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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!

102 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 1

102 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 1

After the last post’s slightly more optimistic outlook it seems to have slipped backward – oh dear!

Editor’s Notes – Ian Patterson

Much of what follows is of a depressing nature but there is little point in glossing over the severe handicaps that we face at the current time, and perhaps it will spur one or two to take an active part in what should, when all is said and done, be a pleasurable hobby.

Chasewater Comment

This issue’s writer is Barry Bull, Hon.Sec. of the CLRS and a member for 16 years.

When I was asked by H.Y. the ‘Managing Director’ of ‘Chasewater News’ to write this piece I was hoping to write in a more light-hearted vein than of late.

However, those of us committed to the cause of operating a railway and associated museum seem to have been dealt one body blow after another by a series of events over which we have little or no control.  The worst aspect, since the closing of the railway for passenger services in October, 1982 has been the way we have been left open to the vagaries of West Midlands County Council and their Task Force Programme.  Despite the valiant efforts of John Selway the expected successes of the Task Force Programme have not materialised,

Whatever feelings we may have as regards the work actually completed on site the main problem has been behind the scenes at County Hall.  You will have read in the last issue of Chasewater News of the intention of WMCC to reconstruct the platform drainage at Brownhills West and Stadium Halt (which was a possible halt opposite Willow Vale Nursery), fencing of the line and associated crossing gates – all to be finished by Christmas (we presumed 1984!).  Well, as those of us who attend Chasewater on a regular basis will know, none of this happened.

I’m afraid that this report went on for another three or four paragraphs all very similar, with tales of vandals, metal thieves and arsonists at all the organisations using Chasewater.

Loco News

No.1  Hibberd Diesel  The AGM in October agreed to sell this loco as it is surplus to requirements and it has duly been advertised.  Further developments are awaited.

No.2  Peckett 1351  This engine stands next to the shed door with a hopeful look on its face/smokebox.  Does its owner still realise that he owns it?

No.3  Barclay 1223  The restoration of this loco has suffered a setback as, when the new stays were riveted up, the inner firebox walls buckled around the stayheads.  The Boiler Inspector’s verdict is awaited with trepidation as he is unlikely to pass the repair, insertion of copper patches or even a new inner firebox may be the answer.

Despite this the new cab, bunkers and footplating are being installed, and jolly fine they look too!

No.4  Asbestos  Since the last set of notes great strides have been made with the restoration of ‘Asbestos’.  After much bickering the worst of the cladding sheets were replaced  with new material, generously donated by a member.

Once these had been cut to size they were fitted following lagging of the boiler with new hygienic fibreglass cladding.  The following week the tank was refitted and for the first time in some eight years ‘Asbestos’ looks like a complete steam engine.

Much work remains to be done, however, but refitting of the regulator and cleaning up of backhead fitting faces is underway.

No.5  Sentinel  The Sentinel was first steam tested on November 25th (having had the dubious honour of being the first loco to steam at Chasewater since ‘Invicta’ on 16th October, 1982).  Following this, minor adjustments were made and a second steam test followed on 6th January though a shortage of coal hampered its steaming capabilities on this occasion.  Further minor adjustments are being made whilst a new grate is on its way.  Vandal-proof shutters have been fitted to enable the loco to be left outside without fear of fittings being stolen.

During the spring the Fat Controller (for it is he that owns the beast) plans to repaint the loco in a pseudo BR black livery with large yellow numbers as No.59632 (there’s no accounting for taste, is there?)

It is planned to steam the Sentinel at regular intervals on works train duties to enable much needed maintenance to be done on the Ruston diesel No.7.No.6  Peckett 917  Slow progress is at present being made on this loco with  the installation of a new cab side and front with a new bunker to follow.  However, with the end in sight on ‘Asbestos’ progress should speed up during the year and thoughts are turning towards repairing the water tank rather than a wholesale replacement.

