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120 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News December 1989

120 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News December 1989

From the Editorial

Looking back, this year has been quite successful for the Railway with relatively few problems to contend with and a number of major advances made.  Train operation, although hectic for the staff involved, ran smoothly and every special event seemed to go well to the extent that our period of ‘survival’ of the last few years has begun to progress into a time of modest expansion.

As 1989 draws to a close and we all wait for Santa’s Special to arrive at Brownhills West, we can begin to plan next year’s work on the line.  It is all very easy to draw up a long list of jobs, but short of ‘asking Anneka’, they wouldn’t get done.

Realistically, in addition to all the regular maintenance work, we could have a platform built at Willowvale Halt ready for Easter, carry on to complete the run round loop at Brownhills West and relay enough track past Willowvale to run a goods train up and down on Gricers Day.  That would be an excellent season’s work, but it is only possible if people put the effort in. Locomotive News

Asbestos – Having worked the majority of this year’s trains, this loco is now due to be taken out of service for its six-yearly major boiler inspection.  The work will involve the removal of the saddle tank and boiler lagging as well as all fittings.  It is likely that a certain amount of repair work will be necessary around the firebox foundation ring and also renewal of a number of boiler tubes.

Sentinel – This engine finally re-entered service on Sunday 6th August when it took over from Asbestos to work he last two trains of the day.  The recent introduction of two-coach trains meant that this little loco has to work really hard against the gradient on the return run to Brownhills West with the regulator wound wide open for most of the distance.  The result of this is that coal consumption appears to have increased slightly over last year’s running, so that the bunker needs topping up towards the end of the day.  To cure the problem it is planned to fit coal rails to the bunker to increase capacity to around 8cwt.

Lion – The good news is that the Boiler Inspector has done his preliminary examination and has given the go ahead for the loco to be re-tubed and prepared for its hydraulic test.  Painting of both the frames and boiler shell has continued, along with work on new fittings and pipework needed before the engine can be steamed.

S100 – The frames of this loco are currently being jacked up in the back of the loco shed so that the wheels can be removed to allow machining of the horn guides.

DL7 – this remains our only working diesel and has continued to run well, although on the morning of the Bonfire Night steaming its contactors had to be quickly cleaned as the traction motor suddenly refused to ‘switch in’.

Fowler – At last the necessary information for the renewal of the blowing cylinder head gasket has been found and the repair work was carried out on Sunday 12th November.  With train operations gradually expanding it is becoming more important that at least one of the two diesels be vacuum brake fitted so that it can be used to work passenger trains if required at short notice or on quiet non-steam days.  Hopefully the work will be carried out shortly.

Other Locos – No work has been carried out on any other locos.

 Carriage & Wagon News

The Gloucester & Wickham trailers have remained coupled together since June to form the operational passenger stock.  The bodywork of the Gloucester is now looking positively tatty and will require repairs and a repaint before next season’s running.  Again no work has been carried out on any rolling stock other than the three DMUs. Permanent Way News

A few dedicated men are still pushing on with the trackwork and as a result the old turnout which marked the start of the Norton loop has been completely removed and the line is gradually increasing in length towards the causeway.  Progress on this work quite honestly is very slow, but when only three or four people on average seem to be prepared to help, and even the shorter rails which have to be moved weigh about a third of a ton, this is to be expected.  Just to give the P. Way gang a break from trackwork and to provide variety in their work, the local toe-rags managed to cut every strand of wire between every fence post from the level crossing right down to the bridge.  This had to be patched up again before trains could run on Gricers Day when everyone was already pushed to near the limit. Operating

August bank Holiday Monday marked the end of the two months of weekly running allowing a very welcome break for all the operating staff.  Gricers Day saw both Asbestos and the Sentinel in steam, with the last two trains of the day being double-headed.  Rumours that this was brought about by one case too many of a certain lager in the buffet car causing the gross train weight to exceed the maximum allowable Sentinel loading were untrue, but merely an example of the Midland Railway Company’s small engine policy in action!   The Sentinel will now work the remaining trains of this year to allow Asbestos to be stripped for boiler examination.

