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Chasewater Railway Museum 2022 opening times

113 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.2, Summer 1987

113 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.2

From ‘Chasewater News’ Summer 1987

Permanent Way

Under the leadership of Chris Chivers a small group of workers have made a start on clearing the lineside undergrowth along the running line whilst a group of students spent a week clearing the passing loop beyond the current limit of operations.

The line has been weedkilled to give a more workmanlike look to the track and a catch point has been installed on the loco shed siding.

Work is now centred on the point connecting Nos. 2 & 3 roads in the compound, which were comprehensively written off by the new diesel!

From the Archives

Something which we expect to make a regular feature of in Chasewater News in which we feature anecdotes and snippets from items in the Museum Collection.  We begin this feature with items of local interest taken from the LMS Sectional Appendix to the Working Timetables dated March 1937.

Stafford

Stafford No.5 to Venables Sidings (LNT).  Drivers of trains not conveying passengers, proceeding to the LNE line must be prepared to receive a green hand signal when passing No.5 signal box.  The exhibition of this green hand signal will indicate that Venables Timber Yard crossing gates may be across the railway and drivers must be prepared accordingly.

Norton Branch

Five Ways Mineral Branch – between Five Ways and Conduit new Sidings.  In addition to LMS trains, the Five Ways Colliery Company’s engines work over this branch, and the Conduit Colliery Company’s engines work over a section of the branch between Conduit Colliery Sidings and Conduit Junction, and between Conduit Colliery Sidings and Conduit New Sidings.

Two keys are provided for padlocking the trap points – which must be obtained from the pointsman at Conduit Junction and must be returned to him on completion.

Five Ways

Before proceeding towards Five Ways, the guard must satisfy himself that the Colliery Company’s engine is stationary, and must set the road for the single line to the Colliery Sidings.   The line between the trap points and the sidings is used as the Colliery Company’s shunting neck, and on arrival from Conduit, train men having to place wagons in the sidings must at once place the signal provided for the purpose to danger to warn the Colliery enginemen that they must not come out on the shunting neck from the Colliery Sidings.  Before returning to Conduit the signal must be taken off, its normal position is ‘clear’.

After placing wagons in the sidings at Five Ways, engines waiting for loaded wagons must stand on the single line protected by the trap points before a train worked by either the Colliery Company’s or the LMS men leaves Five ways towards Conduits, the trap points must be set for the running line, and after the passage of such train must at once be reversed and securely padlocked for the trap by the guard.

Curator’s Notes

Peckett 0-6-0ST Hanbury

The Conduit Colliery locos referred to in the above would have been the four or perhaps five Manning Wardle 0-6-0STs in the Company’s ownership at that time.  Locos known to have been at Five Ways were the Peckett 0-6-0ST Hanbury and a Kitson 0-6-0T.  None of these locos survive but our museum does contain one nameplate and one worksplate ex Conduit Colliery and a brass No.2 off the Kitson.Coppice Coll. No.2 0-6-0T Kitson 5358-1921

East Somerset Railway and Cannock Wood

‘Cannock Wood’ No.9  in LBSC Livery

Older members may recall that when the E1 was sold to the Lord Fisher Locomotive Group in 1978 regular reports of its progress were to be received.  We make no apologies for giving news of the loco which left Chasewater nearly nine years ago.  The loco is now 110 years old – the hundredth engine built at the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway’s works at Brighton by William Stroudley and the doyen of the Cannock & Rugeley Colliery Co. fleet from 1926 through nationalisation and into National Coal Board days until withdrawal in 1963.

It is of interest to note that despite their intention to restore the loco to main line order as BR 32110, it never carried that number in service.  All reports refer to her as ‘Cannock Wood’ or number 9.

The boiler has been removed from the frames and detubed.  A boiler inspection has revealed the probable need of a new front tubeplate and the definite need of a new inner firebox with consequent restaying and a new foundation ring.  It is estimated that a further £20,000 is needed to put the boiler into a steamable condition.  The wheels have been sent to Swindon for tyres and bosses to be turned.  New side tanks are required.  Springs are being re-tensioned.  Loose horn guide bolts have been replaced.  Much platework is being replaced and a new bunker is virtually complete.  The frames have been needle gunned and received two coats of paint, new footplating is being fitted to the frames.

Eccentric straps, big end straps, connecting rods and valve roads have been cleaned, checked and are ready for re-fitting.  More news in future issues.

From the Museum

On Tuesday April 14th we suffered yet another break-in at Chasewater.  This time it was the LNWR 50 ft brake coach which was the subject of the robber’s intensions.. Having failed to gain access through the end door nearest the waiting room, and the lock refusing to give way on the normal entrance door used, the miscreant managed, presumably at some length, to chop his way with a pickaxe through one of the double doors on the platform side.  A quantity of railway rule books and the entire collection of some 160 odd LNWR postcards was taken plus a few other books and sundry items.

The following week saw the return of some items following a visit by Ralph Amos to a second-hand bookshop in Walsall which some of the books had been sold to by the criminal.  Unfortunately some pieces had already been sold by the shop owner who was unaware that he was dealing with stolen goods.

Latest news is that the police have picked up a Walsall man who confessed to the crime, amongst others as one might suspect.

There is some good news to report.  There is now an annex to the museum coach in the form of the recently restored ex Midland Railway circa 1880 four-wheel passenger brake which sees a display of railway prints, etc. on Open Days.  A selection of Chas. Butterworth’s very fine drawings was displayed therein on April 26th at the Railwayana Fayre.

Additions to the collection include official postcards of the LNWR, GNR, L & Y, Furness Railway and cards from the following railways which are all new to the collection.  Corris, Cambrian, LNWR and LYR Joint, GCR, NER, SECR, LSWR, Metropolitan Railway and Douglas Southern Electric Tramway.  Other nice additions are a ticket from pre-preservation days of the Talyllyn Railway and an LNWR ‘Birmingham’ dinner fork, courtesy of Rob Duffill.

Taken on Chasewater Railway’s Brewery Day, 2017

112 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.1 Summer 1987

112 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.1

From ‘Chasewater News’ Summer 1987

 Chasewater Comment

This issue’s contributor is Adrian Hall, Chasewater Light Railway & Museum Co. Company Secretary and a member of some 11 years standing.

The railway has long avoided making an important decision.  For it to become a museum of light and industrial railways, or an industrial loco group?  If the former then it must plan now to develop a museum complex which will draw visitors and exhibits, and have the ability to fund operations.  If the latter then it should dispose of everything except the most basic track maintenance stock, one passenger coach and the steam engines.  A basic platform with a short running line is all that would be required for the occasional Open Day, and funding would come from the small group of members in the ‘club’.

A museum requires a large building, visitor facilities of good quality to provide funding, and a line of sufficient length to give a real purpose to the railway.  All of this needs to be planned now, and implemented in the next few years (two or three, not ten or twenty).  It also requires commitment and enthusiasm.