No.7  Ruston diesel DL7  As mentioned above, the big Ruston requires a fair amount of maintenance to make it a more reliable machine.  This will be done as soon as there is space in the shed for it.  Meanwhile, a search is on for equipment to fit the loco with vacuum brakes.

No.8  Invicta  Invicta stands outside the shed minus cab fittings – removed for safety’s sake, and whilst being nominally serviceable it is unlikely to steam this year.S100 Frame & Wheels

No.10  Hudswell Clarke S100  The new main bearing have been machined and the axle box horn faces have been trued.  Re-wheeling will soon become a priority as it needs to be moved to enable track work alterations to be done at Brownhills West.

No.11  Alfred Paget  The ancient Neilson awaits attention – new tubes and water tank repairs, but sadly it is impossible to say when this will begin.No.15  Hudswell Clarke 431  The big news is that the chimney has fallen off.  Thankfully, the AGM refused to give the committee authority to dispose of this fine machine and, hopefully, plans for its restoration can be formulated soon. (nobody has defined ‘soon’!)

It is perhaps relevant to ask what will be the loco department’s next project as within the next 12 – 18 months locos Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and possibly 10 are likely to be ready for use.  Are we really going to need 7 locomotives to pull two coaches over a three quarter mile of track?  ( No.3 took about 20 years to steam and Nos. 6 and10 still haven’t!  No.8 ‘Invicta’ left for pastures new in between times).

99 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Late 1983

99 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Late 1983

Editorial: Several things have happened, but little has changed.

Several significant things have happened at Chasewater since the last magazine was printed and these will be detailed in the next few pages.

Little has changed because we are still short of manpower and cash, of these two shortages surely the lack of manpower must be the more inexcusable.  On one Sunday this summer there were only two members at Chasewater and I make no apology for the fact that we spent the day working in the shed whilst the public looked through the locked gates of Brownhills West Station.  Fifty per cent of those people must have thought that it was a railway scrapyard and the other fifty per cent, who knew better, probably thought that we had closed down for good!

If we are very lucky, sometime next year, we may have a railway which is once again fit to run passenger trains on and probably a couple of locos and coaches in useable condition, but will we have the people to run them?

Nigel Canning – Operating Superintendent

 Locomotives

Asbestos – The six missing firebox stays have been riveted into place and the boiler will shortly be hydraulically tested.  If this is successful the loco can be reassembled, steam tested and the newly installed vacuum brake equipment tested.

Sentinel heading past the old rear of the loco shed in 1992

 Sentinel – The Boiler Inspector will carry out a visual examination on the boiler and superheater of this loco when Asbestos is hydraulically tested.  Work will then continue until completed.  A trial will have to be carried out to see if this loco is capable of successfully operating passenger trains before any though is given to fitting vacuum brake equipment.

 S-100 – Tony has been making use of the summer weather to paint various parts of this loco whilst trying in vain to find somewhere to have its wheels turned.

 DL7 – This loco continues in fairly regular use and is to be repainted with a bogus BR ‘D’ number.  However, one or two points should be remembered:

  • If it is to be used on passenger trains again it will have to be vacuum brake fitted.
  • The brake and starting air tanks will, under new regulations, shortly to be introduced, require to be insured and regularly tested.

 Small Peckett – Albright & Wilson, the Company from whom this loco is on loan, have recently offered to help pay for a replacement saddle tank.  The tank has been measured and drawn so that quotes can be sought for both a complete assembled tank and for a rolled plates do-it-ourselves kit.

28 Presentation plaque Peckett 917 Unknown R5.B1.S3

 No.21 – This loco is still operational if tow-started and has been used on occasion to move items of stock into sidings to pass DL7 in the absence of a run round loop.  A complete engine rebuild is probably necessary to enable it to be started from the battery.

Carriages & WagonsWickham Class 109 at Llangollen Station. Photographed during the Llangollen Railcar Gala weekend, 16-17 July 2005.  