New arrival in 1961

119 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Autumn 1989

119 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Autumn 1989

From the Editorial

This magazine sees another change of Editor as I (Nigel Canning) volunteered to take some of the load off Steve Organ.  We both spend a lot of time at Chasewater so we have up to date material for the magazine, but perhaps the problem is recognising it.  A number of members and visitors who had not been to Chasewater for a while have expressed amazement at the recent improvements and are obviously delighted, whilst those of us who work there every week tend to have on our minds want we haven’t done yet rather than what we have.  As you read the various sections of this magazine you will see the usual excuse for jobs not being completed, ‘lack of manpower’, however, if you look back through previous magazines the problem has subtly changed, hopefully for the better.

It used to be:  ‘Insufficient manpower to rebuild the railway to allow train operation’.

Then:  ‘Insufficient manpower to run trains more often’.

Now:  ‘Insufficient manpower to open the bar every week’.

Next perhaps:  ‘Insufficient manpower to sell tickets at Willowvale Halt’.

All of this shows that we must be making progress and makes me wonder what we will have insufficient manpower for in, say, ten years time???

Locomotive News

Asbestos – This engine has worked all of this year’s trains so far with only various minor leaks having needed attention.  The recent introduction of two coach trains has proved to be no problem at all for it, with only apparent minimal increase in coal consumption.

Sentinel – Getting this loco through the various stages of a major (five yearly) boiler examination has proved to be a long drawn out business, however it is now ready for its steam test and should be back in traffic by the time you read this magazine.   In addition to the statutory inspection work, an extra water level gauge has been fitted to the boiler, also a new, larger ashpan ready for working the new Norton Expresses.

Lion – Much enthusiastic work has continued on this engine, mainly getting the boiler ready for its initial major examination.  In addition to this, various new boiler fittings have been procured and machined, further vacuum brake pipework added and more paint applied to the frames.  Hopefully the loco will enter service during 1990.

S100 – Work has concentrated on splitting, cleaning and re-assembling the springs of this loco, a job involving a lot of heat and brute force.

DL7 – This loco has again run well, performing all the shunting and works train movements.  The only minor failure was that of a bearing in the small battery charging dynamo which was repaired fairly easily.  Following a bout of vandalism by local tow-rags the loco has been repainted in ‘Rail Blue’ complete with yellow and black striped ends to cover the graffiti.

Fowler – This has remained ‘standby diesel’ due to a blowing cylinder head gasket.  Attempts at finding the necessary details required for the repair, type of head gasket, torques and torquing sequence, etc. gave been somewhat protracted due to the engine manufacturer’s inability to provide the information even when the block number was quoted.  This loco is also in the process of being repainted, but in Longmoor Military style of blue with the motion and other details picked out in red.

Other Locos – Little or no work has been carried out on any other loco since the last magazine.Carriage & Wagon News

The big news is that the Wickham trailer entered service on Saturday 17th June coupled to the Gloucester to form the first regular two-coach train.  The following day there was another first when the bar was opened and refreshments were served on the moving train.  Although a certain amount of finishing off work is still required to the interior, the coach has run every week since its inaugural day and has been a great success.  A finishing touch currently underway is a pub sign ‘The Wickham Bar’ being painted on the large unglazed body panel at the gangway end of the vehicle.  A precedent for this was the Southern Region ‘Tavern Cars’ which ran for a while in the fifties in ‘ blood & Custard’ livery with brickwork and a pub sign painted at one end.  Other than the three DMUs, no work has been carried out on rolling stock due to lack of manpower.Permanent Way News

One problem with running trains every Sunday is that it doesn’t leave enough people to do much in the was of trackwork.  However, the track we are currently running on is in reasonable condition and, by our standards, is remarkably free of weeds.  In view of the above situation, all efforts will be concentrated later in the year, starting around September, on a number of projects.  These will be; packing rough bits of the existing line, repairing the fencing again, completing the run round loop at Brownhills West, building a platform at Willowvale and then extending the line towards the causeway.  Any volunteers for this work will receive a warm welcome and a choice of shovels!