So which is it to be?  The decision must be made now, or it will be made for us and will be neither of the above, but an end to the Chasewater Light Railway altogether.

Boardroom Note  (By the Company Secretary)

There has been much activity in the boardroom of late, where in addition to the general management of the railway, work still continues to complete the corporate reorganisation.

The railway is run on a day-to-day basis by the six departmental managers, to whom general enquiries, etc., should be addressed, the board being responsible for co-ordination and strategic planning.

The assets and liabilities of the Society have now been taken over by the new Company, as have most of those of the old Company.  It is hoped that these transfers will soon be completed, enabling the two ‘old ladies’ to be finally wound up.

Administration should be eased greatly soon once work is completed on the new office at Brownhills West.  Inevitably shortage of funds is slowing the project, which will also provide a new booking office, the old one met its demise at the hands of the tractor last year!) and a small shop unit.  If anyone can help with this (about £100 for wood, etc. is all that is needed) then their contribution will be gratefully received.

Thirty pounds or more will secure your name on a brass plate within this new and much needed facility.

As most of you are aware by now, the railway is to be crossed y the ‘Birmingham Northern Relief Road’ (now known as the M6 Toll Road), the motorway will orbit the northern side of the conurbation, which will relieve the M6 (or will it?).  The motorway will completely alter the South shore of Chasewater, including demolishing the Brownhills West Station site.  Informal negotiations have taken place with the Local Authority and the Department of Transport, and we have now engaged Solicitors and Surveyors to act for us in the formal negotiations to come.

We are obviously going to have to re-locate our main site, and anyone with any thought on this matter is urged to write to me as soon as possible.  We cannot put much in print at the moment, but I hope to be able to furnish more details in the next magazine.  In the meantime if you want to know more come along to Chasewater and ask.

A new set of membership rules were passed by the Board recently, mainly to tidy up the existing arrangements and make them clearer.  It is intended to send them to all future members when they join, and to existing members with a subsequent mailing when finances permit.

Among the new members listed are: C. Chivers, K.R.Sargeant, D.M.Bathurst and M.Webb.

Carriage and Wagon Notes (By Steve Organ)

Work is in progress on a number of vehicles in order to preserve and tidy the collection until such time as they can be placed under cover.

Appeal:

Winter 1987 should see some of the vehicles protected from the worst of the weather by a ‘tent’ in the station yard, although this is dependant upon the continuous flow of the following materials, which we would ask all members to look out for and drop into Chasewater in any quantities, however small: Tarpaulins, scaffold tubes (any length from 1 foot upward), scaffold planks (any length from 1 foot upward) and scaffold fittings.

Work in Progress Completed

L&NWR Suburban Brake

The roof has been overhauled and re-coated.  The ’lake‘ side has been stripped back to bare wood and primed with a fungicidal primer to combat the mildew problem, as this side suffers from the worst weathering.  The doors are being re-fitted and LNWR livery is being applied.

Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln Brake

The Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln coach with Asbestos

Has been stripped to bare wood and Cuprinol 5-star anti-rot applied.  Repaint is proceeding in light chocolate and silver grey.  Mock doors are being fitted on the brake end, which was burnt out, to tidy up the coach’s appearance and keep out the weather until new doors can be made (any carpenters out there?).

Maryport & Carlisle

No further work is being undertaken at the moment but supplies of paint are on hand if anyone would like to come and paint both ends (which are in undercoat) or start work re-panelling the ‘lee’ side.

Midland Railway Passenger Brake

The roof has been completely overhauled and re-coated.  The body has been re-panelled as far as possible, but not yet re-beaded.  The basic maroon livery has been applied externally and the interior painted lime green and white to match the LNWR 50’ brake ‘museum’ livery.  One half is being used as a gallery of railway prints, the other half is full of milk churns and ’luggage’ to represent an authentic ‘in service’ appearance.

Great Eastern Passenger Brake

Still in a disgraceful condition, we now have some panelling to hand ready to clad the sides of this vehicle.  Some of the existing panelling is still good and only requires painting.  We have the paint – we need painters!   Scaffolding is now available to work safely on this and other vehicles so come and help us with this basic work!

Ex GWR 16 ton ‘Toad’ Brake Van, Asbestos with the Maryport & Carlisle coach and the GWR ‘Toad’ brake in 1972

Now in private ownership, the ex Littleton Colliery ‘Toad’ is undergoing extensive re-panelling and replating to make good fire damage caused by vandals some years ago.

DMU Vehicles

The Wickham units have now been fitted with new gutters, a difficult and time-consuming task.  The roofs of both the Wickhams and the Gloucester have been repainted, and then in the projected C & W tent they can be painted into a uniform livery after body repairs are completed.

The Ex BSC Newark Hopper Wagon

This has now had its body removed and awaits decking before entering service as a flat wagon which will be most useful for track work.

So there it is.  Whilst progress is being made, we still need more help to complete these vehicles’ (and others’) conservation programmes.  We have the materials – come and help us use them!

Locomotive Notes

Despite mutterings from various people about supplying your editor with copious notes about what has gone on ‘down the shed’ the end result has been the usual – not even a blank piece of paper!

A brief layman’s résumé could be written as follows:

No.2  Following a change of ownership (its third since arrival at Chasewater!) the large Peckett has been stripped for its ten-yearly boiler inspection and hydraulic test.

No.3  Boiler repairs continue.

No.4  In service following being fitted with a new set of boiler washout plugs.

No.5  In service.

No.6  The ex Albright & Wilson Peckett has had its boiler removed in preparation for smoke box and tube plate repairs.

No.7  Serviceable.

No.8  ‘Invicta’ has been stripped for its major boiler examination and hydraulic test.

No.10 Following the insertion of new fitted bolts in the front end, Mr. Sale is about to start work on trueing the hornguides which should stop S100 from ‘waddling’ (which those who are old enough to remember say it suffered from when last steamed at Embsay).

New Arrival

A group of CLR & M.Co. members have purchased a Fowler 200 hp diesel hydraulic locomotive from the MOD at Radway Green in Cheshire.  The loco (numbered 7 at Radway Green, but presumably to be numbered No.12 at Chasewater) is in working order and arrived at Chasewater on 14th July and was on display at the Military Weekend of July 25th /26th following a hasty repaint in an olive green livery.

111 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces, from Chasewater News 1986/7

111 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From ‘Chasewater News’ Winter 1986/7Magazine cover – a drawing of CLR No.5, the ex Walsall Gas Works Sentinel, by Steve Bent.

Following the “Reorganisation Day” of 22nd November there are at present three bodies which together form the Chasewater Project.

1       – Chasewater Light Railway and Museum Company – The CLR&M Co is responsible for the day to day and long term policies of the Railway as well as being the body to which the supporters and sympathisers of the Railway join.

