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Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 43.1 – Neilson on its way – most of it!

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 43.1 – Neilson on its way – most of it!

A not very satisfactory day

By G. Wildish

June 16th 1968, we were on our way to collect the Neilson locomotive – ‘we’ being Mary Grisdale and myself, Gerald Wildish.  The 4.00am train landed us in Glasgow shortly before 8.00am and after breakfast we arrived at Gartsherrie at 8.30.  Since our last visit, the works had been completely taken over by the scrap merchants, T.W.Ward, and this was the beginning of our trouble.

Reporting at the works – the manager said ‘Oh yes, the engine is there – go up and I will join you later.’  I went to the shed and was disgusted.  Some scrap thieves had removed all the brass clack and water valves.  The coupling and connecting rods had also been removed and cut up by oxy-acetylene equipment and were lying in pieces around the engine.  I returned to the manager and told him the story, ‘Oh yes, that happened yesterday, the police have been told’ – but why hadn’t he mentioned it to me earlier!

There was one locomotive with its motions still intact – No.3, and the manager agreed that we should tale these rods.  The next job was to remove them, they were stuck fast!  Mary traced some welders nearby with some cutting equipment and I gave them a back-hander to remove these for me – it took two and a half hours to get these pieces off satisfactorily. (It is highly probable that these men were the culprits from the day before).

Meanwhile the other problem was to remove the locomotive.  The line which we were to use for the removal – which it had been promised would be left for us – had been taken up!  At 9.00am the Wrekin Haulage people arrived and I took the driver on a tour of the lines and eventually we found one road-level stretch of line, but this was a mile and a quarter away.  The problem was to get the loco there.  The diesel loco of T.W.Ward was also in trouble and was unlikely to work.  However, I prevailed on two men to start and operate the diesel, but the brakes failed.  We agreed that I should operate the Neilson as a brake.  At 11 o’clock we succeeded in getting the Neilson to the low loader.  Two hours later we had got the coupling rods off the other Neilson and taken over to the low loader by a dumper truck.On her way!

Just before 4 o’clock the Neilson was loaded, but on arrival at the works entrance, the driver estimated that he could not get out!  Half-an-hour later, with the police controlling the traffic, the lorry nosed its way out and we set off for home.

Despite all our efforts, we are still two water and clack valves and injectors short.  New piping will be required to connect them with the loco and screws holding them to the boiler will have to be renewed as these have been mutilated by the acetylene equipment.  However, we have the loco – I pray that No.3’s rods fit.  Now that Millom Haematite Iron Ore Co. is to close down, we may be able to obtain spares from their Neilson, I sincerely hope so – I have written to them in anticipation.

Steaming at Chasewater

That is the end of Gerald Wildish’s article, but just to conclude – the Neilson locomotive took a while before it was used at Chasewater but was steamed successfully from 1975 till 1982.  After some years in storage and in the Heritage Centre it has now been moved into the workshop ready for renovation work, probably after the Hudswell Clarke S100 has been completed.In the Heritage Centre workshop

PS from Barry Bull – steamed September or October 1982 for her 100th birthday together with McLaren traction engine ‘Little Wonder’, also 100 years old, owned by the late John Mayes.Picture from http://www.steamscenes.org

Chasewater Railway Museum 1968 Vol.1 No.3 Bits & Pieces 42.3

Chasewater Railway Museum 1968 Vol.1 No.3 Bits & Pieces 42.3

Plus Stocklist – 1968

This is one of a number of articles included in this magazine – there will be another couple to follow later. I don’t know what happened to this loco, but in spite of it being purchased and delivered to Chasewater, it hasn’t steamed since!

Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST No.431 – By Frank Harvey

Working at Desborough – V F Hall

 

The previous issue of the Mercian featured several photographs of this, our latest locomotive, and it was felt that a short article about it would not be out of place.

It was built by Hudswell Clarke & Co., Leeds in 1895, works number 431 and spent most of its life in the hands of the Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Company in whose fleet she became No.15.  It was allocated the name ‘Sheepbridge No.25’, but this was never carried and with the removal of its official number and works plates ran its last years without any identification at all.

It has on two occasions been rebuilt, first in 1928 and secondly in 1944, by the Sheepbridge Company themselves.

The engine was first suggested as a suitable candidate for preservation some two years ago when it was one of several locomotives at work at Desborough Warren Quarry near Kettering.  One by one its companions were withdrawn leaving No.15 as the only workable source of motive power.  After closure of the quarry it assisted with the lifting of the track, until the early part of 1967 when it too was withdrawn and stored in the engine shed at Desborough in company with an Avonside 0-6-0T.

