Tag Archives: Midland Railway

Chasewater Railway Museum – January 2018 Newsletter

Chasewater Railway Museum 

January 2018 Newsletter

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.

cannock-station

Cannock Station

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Brownhills LMS (LNWR) Station, High Street.  1967

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Walsall Wood Station, just one platform left.

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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).

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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

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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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Chasewater Railway Publications – No.1- 1965

Chasewater Railway Publications – No.1 – 1965

This post was taken from the magazine of the Railway Preservation Societies – the ‘Railway Forum’ Winter 1965.

This picture was taken from the cover of the magazine.

Mr. W. Ives of Hixon, near Stafford, purchased this signal box from British Railways intending it to be preserved by the Midland R.P.S.  Unfortunately contractors taking up the metals of the old Stafford and Uttoxeter Line also demolished the signal box.  Now Mr. Ives (pictured) is wondering where he can get another.  (Photo:  Express & Star, Wolverhampton.)

I’m not sure where this photo was taken, but assuming it’s on ‘our’ line it might be between Norton East Road and Brownhills Road, judging by the position of the houses.  Any other suggestions will be gratefully received!

This, and the other track photos in this post were obviously taken before Chasewater trains were running.

The Chasewater Branch – by F.J.Harvey and L.E.Hodgkinson

Chasewater was constructed by the Wyrley & Essington Canal Company by building a low dam.  A reservoir 1¼ miles in length was thus formed for the purpose of feeding the nearby canals.

At one time Chasewater was encircled by railways; the earliest of these was the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway incorporated by an Act of Parliament on July 29th 1864.   A connecting link was constructed from the London & North Western Railway Cannock Chase mineral extension which was incorporated in 1862.

In 1884 a branch was built by the Midland Railway from Aldridge.  This was for mineral traffic, although passengers were conveyed as far as Brownhills.  The passenger service was withdrawn on March 29th 1930.  The direct link with the LNWR was broken in favour of a more circuitous connection via the Conduit Colliery Company’s yard.

With the closure of the Cannock Chase collieries, the Midland Railway branch from Walsall Wood to Brownhills was lifted in 1960, followed by the CC & WR track in 1963, leaving the remainder of the lines as they are today.  These were retained in order to connect the National Coal Board area workshops with the main line.

In recent years the possibilities of Chasewater as a pleasure resort were realised by Brownhills Urban District Council; an amusement park was constructed and facilities were provided for more specialised interests such as go-carts, speedboats, hydroplanes and yachts.

With the increase in visitors each year it was felt by the Midlands area of the Railway Preservation Society that the line would be suitable for development as a working railway museum and a lease of about two miles of track was taken out.  Much work has to be done to bring the line up to passenger carrying standards and it will probably be several years before a regular passenger service can be maintained.  This largely depends on the number of volunteers that are prepared to help with the track restoration.

The immediate aim of the Society is to construct a building to house the larger items of rolling stock where they can be fully restored and displayed to the public.  This building will form the permanent headquarters of the Chasewater Railway.

The Society would appreciate any help, practical or otherwise, from people interested in this project.  With sufficient support a limited service could be in operation by next summer.

We know where this one was taken – you can see the entrance to the farm gate.  The houses at the top were demolished to make way for the M6 Toll.

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Chasewater Railway Museum – In the Stores

Chasewater Railway Museum – In the Stores

First posted in Chasewaterstuff’s Blog, 2011

 I thought I might publish a few pictures of some of the station furniture which the museum has tucked away, as do many other museums, in store.This item is a roll-fronted ticket rack from about 1938.This is a wooden chair with a Staffordshire Knot carved in the back, formerly of the North Staffs Railway.Finally for this time, another wooden chair, with a cut-out letter ‘M’ in the back, from the Midland Railway.

While it is good that the museum has these and more items in store, it would be nice to think that sometime in the future (probably distant) the museum could be extended and these items could be restored to their former glory and put on show.

Railway Heraldry

Coats of Arms

The early railway companies went to great lengths to give themselves status and authority.  This was partly to reassure investors and the travelling public alike since both were initially sceptical of railways and railway travel.  Th achieve the desired effect, companies often used heraldic devices on their coats of arms and seals, even though few were officially entitled to use them.

The company armorial device appears on small items such as badges and buttons, headed notepaper and publications through to ornate ironwork supporting platform canopies and stonework at major stations.  But to the collector one of the favoured items is a genuine railway company armorial transfer, usually attractively mounted on a wooden plaque or backing.

Transfers were introduced in the 1850s by Tearne and Sons Ltd of Birmingham, offering the emerging railway companies an easy method of branding their rolling stock.  Soon locomotives and carriages were suitably embellished with the grand coat of arms belonging to the parent company.

The railway companies took liberties when it came to the heraldic devices they chose to use.  For example the London & North Western Railway (LNER) made free use of the national symbol Britannia.

Although railway companies had consulted the College of Arms about the design of their coats of arms, it was not until 1898 that arms were officially granted.  This was awarded to the Great Central Railway, formerly the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire.

After the Great Central’s achievement only four other transport companies were awarded armorial devices – the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER), the Southern Railway (SR), the British Transport Commission and the Ulster Transport Authority.

British Railways’ full armorial bearings included a crest (beneath a ‘Forward’ scroll) of a demi-lion on its hind legs clutching a wheel between its paws, while two further lions held the shield.  The three wheels at the top  railways, a portcullis and chains stood for ports and harbours, and straight and wavy lines represented road, rail and waterways.  Below this was  a further scroll ‘Velociter securiter‘: swift and sure.

The crest, replacing an earlier ‘lion and wheel’ device (also known as ‘ferret and dartboard’) was adapted by BR for use as a transfer on carriages and locomotives.  This design  survived until the introduction of the BR twin arrows emblem.  Chrome finished BR crests used on some 1960s electrics are popular.

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Chasewater Railway Museum – our latest item

Chasewater Railway Museum

Our latest item

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Thanks to Rob Cadman, who spotted the item on ebay, we were able to obtain, at a reasonable price, a small wagon repair plate somewhat unusually produced in a lead material, and CRC (Cannock & Rugeley Colliery) in origin, when they replaced an ex Midland Railway wagon – number 74545  6-1943.  Size, approximately 6″x 4″ .  Very likely this was a 12 ton coal wagon but this is not yet verified.

Many of these old Midland Railway wagons were withdrawn in the 1920s and 30s and replaced by the LMS.

 

Chasewater Railway Museum – Midland Railway Notices

Chasewater Railway Museum 

Midland Railway Notices

DSCF2444This Midland Railway ‘Stop’ sign was from Derby No.4 Loco Shed and bought at Derby some years ago.  It is made from wood and has cast iron lettering.

In the days before World War II and the large-scale development of synthetic materials, the railways used a huge number of cast iron signs and notices. Each company either had its own foundries or employed local contractors, and it was a relatively simple job to make a wooden pattern and pin to it a variety of lettering which could be bought from various companies.

DSCF2447These two cast iron signs have been with the museum for many years, and apart from their Midland Railway origin, we do not know where they came from.

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Railway workshops and engine sheds yielded a plethora of notices giving directions, machinery instructions, general restrictions, safety warnings and even the amount of time allowed for using the lavatories.