Operating

So far this year operating the railway has been even more hectic than usual for a number of reasons.  A lot more trains have been scheduled, running every Sunday in July and August, which is another ‘first’ for the railway.  In addition to this, steam trains were run on Monday July 3rd, two school specials, and the first ever Birthday Party Special, all of which were very successful and will hopefully be repeated regularly.  The recent addition of two-coach trains in itself has been no problem, but when the bar is in use at least one extra person is needed to staff it.  For the obvious security reasons the day’s work involves loading every item of stock onto the train and unloading every remaining item at the end of the day.  As a result, so far this year the bar has been open only on special days when staff have been available.  A similar problem has of course existed for a long time with the Wickham buffet car with all stock having to be transported to and from safe storage.  As usual any volunteers will receive a warm welcome and a choice of whatever the apparatus for this work might be!

118 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Summer 1989

118Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Summer 1989

From the Editorial

Well, what a surprise! A magazine on time, as promised in the last issue, and, I hope, some news that will be of interest to all.

A brilliant start to the season’s train operations, which has now been sustained into June, and thus the annual swelling of our coffers, has encouraged the regular volunteers and the Board to look forward with greater confidence to the future plans for the Railway, both long term and short term, and some of those plans are discussed in greater detail elsewhere in this issue.  However, the greatest shortage we currently face is a lack of manpower – unless some of the membership come along and help to get our show on the rails we can’t hope to carry on achieving as rapidly as we have during the last twelve months.The Wickham Trailer Car project is almost complete, and the vehicle will shortly be joining the Gloucester carriage on trains, probably in time for the Transport Scene.  The station area has been paved and fenced with new fencing in Midland Railway style, and the electrical supply system completely renewed.  These tasks have all been carried out by volunteer labour.  Now, we are looking at phase two of this year’s portion of the development plan.  This will involve the establishment of a halt at Willowvale, which will then become the staging point for progress on the extension towards the Causeway, the said extension being the third planned phase of development for 1989.  The latter project can only be achieved if the halt is built, and it all comes down to manpower.I know that many former and present members of the Railway have had their resolution and enthusiasm dampened and in some cases almost destroyed in the past, especially by the events of the six years from 1980 to 1986, but I would appeal especially to those formerly active members to give the Railway a second chance, we’ve proved that we now have the management capability to put together a really professional little project, firstly by clearing the Old Company’s debts, then by transforming the site, and now by establishing the basis  for the first real expansion of the Railway’s activities, signified by the imminent operation of two car trains for the first time, and with serious, financially planned and viable extensions to both the running line and to our covered accommodation in order to properly preserve our historic stock.  Now is the time to come along to the Railway and see how much we have changed.  Former regulars will be welcomed – we need the skills of craftsmen who used to enjoy restoring and maintaining our Railway, and I hope that some of you will come and see the renaissance at Chasewater for yourselves.

BirminghamNorth Orbital Road – M6 Toll

The agony of prolonged waiting to hear the outcome of the enquiry into the proposed route of the road has now been extended even further.  A letter received from the Department of Transport indicates that the decision on the road’s route has been ‘temporarily’ shelved, whilst the Government investigates the possibility of construction of the road by private enterprise, which they are going to do by means of a design competition between private contractors, the winner of which will probably be invited to build the road, which will be sponsored by the constructor, who will then recoup the costs, and take a profit, by charging people through tolls for using it.  Ultimately, we shall be subjected to considerable further delay and uncertainty about the effects on Chasewater of this new road.

The New Shed

The proposed new shed at Chasewater is coming along apace in terms of estimates and financial proposals.  Sadly however, until the matter of the North Orbital Road is finalised, we can’t make a planning proposal to the Local Authority because of planning blight.  Broadly, however, the scheme being pursued is the establishment of a two or three road shed of sufficient length to hold all of the wooden bodied stock and the Company’s locomotives, as well as a number of privately-owned locomotives, on a site parallel to the existing shed, with room for three roads between the two, with galvanised steel stockade fencing between the two buildings to provide secure storage for capital stock (the service carriages), these sidings having the additional benefit of being sheltered from the damaging wind-born horizontal rain and snow which howls down from the Chase and across the lake.

Trackside

Fencing is still a problem.  Every time we run trains we have to run a P-Way Special first with a fence repair kit, due to some irresponsible people removing fence wires so that they can cross the line to go fishing, which leads rather neatly into a Company policy statement.

THEFT AND CRIMINAL DANAGE

 A POLICY STATEMENT FROM THE CHAIRMAN OR THE CLR&M CO.

