Monthly Archives: December 2010

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 62

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 62

From RPS Newsletters Nos.3 & 4, July – October 1973

One short newsletter and one a bit longer so I thought I’d put them in the same post.

From No.3

Due to the grand summer weather our train running operations have proved very successful, this of course has also been enhanced by having the DMU trailer unit now in regular service, our train crews have carried out the job of keeping the wheels rolling most efficiently.  Members wishing to participate in train duties should report to Steve Allsopp for instruction.

Neilson 0-4-0 Locomotive

This locomotive has now passed its boiler test successfully and is now in the process of being re-assembled.  I understand that the main bearings are being re-metalled.  The whole project is in the capable hands of our General Manager, Derek Luker, with Keith Sergeant acting as chief assistant.  We are heavily indebted to these two members for sticking to the job.

MSLR CarriageMSL at Easingwold – R.Cromblehome

Restoration of this vehicle still continues, also a long slog by John Elsley. John would appreciate a little more help with this vehicle.  Anyone who is reasonably skilled in woodwork should report to John Elsley.

The platform building had been slowed down due to the train operations, and the Railway held a very successful Railway Exhibition at the Forum Theatre in Cannock. Very many thanks to all the people who set up the stands, acted as stewards, and in particular, to Rob Duffill and his team of ladies who manned the refreshment bar.

From No.4

The running season had been a good one, helped by an excellent summer.  Restoration work and maintenance will now continue throughout the coming autumn and winter months, weather permitting.  Priorities, I understand, will include trackwork, embankment restoration and completion of the platform.

Restoration work on the Neilson continues – should be in steam next year.

Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST Asbestos

This loco has finished for the season, and now enjoys a well-earned rest.  Boiler fittings have now been removed and the boiler washed out.  The fitting flanges are to be reseated prior to the forthcoming boiler tests.  This work again is in the hands of Derek Luker, our hard-working General Manager.

MS & LR Carriage

Excellent progress is still being maintained by John Elsley, Nigel Hadlow and Albert Haywood, cracked panes have been replaced with new ¼” plate glass (at a prohibitive price), painting still continues, the teak centres can actually now be seen on the Mansell wheels.  John tells me he hopes to restore the compartments to the original as far as possible.  This vehicle is proving well worthy of preservation and is a credit to John and his team.

Maryport & Carlisle Railway carriage

Work has now started on the panelling of this vehicle, under the capable hands of Andrew Louch.  It is indeed gratifying to us all that our historic ‘Maryport’ is at last receiving restoration attention.  After being in service for a full season last year, the vehicle is undergoing a refit and later a repaint.  More about this at a later date.

Worthington Diesel No.20

This vehicle has now received attention from Brian Piddock and is again in working order, after lying idle for many months, it is a very good job done and I’m sure we are all grateful to Brian.

Chasewater Terminus Platform

Work still continues on this very vital asset.  Lawrence Hodgkinson is in charge of this project, the Council have helped with a good graded red ash approach to the platform, and provided car parking facilities.  I’m sure the Society is most grateful for this help.

Derailment of No.21 Diesel

A derailment occurred this month (Sept) during the hours of darkness, the above diesel came off the road when towing the DMU into the compound around 8.00pm.  Two slabs were loosened on the platform and the driver, Lawrence Hodgkinson, somewhat shaken.  A team of stalwarts (6) worked until 11.30pm by the light of Tilley Lamps to re-rail the locomotive, this was finally achieved and both loco and carriage shunted safely into the compound.


The AGM was well attended this year, it was followed by the Chasewater Light Railway Co. Ltd. AGM.  A special train took members a trip down the entire length of the line, this consisted of the L & Y No.1 Petrol Loco and the GWR 16 ton brake.  Slides were later shown in the DMU carriage, this depicted work done over the season on and around the site.

Compiled by Dave Ives and Printed and published by Lawrence Hodgkinson.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 61 – May 1973

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces No.61

RPS Newsletter No.2 – May 1973

Since the last newsletter (March) we have been pleased to see a few members turn up at Chasewater as a result of the appeal for more support.  We would like to see a few more however.  There is an interesting variety of jobs, i.e. trackwork, platform building, locomotive and carriage restoration, installation of signals and signalling equipment. (Sounds familiar!!)

