Chasewater Railway Museum – Short article from 1930 magazine

Chasewater Railway Museum

Short article from 1930 magazine

While perusing an old magazine, our curator cames across this article about a railwayman from Pelsall. We thought that it would be worth another airing.

Walsall.

On February 19 Ganger John Jones, Engineering Department, retired after 51 years’ service.  He commenced as tool-boy in No.3 extra gang.  After 11 years with the gang he was made sub-ganger, and three years later was promoted as ganger, which post he had filled on the Norton Branch, Pelsall, for 37 years.  He had served under 10 inspectors.

Photographer unknown

NORTON JUNCTION

 Situated roughly half way between Pelsall and Brownhills stations and originally known as Ryders Hayes this Norton Junction in South Staffordshire was by far the largest of the many that carry the name on the British rail network. It became so large because of enormous production of coal from the mines at Norton Canes and Cannock Chase. Wagons were brought down to the marshalling yard at the junction on National Coal Board lines, with coal board locomotives, to be marshalled into trains of the right length to make their journeys onward on the national rail network.

Chasewater Railway Museum – Armistice Day, 100th Anniversary

Chasewater Railway Museum 

  Remembrance Sunday

100th Anniversary of Armistice Day

The Chasewater Railway Museum is proud to have two Books of Remembrance and two Rolls of Honour to commemorate some of the Railwaymen who lost their lives in the Service of their Country.

The Books  of Remembrance are from the London & North Western Railway, and the Midland Railway.

The Rolls of Honour are from the Barry Railway and the North Staffordshire Railway.

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We salute all men and women who lost their lives in the Service of their Country.

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue – Midland Railway Items

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue

Midland Railway Items

All the items of the Midland Railway (MR) in our collection.  The archives can be found elsewhere in the catalogue.

Click on the link below to see the full list

All Midland Railway Objects – XL Files 3-4-2018

Caption text: Object number, name, description, location in the museum.

Click on a picture to see a larger image, the click on the side arrow to move on.

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue – Midland Railway Archives

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue

Midland Railway Archives

The Midland Railway Archives in our museum collection.

Click on the link below to see the full list

All our Midland Railway Archives – XL Files 5-4-2018

Caption text: Object number, name, description, location in the museum.

Click on a picture to see a larger image, the click on the side arrow to move on.

 

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue – Carriage Equipment

Chasewater Railway Museum Catalogue

Carriage Equipment

Click on the link below to see the full list

All Carriage Equipment Records XL Files 15-3-2018

Picture caption – Object number, Name, Description, Maker, Location.

Click on pics for a larger version.

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Chasewater Railway Museum – New-to-us local photographs

Chasewater Railway Museum

New-to-us local photographs

We have received a few photographs which we have not seen before.

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Cannock Station

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Brownhills LMS (LNWR) Station, High Street.  1967

4-walsall-wood-station

Walsall Wood Station, just one platform left.

6-walsall-wood-line-towards-canal

The Midland Railway line from Walsall Wood heading towards Chasewater.  The track had been lifted on the left, where it headed for the canal.  The bridge had been removed.  The line on the right went into Walsall Wood Colliery (The Coppy Pit).

5-walsall-wood-cottage

This photograph is most interesting.  I think your original thoughts were that it was taken north of the Walsall Wood Colliery photo.  If so, where?  It is true that the landscape is similar to that found in that location but if the photo was taken looking north as the telegraph poles and the sun’s lighting would seems to suggest then where would the overbridge from which the photo is taken be located?  There are also a couple of other issues – the slag heap on the left and the electricity cable crossing the photo from left to right in the mid-distance.

