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 – More about the armchairs.

Chasewater Railway Museum 

More about the armchairs.

Our curator, Barry Bull, has compiled further information about the armchairs, recent arrivals at Chaasewater.

After information received from Lawrence Hodgkinson a little more light can be shown on the two Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway armchairs recently arrived at Chasewater.

The chairs were originally acquired following a tip-off by Ian Smith, signalman and one-time Secretary of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society.  The armchairs, with others, were in the MSL Rly Directors’ saloon carriage and retained in this 1890 Gorton Works-built vehicle throughout its working life.

In its later years the saloon ended up as the District Engineer, Edinburgh Inspection Carriage No. SC 970113E.  Preservation was mooted but following accident damage in 1968, severe enough to result in its withdrawal and scrapping, some of the internal furniture at least  was saved, including the  two armchairs now at Chasewater, after many years in storage with Mike Lewis – to whom our thanks.

During Great Central days some modernising touches were given to the Directors’ saloon No 1033, which had been built by Parker at Gorton in 1890.  These included a big roller map of the system in 1913, to be seen on the left of this photograph of the larger of the two main compartments.  Photo:  George Dow collection

So far as coaching stock is concerned the palm for active service must surely go to Watkin’s saloon No 1033 which finished up as the inspection car of the District Engineer, Edinburgh, No SC 970113E.  Apart from its Gresley bogies and a modernised galley its original condition was unaltered when it was withdrawn for scrapping, because of severe damage in an accident, in the early part of 1968, at the ripe old age of 78.  Photo: George Dow Collection

Chasewater Railway Museum – More from the Sixties

Chasewater Railway Museum

More from the sixties

Taken from the RPS Newsletter Vol 3  No.2 – Date – Summer, 1961?

West Midlands District

Our covered space at the Hednesford depot now houses the London North-Western Webb coal tank, together with the London North-Western TPO van, Maryport & Carlisle and Great Eastern coaches, which are in various stages of restoration.. A considerable amount of really hard work has been carried out during the last three weekends.

Photo: Andrew Handley

Collection of small relics continues to grow, thanks in no small measure being due to two of our junior members, Brian Kinder and Maurice Harper, of  Walsall.  Donations to the TPO fund were received from some 18 members.

 

The West Midlands District also toured the railway system of the Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton Company at Burton-on-Trent.  The trip was organised as a joint effort by Stafford Railway Circle, and the party travelled in a four-wheeled directors’ saloon of 1889 vintage.  Acquired from the Midland Railway, the vehicle was built by the Railway Carriage & Iron Co. Ltd. at Manchester.Bass Locos – Published by Bass Museum

The following piece is taken from an article written by A. A. Chatfield (Vice-Chairman of the West Midlands District).

The Webb Coal Tanks of the LNWR

 

With the arrival at our Hednesford depot of number 1054, the last of the celebrated Webb coal tank engines, A. A. Chatfield has outlined a brief history of the class.

The first of these locomotives was constructed at Crewe works in 1881, and during the ensuing years no fewer than 300 were built.  Initially they were a tank version of the very successful coal engines with the addition of a pair of trailing wheels running in a radial axle box under the bunker and rear wheel tank.  Designated for working heavy mineral trains in the colliery areas of Lancashire and the South Wales valleys, the design changed very little over the years except that quite a few were fitting with the vacuum brake for working branch line passenger trains.

Main dimensions were: cylinders  17in. x 24in., pressure 150lbs., grate area 17 sq. ft., total heating surface 10,548 sq. ft., weight in working order 43 tons. Water capacity 1,150 gallons, height 13ft. 1in., and tractive effort 16,530lbs.

It is a strong testimony to the workmanship put into these locomotives that many of them survived for so long after the Grouping, as the total was still quite large even after the close of the second world war when some of the survivors were at least 60 years old.  It is strange that so many of Webb’s simple designs should have lingered on for so long, for by the time the railways were nationalised quite a few octogenarians of this design could be found happily and usefully employed in the quiet backwaters of the LMSR.

Naturally the coal tanks were very prominent in the ranks for 30 of them were still at work in these out of the way corners when the 1950s dawned.  By this time numbers were thinning out but still the coal tanks chuffed on until only one, 1054 or 58926 as she had become, remained – latterly employed ignominiously as a stationery boiler at Pontypool Road MPD.

