Monthly Archives: July 2010

Early RPS Diesel Locos

With the present new and late model diesel locomotive activity at Chasewater Railway, it seems a good time to go back to the Railway’s early engines.

This article is from the ‘Mercian’ of April 1969

By S. Allsopp

The locos described were three of the first diesel engines at Chasewater.

Railway Preservation Society                Diesel Locomotives

The 0-4-0 ‘Planet’ Type Numbers 1, 20 & 21

Number One was manufactured by F.C.Hibberd & Co.Ltd. in 1944, works number 2914, and was supplied new to Weston-Super-Mare Gas Works.  Until 1966, when it was acquired by the Society, it was owned by a succession of firms, finally coming into the hands of Messrs. Pitsteel Ltd. of Aldridge, Staffs.

This locomotive, weighing only six tons, is a very diminutive machine.  The four driving wheels are only 1’ 8” in diameter, and the top of the roof comes well below the height of a normal railway coach.  It is powered by a National 3DL diesel engine of 29 BHP.  The transmission system consists of an 18½ inch diameter cone-type clutch, operated by a foot pedal, driving to a two speed gear-box of the ‘crash’ variety and thence by way of a single roller, chains to both axles.  The gear-box is of the reversing type also.

No electrical system is fitted, engine starting being accomplished by hand.  A handbrake acting on four cast iron brake blocks, one to each wheel, is fitted.

This was the first locomotive to arrive at Chasewater and was of great assistance in the removal and relaying of track, though since the arrival of numbers 20 and 21 it has gone into semi-retirement.  Although only 29 BHP it has shown itself capable of moving, on several occasions, six times and more, its own weight.

A new gear-box has recently been fitted as the original box had the distressing tendency of shedding teeth from one of the first gear pinions, the last time with disastrous results.  There has only been one complete failure with this locomotive, this being caused by a blocked fuel pipe.  Another loco had to be used to haul No.1 back, British Railways fashion.

Number 20 was manufactured by the Kent Construction Company at Ashford in 1926 fro Worthington & Company Ltd., Brewers, of Burton-upon-Trent as their No.10.  This locomotive is reputed to be the only surviving standard gauge locomotive built by the Kent Construction Company.

Number 21 was manufactured by F.C.Hibberd & Co. Ltd. in 1929 for the same brewers as their No.11.  Both of these locomotives are very similar in outward appearance but differ greatly in minor details as we have found out to our cost.

They were both built with Dorman 4J0 petrol engines of 40 brake horse-power, being re-engined with Dorman 4DWD diesel engines of 54 brake horse-power during the 1950s.  They are fitted with a simple electrical system including a twelve volt starter motor, a great improvement on No.1, the clutches and gear boxes being inter-changeable between all three locomotives.  A handbrake only is fitted operating four brake blocks, one to each wheel, through a compensating arrangement.  Standard buffering and draw gear are fitted using three link couplings, although ‘instanter’ and screw couplings are used at times.

Nos. 20 and 21 with the Maryport & Carlisle Railway Coach on the causeway – Photo D.Bathurst collection.

Both locomotives gained their present numbers when the firms of Worthington Ltd. and Bass, Ratcliffe & Gretton Ltd. were merged.  They were purchased by the Society in 1967 after the closure of the Bass railway system at Burton-upon-Trent.  The remaining four Planet diesels belonging to the Company were purchased by Messrs. Albert looms Ltd., the railway rolling stock dismantling engineers of Spondon, near Derby.  The four engines and gear boxes and many other spares from these four were donated to the Society by Messrs. Looms, therefore ensuring a long active life for numbers 20 and 21.

General dimensions of these two are:  length 13’ 6”, width 7’ 6”, height 9’ 9”, wheelbase 5’ 6”, wheel diameter 3’ 1”, weight 8 tons 5cwt approximately, fuel capacity 20 gallons, maximum speed 15 mph approx.


No.1 – This locomotive has been painted all colours of the rainbow, and others as well, it would appear, since it was new.  When acquired by the Society it bore the remains of a yellow livery with the previous ones showing through.  It was then painted green, but is now in maroon with straw lining and yellow buffer beams, looking very respectable for the first time in years.  This locomotive was sold by the Society and is still believed to be working.

