Monthly Archives: February 2011

Chasewater Railway Museum and Other News – Feb 27th

Chasewater Railway Museum and Other News

Feb 27th

Another cold Sunday at Chasewater – but everything was up and running, including the museum.  A bit awkward this week, working single-handed with Mick off with a bad foot and Godfrey on train duty, fortunately Albert held the fort for a time while I did one or two jobs elsewhere, and the museum cannot be left unattended.The carriage renovation is going well, old style lights having now been fitted!

And they work!Must remember to keep that door shut – not a pretty sight!I mentioned Albert earlier – the signal post is coming along well, just checking that the paint is dry!

In the museum, the cataloguing of artefacts in the museum itself is virtually complete, and a good start has been made on the archives.  The museum Chairman has done a grand job of drying, cleaning, sorting, listing and putting all the paper items in archive-quality plastic envelopes and boxes.  Now it is up to yours truly to scan them and enter them all on the museum database – all systems are now in place, all there is to do is plough through it all – I had no idea there were so many railway companies (before grouping, obviously!).Seacombe, Hoylake & Deeside Railway – Memorandum from 1889Shrewsbury & Hereford Joint Railway – Carriage free stores ticketYork & North Midland Railway – 1893 ticket requisition.

Steam Locos of a more Leisurely Era – Midland Railway Locomotives 1863 Kirtley 0-6-0

Midland Railway Locomotives

1863 Kirtley 0-6-0

No.2618 as running in 1928

Matthew Kirtley’s earlier double-framed goods dated from the 1850s and the early 1860s and were, like his other engines, very long lived, many of them surviving well into the 20th century.  His later standard type dates from 1863, between which year and 1874 several hundreds were built.  In more recent years, when both classes has been successively renewed and rebuilt, they could be distinguished from the earlier engines in having the running plate raised in a graceful curve over each outside coupling rod crank, whereas the original lot, except for a few built by Beyer Peacock in 1858, had straight frames.  As a matter of interest, in 1906 a number were sold to the Italian State Railways, for which they put in many more years of service.

By 1934, after heavy scrapping in the late 1920s and early 1930s, only about twenty remained, and these had 20,000 added to their numbers to make way for  the construction of new engines.  During the First World War Nos. 2707 – 2788 were loaned to the Government and most of them served overseas.  No.2717 was captured by the Germans, and remained in their hands until the termination of hostilities, when all were repatriated and saw further service on the Midland.

Four engines survived to be taken into BR stock in 1948, and No. 22630 was actually renumbered 58110and lasted until 1951.  The other three, Nos. 22846, 22853 and 22863 were allocated numbers 58111 – 13, but were scrapped in 1949 and 1950 without carrying them.

Of the earlier straight-framed class the last to remain in service, No. 2393, was withdrawn in 1927.  One of them, No. 2320, withdrawn in 1926, was repainted for preservation in MR colours with its old number 421, but unfortunately it was decided in 1932 that room could not be found for it, and it was most regrettably broken up.  It had been built by Kitson & Co. in 1856 and would have been a valuable addition to the present collection of preserved historic locomotives.

Dimensions of the later engines, as originally built:  Driving Wheels – 5’ 2½”,  Cylinders – 17” x 24”,  Pressure – 140lbs.,  Weight – 36 tons.

Steam Locos of a More Leisurely Era – Midland Railway Locomotives – Kirtley 2-2-2

Midland Railway Locomotives

Matthew Kirtley

In 1839 Matthew Kirtley was appointed, first a locomotive foreman, and in 1841 locomotive superintendent of the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway; when that railway became one of the constituents of the Midland Railway, he took over the entire Railway as its locomotive superintendent. When he died in 1873 hundreds of locomotives to his design existed, many of which were to last into the days of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway, some fifty years later.

