Tag Archives: Lion

116 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces – January 1988

116 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News January 1988

 From the Editorial

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.

Extension News

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

 Civil Engineering

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.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.89

89 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Nov 1978 – 2

From the 1978 AGM Report

The final item on the agenda was the consideration of an offer from the Midland Railway Trust based at Butterley for the purchase of our ex Midland Railway Royal Saloon Coach.  The history of the coach was briefly outlined.  The coach was on loan to Derby Corporation for a further 17 years and they had a 25 year option open to them after that.

The Trust have spent a considerable amount of money upon the coach so far and wish to finish the job properly but don’t feel able to unless the coach is their property.  They reckon they will have spent well in excess of £10,000 on the coach by the time it is complete.

As the Chasewater Light Railway Society was in a difficult position – in effect our hands were tied – it was decided to let the coach go.  It was unlikely to come to Chasewater in the majority of our members’ lifetimes and, as in the case of the ‘E1’, if it had not been for the Railway Preservation Society then it would have gone to the scrap heap years ago, so at least some satisfaction could be derived from that.  The coach is to be exchanged for the following:-

1.    £600 in cash

2.    Equipment surplus to the Midland Railway Trust’s needs, such as crossing gates, signals, ancillary equipment, etc., but in demand at Chasewater – to the value of £1,000 plus

3.    The ex Walsall Gas Works Sentinel Locomotive (S9632/1957) plus spares, which will be in working order when it arrives at Chasewater, hopefully before Easter.Sentinel at Pleck Gas Works, Walsall, when nearly new.

The Hon. Sec’s. Report is reproduced below, being an apt summation of the present situation in which we find ourselves.

Hon.Sec’s Report 1977/1978

The twelve months since the last AGM have been very mixed with good news and setbacks at regular intervals.  1978 started very badly with the wanton vandalism of our ex Easingwold Railway coach.  The culprits who started the fire have not yet been apprehended and it seems suspicious to recall that the adjacent Go Kart Club has also been subject to two separate acts of arson in the last 10 months.

During the winter months other break-ins accrued to Society rolling stock resulting in the loss of several interesting relics.  However the local police force were eventually able to bring the two culprits to justice and the majority of the missing items returned.  Some £60 in value of relics was not recovered but as the Court awarded compensation to the Society we should eventually receive this money.

New arrivals during the year were the privately owned Hudswell Clarke side tank S100 which, following a complete overhaul which is expected to take another three years, should prove an ideal loco for working the extended services; the local chemical manufacturers Albright & Wilson Ltd. have placed on loan their 12” cylindered Peckett 0-4-0ST and it seems from help received from the Company so far that we might expect further assistance in the future.  The loco requires a major hydraulic exam, tank repairs and fitting of a steam brake before it sees regular use.  The final arrival was the five ton capacity Smiths of Rodley diesel crane from the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, Birkenhead – an outright purchase by the Society for £432.

The Committee has given serious thought to the provision of covered accommodation at Chasewater and it is especially pleasing to record the purchase for nominal sums of two agricultural type buildings.  The first, the smaller of the two, has already been dismantled and brought to Chasewater; the other has yet to be removed from site.  We must now await the go-ahead for erection of these structures from Walsall Metropolitan Council.

Restoration work to locos and coaches has been fairly limited this year due perhaps in the main to the fact that various engineering projects and fund-raising activities have taken precedence.  However firebox repairs were carried out on the Neilson before entry into service again and routine maintenance carried out on this loco and ‘Invicta’.  ‘Lion’ to be renamed ‘The Colonel’ has had a start made on preparing for a major hydraulic exam, and S100 has seen reasonable progress in dismantling and de-tubing.  ‘Asbestos’ too is to be de-tubed and when this task is completed the boiler is to go away to Park Holland, who will raise the foundation ring a few inches to get round the problem of badly wasted corners and rivets in the firebox.  By far the largest expenditure on locos this year was the £460 spent purchasing 104 new tubes for ‘Asbestos’.

Several of our goods vehicles received coats of paint and roof attention to the box vans was performed during the summer.

The platform wall was extended during Spring Bank Holiday and with the recent Committee decision to extend the compound fence to include the platform, the platform can be set up to resemble an operating station at all times.  Another engineering project completed was the interlocking and signalling of the two compound points enabling train movements to take place in complete safety.

The news from British Rail that we could gain access to the loop with works trains from April 18h and full purchase likely by the end of July meant that a decision on the sale of the ‘E1’ had to be made.  Consideration was only given to previous enquiries and the Lord Fisher Loco Group based at Cranmore agreed to meet our minimum purchase price of £5,000.  The loco left Chasewater last Monday and restoration will commence this winter under cover in extensive workshops at Cranmore – the name and number plates and also the Rawnsley chimney are being retained by us.

Purchase of the loop has proved slower than expected and a lapse of a few more months now seems likely; however we now have the money immediately available when asked for.

Train services continued to operate on timetabled dates and takings were high on fine days; however wet or cold days affected the average takings.

The first Steam Spares Sale ever held by a Preservation Group went reasonably well considering lack of helpers, and a second such event is being held on ‘Gricers’ Day’ October 8th.

Our second Transport Scene was well supported by exhibitors but not by the public, again inclement weather did not help.  Let us hope that next year’s event is blessed with sunshine!