Wickham Motor car 50416 – Throughout the summer this vehicle has been in use as a station buffet.  A considerable amount of work has been carried out including enlargement of the kitchen hatch, removal of one of the internal bulkheads and screwing down of tables.  A start has now been made on completely replacing the guttering so that the coach can be repainted before next year.

Wickham Trailer 56171 – Progress has also been made with this vehicle with the fitting of seats from a Cravens DMU and the removal of rain guttering.

Gloucester Trailer 56301 – No work has been carried out on this vehicle although it will require a repaint and clean up before re-entering service.

http://postalheritage.org.uk/collections/museum/transport/mailbyrail

TPO 30244 – Following the offer from Tyseley Museum this vehicle was sold for £1,000 and left Chasewater on September 8th.  It is reputed to have twisted one of its bogie frames when one corner broke through the floorboards due to being stood on uneven ground during loading.

 Six-Wheeled Coaches – One new end has been fitted to the M & C Coach and replacement luggage rack netting is being fitted to the MS & L.

 Loco Shed

The only work carried out in this building during the summer has been the painting of ‘Asbestos’.  A three phase cable has been obtained so that during the winter the workshop can be wired up and used.

 Taskforce & Trackwork

During the summer all of the plain track from Brownhills West to Norton East has been relayed with concrete sleepers and work has started on installing a new siding between the station and the shed.  Run round loops at both ends still remain to be installed plus level crossing gates and fencing.

Brownhills West station platform has remained half demolished throughout the summer awaiting funds for rebuilding.  A grant of £15,000 due in September never materialised and we await a possible grant of £5,000 to be applied for in November.

Some form of sleeper built platform may also be constructed at Norton East if funds and manpower permit.

At the present state of progress it will be touch and go whether the railway will be running next year.

Vandalism

Since the last magazine was published the following instances of vandalism have occurred:

1.    Half drum of steam oil drained onto floor.

2.    Two large coach windows smashed.

3.    Three small coach windows smashed.

4.    Paint poured into Gloucester trailer heater fuel tank.

5.    Fence cut at least once a week.

 Museum Notes

The arrival of the LNWR 50 foot passenger brake in its own platform in time for Easter has given a much easier access to the vehicle for old and young alike.

Various item have been acquired this year, some have come by way of donation – others have actually cost money although usually as part of a deal where other items have been acquired to offset the cost.

Relics, mainly paperwork previously kept in the TPO had to be removed in some haste following the decision to sell the vehicle to the Birmingham Railway Museum.  Much of what had been kept in the TPO had suffered from the damp conditions that had prevailed in that vehicle for many years following problems with the roof.  Most of the old GWR drawings obtained by Mike Lewis many years ago were still in a reasonable condition but some of the larger ledgers and books were virtually no more than mould and were consigned to the bonfire.

Despite what has been happening to the station area (demolition and not much else!) things have ticked over quite nicely in the museum.  Obviously fewer visitors without steaming but with more time to listen to comments from visitors it makes one realise how much importance our collection of small relics is to the Railway.  Whatever 1984 brings you can be assured that the museum will be open whatever happens outside.

Image

Chasewater Railway Museum – September 2021 Newsletter

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces – No.97

Chasewater Light Railway Society

1982-1985

Newsletter January 1983

News from the line

Loco Shed

The loco shed is now completed and the engineering department has taken up occupation.  At present the shed houses the Sentinel 4wVBT, MSLR 6-wheeled coach and Asbestos.

The shed was built with the aid of a Manpower Services Commission Youth Opportunities Programme under the direction of Derek Cartwright. Unfortunately the scheme overspent by a sum well into four figures.  Whilst a small sum was inevitable on the end of the final scheme, the size of the present liability has to be met by the Company is of particular concern to the Directors.

West Midlands County Council Task Force

The Directors have chosen this as a means of achieving further developments at Chasewater, in the light of experience with the loco shed.  A special thanks goes to John Selway for getting the scheme off the ground.

