102 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 1
After the last post’s slightly more optimistic outlook it seems to have slipped backward – oh dear!
Editor’s Notes – Ian Patterson
Much of what follows is of a depressing nature but there is little point in glossing over the severe handicaps that we face at the current time, and perhaps it will spur one or two to take an active part in what should, when all is said and done, be a pleasurable hobby.
This issue’s writer is Barry Bull, Hon.Sec. of the CLRS and a member for 16 years.
When I was asked by H.Y. the ‘Managing Director’ of ‘Chasewater News’ to write this piece I was hoping to write in a more light-hearted vein than of late.
However, those of us committed to the cause of operating a railway and associated museum seem to have been dealt one body blow after another by a series of events over which we have little or no control. The worst aspect, since the closing of the railway for passenger services in October, 1982 has been the way we have been left open to the vagaries of West Midlands County Council and their Task Force Programme. Despite the valiant efforts of John Selway the expected successes of the Task Force Programme have not materialised,
Whatever feelings we may have as regards the work actually completed on site the main problem has been behind the scenes at County Hall. You will have read in the last issue of Chasewater News of the intention of WMCC to reconstruct the platform drainage at Brownhills West and Stadium Halt (which was a possible halt opposite Willow Vale Nursery), fencing of the line and associated crossing gates – all to be finished by Christmas (we presumed 1984!). Well, as those of us who attend Chasewater on a regular basis will know, none of this happened.
I’m afraid that this report went on for another three or four paragraphs all very similar, with tales of vandals, metal thieves and arsonists at all the organisations using Chasewater.
No.1 Hibberd Diesel The AGM in October agreed to sell this loco as it is surplus to requirements and it has duly been advertised. Further developments are awaited.
No.2 Peckett 1351 This engine stands next to the shed door with a hopeful look on its face/smokebox. Does its owner still realise that he owns it?
No.3 Barclay 1223 The restoration of this loco has suffered a setback as, when the new stays were riveted up, the inner firebox walls buckled around the stayheads. The Boiler Inspector’s verdict is awaited with trepidation as he is unlikely to pass the repair, insertion of copper patches or even a new inner firebox may be the answer.
Despite this the new cab, bunkers and footplating are being installed, and jolly fine they look too!
No.4 Asbestos Since the last set of notes great strides have been made with the restoration of ‘Asbestos’. After much bickering the worst of the cladding sheets were replaced with new material, generously donated by a member.
Once these had been cut to size they were fitted following lagging of the boiler with new hygienic fibreglass cladding. The following week the tank was refitted and for the first time in some eight years ‘Asbestos’ looks like a complete steam engine.
Much work remains to be done, however, but refitting of the regulator and cleaning up of backhead fitting faces is underway.
No.5 Sentinel The Sentinel was first steam tested on November 25th (having had the dubious honour of being the first loco to steam at Chasewater since ‘Invicta’ on 16th October, 1982). Following this, minor adjustments were made and a second steam test followed on 6th January though a shortage of coal hampered its steaming capabilities on this occasion. Further minor adjustments are being made whilst a new grate is on its way. Vandal-proof shutters have been fitted to enable the loco to be left outside without fear of fittings being stolen.
During the spring the Fat Controller (for it is he that owns the beast) plans to repaint the loco in a pseudo BR black livery with large yellow numbers as No.59632 (there’s no accounting for taste, is there?)
It is planned to steam the Sentinel at regular intervals on works train duties to enable much needed maintenance to be done on the Ruston diesel No.7.No.6 Peckett 917 Slow progress is at present being made on this loco with the installation of a new cab side and front with a new bunker to follow. However, with the end in sight on ‘Asbestos’ progress should speed up during the year and thoughts are turning towards repairing the water tank rather than a wholesale replacement.
No.7 Ruston diesel DL7 As mentioned above, the big Ruston requires a fair amount of maintenance to make it a more reliable machine. This will be done as soon as there is space in the shed for it. Meanwhile, a search is on for equipment to fit the loco with vacuum brakes.
No.10 Hudswell Clarke S100 The new main bearing have been machined and the axle box horn faces have been trued. Re-wheeling will soon become a priority as it needs to be moved to enable track work alterations to be done at Brownhills West.
No.11 Alfred Paget The ancient Neilson awaits attention – new tubes and water tank repairs, but sadly it is impossible to say when this will begin.No.15 Hudswell Clarke 431 The big news is that the chimney has fallen off. Thankfully, the AGM refused to give the committee authority to dispose of this fine machine and, hopefully, plans for its restoration can be formulated soon. (nobody has defined ‘soon’!)
It is perhaps relevant to ask what will be the loco department’s next project as within the next 12 – 18 months locos Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and possibly 10 are likely to be ready for use. Are we really going to need 7 locomotives to pull two coaches over a three quarter mile of track? ( No.3 took about 20 years to steam and Nos. 6 and10 still haven’t! No.8 ‘Invicta’ left for pastures new in between times).