147 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – From Chasewater News Spring 1992 – Part 3
Mission Impossible – Rob Duffill
This is my first report after being elected to the post of Commercial Manager in December, and I now have the honour of trying to maximise our income at Chasewater, both on and off site. This is the job in a nutshell, and make no mistake, without an increase in income we cannot achieve our goals in other areas, however desirable, well planned or good value for money. The task is difficult, but the successful outcome very rewarding and I am afraid it will mean asking members to help out on occasions and do jobs they do not fully enjoy. Please remember if you spend a couple of hours for example, collecting entry fees at the gate, how much more you can enjoy the rest of the time because we can afford another project that really does interest you.I joined the group in 1968 and was elected to the Committee of the then Society in 1971. Following a split up of ideas and members, I did not re-stand in 1974. I have, over 23 years, seen the ups and downs and plodding alongs at Chasewater and like to think that all this gives me an insight into what is needed as we are definitely on the up, and have been for several years.
As we get bigger and better we will need to change practices to cope with demand and the present working members at Chasewater seem to me quite capable of really making great strides forward. As I look around me I see the track extension (you now need good eyesight!) and the general improvement to stock and site. The shop and buffet raise large and regular income and will need your occasional support as the regulars need a change from time to time.
What plans do we have? In the short term we can only expand what we did last year. We will be a success if we raise more income at each event and we all have a critical role: It’s down to the members. We will succeed if we pull together and remember that we need the public to pay for our enjoyment of our hobby.
I hope to highlight certain aspects of the commercial side in future magazines, for example, plans for a mobile sales stand.
If anyone has any suggestions for raising money or showing the flag (publicity) please contact me, as we must, as cheaply as possible, raise the awareness of the public that we exist, are different and that they ought to visit, and, having visited, come again because they liked it so much. Mission Impossible perhaps – but we’ll see at the next AGM in 12 months time.
Pic – Nigel Canning
One of our members, Mike Wood, has bought an ex-Great Western Railway ‘Fruit D’ van from British Rail, and at the end of March it was delivered to Chasewater. The Van, which is vacuum braked and steam heated, was run on April 11th as part of a demonstration goods train fro the Industrial Railway Society.
16 Ton Mineral Wagon – Arthur Edwards
Steve Forrest and I bought this item of rolling stock from the CLR Co. on the understanding that it will remain on CLR metals.Arthur and Steve pause briefly whilst shovelling coal dust and slack out of the wagon prior to chipping rust from the bodywork. – Nigel Canning
The underframes have already been doused with old engine oil to help with their preservation, and the bodywork is in exceptionally good condition considering its age, built in 1957 I think. At present it is in British Coal green, but we aim to re-paint it into the classic colours of grey and black with white sloping stripe down one corner.
The idea behind obtaining this and the 21 tonner was to help in the rebuilding of the causeway, but the 16 tonner has been put on our line backwards, that is, the end opening door is at the wrong end.
Over the next few Saturdays we, that is, possibly Tony and I and maybe Dave and young Chris, aim to release the jammed side doors and the one end door followed possibly by the re-paint in the coming months.
Maybe one day there will be the Maunsell brake van, our 16 tonner, followed by the wooden bodied coal truck, possibly the Midland crane, and the Great Western Toad hauled by a loco not seen in steam for many a year, ‘Colin McAndrew’. Our own freight train!
The slide and film show held at Chasewater during January was well attended and a great success. The subject was ‘Chasewater in the Early 1970s’ and featured a variety of films and colour slides by Andrew Louch and Rob Duffill.
All of our departments were left drooling by some of the photos which stand as a great tribute to the pioneer members at Chasewater. For a variety of reasons the early promise of success came to nothing, and much of the progress made was lost during the 1980s. While certain aspects of Chasewater have still to reach the level attained in the early days, it is pleasing to see that real progress is once again being made, and on a far more professional level than ever before.
The opening shots of the first film saw diesels 20 and 21 shunting some delightful wooden wagons at what is now Brownhills West Station. Although some of those wagons have now gone, it is great to know that No.21 is undergoing restoration in the shed and will one day burst into life once more. No.20, which is nominally in working order, is on loan to the Bass Museum, Burton-on-Trent, although it may one day return to Chasewater.
Another item of nostalgia was a wonderful film of our trains at the far end of the line across the causeway and round near the old workshops. This provoked much discussion, and we have now approached British Coal who own these now disused buildings with a view to acquiring them for our own use. First signs are encouraging and we may have some good news to report soon.
The late lamented ‘Norton Branch’ also featured in the cine film show. This ‘Norton Branch’ ran from our current line, before the causeway (from Brownhills West) in between the bungalows and the Swag pool round to Norton East Road, and ultimately into Conduit No.3 Pit (Jerome’s). The loss of this section of the line was a sad blow, but it is interesting to note that we do still lease the track bed. Who knows? Perhaps we may one day rebuild that line.
The Carriage & Wagon department also had a lot to think about. Film of a beautifully restored Maryport, and the MSL caused quite a stir. The now derelict ‘slum’ and Midland crane also brought gasps from a few people. There was also a message for those who cared to read it. Two coaches, the LNWR TPO and the SECR ‘birdcage brake’ also appeared on the film.. Both of these fine carriages left Chasewater many years ago because it was felt that they would stand a better chance of restoration elsewhere. They are, in fact, both still derelict. So all those who want to dispose of our old coaches, take note!
Another fine vehicle was the E1, sold to Cranmore in the 1970s. This loco has had something like £40,000 spent on it and has yet to enter service on the east Somerset line. (It has steamed since that, but if it had stayed at Chasewater there was no £40,000 to spend on it!).
Other engines seen working included ‘Invicta’ and the venerable Neilson ‘Alfred Paget’. Once again our loco department is making progress, and these engines may one day receive the attention they require. – P.Aldridge
(Invicta has long since left, and poor Alfred is still waiting!)