Chasewater Railway Museum 1966 Mar-April Vol.5 No.2 Bits & Pieces 34

Chasewater Railway Museum 1966 Mar-April Vol.5 No.2 Bits & Pieces 34

Taken from the Officers’ Reports Mercian Mar-April 1966 Vol. 5 No.2

An early booking office

 

The Editorial started with an apology for the slightly poor printing in parts of the previous issue, and thanks to the members who responded to the call for more articles – still more needed!

The Editorial continued:

A certain cross-section of the Society are seething about the ex-NSR Battery loco which has been restored and which will be displayed in the Staffs County Council Museum at Shugborough Hall.

The Society wrote to British Rail more than three years ago to ascertain when this loco would be taken out of traffic.  A reply from the Company stated that our interest had been noted and that when withdrawn the Midland Area (RPS) would have a chance of purchasing the loco although no price was given at the time.

It would now appear that there has been some internal skulduggery in the Stoke Offices of British Rail and the Society has been completely passed over without so much as a letter informing them of the new plans for the loco.  It seems a pity that when British Rail change their Area Managers they also change their minds about genuine requests for the earmarking of relics.  One hopes that this practise will not spread, otherwise preservation societies will not know where they are when earmarking future items for which they have the ready money. (I must find out what happened to this loco! Now in National Railway Museum).

How many of you caught the picture of our few stalwarts working at Chasewater which appeared in the ‘Express & Star’ on February 7th???  I hope it conveyed to those who saw it that we have a crying need for more hands on the site.  We have just over a month to complete relaying up to the point where the building will stand.  We are fortunate in having some useful pieces of equipment to help us speed up the work but most of all we need a few – no, a hell of a lot more – hands to use it.  There are now Saturday and Sunday afternoon working parties, can you make one of them at least three times per month???Not the pic from the paper but you must get the point!

Laurence Hodgkinson Collection.

 

To explain the next paragraph for those of tender years!

Barbara Castle.

As Minister of Transport (23 December 1965–6 April 1968), she presided over the closure of approximately 2050 miles of railways as she enacted her part of the Beeching Cuts – a betrayal of pre-election commitments by the Labour party to halt the proposals. Nevertheless, she refused closure of several lines, one example being the Looe Valley Line in Cornwall, and introduced the first Government subsidies for socially necessary but unprofitable railways in the Transport Act 1968.

Sandplace Halt

A request stop on the Looe Valley Railway Line.

© Copyright Tony Atkin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

It had to come – a woman in charge of the nations transport.  Already the winds of change are blowing through Transport House and many rumours have flooded the railway press concerning the fate of the present restored transport relics and more particularly those awaiting restoration.  It has been announced that the smaller relics section at York is due to be closed and it would seem that if this goes through it will act as the thin end of the wedge for Clapham itself.

Privately preserved relics are reasonably assured of safety but what of those still within the control of British Rail?  We have been told that two locos which have already been scheduled are now off the list, what others will follow?  The ARPS must unite now, to stop any acts of vandalism being carried out on these treasures of our transport heritage.  A small voice will be no good in the wilderness of Transport House, there must be a noise like the trumpets at Jericho!

Will it come too late??!!

One appreciates the difficulties involved but a concerted effort by all enthusiasts irrespective of society or railway bias, must come now.

I am sure that the ARPS will be to the forefront when the time arrives for a showdown with the lady who has a finger on the button which could destroy for ever the tangible reminders of our transport history.

More from the pleading treasurer!

In response to my appeal one or two members have donated something towards the removal costs of the two Peckett 0-4-0STs and I am very grateful indeed.  A lot more would be welcome, also donations towards the cost of the Stroudley E1, on which we still owe the NCB £100.

From the Chasewater Secretary

Thanks to my pointed appeal for guarantors I am pleased to say that the response has been overwhelming, and we have the requisite number.  My thanks to all those who made such generous offers – it brings us one step nearer to our ambitions.