However, the old lady still had her final fling to come, for she was cleaned up and hauled out to pilot an LNWR 0-8-0 on the last special train over the Merthyr – Abergavenny line on which duty she was filmed and recorded for posterity.  After this brief appearance in the limelight she was sumped in a siding at Pontypool Road depot to await the last call to Crewe for breaking up.

Fortunately the story has had a happy ending for through the good offices of Mr. J. M. Dunn and a large group of enthusiasts who were familiar with these engines in their hey-day, number 1054 has been saved for posterity, decked out in her original finery, and has been put into the custody of the West Midland District of the RPS at Hednesford within a stones throw of her old birthplace.

During 1963, Mr Dunn and his supporters arranged for 1054 to be transferred into the ownership of the National Trust for display at Penrhyn Castle in North Wales, not far from where the engine worked in the 1920s.

Although Penrhyn provided public access in safe and secure surroundings, facilities for effectively exhibiting the locomotive were limited. After nine years at Penrhyn, and with the growth of railway preservation groups providing improved facilities, some of the locomotive’s original trustees arranged for the engine to be cared for by the ‘Bahamas’ Locomotive Society at their Dinting Railway Centre near Glossop in Derbyshire.

London and North Western Railway Webb 0-6-2T ‘Coal Tank’ class locomotive number 1054 giving brake van rides on the demonstration line at the Dinting Railway Centre, Higher Dinting. Sunday 3rd October 1982. Photo:  David Ingham

In 1980 the engine was overhauled, put into working order, and restored to the LNWR condition in which it would have appeared just prior to the First World War. In May that year it attended the great exhibition at Rainhill near Liverpool. This was held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the ‘trials’ won by George Stephenson’s famous Rocket, and the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830.

In the years since, 1054 has performed reliably and well.

LNWR Loco 1054 at Hednesford depot.

To the best of my knowledge, 1054 is owned by The National Trust. It is currently undergoing overhaul by volunteer members of the’Bahamas’ Locomotive Society, who have cared for the engine since 1973.

The work is being undertaken at the Society’s Museum & Workshop –
Ingrow Loco – on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in
Yorkshire, and is supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.Pictured at Oxenhope on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway by John Winters.

For video footage go to:

www.geoffspages.co.uk/grp/Movies01/index.html

Chasewater Railway Museum – New Arrivals

Chasewater Railway Museum – New Arrivals

The new arrivals are two armchairs from a Directors’ Saloon on the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway.  They cannot be called new acquisitions as they were first acquired by the RPS and were at Hednesford for a time.  The chairs were sold off when it is believed that the coach was damaged in an accident in the 1960s.  Through Iain Smith, railway signalman and former secretary of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, the RPS acquired the chairs which, after their Hednesford visit, were stored for safekeeping by member Mike Lewis.

They were delivered to Chasewater Railway Museum by Laurence Hodgkinson in May 2019, and, although needing some restoration work, have been kept in very good condition by Mike Lewis.

Our thanks go to Mike and Laurence for their efforts on our behalf.

Detail from the back of the chair – MS&L

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.8. From the Railway Preservation Society Newsletter Vol 1, No 3

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.8.

RPS Newsletter Vol 1 No.3

Early days of the Railway Preservation Society

(West Midlands Division)

( Later to become Chasewater Railway)

 

The General Secretary’s page discussed the setting up of a Carriage & Wagon Section, to include as much information, as detailed as possible, about vehicles which are still used as well as those no longer seen other than in photographs.

For Posterity

On looking forward to the continued expansion of the RPS over the next 50 years, I wish to express the view that it will be desirable to reproduce the trains of main and branch lines at different periods in the steam age.

Settle & Carlisle Railway

Assuming that it may be possible to acquire such secondary main lines as Settle – Carlisle, Exeter – Plymouth, Midland & South West Junction Railway, and Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway among others, in the event of them being closed by British Railways, which occurrence is not entirely without the bounds of possibility, the running of semi-fast and local services forming scenic excursions and conveying intermediate traffic would be possible.

The bridge carries Pine Road over the old S&D trackbed (closed 1966) to the east of the site of Corfe Mullen Halt (closed 1956). © Copyright David Spencer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

In this connection the point to stress is the need to acquire a few of the older express types such as the ‘Sandringhams’, ‘King Arthurs’, ‘Patriots’ and ‘Schools’ which are threatened with extinction.  Whatever weight restrictions exist on original branch lines to be acquired let us at least endeavour to save a few more typically British express engines before it is too late.