Kirtley 2-2-2

The locomotive in the photograph is No.135A as rebuilt by Johnson.  The engine was broken up in 1885

These engines were the principal express locomotives of the Midland Railway from 1852 till 1866, between which years Matthew Kirtley built 74 of them, all to one general pattern, although the later batches had somewhat larger dimensions.  They had double sandwich frames, and at first received raised firebox casings, but most of them were rebuilt by Johnson after 1875 with flush fireboxes, and small cabs in place of the original weatherboards.

A few were broken up in the 1870s without being rebuilt, but most of them lasted for many years longer, some of them as late as 1905.

No more single-wheelers were built for the Midland Railway after 1866 until the famous Johnson 4-2-2s appeared in 1887.

Driving Wheels – 6’ 8”,  Cylinders – 16” x 22” (increased to 16½ x 22” in the 1863 series), Weight – 28½ tons.

Chasewater Railway Museum and other News

New Museum Items

Signal Box Nameboard from Hednesford No. 1Hednesford No.1 Signal Box.

South Staffordshire Railway Share Certificate.Wagon Plate  (on loan)Good progress on the carriage ceiling.The Brains Trust on a Signal Post!

The first 2011 Meeting of the Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society was held at the Museum of Cannock Chase on Wednesday, 23rd Feb.  This was a very interesting talk by Mr. Arthur Aston, ‘The Town That Died’ on the subject of the Halifax Explosion which occurred on Thursday, December 6, 1917, when the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, was devastated by the huge detonation of the SS Mont Blanc, a French cargo ship, fully loaded with wartime explosives, which accidentally collided with the Norwegian SS Imo in “The Narrows” section of the Halifax Harbour. About 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, or collapsed buildings and it is estimated that over 9,000 people were injured. This is still the world’s largest man-made explosion.

This may be the only photograph of the remnants of blast itself reportedly taken 15-20 seconds after the explosion. Indications are that it was taken Bedford Basin, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, from approximately a mile’s distance looking southeast. Photographer: unknown.

The next talk at the Museum of Cannock Chase by the Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society will be on ‘The Staffordshire Hoard’ by Ian Wykes.  Wednesday 13th April,  at 7.00pm.

Finally – caught red-handed – one of our members (who shall remain nameless – Godfrey) taking tea from another member’s mug! This after failing to destroy the priceless relic by bouncing it round the mess-room!!If you are unable to read the name of the loco, it is the ‘City of Truro’ – on a mug that I probably pinched from Barry Bull!!

Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society Talks for 2011


Founded 2002

Dear Member

Below are the dates, times and subjects of the talks to be given at our members meetings during 2011

Wednesday 23rd February: Arthur Aston “The town that died” 3.00 pm

Wednesday 13th April: Ian Wykes “The Staffordshire Hoard” 7.00 pm (evening meeting)

Wednesday 13th July: Richard Bifield – “Life of Thomas Telford” 3.00 pm

Wednesday 19th October: Bob Williams – “Restoration of the Hatherton Canal3.00 pm

Tea & Coffee will be available at all meetings with the usual raffle being held to subsidies the fee that some speakers charge.

If anyone has an article for “A Day in the life of” please bring it along to the meeting or send it to

27 Melbourne Rd, Heath Hayes, WS12 2SH, and I will put it on the web site.

We hope to see you all at your meeting and let’s have another successful year.

Best Regards

Alan Dean (Chairman/Secretary)

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 84 – S100

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 84 – S100

Another new arrival at Chasewater

Chasewater News 23 March 1978- Part 3

The second new arrival at Chasewater Railway was a six-coupled side tank built by Hudswell Clarke & Co. of Leeds, works no.1822 of 1949 and is known as S100.  It is an interesting locomotive, the design dating back to 1909 when Hudswell Clarke supplied a six-coupled side tank with 15” x 22” outside cylinders to the Burry Port and Gwendraeth Valley Railway.  This loco was the BPGVR’s no. 8 and was named ‘Pioneer’.  Over the next ten years Hudswells provided BPGVR with another eight similar locos, though they differed in certain details of design.