Chasewater Railway Museum 1966 Jan-Feb Bits & Pieces 33

Taken from the Officers’ Reports, Mercian Jan-Feb 1966, Vol.5 No.1

 

The Editorial was largely taken up by explaining who was doing what.  Malcolm Willis was to be the Membership Secretary and A.A.Chatfield was to take over as Editor.

The present content will remain as in my predecessor’s time but I shall be introducing new ideas as I go along.

The most difficult thing will be to find ‘copy’ and you can all help by sending in articles, comment, criticisms – constructive or destructive – and anything else of both preservation and general railway interest.

I want to make Mercian really interesting from all angles – a start has been made by ‘Tre Pol and Pen’ and ‘Casey Jones’ (articles to come about branch lines and loco classes) – but there are other avenues of preservation still untapped such as railway architecture, carriages and wagons and signalling.  Who will start the ball rolling?????

Hon. Treasurer’s Report –  F.J.Harvey

I am pleased (you don’t see a Treasurer’s report start with those words very often!!) to be able to make my first report for 1966 quite a good one.  If the Society can maintain the good start to the New Year our position will be more healthy than it has been for some time.

The Society aims to complete payments on the Stroudley E1 this year – £115 is still owing.  Anyone who is interested in this locomotive is invited to send in a donation to this as payments are being maintained from the general funds at present.  Whilst talking about donations I would like to sincerely thank Mr. J. Strong and Mr. G. Wildish for their donations towards the removal of the Peckett 0-4-0STs.  More contributions are requested to this fund also.

Hon. Social Organiser –  A.L.Holden

 

A brief report about the Annual Dinner and Whist Drive – both successful, with two junior members – Andrew Horton and William Ives  – selling a huge number of Whist Drive tickets.

The Hon. Treas. and Hon. Soc. are promoting a weekly Tote amongst members and friends to raise money for the Society.  I believe that this Tote proved to be successful and continued for a number of years.   (I’ll let you know if it didn’t!)

 

Hon. Chasewater Secretary –  E. W. Barlow

Museum Building.  Without beating about the bush it will be as well if all members know that the loan repayments for the building will be approximately £245 per annum.  We urgently need members over 21 years of age to act as guarantors.  Will any such members please write to me in strict confidence NOW.  If 20 members are prepared to guarantee £20 each we shall be there.

Hon. Curator –  N. HadlowMSL Coach at Easingwold

MS & LR Coach. This vehicle, the first relic ever to be purchased by the RPS will soon be on its way to a temporary home at the HQ of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. (Lovely railway, lovely people!) To move and begin initial restoration will cost £140.  The Vintage Carriage Trust are finding this money, but have asked us to help out with as big a donation as possible.  Will all members interested in yet another appeal aimed at their pockets please send donations to our Hon. Treasurer.  Amounts over £5 will be acknowledged in this magazine.MSL Coach in Chasewater Railway Heritage Centre 2010

On Sunday January 9th we moved the ex North Staffs Railway wagon which we purchased from the Shelton Iron & Steel Co., Etruria, to Chasewater.  In spite of a biting cold wind the operation went off reasonably smoothly. (I would have been surprised if there hadn’t been a biting wind at Chasewater in January!). My thanks to all those who assisted, particularly Bob Wormington and our good friend Jake Bacon, who provided his low loader.

Judging by the old photographs of the Chasewater site, it must have been wide open to the elements with very few trees providing shelter from the wind.  Anyone who has worked on the track in the winter months, even now, especially on the causeway, deserves the thanks and recognition of all members).

Chasewater Railway Museum – Dec 1965 Bits & Pieces 32

Taken from the Mercian, December 1965 Vol.4 No.6

 

Editorial

 

As you will notice, this issue of ‘Mercian’ is shorter than we have recently been used to.  This is due to the indisposition of the Editor, Malcolm Willis, who has entered hospital.  I am sure all members will wish Malcolm a speedy recovery, and hope that he may soon return to the most valuable work which he does fro the Society.