The scheme is exclusively devoted to improving trackwork and associated facilities to a standard acceptable to the Railway Inspectorate.  This will entail the relaying of the track on the entire length of the line and the construction of a run round loop at Brownhills West Station. A material grant of £10,000 is available which has been earmarked for the purchase of rail and concrete sleepers.  Labour is provided by WMCC, who are also responsible for day to day administration.

Work on this scheme will shortly begin in earnest, with progress dependant on the weather conditions during the coming months.  This work will commence before the 1983 running season and it is likely that the running season will not start at Easter.

Asbestos

This loco will operate the first passenger train in 1983, after its prolonged overhaul is completed.  The loco will emerge in a new blue livery and will be fitted with vacuum brake equipment, which is a necessary feature of all future working locos.

Society members are currently working on the loco which is the first priority, ahead of the striping for boiler examination of the Sentinel.

That is the end of the Jan 1983 Newsletter, and considering the piece which follows, mainly taken from the history of Chasewater Railway, they really didn’t know what was coming!  There were no passenger trains from October 1982 until Spring 1985.  And, just as a matter of interest, ‘Asbestos’ in blue wasn’t a success either!

The Society had been proud to be represented at the Stockton & Darlington 150th celebrations in 1975 by the restored Maryport & Carlisle coach, but by 1982 things were not going too well at Chasewater. Vandalism and theft were rife, especially during the time when a Manpower Service Commission programme had been engaged on construction work for a new engine shed and some track work.

The Railway effectively closed in October 1982 when a miserable wet Saturday saw just two fare-paying passengers carried on the last train of the day. Although no trains were to be run for the foreseeable future, it was decided to soldier on behind the scenes as a Society. However, further problems occurred during a West Midlands County Council Task Force Scheme the following year when, after construction of a bay platform to accommodate the museum coach, the remainder of the platform was demolished by the Task Force – who then failed to return to rebuild and extend the platform as promised, for nearly 18 months.

It was not until 1985 that regular steamings began again, but in the intervening three steam-less years, membership had dropped by some 50 per cent. The Society deemed it necessary to prune its stock as it was realised that without an injection of cash, the whole affair might fold. The L&NWR Travelling Post Office went to Tyseley; a small “Planet” diesel went to Brian Roberts’ Tollerton Farm Railway, while individual members purchased two steam locos and one diesel loco in order that they could remain safely at Chasewater.

Working membership fell to single figures, but that small band succeeded in rescuing this early standard gauge preservation scheme from the brink of extinction. Subsequently, as described later, a new company was formed in 1985 – the Chasewater Light Railway and Museum Company – and achieved status as a Registered Charity.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces, No. 96

96 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

Gricers’ Day 11th October, 1981

Welcome to our annual end of season ‘Gricers Day’.  This year we have organised a small gathering of preserved buses to create added interest.

1981 has been a good year for CLR and the progress achieved can be seen around the compound area and down the line where the new locomotive shed is gradually taking shape.

A Y.O.P. scheme has helped in the restoration of wooden bodied coaching stock, particularly the ex LNWR non-corridor brake coach on which progress is spectacular as regular visitors will appreciate.

Society members have been kept busy on the overhaul of ‘Asbestos’ which is slowly being reassembled and also the dismantling of the Hudswell Clarke side tank S100, as well as keeping the regular working locos in trim, whilst also running the twice monthly steam trains which have shown a good increase on last year’s figures.

As the average number of volunteers is round about ten, restoration is obviously slow, and more numbers are urgently required – especially with a view to running a longer length of line in the not too distant future – enquire at the booking office for further details.

Wickham – S.Organ video (Video won’t run, sorry)

Two further passenger carrying coaches arrived this week and the diesel gricers will recognise them as DB975005/6, formerly E50416 and E56171 the sole surviving DMU set built by D.Wickhams of Ware in 1957, which have latterly served as the Eastern Region General Manager’s Saloon.