This bridge crosses the dismantled Midland and South Western Junction Railway just west of Notgrove. It is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the Jurassic limestones exposed here. © Copyright Tamara Kwan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

It is also obvious that the efforts of various small preservation societies dedicated to the saving of one particular branch line would be better used within the united effort of the RPS as not all such branches could hope to survive by themselves.  The selection of branches in each area could then be carefully considered.

The point concerning all lines is that ‘period’ trains reproducing the locomotives, rolling stock and livery of, say, a Southern ‘Green Train’ or a 1930  ‘East Anglian Express’ could provide not only variety and colour in a standardised age, but would be in itself a strong appeal.

Of course this is assuming that the RPS becomes a railway company at some future date.  But why not?  Will someone design a suitable crest to super-impose on ‘period’ liveries?

Let us all contribute to making this a reality some day.

Platforms 5 and 4, for trains to and from upcountry, from the southern end. An Exmouth train is waiting at platform 1. © Copyright Derek Harper and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

West Midlands District

 

Inaugural Meeting

About 20 people met at the Station Hotel, Stafford, on Saturday 21st November for the inaugural meeting.  The General Secretary opened the meeting and sketched out the reasons leading to the formation of the RPS and future plans.  He explained that this was the first District to be inaugurated and though the general outline had been planned out, the detailed application of this would be the concern of the WMD committee.

Mr. D. A. Ives, who has been acting as Secretary, gave a report on progress to date.  He reported that membership was over 25 and that they had received a good response from individuals contacted.  The first step was to secure a small depot in a convenient locality, where relics could be stored and members work on their restoration.  The ideal site would contain a certain amount of covered accommodation as well as rail space for carriages and wagons.  He believed the support was there in the West Midlands, it was only a question of publicity and personal contact.

The committee to serve for the current year was then elected.

Future plans were discussed and the decision taken to launch a publicity campaign leading up to a public meeting in the New Year.  The site of the public meeting was fixed as being Birmingham, but emphasis was laid on arranging future meetings in different towns to give better contact with the public and members.

Three reporters attended the meeting, leading to reports in the ‘Stafford Newsletter’ and the ‘Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel’.

The public meeting was fixed for Saturday, March 5th in the Small Theatre at the Birmingham & Midland Institute, Paradise Street, Birmingham at 2.30pm.  Everyone welcome.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.7 – Oct 1959

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.7

From the Railway Preservation Society Newsletter October 1959

Vol 1  No.2

Chairman’s Page

Anything from a button to a branch line

Yes, we are interested in anything of railway origin and historic interest.  We have no prejudices.  We are anxious to preserve all classes of relics from all pre-grouping companies, the big four and British Railways.  In fact, we want to build up a truly comprehensive collection of relics that will form a supplement to the British Transport Commission’s own invaluable collection of historic relics.

At the moment we do not possess either a button or a branch line!    We own about 50 relics from the range in between these two types.  Our largest is a 6-wheeled carriage, and we expect that we shall soon have satisfactory accommodation for this so that our members can work on its restoration.

The rest of our collection comprises small items, and until we have acquired the necessary rail space and land, we cannot expand our collection of large relics.  Both the West Midland and London & Home Counties Districts are working on this problem, and both hope to be able to announce a satisfactory conclusion to their searches.

We already have our eye on a few larger items such as signals, 4-wheeled, 6-wheeled and bogie coaches, as well as goods vehicles.  The number of larger items we buy each year is governed by the speed by which our membership grows.

Once again we are enclosing a second copy of this newsletter.  Please pass it on to somebody who is interested in the activities of the only national society dedicated to the preservation of standard gauge relics.

West Midland District

 

Outing to the Much Wenlock Branch, Saturday, 19th September.

A rather small but enthusiastic party attended the District’s first get-together and outing, exact figures being seven members, plus seven relations and friends.

The smallness of numbers did not mar the day, however, and a very enjoyable time was had by all.  The main party started from Stafford station and was joined by another member at Wellington.  The Station Master at Wellington came over prior to departure for Much Wenlock; he appeared most sympathetic to our aims, and reflected sadly on the closure of branch lines.