Malcolm Willis returned to the Society, but not to the Editorship of the ‘Mercian’, taking on the role as Membership Secretary.  He did an excellent job of expanding the Magazine and would surely be missed.

This is the last edition of Mercian this year, a year which has been very rewarding for the Society.  We have realised one of our major schemes, the purchase of our branch line at Chasewater.  Work has been going on there for some months, and track-laying has gone on steadily.  Early next year we hope to have a permanent building erected, and several locomotives delivered.  If work is to go ahead as planned in the New Year, more assistance will be needed, and I appeal to all members who can help in any way to visit the Hednesford depot or the Chasewater branch any Sunday, when you will be made very welcome.

 

From the Chairman’s Report  –  A. Holden.No.9 Cannock Wood – Stroudley E1 – J.Powell

I like this photo as it shows the Valley pit in the background (left, above the wagons) and the Hednesford War Memorial in the background (right, above the carriage)  JD

Once again we are almost at the end of another eventful year for the Society with the prospect for 1966 even brighter.

A great deal of work has been done at Chasewater and at Hednesford by our gallant band of stalwarts who give their time each weekend to further our aims and ambitions.  Lots more work has still to be done and many more workers are needed to help carry the burden.

The Society is deeply indebted to one of our members, namely Dr. Plummer, for his generosity in purchasing and cost of transporting a locomotive to Chasewater.

Any Society which is to survive in these days of rising costs must have a healthy Bank Balance, and I strongly urge all members to participate in all money-raising efforts which are organised to help the Society to stay solvent.

We are fortunate in having many friends who are sympathetic to our cause, even if they are not members, who give willingly in so many ways, such as refreshments or prizes for various events, helping at Open Days and last, but not least, rummage for our annual event which Mr. Wooding organises each year.

Chasewater Light Railway Report  –  D.A.Ives.  Hon. Sec.

Good progress was made during the golden month of October.  Work has slowed down during the winter months.  However, a few real stalwart members have continued to lift and relay track in spite of cold and wet conditions.  Work parties are being conducted on Saturday afternoons, weather permitting.  Track-laying must continue during these winter months if the full length is to be completed by April.  The Chasewater party consists of approx. 12 regular members, who are now resigned to the fact that the job will have to be completed by them and them alone.Chasewater 1966 – Laurence Hodgkinson

Stop Press!!!  A strong steel door has been fitted to the platelayers hut at Chasewater, where we intend to store all our track-laying tools.

Treasurer’s Report  –  F.J.Harvey.

 

I would like to begin my report by thanking all those members who have renewed their membership subscriptions since the last issue of Mercian.  There are still quite a lot of lapsed members, however.  This is the time of year for giving, so please help the Society by sending your subscriptions as soon as possible.

The loan which was needed to buy the Midland Railway Royal Saloon has now been completely repaid.  We shall now be able to give more attention to clearing the outstanding debt on the Stroudley E1 as outlined in the last issue.

So far we have received no offers of financial help towards the transportation of the Peckett 0-4-0ST from Warrington.  As I have pointed out before, this is a matter of extreme urgency.  Unless we have some support, we shall be throwing away a working locomotive.  Please see what you can do  to help.  Any donation, no matter how small, will be most welcome.

Still not enough working members or money – but they kept going!

Chasewater Railway Museum – 1965 Oct Bits & Pieces 31

Taken from the Mercian October 1965 Vol.4 No.5

Another long magazine, with three more pages dealing with general preservation issues and a further two pages devoted to a humorous look at ‘Meetings’, which does not concern the vast majority of our members – our meetings are too short to be funny!!

Excerpts from the Officers’ reports

Treasurer’s Report – F.J.Harvey

Once again we start a new financial year, one which no doubt will provide a great many headaches for the committee.

