Tag Archives: Staffordshire

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.9 More from the Early Days – From 1960 April RPS Newsletter Vol 1 No.4

More from the Early Days

From 1960 April RPS Newsletter Vol 1 No.4

West Midlands District

This picture shows the old headquarters in Hednesford.  The building which the carriages are partly inside is still standing, although it is bricked up now.  The white buildings on the other side of the line to Rugeley was the wagon works – long gone.

Public Meeting, Saturday, March 5th 1960

Mr. G. T. Cox,  WMD Chairman, opened the meeting at 3.00pm.  He expressed his regret that there were not more people present, and said that possibly the unusually fine weather had diverted persons to outdoor pursuits.

Mr. Cox went on to say, “Many of us often look back to the bygone days.  We younger ones can only remember the pre-nationalisation days, whilst older ones can remember quite clearly the pre-grouping companies and put down their memories in black and white.”

“The best way of showing any exhibition piece is in its natural surroundings, and this is what the RPS means by a ‘living’ museum.  You will not get one by asking, but you will if you support the RPS to the best of your ability.  There is little preserved in contrast to the vast scrapped during the last 50 years.  It is within our reach to extend the range, if action is taken now.”

The General Secretary, D. Noel Draycott, briefly described the origins of the RPS and the district organisation which gives local groups the chance to build p local collections.  The first programme for the WMD has been drawn up, covering the purchase of rolling stock and other large relics.  The programme is divided into three stages, but it is not necessarily the order in which items will be purchased.  The selection of relics depends on the speed with which our funds grow.

Mr. R. De Lacy-Spencer pointed out that many relics were kept by persons who did not realise their historic interest to railway enthusiasts.  An example of this was the Midland Railway stationmaster’s hat which had been presented to the RPS by a lady living in Lincolnshire.

The WMD Secretary, D. A. Ives, gave an account of progress in the area.  Membership was growing and a keen committee were considering more plans for the future.  Members were contributing many smaller relics, and a good selection was on view.  He had been corresponding with BR for some time about a possible depot site, but with no result to date.

Mr. F. J. Harvey read a branch line survey he had recently made.  It was an account of the present condition of the MR branch from Aldridge to Brownhills and Chasewater.  The civil engineering features appeared to be in good condition, but the permanent way was neglected towards the end of the branch and part had been lifted.  At present only a section of it was used for a daily freight trip.

The meeting was wound up at 4.30pm and Mr. A. Holden from the audience proposed a vote of thanks to the speakers which was carried.

Stop Press! – Depot established in WMD

We are pleased to announce that negotiations for the establishment of a depot have reached a definite stage.  The site is at Hednesford, about 11 miles from Wolverhampton, and contains 150 yards of siding, part of which is under cover.  Fuller details were given to members at the visit to the Stafford/Uttoxeter branch on Sunday, March 27th.  These details are not to hand at the time of writing this, and a description with information about working parties will appear in the next issue of the newsletter.

This will enable the WMD to launch an intensive campaign to purchase rolling-stock, etc., of the Cambrian, Great Western, London & North Western, Midland and North Staffordshire Railways.  All persons interested in these railways are invited to send donations direct to the West Midlands Treasurer, RPS.

Chasewater Railway Museum – September Newsletter

Chasewater Railway Museum 

September Newsletter

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.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.5

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces No.5

These posts are taken from old publications, newssheets and magazines produced by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands Division). Chasewater Light Railway Society and Chasewater Light Railway and Museum.

I know that it’s not the newsletter referred to but I needed a picture  in a hurry!!

Chasewater Railway Museum 1958 Bits & Pieces 5

This post was taken from the ‘Railway Preservation Society’ leaflet of 1958 – the start of the railway preservation movement in this country.  I found it interesting to know how the movement started – I hope that other people will  too!

Railway Preservation Society

The national society for the preservation of relics from the standard gauge railways of Great Britain.

Keep the steam era alive – join the RPS

Introduction

At the present time the railways of Great Britain are going through a period of complete change in the principal method of traction.  The steam engine is condemned, though many years will pass before it finally goes.  So as to provide a worthy memorial to the steam engine, the Railway Preservation Society was founded in 1958 by a group of railway enthusiasts.  We plan to co-ordinate the efforts of individuals and widen the field of railway preservation.  Our main aim is the establishment of living museums on our own branch lines, where the steam engine would still be the main source of power and the railway could be seen in the full glory of its Edwardian Splendour.

It is still possible to find engines of many of the old pre-grouping companies in use, and to recreate trains representative of those found on our lines 50 years ago.

But time is running out fast!

Organisation of the RPS

Our members are being grouped in Districts, each consisting of an area of dense population and the surrounding lesser populated area.  Each district will concentrate on collecting relics of the railways serving its area, re-capturing the individual character of the Edwardian railway companies.