The Officers of CLR & M Co. are:

CHAIRMAN – Steve Organ

GENERAL MANAGER – Tony Sale

ENGINEERING Manager – Nigel Canning

OPERATING MANAGER – Les Emery

COMMERCIAL MANAGER – Barry Bull

MARKETING MANAGER – Ian Patterson

FINANCIAL MANAGER – Bob Curtis

NON-EXECUTIVE – Colin Marklew

COMPANY SECRETARY – Adrian Hall

2       – Chasewater Light Railway Company – The old Company will remain in existence until its assets, debts and liabilities are transferred to the new Company.

There are at present two directors:

COMPANY SECRETARY – Adrian Pearson

CLR & M Co. NOMINEE – Adrian Hall

3       – Chasewater Light Railway Society – The Society is remaining in existence until such time as the CLR & M Co. attains charitable status, in order to safeguard the rolling stock and relics as well as holding the leases.

At present the CLRS has the following members: L.Hodgkinson, D.Ives, T.Sale, B.Bull and I.Patterson (CLR & M Co. Nominee)

The above mentioned are also the Trustees of the Society.

 News from the Line

Loco Department

No.2 is awaiting its turn for overhaul, a change of ownership is rumoured.

No.3 Slow progress with the firebox repairs may result in the frames making way for the GM’s machine (S100) in the shed.

No.4 Asbestos has performed satisfactorily during the season and is due for attention to its side rod brasses and regulator valve during the winter months.

No.5 59632 has also performed well and gets better with every steaming.  The vacuum brake system works to the required standard, much to the relief of all concerned.

No.6 All that can be reported is that we have exchanged a spare set of side rods in our possession for some missing boiler fittings (stolen some years ago).

No.7 The Ruston has been used occasionally for shunting but happily the increased use of ‘real’ motive power has made the engine somewhat redundant.

Neilson, Alfred Paget and Barclay Invicta

No.8 Invicta may well return to service during 1987 following a full boiler examination, platework repairs and fitting of vacuum brakes.

No.10 The frames of S100 have descended from their lofty perch and are temporarily mobile.  Once installed in the shed the wheelsets will be re-removed for attention to the hornguides and following a probable orgy of machining and highly technical stuff, the motion and valve gear can be reassembled – sounds easy, but it could take years (and years!).

No.11 The ancient Neilson languishes outside the shed awaiting its turn for attention.  (it’s now got as far as the workshop!)

No.21 The ex Bass Worthington ‘pudding’ awaits its replacement engine.

Wickham DMU

Several windows have been replaced following a spate of vandalism and new rainwater gutters have been fabricated and fitted.

The presence of blue asbestos (the mineral not the engine!) has been noted by the Railway Inspectorate and it will have to be removed from all three DMU coaches in the not too distant future.

Trackwork

Following Gricers Day work was concentrated on relaying Nop.1 road back to the remnants of S100.

This was swiftly accomplished and as mentioned elsewhere the frames of S100 were removed.  Once the boiler of S100 is removed the Great Eastern Coach should be rendered mobile, last having moved in about 1973!

Following the visit of Major Olver of the Railway Inspectorate on 3rd December work has centered on the installation of a catch point on Elsley’s siding which has been relaid.  The catch point is necessary to stop any stock rolling onto the main line when passenger trains are being operated.

Wooden Bodied Stock

Steve Organ has started the unenviable task of restoring the wooden bodied coaches, or at least making them weatherproof and presentable.

He is aiming to have the three six-wheelers and the four-wheel MR passenger brake fit for running demonstration trains (i.e. non-passenger carrying) by Gricers Day on 11-10-1987.

Needless to say all offers of help will be most welcome as the success of this laudable project rests on ADDITIONAL help coming forward.

So far the ex Maryport & Carlisle coach is nearly in the initial stage of acceptability whilst Mr. X (I can’t remember his name) is having a go on returning the ex MR four-wheeler to its pre MSC scheme condition.

Being highly optimistic, Organic Steve hopes to fit in a renovation of the brake end of the ex LNWR coach as a picture gallery (a what!!!!?)The afternoon ‘Paddy’ on the Hednesford to Cannock Wood line during the late 1950s.  The loco is the 1866 built Lilleshall 0-6-0ST ‘Rawnsley’ and the coach is the ex LNWR non-corridor composite now awaiting restoration at Chasewater.

 431 Hudswell Group Notes

The fund is approaching the half-way mark towards the purchase of the locomotive, so by this time next year the locomotive should be in the ownership of the group.

The recent visit of the Railway Inspectorate has provided the Group with a major setback as the boiler lagging of the locomotive must be professionally removed before restoration can begin, at a cast of well in excess of £500.

 Progress Report on ‘E1’ No.9 ‘Cannock Wood’The ex London, Brighton and South Coast Railway E1 No.110 ‘Burgundy’ seen coasting down te Cannock Wood branch in its later form as Cannock & Rugeley Colliery’s No.9 ‘Cannock Wood’

We have received the following report about the restoration of the E1, which members of long-standing will recall was sold to the East Somerset Railway at Cranmore in 1978.

“Work has progressed well……well sort of.  Things have not come apart as they should and caused some anxious moments for crane drivers and merriment for those on the ground.

The first part to come off this project was the right-hand intermediate axle box oiling pot, since then many other parts have been removed, cleaned, repaired, painted in works grey (we have a lot of grey) and given an I.D. disc.  This is then entered in a log book recording what the part is, where it comes from and what it does, sometimes accompanied by a small drawing to help relocation when we fling the engine back together!

The front sand boxes took a great deal of effort to part them from the frames due to two hundredweight of one hundred-year-old wet sand which corroded all the metal bits together.  These are well on the way to being rebuilt.

The brake rigging has caused some problem with the steam brake being rusted up solid, a badly pitted cylinder bore, the main shaft bent considerably and pull rod equalizer rods bent.

The side tanks came off using the Dubs crane tank and the ‘lift and move quickly backwards’ method, with much screeching and tearing of metal (must remember to burn off ALL the bolts next time!).

The cab roof came off with much reluctance, and when lowered on the ground it collapsed in a heap of rust.  As normal the bunker came off with difficulty leaving the bottom of the rear sand boxes still attached by rust, twisted and torn, to the frames.

Boiler work is coming along slowly with half the tubes out, pulled by the digger.  Some of the tubes are nearly new with no scale on, but a thin layer of rust.  The cab roof is to be repaired, whilst drawings are being prepared for the new side tanks.  The bunker will be remade on site by us in the near future.  The boiler has been de-lagged at a cost of £800 and should be lifted to enable the wheels to be removed and a start made on the waggly bits underneath.

Further news gleaned from the pages of Steam Railway (Jan 1987) reveals that restoration will cost in excess of £25,000 and may include a new firebox.

The loco will be finished in Southern Railway black livery as E110 and will be in as near to original condition as is practicable.

The unique Rawnsley chimney and the nameplates, etc. are to be returned to Chasewater in due course.”

