120 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From the Editorial
Looking back, this year has been quite successful for the Railway with relatively few problems to contend with and a number of major advances made. Train operation, although hectic for the staff involved, ran smoothly and every special event seemed to go well to the extent that our period of ‘survival’ of the last few years has begun to progress into a time of modest expansion.
As 1989 draws to a close and we all wait for Santa’s Special to arrive at Brownhills West, we can begin to plan next year’s work on the line. It is all very easy to draw up a long list of jobs, but short of ‘asking Anneka’, they wouldn’t get done.
Realistically, in addition to all the regular maintenance work, we could have a platform built at Willowvale Halt ready for Easter, carry on to complete the run round loop at Brownhills West and relay enough track past Willowvale to run a goods train up and down on Gricers Day. That would be an excellent season’s work, but it is only possible if people put the effort in. Locomotive News
Asbestos – Having worked the majority of this year’s trains, this loco is now due to be taken out of service for its six-yearly major boiler inspection. The work will involve the removal of the saddle tank and boiler lagging as well as all fittings. It is likely that a certain amount of repair work will be necessary around the firebox foundation ring and also renewal of a number of boiler tubes.
Sentinel – This engine finally re-entered service on Sunday 6th August when it took over from Asbestos to work he last two trains of the day. The recent introduction of two-coach trains meant that this little loco has to work really hard against the gradient on the return run to Brownhills West with the regulator wound wide open for most of the distance. The result of this is that coal consumption appears to have increased slightly over last year’s running, so that the bunker needs topping up towards the end of the day. To cure the problem it is planned to fit coal rails to the bunker to increase capacity to around 8cwt.
Lion – The good news is that the Boiler Inspector has done his preliminary examination and has given the go ahead for the loco to be re-tubed and prepared for its hydraulic test. Painting of both the frames and boiler shell has continued, along with work on new fittings and pipework needed before the engine can be steamed.
S100 – The frames of this loco are currently being jacked up in the back of the loco shed so that the wheels can be removed to allow machining of the horn guides.
DL7 – this remains our only working diesel and has continued to run well, although on the morning of the Bonfire Night steaming its contactors had to be quickly cleaned as the traction motor suddenly refused to ‘switch in’.
Fowler – At last the necessary information for the renewal of the blowing cylinder head gasket has been found and the repair work was carried out on Sunday 12th November. With train operations gradually expanding it is becoming more important that at least one of the two diesels be vacuum brake fitted so that it can be used to work passenger trains if required at short notice or on quiet non-steam days. Hopefully the work will be carried out shortly.
Other Locos – No work has been carried out on any other locos.
Carriage & Wagon News
The Gloucester & Wickham trailers have remained coupled together since June to form the operational passenger stock. The bodywork of the Gloucester is now looking positively tatty and will require repairs and a repaint before next season’s running. Again no work has been carried out on any rolling stock other than the three DMUs. Permanent Way News
A few dedicated men are still pushing on with the trackwork and as a result the old turnout which marked the start of the Norton loop has been completely removed and the line is gradually increasing in length towards the causeway. Progress on this work quite honestly is very slow, but when only three or four people on average seem to be prepared to help, and even the shorter rails which have to be moved weigh about a third of a ton, this is to be expected. Just to give the P. Way gang a break from trackwork and to provide variety in their work, the local toe-rags managed to cut every strand of wire between every fence post from the level crossing right down to the bridge. This had to be patched up again before trains could run on Gricers Day when everyone was already pushed to near the limit. Operating
August bank Holiday Monday marked the end of the two months of weekly running allowing a very welcome break for all the operating staff. Gricers Day saw both Asbestos and the Sentinel in steam, with the last two trains of the day being double-headed. Rumours that this was brought about by one case too many of a certain lager in the buffet car causing the gross train weight to exceed the maximum allowable Sentinel loading were untrue, but merely an example of the Midland Railway Company’s small engine policy in action! The Sentinel will now work the remaining trains of this year to allow Asbestos to be stripped for boiler examination.