There was a successful Easter Weekend Steaming in spite of awful weather, and a thank you to the members who stayed overnight to light up, and those who operated the service in such vile weather.

DMU Trailer UnitPic – Lawrence Hodgkinson

This vehicle has now arrived at Walsall from March, Cambs. And is now awaiting collection and transportation by low-loader from Walsall to Chasewater.  This should prove a spectacular operation (albeit a costly one). We deserve to get maximum publicity from this enterprise.  As most members will realise, this carriage has been purchased to give maximum seating capacity for the summer season’s running, also to replace our vintage Maryport & Carlisle coach now in service.  The M & C now needs some restoration work, new panelling and a complete repaint.Pic – Lawrence Hodgkinson – Top of Pleck Road, Walsall

Stop Press – 3rd May!!

This vehicle is now safely in the compound at Chasewater, after a hectic day by a small party of members and being filmed going through the streets of Walsall by ‘ATV Today’

Pic – Lawrence Hodgkinson Coming through the farm gate at Chasewater.

NER 8 Ton Box Van

Due to the efforts of our Hon. Sec. Barry Bull, the Society has acquired the last wooden bodied Box Van used by Messrs. Cadbury of Bournville.  Messrs. Cadbury have very kindly donated the vehicle to the Society, arrangements have now been made for collection of this vehicle on May 5th.  Our grateful thanks to both Messrs. Cadbury for donating this vehicle and to Barry Bull for negotiating the deal.

Some Early Lines – The Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway

The Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway

The Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway (DBST), later the Blessington and Poulaphouca Steam Tramway, operated steam-powered trams between Terenure in Dublin and Blessington in Co. Wicklow from 1888 until 1932.

On Wednesday, August 1 1888, the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway (the DBST) opened for business. The first train was the 8:35 a.m. mail train leaving Terenure for Blessington. The tramway used the Irish standard gauge of 5’3″. The tramway connected with the horse drawn trams from the city.

An extension of the line to Poulaphouca was opened in 1895, and the Blessington & Poulaphouca Steam Tramway was incorporated, with through-running from Terenure from 1896 until the extension was closed in 1927.

In 1911, a major proposal was put forward for the electrification of the line as far as Crooksling, but the intervention of World War 1 meant that this was never put into effect.No.10 –

In 1929, the Paragon Omnibus Company began operating a through bus service between Blessington and the city centre, eliminating the tiresome requirement for passengers to transfer between the DBST and the Dublin tram at Terenure. This struck a fatal blow to the DBST.

Last ditch efforts were made in 1931 to have the DBST taken over by either the Dublin United Tramway Company, or by the Great Southern Railways . This did not come to pass, and so it was, that on the 31st December 1932, a wet Saturday night, the last trains ran on the DBST lines, the 6:15 p.m. from Terenure to Blessington, and the 10:30 p.m. from Terenure to Tallaght.

Many people were killed in the tram days, including many who were the worse for drink, who were knocked down by the tram which was known to appear suddenly and silently from around a turn in the road, or behind a hedge. In one case, a conductor was thrown to his death from the swaying trailer car. In Templeogue the bodies of the dead where taken to the local pub the Templeogue Inn. This occurred so often the pub became known as The morgue

Fayle, H. & Newham, A. T., The Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway, 1963.

New Museum Item – GWR New Year Greeting Message 1928

This piece of memorabilia from Barry Bull is a greetings message from the General Manager of the Great Western Railway 1921-1929, Sir Felix John Clewett Pole, to all members of staff for the year 1928.

The first two inside pages.Third page.Final page.

Steam Locos of a More Leisurely Era – ‘Big Bertha’ and the ‘Decapod’

Big Bertha – Fowler 0-10-0 Banking EngineThe  engine as running soon after construction, in 1920.  H.C.Casserley.

The closing weeks of 1919 saw the appearance from Derby works of what was by far the largest locomotive to be built for the Midland Railway, which had remained a ‘small engine’ line during the period when most other railways had gone in for much larger and more powerful machines.