Company Policy is now that any person seen damaging fencing, which amounts to Criminal Damage with intent to endanger life, or any person causing other criminal damage or committing theft from the Railway will be prosecuted, and the Company will include in the summons an application for restitution of costs of repairs or replacement as necessary by order of court, and this will include juveniles; so if the police ask the Company to agree to a juvenile caught committing these acts being cautioned, the Company’s representative may not accept that caution and the Company will itself prosecute the individual concerned.

Locomotive Department Notes

The Sentinel, after a major boiler examination, is expected to return to traffic on June 17th or 18th.  This follows seven months of hard labour for Nigel Canning, during which the boiler was removed and stripped down to its constituent parts to the satisfaction of the Boiler Inspector.

Asbestos continues to give good service, and has been used on all trains this year.

Lion is now being re-tubed by the redoubtable Mr. Newbold, after a de-tubing exercise which is alleged to have come close to costing him his sanity, since the tubes, being hardened, took far more effort than any others encountered at Chasewater to date.  Comment as to whether the loco boiler or its owner should be certified has been voiced, but I’m sure that Mr. Newbold’s gnashing of teeth will be sufficient to work off his frustrations with the ‘damn lump of iron’ out of his system, especially when he drives it across the causeway.

The Hudswell has now passed into the ownership of the ‘Hudswell Group’, and I believe that they still have more shares available at £100 cash or £5 per month with a standing order.  One excellent piece of news is that the boiler cladding, having been sampled and analysed has been declared to be not asbestos, as we had feared, but fibre glass.  This will provide a welcome reduction in the overall restoration cost.

Transport Scene

A major event of the year in the Midlands rally calendar, this year’s Transport Scene doubles up as an official City of Birmingham Centenary event, and includes in its title ‘City of Birmingham Centenary Bus and Vintage Vehicle Run’ It will start from Sheepcote Street, near the City centre, proceed around the City, and then make its way to Chasewater via Perry Barr, Bar Beacon and Aldridge.  The dates of this event, Saturday 17th June ( more of a setting up day really, with a social in the Jolly Wazzock Bar of the newly refurbished Wickham Trailer car to which all are duly invited) and the Main Event on Sunday 18th June 1989.

117 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces – Spring 1989

117ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Spring 1989

Topham & Austerity No.7 by Mike Wood.

 From the Editorial

No Chasewater News for the last twelve months and still no new Editor – but promises of better things to come!

At long last, the fruits of the reorganisation of two years ago are beginning to show.  The pace of progress at the Railway, both in administration and in physical terms, has reached a point where real new achievements are evident, as distinct from the earlier ‘marking time’.  This can be seen wherever you look; at Brownhills West, the station and yard are at their tidiest ever – the stock in the yard is all visibly presentable – the booking office, station office and shop are all established and contribute to both the appearance and good-working of our business – the trackbed is commendably tidy, and at last growing in length – the Gloucester coach and the Wickham coach are both being refurbished, and we are looking forward to the inclusion of a bar car in trains later this year.  Add to that the near completion of our run round loop’s refurbishment, the completion of the revised S & T arrangements, and a record turnover last year, and you can see that in the first complete commercial season of the new Company’s operation of the trains we’ve introduced, the Chasewater Light Railway has become a real hive of industry; projects are planned, materials are at hand, and to maintain the present impetus, we need your help!

Then followed the usual appeal for help on Saturdays, Sundays and train operating days.

 Carriage & Wagon Notes

Gloucester DMU driving trailer (BR Class 100)

This vehicle was acquired in 1968 by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands) for operation on their Chasewater running line, and was the first of four of this type of vehicle to go for preservation, the other three being, one which resides at the Gwili Railway, and two at the Swanage preservation site, where two driving motor cars of this type are also kept.The Gloucester this year celebrates its 21st anniversary in preservation, it’s been at Chasewater for twice as long as it was in BR service, and the interior still had the same seat coverings as when it rolled out of the Gloucester C & W workshops in 1957.  Sadly, these furnishings have inevitably become very worn, some torn and pierced by cigarette burns, and all suffering from old age.  Unfortunately, it’s not been possible to obtain the same pattern maquette to replace the old; however, the entire vehicle is being reupholstered, hopefully in time for Easter.  Also the floor is receiving attention, and new carpet fitted in the newly reinstated first-class section.