In order that our projects can go ahead our financial position must improve a great deal.  We have just paid our first year’s rent for the Chasewater branch which has rather depleted our bank balance.  I would like to appeal to all members for financial support. This is urgent as we have several items of expenditure looming up.

One of the platelayers cabins on the Chasewater branch is in need of considerable repair.  This will have to be done in the next few weeks so that our track laying equipment can be stored there in safety.  A petrol trolley would be a tremendous asset if the money was forthcoming.  Members are having to push a loaded trolley, weighing over two tons, for over half a mile and this distance is increasing each week as we lay more track.

We are also faced with the problem of moving the Peckett 0-4-0ST from Warrington.  This is likely to be quite expensive and anyone who is interested in seeing the locomotive in steam at Chasewater next year is requested to give some financial support.

Turning to a more cheerful note, the loan for the Midland Railway Royal Saloon should be paid off completely by December.  We hope that this will enable us to concentrate on paying off the outstanding money on the E1 0-6-0T (Cannock Wood) £125.  Donations are still urgently required here.

The committee are trying to raise money but we do need the support of all members.  This is a crucial moment in the life of our society.  Please help now while there is still time.  If any member is prepared to help us in raising money, please contact one of the committee immediately.  If we can raise £300 we will almost certainly succeed at Chasewater.  This is not a large sum considering the size of the project and I am certain that it can be raised if all members help.Inside the old Museum Coach – Barry Bull

AGM Report  –  from our Publicity Officer.

I’ve skipped the Chairman’s Report this time, most of it is included here.

The 6th Annual General meeting of the Midlands Area was held at the YMCA in Wolverhampton on 18th September 1965 with 25 people present.  In his address, the Chairman, A.Holden, thanked the Committee for their support during the past year, John Elsley and his band of helpers for the hard, heavy work being done at Chasewater, and also thanked the Editor of Mercian, Malcolm Willis for his work.  He also thanked everyone who attended the Annual Dinner arranged last year, and said that it had been a turning point for the Society with regards to the number of people who had been introduced to it.

David Ives, in his report , stressed the point that we desperately need more help with the track laying at Chasewater if we are to succeed, and that it was a pity that we had so many apathetic members.  He also said that money-making activities were essential to keep up the funds.

Frank Harvey said that the past year had been a fairly good one financially, but in the next twelve months we were going to need a great deal more money and support if we were going to fulfil our aims.

All members were urged to renew their subscriptions if they had lapsed, and to really try and help the society in some way, as the next year will be a testing time for us.  If however we all work together we will succeed.

Chasewater Project

In order that we may keep to schedule with track laying and be in a position to build the depot/museum in early 1966, it has been decided that we should provide full facilities for working parties on SATURDAY AFTERNOONS.  As you have read in other parts of this issue we desperately need more manpower, and it is imperative that this need is met.  We implore members to take advantage of this work party if they cannot reach those on Sundays.  Please, please help!

The next plea is more or less a legal matter.  With the loan for the building, we will need to payback to Brownhills Urban District Council £245 per annum.  In order to meet the terms of the loan we need GUARANTORS to assure payment of this amount if the society should fail – which is highly unlikely.  If you could guarantee only £1 we should be highly grateful.  If you are willing to help in this way or even if you are only toying with the idea in your mind, we appeal to you to write for further details to the Chasewater Secretary.‘Smoke on the Water’ – this time from Barry Bull in the 1980s!

Chasewater Railway Museum – Bits and Pieces No 30

Chasewater Railway Museum – Bits and Pieces No 30

This post is taken from the Mercian of August 1965 Vol.4 No.4

One of the longest Mercians so far, but the first three pages were taken up by an article on railway preservation in general in the early days – I’m afraid that I didn’t manage to read it all.

There are three articles which I shall reproduce, two about other branch lines and one about steam locomotive classes from a ‘leisurely’ era.

