Monthly Archives: April 2010

May in the Museum

May in the Museum

The next two weeks are going to be very busy for the museum staff, getting prepared for our Accreditation Inspection on Sunday, May 16th.  A great deal of work has been done over the last couple of years in preparation for this visit – a great deal of paper-work, courses to attend, the museum building to furnish with regards to heating and humidity control, display cases to fit out and lots more besides.

Notices will be going up this weekend asking members for their cooperation in keeping the Heritage Centre clean and tidy – over the last few weeks it has been a pleasure to open up each Sunday after the last shunt around – now there is just a bit of dusting to do!

Visitor numbers are now being recorded, our busiest so far being 440 on the Sunday of the Classis & Vintage Transport Show.   The Easter Weekend brought in 200/300 on the Sunday and Monday.  With easy access the over the crossing and through the side shutter door, coupled with signs being displayed each week more visitors are finding their way into the Heritage Centre and Museum, hopefully making the remark ‘I didn’t know this was here’ a thing of the past!

Over the next few weeks I hope to carry on with the series of posts about the early days of Chasewater Railway, and also include articles about branch lines and ‘Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era’.  I’m enjoying going through our old magazines and finding out what used to be here, although they can be a little hard work when all you get is ‘we need more money and people’ true as it may have been then (and we could still do with more of both now!).

Did you know that we once had a Trolley Bus?

First printed in Mercian March-April 1966 Vol.5 No.2

The Odd Man Out at Hednesford –  J. Hughes.

March 1964 saw the arrival of the odd vehicle in the form of Wolverhampton Corporation Trolley-bus 616.

This vehicle was a gift to the RPS by the Corporation of Wolverhampton to whom it was always known as ‘Groaner’ because of the double differential rear axle – it was the only one so fitted.  At Hednesford it is known as ‘The Trolley’.  No.616 was delivered to the Wolverhampton Corporation Transport Department on March 9th 1949 as one of 99 new Sunbeam and Guy trolley buses of similar design.  This order was destined to be the last one placed for new trolley buses, and when all the new vehicles were on the road all but a dozen or so of the pre-war fleet were withdrawn for scrap.

No. 616 continued in service without any serious accident or major body alterations for the next fourteen years, indeed the only body alteration was the substitution of winking indicators in place of trafficators and the removal of the shields from the trolley buses on the roof.

In 1961 the blow was struck when Wolverhampton Town Council decided to ‘write off’ the entire trolley bus system and replace it with diesel powered buses.  At this time there were 153 trolley buses operating on twelve routes.  These included the entire 1949 batch plus some war-time vehicles which had been fitted with new bodies, some were being done when the controversial plan was announced.

Needless to say the local papers were full of letters ‘for and against’ the trolley bus system, and it was at this stage that the enthusiasts got together to try and arrange some kind of preservation scheme.

 

Chasewater Railway Museum July-Aug 1966 Bits & Pieces 36

Taken from the Mercian July – August 1966 Vol.5 No.4

The Officers’ Reports

Editorial

Some time has elapsed since I was privileged to attend the last ARPS meeting which was held at the HQ of the Kent & East Sussex Railway Preservation Society, at Tenterden.  I was able to sit in at the meeting and to make notes and it is these which form the basis of the editorial this month.  The main point made by all the delegates of the various societies which attended was that great patience must be exercised when dealing with British Railways for the acquisition of relics – particularly if the opportunity arose whereby the major societies were given an opportunity to be custodians of some of the as yet unrestored relics at present in store up and down the country.

Under general business there was an overwhelming vote in favour of admitting the Vintage Carriage Trust and the Cadeby Trust into the Association.  Another enlightening factor was the reports submitted by the delegates on the individual progress of their society, I was most grateful the Dave Ives was able to give an excellent report on our progress, particularly the heavy slogging at Chasewater which certainly raised a few eyebrows.  The main bellyache seemed to be money, another theme about which there were many comments and also a few ideas propounded on how to make it.  We were informed the ‘Forum’ was in the red and an appeal for help in the form of advertising revenue from the members of the Association was urgently solicited.

