Chasewater Railway Museum Newsletter July 2020 – 2 Pages
Pete Waterman’s Visit, 2004.
Nothing to report as far as the Museum is concerned again this month, so I have raided the archives, courtesy of David Bathurst’s collection.
A look back at a proud moment for the Museum in 2011, nine years ago
Industrial Railway Society Day at Chasewater Railway.
The day started with the unveiling of the Eric Tonks Collection of locomotive nameplates and worksplates, this was, of course held in the Museum.Following this, and many photographs, a number of rides down the line with ‘Asbestos’ and ‘Linda’ taking turns in hauling the train. I think that ‘Colin McAndrew’ was in steam later.Pic by oakparkrunner
The Marston’s Baguley diesel shunter and the Class 08 were also put through their paces.
There was a buffet lunch on the first floor of the Heritage Centre which was well appreciated – well done Linda and Mavis and anyone else involved.
Occasionally, some of your visitors may see an advertisement here,
A Trip to Gartsherrie
From 1968 Mercian Vol.1 No.3
By Trevor Cousens
On Friday, 16th February at 6.00pm a small party consisting of Lawrence Hodgkinson, Mike Lewis and myself, departed from Chasewater in Mike’s 30 cwt. Van en route for Gartsherrie, near Glasgow. The purpose of this trip was to purchase spare parts from the three Neilson locomotives remaining at Bairds and Scottish Steel Ltd.
A stop was made in Derby to pick up Steve Allsop, then we cut across to the M6 motorway. The speed of Mike’s van was limited by a governor to 45 mph so the going was slow.
It was quite a relief when a stop was made at a service area for refreshment. We made full use of the transport drivers eating facilities – in our overalls we did not really have much choice. Back on the motorway we continued our journey northward. I retired to the back of the van to try to sleep. After rolling my sleeping bag out amongst several hundredweights of tools, bars, rucksacks and other bric-a-brac I tried persistently to sleep. The noise of the engine and the tyres on the road, coupled with a sharp drop in the temperature precluded this. I heard someone groan ‘snow’ from up front. This is what we had dreaded. A climb up Shap with eight inches of snow on the ground!! After this, sleep was impossible. I lay on my back and watched icicles form on the van roof. About 3.30am on the Saturday morning the van halted. After many gear changes, reverses and sliding of doors up front there was silence for a moment. When I looked out we were parked on a small snow-covered country lane; fir trees on one side, a railway above us and the moon shining across snow-covered fields. They had had enough for the evening, and Steve, Lawrence and Mike came aft for sleeping bags, blankets, camp beds and other items necessary for comfort!! While the three sorted themselves out I got out with a camera and had a prowl around. I found that we had parked practically under the West Coast main line at Beattock.
In front of us Brush type 4s pounded up to Beattock Summit, assisted by English Electric type 4s, 2s, and 1s on the night mail trains and sleepers. One could not help thinking that there was something missing not seeing the flicker from the firebox silhouetting the fireman as he shovelled rapidly on a ‘Duchess’ at full pelt up the bank.
The others had comfortably settled down by now in the back of the van. I chose the driver’s seat as I was sure that it could be no more uncomfortable than trying to lie down again. With last reminders to wake up at 6.45 am to be in Glasgow for 8.30 am, we dozed off to sleep, a sleep punctuated by the clatter of trains over the bridge above and the wail of diesel horns as bankers attached and detached from the trains – we couldn’t have picked a quieter spot!!
At 7.00 am Lawrence and Steve spent 20 minutes trying to wake Mike, who seemed to be the only one who had really slept, despite the noise (still, he is a railwayman). We slowly began to thaw out when we were back on the main road to Glasgow, and the sun came out, picking out the snow-covered hills in a fiery pink light,
Arriving in Glasgow at 9.30 am we met the fifth member of our party – Gerald Wildish – who had travelled up on the overnight train from Darlington to Glasgow without any heating.