Visit of the Railway Inspectorate 3-12-1986

Briefly they require some extra work on the track to that previously expected, but this should not present any problems.  The use of push-pull operations was agreed until such time as the motorway outcome was known.  However, a bell system between loco and coach must be installed and in the near future locos intended for passenger duties must be fitted with vacuum activated steam brake valves.

Apart from this, the major difficulty is the presence of blue asbestos as mentioned elsewhere.

Provided we comply with the Inspectorate’s requirements, a further inspection in the spring should leave us free to recommence regular steam hauled passenger trains.

The Future

The project engineer for the motorway has been to the railway and vaguely indicated as to where the new road may cross the railway.  Detailed plans are to be drawn up by the Departments consultants and will be put on public exhibition during the autumn.  Prior to this there is rumoured to be a public meeting in Burntwood Baths during April (What’s wrong with the lake at Chasewater?!).

Unless the railway can get a firm idea of how and where it can expand then the good work and impetus gained during 1986 will be lost.  To this end, a short list of possible alternative sites has been drawn up to be further investigated if it becomes apparent that we are ‘flogging a dead horse’ by remaining at Chasewater.

110 Chasewater Railway Bits and Pieces, from ‘Chasewater News’, September 1986

110 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces

 From ‘Chasewater News’ September 1986

 For once it is possible to report good news!  Following the visit of Mr. Abbott of the Railway Inspectorate on 17th August we have been given permission to recommence steam hauled passenger services, subject to certain tasks being carried out, hopefully in time for Gricers Day on 12th October.  A further satisfactory inspection next spring should enable a full season of trains to be operated, the first since 1982.

 News from the line

Loco Dept.

Asbestos – Robin Stewart-Smith

No.4 Asbestos has been steamed half-a-dozen times so far this year and following trouble with a leaky blow-down valve (now successfully cured) the major problem is still the regulator which continues to insist on blowing through when closed!  Further investigations will no doubt reveal the cause of the trouble during the winter months when it is hoped that the outside motion will also receive attention to cure various knocks and bangs.

N0.5 Sentinel No.59632 has also been steamed on several occasions and following each steaming various adjustments, modifications and improvements are made by its owner.

Both Nos. 4 and 5 are now fitted with vacuum brakes, a necessary modification for running passenger trains.

No.7 the Ruston diesel has received a repaint and now sports a green livery which the owner claims is similar to BR Brunswick Green.  It looks very smart anyway.

No.10 S100 – continued progress is being made with getting components ready for re-wheeling the loco and as the “head of steel” gets ever nearer (it has lain isolated from the rest of the railway since 1983) it should take to the rails again before the year is out.

Carriage & Wagon Dept.

The buffet section of the Wickham sees extensive use, providing us with our main source of income.  Various improvements to the plumbing have been made and both coaches have been fitted with new rainwater gutters which will enable the much needed repaint to take place in the not too distant future.

The Maryport & Carlisle Coach has seen ‘Clippie’ steadily working to get this coach into a reasonable state of repair before it gets beyond redemption.  The coach is now in a uniform green undercoat and looks much more presentable.

Civil Engineering

Brownhills West Station June 1978

By the time the Task Force had completed the platform there was little over a month left to get the railway ready for receiving visitors during the Transport Extravaganza.  The platform had to be surfaced with a 6” layer of black ash and coping stones had to be laid alongside the museum coach.  The major work however, was to fashion a new track bed and lay track along the platform and then raise it over 9”.  A vast quantity of black ash was purchased and packed under the track in order to get the track level in the platform.  This work was completed in the nick of time so as to get the Wickham buffet in the platform for the Transport Extravaganza.  After that weekend work concentrated on regarding the line from the platform down towards the point for Elsley’s siding (more black ash!), and No.1 point was rebuilt.  Once this was completed the line was treated with weedkiller and fences were repaired and installed where necessary.  Nigel Canning is in the process of constructing a set of level-crossing gates to be installed at the road access to the loco shed and also at the level-crossing to the north of the loco shed.  Recent weeks have seen work proceeding on relaying No.1 road in order to remove S199 and the GER brake coach so that the Wickham buffet can be moved clear of train movements on operating days.  A fair amount of cosmetic work has been carried out around the platform, most noticeably a large pond known as ‘Lake Clippie’ after its constructor which has played host to several frogs, toads, a solitary newt and a steam powered model boat!

Museum Notes

Little to report other than the acquisition of several official postcards including a particularly rare example of a folded GWR card depicting King George V published in 1928 and valued at recent auctions at up to £60 – yes £60 for one card and one which we obtained as part of a collection costing just £25.

Mike Wood has generously donated various photographs of Cannock Chase Colliery locos which will eventually be displayed, and a friend of the Society, Robert Cadman, has given us a couple of local colliery lamp checks.

Reorganisation News – Adrian Hall

The appeal in the last Newsletter for candidates for management positions in the new company generated a very poor response.  There are still a couple of key positions without any likely contenders and anyone interested should get in touch with me as soon as possible.

Negotiations are still proceeding very slowly with the Charity Commissioners and in view of the need to be on a firm footing for negotiations over the motorway we have decided to incorporate a new Company as quickly as possible.

The necessary documents will probably be with the Registrar of Companies by the time you read this and it is hoped that the Certificate of Incorporation will be issued by mid-October, allowing the inaugural General Meeting to take place in late November/early December, probably concurrent with the Society AGM.

The Future

Negotiations with the Department of Transport have begun with regard to any compensation that we will get when the Northern Relief Road (M6 Toll) is built through Chasewater.  It is clear that the current terminus facilities will have to be moved north to a position at least adjacent to the shed (it is likely that the shed will not have to be demolished).  A planning proposal asking for outline planning permission to construct new terminal facilities is at present being drawn up, but is likely to be rejected as no development will be permitted along the line of a new road until the road is built.  This could well make our position at Chasewater untenable and to this end several alternative sites are being investigated.  It is hoped that the executive committee will have reached a firm preference which can be put forward at the AGM in November, along with the feasible alternatives.

431 Hudswell Group

The fund is ticking over quietly, giving the Society a monthly injection of cash.  By the end of the year the fund should be approaching half-way in raising the purchase price of the locomotive.  A few shares are still available.

Locomotive Stock List

In response to several requests here is a summary of locomotives on the CLR as at 1st September, 1986.  A full guide/stockbook will be produced when sufficient funds are available.  The next issue of Chasewater News will include a list of coaches, wagons and other rolling stock.

108 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 4 and 109 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From ‘Chasewater News’ April 1986

108 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 4

Another true anecdote in the series of an excerpt from the Chasewater Fat Controller’s diary.  Date line Sunday, 24th March, 1985.

It was about 2 o’clock on a relatively mild afternoon when four men and a dog set off from 21G Hednesford Road to replace stolen chairs from the loop.  The freshly greased bearings on the trolley ran easily on the falling gradients towards Norton, with Hairy Youths dog bounding along the four foot a couple of yards in front.

