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 A reply from the Company stated that our interest had been noted and that when withdrawn the Midland Area (RPS) would have a chance of purchasing the loco although no price was given at the time.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!
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.
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.