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.
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!