114 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News Winter 1987
Chasewater Comment – This issue’s comment is not the usual message of doom and despondency and may help prove that all the recent effort has been worthwhile. (This page was ok but it soon went back to the old story – we’ve not got any money!)
From the Boardroom Notes – Most of the hassle is being caused by the motorway mentioned in the last notes, of which more later. Many problems are being caused because the railway’s records are scattered among the directors, especially the accounting records which really do need to be housed centrally. To this end the office at Brownhills West was planned, agreed and the basic structure provided, but despite the plea for funds in the last magazine, none have been forthcoming. The situation is now becoming very grave, as it will soon be impossible to meet the statutory requirements for administration of the business. The company has no money available for capital expenditure before Easter, nor to cover commercial stock and publicity for next season. This is largely due to our inability to make more money from operations, hence the need for the above expenditure. (Seems like a vicious circle – after being in similar circumstances for some time before this point, the people running the railway must have been very enthusiastic to keep carrying on!).
The AGM in March will see all of the present Board standing down and in some cases seeking re-election. Anyone interested in taking part in the management of the railway should contact the Secretary as soon as possible. Essential requirements are enthusiasm and commitment. (As Mr. Punch once said: “That’s the way to do it!”).
The Chairman and Secretary have been engaged in a considerable amount of planning, lobbying and briefings connected with the development of the Railway now that the motorway route has been published. The Company is objecting to the destruction of Anglesey Basin by the Burntwood by-pass and its link road. Development of the rest of the line should be unaffected but long leases are unavailable at present. Negotiations will however continue and preparatory research is now being undertaken for the Light Railway Order. The Board has produced a report on the options available. The basic proposals include continued development of works and storage facilities adjacent to the present shed and location of land for visitor facilities and a museum next to a re-sited Brownhills West Station. It is this latter point which is causing problems as the Council seems to be unwilling to commit to anything at the present time.
By the time you read the next boardroom notes our surveyors and solicitors will be playing a much more active role in ensuring the future of the railway, with special reference to the reinstatement of lost facilities and opportunities at Brownhills West.
News from the Line
Permanent Way Department – Following a couple of derailments, the points next to the water column controlling 2 & 3 roads have been completely dismantled and rebuilt in a shorter configuration. Work is expected to be completed well before Christmas and as a result, 3 road should be around 60 feet longer. After completion of this work a start may be made on the much awaited run round loop at Brownhills West.
There are still a number of jobs outstanding to satisfy the Railway Inspector, notably provision of level crossing gates, facing point locks and Annets Key lever frames. It is hoped that this work, along with the usual repairing of fences and packing track, will be completed this winter. All volunteers will be most welcome!
Carriage & Wagon Department
Gloucester Trailer (E56301) – This vehicle has run its first year on passenger trains with the vacuum brakes in use. The roof and bodywork have been repaired and a number of batteries have been replaced.
Wickham Power Car – This vehicle has again been in use as a stationary buffet car earning vital income. Replacement guttering has been completed and the roof repainted. A number of damaged batteries have been replaced. Attention is now required to repair its warped doors, and to repair and repaint the body and re-decorate the interior.
Wickham Trailer – This vehicle is still relatively derelict with a large number of broken windows. It has, however had its replacement guttering completed, roof repainted and a number of windows are now available to replace those stolen or damaged.
LNW Milk Van – ‘James’ has had a couple of body panels renewed following attempted break-ins and has also had mains lighting and a burglar alarm fitted. It is hoped that the ‘motorway move’ will allow it to be re-connected to the rest of the railway.
MR Passenger Brake – This for wheeler has been repainted inside and out and has been in use on steam days as an extra exhibition coach.
GW Brake Van – This van has been beautifully restored internally and now only requires ‘finishing off’ and attention to the running gear.
M&C, MSL, & LNW Brake End – All of these vehicles have received a certain amount of ‘preventive renovation’ and look quite presentable from a distance.