Another point which seemed to crop up was the real need to stop duplicating too many relics.  In some cases where local conditions govern the type of stock which could be used there might be a legitimate reason for this, hence the glut of ’Terriers’ preserved.  This was not quite so in the case of certain other types of stock, as up until recently there had not been the fervour in the preservation of coaching stock – hence a lot of real quality stuff had quickly and quietly disappeared.  There were, it was stated by one of the delegates, a considerable number of real vintage models on the Longmoor Military Railway which were being put on the scrap market.  It was decided at the meeting that a sub-committee be appointed to negotiate for all the disposable stock and that member societies be offered the items most applicable to them in order of merit on a first refusal basis.Longmoor Downs Station – Photo: movcon, flickr

The meeting concluded with the usual reiterations of the needs for member societies to co-operate with each other and the meeting accepted the offer of the Festiniog delegate to hold the next meeting at their HQ in October.GWR Railcar at Coleford – P.B.Whitehouse

The delegates then left the ex-GWR railcar in which the meeting had been held and entrained on the two coach special headed by a ‘Terrier’ for the journey down to Robertsbridge where most of them were to catch trains home.  We trundled off at regulation speed along the line with its archways of Willow trees – my nickname being ‘The Pussy-Willow –Line’ – passing the site of Wittersham Road Station where we suddenly jolted to a halt as the brake leaked on.  Here we paused for five minutes whilst the train crew were busy trying to release the brakes.  Having succeeded we picked up again and trundled on over the road crossing into Newenden.  The line winds through very low-lying marshland and in parts lush pastureland, the whole lot criss-crossed with hundreds of small drains and clumps of Willow trees.  Soon we could see the turrets of historic Bodiam Castle on our right and as the train drew nearer we had a magnificent view of this fine turreted and moated structure.  Then we passed through Bodiam and soon arrived at Junction Road Halt where we were treated to a view of ‘Pride of Sussex’ an ex SECR P1 0-6-0T which now belongs to the local Paper Mill. 

P Class Loco – Lewis Nodes

From here it was a short pull into Robertsbridge where we detrained and said goodbye to most of the delegates.  In the yard at Robertsbridge we had a look at some more rolling stock belonging to the society including the H Class 0-4-4T and some coaching stock, while our train was remarshalled ready for the return journey.H Class – Richard Salmon

Some twenty minutes later we climbed aboard and were soon bowling along back to our starting point, where ended a most enjoyable and informative day, with an insight into some of the problems that we ourselves will have to face in due course at Chasewater.

More about the Kent & East Sussex Railway in another post soon.

From the Secretary’s Report.

Members will be pleased to hear that we have moved the Barclay saddletank to the Hixon yard of our friend Jake Bacon.  (I’ve not read anything about this loco in the magazines until now.  It’s now known as Colin McAndrew!  There’s a photo of it at Hixon.)

Barclay Loco Colin McAndrew at Hixon – Rob Duffill’s Collection.

Renovation work is in progress until such time as she can be moved to the safety of the Chasewater building.  It is hoped that the two Pecketts will join her in the very near future, and I would like to express thanks to all those who have responded to the call for cash to cover the removal expenses.

Progress at Chasewater has been maintained steadily by the faithful few and the line is now in up to the site of the building.  The other track here has been left for the time being to enable the contractors to work in the confines of the trackbed.  A start has been made at the causeway end of the line in re0laying a length taken out by the demolition people and then work will centre on track tidying, moving a considerable amount of shale and spoil to strengthen the embankment near the small overbridge and other remedial works.  We shall still need plenty of help so please come.

From the Treasurer’s Report

Finance is reasonable at the moment but Chasewater is a big drain on resources and we must try to stem the flow as much as possible without jeopardising the project. (Given the state of Chasewater water level at the moment, the wording seems very prophetic!)