S100 was one of an order placed by the National Coal Board following Nationalisation, being ex-works on 29-4-1949, works no.1822.  She was delivered to Whitwood Colliery near Castleford, as ‘Whitwood No.1’ and was later joined by two sister locos, replacing some ageing Robert Stephenson 0-6-0STs sold out of service  by the North Eastern Railway in the early 1900s.  For a period in 1955, she was sent on loan to the adjacent Walter Haigh Colliery, as she was again in July 1956, this time not returning to Whitwood, being observed at Allerton Bywater Colliery in 1957.  Later in the year she was at Prince of Wales Colliery, Pontefract.  In 1958 she was back at Allerton Bywater being completely overhauled at the adjacent workshops in 1959.  Following this she was sent in 1960 to Peckfield Colliery, Micklefield, where she was to spend the rest of her working life under Coal Board ownership.  In 1965 she was sent to Hunslet’s of Leeds for the fitting of a new steel firebox, mechanical stoker, new blast pipe arrangement and thorough overhaul.

Returning to Peckfield she was used intensively, being the only serviceable loco for much of the time.

By December 1968 she was at Allerton Bywater central workshops, following re-tubing at Peckfield, for a complete overhaul, being out-shopped the following October in red livery and carrying the number S-100, S standing for steam locomotive.  S100 was sent back to Peckfield and worked alongside an Austerity and latterly ‘Primrose No.2’, a Hunslet 16” saddle tank, now preserved on the Yorkshire Dales Railway at Embsay.

A new Hunslet 388hp diesel which arrived in the summer of 1972 spelt the end of steam at Peckfield and in July 1973 she was tendered for disposal by the NCB and was bought by one Mr. K. Rose, ostensibly for scrap, but was soon resold to Mr. R. Walmsley, a member of the Society at Embsay.  The loco was steamed several times at Embsay and in September 1975 she was resold to Tony Sale of Aldridge.  By November of that year she was withdrawn from service and was in need of a complete major overhaul.  Being of sensible disposition Tony decided to move S100 nearer home in order to effect the necessary repairs and Chasewater was the logical choice for S100’s new home.  On arrival

Barry Bull bought a share in the loco and already work on the overhaul has started, with removal of the cab roof and se-scaling of the firebox, followed by a start on removing the boiler tubes.

S100 was moved to Chasewater on the 18th February by Messrs. Brackmills of Northampton, following several weekend visits to Embsay to prepare the loco for movement.

Despite press reports to the contrary the loco was unloaded fairly easily, the low-loader crew only being at Chasewater for 1½ hours, something of a record.

Thanks are due to Keith Rose, Charles Adams, Steve Fenwick and Martin Cleaver for their hospitality whilst the loco was awaiting movement and also to the lorry crew for their enthusiasm.

S100’s dimensions are as follows:-

Cylinders             16” x 24”                       Coal capacity                22.5 cwt

Wheel Dia           3’ 9”                               Water capacity             1,200 gallons

Length                 27’ 6”                                      Boiler Pressure            160 lbs

Width                       8’ 9”                                 Heating surface        645 sq ft – tubes

Weight                 33 tons empty                                                     73 sq ft fire box

Weight                 42 tons loaded                                                    718 sq ft total

Tractive Effort     @ 85% boiler pressure – 18,570lbs


It is interesting to note that the left hand tank on S100 is off Whitwood No.4, being bought in 1976 to replace the original tank which was somewhat rotten.

Work on S100 is expected to take three to five years and will include firebox repairs, a complete re-tubing (tubes have already been acquired), overhaul of motion, wheel turning, re-plating of bunker and fitting of vacuum brakes.

By the time that S100 sees service at Chasewater there should hopefully be a longer stretch of line for it to run upon and it should be ideally suited to work here and give many years of trouble free service.

(As with Peckett 917, this was in 1978 and S100 still hasn’t steamed at Chasewater – although a good deal of progress has been made in the last few years.)