Once over the facing point, the going became much harder as the ever helpful Task Force (remember them?) had dug the ballast out between each sleeper so the dog was having to negotiate ten inch high hurdles, two foot six inches apart.  Finally with the leading axle of the trolley rapidly closing on his right ear he decided he had had enough and leapt over the rail to his right – a split second too late.  ‘Klunk, klunk, klunk – yelp, yelp, yelp’.  The fully laden trolley had run over his back leg leaving a six inch tear in his flesh.

Having bitten his owner and growled at everyone else in range the dog was loaded onto the trolley and sent back to Brownhills West Station where the ubiquitous Spitfire was waiting to take him home. That evening, Nurse Gillian is reputed to have taken the dog to work and rebuilt him bionically – this dog now has a starting tractive effort of 17,000lbs in full gear at 85% boiler pressure and may be used to work passenger trains when we get a Light Railway Order.

The cover photo shows CLR No.11, the Neilson now known as Alfred Paget, shunting near Brownhills West on a special steaming on Saturday, 17th April 1982 for the Industrial Railway Society.  Photo by Mike Wood.  Good timing as the Society was at Chasewater again only a few weeks ago (2011).

109 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From ‘Chasewater News’ April 1986

Our late friend, Mick Doman, preparing to take ‘Asbestos’ out from Brownhills West, Easter 2007.

 News from the line

 Loco Dept.

Asbestos and the Sentinel both performed satisfactorily at Gricers’ Day and both have undergone further work during the winter months.  Asbestos has had the vacuum brake finished and the regulator has been the subject of much attention due to its tendency to remain open when shut!  The Sentinel (alias No. 59632) is being fitted with vacuum brakes and its water feed pump has been completely stripped and rebuilt.  Both engines will be test steamed prior to the Transport Extravaganza in May.

On other fronts, No.6 the Albright & Wilson Peckett needs the extension to its smokebox takeplate replacing due to the severe wastage, as well as replacement of some of the rivets which fix the takeplate to the boiler barrel.  It could be that the boiler will have to be removed from the frames.  Tony Sale is progressing with overhauling the axle boxes of S100 and it is hoped that re-wheeling will take place soon.  The small Andrew Barclay has had a patch let into the side of its firebox so progress should speed up once several stays have been renewed.Sentinel Feb 2004 – Nigel Canning

On the diesel front, No.21 has had its engine removed to enable Colin Marklew to piece together a decent working engine from this and the two spare engines that we possess.

Task Force

Like the Phoenix, from the rubble of Brownhills West has arisen a splendid new platform which was 90% finished before the West Midlands County Council was abolished at the end of March, and the Task Force left Chasewater, supposedly for good.  However, at the beginning of April they reappeared under the guise of Wolverhampton Task Force to finish the job and to complete the drainage of the station site.  The Society is left with the job of removing the remaining rubble and fashioning a track bed adjacent to the platform before the Wickham buffet car can be installed.

Motorway Madness

Just as the railway is recovering from the enforced siesta that it has enjoyed since 1982, comes the news that the infamous North Orbital Route (as an alternative to the crumbling M6) is to plough straight through Chasewater, in fact, it is likely to plough straight through the new platform at Brownhills West!!  This of course is a major blow to the intended development of the park, not least the railway.

Despite the likelihood of a public enquiry it is almost certain that this ‘preferred route’ (out of nine possible options) will be built, construction not due to start until 1991.  As it will be some 12 to 18 months before detailed plans are published then the Railway will have to have its own plans ready to make maximum use of any compensation it is eligible for.  The main options open to the Railway are:

  1. To forget it all and disperse the collection
  2. To move lock, stock and barrel to somewhere else
  3. To move Brownhills West some 200-300yards down the line
  4. To move operations to the other side of the lake.

The executive committee have appointed Messrs. Hall and Patterson to investigate the feasibility of these and any other options and to find out what the chances of gaining compensation are.

“431 Hudswell Group”

At the Chasewater Light railway Society AGM on 13th November a resolution was passed empowering the Executive Committee to sell the Hudswell Clarke Locomotive No. 431 of 1895 to a consortium of Chasewater members and others.  A price of £2,500 was agreed upon provided that the locomotive would remain at Chasewater.

All this led to the formation of the “431 Hudswell Group” which is offering 25 shares in the locomotive at £300 each.  This covers £2,500 for purchase, leaving £5,000 for restoration.  An easy payment scheme has been set up whereby prospective shareholders pay a minimum of £5 per month per share. (There is a maximum shareholding of two shares per person) and to date 18 shares have been taken up.  Each shareholder will be issued with two certificates:

a)    When £100 has been donated representing 1/25th of the purchase price – i.e. 1 share – and

b)    On completion of restoration work to certify ownership of 1/25th of the locomotive.

No heavy restoration work will take place until the CLRS has been paid in full for the locomotive and there is enough money available to allow restoration to proceed unhindered.

Late News – A deposit of £500 has been paid by the 431 Hudswell Group to the CLRS.

Catering News

No doubt you will have read elsewhere about Gricers Day.  However, from a catering point of view it was both good news and bad.  The good news was that we literally sold out of everything and had to send out scouts to locate further supplies.  This resulted in the maximum profit being made.  The service went well except for the bottleneck around the hatch and doorway, and everyone drank the tea and coffee so it couldn’t have been too bad!

However, running the kitchen is hard work and we would not have coped except for volunteers who turned up who are not Society members via the Hon.Sec.  Thanks go to all concerned.  For future occasions if they are not available, ordinary members will have to be rostered for these duties, as the money raised by this service will be essential.  Other Societies have learnt that they can increase their income considerably by offering an efficient service and although none of us joined to make tea and wash up, this is part of the price you pay to see the engines running again and to keep them running.

Barry Bull is again providing sterling service on Saturdays and Sundays to members and the few brave souls who appear during the winter months.

On November 17th we ran the first ever “Chase Diner Train”, which taught us a few lessons – we must be mad!!  However, despite a few obvious points such as the gap between courses and lack of heat in the vehicle, it went reasonably well considering it had never been done before.  Apart from a longer cooking time than anticipated, due to overloading of the electricity supply, it proved what can be done when we are fully organised and better equipped.

Remember – help support our project “Eat, drink and be merry”.

Re-organisation Committee Report

We are still dealing with the Charity Commissioners who require more information than previously thought and so this is taking longer than expected, though there should be no problem in having the new Company set up by the Autumn.  Meanwhile, the Re-organisation Committee (gang of four!) are working hard to ensure a smooth changeover when the time comes.

The management structure was agreed at the last committee meeting and consists of seven Director Offices covering the main area of the business – the sub-board structure being a matter for the Directors to determine later.  The intention is for seven (of the possible maximum of ten) Directors to be elected to office concurrent with their election as Directors at the AGM.  The offices are:

  1. Chairman  (usual duties and to ensure Directors pull in one direction – the one the members want).
  2. General Manager  (control, planning, budgeting of on-site work).
  3. Engineering Manager  (ensuring that the Railway meets the Inspector’s requirements).
  4. Operations Manager  (rue book, staff training, rostering and timetabling).
  5. Commercial Manager  (sales, catering, etc., planning of rallies).
  6. Marketing Manager  (marketing the Railway, including publicity and advertising, magazine and public relations).
  7. Financial Manager  (treasury, liquidity and cash-flow management, budgetary control system, VAT/Revenue).