Late Round Up – Hon. Editor

I must apologise most profusely for the lateness of this edition due to personal circumstances beyond my control.   The next edition will reach you on time, and will contain news of the AGM.  I hope you will bear with me this time as I do like to have the mag. out on time.  (Considering the fact that this was the fourth magazine of the year members nowadays would certainly bear with him!)

Chasewater Railway Museum 1966 May-June Vol.5 No.3 Bits & Pieces 35

From the ‘Mercian’ May – June 1966 Vo.5 No.3

From the Editorial

The past few weeks have seen a number of developments both at Hednesford and at Chasewater.  Much effort by Melvyn Balance, Brian Hames, Frank Craddock and Ken Martin has transformed a large number of our collection of iron and brass into gleaming exhibits for open days, and I thank the lads for this useful contribution. 

Further items to arrive have been some LNWR destination clocks and finger boards from Walsall Station, some roof vents and other parts for the GER Brake from our good friend Mr. Plyer and his colleagues of the GE Society, and a load of wooden rail keys for Chasewater from the Severn Valley Society for which we sent our grateful thanks.  Other work at Hednesford has involved a general tidying up of the site for Open Day at Easter which attracted a fair number of visitors, among them two or three new members.  Particular thanks to our attractive salesgirls, Penny, Pat, Pauline, Dorothy and Jean for their help in raising just over £20 for the funds.

The work on tracklaying at Chasewater has progressed slowly but surely and has now reached the point where it becomes double track up to the museum building.  Work has been speeded up considerably no doubt because of the acquisition of our first loco – albeit a diesel – which is working up at Chasewater and is proving a boon in moving the NSR wagon and heavily laden platelayers’ trucks.

The loco has cost £50 – all subscribed for by about a dozen members – to save the general funds, and it is being recorded here for all to see that we are deeply grateful for this fine gesture.  This is only the start; we have more offers to consider.  The next one is a small saddle-tank in full working order at about £75.  How about a few advance donations??  Offers to me in the first instance, please.  More details will be given when these are to hand.  Continuing the money matters section, we have three steam locos to move from Warrington to Chasewater at an approximate cost of £250.  The Treasurer has already received a few donations as a result of the appeal made in the January edition.  However this is far from enough and we MUST move the locos within two months or we shall have to forfeit them completely.  Please, PLEASE help us to raise the ‘lolly’ before the end of May.  Contact either the Treasurer or myself as soon as possible, donations (or interest-free loans) desperately wanted.

The weekly Tote has now been launched and is going very well thanks to the faithful few who are selling tickets each week.  To date over £20 has been raised for the funds; this could be trebled if we can sell more tickets.  I do appeal to all members within range of the Depot to call and collect books of tickets for sale among their workmates and other contacts, please contact Albert Holden at your earliest convenience for tickets and full details of the Tote.

A.A.Chatfield – Hon. Editor

The Tote was run successfully for a number of years, bringing in much needed funds for the Society.

Hon. Treasurer’s Report

Planet Diesel Loco.  Members will be interested to hear that we have now acquired a Planet four wheel diesel locomotive. It was built by F. C. Hibberd around 1930, the exact date and history of the loco is, as yet, unknown.  It is powered by a Paxman 50 hp 3 cyl. Engine, and is capable of pulling several wagons.Laurence Hodgkinson

The loco has been delivered to Chasewater where it is in regular use on P. Way trains.  Members are now at work on repainting and repairing the body where necessary.  This has to be done on weekday evenings as the loco is on duty every weekend.  Any members willing to assist should contact me so that definite working times can be arranged.

It is important to complete restoration work as soon as possible as the loco is on show to the general public to a greater extent than any other item of rolling stock at the present time.

We would like to express our thanks to members Roger Hateley of Lichfield who has done all the negotiating for this valuable item of equipment.