Locomotives in service on the railway today are:

1.         ‘Alfred Paget’ built by Neilson’s of Glasgow in 1882 and formerly at Gartsherrie Ironworks, Coatbridge; the oldest working locomotive in the Midlands.

2.         ‘The Colonel’ built by Pecketts of Bristol in 1914 and latterly at Swan Hunter shipyard, Wallsend.

3.    DL7 built by Ruston & Hornsby’s of Lincoln in 1961 and purchased from the NCB Whitwell Colliery, Derbyshire.

Passenger trains ran at frequent intervals of between 15 and 40 minutes, with freight train run pasts between passenger services.

The freight train will be available for photographic purposes on the as yet unopened section of the line which crosses the lake on a causeway, beyond the limit of the passenger train service.

Don’t forget to visit the museum coach and sales stand at Brownhills West.

List of buses in attendance

At the time of writing only five entries had been confirmed but it is hoped that more vehicles will be present on the day.

transport-illustrated.blogspot.com

1.    EA4181  Dennis ‘E’ single decker, 32 seats.  Formerly no.32 in the West Bromwich fleet.  Built 1929, body by A.Dixon Ltd.  Ambulance service 1939 – 1945.  Illuminated ‘Christmas Lights’ bus 1948 – 1962.  A regular visitor to Chasewater.  Courtesy R.Coxon and the 32 Group.

oxford-chiltern-bus-page.co.uk

2.    BTA59  Dennis Mace, built 1934, single deck, 26 seats.  Restored to original colours as Southern National 668.  First visit to Chasewater since 1977.  Owner A.Gameson, Four Oaks.

JOJ 245 The Transport Museum, Wythall

3.    JOJ245  Leyland P52/1, Metro Cammel Weyman 34 seat single deck.  Built 1950 for Birmingham City Transport.  Owned by Acocks Green Bus Preservation Group and another regular visitor to Chasewater.

4.     FJJ86  Bedford MLC with Lee Motors 16 seat bus body, built 1952.  Originally Dorset CC Education Committee.  Owned by P.Mason, Hereford since 1977 and extensively rallied.

FRC 956 Leyland The Transport Museum, Wythall

5.     FRC956  Leyland PD2/12, built 1954 and delivered to Trent.  Sold by Trent 1967 and since 1972 owned by the 1926 Preservation Group.  Restored to original colours 1976, the interior is also completely refurbished.

Please support the sales stands connected with some of the above listed buses as these small sales help in the restoration and continued running of these vehicles.

The owners will doubtless be pleased to answer your questions, but please do not enter the buses without their permission.

Finally we hope you have an enjoyable time and will come again next year when regular services will start again at Easter.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits and Pieces No.95

95 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

21st Anniversary Edition – 2

Twenty one not out

Ian Patterson

Hednesford Depot (The wagons in the background are on the line to Cannock Wood pit, now a footpath. The building still stands, the sides bricked up and the doorway filled in. 2021)

The history of the Chasewater Light Railway goes back to a meeting called at the Station Hotel, Stafford on October 10th, 1959.  This meeting led to the formation of the West Midlands District of the Railway Preservation Society, whose aim was to set up regional depots around the country where railway relics could be collected, restored and eventually returned to their native area.

1054 at Hednesford

The first West Midlands Division was set up at Hednesford, Staffs. in a siding belonging to Penkridge Engineering Limited, and was in fact the 3rd Standard Gauge Preservation Society.The first items of stock acquired were the Maryport and Carlisle and Great Eastern coaches from the National Coal Board, Rawnsley.  The siding at Hednesford was partially covered and so in 1962 the ex London & North Western Railway coal tank 1054 was offered a home there.  This engine later went to Penrhyn Castle, North Wales, and then to Dinting Railway centre, appearing at the ‘Rocket 150’ celebrations in 1980.

The West Midlands District decided in the early 1960s to find a suitable length of line on which to operate their growing collection of rolling stock.