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 83 – a new arrival at Chasewater

A new arrival at Chasewater

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 83

Chasewater News 23 March 1978- Part 2

The first of two new arrivals at Chasewater was a 12” cylindered Peckett 0-4-0ST (No.917 of 1902).  This engine is being placed on permanent loan to the Society by Messrs. Albright & Wilson Ltd., who are one of the largest chemical manufacturers in the British Isles.  The locomotive is at present at their works at Oldbury and is believed to be in working order.  As well as being the oldest working four-wheeled Peckett in Great Britain it is also the last steam locomotive to see industrial service within the West Midlands Metropolitan County and it is therefore appropriate that it should be ‘retired’ to work on the only preserved steam railway within the West Midlands.  The loco should be an interesting and useful engine for use at Chasewater and it will arrive as soon as a suitable legal loan agreement has been drawn up.  Grateful thanks are due to Barry Bull for writing after the engine and to Albright & Wilson for entrusting the Society with their locomotive,

Further details will appear once the loco is at Chasewater.

From the Chasewater News 24, July 1978The legal loan agreement has been completed and the engine should arrive during August.

From the ‘Gricers’ Day’ report, 8th October, 1978.

Through the kindness of the Directors of Albright & Wilson Ltd., Peckett 0-4-0ST works no. 917 of 1902 arrived on permanent loan together with coal, 27 spare boiler tubes and various tools.From the Chasewater News 25, November 1978.

Since its arrival the loco has been cleaned and the boiler and tank have been drained.  It seems as though some work will have to be done upon the motion of the loco, (which is very loose in places) as well as the major boiler hydraulic test, before it is steam tested.  It also requires repairs to the tank and will have to be fitted with a steam brake before working passenger trains.  Despite all this one is quietly confident of seeing it in steam at some stage next season. (This was in 1978 and sadly it still hasn’t steamed in 2011, or 2021, and is well towards the rear of the restoration queue, although it is now in the Heritage Centre workshop, since put outside).June 2010


Chasewater Railway Visitors


One of the founder members back in 1959 was Godfrey Hucker’s Aunt, Mrs Florence Watson, one of the earliest museum helpers.

Along with her young daughter, Mary.Mrs Watson & Mary, spent many hours helping to restore various items, putting their handicraft skills to the test.Mary went on to take a music degree at Goldsmiths University, and subsequently moved to Hull to further her career. Sadly Mrs Watson passed away in 1985.

On Wednesday, 9th February, Mary and her friend Steve (another railway buff), now living in Rhyl, made a visit to Brownhills West Station to see how things have changed since the early 1960’sAfter a guided tour of the complete site, given by Godfrey & Mavis, time was spent in the Museum. There with Barry Bull & John Tisdale, old times were discussed, and memories rekindled, whilst looking at old photos, press cuttings, magazines, and artefacts.

A very pleasant 2 hours were spent during their visit and in the words of Arnold Swartzeneger “We’ll be back” they said as they vowed to return on a running day, probably the March Gala weekend and many more.Godfrey’s  Grandfather,  Grandmother and Uncle Bill with ‘The Colonel’ at the Grove pit, Brownhills.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 82 – March 1978 – 1

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 82 – March 1978

The Railway Preservation Society Newsletter

Chasewater News 23 – Part 1


The operating season is now a mere fortnight away as I write this Newsletter and despite a fair response to the appeals in the last Newsletter, the purchase of the line is still as precarious as ever.  To date we have raised £1,200, less than 25% of the total amount of £5,400 required.  It is quite clear that some drastic action will be required during the next six months in order to effect the purchase of the line, the favourite course of action amongst the ‘hard-core’ at Chasewater being the sale of the E1 locomotive ‘Cannock Wood’ for reasons already expanded upon in these pages and elsewhere.  Suffice to say it is time for those who care to stand up and be counted (many members already have) or accept the consequences.

(No, we haven’t!)

News from the line

Much activity during the winter has been centred upon putting in a new siding leading up to the platelayers’ cabin.  Access to this siding is controlled by a two lever ground frame which marks the start of interlocking on the railway.