Chasewater Vintage & Classic Transport Show, 2010

Vintage & Classic Transport Show, 2010

In Aid of the Midland Air Ambulance

A first class show put on by Helen Tindill and her team – how much work must have gone in to arranging it.  After last year, the question was – could the success be repeated?  Not ‘arf!  Repeated and exceeded, a great effort by all involved – including of course – the exhibitors for all the work that they put in to keep their vehicles in pristine condition.

I took some photos quite early in the proceedings, hoping to get back later and take more, but with the show being so well attended, and a good number visiting the railway, the time just wasn’t there.  There is a set to be found on my flickr link.



Chasewater Railway Museum 1966 Mar-April Vol.5 No.2 Bits & Pieces 34

Taken from the Officers’ Reports Mercian Mar-April 1966 Vol. 5 No.2

The Editorial started with an apology for the slightly poor printing in parts of the previous issue, and thanks to the members who responded to the call for more articles – still more needed!

The Editorial continued:

A certain cross-section of the Society are seething about the ex-NSR Battery loco which has been restored and which will be displayed in the Staffs County Council Museum at Shugborough Hall.

The Society wrote to British Rail more than three years ago to ascertain when this loco would be taken out of traffic.  A reply from the Company stated that our interest had been noted and that when withdrawn the Midland Area (RPS) would have a chance of purchasing the loco although no price was given at the time.

It would now appear that there has been some internal skulduggery in the Stoke Offices of British Rail and the Society has been completely passed over without so much as a letter informing them of the new plans for the loco.  It seems a pity that when British Rail change their Area Managers they also change their minds about genuine requests for the earmarking of relics.  One hopes that this practise will not spread, otherwise preservation societies will not know where they are when earmarking future items for which they have the ready money. (I must find out what happened to this loco! Now in National Railway Museum).

How many of you caught the picture of our few stalwarts working at Chasewater which appeared in the ‘Express & Star’ on February 7th???  I hope it conveyed to those who saw it that we have a crying need for more hands on the site.  We have just over a month to complete relaying up to the point where the building will stand.  We are fortunate in having some useful pieces of equipment to help us speed up the work but most of all we need a few – no, a hell of a lot more – hands to use it.  There are now Saturday and Sunday afternoon working parties, can you make one of them at least three times per month???Not the pic from the paper but you must get the point!

Laurence Hodgkinson Collection.

To explain the next paragraph for those of tender years!

Barbara Castle.

As Minister of Transport (23 December 1965–6 April 1968), she presided over the closure of approximately 2050 miles of railways as she enacted her part of the Beeching Cuts – a betrayal of pre-election commitments by the Labour party to halt the proposals. Nevertheless, she refused closure of several lines, one example being the Looe Valley Line in Cornwall, and introduced the first Government subsidies for socially necessary but unprofitable railways in the Transport Act 1968.

Sandplace Halt

A request stop on the Looe Valley Railway Line.

© Copyright Tony Atkin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

It had to come – a woman in charge of the nations transport.  Already the winds of change are blowing through Transport House and many rumours have flooded the railway press concerning the fate of the present restored transport relics and more particularly those awaiting restoration.  It has been announced that the smaller relics section at York is due to be closed and it would seem that if this goes through it will act as the thin end of the wedge for Clapham itself.

Privately preserved relics are reasonably assured of safety but what of those still within the control of British Rail?  We have been told that two locos which have already been scheduled are now off the list, what others will follow?  The ARPS must unite now, to stop any acts of vandalism being carried out on these treasures of our transport heritage.  A small voice will be no good in the wilderness of Transport House, there must be a noise like the trumpets at Jericho!

Will it come too late??!!

One appreciates the difficulties involved but a concerted effort by all enthusiasts irrespective of society or railway bias, must come now.

I am sure that the ARPS will be to the forefront when the time arrives for a showdown with the lady who has a finger on the button which could destroy for ever the tangible reminders of our transport history.

More from the pleading treasurer!