This post just contains the officers’ reports, which give an indication of progress being made by the Midlands Area of the Railway Preservation Society, especially concerning the transfer to Chasewater.

 

From the Chairman’s Report. – A.L.Holden

Since my last report, developments have been going ahead at Chasewater, the track, having been inspected by a British Railways Permanent Way Ganger, was found to be in better condition than hoped. Weeding and general tidying up has been started by various members but more willing hands are needed to help carry on this operation.

A meeting will be held at the Lamb and Flag Hotel, Little Haywood to discuss track maintenance with a professional P. Way ganger.

The proposed visit to the Talyllyn Railway will take place on Sunday, September 5th – tickets priced at 15/- (75p).

Changing ends, Nant Gwernol

Nant Gwernol station is the end of the line for the Talyllyn Railway and the locomotive is run round the coaches to pull them back down to Tywyn Wharf.

© Copyright E.Gammie and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Secretary’s Report – D.A.Ives

 

Our open weekend held on the 19th and 20th June was a reasonable success.  A lot of members’ faces were absent, but a very grateful vote of thanks to all who helped.  These I may add were the usual working party, committee members and wives.  Several new members were enrolled, this is always encouraging.

Special mention should be made of the interest that was shown at the Kingsmead Secondary School, Hednesford ‘After School Activities Exhibition’, some 30 societies exhibiting, including the RPS.  Some good work was put in by school members of the RPS, Brian Hames and Frank Craddock, in manning our stand.  A very good job has been done by Stephen Ferreday in casting an axlebox cover for the Maryport & Carlisle Railway coach; this is an extremely good replica of the original.  We’re all very indebted to these junior members.

We hope to announce some definite progress re. Chasewater building in the near future and we do appeal to any members who have time on their hands during the summer school holidays to write in and offer their services.  Mention must be made here of the very useful restoration work put in by Mike Lewis, Vivian Miles and Maurice Harper during their annual holiday.  We are most grateful to these members for the giving of their time.

A special membership drive is envisaged in the near future, a membership build-up being vital in order that the Chasewater project can be carried through to its successful conclusion.  The success stands or falls by the determination of society members.

Treasurer’s Report – F.J.Harvey

Generally speaking, the year has been quite a good one but we do need more members.  This is where everyone in the Society can play a part.  Our nucleus of working members have, over the past few years, introduced a number of people to the Society.  It would be a great help if people who lived some distance from the depot could recruit more members in their own area, even if they cannot visit us very often.  We do not expect everyone to come and work at the depot each week although we are delighted to see new faces.

Please go round to your friends who may be interested and sign them up.  It’s their subscription we want when all said and done!  Some people offer the lame excuse that they cannot join the society because they are unable to take an active part.  This is ridiculous! If everyone adopted this attitude there would be no railway preservation societies of any sort.  Everyone can help in some way or other and recruitment of new members is as good as any.  If you know of anyone interested, write to the editor and ask him to send details.

The more money we have, the more we can preserve, and the sooner we shall have our own working railway.

Chasewater Secretary’s Report – E.W.Barlow

 

In this, my first report to you, I am pleased to be able to say that the negotiations regarding the financing of the building at Chasewater have been satisfactorily completed.

The target date for the Museum at Chasewater is April 1966.  This gives us only a short time in which to complete the building and to prepare the track.

We must have the assistance of every member who is able to help at Chasewater as often as possible.  Would all members who are willing to help at Chasewater let me know and I will be able to give details of the working party arrangements.

Laurence Hodgkinson

North Staffordshire Meetings

 

At the June meeting, where Mr. Gibson gave a lecture on the North Eastern Railway, I was disappointed with the attendance.  After much research work, Mr. Gibson’s efforts were heard by only about twelve people, and I hope that he was not too greatly embarrassed by this.

At the meeting on August 31st, Mr. C.A.Moreton will be motoring from Coventry to give a lecture on the North Staffordshire Railway.  He is an authority on this subject and I hope to see a great number of new faces there.