No.2290 was a four cylinder 0-10-0 engine built especially for banking up the Lickey incline with the three miles of continuous 1 in 37 ascent, and which had hitherto seen nothing larger than 0-6-0Ts on this duty.  It was, moreover, the only ten-coupled engine in the country at the time, its only other predecessor in this respect having been the GER ‘Decapod’, and it was not until 1943 that any further engines with ten wheels coupled appeared in Great Britain.

The new Midland locomotive had Walschaert’s outside valve gear, and the two piston valves for the two cylinders had outside admission, the parts inside the cylinders being crossed.  The cylinders were steeply inclined.

The famous Lickey Incline banker, locally known as ‘Big Bertha’ MR No. 2290 (here renumbered 22290) stands at Bromsgrove in May 1948 with steam up in readiness to assist a train up the 2¼ mile 1 in 37 gradient. H.C.Casserley

To facilitate drawing up to the rear of a train in darkness, preparatory to banking, it was later fitted with a powerful electric headlight.  It spent almost the whole of its life on the duty for which it was built, although it made one or two early trials on mineral trains between Toton and Cricklewood.  It remained the only representative of its class, and in order to ensure as short an absence as possible on its visits to shops, it had two boilers, which could be interchanged on these occasions.  After 36 years of heavy pounding up the bank it was withdrawn from service in 1956.   In 1947 it was renumbered 22290, and under the BR regime it became 58100.  It went locally by the name of ‘Big Bertha’.  Fortunately the impressive sound of its throaty exhaust has been preserved on a gramophone record by an enterprising firm specialising in railway recordings.

Driving Wheels – 4’  7½”,  Cylinders (4) 16¾” x 28”,  Pressure 180lbs.

Tractive Effort 43,315lbs. Weight 73 tons 13 cwt.

‘Decapod’ – J.Holden 0-10-0TThe ‘Decapod’ as built – H.C.Casserley

This startling engine which was built in 1902 to the designs of J.Holden was totally unlike anything else which had appeared previously on the GER or any other line.  It was indeed believed to be the most powerful locomotive in the world at the time.

No.20 had an enormous boiler with a firebox extending the full width of the frame (as on GNR Atlantics of the same year) and the water was carried in a well tank beneath the bunker.  It was the first ten-coupled engine in this country, and apart from two very early machines of 1846 and 1868 it was the first to be fitted with three simple-propulsion cylinders.  The middle pair of driving wheels was flangeless.

Its purpose was purely experimental, to ascertain whether steam haulage was capable of attaining as great a rate of acceleration as electric traction for suburban working.  The electrification advocates maintained that they could produce a train of 315 tons which could be accelerated to 30 mph in thirty seconds.  The new engine, with a train of 335 tons, actually exceeded this target on test; as a result the question of electrifying the Great Eastern suburban lines was shelved for another decade.  Unfortunately the necessary strengthening of track and bridges was also postponed on account of cost, and in the event was never carried out.  Owing to the permanent way restrictions, the ’Decapod’ was never able to be used in ordinary service, and in 1906 was reconstructed as a 2-cylinder 0-8-0 tender engine with a smaller boiler, and was used on freight trains.  It was finally scrapped in 1913.LNER Info.

It was unfortunate that the engine was so much before its time and never had the opportunity of completely justifying itself.

As 0-10-0T                                      As 0-8-0

Driving Wheels                 4’ 6”                                        4’ 9”

Cylinders                        (3) 18½” x 24”                         (2)  18½ x 24”

Pressure                             200lbs.                                    180lbs.

Weight                                 80 tons                                    54¼ tons

Some Early Lines – The Lickey Incline

Lickey Incline

Johnson Class 1P 6ft 9in No.254, still retaining its original boiler, has steam to spare as it climbs the Lickey Incline with an inspection saloon in 1935.  F.R.Hebron

The Lickey Incline is the steepest sustained main-line railway incline in Great Britain and is situated south of Birmingham, in England. The climb is a gradient of 1-in-37.7 (2.65%) for a continuous distance of two miles (3.2 km).

Some trains still require the assistance of banking locomotives to ensure that the train reaches the top.