Externally, the vehicle quite recently received a repaint, including the roof, but some attention to the body is being undertaken as a preventative measure against the weather.  The lavatory compartment is being used as a store, since the pan is broken and there seems little point in replacing it when the Wickham trailer, complete with a perfect working order loo will shortly be joining it in service fro two-car running in the summer.

Wickham Driving Motor Kitchen Car

This vehicle has been the subject of a winter overhaul internally.  Starting in the dining saloon, the ceiling has been repainted, and a thorough cleaning given to al other surfaces.  The kitchen area has been completely emptied of all loose items so that the whole interior could be thoroughly scrubbed down, disinfected, etc., and the only items that have been returned there are those which are absolutely essential for daily catering service.  By doing this, a drastic reduction in the amount of items to be tidied and kept clean has been achieved, providing whoever works in there with a better environment. Less cluttered workspace, and a little more time to spend on the smaller number of items to be kept clean.  This is in line with general Railway policy of making tasks essential to our statutory duties as simple as possible – the smaller the task, the more likely it is to be done, and properly.

A start has been made on the overhaul of the doors, which, being made of a soft wood framing, have become severely warped over the years.

Wickham Driving Trailer

At last!  A policy decision backed with cash has been taken to restore this vehicle to operational use.  Last year’s traffic levels clearly demanded extra capacity, and the receipts from the 1988 operation have left us with enough money to start to replace windows and seats, as well as to repaint the exterior, all of which are scheduled to commence between the Easter and Whitsun steamings.

The Rest

Virtually no attention has been given to any other of the rolling stock, due to lack of manpower.  This year will see a repeat of the 1987 operation of trying to prevent further deterioration in the historic vehicles, since the provision of much more extensive accommodation is now being actively pursued by the Company, which would allow us to spend time and money much more effectively than we can at present on these vehicles.  However, the LNWR West Coast Joint Stock full brake (the ‘James’), which houses part of the small  relic collection will certainly have attention to its roof soon – a simple task awaits anyone prepared to play with bituminous coatings – come along to the site suitably attired and ask for ‘Clippie’ and the materials will be provided!  P.S. free tea is provided for workers on Saturdays!

 THE BIG LEAK – OR, WHO PULLED THE PLUG OUT?

Regular visitors to Chasewater will have observed the dramatic drop in the level of the reservoir in the last few months.  Railway members at first thought it was the water board’s response to our request for consideration of the condition of the causeway on which the railway crosses the lake, which had been adversely affected by the very high water level during 1987, in which year the causeway had actually been breached during a storm.  (This sounds familiar – low reservoir, breached causeway but this time it was natural causes!  For those who may not have been following the recent happenings at Chasewater, the lake has been virtually emptied and a culvert put through the causeway!)  However, the British Waterways Board have said that they can only attribute this to a leak and to the very low level of rainfall for the last nine months.  They have ‘no idea’ as to the reason for the scale of the water loss, but are ‘investigating’.  Meanwhile, they have ceased to abstract water for the Wyrley and Essington Canal from Chasewater, and we have the benefit of being able to see the whole of the causeway embankment down to its base – and a very sobering site it is too!  But at least we now have a much better idea of what we need as regards the type of materials to use in our planned repair of this essential link in our future enlarged railway.

Permanent Way Notes

Winter 1988 at last saw the completion of phase one of the Brownhills West station yard relaying.  For several years, with the threat of the Birmingham North Orbital Road hanging over the station, we have simply patched up as necessary in the station yard.  However, it’s been recognised for some time that if we were to stay at this location at all beyond 1988, we would need to completely relay the point leading to the sidings (No.2 point) and the centre road, since these had been laid in 1970 and largely untouched since.  The completion of this task has been greeted by all with a sigh of relief since it demanded a lot of what we are short of – manpower.  One really good thing to come out of it, apart of course from the comfort of the demonstration of concern for safety, is that the opportunity of revising the geometry of No.2 point was taken, and where we previously had a point taking up acres of land, with long leads (someone once said that it would make a good 70mph turnout if the sleepers weren’t so knackered and you could trust the brakes on loco No.21, we now have a much shorter point with sharper turnout and therefore a greater length of siding accommodation behind.At the other end of the line, work commenced in earnest in December on the extension towards the causeway.  This work consists of removing both the running line and loop (which is to be relocated at the new station site at Norton East) and relaying the running line in plain track with the concrete sleepers we already have in hand.  To this end, because of the great weight of the concrete sleepers, and because we have good hard standing access to the land immediately adjacent to the railway on this section, we are trying to find someone who will bring along and operate for a day, a HIAB truck, that is, a truck with a mechanical arm attached to it, to move the sleepers from the storage point near the level-crossing to the work-site – so if anyone out there can help, please get in touch.

