Monthly Archives: August 2009

August Bank Holiday in the Museum

Museum Sign cropped

This Bank Holiday in the Museum started, as usual, with a quiet Saturday.  We never seem to see many visitors on Saturdays except for Galas.

Sunday started well, with a fair few visitors in the morning but it started to rain around lunch-time and that was that – it went very quiet.

On Monday the weather was cloudy but warm.  We started well in the morning and, this time, continued in the same vein all day long.  Other than Galas, the busiest day of the year.

Locos running over the weekend were Peckett No.2000, Bagnall loco ‘Linda’ and Barclay ‘Colin McAndrew’ on Sunday.

2009_08300003

December 2008, Bagnall engine, Linda on Santa Special dutyColin McAndrew After

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Museum Items Wanted

Chasewater Railway Museum


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We are always looking for more items to add to our collection, so if you should have something in your garage or loft which you think may be of interest to us, please either give us a ring, 07748 130215, or pop in to the Museum one weekend.

Cooper's Lodge cropped

Of particular interest are photographs or even movies of our Railway in the early days, or any other local railways,  which we could possibly copy.

Bucket Chain Re-enactment

On Sunday 23rd August it happened – 19 people back onto the causeway with Barclay ‘Colin McAndrew’ and the riding van for the re-enactment of the bucket chain water tank fill-up of 40 years ago!Bucket Chain Some of the original cast were there, Barry Bull even had the camera that the original photo was taken with!

The event started earlier than expected, when the Barclay engine 1964/1929 which had been struggling with clinkering up was taken out of service to be replaced by ‘Colin McAndrew’, already in steam for the bucket chain.  Could it pull 2 coaches to Church Street and back? was the question – no doubts in the minds of Keith, Mark and Donna and off they went.  On their return, they looked quite pleased!C A on trainLike gladiators in a chariot!CA on train 2Mark’s comment ‘I might be small but I can pull heavy loads!’  They all looked like cats who’d got the cream!  Brilliant!

So, now on to the next event of the 50th Anniversary.  Hitch up Bob’s riding van and off to the causeway.  Barry Bull got together a collection of buckets and away.2009_08230007I must say, they did look a very smart combination.2009_08230015It all worked very well – but Bob did complain about the buckets being too full!!  Not as strong as he used to be!!2009_08230031The bucketeers – all reasonably dry!   Just being a bit picky, but with all those cameras present you’d have thought somebody might have fallen in!!2009_08230036This was the first time that I’d been in the riding van – a first-class job of restoration.

More on flickr and tordy64 (see links).

Brownhills Walk 2

Another stroll with the dawg, this time starting from Brownhills West Station – I had some leaflets to drop off so it made the decision easy.2009_08220001I decided to walk along the Midland Railway trackbed to start with – ‘our line’ from the other side of the M6 Toll.  This first pic is taken from the bridge over the motorway.2009_08220005This bridge is where you first take the footpath along the trackbed, just over the motorway.2009_08220006Nice to know that the trackbed was put to some good use.  This pic was taken a few hundred yards from the previous one – I bet this was better than playing at Wembley when the kids were young – their very own goal-posts!2009_08220009Talking about football, this was taken in between the A5 and the Chester Road and it is the pitch where Brownhills Scouts used to play – takes some believing!2009_08220011Back to the trackbed, this is taken facing from the Chester Road back towards the A5.2009_08220014There is still some brickwork left of the old Brownhills Midland Railway station in the undergrowth.2009_08220016Walking along the Wyrley and Essington canal now, the photo looks back from High Bridge bridge.  I had taken a bit of a short cut, which didn’t do me any good.  I’d crossed the Chester Road, meaning to go down the Norton Branch trackbed but found another footpath before I reached it and took that instead.  Just a path through trees, nice pool half-way along (which the dog fell in!), otherwise muddy and boring.2009_08220021This photo was taken on the other side of the bridge and shows the area where the Norton Junction marshalling yard used to be.  From here I crossed a field and made my way onto the LNWR Lichfield to Walsall trackbed, from which you can still make out the trackbed of the branch from Walsall Wood Colliery to the LNWR line. We have the train staff for this line in the Museum.  This picture was taken by my good friend Godfrey Hucker and used with his permission (well, he would have given it if I’d asked him!!)Trackbed 3 Walsall Wood Colliery to Norton JunctionFrom here I walked along the trackbed towards Brownhills.2009_08220023A lone signal post is all that’s left and a little further along, the trackbed gets much narrower.  If you look closely at our Ellie you will see that she looks as though she has got grey wellies on.  It was foul smelling clay-type mud – if the weather had got much warmer I would probably had to chip it off!