The relics preserved will range from a button to a branch line.  Amongst the items we seek to recreate are the rural stations of yesterday, the signal boxes, the trains, each with its own appearance, which varied from company to company.

Each District will establish a depot as a short term project, until arrangements have been made for leasing or purchasing a branch line.  This will give it a working site for the restoration and display of engines, carriages, signals, etc., in a locality convenient to the greater part of the population of the District.  It will also enable us to concentrate our first efforts on the urgent need to preserve suitable locomotives.

Appearance of a branch line

The type of branch line we are interested in is one which runs through scenery of natural beauty to a place of tourist attraction.  The major proportion of our passengers would not be railway enthusiasts, and we must take them to a place that is attractive in itself and offers them ample facilities for recreation and refreshment.  It is only by satisfying our customers so that they recommend the service we offer, that we can hope to succeed.

The length of the line would depend on whether it was a combined effort by more than one District or a solitary venture.  It would have exchange facilities with BR at least at one end, so that traffic could be attracted from as wide an area as possible.  The stations would be restored to their Edwardian appearance, and the trains run in a similar manner to those of that era.  At the same time we should have to satisfy the stringent regulations of the Ministry of Transport, so that our passengers would be guaranteed a high degree of safety.

At the terminus will be found the engine shed, carriage sidings and museum.  Here rolling stock not in use at the time could be seen by the public, and their design and the methods of construction and maintenance be on show.  Displays of smaller relics, maps, prints, etc. will be arranged to show the growth of the railway network and its influence on the life and trade of the District.  Though primarily catering for the railway enthusiast, a keen eye would be kept on our exhibits so as to make sure they were intelligible and interesting to the general public.

The operation of the line on an all-the-year round basis would be actively considered.  But as the branch line would be one of the unremunerative lines closed by BR, the possibility of this is somewhat remote.  The main effort would be concentrated on running an intensive service during summer weekends and the months of July, August and September, when the large number of voluntary helpers could be fully employed.  We would provide hostel accommodation on the line, so that our members who wanted to spend a weekend or part of their holidays on the line, would be assured cheap, reasonable accommodation on site.

We would offer the general public the opportunity to travel in a similar manner to our grandparents in the early years of this (last) century.

There is still a  chance

We can succeed.  There are still thousands of steam engines on BR, but very few left from the early years of this (last) century  The British Transport Commission have announced their intention of applying for permission to close another 2,000 miles of unremunerative lines.  There will be plenty of branches for us to choose from.

We can preserve two typical trains of yesteryear for the price of a Rolls Royce car!

All this adds up to a great opportunity.  We must seize it now, or see it go for ever.

Keep the steam era alive – Join the RPS

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces 2

Chasewater Railway Museum

Bits and Pieces 2

These posts are taken from old publications, newssheets and magazines produced by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands Division). Chasewater Light Railway Society and Chasewater Light Railway and Museum.

Another couple of bits and pieces from the Railway Forum – Winter 1965.  The first is a display of name and number plates, loaned by one of the members, and laid out in the Royal Saloon – which left Hednesford  in  1970 for the British Railways carriage works at Derby for restoration and then on to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley.

Midlands RPS Open Day display

An interesting display of locomotive nameplates and numbers was arranged in the Royal Saloon for inspection by visitors at the Midlands R.P.S. Open Day.

New locomotives preserved in Midlands

Members of the Midlands area, R.P.S. expect to take delivery of another locomotive later this year which has been acquired through the generosity of one of their members, Dr. P.G. Plummer, who has offered to purchase it for them.

The locomotive is a Hudswell-Clarke 0-6-0ST built for the Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Company in 1895 (Works No. 431).  It was transferred to its present location, Desborough Warren Quarry, Northamptonshire, in March 1951 and was due for withdrawal in July.  It is believed to be the oldest Hudswell-Clarke locomotive still in working order and once carried the number 15.  Now it has no number or name, although known as “Sheepbridge No.25”.

Painted in apple green it should be a valuable addition to stock already acquired, and will be of considerable use at the Chasewater branch line which has been leased by this group.

Two other locomotives have also been donated by the Whitecross Co. of Warrington.  They are Peckett 0-4-0STs of 1900 and 1904 vintage.  They were withdrawn from service by the Company in 1961, being replaced by two Fowler diesel locomotives.  They carried names up to withdrawal, the older being “Baden Powell” and the younger “Lancet” the nameplates of the latter being transferred to the Diesel No.1, and those of the former being acquired by local enthusiasts.  Only “Lancet” will be able to run again.  It is hoped to exhibit “Baden Powell” statically.