Locomotive Notes

The 1988 season saw the greatest number of steaming days so far achieved by our group, and the forthcoming season will require even more loco availability than last.  The loco department certainly did the Railway proud as there were no loco failures all season.  Asbestos and the Sentinel were the stalwarts of the whole passenger service, tended in the greatest part by Colin Marklew and Nigel Canning respectively.  Over the 1988/89 winter, they have been stripped down for boiler examinations and general servicing.  Because of the need to completely dismantle the boiler of the Sentinel,   work on this commenced soon after the October ‘Gricer’s Day’. This meant that we were totally reliant on Asbestos for the ‘Mince Pie Specials’, and there she was, gleaming in the sunlight on Tuesday the 27th December, in service on one of the nicest and busiest days of the year.The use of Asbestos at Christmas, however, meant that the loco department then needed to strip it down, have the boiler inspected, rectify any defects and re-assemble it by Easter, as the Sentinel will not be ready for a return to service before Whitsun.  Will they do it? Come along at Easter and find out.

Work continues on S100, Lion and the little Barclay, and the race to be the first newly restored loco to run on the new extension in 1990.  Looks likely to be either Lion or the little Barclay.

On the diesel front, both the Fowler and DL7 are available for services, and the loco dept. are looking towards vacuum fitting one of these (probably the Fowler) during the summer.
The Wickham set has benefited from the attentions of the loco dept also, various refurbishments on the engine and transmission front are being undertaken to complement the C. & W. work on the bodies of these, and both engines have now recently been successfully ‘run-up’.

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Chasewater Railway Museum 2022 opening times

114 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces, Winter 1987

114Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News Winter 1987

Featured photo: Kerr, Stuart    Works No 3063    D249 Willy 0-4-0WT Pic – RMWebb

Chasewater Comment – This issue’s comment is not the usual message of doom and despondency and may help prove that all the recent effort has been worthwhile. (This page was ok but it soon went back to the old story – we’ve not got any money!)

From the Boardroom Notes – Most of the hassle is being caused by the motorway mentioned in the last notes, of which more later.  Many problems are being caused because the railway’s records are scattered among the directors, especially the accounting records which really do need to be housed centrally.  To this end the office at Brownhills West was planned, agreed and the basic structure provided, but despite the plea for funds in the last magazine, none have been forthcoming.  The situation is now becoming very grave, as it will soon be impossible to meet the statutory requirements for administration of the business.  The company has no money available for capital expenditure before Easter, nor to cover commercial stock and publicity for next season.  This is largely due to our inability to make more money from operations, hence the need for the above expenditure. (Seems like a vicious circle – after being in similar circumstances for some time before this point, the people running the railway must have been very enthusiastic to keep carrying on!).

The AGM in March will see all of the present Board standing down and in some cases seeking re-election.  Anyone interested in taking part in the management of the railway should contact the Secretary as soon as possible.  Essential requirements are enthusiasm and commitment. (As Mr. Punch once said: “That’s the way to do it!”).

The Chairman and Secretary have been engaged in a considerable amount of planning, lobbying and briefings connected with the development of the Railway now that the motorway route has been published.  The Company is objecting to the destruction of Anglesey Basin by the Burntwood by-pass and its link road.  Development of the rest of the line should be unaffected but long leases are unavailable at present.  Negotiations will however continue and preparatory research is now being undertaken for the Light Railway Order.  The Board has produced a report on the options available.  The basic proposals include continued development of works and storage facilities adjacent to the present shed and location of land for visitor facilities and a museum next to a re-sited Brownhills West Station.  It is this latter point which is causing problems as the Council seems to be unwilling to commit to anything at the present time.

By the time you read the next boardroom notes our surveyors and solicitors will be playing a much more active role in ensuring the future of the railway, with special reference to the reinstatement of lost facilities and opportunities at Brownhills West.

