Tag Archives: Industrial Locomotives

Chasewater Railway Museum – September 2020 Newsletter

Chasewater Railway Museum

September 2020 Newsletter

Chasewater Railway Museum – More about the Neilson Loco – 1968

More about the Neilson Loco

A Trip to Gartsherrie

From 1968 Mercian Vol.1 No.3

By Trevor Cousens

On Friday, 16th February at 6.00pm a small party consisting of Lawrence Hodgkinson, Mike Lewis and myself, departed from Chasewater in Mike’s 30 cwt. Van en route for Gartsherrie, near Glasgow.  The purpose of this trip was to purchase spare parts from the three Neilson locomotives remaining at Bairds and Scottish Steel Ltd.

A stop was made in Derby to pick up Steve Allsop, then we cut across to the M6 motorway.  The speed of Mike’s van was limited by a governor to 45 mph so the going was slow.

It was quite a relief when a stop was made at a service area for refreshment.  We made full use of the transport drivers eating facilities – in our overalls we did not really have much choice.  Back on the motorway we continued our journey northward.  I retired to the back of the van to try to sleep.  After rolling my sleeping bag out amongst several hundredweights of tools, bars, rucksacks and other bric-a-brac I tried persistently to sleep.  The noise of the engine and the tyres on the road, coupled with a sharp drop in the temperature precluded this.  I heard someone groan ‘snow’ from up front.  This is what we had dreaded.  A climb up Shap with eight inches of snow on the ground!!  After this, sleep was impossible.  I lay on my back and watched icicles form on the van roof.  About 3.30am on the Saturday morning the van halted.  After many gear changes, reverses and sliding of doors up front there was silence for a moment.  When I looked out we were parked on a small snow-covered country lane; fir trees on one side, a railway above us and the moon shining across snow-covered fields.  They had had enough for the evening, and Steve, Lawrence and Mike came aft for sleeping bags, blankets, camp beds and other items necessary for comfort!!  While the three sorted themselves out I got out with a camera and had a prowl around.  I found that we had parked practically under the West Coast main line at Beattock.

In front of us Brush type 4s pounded up to Beattock Summit, assisted by English Electric type 4s, 2s, and 1s on the night mail trains and sleepers.  One could not help thinking that there was something missing not seeing the flicker from the firebox silhouetting the fireman as he shovelled rapidly on a ‘Duchess’ at full pelt up the bank.

The others had comfortably settled down by now in the back of the van.  I chose the driver’s seat as I was sure that it could be no more uncomfortable than trying to lie down again.  With last reminders to wake up at 6.45 am to be in Glasgow for 8.30 am, we dozed off to sleep, a sleep punctuated by the clatter of trains over the bridge above and the wail of diesel horns as bankers attached and detached from the trains – we couldn’t have picked a quieter spot!!

At 7.00 am Lawrence and Steve spent 20 minutes trying to wake Mike, who seemed to be the only one who had really slept, despite the noise (still, he is a railwayman).  We slowly began to thaw out when we were back on the main road to  Glasgow, and the sun came out, picking out the snow-covered hills in a fiery pink light,

Arriving in Glasgow at 9.30 am we met the fifth member of our party – Gerald Wildish – who had travelled up on the overnight train from Darlington to Glasgow without any heating.

Neilson at Gartsherrie

After a meal we arrived at Bairds and Scottish Steel’s works about 11.00 am, where we weighed in and were directed to the loco shed.  We mat a Scottish RPS representative who was also buying spares for their Neilson.  After having a look at our Neilson tucked away in the workshops inside this gigantic, desolate steelworks, we proceeded to the engine sheds where we worked in pitch darkness with the odd brilliant ray of sunshine punching a dazzling beam across the shed, and with snow dripping from the smoke vents onto our heads.  We dismantled the spares from the three scrap Neilsons and filled Mike’s van with spare parts.  An amusing interlude was enacted when Gerald held tea-cups under the water crane to be washed out while I pulled the cord, drowning both the cups and Gerald in several hundred gallons of water.

The load was examined by Bairds and we were weighed out – 10 cwt. Of spares aboard.  We then proceeded to the coal mines at Gartshore where we saw the Scottish RPS Neilson and an Andrew Barclay still simmering next to a red hot brazier which we stood around for 15 minutes to warm ourselves before returning to Glasgow, to a hotel and a well-earned drink.  The hotel we had chosen to stay at was unfortunately a rather expensive one.  I think they were rather shocked to see four really scruffy individuals – black all over with soot and dirt and in need of shaves.  We were ushered up the back lift to two attic type rooms – but they had hot water and beds!!

The Saturday evening was spent feeding and drinking and we bade farewell to Gerald who was lodging in another part of Glasgow, prior to his departure back to Darlington.  We all turned in, forgetting to put forward the alarm clocks and so missing breakfast by one hour!!  Room service rang us at 10.00 am Sunday, and we cajoled the waitress to find us four late breakfasts.  At 11.00am we made a start back towards Chasewater, after buying all the Sunday newspapers.  We stopped for diesel at Lockerbie and continued south, the sun was beginning to thaw the snow and a thick mist was rising.  Suddenly out of the mist our way was blocked by two policemen!!  They directed us to the side, and asked why we carried no ‘C’ licence.  They asked to see the load.  When we opened the door what a sight must have met their eyes, with piping strewn diagonally across the floor of the van, a 20 ton lifting jack, and many other items, including a kettle boiling on a primus for tea!!  After lengthy explanations, the showing of membership cards, driving licenses, etc., we finally convinced them that we were law-abiding, but we could not help thinking of Gerald on his way home with the receipt in his pocket!