2009_08220026 Back on to the Wyrley and Essington canal now, looking through the LNWR railway bridge to the Pelsall Road bridge beyond.2009_08220033I came off the canal in Brownhills at the new bridge and walked across the parade towards Chasewater.  I took this photo to illustrate my point from the first walk, about the lack of light and grass under the trees – it uses to be just grass and very pleasant.2009_08220035Back to the entrance to Chasewater Country Park and a chance for Ellie to have a paddle to get rid of the mud – not to mention a well-earned drink!2009_08220041Nearly back at the railway, and as you can see, the mud has been washed off and she has company – she ignored them to start with but had to say a quick ‘hello’ eventually.  They were completely unimpressed and it was their turn to ignore her!!

Brownhills Walk

Although I left Brownhills in 1960, I still think of it as my home town (despite having lived in Hednesford for some 44 years!), and since I finished work about 11 years ago, I’ve tried to have a walk around at least once a year.  This has slipped a bit in the last two or three years but today I made it – complete with camera.2009_08210066I parked at Chasewater, by the Innovation Centre, instead of at the Railway – makes a change – and my trusty hound and myself went back over the bridge and turned left on to the public footpath by the old trotting track.2009_08210031The picture shows what’s left of the back straight.  We went over to cross the A5 by the White Horse, and then on to the common.2009_08210033This pic shows the common not far off the A5.  When we were kids, this area was long, tufty grass with lots of small pools in and around – almost impossible to walk across – so a great deal of work has been done to get the ground up to this standard.2009_08210036This is where the Brownhills St. James football team first started playing.  This is somewhere else where a lot of work has been done.  We never had a surface to play on anything like this – talk about jealous!!  Passing through the gate and into the park we came to another pitch we used to play on.2009_08210037In fact, we were the first team to use it, the land the pitch is on was also reclaimed from long, tufty grass – you’d never believe it now.  The only used to be a triangular path round the park leading from the entrance to some swings near the far gate, then across and along the fence by the cricket pitch to the ride called the ‘Boat’, then back to the entrance and the ‘Giant Stride’ and the ‘Witches Hat’.

On and out of the park and onto the Parade – an area that I don’t think too much of!2009_08210040Again, when we were kids, we used to have a kick-about along this area.  If I remember correctly, there was a well spaced row of trees on either side of the parade but the grass area was just that – open grass.  Now there doesn’t seem to be any light along there, the grass struggles to grow and when the leaves fall it becomes something of a mess (just my opinion but I much preferred the open space).2008_0708Miners0053Through Brownhills next, past the ‘Miner’ down the High Street and up Church Hill.  Through the Church Yard and down Vicarage Road to Ogley Road.  Turned left and went towards Newtown Bridge, getting on the canal side to walk back to Chasewater (I’ve got used to the name now, but when thinking back to Sunday afternoons of our youth, we still went for a walk ‘over the pool’ – a reference to the old name of  ‘Norton Pool’).2009_08210042Walking along the tow-path, it’s nice to see that some of the residents on the far bank have made a very neat job of running their gardens down to the canal-side.2009_08210044Just putting my railway head on for a while, on the other side of this bridge, the railway and canal came together.  It seems a shame that they both couldn’t have passed under the M6 Toll together, too.   That bridge looks very wide just for a canal!2009_08210046That’s the direction the railway used to take.  A level crossing across the road and on to Anglesey Sidings.  The next picture faces the other direction.2009_08210047The track used to be here and a building which housed the old stables from way back.  There’s plenty of room for a small station building and a run around loop, if only we could get there!2009_08210052The old track bed is still there for a lot of the way, but as you can see in top right of this photo, the road runs on some of it before running down to the island at the access to the M6 Toll.  Shame.  Not far to go to Chasewater now, so back along the canal. passing what is left of the loading gantry and the overflow from Chasewater.2009_082100572009_08210056If the canal also gets full to overflowing, the water can run through the grating at the front of the picture and on to the low lying ground behind.  Towards the basin and the start of the canal – where the water comes in from the reservoir.2009_08210061It would be nice to think that, sometime in the future, if the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Trust succeed in reopening the canal as far as Lichfield, and we at Chasewater Railway, should succeed in reaching the wharf, the basin would again be a hive of activity, this time for tourists.  Well, we can but dream!