Chasewater Railway Museum Feb. 1965 Bits & Pieces 26

From the ‘Mercian’ – Newsletter of the Midland Area of the

Railway Preservation Society

February 1965 Vol.4 No.1

 

Last Day on the Churnet Valley Line

 

By R. A. Reed

In 1849, a line from North Rode, near Macclesfield, to Uttoxeter was opened by the North Staffordshire Railway Company.  This was known as the Churnet Valley line and was over 27 miles long.  The section from North Rode to Leek was closed a few years ago and some of the track is now lifted.

On Saturday, January 2nd 1965, the remainder of the line from Leek to Uttoxeter was closed to passenger traffic.  The day was cold but bright and sunny, and, accompanied by the Hon. Editor and friend, we set off from Stoke to Uttoxeter.  As we booked our tickets, from Stoke to Leek via Uttoxeter, 9/- (45p) single, the ticket clerk jovially remarked that it would be ‘cheaper by bus from Hanley – 1/10d (9p) single!’  Probably, these tickets were the first to be issued by this very devious route.

When we arrived at Uttoxeter, we had over an hour to wait, so we went to the waiting room where we found two seats of the North Staffordshire Railway, engraved with NSR and the Staffordshire Knot.  These were in excellent condition and one would be suitable for preservation.Uttoxeter Pic: Wikipedia

It was not long before the train arrived; three non-corridor coaches headed by Standard Class 4, No.75035 of Stoke shed.  The driver was J. Dickson and the fireman was S. Tabinor.  This was the last passenger train from Uttoxeter to Leek.  We occupied the first compartment nearest the engine and waited until the booked departure time at 11.18am, but this was changed to 11.30am at the last minute.  By now the train was filling up, most of the passengers being railway enthusiasts equipped with cameras and tape recorders.

As 11.30 approached the last photographs were taken, and carriage doors closed.  The Guard waved his flag and we were off, amidst shrieking whistles from the engine, detonators on the track and thunderflashes thrown by an enthusiast.Rocester Station Pic & Info: Genuki, Staffs Pasttrack

shannieslittleworld.co.uk

Description: Rocester Train Station 1905. This station was completed in the early 1850s. The North Staffordshire Railway Company’s Churnet Valley line ran through this station taking passengers to Leek and Macclesfield. Another service took passengers to Ashbourne and Buxton. The Ashbourne line closed to passengers in 1954, and regular passenger trains on the Churnet Valley line in 1960.

This picture shows signs on the platform for the Porter’s Room, Gentleman’s First Class Waiting Room, and a Ladies Waiting Room. There are also milk churns on the platform, awaiting collection .

All along the line people were waving as we passed, and the driver acknowledged this by long blasts on the whistle.  Soon we were speeding along and fast approaching the first stop, Rocester.  Here the train was well photographed and after a few minutes we set off again but only as far as the crossover, where we reversed onto the other track and back into the station.  A pilotman then boarded the locomotive and after much waving of green flags by hand-signalmen we finally set off, running on the ‘wrong’ line from here.Site of Denstone Station: Linda Bailey

We had a fast run to Denstone, the next stop, and again there were many spectators, and as we left the station, more firecrackers were thrown.  The section of the line from here to Alton is particularly beautiful and it is surprising that the line would not pay in the summer months.Alton Station: Humphrey Bolton

The next station was Alton, where we crossed back to the down line.  It was extremely tidy and well-kept and typical of NSR design.  The run from Alton to Oakamoor is continuous up-grade and the sound of the engine was music to the ears.  When we arrived at Oakamoor the platforms were quite crowded and many photographs were taken.  Just as we left, the last train from Leek to Uttoxeter passed, headed by a Stanier Class 4 (2-6-4T), and then we plunged into a short tunnel.Oakamoor Station: Rail37.com