In response to my appeal one or two members have donated something towards the removal costs of the two Peckett 0-4-0STs and I am very grateful indeed.  A lot more would be welcome, also donations towards the cost of the Stroudley E1, on which we still owe the NCB £100.

From the Chasewater Secretary

Thanks to my pointed appeal for guarantors I am pleased to say that the response has been overwhelming, and we have the requisite number.  My thanks to all those who made such generous offers – it brings us one step nearer to our ambitions.

Chasewater Railway Museum 1966 Jan-Feb Bits & Pieces 33

Taken from the Officers’ Reports, Mercian Jan-Feb 1966, Vol.5 No.1

The Editorial was largely taken up by explaining who was doing what.  Malcolm Willis was to be the Membership Secretary and A.A.Chatfield was to take over as Editor.

The present content will remain as in my predecessor’s time but I shall be introducing new ideas as I go along.

The most difficult thing will be to find ‘copy’ and you can all help by sending in articles, comment, criticisms – constructive or destructive – and anything else of both preservation and general railway interest.

I want to make Mercian really interesting from all angles – a start has been made by ‘Tre Pol and Pen’ and ‘Casey Jones’ (articles to come about branch lines and loco classes) – but there are other avenues of preservation still untapped such as railway architecture, carriages and wagons and signalling.  Who will start the ball rolling?????

Hon. Treasurer’s Report –  F.J.Harvey

I am pleased (you don’t see a Treasurer’s report start with those words very often!!) to be able to make my first report for 1966 quite a good one.  If the Society can maintain the good start to the New Year our position will be more healthy than it has been for some time.

The Society aims to complete payments on the Stroudley E1 this year – £115 is still owing.  Anyone who is interested in this locomotive is invited to send in a donation to this as payments are being maintained from the general funds at present.  Whilst talking about donations I would like to sincerely thank Mr. J. Strong and Mr. G. Wildish for their donations towards the removal of the Peckett 0-4-0STs.  More contributions are requested to this fund also.

Hon. Social Organiser –  A.L.Holden

A brief report about the Annual Dinner and Whist Drive – both successful, with two junior members – Andrew Horton and William Ives  – selling a huge number of Whist Drive tickets.

The Hon. Treas. and Hon. Soc. are promoting a weekly Tote amongst members and friends to raise money for the Society.  I believe that this Tote proved to be successful and continued for a number of years.   (I’ll let you know if it didn’t!)

Hon. Chasewater Secretary –  E. W. Barlow

Museum Building.  Without beating about the bush it will be as well if all members know that the loan repayments for the building will be approximately £245 per annum.  We urgently need members over 21 years of age to act as guarantors.  Will any such members please write to me in strict confidence NOW.  If 20 members are prepared to guarantee £20 each we shall be there.

Hon. Curator –  N. HadlowMSL Coach at Easingwold

MS & LR Coach. This vehicle, the first relic ever to be purchased by the RPS will soon be on its way to a temporary home at the HQ of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. (Lovely railway, lovely people!) To move and begin initial restoration will cost £140.  The Vintage Carriage Trust are finding this money, but have asked us to help out with as big a donation as possible.  Will all members interested in yet another appeal aimed at their pockets please send donations to our Hon. Treasurer.  Amounts over £5 will be acknowledged in this magazine.MSL Coach in Chasewater Railway Heritage Centre 2010

On Sunday January 9th we moved the ex North Staffs Railway wagon which we purchased from the Shelton Iron & Steel Co., Etruria, to Chasewater.  In spite of a biting cold wind the operation went off reasonably smoothly. (I would have been surprised if there hadn’t been a biting wind at Chasewater in January!). My thanks to all those who assisted, particularly Bob Wormington and our good friend Jake Bacon, who provided his low loader.

Judging by the old photographs of the Chasewater site, it must have been wide open to the elements with very few trees providing shelter from the wind.  Anyone who has worked on the track in the winter months, even now, especially on the causeway, deserves the thanks and recognition of all members).