The RPS then stepped in and after pleasing, successful negotiations with Stewarts and Lloyds Ltd., the locomotive was purchased.  The firm kindly allowed us to steam the engine before purchase – and members will have read about this eventful weekend in the last issue of the magazine. (CRM Bits & Pieces No.41).

It proved to be in good working order and required little in the way of attention save for the fitting of two new injectors which have now been purchased, and the repairing of a cracked blower pipe.  Evidence of this can be seen clearly in the photographs!

Desborough, 1968

The locomotive was delivered to Chasewater in November and restoration is now well under way.  When completed it will be resplendent in apple green, lined black, edged white and a high standard is being achieved.Chasewater August 1969

Purchase and transport charges tended to deplete the Society’s funds somewhat, but all agree that it was money well spent and in common with all other RPS stock, no money is outstanding, a fact of which we are justifiably proud.

Although restoration is unlikely to be completed before 1969, we look forward to seeing No.15, the oldest working Hudswell Clarke, in steam at Chasewater later this year.In the Heritage Centre, 2010

Stocklist – 1968

With so many new additions, it was decided to publish a stocklist in the 1968 Mercian, Vol.1 No.3

I hope you can read it ok, it’s interesting to see what’s still here after 40-odd years, and what’s gone.

Chasewater Railway Museum 1968 Vol.1 No.2 Bits & Pieces 42.1 & 2

Chasewater Railway Museum 1968 Vol.1 No.2 Bits & Pieces 42.1 & 2

From the Chairman’s Notes 1968 Vol.1 No.3.

The Society is now passing through a difficult stage, this is common with individual members, indeed the country as a whole, is suffering from a severe depression with the economic climate.  The loan for our museum building has now been deferred, may we hope for better tidings later in the year?  We are, however, most grateful to members who are coming forward with loans to cover the cost of the museum compound.  Once this compound has been erected and the track into it laid, we should have two of the locomotives installed in the compound and ready for steaming.  The target date is late June and should not prove too difficult, if help, both financial and practical, is immediately forthcoming.  Your committee is working extremely hard, both on administration and practical work.  I therefore appeal to all members to back the committee and so push the work along faster.  A colossal amount of work has to be done this summer.  I am going to itemise the list of vehicles which require immediate attention.

D. A. Ives.

From the other reports 1968 Vol.1 No.3. 42.2

From the Hon. Secretary’s Report

The work on the Andrew Barclay loco (Colin McAndrew) at Hixon is almost finished.

Trevor Cousens and Allen Civil visited Stewarts and Lloyds at Bromford Bridge to buy loco spares to replace parts on the Hudswell Clarke and the Barclay locomotives.

Early in March 1968 some track was stolen from Chasewater.  It has since been replaced and measures are in hand to prevent any further occurrence.  A security compound will be constructed in the very near future to house the stock there.

Restoration Work at Hednesford.

Slow progress has been made on the MR Royal Saloon, the clerestory roof has had pitch applied.  The damp has caused the roof inside to crack up.  We understand that work is now in hand to the two side panels which need attention.  The outside is now being given a coat of undercoat.

The LNWR TPO needs a good coat of red oxide, some of the woodwork needs replacing.  The roof has had some attention and is more waterproof.

The TPO needs a good sort out inside, with new relics arriving all the time, we are getting very short of room in this vehicle.  A great number of relics have to be stored because there is not enough space to display them.

The Maryport & Carlisle 3rd Class carriage is almost completed, the wheels need finishing with a white rim.  The underframes require another two coats of paint.  One door has been made complete by Frank Harvey and another door by Laurence Hodgkinson – this needs to be hung.

It is hoped to move the Midland Railway crane to Chasewater in the near future, where it will be used for track laying purposes.

The Midland Railway Crane at Chasewater 1969

The Midland Railway horse drawn delivery van requires another coat of paint and the roof needs re-canvassing.  Two of the wheels need repairing.  (I knew that we had this van, but I’ve never seen it and have no idea where it came from – there has been nothing in the magazines so far.  It is now on loan at Shugborough)

Robert A. Ives.

The Chasewater Report

At last we have permission to start the compound, I hope work will commence within the next month as so much depends on getting this site ready for steaming of locomotives this summer.  I think it is most important that we make an effort to attract the general public.