Then on to Froghall, which is in an industrial area, but the factories between Leek and Oakamoor will not lose their rail connection.  This section of the line is to be kept open for freight and worked on the ’one engine in steam’ principle.Kingsley & Froghall Station: John ProctorConsall Station: Black Widow Productions

After leaving Froghall, we were soon in the beautiful country surrounding Consall.  This village has no public road to it and ‘outsiders’ cannot get in by car, therefore the railway was the only link (unless one prefers a long walk).Cheddleton Station: John Webber

We quickly arrived at Cheddleton, where most of the passengers left the train to take photographs, and the train waited until they were sure that everyone had finished and boarded the train.Leek Brook Station, Churnet Valley Platform: Wikipedia

The journey was almost over, and as we emerged from a short tunnel we could see Leek in the distance.  When we drew into the station, the engine rapidly uncoupled and ran round the train to haul the stock from the station.  As we left, the station was locked up – the last train had gone.

 

What a Comeback!  Churnet Valley Railway – 2010 version.Pic: Black Widow Productions

The first passenger services outside the confines of Cheddleton yard began on August 24th 1996, this being a “push and pull” operation of a little over a mile between Cheddleton and Leek Brook Junction, the latter being the junction with the mothballed Railtrack line between Stoke on Trent and Caldon Quarry. Trains were initially operated by hired-in “Jinty” tank loco 47383, this and resident 4F 44422 being the mainstays of the service for the first season’s operations. Although only a short run, this operation proved to be an ideal training ground for the railway’s staff, and got everyone used to operating outside the goods yard.

Saturday 11th July 1998 saw the first southward extension of the railway, when the section between Cheddleton and Consall was reopened for passenger traffic. This brought the railway’s operational length to approximately 3 1/4 miles. The next extension, to Kingsley and Froghall, opened to traffic on 11th August 2001, giving an operational length of approximately 5 1/2 miles.Pic: Black Widow Productions

Chasewater Railway Museum – From the Archives – February 1965

Chasewater Railway Museum

From the Archives – 1965 Feb. Bits & Pieces 25

Taken from The Mercian, February 1965 4.1

The front page shows the map of the line, including the amusement park and the go-kart track, both long gone.

Then follows an interesting Editorial about the future of the RPS movement after a change in government.

Editorial

Over the last few months of 1964, the winds of change swept through Parliament.  A Government which favoured the railways taking the form of a profit making concern was replaced by a Government which believes that the railways should provide a complete social service.

With this news came the resignation of Dr. Richard Beeching, Chairman of the British Railways Board.  What effect will these major changes have on our Society and its fellows?

Although the internal affairs of British Railways are nothing to do with our Society, their attitude – based on the policy of the BRB certainly does affect us.  Up to the present, the attitude has been somewhat cold, and certainly not what could be called encouraging.  British Railways appear to be trying to make a profit on anything that they possibly can, with no sympathy to museums or museum societies, as we have found.

We have been charged extremely high prices for coaches that would be sold to scrap merchants at one third of the price.  We do accept the fact that the railways are trying to work at a profit, but this exploitation of an historical society, in its first years and struggling to survive is surely uncalled for.

With the introduction of a socialist Government, we certainly expect the greater part of the Beeching plan to be abandoned, and concerning the connecting branch line to Brownhills and our Chasewater line, we would greatly appreciate a reprieve, but how does the remainder of the plan concern us?  Very little indeed!  It does affect some small branch lines for sale – at rather high rents, and on the other hand some well loved and beautiful branches which no society could afford to maintain or buy will be swept away.

On the whole, the RPS should look forward to the abandonment of the Beeching plan and perhaps a softening of BR policy towards us, although my personal feelings on the plan are the contrary to those of society in general.  Our own attitude seems rather selfish but we aren’t the wealthiest of Societies, and at this critical stage we must be selfish to survive.  As it has been said many times before in dealing with other problems, ’the world does not owe us a living!’