The state of the track

In 1963 it was suggested that the remnants of the Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton Railway around Chasewater would make a suitable length of line.  At this time the area was desolate, and it wasn’t until 1967 that the Society actually moved to Chasewater, development of a Pleasure Park had made the line more attractive.  By this time all the National Coal Board buildings and workshops had been demolished and all that was left was 600 yards of double track belonging to British Rail (ex Midland Railway) and 1½ miles of former Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton Railway, plus a 300 yard spur which formerly led to Conduit Colliery, upon which a lease was taken.

Pittsteel No.1

The first task at Chasewater was to lay over 800 yards of track, partially along the former Midland Railway track bed and partly along new formation into the Pleasure Park.  Much of this work was done by hand – even the first wagon was a luxury. 

It wasn’t until late 1967 that motive power arrived in the shape of Pittsteel Hibberd No.1.  Development at Chasewater was slow and laborious and it wasn’t until 1970 that all stock at Hednesford had been transferred to Chasewater and the Hednesford depot closed.

To return briefly to general aspects of Railway Preservation Society’s history, apart from Hednesford, depots had been set up at Quainton Road (London Railway Preservation Society and Falkirk (Scottish Railway Preservation Society).  However the main movement of Railway Preservation was to either preserve solitary engines or complete branch lines and so the broader aspects of Railway Preservation Society policy evolved into a body known as the Association of Railway Preservation Societies, which is an advisory body which gives help, advice and information to many preservation groups and has over 200 member societies.

Returning to Chasewater, as already stated all stock was there by 1970 housed in a security compound and thought was given to giving regular steam-hauled train rides.

During 1968/9 and 1970 several open days had been held with either AB1223 (Colin McAndrew) or HL 2780 (Asbestos) in steam, and limited train rides were given.  The formation of the Chasewater Light Railway Company in 1970 was necessary to enable trains to be run legally.  In 1971 a regular service was given using Nos. 20 and 21 at either end of the Maryport & Carlisle coach whilst ‘Asbestos’ was under repair.  Regular steam-hauled services began in September 1972 when ‘Asbestos’ was re-commissioned.  For the rest of the 1972 season ‘Asbestos’ hauled a train comprising of the 1875 Maryport & Carlisle six-wheeler and the 1880s 16 ton Great Western brake van – as far as the bridge at the South end of the double track section where the embankment was burning.  1973 saw a start made on building a permanent platform at what is now Brownhills West and also saw the purchase, from British Rail, of E56301 (non-powered) driving trailer – ideal for observation and working push-pull.E56301 on her way

E56301 in through the farm gate at Chasewater

(Trailer car 56301 was the first diesel multiple unit car to enter preservation in 1969, originally being used at the Chasewater Railway)

The Society’s aims were to run a service along the whole two miles of railway as and when track was brought into usable condition.  In 1974 British Rail ‘rediscovered’ that they owned what is now the central section of Chasewater Light Railway and banned any use of it, due to the burning of the embankment.  This was a major blow as Society members were just ready to start work on this section.  In 1975 British Rail allowed work to start on the burning embankment, which was completely dug out and replaced with non-combustible material and negotiations were opened for the purchase of this section.  The purchase price was raised by 1978, actual purchase taking place in 1980.

In keeping with its aims, the Railway Preservation Society changed its name to the Chasewater Light Railway Society in 1977, owning most of the rolling stock and relics whilst Chasewater Light Railway Company is responsible for the legal implications of running trains, i.e. insurance, etc.

The Neilson with Gloucester E56301 working at Chasewater.

In 1979 a great step forward was taken with using a Government sponsored STEPS project for rebuilding the railway, especially the causeway across the lake, which had been much eroded by wash from power boats on the lake.  The work accomplished in 12 months would have taken Society working parties 3 to 4 years to accomplish and will allow regular steam-hauled services to run over the majority of the line in 1982, subject to the granting of a Light Railway Order and a satisfactory inspection by the Railway Inspectorate.