103 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 2
Following the AGM the ex GWR Toad brake van has been sold to Les Emery (owner of Barclay No.3). As this is GWR 150th year it is perhaps worth pointing out that this vehicle was numbered fourth in the first batch of twelve GWR freight vehicles to be built with iron underframes and is thought to be the oldest surviving GWR vehicle. Incidentally, its sale realises a 13,000% profit to the Society.
The AGM also agreed to the sale of the ex LNWR brake compartment (non-corridor coach known in the vernacular as ‘the paddy’. This has been advertised for sale and hopefully a buyer can be found as it is neither use nor ornament in its present condition and funds/manpower are not available to rectify the situation. The ex BSC hopper wagon is having its body removed and will be fitted with timber decking for use as a flat wagon. This will enable the worst of the present flat wagons to be scrapped (as it had a smashed headstock amongst other diseases) along with the British Reinforced Concrete Ltd. drop sided wagon, which is beyond all hope of redemption.Great Eastern brake
All other wooden bodied stock is in appalling condition due to the ravages of open storage and vandalism. One seriously wonders if they will be restorable if and when we have the money and manpower to do so.
The Wickham buffet car is in weekly use providing the Society’s main source of income over the winter months, whilst the Wickham trailer and Gloucester trailer await for signs of resumption of train services at which they will be repainted and brought into a fir state for passenger carrying duties.
Vandalism and Theft
Once again, the railway has fallen prey to the attention of juvenile vandals and scrap metal thieves. As has already been mentioned, all locos kept outside the shed have had all none ferrous fittings removed after some pipework went missing, and locos to be stored outside after restoration will be fitted with vandal-proof shutters.
The ex MSL coach was removed of all its brass grab handles and door handles by a person or persons unknown, though these were later found in the Task Force workers mess van, from which one can draw one’s own conclusions. Having suffered the above trouble and that mentioned in Mr. Bull’s ‘comment’, we have been of late suffering from thieves steeling cast iron chairs, track spikes, lengths of rail and even sleepers from the causeway and loop areas of the line.
As a result of vandalism and theft we have sold all surplus rail, wooden sleepers and chairs from the causeway as the majority of it was only fit for scrap whilst any decent materials have been secured in the vicinity of Brownhills West.
The theft of wooden sleepers has been halted following the issue of a circular to houses in Norton Canes asking for information. No fewer than twelve households reported having bought ‘logs’ from a local resident. These ‘logs’ were in fact sawn-up sleepers and the man in question was arrested whilst burning the evidence in his back garden, having received one of these circulars himself!
A list has been drawn up of the work needed to be done before trains can run again.
The majority if the work calls for hard work and graft rather than fancy engineering skills. Why don’t YOU give it a try one Sunday? We don’t bite (well Ted might if provoked) and tea in the buffet car has improved of late. Seriously though, the more people that help then the quicker we can re-open and form a sound financial platform from which we can begin to think of extending the line across the causeway and beyond.
The last issue mentioned that the Task Force had returned with the intention of finishing all outstanding work by Christmas. Well Christmas has been and gone and the situation is worse than even the Fat Controller can have imagined. Following demolition of the platform the Task Force moved onto the causeway and dismantled the track there, and then – nothing! That’s right, they just dismantled the track in situ rendering its recovery impossible except by Shank’s Pony. Round the Festive Season word got out that Task Force had withdrawn from Chasewater an d were not coming back, not ever, never!
A variety of reasons were rumoured, the one holding most credence being that the head of the Task Force thought Chasewater was too far away (from his office one supposes). We were not amused and a deputation of Chairman/Solicitor and General Manager were sent to County Hall to register a complaint in no uncertain terms.
Apart from the obvious air of destruction and the resultant lack of train services it is perhaps pertinent to mention that membership of the CLRS has dropped by 50% since the arrival of Task Force.
A recent plus in this department is the repair of the Baby Belling cooker thanks to Mick Webb, this will enable a wider range of foods to be made available than previously.