Neilson at Gartsherrie
After a meal we arrived at Bairds and Scottish Steel’s works about 11.00 am, where we weighed in and were directed to the loco shed. We mat a Scottish RPS representative who was also buying spares for their Neilson. After having a look at our Neilson tucked away in the workshops inside this gigantic, desolate steelworks, we proceeded to the engine sheds where we worked in pitch darkness with the odd brilliant ray of sunshine punching a dazzling beam across the shed, and with snow dripping from the smoke vents onto our heads. We dismantled the spares from the three scrap Neilsons and filled Mike’s van with spare parts. An amusing interlude was enacted when Gerald held tea-cups under the water crane to be washed out while I pulled the cord, drowning both the cups and Gerald in several hundred gallons of water.
The load was examined by Bairds and we were weighed out – 10 cwt. Of spares aboard. We then proceeded to the coal mines at Gartshore where we saw the Scottish RPS Neilson and an Andrew Barclay still simmering next to a red hot brazier which we stood around for 15 minutes to warm ourselves before returning to Glasgow, to a hotel and a well-earned drink. The hotel we had chosen to stay at was unfortunately a rather expensive one. I think they were rather shocked to see four really scruffy individuals – black all over with soot and dirt and in need of shaves. We were ushered up the back lift to two attic type rooms – but they had hot water and beds!!
The Saturday evening was spent feeding and drinking and we bade farewell to Gerald who was lodging in another part of Glasgow, prior to his departure back to Darlington. We all turned in, forgetting to put forward the alarm clocks and so missing breakfast by one hour!! Room service rang us at 10.00 am Sunday, and we cajoled the waitress to find us four late breakfasts. At 11.00am we made a start back towards Chasewater, after buying all the Sunday newspapers. We stopped for diesel at Lockerbie and continued south, the sun was beginning to thaw the snow and a thick mist was rising. Suddenly out of the mist our way was blocked by two policemen!! They directed us to the side, and asked why we carried no ‘C’ licence. They asked to see the load. When we opened the door what a sight must have met their eyes, with piping strewn diagonally across the floor of the van, a 20 ton lifting jack, and many other items, including a kettle boiling on a primus for tea!! After lengthy explanations, the showing of membership cards, driving licenses, etc., we finally convinced them that we were law-abiding, but we could not help thinking of Gerald on his way home with the receipt in his pocket!
Arriving at Hixon at 8.00 pm Sunday evening, we unloaded the spares and drove over to Hednesford for a sandwich and a drink in the ‘Queens Arms’. The rest of the RPS crew from Chasewater and Hednesford were there, and the tales of the week-end working parties were exchanged. Mike’s van had changed colour from dark green to white as a result of the salt spray.
Neilson & Son Ltd., No.2937 of 1882
Bairds & Scottish Steel Ltd.’s No.11
Delving back through the records of Bairds & Scottish Steel Ltd., one comes across several interesting details about the locomotive which we hope will be at Chasewater before the summer is out. Some of this information which has come into my hands is included in this article.
No.11 was the fifth locomotive built by Neilson’s for Bairds, two of which were six-coupled. She was the second 14-inch four-coupled built for Bairds. (The first, No.13 – built in 1876 passed to the NCB in 1948 and will eventually find a home at Falkirk). Supplied new to Bairds in 1882, she cost £1,275. Engines built to this design cost Bairds between £925 and £1,300, the cheapest being the last, the second, No.3 delivered in 1889.
My own personal records of No.11 go back no further than 1889, but in May 1900 a new firebox and tubes were fitted. The next major repairs were in 1911 when a further new firebox and tubes were fitted. A minor overhaul took place when a new right-hand coal bunker was supplied and the tank replaced.
After 1916 the records became scant until 1934 when greater detail is once again recorded. In January 1936 another semi-major overhaul took place: new plates were provided for the boiler and a new brake assembly was fitted. A year later the firebox was patched and all mountings ‘done-up’. In July 1938 she was stopped again for general repairs and in November was fitted with a new firebox, repairs continuing until March, 1939.