The second is about new locomotives coming to Chasewater.  Sadly the Hudswell Clarke, although we still have the loco, has never steamed here. The two Pecketts fared even worse.  The ‘Lance’ (not Lancet) 1038/1906 was scrapped in March 1972, and another Peckett – 1823/1931 was also scrapped at the same time.  The Loco ‘Baden Powell’ was in too bad a condition to be moved.  The other loco was an 0-4-0F a fireless Andrew Barclay locomotive 1562/1917 – scrapped in March 1973.
The articles were writtten in 1965, the photos taken in 1969.

Coming very soon – Burton Brewery Locomotives Day – Sunday July 15th 2018

Coming very soon –

Burton Brewery Locomotives Day

Another from Steve Organ’s collection – the man himself!

Another from Steve Organ’s collection

the man himself!

On the right track!  Chasewater Railway General Manager Steve Organ cheers the news that the line extension can continue as Lorne Grey, who is in charge of Centrac’s recycling operations, gives the project the green flag.  July 1998.

Some old photos of The Causeway

Some old photos of The Causeway

We have been given some more old photos, I think from Steve Organ’s collection. These are some photos of the causeway in the early days  at Chasewater Railway .

In 1982 the Preservation Society was forced to lift the track on the Causeway and commence work on an ambitious rebuilding scheme. Sadly owing to the Society’s finances and lack of support, the scheme collapsed and the Preservation Society was forced to close to passenger traffic for a number of years, even though work continued on basic restoration at the Brownhills West site.

A scheme to restore the Causeway commenced in May 1993, with the basic engineering elements being completed some 11 months later. Approx. 120,000 tons of fill material were imported on to the site for grading and compaction. With the completion of one of the largest civil engineering schemes in railway preservation to be carried out to date, work was able to proceed with the opening of Norton Lakeside Station. The station was opened in December 1995.

Click on a photo for a larger version.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 1

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 1

These posts are taken from old publications, newssheets and magazines produced by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands Division). Chasewater Light Railway Society and Chasewater Light Railway and Museum.

This post was taken from the magazine of the Railway Preservation Societies – the ‘Railway Forum’ Winter 1965.

This picture was taken from the cover of the magazine.

Mr. W. Ives of Hixon, near Stafford, purchased this signal box from British Railways intending it to be preserved by the Midland R.P.S.  Unfortunately contractors taking up the metals of the old Stafford and Uttoxeter Line also demolished the signal box.  Now Mr. Ives (pictured) is wondering where he can get another.  (Photo:  Express & Star, Wolverhampton.)

I’m not sure where this photo was taken, but assuming it’s on ‘our’ line it might be between Norton East Road and Brownhills Road, judging by the position of the houses.  Any other suggestions will be gratefully received!

This, and the other track photos in this post were obviously taken before Chasewater trains were running.

The Chasewater Branch – by F.J.Harvey and L.E.Hodgkinson

Chasewater was constructed by the Wyrley & Essington Canal Company by building a low dam.  A reservoir 1¼ miles in length was thus formed for the purpose of feeding the nearby canals.

At one time Chasewater was encircled by railways; the earliest of these was the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway incorporated by an Act of Parliament on July 29th 1864.   A connecting link was constructed from the London & North Western Railway Cannock Chase mineral extension which was incorporated in 1862.

In 1884 a branch was built by the Midland Railway from Aldridge.  This was for mineral traffic, although passengers were conveyed as far as Brownhills.  The passenger service was withdrawn on March 29th 1930.  The direct link with the LNWR was broken in favour of a more circuitous connection via the Conduit Colliery Company’s yard.

With the closure of the Cannock Chase collieries, the Midland Railway branch from Walsall Wood to Brownhills was lifted in 1960, followed by the CC & WR track in 1963, leaving the remainder of the lines as they are today.  These were retained in order to connect the National Coal Board area workshops with the main line.

In recent years the possibilities of Chasewater as a pleasure resort were realised by Brownhills Urban District Council; an amusement park was constructed and facilities were provided for more specialised interests such as go-carts, speedboats, hydroplanes and yachts.

With the increase in visitors each year it was felt by the Midlands area of the Railway Preservation Society that the line would be suitable for development as a working railway museum and a lease of about two miles of track was taken out.  Much work has to be done to bring the line up to passenger carrying standards and it will probably be several years before a regular passenger service can be maintained.  This largely depends on the number of volunteers that are prepared to help with the track restoration.

The immediate aim of the Society is to construct a building to house the larger items of rolling stock where they can be fully restored and displayed to the public.  This building will form the permanent headquarters of the Chasewater Railway.

The Society would appreciate any help, practical or otherwise, from people interested in this project.  With sufficient support a limited service could be in operation by next summer.

We know where this one was taken – you can see the entrance to the farm gate.  The houses at the top were demolished to make way for the M6 Toll.

More old photos – diesels, etc.

More old photos – diesels, etc.

We have been given some more old photos, I think from Steve Organ’s collection.  These are some of the old diesel/petrol locos which were at Chasewater Railway early on.

Click on a photo for a larger version.