This year’s Model Railway Exhibition was also poorly supported by the public – an increase in takings at this event over the years has probably made us too casual as the standard of the Exhibition has definitely fallen over the last three or four years – perhaps a change of venue is called for?Chasewater Model Railway

The Chasewater Light Railway Company is currently negotiating for a grant under the Government STEPS Scheme to enable the rest of the railway to be brought into service.

ATV cameras were in attendance on the 15th September filming sequences using ‘Alfred Paget’ and goods stock for a programme to be shown in the ‘This England’ series early next year.

In closing, thanks go to all our members for their continued support, with special thanks to those who have contributed physical  and/or behind the scenes work throughout the year, readers of the Newsletter will doubtless have seen the same names recur on various projects so there is obviously scope for many more members to assist in whatever way they feel able.

B.J.Bull

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.82

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 82 – March 1978

The Railway Preservation Society Newsletter

Chasewater News 23 – Part 1

Editorial

The operating season is now a mere fortnight away as I write this Newsletter and despite a fair response to the appeals in the last Newsletter, the purchase of the line is still as precarious as ever.  To date we have raised £1,200, less than 25% of the total amount of £5,400 required.  It is quite clear that some drastic action will be required during the next six months in order to effect the purchase of the line, the favourite course of action amongst the ‘hard-core’ at Chasewater being the sale of the E1 locomotive ‘Cannock Wood’ for reasons already expanded upon in these pages and elsewhere.  Suffice to say it is time for those who care to stand up and be counted (many members already have) or accept the consequences.

(No, we haven’t!)

News from the line

Much activity during the winter has been centred upon putting in a new siding leading up to the platelayers’ cabin.  Access to this siding is controlled by a two lever ground frame which marks the start of interlocking on the railway.

It is intended to extend the siding up to the crossing at a later date and outline planning permission is available for construction of a building over the siding.

The present end of the siding has a railbuilt buffer stop – another first at Chasewater.

Work is now concentrated upon improvements to the two points leading into the compound and the installation of their associated control gear which will, in due course, be controlled by the platform lever frame after the running line has been slewed to clear the extension to the platform.

The extension to the platform will be built once the worst of the frosts are over.

The platform fence has been painted black, Midland style, and a box-van body is being acquired to be used as a waiting room and to provide some much needed shelter.

The bookstall now sports a new roof, by courtesy of Adrian Pearson, and it is actually waterproof!  The brothers Grimm have been noticed performing strange exercises which, apart from resulting in the bookstall being repainted in Midland Railway colours, are reputed to be in readiness for the ‘forthcoming influx’ (of visitors I presume!).

The rear compartment of the DMU coach has undergone refurbishing, which has included repainting the roof, seat frames and heating ducts, re-covering the seat backs and a thorough clean.  The rest of the coach is to receive similar treatment next winter.

(I don’t know if it’s just my reading of this section, but it gives me the impression of being much more optimistic than past articles.)

Locomotives.

Invicta – this is currently being prepared for the new season, its yearly boiler test not being due until July, when it is hoped to give it a final top coat of paint.

Alfred Paget & Invicta – Gricers’ Day 9-10-1977

Alfred Paget – currently being prepared for its annual boiler test and it should be back in service by May.

Asbestos – The hydraulic test will take place within the next few weeks, when a final decision will be taken as to whether the necessary firebox repairs can be afforded.  Hopefully the money will be forthcoming as ‘Alfred Paget’ is due for its six yearly hydraulic test next year.

Work involved entails lifting the saddle tank, stripping of boiler cladding and lagging to expose the boiler, repairs to the saddle tank and overhaul and refitting of all boiler and cab fittings. Mechanically the loco is sound. The loc is to be renamed ‘Colonel’ using the nameplate off the now scrapped Hudswell Clarke loco, latterly at Granville Colliery, as a pattern.

Lion – Following a change of ownership, plans are being made to give this loco its six yearly major boiler test during the summer, with a view to steaming it at the tail end of the season.

05406 The Colonel 0-6-0ST HC 1073-1914  at Granville 12-6-1964

The name is doubly appropriate as ‘Lion’ started its working life at Woolwich Arsenal, whilst the name ‘Colonel’ conjures up visions of Colonel Holman F. Stephens the godfather of light railways, and who would probably be highly delighted at the current set up at Chasewater.

Long standing members will recall that the loco was originally purchased minus safety valves.  Happily the recent sale of loco spares held at Chasewater was of particular value, as a pair of Ross pop safety valves were obtained suitable for the loco.

It is considerably less than pleasing to report that on the afternoon of Monday 23rd January someone broke into the compound and deliberately set fire to the brake end of the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln coach.  There can be no doubt that this was a deliberate malicious action and if it wasn’t for a sharp-eyed resident of Hednesford Road then every wooden bodied vehicle in the compound would have been razed to the ground.

The damage is estimated to coast at least £1,000 to repair.  Allied to this fire, has been the theft of several items from the museum coach on three separate occasions.  It is interesting to note that all three break-ins occurred during the school holidays.  Two vacuum gauges, lettered MSL, were not recovered from the wreckage of the coach, though it is of small comfort that they were, in fact, BR gauges with false lettering.

The nature of the break-ins suggest that the person(s) responsible were familiar with the way things are run at Chasewater and the nature of the stolen items suggests that they knew what they were after and knew where to get it from.

The Police have been informed, but as it was the 270th crime reported in Brownhills in the first five weeks of the year, it is unlikely that they will have any success.

Changing the subject, it is indeed pleasing to report the acquisition of two more locomotives for use at Chasewater.

More about these next time!