119 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From the Editorial
This magazine sees another change of Editor as I (Nigel Canning) volunteered to take some of the load off Steve Organ. We both spend a lot of time at Chasewater so we have up to date material for the magazine, but perhaps the problem is recognising it. A number of members and visitors who had not been to Chasewater for a while have expressed amazement at the recent improvements and are obviously delighted, whilst those of us who work there every week tend to have on our minds want we haven’t done yet rather than what we have. As you read the various sections of this magazine you will see the usual excuse for jobs not being completed, ‘lack of manpower’, however, if you look back through previous magazines the problem has subtly changed, hopefully for the better.
It used to be: ‘Insufficient manpower to rebuild the railway to allow train operation’.
Then: ‘Insufficient manpower to run trains more often’.
Now: ‘Insufficient manpower to open the bar every week’.
Next perhaps: ‘Insufficient manpower to sell tickets at Willowvale Halt’.
Asbestos – This engine has worked all of this year’s trains so far with only various minor leaks having needed attention. The recent introduction of two coach trains has proved to be no problem at all for it, with only apparent minimal increase in coal consumption.
Sentinel – Getting this loco through the various stages of a major (five yearly) boiler examination has proved to be a long drawn out business, however it is now ready for its steam test and should be back in traffic by the time you read this magazine. In addition to the statutory inspection work, an extra water level gauge has been fitted to the boiler, also a new, larger ashpan ready for working the new Norton Expresses.
Lion – Much enthusiastic work has continued on this engine, mainly getting the boiler ready for its initial major examination. In addition to this, various new boiler fittings have been procured and machined, further vacuum brake pipework added and more paint applied to the frames. Hopefully the loco will enter service during 1990.
DL7 – This loco has again run well, performing all the shunting and works train movements. The only minor failure was that of a bearing in the small battery charging dynamo which was repaired fairly easily. Following a bout of vandalism by local tow-rags the loco has been repainted in ‘Rail Blue’ complete with yellow and black striped ends to cover the graffiti.
Fowler – This has remained ‘standby diesel’ due to a blowing cylinder head gasket. Attempts at finding the necessary details required for the repair, type of head gasket, torques and torquing sequence, etc. gave been somewhat protracted due to the engine manufacturer’s inability to provide the information even when the block number was quoted. This loco is also in the process of being repainted, but in Longmoor Military style of blue with the motion and other details picked out in red.
The big news is that the Wickham trailer entered service on Saturday 17th June coupled to the Gloucester to form the first regular two-coach train. The following day there was another first when the bar was opened and refreshments were served on the moving train. Although a certain amount of finishing off work is still required to the interior, the coach has run every week since its inaugural day and has been a great success. A finishing touch currently underway is a pub sign ‘The Wickham Bar’ being painted on the large unglazed body panel at the gangway end of the vehicle. A precedent for this was the Southern Region ‘Tavern Cars’ which ran for a while in the fifties in ‘ blood & Custard’ livery with brickwork and a pub sign painted at one end. Other than the three DMUs, no work has been carried out on rolling stock due to lack of manpower.Permanent Way News
One problem with running trains every Sunday is that it doesn’t leave enough people to do much in the was of trackwork. However, the track we are currently running on is in reasonable condition and, by our standards, is remarkably free of weeds. In view of the above situation, all efforts will be concentrated later in the year, starting around September, on a number of projects. These will be; packing rough bits of the existing line, repairing the fencing again, completing the run round loop at Brownhills West, building a platform at Willowvale and then extending the line towards the causeway. Any volunteers for this work will receive a warm welcome and a choice of shovels!
So far this year operating the railway has been even more hectic than usual for a number of reasons. A lot more trains have been scheduled, running every Sunday in July and August, which is another ‘first’ for the railway. In addition to this, steam trains were run on Monday July 3rd, two school specials, and the first ever Birthday Party Special, all of which were very successful and will hopefully be repeated regularly. The recent addition of two-coach trains in itself has been no problem, but when the bar is in use at least one extra person is needed to staff it. For the obvious security reasons the day’s work involves loading every item of stock onto the train and unloading every remaining item at the end of the day. As a result, so far this year the bar has been open only on special days when staff have been available. A similar problem has of course existed for a long time with the Wickham buffet car with all stock having to be transported to and from safe storage. As usual any volunteers will receive a warm welcome and a choice of whatever the apparatus for this work might be!