124 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
A telephoto view of a Sentinel hauled train passing the shed yard – Dave France
This winter’s mild weather seems to have promoted a lot of activity at Brownhills West station, and with much of the work being carried out by new members. In addition to the trackwork mentioned in ‘PW News’, a hell of a lot of effort has been put in n the platform and buildings to the extent that this very public face of our activities is on the verge of looking even better than it did in 1982 before the old platform was demolished. Work already carried out includes re-levelling of the Booking Office and fitting of an extended canopy, installing an old GPO phone box on the platform, laying a concrete path to the buffet coach and laying of grassed areas at the back of the platform. If only we could keep this level of progress up for the rest of the season!
No.4 Asbestos – This loco has now had all fittings removed and the tank lifted in readiness for its six-yearly boiler examination. A professional boilersmith has been contracted to carry out repairs around the foundation ring where the rivets have become wasted with consequent leakage past the inner wrapper. Work is also progressing on other minor repairs and adjustments and it is hoped that the loco will be back in service before Transport Scene.
No.5 Sentinel – This loco is still in working order, although drained down, having worked the Christmas and New Year trains. The recently re-routed ejector exhaust has proved to be a lot quieter, allowing the driver and fireman to chat politely across the cab when running. Only a few minor adjustments and a crank case oil change remain to be carried out before next season’s running.
No.2 Lion – Progress is still being made re-tubing the boiler and mounting of cab fittings.
S100 – Both crossheads have been separated from their piston rods, another job involving a great deal of heat and force. Preparations are also underway for the machining of the hornguides using a patent homemade machine which grinds as it sweeps as it cleans!
No.7 Ruston – This loco is still in good running order.
Fowler – This loco performs well once running, but due to a number of teeth missing from the starter ring is tricky to start when cold. The only recent minor failure was that of one of the vee belts which drives the air compressor. Looking on the positive side, the dynamo control box has now been rebuilt allowing the batteries to charge correctly.
Other locos – No work has been carried out on any other loco.
Carriage & Wagon News
A number of minor but important jobs have been carried out to the interior of the Gloucester and Wickham trailers which still remain coupled together. Hopefully the bodywork will be tidied up and repainted as soon as weather permits.
No other C & W work has been carried out.
Pete,Arthur & Steve ballast new track at Willow Vale – Dave France.
Quite a lot of progress is being made in this area despite the pitiful number of people involved. At last a start has been made on completing the run-round loop at Brownhills West by installing the missing turnout from the end of the platform across to the buffers on No.2 road. This work will be completed mostly using parts already on site, although a few additional timbers will probably have to be bought. In order to ease the construction of the new loop at Norton, a complete turnout has been purchased from the Baddesley Colliery Railway, currently being demolished. In addition to this, a large number of fishplate bolts have also been acquired involving four or five members making repeated trips to the site to unbolt them from the sidings there.
Work has continued to progress on the extension of track through the site of the new Willow Vale Halt towards the causeway. This is now likely to be curtailed slightly during work on Brownhills West loop and on the Willow Vale platform.
Sentinel 59632 eases stock out of (21G) Hednesford Road shed yard. – Dave France
Luckily this winter the weather has again been very mild and so there was no problem with water supplies for the locos, or in attracting passengers. The running of Christmas and New Year trains went smoothly and was financially successful.
Father Christmas was in attendance on 17th December and distributed presents to the children from his grotto in the ‘blue van’. On 31st December the mince pie specials did good business attracting plenty of people to ride on the railway.
On 28th January there was an extra steaming when the ARPS visited us following their meeting in Birmingham. In addition to this there was a car rally in the park so again we had a very profitable day.
The 1990 season proper looks set to start on Easter Sunday, which being a little later this year, will give us valuable extra time to carry out maintenance and repairs.
Any member wishing to volunteer to work on the train or on the station should obtain a roster form from the Booking Office.