Nos. 20 and 21 – Both locomotives were painted Worthington black with red and gold lining when new, but both have acquired the standard Bass blue livery with red lining.  There is the possibility that one or both may revert to the original livery, but this would mean renumbering them.  No. 20 is at the Coors Museum of Brewing at Burton-upon-Trent on a long term loan, and No.21 is in the Heritage Centre at Chasewater.

No.21 at Chasewater

Another Hunslet Loco pays Chasewater Railway a Visit.

The latest Hunslet locomotive to visit Chasewater Railway arrived this afternoon for final checks. It is fitted with a Cummins 410 HP engine.Two Hunslets together outside the Heritage Centre – the red one brand new and the blue one completely refurbished and looks every bit brand new.The red one is leaving tomorrow, 30th July, and the blue one will stay till sometime next week.

The not-so-new being passed by the as-good-as-new!

Still looking smart Brian, but you’ll have to get your paint brush out!!

Class 08 Diesel Loco at Chasewater Railway

Class 08 diesel loco at Chasewater Railway

Today, Tuesday 27th July 2010, saw the first of the Chasewater Railway School Summer Holiday midweek specials.  Although advertised as a steam service, in fact Class 08 diesel locomotive No. D3429 was the engine in charge today.  This loco is at Chasewater Railway on a short-term loan.

This latest arrival at Chasewater (20-7-2010) is a product of Crewe Works – one of 135 such locomotives built there.

The first allocation was Bristol St. Phillips Marsh, but 3429 had moved to Swansea Danygraig Depot by January 1960, followed by spells at other South Wales depots.

D3429 is credited with working the last train over the Cymmer-Glyncorrwg section of the South Wales Mineral Railway on May 22nd 1970, to collect empties from the closed Glyncarrwg Colliery.

By now renumbered 08359, the loco was withdrawn by British Rail in March 1984 but subsequently sold into preservation, going to the North Staffs Railway at Cheddleton.  Several such moves have taken place since, and D3429 comes to Chasewater on a short term loan via the Telford Steam Railway.

Since withdrawal the loco has been seen at Cheddleton, Peak Rail (Buxton), Peak Rail (Darley Dale), Shackerstone, Tyseley, Northampton & Lamport then Telford Steam Railway.

A Weekend Off!

A Weekend Off!

It’s one of those things you say you’ll do – but never get round to.  I have wanted to visit the north-east coast, around Scarborough, for more years than I care to remember.  This year I made it!

We decided to have a long weekend away, taking in the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.  Early on Friday morning, we set off towards the M1 and Whitby passing through Pickering – where the North Yorks Moors Railway starts and where we were booked to stay for a couple of nights.  On to Whitby and our first port of call – the Abbey. Passing through the town it was strange to see a name which I had not heard of since I left school in Lichfield in 1954, Caedmon.  At our school there were three ’Houses’ – Spencer, Chaucer and Caedmon.  We were told that they were poets but, although I had heard of the first two, I had never heard of Caedmon before or since.  Apparently he was the earliest English poet to be remembered by name and became a Monk in Whitby Abbey.  The Abbey proved to be well worth the visit and we ate our lunch there, overlooking the bay, in the warm breeze.

Lunch over, we left the Abbey and went down into the town for a look round.  The old life-boat came up the estuary, returning from a short trip taking passengers around the bay.  That seemed like a good idea so off we went on the next trip.  The weather was fine and the sea calm – just right!  While we were on the boat we heard a steam whistle and were told that it was the local steam bus – a Sentinel called ‘Elizabeth’, so, back on dry land, off we went in search of the bus stop and had a trip around Whitby with Vern and Viv. 

Vern wasn’t always a bus driver!!

Afterwards it was back to Pickering, book in and find somewhere to eat – we went to the Black Swan and a first class meal.

Saturday morning, early breakfast and a walk to the station to catch the first train of the day to Grosmont, over the North Yorkshire Moors.  Of course, we had to visit Goathland, home of ‘Heartbeat’ also known as AidensfieldA great day on a great railway with a bit of a problem after lunch due to the hot, dry weather and a fire on the moors.

After we got back to Pickering we decided to have a quick trip to Scarborough.  It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, we didn’t stay long – just fish and chips on the front, a look at the sweeping bays and we found the building used when filming the hospital scenes in the ‘Royal’.