Charity Day – 16th August

The weather was kind to everyone with plenty of sunny spells.2009_08160005I didn’t have much time to take photos today, we were very busy in the Museum.  The photos I did take were taken not long after the first train of the day had left Brownhills West and there were not many people about.2009_08160006The stalls were all in place by this time and it did get very much busier.  It was again nice to see so many of our visitors going into the Heritage Centre and the Museum.2009_06200007

Our larger Barclay,  formerly known as 701, but now looking very smart in NCB West Midland livery, was doing the honours today.

The powers-that-be say that we are running steam for the remainder of the midweek services, I believe Asbestos will be working on Tuesday.

Dragon Boat Day

Lovely warm sunshine for this annual event in Chasewater Country Park certainly brought the visitors in!  The Cannock Rotary Club, organisers of the event, must have been really chuffed after the recent rains.

There seems to be so much room for parking at Chasewater, but I think facilities were really stretched today, it was such a good turn-out.2009_08090021

With so many people in the Park, it is hardly surprising that visitor numbers were up on the railway – certainly the Museum was busier than usual.

It goes without saying that all our visitors are most welcome but I must say I was really pleased to see ‘Aer Reg’,  Reg Fullelove, noted local historian and poet, paying us a visit.  Reg is one of those enthusiastic people that you could listen to for hours, and his knowledge of the local area is second to none!

Now we move on to next Sunday, 16th August, and our Charity Day, when local charities have a stall on the station (or if it’s raining, in the Heritage Centre – so you can still come along and give your support!)  Charities must be finding things hard in the present economic climate so any support will be most welcome.

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Sunday 2nd August

We had a good weekend and we seem to be training our people to bring biscuits!  We’ve had  a good few packets recently – mind you, we need them to keep up with Albert!!

The Heritage Centre is still tidy after Jason’s efforts of the previous week, but why on earth was the Land Rover parked just inside the door??

We had a good discussion involving ourselves and visitors about where the line connecting Walsall Wood Colliery to Norton Junction at Pelsall crossed the canal.  We found the crossing eventually after we had got home and searched old maps, Google earth and old books.

While searching for that crossing, another question arose – where did the Midland Railway cross the canal again?  It first crossed behind the Swan pub in Pelsall Road, Brownhills, but we couldn’t remember where it re-crossed, somewhere around Walsall Wood.  The answer was on the same map.

The map I found it on was the Old Ordnance Survey Map, the only reference I have is Sheet 62.  If anyone local to the railway should be interested, call in to the museum where we have a copy.

While we’re on the subject of the Midland Railway, the only picture I’ve got of a coal train on the line is the one printed here:Ron Astbury's GrandadThis photo shows the Grandfather of a friend of mine fishing on the Wyrley & Essington canal, and is looking away from Brownhills towards Pelsall.  In the background you can see a train crossing the canal bridge, the crossing previously referred to.  If anyone should have photos of  ‘our’ line in action, I would be very grateful for a copy.

Narrow Gauge Freight Stock

Narrow Gauge: Freight Stock

Number

Description

Origin

30

Flat Wagon

MoD

77

Flat Wagon

MoD

63

Open Wagon

MoD

D28 Chilmark Wagon MoD

Chilmark MoD
X3 Detonation Wagon MoD Lydd
225 Box Van MoD Trecwn
433 Open Wagon MoD Trecwn
420 Open Wagon MoD Trecwn

Tippler Wagon NCB

Tippler Wagon NCB
AX1 Flat Wagon

TW1 Wagon Frame

JC1 Wagon Frame

KP1 Wagon

Narrow Gauge Passenger Stock

Narrow Gauge: Passenger Stock

Number

Type

Origin

Built

Bill Canteen Wagon MoD Lydd 1943
TFB Brake MoD Broughton Moor 1991
T1 Passenger Truck (Yellow)

T2 Passenger Truck (Blue)

T3 Passenger Truck (Light Blue)

T4 Passenger Truck (Orange)

Beckie Passenger Coach RAF Duxford

Carol Passenger Coach RAF Duxford

LT34-40 Manrider NCB

LT34-41 Manrider NCB

LT34-42 Manrider NCB

Manrider NCB