It is intended to extend the siding up to the crossing at a later date and outline planning permission is available for construction of a building over the siding.

The present end of the siding has a railbuilt buffer stop – another first at Chasewater.

Work is now concentrated upon improvements to the two points leading into the compound and the installation of their associated control gear which will, in due course, be controlled by the platform lever frame after the running line has been slewed to clear the extension to the platform.

The extension to the platform will be built once the worst of the frosts are over.

The platform fence has been painted black, Midland style, and a box-van body is being acquired to be used as a waiting room and to provide some much needed shelter.

The bookstall now sports a new roof, by courtesy of Adrian Pearson, and it is actually waterproof!  The brothers Grimm have been noticed performing strange exercises which, apart from resulting in the bookstall being repainted in Midland Railway colours, are reputed to be in readiness for the ‘forthcoming influx’ (of visitors I presume!).

The rear compartment of the DMU coach has undergone refurbishing, which has included repainting the roof, seat frames and heating ducts, re-covering the seat backs and a thorough clean.  The rest of the coach is to receive similar treatment next winter.

(I don’t know if it’s just my reading of this section, but it gives me the impression of being much more optimistic than past articles.)


Invicta – this is currently being prepared for the new season, its yearly boiler test not being due until July, when it is hoped to give it a final top coat of paint.

Alfred Paget & Invicta – Gricers’ Day 9-10-1977

Alfred Paget – currently being prepared for its annual boiler test and it should be back in service by May.

Asbestos – The hydraulic test will take place within the next few weeks, when a final decision will be taken as to whether the necessary firebox repairs can be afforded.  Hopefully the money will be forthcoming as ‘Alfred Paget’ is due for its six yearly hydraulic test next year.

Lion – Following a change of ownership, plans are being made to give this loco its six yearly major boiler test during the summer, with a view to steaming it at the tail end of the season.

Work involved entails lifting the saddle tank, stripping of boiler cladding and lagging to expose the boiler, repairs to the saddle tank and overhaul and refitting of all boiler and cab fittings.  Mechanically the loco is sound.  The loc is to be renamed ‘Colonel’ using the nameplate off the now scrapped Hudswell Clarke loco, latterly at Granville Colliery, as a pattern. 

05406 The Colonel 0-6-0ST HC 1073-1914  at Granville 12-6-1964

The name is doubly appropriate as ‘Lion’ started its working life at Woolwich Arsenal, whilst the name ‘Colonel’ conjures up visions of Colonel Holman F. Stephens the godfather of light railways, and who would probably be highly delighted at the current set up at Chasewater.

Long standing members will recall that the loco was originally purchased minus safety valves.  Happily the recent sale of loco spares held at Chasewater was of particular value, as a pair of Ross pop safety valves were obtained suitable for the loco.

It is considerably less than pleasing to report that on the afternoon of Monday 23rd January someone broke into the compound and deliberately set fire to the brake end of the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln coach.  There can be no doubt that this was a deliberate malicious action and if it wasn’t for a sharp-eyed resident of Hednesford Road then every wooden bodied vehicle in the compound would have been razed to the ground.

The damage is estimated to coast at least £1,000 to repair.  Allied to this fire, has been the theft of several items from the museum coach on three separate occasions.  It is interesting to note that all three break-ins occurred during the school holidays.  Two vacuum gauges, lettered MSL, were not recovered from the wreckage of the coach, though it is of small comfort that they were, in fact, BR gauges with false lettering.

The nature of the break-ins suggest that the person(s) responsible were familiar with the way things are run at Chasewater and the nature of the stolen items suggests that they knew what they were after and knew where to get it from.

The Police have been informed, but as it was the 270th crime reported in Brownhills in the first five weeks of the year, it is unlikely that they will have any success.

Changing the subject, it is indeed pleasing to report the acquisition of two more locomotives for use at Chasewater.

More about these next time!