Next day it was the start of the long trip home – via Rievaulx Abbey and Nunnington Hall – both lovely places to visit.  At Rievaulx there was a display of old crafts such as pottery and wood-turning, all before the days of electricity – fascinating.  Then we went to see the Abbey from the Terrace and temples – a marvellous view over the Abbey and countryside.

Back to the car again for the final visit of the weekend – Nunnington Hall.  Another lovely place, with the added attraction of Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang on the lawns.  The Carlisle Collection of Miniature Rooms is housed in the attic, fully furnished in the styles of different periods, and is worth a visit in its own right.

Museum: Information wanted, please.

The Chasewater Railway Museum has recently taken possession of this plate.

It is cast iron, marked W.G.Bagnall Ltd., Stafford England.

Normally it would be taken as a works plate, but this one has not been drilled.

We are wondering if it had some special use or if it was just one which was never used.

If anyone can help, we would be most grateful.

BR Class 08 at Chasewater Railway

BR English Electric Class 08 Nº D3429 / 08359

The British Rail Class 08 is a class of diesel-electric shunting locomotive. From 1953 to 1962, 996 locomotives were produced, making it the most numerous of all British locomotive classes.

As the standard general-purpose diesel shunter on BR, almost any duty requiring shunting would involve a Class 08. The class became a familiar sight at many major stations and freight yards; however, since their introduction, the nature of rail traffic in Britain has changed considerably. Freight trains are now mostly fixed rakes of wagons, and passenger trains are mostly multiple units; neither requiring the attention of a shunting locomotive. Consequently a large proportion of the class has been withdrawn from mainline use and stored, scrapped, exported, or sold to industrial or heritage railways.

As of 2008 around 100 locomotives remain working on industrial sidings and on the main British network. On heritage railways they have become common, appearing on many of the preserved standard-gauge lines in Britain, with over 60 preserved.

It will be at Chasewater Railway for the next few months.

Some forthcoming events

School Holidays – Trains will run from 11.00am til 3.00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays  – July 27th to September 2nd

Trains running Saturday & Sunday, 24th & 25h JulySentinel has been moved into the Heritage Centre to complete her overhaul

August 1st – Museum of Cannock Chase 21st Anniversary Celebrations at Hednesford.

August 15th Charity Day at Chasewater RailwaySupport local charities with stalls on the railway.

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era – GNR Class C1

Taken from the Mercian July-Aug 1966 5.4

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – Casey Jones


The large boilered Atlantics of the Great Northern Railway were without a doubt one of the most outstanding machines to work on the East Coast main line.

Number 251 the doyen of the class emerged from Doncaster Works in 1902 to the design of Mr. Ivatt of CME.  It had a boiler 5’ 6” in diameter; the largest then fitted to a British locomotive, two cylinders 18¾” x 24”, 175lbs. pressure, a tractive effort of 15,690 lbs., and weighed 65½tons.   It had a stove pipe chimney and flat-sided firebox which were later replaced by the wider Wooton firebox and cast GNR chimney which gave later members of the class their typical looks.

At first the class did not come up to expectations and various experiments were tried in order to improve their performance.  Between 1905 and 1907 numbers292 and 1421 were rebuilt as four cylinder machines on the compound system.  They were then tested against No.1300, an ugly machine of similar design built by the Vulcan Foundry on the De Glehn system of compounding.  All three designs proved weak and all three locos were converted to two cylinder simple machines.  In 1910 numbers 1452-61 were fitted with 20”x 18” cylinders and 18 element superheaters.  These locos were an immediate success and superheaters were fitted to the remainder of the class.  The degree of superheat was stepped up during Gresley’s term of office to a 32 element superheater.  Gresley was also responsible for another interesting experiment applied to No.1419, this being a booster unit on the rear pony truck.  This booster increased the tractive effort up to 50%, and although it proved satisfactory in service, it was not perpetuated.Henry Oakley – Wikipedia

Altogether 94 of the class were built, and it is to their credit that they were entrusted with most of the crack high-speed trains out of King’s Cross between the Wars, in spite of the larger A3s.  It is in their Gresleyfied form that they achieved their real claim to fame during this period.  Although they were ageing at the outbreak of the Second World War they could still put up some fantastic performances with 15 and 20 coach trains.  However, age tells and the coming of the more modern B1 4-6-0s spelt the end of the line, thus when 62832 left Grantham for scrap in 1950 the last of the class disappeared from the chapters of history of the East Coast main line.