Association of Railway Preservation Societies  (ARPS) AGM25-1-1986

For the first time in over four years the Society sent a delegation to an ARPS meeting, this year’s AGM being held in London.

The only really useful part of the meeting was a talk by Major Olver of the Railway Inspectorate on various current problems facing the preservation movement, certain aspects of which were discussed in a private conversation between Major Olver and the CLR delegation (Steve Organ and Adrian Hall) after the meeting.

The need for agreement between railways and private owner stock was raised which is something the CLR will have to look at before we recommence train operations.  The Annual ARPS Award was intended for BR for organising the Marylebone – Stratford dinner trains but as they are ineligible – not being members of ARPS you understand – the Award was given instead to the owners of the engines used on said trains.  As the Award is supposedly for an outstanding contribution to the Railway Preservation movement, there were surely better qualified contenders such as the KWVR for the splendid restoration of the unique Haydock Foundry built ‘Bellerophon’;Bellerophon at Caverswall Road, Foxfield Railway

City of Truro at Hampton Loade

the SVR’s restoration of ‘City of Truro’; the North Norfolk’s Gresley buffet car; the Llangollen Railway’s extension to Berwyn, etc., (or even the CLR’s nine year restoration of ‘Asbestos’!).Berwyn Station on the Llangollen Railway – and the former Chasewater Wickham.  Hondawanderer.com

The Best Preserved Station Award went to the SRPS for Boness Station.  This is interesting in that it is not strictly a preserved station, being an amalgam of various Scottish station buildings brought in from other sites.  Enquiries were made to see if Brownhills West would be eligible – apparently it would so we shall have to see what can be done in the future!!  – Any (sensible) ideas are welcome!

Chasewater Transport Rally Report

Sunday October 13th not only brought a return to steam to the railway but also the largest event held since the last Transport Scene in June 1982.  It was also one of the warmest days of the year!  A total of 129 exhibits were in attendance, ranging from buses to stationary engines.  As organiser of the event it was a great pleasure to realise that although we may have gone through bad times over the past three years we have certainly not lost our friends in the world of preserved vintage transport.  Thinking back to the original Transport Scene organised by Andrew Louch in 1977 when we had about 70 exhibits over a summer weekend, who would have thought that an October day eight years later would see almost double the number of exhibits and sales stands with free admission and still enough money raised on sales stands, our own refreshment and miscellaneous sales to make a healthy profit.

Aside from the obvious thanks to all the exhibitors who attended and members who assisted on the day, I would like a special vote of thanks to be accorded to Angela, the two Sues and Tim – all non-members who were coerced into helping out in the Wickham buffet.  It is fair to say that without their help profits would have been minimal as most of the profit came from refreshment sales.  The day’s refreshment sales realised £165, by far the highest achieved in the Wickham in one day.

One spin-off from the event was our first major publicity in the railway press for years, with photos of the Sentinel and/or Asbestos appearing in ‘Steam Railway’, ‘Railway Magazine’ and ‘Railway World’.  We were also featured in the Lichfield Mercury and shortly afterwards a photo of the ex-Walsall Gasworks Sentinel appeared in the Walsall Observer.

Chasewater Transport Extravaganza

Yes, another transport event is in the formative stages.  A group of enthusiasts headed by our friend Peter Magee of Lichfield are hoping to organise a weekend event in the Park on May 17th – 18th.  Admission will be free and they hope to cover costs by selling trade space and by means of donation.  An enjoyable informal event is promised and will include guest appearances by up to half-a-dozen steam traction engines.  Any profit made is being donated to the Chasewater Light Railway Society.

The unique 1957 built Wickham & Co Class 109 DMU (50416 & 56171) pulls away from Berwyn station on 26 June 2010 with the 16:50 Llangollen to Carrog service, during the Llangollen Railway’s Railcar Gala. The station occupies a very restricted site, next to the main Llangollen to Corwen road, and perched high above the River Dee.

106 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 2

106 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 2

 News from the line

Mention should be made here that Brian Hames has been forced to resign as General Manager due to McGregor’s decision to redeploy him at Point of Ayr, following the closure of West Cannock No.5.  (Mr. McGregor was the Chairman of the National Coal Board at the time!). Grateful thanks are due to young Brian for services rendered and his successor is Tony Sale (formerly Assistant GM) and the new Assistant GM is Nigel Canning.

Loco News

I’ve tried to remember the numbering system of the locos but failed – miserably.  I have to keep going back through the mags to find them – enough is enough I say!!

The Hibberd diesel is still for sale at a very reasonable price.

Barclay 1223 – all the superstructure of the loco in undercoat, attention has reverted to the boiler and firebox.  The front tube plate is being built up with weld whilst the eighteen stays that were unsuccessfully inserted in the firebox, as mentioned in the last issue, are in the process of being removed in an attempt to straighten the buckled walls of the inner firebox.  The man says ‘this is in fact, proving quite easy’ 

The boiler inspector has been and wants a 9” square piece of the outer firebox to be cut out to investigate the extent of a small crack which has been welded over during a previous overhaul.

Brighter news about Asbestos, rapidly coming to the end of her prolonged overhaul with a return to steam being a matter of weeks rather than months away.

The new GM has been hard at work reassembling the boiler backhead fittings, all attached with new studs, whilst the Fat Controller has been making various bits and pieces which have needed replacement.  The outside motion is being reassembled to find someone a job to keep him off the streets.  During one of the Hairy Youths infrequent visits various pieces of the machine believed to be lost were rediscovered whilst several pieces believed to be ‘in the shed’ were not, so replacements will have to be made.

The Boiler inspector has been and performed an ultra-sonic test to his satisfaction and is returning for a steam test prior to Gricers’ day.

On Sentinel, the Fat Controller has busied himself making good various faults found during the January steam test, and has also painted the beast in an attractive black undercoat after much rust treatment and filling.  A coat of gloss black is to be applied before Gricers’ day.  The Boiler Inspector has been and carried out an ultra-sonic test and having been satisfied he will return for a steam test shortly.  He has also decreed that the boiler needs to be split every five years, not every 14 months as previously feared.

The Controller has carried out his threat of giving the beast a pseudo British Railways identity and has constructed a jolly fine smokebox number plate No.59632.

As yet nobody has had the heart to tell him that vertical boilered Sentinels don’t have smoke boxes!Work on Peckett 917 proceeds as other commitments allow.  The new cabside and the rest of the cab have received several coats of paint whilst the component parts of the new bunker await fitting.  Several men have been seen struggling to excavate layers of fire brick out of the smokebox in order to expose the front tube plate to the eyes of the Boiler Inspector.  Not a wise move as the tube plate appears to be somewhat bulged.  Following further descaling work the Boiler Inspector will return to pass sentence.