I think that the house is actually called “Bridge Cottage, 1900”.  The date is a guess, but I believe the cottage was built around 1888 – 1902, i.e.:-  after the railway.  The bushes/scrub on the right hides Long Lane. The slag heap is that of Leacroft Colliery  and the electricity cable is clearly shown on post-war maps running between Churchbridge Sub-station and Drakelow Power Station. The photographer was standing on Chapel Street Bridge in Norton Canes, looking north towards Littleworth Junction.  Again a 1966-67 date is not unrealistic as the line remained in-situ at that time.  The lane on the left is not a canal, the Wyrley and Essington Canal Extension branch being almost immediately to the left of the photographer.  As usual, I will stand to be corrected but the above seems to firmly locate the photo to this site.  The electricity cable is by far the biggest clue. – Ian Pell

3-norton-conduit-junction-signal-box

This photo is definitely of Norton Crossing, Norton Canes.  We are looking south towards Conduit Junction at the Hednesford – Walsall road.  In later years the crossing was manned by Bernard Hurmson and his wife Bettie.  Clearly, the photograph was taken after closure.  The signal arm on the down line is for the original end of the branch at Norton Green, as per the attached signalling diagram from the John Swift Collection of signal box diagrams of the 1950’s.  Ian Pell

Comment from Colin Noble:  Bernard Hurmson was my stepfather, and as you refer, was the sole signalman at the Signalbox on Walsall Rd, Norton Canes, up to the closure of the line. His wife, Bessie, not Betty, was actually one of the Village Post Ladies, not working for the Railway!

norton-crossing-diagram-ian-pell

bettie-norton-crossing-ian-pell

As can be seen form the photo of Bessie at the crossing, the gates are the same in construction as per your photograph, and the box is the same, hence the conclusion that your photograph is of Norton Crossing, probably on around 1966-67?  Ian Pell

ryders-hayes-crossing-ian-pell

The above photograph, taken in 1974 shows the crossing keeper’s cottage and Ryder’s Hayes Level Crossing with the traditional crossing gates in place.  The following year these were replaced by rural barrier gates and the crossing keeper was removed and the buildings demolished.  The view is looking south towards Railswood and Pelsall Station.  From 1856-58 a station existed to the immediate south of the keeper’s building.  Ryders Hayes signal box which was situated behind the photographer on the up side was an early LN&W box.  It pre-dated Norton Junction No.1 box, but was retained even after the Norton Junction box was replaced by Norton Junction No.1 box in 1889.  It closed as late as the 1950’s.  Initially, it controlled Bloomer’s Sidings which were in place to serve the Pelsall Coal and Iron Company’s branch (1865) even before the Norton Branch (1858) and sidings (begun in 1889).  Ian Pell

ryders-hayes-crossing-map-ian-pell

This 1884 maps clearly shows the two boxes – Ryders Hays Crossing box and Norton Junction box. The later is in its original location on the down side of the line.  It also illustrates the lack of sidings to the north of the junction on the Norton Branch.  The sidings shown were often called “Bloomer’s sidings”, a reference to the owner of the PC & I Company and were constructed, together with a further line (extended loop) onto the branch in 1875 (mt6/147/17).  In 1875 the sidings consisted of 4 sidings on the down side and 1 siding on the up side.  At this time (18th Nov 1875) the junction was upgraded and additions points and signalling were added.  The beginning of Norton Junction sidings as we knew them started in earnest in 1889 when the new Norton Junction No.1 box was also added.  The sidings were initially controlled by Ryders Haye’s box, with Norton Junction box controlling the junction with the Norton branch and the two down sidings which extended parallel to the down line towards Brownhills.  Prior to the 1889 works , the Walsall Wood Colliery branch had been added, together with an additional up siding in October 1882 and the footbridge north of Ryder’s Hayes box had been approved for construction in December 1884.

By April 1884, the WTT indicated that Target No.74 shunted the Walsall Wood and the PC&I sidings, and that Target No. 78 “cleared out” all traffic from the above mentioned sidings.  On weekdays there were 2 regular and 3 conditional freight workings on the Norton Branch, working to and from Norton Junction,  These were:-                                                                                                                                1 Norton Junction to Harrison’s Sdg.                                                                              1 Norton Junction to Conduit Colliery                                                                             No. 80 – Norton Junction to Conduit Colliery as required.

Ryder’s Hayes signal box, which had a Tumbler frame, closed on 1st September 1954 when Norton Junction No.1 took control of the sidings and crossing (mt29/100/26). 

Ian Pell

Our thanks to Peter Stamper for the first six photos, and to Ian Pell for the others and for his always worth-while comments.

 

 

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