The climb is just over two miles (3.2 km), at an average gradient of 1 in 37.7 (2.65%), between Bromsgrove and Blackwell (near Barnt Green). It is on the railway line between Birmingham and Gloucester. The Lickey Incline is the steepest sustained adhesion-worked gradient on British railways. It climbs into Birmingham from the south over the Bunter geological formation (one or two exposures are visible from the track-side), and passes about a mile and a half (2.4 km) away from the Lickey Hills, a well-known local beauty spot.

While many have suggested a gentler route could have been taken, and others have pointed out that there are steeper climbs elsewhere, the Lickey has acquired a mystique all of its own.

To assist trains up the incline and in some cases to provide additional braking, particularly to unfitted freights, specialised banking engines were kept at Bromsgrove shed at the foot of the incline.

The first locomotives were American Norris 4-2-0s, English manufacturers having declined to supply. The railway acquired 26 of them, of which the last nine were built in England, three by Benjamin Hick & Sons and six by Nasmyth, Gaskell & Company. The last one was withdrawn in 1856.

Around 1845 a large 0-6-0ST, the Great Britain was built in Bromsgrove Works.

A view of banking operations on Lickey.  Three engines, Class 3 0-6-0 No.3433 together with Jinties Nos. 47308 and 7638 passing through Bromsgrove Station in May 1948 assisting a heavy freight up the long drag.  H.C.Casserley.

1377 Class 1Fs, and later 2441 Class 0-6-0Ts were used on the route.

The famous-four cylinder 0-10-0 Lickey banker No.2290 designed by Henry Fowler and built at Derby in 1919 is seen shortly before the grouping when equipped for burning oil.  Several other engines were tried on banking duties up the Lickey Incline but ‘Big Bertha’ carried on until replaced by a BR standard class 9F 2-10-0 in 1956.  Locomotive Publishing Co.

In 1919 the specialised 0-10-0 No.2290 ‘Big Bertha’ was introduced to complement the existing 0-6-0Ts. “Big Bertha” was withdrawn in 1956 and replaced by BR Standard Class 9F No. 92079, which acquired Big Bertha’s headlight.

9F 92079

The LNER Class U1 Garratt was also tried out unsuccessfully in 1949–1950 and again in 1955. On one memorable occasion it was banking a train hauled by LMS Garratt No. 47972 which stalled on the bank and was rescued by “Big Bertha” –  resulting in the remarkable formation of a train with no fewer than nineteen driving axles.

The Lickey was transferred to the Western Region in 1958 and the 3F tanks were replaced by GWR 9400 Class pannier tanks and 92079 was replaced by classmate 92230, which did not acquire the headlight.

Heavy oil train ascending Lickey Bank, near to Blackwell, Worcestershire, Great Britain. View SE, down the Lickey Bank (two miles at 1-in-37) towards Bromsgrove; ex-Midland Birmingham – Bristol main line. This was one of the heaviest trains worked up this formidable incline, a loaded oil train from Fawley (Hants.) to Bromford Bridge (Birmingham). Headed by BR Standard 9F 2-10-0 No. 92136, pounding up at 10-15 mph with no less than four GW 94XX 0-6-0Ts at the rear, it made a thrilling sight – and sound.

Date 16th August 1963.  user:chevin Ben Brooksbank Creative Commons License 2.0

Snowy Santas

Barclay No.1964 leaving Brownhills West – Pic with kind permission of Bob Anderson.

Another very successful Santa weekend at Chasewater Railway in spite of the snow.  Well done to all the staff who kept things running in the bitterly cold weather and the snowfall on Saturday, and a big ‘thank you’ to our visitors for braving the weather to come and see Santa.

There are just two more Santa days to go before Christmas – both sold out – let’s hope that we can keep the steam going to the end!

My thanks to Bob Anderson for the use of his photographs. On this occasion I was busy working inside and did not have time to take any pics – as Bob found out!! ‘Nuff said!Lovely shot, Bob.

Dickinson’s Real Deal is coming to Cannock

Dickinson’s ‘Real Deal’

David Dickinson will be looking for some real bobby dazzlers when he brings his hit TV show Dickinson’s Real Deal to Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock in January.