Wellington Station – Roger Shenton

The train pulled out on time from Wellington, headed by a 57xx class pannier tank No.3732.  The quaint halts en route to Buildwas Junction were noted, the driver, leaning through his cab window, pointed out several places of interest.  Coalbrookdale Iron Works were keenly watched by members, with interest in the fact that the first iron bridge in the world was cast there.  This was seen spanning the Severn as the train passed over a parallel bridge further up-stream.

Much Wenlock – Wellington

This delightful photograph epitomises the action on so many evocative branch lines in the West Midlands.  2-6-2T No.4142 was running under easy steam at Farley Dingle on 23rd April 1957 on a Much Wenlock to Wellington afternoon local service.  As so often happens when rural railway services are withdrawn, the trackbed was transformed into part of the modern road system.

Geoff Bannister

Buildwas Junction proved of interest, an ancient wagon turn-table being spotted, also the two platform levels, one for the Wenlock branch and one for the Severn Valley line.Buildwas Junction

The train passed Buildwas Abbey, a very picturesque sight on the west bank of the Severn.Buildwas Abbey

The gradients and curves then became very pronounced as the train made its way to the Wenlock terminus through the beautiful Shropshire countryside.

A member living at Much Wenlock met the party on arrival and very kindly took four members to Longville in his car, this line being open to freight only.  This excursion through the lovely Wenlock Edge was greatly appreciated.

The goods yard, sidings box and single engine shed (without loco) were inspected by the remaining members.  The ladies of the party visited the ancient Guildhall and Abbey, which proved full of historical interest.

After tea and a final look around Much Wenlock station, the party caught the 7.05 back to Wellington headed by the same pannier tank, but a different crew.

A vote of thanks must be recorded to the BR Staff at WR Wellington, for the kind way in which they answered questions, thus making the trip thoroughly worthwhile.

It is to be hoped that another outing of this nature will be better attended so that the RPS will continue to thrive and gain more publicity.  How about it, WMD members.

Date: 2002

Description: Buildwas Junction formed part of the Severn Valley line that ran from Hartlebury, near Droitwich, to Shrewsbury through Bridgnorth and Ironbridge. However, the line was disbanded in 1963 following Dr Beeching’s review of the railways. A section of track between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth has been preserved by the Severn Valley Company, but the track from Bridgnorth onto Shrewsbury was pulled up in the 1960’s and can no longer be used.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.6

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.6

The photo has nothing to do with the article, but it’s old!

The first newsletter of the RPS was published in July 1959 and followed the information given in the previous leaflet.

It invited members “to send letters, articles and news items for inclusion in future issues”.

Other items raised were “Why don’t we take over a Branch Line?” The short answer was – not enough members.

“What type of Branch Line are we interested in?”

“The type of branch line we are interested in would have adequate storage space for relics and must be within easy access of large centres of population.  The exact criteria will be the subject of investigation by your committee, but we must bear in mind that the bulk of traffic would come from visitors on summer weekends and Bank Holidays who would not necessarily be railway enthusiasts.  We should be able to offer such people other attractions in the way of fine scenery and a terminus that is a natural tourist attraction with good facilities for meals, sight-seeing, etc”.

“Where will this Branch Line be?”

The early RPS members studied a proposal for taking over a line in South Devon but after consideration turned it down for two reasons

“1) Too small membership to make it possible.

2) Too far from the large centres of population where the      greatest support would come from.”

The thinking behind ‘Districts’ was explained.

“We think it desirable that wherever possible members should be able to visit a place where active work is going on during summer weekends or even just for an hour or two in the evening.  Also by concentrating our collection of relics in one place, we would deprive many members of the opportunity of seeing the relics of their local railways.

“Working from this basis, we have evolved the idea of an organisation built up of districts, each playing their own part within a national plan for preserving a collection of relics.  The first district has been formed, covering the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, and this is called the West Midland District.  A meeting of local members has been called to discuss plans for a London and Home Counties District.  The suggested area is the counties of Bucks, Essex, Herts, Kent, London, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex.  Other suggested areas for similar schemes are East Midlands, N.W England, Scotland, South Wales, Tyne/Tees and Yorkshire.”

Other items were – How do we form a District, Increasing our Membership, and the names and addresses of the officers of the RPS.