News from the Line

Permanent Way Department – Following a couple of derailments, the points next to the water column controlling 2 & 3 roads have been completely dismantled and rebuilt in a shorter configuration.  Work is expected to be completed well before Christmas and as a result, 3 road should be around 60 feet longer.  After completion of this work a start may be made on the much awaited run round loop at Brownhills West.

There are still a number of jobs outstanding to satisfy the Railway Inspector, notably provision of level crossing gates, facing point locks and Annets Key lever frames.  It is hoped that this work, along with the usual repairing of fences and packing track, will be completed this winter.  All volunteers will be most welcome!

Carriage & Wagon Department

Gloucester Trailer (E56301) – This vehicle has run its first year on passenger trains with the vacuum brakes in use.  The roof and bodywork have been repaired and a number of batteries have been replaced.

Wickham Power Car – This vehicle has again been in use as a stationary buffet car earning vital income.  Replacement guttering has been completed and the roof repainted.  A number of damaged batteries have been replaced.  Attention is now required to repair its warped doors, and to repair and repaint the body and re-decorate the interior.

Wickham Trailer – This vehicle is still relatively derelict with a large number of broken windows.  It has, however had its replacement guttering completed, roof repainted and a number of windows are now available to replace those stolen or damaged.

LNW Milk Van – ‘James’ has had a couple of body panels renewed following attempted break-ins and has also had mains lighting and a burglar alarm fitted.  It is hoped that the ‘motorway move’ will allow it to be re-connected to the rest of the railway.

MR Passenger Brake – This for wheeler has been repainted inside and out and has been in use on steam days as an extra exhibition coach.

GW Brake Van – This van has been beautifully restored internally and now only requires ‘finishing off’ and attention to the running gear.

M&C, MSL, & LNW Brake End – All of these vehicles have received a certain amount of ‘preventive renovation’ and look quite presentable from a distance.

Hopper Wagon – This wagon has had the hopper completely removed and is to be fitted with sleeper decking for use as a flat wagon.

One of the ex Holly Bank Colliery 5-plank wagons has been repainted in a livery reminiscent of Stroudley’s improved engine green.

All other Vehicles – No work carried out.

Loco Department

No.1 – no work done, needs painting and superficially renovating.

No.2 – ‘Lion’ is still progressing under its new ownership, having had its chimney cap repaired, paint stripped and re-applied, and the boiler prepared for inspection.

No.3 – ‘Colin McAndrew’ work is still progressing on boiler repairs.

No.4 – ‘Asbestos’ has run well after a late start this season.  It will require minor work on valve gear, boiler and regulator ready for next season.

No.5 – ‘Sentinel’ 59632 has completed its first full season of passenger work and on 11th October was griced in the traditional manner by a man with a long mac and notebook from the field opposite the shed.

Sentinel – December 1989

No.6 – The Albright & Wilson Peckett has had the cab and boiler removed to allow work on re-plating the bottom of the smokebox to proceed.

Peckett 917 at Albright & Wilson 21-4-1951

No.7 – The Ruston is still operational with no problems.

No.8 – ‘Invicta’ has been prepared for boiler testing and has had part of the driver’s side cab cut away for re-plating.

Invicta – Station Master: Rob Curtis (AKA Elder Grimm)

No.10 – ‘S100’ Work has progressed on steam chest fastenings, frames and spring hangers.

No.11 – ‘Alfred Paget’ remains out of use although it was recently repainted.

No.12 – The Fowler, following its recent arrival, remains out of use pending replacement or repair of its batteries.

No.15 – The Hudswell remains out of use with no work having been carried out.

No.21 – The Bass pudding remains out of use with the engine removed.  Some work has been carried out on de-rusting and painting the bodywork.

Chasewater Events 1987

Our first full operating season since 1982 saw four special events organised by the Chasewater Light Railway and Museum Company.

The first event was held on 26th April when, in addition to a Norton Motor Cycle Rally, we held a Railwayana Fayre.  The event was a reasonable financial success with eighty plus Nortons in attendance plus around a dozen sales stands.  Nigel Canning’s Sentinel performed admirably on trains, as indeed it has all season.