The GM has made his first major decision which is that S100 is to be moved into the shed as soon as possible – a sign perhaps of old age creeping up on him?  To speed this process up the loco will be re-wheeled as an 0-4-0 i.e. only two axles will be re-fitted out of doors, the third one will be done under cover.  The owner is at present wrestling with the task of fitting and securing the new main bearings into the axle boxes.

The Other Gentleman made a start on removing the tubes from the Neilson as a mid-summer madness wager that if they were all gone by the end of July then a certain bearded person would purchase a new set!  It is now the end of August and many tubes remain to be removed as those concerned are busy on ‘Asbestos’………Will the offer still hold……. Will the ancient Neilson steam again?  ………………Who knows? …………Watch this space!   Late note; yes the offer does still hold!

Coaching Stock News

In between making cups of tea, Mr. Bull and his crew have been busy repainting and varnishing the interiors of both the Wickham cars in preparation for Gricers’ Day.  As ever, more help is needed as several panes of glass need replacing and seats and tables need to be secured to the floor, however, the work done so far is a definite improvement.

Task Force

Still not happy bunnies!  Nuff said!

Company News

Working on the precept that no news is good news it would seem that the Company is doing just fine.

Well informed sources indicate that the overdraft has virtually disappeared (along with several of the Directors!) but shouldn’t there be an AGM (or three) due?

An unusual piece to end with…

Steam Hauled Sunday Dinner

As an experiment a steam hauled ‘Sunday Dinner’ train will be run on Sunday, 17th November.

In conjunction with the Rob Duffill Catering Corps a steam hauled train will depart from Brownhills West and at the current end of the line a roast chicken dinner will be served in the Wickham Buffet aka ‘The Norton Nasher’.  This is open to members only and is a trial run to see if such a service will be feasible when public services resume.

Would-be guinea pigs should contact Barry Bull as places are strictly limited to twenty.  Remember only working members can travel on CLR trains until the Light Railway Order is granted

N.B. It is expected that all participants will be prepared to spend the rest of the afternoon working so come prepared!

103 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 2

Three post in one – not a lot about locos but interesting ramblings about the Chasewater Railway at that time.

103 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 2

 Carriage & Wagon Notes

Following the AGM the ex GWR Toad brake van has been sold to Les Emery (owner of Barclay No.3).  As this is GWR 150th year it is perhaps worth pointing out that this vehicle was numbered fourth in the first batch of twelve GWR freight vehicles to be built with iron underframes and is thought to be the oldest surviving GWR vehicle.  Incidentally, its sale realises a 13,000% profit to the Society.

The AGM also agreed to the sale of the ex LNWR brake compartment (non-corridor coach known in the vernacular as ‘the paddy’.  This has been advertised for sale and hopefully a buyer can be found as it is neither use nor ornament in its present condition and funds/manpower are not available to rectify the situation.  The ex BSC hopper wagon is having its body removed and will be fitted with timber decking for use as a flat wagon.  This will enable the worst of the present flat wagons to be scrapped (as it had a smashed headstock amongst other diseases) along with the British Reinforced Concrete Ltd. drop sided wagon, which is beyond all hope of redemption.Great Eastern brake

All other wooden bodied stock is in appalling condition due to the ravages of open storage and vandalism.  One seriously wonders if they will be restorable if and when we have the money and manpower to do so.

The Wickham buffet car is in weekly use providing the Society’s main source of income over the winter months, whilst the Wickham trailer and Gloucester trailer await for signs of resumption of train services at which they will be repainted and brought into a fir state for passenger carrying duties.

Vandalism and Theft

Once again, the railway has fallen prey to the attention of juvenile vandals and scrap metal thieves.  As has already been mentioned, all locos kept outside the shed have had all none ferrous fittings removed after some pipework went missing, and locos to be stored outside after restoration will be fitted with vandal-proof shutters.

The ex MSL coach was removed of all its brass grab handles and door handles by a person or persons unknown, though these were later found in the Task Force workers mess van, from which one can draw one’s own conclusions.  Having suffered the above trouble and that mentioned in Mr. Bull’s ‘comment’, we have been of late suffering from thieves steeling cast iron chairs, track spikes, lengths of rail and even sleepers from the causeway and loop areas of the line.

As a result of vandalism and theft we have sold all surplus rail, wooden sleepers and chairs from the causeway as the majority of it was only fit for scrap whilst any decent materials have been secured in the vicinity of Brownhills West.

The theft of wooden sleepers has been halted following the issue of a circular to houses in Norton Canes asking for information.  No fewer than twelve households reported having bought ‘logs’ from a local resident.  These ‘logs’ were in fact sawn-up sleepers and the man in question was arrested whilst burning the evidence in his back garden, having received one of these circulars himself!

Help

A list has been drawn up of the work needed to be done before trains can run again.

The majority if the work calls for hard work and graft rather than fancy engineering skills.  Why don’t YOU give it a try one Sunday?  We don’t bite (well Ted might if provoked) and tea in the buffet car has improved of late.  Seriously though, the more people that help then the quicker we can re-open and form a sound financial platform from which we can begin to think of extending the line across the causeway and beyond.

Task Force

The last issue mentioned that the Task Force had returned with the intention of finishing all outstanding work by Christmas.  Well Christmas has been and gone and the situation is worse than even the Fat Controller can have imagined.  Following demolition of the platform the Task Force moved onto the causeway and dismantled the track there, and then – nothing!  That’s right, they just dismantled the track in situ rendering its recovery impossible except by Shank’s Pony.  Round the Festive Season word got out that Task Force had withdrawn from Chasewater an d were not coming back, not ever, never!

A variety of reasons were rumoured, the one holding most credence being that the head of the Task Force thought Chasewater was too far away (from his office one supposes).  We were not amused and a deputation of Chairman/Solicitor and General Manager were sent to County Hall to register a complaint in no uncertain terms.

Apart from the obvious air of destruction and the resultant lack of train services it is perhaps pertinent to mention that membership of the CLRS has dropped by 50% since the arrival of Task Force.

Catering

A recent plus in this department is the repair of the Baby Belling cooker thanks to Mick Webb, this will enable a wider range of foods to be made available than previously.

104 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 3

104 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 3

An excerpt from the Chasewater Fat Controller’s Diary – dateline Sunday 10th February, 1985

It must have been the coldest day of the winter when the GM brought his car to a stand behind mine in Pool Road.  Having tried to get through the drifts and failed, I had backed out onto the A5 slip road just as a silly wassock in a Sherpa van who, having watched me back out, took a run at the same drift and got stuck.  He was eventually towed out an hour later by the farmer’s tractor.

Following meaningful discussions in the General Manager’s car including how many tools have gone missing during the Task Force Scheme? And who did we know with a Range Rover? We departed for Lichfield Road.