New arrivals this summer (all being well) will be a bolster wagon from Holly Bank and the Midland Railway crane from the Hednesford depot.  We hope during May, the Neilson from Glasgow and a Hawthorn Leslie from Manchester will have arrived, and there is also a likelihood of two salt wagons from Sandbach, Cheshire; and providing suitable transport can be found at a reasonable cost, the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln coach and the South Eastern and Chatham Railway brake from the Derwent valley should also be here by the late summer.  (There was an appeal for £400 for the transport costs later in the magazine.)MSL Coach in the Heritage Centre 2010

Track clearing is still making steady progress, although there have been one or two setbacks, e.g.  the extensive re-packing of the point at the south end of the passing loop, due to the continual burning of the bank; the work has now been successful.  The latest bit of vandalism as you no doubt have read was the removal of three lengths of track from the north end of the line by people of low moral character (I would have expressed it somewhat differently! Starts with a ‘b’ and ends with an ‘s’!), resulting in the derailment of the tool van and the flat wagon.  This has now been completely relaid.

During the next two months a total of 1053 feet of track has to be lifted and relaid on the compound site, as you will no doubt gather this will require a great deal of hard work by the Chasewater working party to meet the deadline, and we would appreciate very much the appearance of members whom we have not seen so far.

The Chasewater Working Party 1968

Due to the rapid expansion of the relics at both Hednesford and Chasewater, I think the need arises in the centralisation of work at these two depots.  There is a strong case for forming various departments i.e. loco footplate crews, signalling department fitters and permanent way staff.  If anyone has any ideas on the above departments, please let Frank Harvey or myself know.

Laurence Hopkins.

Hednesford Depot

This article was written as an appreciation of the work done at Chasewater and Hixon towards getting the Chasewater site and loco ready for steaming later this year (1968).

But it also asked for more work to be done at Hednesford, as the state of the Travelling Post Office and the Royal Saloon was giving rise to some concern.  Mr. Siberry was asking for a weekend in May to concentrate on painting these two items.

There are still more articles to come from this edition – about the Hudswell Clarke, the Neilson and the Chasewater Line – not to mention the stock-list!

Chasewater Railway Museum May June 1967 Bits & Pieces 40

Taken from the new look Mercian of 1967 Vol.1 No.1

Manning Wardle Littleton No.5 – RPS Trip May 1967

Progress at Chasewater

Work has continued throughout the winter and members are now looking forward to the lighter evenings.

A temporary siding has been laid in the vicinity of the platelayers’ cabin, on which the stock that is not normally in use can be stored.  The works train now consists of the ‘Planet’ diesel, which is in the process of being repainted, a Midland Railway flat wagon and a colliery company brake van.

Ditching at the north end of the line is almost complete and it is hoped that work on track re-alignment and clearing will take place later this summer.

Restoration work is in progress on the GWR brake van and NSR open wagon while the Midland Railway passenger brake has received a temporary coat of red oxide.  Much more work has to be done on theses vehicles and anyone prepared to help will be most welcome.

Stop Press

A major step forward fro the Society came a few weeks ago when it was announced that Aldridge-Brownhills Council have finally given us planning permission for our museum at Chasewater.  We have been awaiting this news for several months, and our grateful thanks for all the hard persistent work he has put in to keep things moving with the Council go to our President Mr. Charles Ives.  We are now obtaining estimates from firms so that the building can be started as soon as possible.

Progress on the Andrew Barclay loco at Hixon has been very good over the last few weeks thanks to the efforts of several members.  Painting of the underframes is nearing completion, and it should not be many weeks before the wheels can be put back.  When they are, the rest of the engine can have its final coat of paint and the motion re-assembled.  We are still hoping it will be ready to go up to Chasewater this year, so if you can spare a couple of hours and can use a paint-brush, please go along and do your bit.

We now have both of the Worthington diesels from Burton at Chasewater, fetched by our good friend Jake Bacon, where they have been put through their paces and proved themselves to be excellent machines.

Full Circle – L.E.Hodgkinson

No doubt some members were surprised, and perhaps apprehensive, when it was announced last year in the ‘Mercian’ that the Society had purchased a diesel loco.  A number of working party members put up the £50 to buy it, and our good friend John Bacon transported it from ‘Pitrails’ of Aldridge to Chasewater on his low-loader.  It is a very small machine, built by Hibberds to a very ancient design, and has to be started by means of a handle.Chasewater No.1 Diesel Loco being painted by Frank Harvey.

Since then it has been used to move track materials and shunt stock.  It has also been used for uprooting bushes and for ditch-digging!

Its mechanical condition was appalling, but has now been improved to such an extent that it is merely shocking!  Its low power and difficult starting caused us to look for a replacement.  We were fortunate in being able to purchase two Hibberd type diesels from Bass Breweries of Burton for the very modest sum of £50 each.  Bob Wormington purchase one, and a number of members donated the other.  The locos are of very robust construction, with modern Dorman engines complete with electric start.  Coupled in tandem they will move any stock that we have.  When they arrive at Chasewater in the near future, old No.1 will be retired as ‘spare engine’ and will once more be ‘stored out-of-use’.