Chasewater Railway Museum Dec 1965 Bits & Pieces 32

Taken from the Mercian, December 1965 Vol.4 No.6

Editorial

As you will notice, this issue of ‘Mercian’ is shorter than we have recently been used to.  This is due to the indisposition of the Editor, Malcolm Willis, who has entered hospital.  I am sure all members will wish Malcolm a speedy recovery, and hope that he may soon return to the most valuable work which he does fro the Society.

Malcolm Willis returned to the Society, but not to the Editorship of the ‘Mercian’, taking on the role as Membership Secretary.  He did an excellent job of expanding the Magazine and would surely be missed.

This is the last edition of Mercian this year, a year which has been very rewarding for the Society.  We have realised one of our major schemes, the purchase of our branch line at Chasewater.  Work has been going on there for some months, and track-laying has gone on steadily.  Early next year we hope to have a permanent building erected, and several locomotives delivered.  If work is to go ahead as planned in the New Year, more assistance will be needed, and I appeal to all members who can help in any way to visit the Hednesford depot or the Chasewater branch any Sunday, when you will be made very welcome.

From the Chairman’s Report  –  A. Holden.No.9 Cannock Wood – Stroudley E1 – J.Powell

Once again we are almost at the end of another eventful year for the Society with the prospect for 1966 even brighter.

A great deal of work has been done at Chasewater and at Hednesford by our gallant band of stalwarts who give their time each weekend to further our aims and ambitions.  Lots more work has still to be done and many more workers are needed to help carry the burden.

The Society is deeply indebted to one of our members, namely Dr. Plummer, for his generosity in purchasing and cost of transporting a locomotive to Chasewater.

Any Society which is to survive in these days of rising costs must have a healthy Bank Balance, and I strongly urge all members to participate in all money-raising efforts which are organised to help the Society to stay solvent.

We are fortunate in having many friends who are sympathetic to our cause, even if they are not members, who give willingly in so many ways, such as refreshments or prizes for various events, helping at Open Days and last, but not least, rummage for our annual event which Mr. Wooding organises each year.

Chasewater Light Railway Report  –  D.A.Ives.  Hon. Sec.

Good progress was made during the golden month of October.  Work has slowed down during the winter months.  However, a few real stalwart members have continued to lift and relay track in spite of cold and wet conditions.  Work parties are being conducted on Saturday afternoons, weather permitting.  Track-laying must continue during these winter months if the full length is to be completed by April.  The Chasewater party consists of approx. 12 regular members, who are now resigned to the fact that the job will have to be completed by them and them alone.Chasewater 1966 – Laurence Hodgkinson

Stop Press!!!  A strong steel door has been fitted to the platelayers hut at Chasewater, where we intend to store all our track-laying tools.

Treasurer’s Report  –  F.J.Harvey.

I would like to begin my report by thanking all those members who have renewed their membership subscriptions since the last issue of Mercian.  There are still quite a lot of lapsed members, however.  This is the time of year for giving, so please help the Society by sending your subscriptions as soon as possible.

The loan which was needed to buy the Midland Railway Royal Saloon has now been completely repaid.  We shall now be able to give more attention to clearing the outstanding debt on the Stroudley E1 as outlined in the last issue.

So far we have received no offers of financial help towards the transportation of the Peckett 0-4-0ST from Warrington.  As I have pointed out before, this is a matter of extreme urgency.  Unless we have some support, we shall be throwing away a working locomotive.  Please see what you can do  to help.  Any donation, no matter how small, will be most welcome.

Still not enough working members or money – but they kept going!

2010 Chasewater and Chuff Road Run

2010 Chasewater and Chuff Road Run

For the fourth year, Chasewater saw the older vehicles doing their tour of the local district.

What makes it so enjoyable is hearing just about everyone saying that they either had owned one of the models or knew someone who had.   It’s certainly a great pleasure to see the type of car or commercial vehicle that we drove when we first passed our Driving Test still on the road!

Long may it continue!