Later Years

They were eventually superseded on the heaviest trains by Gresley A1 Pacifics in the early 1920s. They continued to haul lighter expresses up until 1950, although this did include the Harrogate Pullman for a period during the 1920s and 1930s. They were often called upon to take over trains from failed Pacifics and put up some remarkable performances with loads far in excess of those they were designed to haul. One once took over the Flying Scotsman from a failed at Peterborough and not only made up time but arrived early.

Happily the prototype is preserved as number 251 in company with its equally famous forebear ‘Henry Oakley’, and has periodically been used for enthusiasts’ specials.

Original numbers were 251/72-301, 1300, 1400-61, later increased by 3xxx.  Numbers 4300 scrapped 1924, 3292 in 1927.  Survivors became BR’s 62800-91 and withdrawn between 1943 and 1950.Peter Langsdale

Some Early Lines – The Southwold Railway.

Another line that closed a long time ago but with hope for the future!

From The Mercian July 1969

Forgotten Byways

The Southwold Railway

This 3 foot gauge line formerly connected the town of Southwold to the Great Eastern Railway main line at Halesworth, and was opened in 1879 for traffic.  The line was 8¾ miles in length with three intermediate stations at Walberswick, Blythburgh and Wenhaston.Walberswick Station 1926

Wenhaston Station site – Ashley Dace

Blythburgh Station site looking north-west to Halesworth – Ben Brooksbank

Goods traffic had to be transferred from standard gauge wagons to those of the Southwold at Halesworth.Halesworth

Motive power on the line was provided by three locomotives supplied by Messrs. Sharp Stewart Ltd. of Glasgow.  These were No.1 Southwold, No.2 Halesworth and No.3 Blyth.  Principal dimensions were: Cylinders 14” x 8”, pressure 140lbs. per sq in, heating surface 189 sq ft.

Nos. 2 & 3 were 2-4-0 tanks and No.1 0-6-2 tank.Loco No.1 Southwold Railway Trust

The company owned a mixed selection of passenger stock, some of which looked almost American in outline with end doorways.  Most were supplied by the Bristol Wagon Company.  The goods wagons were mainly four wheeled and were purchased from the Midland Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd., or from Thos. Moy Ltd., of Peterborough.

Throughout its existence the company struggled to keep its head above water but like other contemporise it soon succumbed, in 1929, to the scrap dealers and very little now remains.A few items remain of the line:

  • Southwold Station site now has a Police Station and a Fire Station on the site
  • The swing bridge has been replaced by a footbridge on the same site
  • Walberswick Station building base has been uncovered and a seat is on the site
  • Blythburgh Station goods shed is still there, although fading fast
  • Wenhaston station site is completely overgrown
  • Halesworth Station site is now a housing estate
  • One of the two goods vans survived and is at the East Anglian transport Museum at Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft
  • There are small sections of track visible in various places along the line, which is easily walkable from Blythburgh to Southwold

Proposed re-establishment of the line

The Southwold Railway Society, formed in 1994, continues to investigate the possibility of re-instating all or part of the line. An initial proposal to reopen the line along the original route was abandoned after a public consultation process. A planning application for a new line, that followed the original route from Halesworth to Blythburgh and then ran north of the River Blyth to Southwold, was rejected by Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils in 2007. Subsequently the society considered a smaller restoration project.

The latest plan is to create a railway steam park, featuring a track loop with engine shed and cafe facilities. In Feb 2009 planning application for the Southwold Railway Steam Park was approved.Southwold Pier

For more information go to:

The Annual Chasewater Model Railway Show.

Chasewater Railway Model Railway Exhibition

July 11th 2010

Sunday 11th July saw the annual Chasewater Railway Model Railway Exhibition in the Heritage Centre, perhaps not as many exhibitors as in previous years but well supported by our visitors.

Unfortunately due to a clash of dates, I was not there this time – on holiday in Yorkshire for a few days, but supplied me with news and photographs.  Many thanks.