In 1941, 4 new tyres were fitted, new brasses being added at the same time during a heavy general repair. She returned to the works in June 1943 when the boiler and firebox were condemned, but was back at work with new boiler and firebox, a patched tank and new brake cylinder block and shaft in less than six weeks. It shows what work can be carried out quickly during war time. (Due to the pressure of keeping engines at work, No.1 – the ex GERJ 15 class was sent to Cowlairs for overhaul.) A further new firebox was fitted in August, 1945 during another heavy overhaul.
New tyres were fitted in the general overhaul of 1947, but the next interesting occurrence came in the heavy overhaul of 1949, after fitting new tubes, a further new firebox was fitted and the boiler removed for hydraulic testing. However, when being removed for testing, the rope broke damaging the boiler, which had then to be lifted into the shed and rebuilt on the frames for testing again. Eventually the boiler was hydraulically tested to 200 lbs. and steam to 135lbs.
Fireboxes seemed to wear out very quickly on the Neilsons for the 1950 firebox fractured in 1954 and was presumably replaced although the records do not state this. General repairs followed in 1958 and 1963, when the boiler was announced to be satisfactory and in June 1967, just before the works closed.
When the works closed in July, apart from being the second oldest working locomotive in the British Isles, No.11 was the last to be repaired at the Gartsherrie Works. She is in excellent mechanical order and when inspected by the engineers in February of this year (1968), it was pronounced that she would be the best of the RPS stock in this direction. She lacks paint – I have no record of her being painted after 1950 – and remains in the post-war black. She was never repainted dark blue as were many of her contemporaries at Gartsherrie. We hope, funds permitting, to move her to Chasewater at the end of May or early June. We have enough money to complete the purchase but we are still short of removal funds by several pounds.
Summary of dimensions:
Weight: 28 tons, Boiler Pressure: 120lbs. per sq.in.
Hon. Secretary’s Report
This is the first time I have had the pleasure of writing a report for the ‘Mercian’.
As some of you are aware Mr. D.A.Ives resigned at the AGM from the post of Secretary, after eight years of Secretaryship of the Society, in which he has put in a tremendous amount of work. I was elected Secretary for the coming year at the AGM, and Dave has very kindly stayed on as Joint Secretary, until I am fully conversant with the job.
There have been several interesting developments recently, which I might briefly mention, as they are all very new. Firstly the Brownhills-Aldridge UDC have kindly filled in and levelled the plot of our proposed Museum at Chasewater. Secondly our line at Chasewater is now an isolated railway – we have been cut off from BR by the removal of a level-crossing. (Presumably the one at the entrance to Anglesey Sidings) Thirdly on Saturday 2nd December, 1967, a long-awaited member of our loco stud arrived – by road – a Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST, used until December, 1966, in the Ironstone Quarries at Desborough. This locomotive was steamed by Mr. Civil and Mr. Luker (our expert loco-fitters) before purchase, and ran for some little while before they declared it a good purchase. Fourthly we are now in possession of a weed-killing wagon from Holly Bank Colliery, which will be a useful vehicle. Lastly we have the MR covered wagon ex bass Breweries, now at Chasewater.
Things have been happening in the last week or two, but as we still have to transport two coaches from Yorkshire, an engine from Warrington , and are assisting Mr. Wildish with the purchase of another engine for the Society, we cannot afford to be complacent. We still desperately need labour and money! Any help at all, in either of these directions, will be more than welcome, especially in the selling of Tote tickets amongst your friends, or coming along on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon fro a bit of track digging , or painting.
T.G.Cousens Hon. Secretary
From the Chairman’s Notes
The Society had a new Chairman as well as a new Secretary, with Mr.C.E.Ives taking over from Albert Holden, who was thanked for his work for the Society, especially as the organiser of the weekly Tote, which has brought in hundreds of pounds to the Society.
In addition to the usual appeal for members to help with track work, there was also an appeal for help with the smaller relics in the museum, Mr. Nigel Hadlow was the Hon. Curator.
Also grateful thanks to our engineering staff both at Chasewater and Hixon, who are both restoring and maintaining motive power, I understand that before long, steam will be up at Chasewater. Long may it blow off!!!
In conclusion a special thank you to one of our junior members Doug Hood, who spent most of his summer holiday painting and restoring stock at Hednesford.
