104 ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces – Spring 1985 – 3
It must have been the coldest day of the winter when the GM brought his car to a stand behind mine in Pool Road. Having tried to get through the drifts and failed, I had backed out onto the A5 slip road just as a silly wassock in a Sherpa van who, having watched me back out, took a run at the same drift and got stuck. He was eventually towed out an hour later by the farmer’s tractor.
Following meaningful discussions in the General Manager’s car including how many tools have gone missing during the Task Force Scheme? And who did we know with a Range Rover? We departed for Lichfield Road.
The bearded one was just about to leave, so with two pairs of socks and a spade each, the three of us returned to Chasewater in his large ‘four-coupled’ vehicle. This time we tried the dirt track off White Horse Road which turned out to be relatively clear and it wasn’t until we were opposite the main gate that we met a snow drift.
“Come on Les, up onto the grass, round the left of that tree, and we’re in” the driver was advised. Seconds later we had slid into a deep ditch which had been completely hidden by the snow. The situation was desperate as with only one wheel of each axle in contact with the ground, the chassis resting on the ground and the diff. lock frozen, escape seemed impossible.
Les was left in charge of the wreckage while Brian and myself set out for the loco shed through driving wind and drifts up to four feet deep. As luck would have it the compound gate and the shed door were clear so we could get inside and gather the necessary rescue equipment. One large block and tackle, crow bar, key hammer, peckett cylinder wrapper and rope. By this time the gorilla had landed his spitfire in Hednesford Road and assisted with pulling the ‘peckett sledge’ back towards the gate. Upon passing Brownhills West Station we were intercepted by the Bull who, having arrived by cattle wagon saw the effort being expended and concluded we must be up to no good and so joined in.
After much struggling the crow bar was hammered into the ground and the block and tackle run between it and the vehicle’s towing ball. Finally, with a large crowd of onlookers assisting, the vehicle was half winched, half lifted, onto solid ground.
Needless to say we all left the way we had come to search for Les’s 3½”/5” gauge garden railway and a cup of tea. But at least we had ‘maintained the presence’ at Chasewater for another Sunday. Nigel Canning