Dickinson’s Real Deal is the most popular daytime show on ITV1 and is regularly watched by more than a million people. David and his dealers evaluate how much they think an item is worth and make an offer. The owner then negotiates, deciding whether to accept the cash or to gamble at auction.

David and his team of dealers will be at Chase Leisure Centre in Stafford Road,
Cannock, on Saturday 15th January between 9am and 5pm to view antiques brought along by members of the public.

Admission is free and people can just turn up on the day. People can also call the Dickinson’s Real Deal hotline on 0117 9707618 to let producers know about items they will be taking along.Cannock Chase Leisure Centre


Some Early Lines – Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

The Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) is a narrow gauge heritage railway in Powys, Wales. The line is around 8.5 miles (13.7 km) long and runs westwards from the town of Welshpool via Castle Caereinion to the village of Llanfair Caereinion. The track gauge is 2 ft 6 in (762 mm).


The W&LLR was one of the few narrow gauge branch lines to be built under the provisions of the 1896 Light Railways Act. Noted narrow gauge promoter Everard Calthrop appeared at the Light Railway Inquiry, and proposed the use of transporter wagons. However the line ended up being built by the Cambrian Railways engineer, with consequent conservative 4-wheel wagon and other provisions.

Original operations

It was opened on 4 April 1903 to aid economic development in a remote area. It never made a profit. It was originally operated by the Cambrian Railways.  The line is built through difficult country, having a great number of curves in order to reach the summit of 600 ft. The original terminus at Welshpool was located alongside the main line station and trains wound their way through the town, using the locomotive bell as a warning.

In the 1923 Grouping of railway companies, Cambrian Railways, including the Welshpool to Llanfair Caereinion line, was absorbed by the Great Western Railway (GWR). On 9 February 1931 the line lost its passenger service, which was replaced by a bus service, and it became a freight-only line. It was temporarily re-opened to passengers between 6 and 11 August 1945 for the Eisteddfod. The GWR itself was nationalised in 1948 and became part of British Railways.

Freight traffic lingered on until 1956, by which time British Railways decided to close the line, with services ceasing on November 5.


A group of volunteers and enthusiasts took the line over and started raising money to restore it. On 6 April 1963 the western half of the line, from Llanfair Caereinion to Castle Caereinion, was re-opened as a tourist railway. The line through Welshpool however could not be reopened, so the line now has a new terminus at Raven Square on the western outskirts of the town, originally opened on 18 July 1981. There are discussions proceeding to consider reinstating the link through the town to the main line station following a different route to that originally used.

Because of the gauge, unusual for the British Isles, locomotives and rolling stock to supplement the originals have had to be obtained from a cosmopolitan variety of sources including the Zillertalbahn in Austria. A major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund permitted restoration of both original locomotives together with several coaches and original wagons, and provision of new workshop facilities, ready for the line’s centenary.


Another new item in the Museum – Updated

New to our Museum

Newly acquired by the Museum curator, Mr.Barry Bull.

One of the worksplates from the Kitson loco 5036/1913 0-6-0ST Griffin. Griffin shown here with the worksplate on the sandbox and CC&WR (Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway) lettering on the side of the cab.

Griffin – Kitson 0-6-0ST 5036/1913

The latest addition to the Chasewater Railway Museum is a Worksplate once carried by the Kitson 0-6-0ST ‘Griffin’, a long time resident of the Cannock Chase Colliery Company before its transfer in National Coal Board days to Walsall Wood Colliery where the loco spent its final years from 1953 until scrapped in March 1962.

Photographic evidence shows that both worksplates which had been carried on the loco’s sandboxes had already gone missing by 1960.

Griffin was the only one of the colliery locomotives to carry the legend CCWR (Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway), this being painted on the cabsides.

The Worksplate is engraved brass ‘Kitson and Co. Ltd. 1913 Leeds’ and is approximately 10⅝” x 6⅜”.  Traces of black paint on the edge show the final livery.

The firm produced its first loco in 1838 and ceased building in 1938 with over 5.000 having been constructed, mostly for main line use for railways at home and abroad, relatively few were made for industrial use.

The photo of Griffin was taken at Walsall Wood Colliery on 13th March 1961.