Progress at Chasewater
As regular members will know a considerable amount of progress is taking place at Chasewater. The present project is the complete clearing of all track. This is a formidable operation but already a good portion of the Norton passing loop is complete and if progress is maintained the causeway over Chasewater should be reached by winter. A weed killing wagon has been purchased and this will be put to use as each section is cleared. The removal of the undergrowth has revealed the track to be in a remarkable state of preservation.
During the summer months the level of Chasewater dropped several feet ( the 2010 version really showed how it should be done!!) and the opportunity was taken to do some work on the bridge at the end of the causeway.
The works trains are now hauled by the ex Worthington diesel No.21 with diesel No.1 acting as spare engine. The third diesel No.20 is at present being overhauled and will no doubt be in use in the near future.
At the beginning of October contractors working on behalf of Aldridge-Brownhills Urban District Council commenced the preparation of the ground on the site of the proposed museum and this stage is due to be completed by December bringing us one step nearer to our goal.
Although the winter is ahead work will proceed as usual. General maintenance will continue to be done on Saturdays and track clearing on Sundays. All members, old and new, are welcome. The job is a hard one but as everyone who has helped agrees the sight of nice, clean permanent way is one of the most rewarding experiences we have yet had at Chasewater.
Report on the Neilson Locomotive Fund
The fund was helped in no small measure by the running of a raffle, which made a profit of £92. 16s. 9d. (£92.84p) The figures seem very small by 2010 standards!
The income was £32.50 donations, £ 92.84 raffle and a loan of £80.00. The first payment on the loco of £75.00 had been made. Payment for the locomotive has been guaranteed by the end of March – that is the other £75. This leaves us £57.36 to move the Neilson which may well have to be moved to Chasewater in April, and another £100 will be required by then.
There followed an appeal for more funds – public appeals in the Railway Observer and the Railway Word had not brought in a penny despite good billings in both magazines.
Thanks to everyone for help with the raffle. It is hoped that before the summer is very old we shall have Baird and Scottish Steel’s No. 11 in steam at Chasewater.
From an article by Gerald Wildish
A Weekend at Desborough by Laurence Hopkins.
Saturday 21st October, 1967. In spite of typical RPS weather, as members set out for Desborough we were in high spirits, and were looking forward to seeing the Hudswell Clarke in steam. On arrival the members found a difficult task before them in that nearly three lengths of track had been lifted, between the points on the shed road. While Mr. Civil and Mr. Luker got steam up, a start was made in lifting three lengths of track from an adjoining line. This being done, and the engine having sufficient steam up, we proceeded to move the rail 60ft lengths up to the points. This task was carried out in filthy weather, and half the distance was completed by nightfall.
Sunday 22nd October,1967. Transport was by Mike Lewis’s van, and having made ourselves comfortable, we proceeded on the way via the Chester Road, as Trevor had run out of petrol at New Oscott. We then did a grand tour of Coventry City. On arrival at Desborough, the remaining lengths of track were laid. The track being completed, the engine was run out over the section laid. After lunch the engine was put through its paces and found to be mechanically sound. To sum up – we must thank Mr. Civil and Mr. Luker for the fine work they put in, getting the engine ready for its steaming test.
Chasewater Railway Museum volunteer David Bathurst made an unplanned appearance on Pakistan National Television in November when to his great surprise he was invited to launch the Prime Minister’s new heritage railways tourism initiative at an event on Rawalpindi Station.
Railway Minister Sheikh Rasheed announced on behalf of the PM that all available steam locomotives in Pakistan would be returned to operational use, to haul trains for local and foreign tourists – a great boost for steam enthusiasts.
Accompanied by the Minister, David cut the ceremonial ribbon (see picture) to launch the first steam-hauled charter train in Pakistan for some years, taking a group of railway photographers up to the scenic areas of Taxila and Attock. With run-pasts on demand, the charter used two recently refurbished Vulcan Foundry HGS 2-8-0 locomotives. .
A video recording the occasion is available on YouTube – search for “Sheikh Rasheed Inaugurates Special Steam Safari Train”.
Photo by Bingley Hall