Arriving at Hixon at 8.00 pm Sunday evening, we unloaded the spares and drove over to Hednesford for a sandwich and a drink in the ‘Queens Arms’.  The rest of the RPS crew from Chasewater and Hednesford were there, and the tales of the week-end working parties were exchanged.  Mike’s van had changed colour from dark green to white as a result of the salt spray.

So ended a 700 mile excursion to salvage parts which we hope will be used to help keep our 85 year-old Neilson running.  If so, then it will have been worth while.At Chasewater – August 1969

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue – Album 3, Local Pit Locos

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue 

Album 3, Local Pit Locos

Still more local pit loco photographs.  The collection is always being added to.

Click on the link below to see the full list

Album 3 Local Pit Locos  2020 XL Files

The text on the pics is – Object number, description and manufacturer.

Click on a pic for a larger version and use the side arrows to move on.


Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue – Album 2, more local pit locomotives

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue 

Album 2, more local pit locomotives

This album contains more photographs of locomotives used in Cannock Chase Collieries.

Click on the link below to see the full list

Album 2 Local Pit Locos  2020 XL Files

The text on the pics is – Object number, description and manufacturer.

Click on a pic for a larger version and use the side arrows to move on.


Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue – Album 1, Local Colliery Locos

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue

Album 1, Local Colliery Locos

This photograph album contains photos of locomotives used in collieries local to Cannock Chase, Cannock & Rugeley Colliery and Cannock Chase Colliery in particular.

Click link to see list of all photos

Album 1  Local Pit Locos 2020 XL Files

The text on the pics is – Object number, description and manufacturer.

Click on a pic for a larger version and use the side arrows to move on.




Industrial Railway Society

Industrial Railway Society

Details of the Industrial Railway Society, a must for anyone interested in industrial railways.

Railway Relics – Cast locomotive nameplates

Railway Relics

Cast locomotive nameplatesCannock Wood

This nameplate belongs to Chasewater Railway and was carried by the LBSCR loco No. 110/1877, which worked at The Cannock and Rugeley Colliery, Cannock Wood from1927, when it was purchased from the Southern Railway until the mid 1960s.  It was preserved by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midland District) firstly at Hednesford and for a short while at Chasewater.  It was later sold members of the East Somerset Railway.

Locomotives have often been adorned with names from the earliest days.  Sometimes these have been painted on the engine’s sides, but the more common method was to fix cast-metal nameplates.  The raised lettering, frequently surrounded by a raised border, was usually finished in burnished brass, with a black or red painted background.

The plates were usually curved to fit on or over the locomotive’s driving wheel splasher, but for tank engines and some larger main line locomotives, straight plates were fitted elsewhere on the superstructure.  The Great Central Railway (GCR) provided most of its large passenger locomotives with combined straight-topped splashers covering all the driving wheels. The GCR’s straight nameplates had shaped ends to fit into the splashers’ decorative beading.

Both the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) and the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway adopted a similar pattern of plate, with curved or straight sides.  Either way, the plates had projecting lugs at the ends to accommodate fixing holes.Nuttall

Another Chasewater Railway-owned nameplate, from a Hunslet 0-6-0ST loco 1685/1931.  Bought from Mowlem in 1948 and worked at Walsall Wood, Coppice Colliery and Chasetown.

New type of nameplate

The Southern Railway (SR) adopted the LSWR style of nameplate for most of its named engines, but often with a smaller panel beneath giving the class of the engine.   For its series of steamlined light Pacifics built during and after World War II – the Battle of Britain, West Country and Merchant Navy classes, the SR adopted a completely new type of nameplate which included a crest or badge.

The London, Midland & Scottish Railway used fairly modest curved plates for its non-streamlined classes, whilst its prestigious streamliners had straight plated fitted to the centre line of the boiler.  When streamlining went out of fashion in the late 1940s, the streamlined casings were removed and the plates were refitted in the same location.The Dean

This plate is one of the Eric Tonks Collection, on loan from the Industrial Railway Society, and is from an 0-6-0ST Hunslet, 1496/1926.  New at the Oxfordshire Ironstone Co.Ltd., Banbury.

The streamliners of the London & North Eastern Railway’s Class A4 carried their nameplates high up at the front end of the boiler sides.  Ordinary locomotives were fitted with curved splasher top plates, though these were larger and heavier than those of the other companies.

The standard express classes built by British Railways mainly in the 1950s bore straight plates fitted near the top of the smoke deflectors.  Some of the mixed-traffic locomotives designed for use on the Southern Region were given names previously carried by members of the SR’s King Arthur class, itself a legacy of the SR’s predecessor, the LSWR.

Although most Great Western nameplates were made from steel and brass, a small number were cast in brass.  These were oval and gave the engine’s name and number, as well as its date of manufacture.


Another plate from the Eric Tonks Collection, ‘Ironstone’ was an 0-4-0ST Peckett with outside cylinders, No. 1050/1907.  Supplied new to Market Overton Ironstone Quarries, Rutland.

Many of the smaller independent railway companies fixed nameplates to their locomotives.  Since most of them were tank engines, the plates had straight sides.  Many industrial locomotives also had nameplates.  These sometimes included the name and address of the works or the names of the firm’s directors and members of their families.Carol Ann No.1

Carol Ann No.5  0-6-0ST Hunslet  1821/1936.  Bought new.  Still at Holly Bank 1957 – since scrapped.

Robert Nelson No.4 and Carol Ann No.5 (Hunslet 0-6-0ST  1800 and 1821 respectively, built 1936) were named after the Colliery Manager’s two children.

On transfer to Littleton Colliery in NCB days – November 1959  – Carol Ann was renumbered ‘1’ by grinding the ‘5’ off the nameplate and screwing in a ‘1’.  This was because Littleton already had a loco ‘Littleton No.5