Hon. Ed. M.D.Willis

The Titfield Thunderbolt

It’s interesting to see that back in 1965 the Society held a film show at Walton Village Hall and 70 people attended in dreadful weather in January.  We have a copy in the Museum right now!

The Chasewater Project

As you will read in the Officers’ reports, work on the Chasewater line will begin in the near future, and a great deal of organisation will be necessary to make it the great success on which we are planning.  A great deal of hard work will have to be done by our members, and in order to discuss it openly, individual members will be receiving a visit from an official. (In long macs and dark glasses??!)

With this project will come a great deal of publicity for the Society, and in order to assure that this will be put to the maximum possible use for effect, we must have one united outlook.  In order to prevent any contradictions, however petty, will members please send any correspondence about the project to the Committee, via the Secretary so that any such ‘slips of the pen’ may be pointed out.

The Chasewater project was repeated in the Chairman’s report.

Hon. Secretary’s report

Due to wintry conditions, restoration work has temporarily come to a halt at the depot.  Work has been maintained on the smaller relics.  John Elsley has however continued working on the generator set in spite of the cold.  The TPO dynamo coupled to an Austin 6-cylinder lorry engine, donated by the President, comprises the set.  It is now in full working order and provides adequate power for our coach batteries.  Many thanks to John and his small band of helpers.

Hinges have now been cast for the Maryport & Carlisle carriage doors, an effort will be made to clean up these castings in the near future and fit to the doors.

Plans are now being formulated for our line at Chasewater, and the Committee will be discussing and drawing up plans for the project for some months to come.

A small party of members (7) braved the elements on Sunday 17th January to attend the last train run from Walsall to Rugeley.  Two members – D. J. and J. J. Bradbury – attended as official mourners, vintage MR and GWR caps were worn.  For our Treasurer, Frank Harvey it was a nostalgic journey, Frank having travelled on the line for some 7 years to and from school.

(The line from Walsall to Hednesford was reopened in 1989, and to Rugeley in 1997.)

D.A.Ives, Hon Sec.

Treasurer’s Report

Without doubt, 1965 will prove a most expensive year if all our plans are to be achieved.  For the benefit of our more distant members, (And for those of us reading this some 45 years later!) I would like to outline a few of these.

First we must consider the lease of the Chasewater branch.  Naturally, we have made preparations for this and the general fund is in a position to be able to settle this account without delay.  However, before any of the stock can be moved up there, a building will have to be constructed to provide accommodation.  The building which we have in mind will be large enough to house our present collection of large relics with room to spare for future acquisitions.  The estimated cost of such a building has been put at around £3,000.  This matter is urgent and the full support of all our members is needed. (As a comparison, a three bedroomed detached house in Hednesford at that time would have cost about £3,500, so the equivalent cost would be in the region of some £160,000).

Apart from this, repairs to the line and its accessories will account for another large sum of money.

The time limit given to us by the NCB to raise the money for the Stroudley E1 (Cannock Wood No. 9) has now been reached.  £100 out of the £300 needed has been collected.  We are hoping that negotiations with the Board to keep the locomotive for a further period of time will be successful.  I would like to thank those people who have donated to the fund, but generally speaking, I am rather disappointed at the response shown by our own members.  The attitude I am afraid has been rather apathetic.  Most of the money has been donated by people who live well outside our own area!

A branch line without a locomotive is a rather ludicrous situation.  It is up to us to rectify the position since we will require at least two engines.  The Stroudley E1 could so easily be one of these.

Sound coaching stock will also be required.  The stock we have at present will not be suitable for service until a vast amount of restoration work has been completed.  Carriages which require little or no repair work need to be purchased.  These will cost in the region of £300 each.

I realise that our expense problems sound formidable but they can be overcome.  After all, preserved standard gauge lines are still very few and far between.  There is certainly room for one in the Midlands.

With all the development work done by Lichfield Council on the Chasewater Country Park, the Chasewater Railway is better situated than ever in the heart of the West Midlands.