Latest Arrivals at Chasewater
People living in the houses adjacent to the line have by now become used to seeing various types of low-loaders arriving with miscellaneous items of rolling stock, in fact on one memorable day two vehicles arrived at the same time. One often wonders what the thoughts of these people are as more and more large relics appear at Chasewater.
Several items have arrived over the last two months. The first and in many ways the most important was the Midland Railway crane from Hednesford. Without this, our track laying project could not have been fulfilled and over the last eight weeks it has more than made up for its three years of inactivity at Hednesford. Apart from being a valuable historic item, it is a most useful piece of equipment.
SECR Brake No.1601
This six-wheeled van, built in 1905, is unusual in that it has both a “birdcage” lookout on the roof and side duckets for the guard. In addition to accommodation for the guard, the rest of the space was used for luggage. On withdrawal it was transferred for service use as an ARP Cleansing Van, based at Bricklayers Arms Locomotive Depot in London.
With no further use for it after the war, in 1947 it was sold to the independent Derwent Valley Light Railway in Yorkshire. On its second withdrawal from service it was bought by the Southern Locomotive Preservation Co., who moved it, with the rest of their stock, to the Bluebell in late 1971 and early 1972.
The van’s eventual restoration will require, as its first stage, the complete reconstruction of its wooden/flitch-plated underframe.
It was at Chasewater for five years before being transferred to the Bluebell Railway. It had to be left outside for the haulage company to make an early start, and in those few hours every window was smashed. ( I know there aren’t many but…..)
This was most eventful since it arrived a day early. The usual entrance was locked and the haulage contractors came through the main entrance. This involved a considerable amount of shunting on their part and eventually necessitated the complete removal of the main gates. After becoming entangled with overhead power cables the vehicle was finally unloaded without a hitch! The carriage is in the nature of a joint venture between the Society and our good friends the Southern Locomotive Preservation Company, the latter having purchased the coach while the RPS provided the bulk of the money needed for transportation.
The next arrival, on June 15th, was the Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST ‘Asbestos’ from Turners Asbestos Cement, Trafford Park, Manchester. In contrast to the previous item, this arrived about five hours late and completely disrupted work for the day. However, the sight of this immaculately maintained locomotive more than made up for any inconvenience.Pic: DM Bathurst
This was followed one week later by our most distant acquisition, the Neilson 0-4-0ST from Glasgow, vandalised the day before collection, as posted elsewhere.
Before the next influx of new items, more track will have to be laid into the compound. As soon as this is done, the peace of the neighbourhood will once again be shattered by the noise of heavy haulage vehicles.