More pictures on the flickr link

Please don’t forget David Pearce’s next day out:

Chasewater Railway Museum 1965 Oct Bits & Pieces 31

Taken from the Mercian October 1965 Vol.4 No.5

Another long magazine, with three more pages dealing with general preservation issues and a further two pages devoted to a humorous look at ‘Meetings’, which does not concern the vast majority of our members – our meetings are too short to be funny!!

Excerpts from the Officers’ reports

Treasurer’s Report – F.J.Harvey

Once again we start a new financial year, one which no doubt will provide a great many headaches for the committee.

In order that our projects can go ahead our financial position must improve a great deal.  We have just paid our first year’s rent for the Chasewater branch which has rather depleted our bank balance.  I would like to appeal to all members for financial support. This is urgent as we have several items of expenditure looming up.

One of the platelayers cabins on the Chasewater branch is in need of considerable repair.  This will have to be done in the next few weeks so that our track laying equipment can be stored there in safety.  A petrol trolley would be a tremendous asset if the money was forthcoming.  Members are having to push a loaded trolley, weighing over two tons, for over half a mile and this distance is increasing each week as we lay more track.

We are also faced with the problem of moving the Peckett 0-4-0ST from Warrington.  This is likely to be quite expensive and anyone who is interested in seeing the locomotive in steam at Chasewater next year is requested to give some financial support.

Turning to a more cheerful note, the loan for the Midland Railway Royal Saloon should be paid off completely by December.  We hope that this will enable us to concentrate on paying off the outstanding money on the E1 0-6-0T (Cannock Wood) £125.  Donations are still urgently required here.

The committee are trying to raise money but we do need the support of all members.  This is a crucial moment in the life of our society.  Please help now while there is still time.  If any member is prepared to help us in raising money, please contact one of the committee immediately.  If we can raise £300 we will almost certainly succeed at Chasewater.  This is not a large sum considering the size of the project and I am certain that it can be raised if all members help.Inside the old Museum Coach – Barry Bull

AGM Report  –  from our Publicity Officer.

I’ve skipped the Chairman’s Report this time, most of it is included here.

The 6th Annual General meeting of the Midlands Area was held at the YMCA in Wolverhampton on 18th September 1965 with 25 people present.  In his address, the Chairman, A.Holden, thanked the Committee for their support during the past year, John Elsley and his band of helpers for the hard, heavy work being done at Chasewater, and also thanked the Editor of Mercian, Malcolm Willis for his work.  He also thanked everyone who attended the Annual Dinner arranged last year, and said that it had been a turning point for the Society with regards to the number of people who had been introduced to it.

David Ives, in his report , stressed the point that we desperately need more help with the track laying at Chasewater if we are to succeed, and that it was a pity that we had so many apathetic members.  He also said that money-making activities were essential to keep up the funds.

Frank Harvey said that the past year had been a fairly good one financially, but in the next twelve months we were going to need a great deal more money and support if we were going to fulfil our aims.

All members were urged to renew their subscriptions if they had lapsed, and to really try and help the society in some way, as the next year will be a testing time for us.  If however we all work together we will succeed.

Chasewater Project

In order that we may keep to schedule with track laying and be in a position to build the depot/museum in early 1966, it has been decided that we should provide full facilities for working parties on SATURDAY AFTERNOONS.  As you have read in other parts of this issue we desperately need more manpower, and it is imperative that this need is met.  We implore members to take advantage of this work party if they cannot reach those on Sundays.  Please, please help!

The next plea is more or less a legal matter.  With the loan for the building, we will need to payback to Brownhills Urban District Council £245 per annum.  In order to meet the terms of the loan we need GUARANTORS to assure payment of this amount if the society should fail – which is highly unlikely.  If you could guarantee only £1 we should be highly grateful.  If you are willing to help in this way or even if you are only toying with the idea in your mind, we appeal to you to write for further details to the Chasewater Secretary.‘Smoke on the Water’ – this time from Barry Bull in the 1980s!