a little distressed.

 If you would like to give some money to this appeal, you will be helping DL7 because if the Company is declared bankrupt, DL7 will certainly be seized as an asset.  If the engine belongs to the membership it is safe along with the rest of the Society’s collection from the grips of the Liquidators

If you cannot afford a share, buy one together with some friends – you may buy as many as you like.

Shares are available in multiples of £10.00.

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Chasewater Railway Museum – September 2021 Newsletter

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Chasewater Railway Museum – July 2021 Newsletter

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.95

95 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

21st Anniversary Edition – 2

Twenty one not out

Ian Patterson

Hednesford Depot (The wagons in the background are on the line to Cannock Wood pit, now a footpath. The building still stands, the sides bricked up and the doorway filled in. 2021)

The history of the Chasewater Light Railway goes back to a meeting called at the Station Hotel, Stafford on October 10th, 1959.  This meeting led to the formation of the West Midlands District of the Railway Preservation Society, whose aim was to set up regional depots around the country where railway relics could be collected, restored and eventually returned to their native area.

1054 at Hednesford

The first West Midlands Division was set up at Hednesford, Staffs. in a siding belonging to Penkridge Engineering Limited, and was in fact the 3rd Standard Gauge Preservation Society.The first items of stock acquired were the Maryport and Carlisle and Great Eastern coaches from the National Coal Board, Rawnsley.  The siding at Hednesford was partially covered and so in 1962 the ex London & North Western Railway coal tank 1054 was offered a home there.  This engine later went to Penrhyn Castle, North Wales, and then to Dinting Railway centre, appearing at the ‘Rocket 150’ celebrations in 1980.

The West Midlands District decided in the early 1960s to find a suitable length of line on which to operate their growing collection of rolling stock.

The state of the track

In 1963 it was suggested that the remnants of the Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton Railway around Chasewater would make a suitable length of line.  At this time the area was desolate, and it wasn’t until 1967 that the Society actually moved to Chasewater, development of a Pleasure Park had made the line more attractive.  By this time all the National Coal Board buildings and workshops had been demolished and all that was left was 600 yards of double track belonging to British Rail (ex Midland Railway) and 1½ miles of former Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton Railway, plus a 300 yard spur which formerly led to Conduit Colliery, upon which a lease was taken.

Pittsteel No.1

The first task at Chasewater was to lay over 800 yards of track, partially along the former Midland Railway track bed and partly along new formation into the Pleasure Park.  Much of this work was done by hand – even the first wagon was a luxury. 

It wasn’t until late 1967 that motive power arrived in the shape of Pittsteel Hibberd No.1.  Development at Chasewater was slow and laborious and it wasn’t until 1970 that all stock at Hednesford had been transferred to Chasewater and the Hednesford depot closed.

To return briefly to general aspects of Railway Preservation Society’s history, apart from Hednesford, depots had been set up at Quainton Road (London Railway Preservation Society and Falkirk (Scottish Railway Preservation Society).  However the main movement of Railway Preservation was to either preserve solitary engines or complete branch lines and so the broader aspects of Railway Preservation Society policy evolved into a body known as the Association of Railway Preservation Societies, which is an advisory body which gives help, advice and information to many preservation groups and has over 200 member societies.

Returning to Chasewater, as already stated all stock was there by 1970 housed in a security compound and thought was given to giving regular steam-hauled train rides.

During 1968/9 and 1970 several open days had been held with either AB1223 (Colin McAndrew) or HL 2780 (Asbestos) in steam, and limited train rides were given.  The formation of the Chasewater Light Railway Company in 1970 was necessary to enable trains to be run legally.  In 1971 a regular service was given using Nos. 20 and 21 at either end of the Maryport & Carlisle coach whilst ‘Asbestos’ was under repair.  Regular steam-hauled services began in September 1972 when ‘Asbestos’ was re-commissioned.  For the rest of the 1972 season ‘Asbestos’ hauled a train comprising of the 1875 Maryport & Carlisle six-wheeler and the 1880s 16 ton Great Western brake van – as far as the bridge at the South end of the double track section where the embankment was burning.  1973 saw a start made on building a permanent platform at what is now Brownhills West and also saw the purchase, from British Rail, of E56301 (non-powered) driving trailer – ideal for observation and working push-pull.E56301 on her way

E56301 in through the farm gate at Chasewater

(Trailer car 56301 was the first diesel multiple unit car to enter preservation in 1969, originally being used at the Chasewater Railway)

The Society’s aims were to run a service along the whole two miles of railway as and when track was brought into usable condition.  In 1974 British Rail ‘rediscovered’ that they owned what is now the central section of Chasewater Light Railway and banned any use of it, due to the burning of the embankment.  This was a major blow as Society members were just ready to start work on this section.  In 1975 British Rail allowed work to start on the burning embankment, which was completely dug out and replaced with non-combustible material and negotiations were opened for the purchase of this section.  The purchase price was raised by 1978, actual purchase taking place in 1980.

In keeping with its aims, the Railway Preservation Society changed its name to the Chasewater Light Railway Society in 1977, owning most of the rolling stock and relics whilst Chasewater Light Railway Company is responsible for the legal implications of running trains, i.e. insurance, etc.

The Neilson with Gloucester E56301 working at Chasewater.

In 1979 a great step forward was taken with using a Government sponsored STEPS project for rebuilding the railway, especially the causeway across the lake, which had been much eroded by wash from power boats on the lake.  The work accomplished in 12 months would have taken Society working parties 3 to 4 years to accomplish and will allow regular steam-hauled services to run over the majority of the line in 1982, subject to the granting of a Light Railway Order and a satisfactory inspection by the Railway Inspectorate.

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Chasewater Railway Museum Newsletter – July 2020 – 2 Pages – Pete Waterman’s Visit, 2004.

Chasewater Railway Museum Newsletter July 2020 – 2 Pages

Pete Waterman’s Visit, 2004.

Nothing to report as far as the Museum is concerned again this month, so I have raided the archives, courtesy of David Bathurst’s collection.

Chasewater Railway Museum – June 2020 Newsletter

Chasewater Railway Museum

June 2020 Newsletter