Hopper Wagon – This wagon has had the hopper completely removed and is to be fitted with sleeper decking for use as a flat wagon.
One of the ex Holly Bank Colliery 5-plank wagons has been repainted in a livery reminiscent of Stroudley’s improved engine green.
All other Vehicles – No work carried out.
No.1 – no work done, needs painting and superficially renovating.
No.2 – ‘Lion’ is still progressing under its new ownership, having had its chimney cap repaired, paint stripped and re-applied, and the boiler prepared for inspection.
No.3 – ‘Colin McAndrew’ work is still progressing on boiler repairs.
No.4 – ‘Asbestos’ has run well after a late start this season. It will require minor work on valve gear, boiler and regulator ready for next season.
No.5 – ‘Sentinel’ 59632 has completed its first full season of passenger work and on 11th October was griced in the traditional manner by a man with a long mac and notebook from the field opposite the shed.
No.6 – The Albright & Wilson Peckett has had the cab and boiler removed to allow work on re-plating the bottom of the smokebox to proceed.
No.7 – The Ruston is still operational with no problems.
No.8 – ‘Invicta’ has been prepared for boiler testing and has had part of the driver’s side cab cut away for re-plating.
No.10 – ‘S100’ Work has progressed on steam chest fastenings, frames and spring hangers.
No.11 – ‘Alfred Paget’ remains out of use although it was recently repainted.
No.12 – The Fowler, following its recent arrival, remains out of use pending replacement or repair of its batteries.
No.15 – The Hudswell remains out of use with no work having been carried out.
No.21 – The Bass pudding remains out of use with the engine removed. Some work has been carried out on de-rusting and painting the bodywork.
Chasewater Events 1987
Our first full operating season since 1982 saw four special events organised by the Chasewater Light Railway and Museum Company.
The first event was held on 26th April when, in addition to a Norton Motor Cycle Rally, we held a Railwayana Fayre. The event was a reasonable financial success with eighty plus Nortons in attendance plus around a dozen sales stands. Nigel Canning’s Sentinel performed admirably on trains, as indeed it has all season.
Sunday 21st June, a somewhat overcast day saw both ‘Asbestos’ and the Sentinel in steam on the occasion of our first Model Engineers Day. Attendance both of the public and, perhaps even more disappointing, of exhibits was low. Thanks go to John Rickers for bringing along six of the thirteen visiting exhibits. John has been a good supporter of or rallies for several years now and his models are of a very high standard. However, the star of the show was Roy Prime’s Sentinel steam wagon, built to ¾ scale, attending only its second rally.
One new event of which we had high hopes was the military weekend held in conjunction with the West Midland World War 2 Re-enactment Group. Approximately twenty military vehicles attended the show, which was held over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday 25th & 26th July. Apart from the mock battle held at 3.30pm on the Sunday ( unfortunately just as rain began to fall), highlights were an attack on Asbestos-hauled train and a 1943 Bren Gun carrier giving rides. The Sentinel also saw use during the weekend. Thanks in particular to Peter Bick, Chairman of the re-enactment Group. The show was a moderate success and hopefully we can make various improvements for a similar event in July 1988.
Our biggest and best event was the annual end of season Transport Rally held on 11th October. Two hundred and fifty exhibits were on display, including a 1904 Marshall traction engine. It was nice to see the former West Bromwich Corporation Dennis ‘E’, now 59 years old and coming to its first rally since a major engine re-build. A good selection of vintage and classic cars was well backed by 20 odd military vehicles, and a handful of commercials, more than in recent years, and a good display of motor-cycles and stationary engines. Thanks in particular on this day go to Angela and Jill fro their work assisting Rob Duffill in the buffet coach. Also special thanks to Ralph and Vera Amos for manning the sales stand at our major events this year.
From the Archives
Again this section features something of local interest.The Ennals Toy Fair handbill dates back to approximately 1935 – not only are the prices a revelation but just look at the various departure points, out of 38, only 12 remained open in 1987. (Probably still fewer in 2011).