Sunday 21st June, a somewhat overcast day saw both ‘Asbestos’ and the Sentinel in steam on the occasion of our first Model Engineers Day.  Attendance both of the public and, perhaps even more disappointing, of exhibits was low.  Thanks go to John Rickers for bringing along six of the thirteen visiting exhibits.  John has been a good supporter of or rallies for several years now and his models are of a very high standard.  However, the star of the show was Roy Prime’s Sentinel steam wagon, built to ¾ scale, attending only its second rally.

One new event of which we had high hopes was the military weekend held in conjunction with the West Midland World War 2 Re-enactment Group.  Approximately twenty military vehicles attended the show, which was held over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday 25th & 26th July.  Apart from the mock battle held at 3.30pm on the Sunday ( unfortunately just as rain began to fall), highlights were an attack on Asbestos-hauled train and a 1943 Bren Gun carrier giving rides.  The Sentinel also saw use during the weekend.  Thanks in particular to Peter Bick, Chairman of the re-enactment Group.  The show was a moderate success and hopefully we can make various improvements for a similar event in July 1988.

Our biggest and best event was the annual end of season Transport Rally held on 11th October.  Two hundred and fifty exhibits were on display, including a 1904 Marshall traction engine.  It was nice to see the former West Bromwich Corporation Dennis ‘E’, now 59 years old and coming to its first rally since a major engine re-build.  A good selection of vintage and classic cars was well backed by 20 odd military vehicles, and a handful of commercials, more than in recent years, and a good display of motor-cycles and stationary engines.  Thanks in particular on this day go to Angela and Jill fro their work assisting Rob Duffill in the buffet coach.  Also special thanks to Ralph and Vera Amos for manning the sales stand at our major events this year.

From the Archives

Again this section features something of local interest.The Ennals Toy Fair handbill dates back to approximately 1935 – not only are the prices a revelation but just look at the various departure points, out of 38, only 12 remained open in 1987.  (Probably still fewer in 2011).

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.

107 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 3

107 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 3

Restoration of the Sentinel – One man’s battle against adversity

The Sentinel at Walsall Gas Works the day it was delivered brand new in 1958 – photo Mike Wood.

In 1981, as part of the exchange deal for the Royal Saloon, the railway acquired ‘in working order’ a 100h.p. Sentinel shunting loco.  This was duly steamed and trundled up and down with three or four wagons whilst waiting for the promised boiler certificates.  These eventually arrived but consisted of a boiler maintenance card, a Hydraulic certificate for somebody’s crane and a steam test certificate for 9632 which was later rejected by our Boiler Inspector as ‘not worth the paper it was written on’ because no hydraulic or visual examination had been carried out.

The only solution to the problem was to drop the firebox and start again from scratch.  It was this action which revealed a long list of both major and minor faults which all required rectification.  Luckily the boiler shell and firebox were in good condition but the superheater had holes in it and the spark arrestor box and chimneys were rotten enough to require replacement.  Eventually, following inspection, the boiler was re-assembled and passed its 413psi hydraulic test. Since then the rest of the loco has been gradually rebuilt, and as during last winter we had serious problems with thefts and vandalism, the opportunity was taken to fit lockable sliding yobo-proof screens to the cab along with wire reinforced glass and bars over the windows.

The Sentinel shuffling past the loco shed at Chasewater during a test steaming shortly after arrival from Butterley, after which it was dismantled for overhaul – photo Sid Mills.

During 1984 the loco was test steamed twice revealing more minor problems.  The steam brake would not release properly because the valve body had been machined badly out of true; the engine blow through drain valve would not work because its pipe was blocked with twelve inches of solidified sludge; even the injector water valve could not be operated properly from the cab.  However, following each steaming of the loco, more faults are corrected or improvements made.

Two faults which need to be checked at the next steaming are the boiler feed pump which so far has refused to work, and the engine oil pump which has to be primed with oil before it will pump pressure.  Hopefully the recently installed stainless steel balls in the non-return valve matrix may have cured the oil pump problem.

At the present time the loco is being re-assembled after its second visual boiler inspection and painted BR black for the Open Day in October.  Hopefully, three years after it arrived it can at last be seen running in public.

The Chasewater Fat Controller – Nigel Canning.At the time of writing – May 2011 the Sentinel is coming to the end of its latest overhaul.

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!