Lest any member be disturbed by this ‘dieselisation’, remember that these are only departmental engines to prepare the track for when the steam engines arrive.  If anyone wants to speed up the return of steam to Chasewater, volunteers are wanted to help with the painting of the ‘Barclay’ engine at Hixon.

A Breath of Wales – N.Hadlow

A breath of Wales came to Hednesford on Sunday 16th April, when we collected a large bi-lingual cast iron notice from Bala Junction that had been purchased by one of our members.   The sign tells passengers to cross the line by the bridge, or as the Welsh version puts it –

‘Ni oddefir I deither I groes’r rheilffordd ond dros y bont’

and according to the BR invoice it weighed 2 cwts., but after four of us had carried it ¼ mile over a field to the road in the blazing sun, we reckoned it could easily have been 2 tons!  It is certainly nearer 4 cwts.  There are only two signs of this kind in existence, both at Bala Junction, and we would have had them both but for the fact that somebody else had purchased the other one!

Other relics keep on coming in from time to time, such as a GWR hotels fruit salad bowl, GWR luggage labels, forms, appendices to rule books and other paperwork, an LNWR gate notice, GWR and LNWR padlocks and several other items.

 

 

 

 

 

Chasewater Railway Museum Jan-Feb 1967 Bits & Pieces 39

Chasewater Railway Yard 1966 Photo: Laurence Hodgkinson

From the ‘Mercian’ Jan-Feb 1967 Vol.6 No.1

 

The production of the magazine was under review, the cover was not really satisfactory around this time.  Bearing in mind that the magazine was typed and duplicated – no computer technology freely available in the 1960s – it’s a wonder that so many editions were published.  The next step they were trying for was an illustrated cover, and they were successful from the next edition.

From the Editorial

From time to time I receive news from our secretary of the activities of some of our younger members.  In this case it is Steve Gunn who has been regularly telling us of interesting rolling stock together with the condition it is in and also where it is located.  Some of these vehicles could well be incorporated in our collection and we sincerely thank Steve for his extremely useful contribution to our store of information.

Hon Secretary

More rolling stock

Monday 23rd January saw the delivery of the 16t Brake van and the NCB 10t Brake van to Chasewater.  The GWR brake is in particularly good condition and is complete with stove and lockers, an ideal cabin and shelter for the workers at Chasewater.

The Midland Railway passenger brake c1880 was delivered to Chasewater on Saturday January 28th.  It was unloaded during the morning, six members helped out with this tricky job.  Will all members please note that painting, etc., has to be carried out on these vehicles as soon as possible.  Report to the platelayers’ cabin either Saturday or Sunday afternoons.

Progress Report

Good progress is being made on the Andrew Barclay loco (now known as Colin McAndrew).  Alan Civil and his band of helpers have now repainted and relagged the boiler, and refitted the tank.

Any member interested in seeing steam at Chasewater this summer should report to the Hixon site any Sunday morning or afternoon.

The Hon. Treasurer’s Report was short and to the point – we need more money and members!

 

The date for the next Open Day was announced – Easter Weekend Saturday March 26th and Sunday March 27th at Hednesford from 2.00pm onwards.

Chasewater Railway Museum Nov-Dec 1966 Bits & Pieces 38

From the ‘Mercian’ Nov-Dec 1966 Vol.5 No.6

This photo is quite a bit ahead of time, I think.  Not from this Mercian, but it shows the conditions being worked in.

From the Editorial

The AGM has come and gone together with the light summer nights which have speeded up the work at Chasewater.  Naturally more effort has to be concentrated where most needed during the few precious hours of daylight now left.

You will read elsewhere of the progress made to date both at Chasewater and Hednesford, so that when 1967 dawns we shall be taking our next big step forward, that of running a steam train at Chasewater.

There was a report about the ARPS meeting at Portmadoc, including a request for help with funds for theJ36 and ’C’ Class 0-6-0 when required so that the purchases might be concluded.

Under the heading of affiliations the following were accepted into the Association – M & G N R P S, and the Hull Preservation Syndicate as an observer only.  The following were deferred until the meeting in London on January 21st 1967 – Severn Valley, LCGB, GWR Trust, Westerham Railway Museum, Southern Railway Club and the Loco Preservation (Sussex) Co. Ltd.

There was a short report about the ‘Forum’ magazine, which was still struggling with finances.