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 81 – Dec 1977 – 2

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 81 – Dec 1977

The Railway Preservation Society Newsletter

Chasewater News 22 – Part 2


We are well into the close season on the railway and as usual the volunteer force has dropped, leaving the real ‘hard core’ of members to wade about in the mud and watch their fingers turn blue with cold.  Despite these hardships some work manages to be done.  However at the present moment in time we need money, more than anything else in the world – we need money!  In fact we need £5,400 by March.  If we don’t have this money by then we shall be in debt to the amount we have failed to raise, as the bank have promised a loan of £4,000 to be repaid over a twelve month period from the day the loan is taken.  Now it is blatantly obvious to even the most starry – eyed member that there is no way that our Society can raise up to £4,000 to repay a bank loan in twelve months.  This is the sixth Newsletter I have written in the past twelve months (in itself something of a record) and in each issue there has been an appeal for money to buy the line and each time the response has been minimal.  Gentlemen, I put it to you this way, unless each and everyone of you (and I mean everyone) donates (or loans) the Track & Development Fund £40 then the ambitions of the Company and Society will fail to have been realised and we will be confined forever to running over 500 yards of single line from nowhere to nowhere, that is until the members get fed up with the lack of expansion that would be possible and then the Society would fold – a miserable reflection upon members past and present.

So the task is simple – £40 from every member (pay it in over a year and it’s less than £1 per week) or tear up your membership card as the Society will fold.

All monies to be paid to the Hon. Treasurer.

News from the line

Another season has come and gone before we’ve noticed and it came as rather a shock on the 9th October to realise that this was the last steaming until March of next year.  However the past season has been the most successful one ever, over 12,000 visitors having come to the railway and despite the worries over money, etc., next year should be even better.

Work going on has centred mainly on the tractor which has suffered a worn out cam shaft which cost the Society £50 it can ill afford.  Apart from that, work has been of the routine maintenance variety, ‘Invicta’ and ‘Alfred Paget’ being put into store until next March when they should pick up where they left off in October.  The fate of ‘Asbestos’ remains undecided until a hydraulic test in undertaken to ascertain the condition of the boiler tubes.  If many tubes blow then the engine will surely become a static exhibit until such time as the necessary money can be raised.  Negotiations for further motive power proceed on three fronts, however mums the word as they say (at least until the next issue).

AGM notes

This took place on 17th September at the Pear Tree Cottage Inn in Hednesford Road.  The meeting was opened by the President, Dave Ives, who pointed out that it was action, not words that were needed and that £5,400 must be raised by March, 1978.  Unless positive steps can be taken, then we can forget the rest of the line.  Around £40 was needed from every member and if this was not forthcoming not only would we lose the line but we would also lose the backing of Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, which would be extremely sad as the Society is 18 years old this year and should have ‘come of age’.

The Meeting went on through the Agenda, the next item of importance was when it was unanimously decided to change the name of the Society from the Railway Preservation Society to the Chasewater Light Railway Society, as this was more in keeping with the aims and interests of the membership as represented by the meeting and would avoid confusion when dealing with the Press.  It also strengthens conformity between the Society and the Company.

The motion to sell theE1 locomotive to the Stroudley E1 Locomotive Centenary Restoration Fund was scrapped due to their inability to say that they would provide the necessary money by March 1978.

From AGM of the Chasewater Light Railway Company

Mr. MacMillan stated that it was not proper to appeal to the public for money until concrete proposals for the end of the line had been drawn up and planning permission had been obtained.  These plans were in the course of preparation and planning permission was 99.9% as Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council sees the railway as the biggest draw in the park and, apart from money, they would give as much help as they could.  For this reason alone it was ESSENTIAL that the loop line was purchased by the Society to prove to the Council that we were worthy of support and it is up to the membership i.e. EVERYONE READING THIS NEWSLETTER to pay for the line if the membership are fully behind the plans for the future.

Without determination the project would fail and the onus is on YOU.

We are at the end of the beginning – and hopefully it is not the beginning of the end.

Pictures from Laurence Hodgkinson’s Collection.