The bearded one was just about to leave, so with two pairs of socks and a spade each, the three of us returned to Chasewater in his large ‘four-coupled’ vehicle.  This time we tried the dirt track off White Horse Road which turned out to be relatively clear and it wasn’t until we were opposite the main gate that we met a snow drift.

“Come on Les, up onto the grass, round the left of that tree, and we’re in” the driver was advised.  Seconds later we had slid into a deep ditch which had been completely hidden by the snow.  The situation was desperate as with only one wheel of each axle in contact with the ground, the chassis resting on the ground and the diff. lock frozen, escape seemed impossible.

Les was left in charge of the wreckage while Brian and myself set out for the loco shed through driving wind and drifts up to four feet deep.  As luck would have it the compound gate and the shed door were clear so we could get inside and gather the necessary rescue equipment.  One large block and tackle, crow bar, key hammer, peckett cylinder wrapper and rope.  By this time the gorilla had landed his spitfire in Hednesford Road and assisted with pulling the ‘peckett sledge’ back towards the gate.  Upon passing Brownhills West Station we were intercepted by the Bull who, having arrived by cattle wagon saw the effort being expended and concluded we must be up to no good and so joined in.

After much struggling the crow bar was hammered into the ground and the block and tackle run between it and the vehicle’s towing ball.  Finally, with a large crowd of onlookers assisting, the vehicle was half winched, half lifted, onto solid ground.

Needless to say we all left the way we had come to search for Les’s 3½”/5” gauge garden railway and a cup of tea.  But at least we had ‘maintained the presence’ at Chasewater for another Sunday.          Nigel Canning

105 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 1

105 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 1

Chasewater Comment – Ian Patterson (aka the Hairy Youth)

Scanning through the draft for this magazine I came to the conclusion that things must be improving as there seems to be a lot happening and even more to look forward to as indeed there is.  However, this illusion is rapidly shattered by a visit to Chasewater where a visitor asked me “is this railway derelict? – I came here expecting to ride behind a steam engine” a tour of the engine shed and a chat with the Sunday regulars changed this person’s view but there must be many more who don’t enquire and merely see what they see – not a pretty sight.  For all intents and purposes the railway is derelict and a hell of a lot of hard work will be needed to run trains again.  With the present day work force there is two to three years work to be done before a passenger train can run again and apart from this, a large amount of money will be needed to pay the legal fees, etc. necessary to gain the all important Light Railway Order.  This brings me to another point and that is the apparent lack of progress on the administrative side of the re-opening process.  Moves are afoot to get things moving and it is to be hoped that the membership will vote on certain resolutions at the forthcoming AGM with the aim of getting the Railway re-opened as quickly as possible, rather than letting personal prejudices cloud their vision.

Provided that West Midlands County Council do rebuild the platform and provided that Walsall District Council do provide us with the necessary leases and Light Railway Order then perhaps next year we can attract more visitors who will be able to believe that real progress is being made, and help dispel the working members’ fears that trains may never run again.  Whilst this uncertainty hangs over the railway’s head the wooden bodied rolling stock is disintegrating before our eyes, doesn’t anyone care?

I hope members will visit the railway on Gricers’ Day (13th October) and see for themselves what needs to be done – perhaps it will inspire you to come and give a hand or perhaps it will finally convince you that your membership is a waste of time and that the Society will finally collapse after all.  The choice is yours – if thirty working members turned up every weekend from now until next Easter then one could confidently say that services could re-open next May – think about it, your apathy could be the final nail in the Railway’s Coffin.

Now from a rather pessimistic outlook with a touch of optimism towards the end to some really sad news:

Obituary

It is with great regret that we have to report the death of Charles Ives, Society Vice President and former President and benefactor for many years.  Ill-health has for some time forced Charles to take a back seat in Society matters but his influence in the formative years of the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands District) can never be undervalued.Charles provided the Society with its original home on siding space at his Hednesford engineering establishment.  For ten years the Society had free use of the siding including an overall roof to assist early members in their restoration work.

His presence at Committee Meetings was always welcome with his sense of wit and countless anecdotes and sayings.  In his own way Charles was one of the pioneers of the preservation movement although perhaps a name that might not readily spring to mind.  A true character he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.  Our condolences go to his widow.  B. Bull

Anyone who has followed this blog cannot fail to recognise the contribution of Charles Ives to the RPS West Midlands District and ultimately the Chasewater Light Railway Society. CWS

100 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – 1984 – 1

100 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – 1984 – 1

Chasewater News – Editorial

 The Society is approaching its 25th Anniversary which will be celebrated at the Society AGM on 13th October and at a Bus Rally and Railwayana Fair at Chasewater on the following day (October 14th) 11.00 – 4.30, admission free.

Throughout its 25 years the Society’s membership has fluctuated around the 100 mark whilst its aims have switched from creating a static museum to an operating railway.  Despite the lack of passenger trains during the last two seasons the Society membership has held its own and so far this year over 15 new members have been enrolled.  To these people we say thank you for having faith in the Chasewater Project.  Inside this magazine you will find a membership form and we are appealing for every member to enrol a new member to give us enough people to operate trains next season (as we are led to believe that we will be in a position to do so).

Members may have read elsewhere about plans to spend up to 14 million pounds on Chasewater Park and the Society/Company have drawn up plans to expand the Railway, should this scheme come to fruition.  All this is dependent on us having enough manpower to run services on a regular basis so it is up to the present membership to either come forward and operate the services or to find new members to do the same.  Members may also have read of a scheme to build a new motorway which may or may not pass through the park.  If it does come through the park then we are wasting our time.

News from the line

Loco Department – It has for sometime been felt that there ought to be a numbering system for locos at Chasewater in order to give a proper Light Railway image.

A start was made some years ago when ‘Invicta’ emerged from a repaint sporting a painted No.8 (it was then the eighth steam engine on site) on the front buffer beam and brass plates (GWR style) on the cab sides.

The following system has been devised and will be put into practice as engines are repainted, although the GWR style plates on ‘Invicta’ will not be featured on other locos as brass plates with the loco number and the legend ‘Chasewater Light Railway’ have been designed.  Some locos will also bear fictitious 21G shed plates as the Operating Superintendent reckons 21G would have been the shed code for Brownhills West (Hednesford Road) had it existed in BR days.

Loco                                                          No.

Hibberd Diesel                                 1                 First loco to arrive

Peckett 1351                                    2                  No. 2 at Wallsend Slipway

Barclay 1223                                   3

Asbestos                                            4

Sentinel 9632                                   5                 May be painted black as BR 59632

Peckett 917                                       6

R & H Diesel                                       7                 No.7 at Whitwell Colliery

Invicta                                                    8

Hudswell Clarke 1822                     10

Alfred Paget                                         11               No.11 at Gartsherrie

Hudswell Clarke 431                       15

Ex bass Diesel                                     21

L & Y Petrol                                            1

It seems strange to have two No.1s when starting a new system, even if they didn’t stay much longer!

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.