 

Hon. Secretary

Progress Report

Work has continued at Chasewater, the main task being the reinforcing of the embankment with fly ash, this material has been tipped into the cavities caused by the embankment fire (slow combustion), and effectively snuffed it out.

An ex Midland Railway flat wagon has now joined the fleet at Chasewater for use on maintenance work.  This vehicle together with the NSR wagon has been finished in battleship grey and appropriately lettered.  The MR wagon was kindly donated by Messrs. Thomas Boultons Ltd., of Froghall, Staffs.., of

Delivery has also been taken of the Peckett 0-4-0ST ‘Lance’ donated by Messrs. Whitecross Ltd., Warrington.  This has also delivered to Chasewater where it has been given a quick coat of green oxide paint to repel the rust which was starting to get a hold on the superstructure.

Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST. Colin McAndrew – Considerable work has been done on this locomotive by Allan Civil and his team of ex Bagnall fitters.

We are extremely grateful to this team for all the hard work they have put in to get it ready for the hydraulic test which it successfully passed.  The loco was steamed successfully on November 13th, albeit stationary.  We look forward to seeing her at Chasewater in the not too distant future.

Restoration Work – A small amount of work has been done at Hednesford on the E1 and coaching stock.  A start has been made on refelting the coach roofs, but has now been held up due to the weather and lack of manpower.  The small relics grow apace and receive the usual loving care from Nigel Hadlow.

Mention must be made of the wonderful job of restoration done to our Wolverhampton trolley bus No.616 by John Hughes and Robin Oliver.  These two members must be congratulated on their steadfast painstaking work in putting the interior back to its original layout.

Other than a couple of mentions for the Tote and the Annual Dinner that’s pretty much the lot for this edition.

Chasewater Railway Museum Nov-Dec 1966 Bits & Pieces 38

Chasewater Railway Museum Nov-Dec 1966 Bits & Pieces 38

From the ‘Mercian’ Nov-Dec 1966 Vol.5 No.6

From the Editorial

 

The AGM has come and gone together with the light summer nights which have speeded up the work at Chasewater.  Naturally more effort has to be concentrated where most needed during the few precious hours of daylight now left.

You will read elsewhere of the progress made to date both at Chasewater and Hednesford, so that when 1967 dawns we shall be taking our next big step forward, that of running a steam train at Chasewater.

There was a report about the ARPS meeting at Portmadoc, including a request for help with funds for theJ36 and ’C’ Class 0-6-0 when required so that the purchases might be concluded.

Under the heading of affiliations the following were accepted into the Association – M & G N R P S, and the Hull Preservation Syndicate as an observer only.  The following were deferred until the meeting in London on January 21st 1967 – Severn Valley, LCGB, GWR Trust, Westerham Railway Museum, Southern Railway Club and the Loco Preservation (Sussex) Co. Ltd.

There was a short report about the ‘Forum’ magazine, which was still struggling with finances.

 

Hon. Secretary

Progress Report

Work has continued at Chasewater, the main task being the reinforcing of the embankment with fly ash, this material has been tipped into the cavities caused by the embankment fire (slow combustion), and effectively snuffed it out.

An ex Midland Railway flat wagon has now joined the fleet at Chasewater for use on maintenance work.  This vehicle together with the NSR wagon has been finished in battleship grey and appropriately lettered.  The MR wagon was kindly donated by Messrs. Thomas Boultons Ltd., of Froghall, Staffs.., of

Delivery has also been taken of the Peckett 0-4-0ST ‘Lance’ donated by Messrs. Whitecross Ltd., Warrington.  This has also delivered to Chasewater where it has been given a quick coat of green oxide paint to repel the rust which was starting to get a hold on the superstructure.

Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST. Colin McAndrew – Considerable work has been done on this locomotive by Allan Civil and his team of ex Bagnall fitters.

We are extremely grateful to this team for all the hard work they have put in to get it ready for the hydraulic test which it successfully passed.  The loco was steamed successfully on November 13th, albeit stationary.  We look forward to seeing her at Chasewater in the not too distant future.

Restoration Work – A small amount of work has been done at Hednesford on the E1 and coaching stock.  A start has been made on refelting the coach roofs, but has now been held up due to the weather and lack of manpower.  The small relics grow apace and receive the usual loving care from Nigel Hadlow.

Mention must be made of the wonderful job of restoration done to our Wolverhampton trolley bus No.616 by John Hughes and Robin Oliver.  These two members must be congratulated on their steadfast painstaking work in putting the interior back to its original layout.

Other than a couple of mentions for the Tote and the Annual Dinner that’s pretty much the lot for this edition.