138 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News Autumn 1991 – Part 1
This summer has seen a number of achievements on our railway. The station and its facilities have been improved, the track is gradually being extended towards the causeway and the existing running line maintained to the best of our ability. One big problem, however, still hangs over the line – the proposed motorway. The latest news is that it will be a toll road, and for various reasons may not now be completed until 1997. If we had a tiny percentage of the money already spent just planning and re-planning the motorway we could probably complete our railway and finance it for the next fifty years!
No.4 Asbestos – Work on this loco has continued with the fitting of twenty four boiler tubes to replace those leaking when the loco was taken out of service. The steam manifold in the cab has now been re-machined and a new main shut off valve fitted. It is now likely that the hydraulic test will be carried out in the next couple of months.
No.5 Sentinel – This loco has worked all the passenger trains so far this year without major incident. The recent closure of Lea Hall Colliery brought about a brief change of fuel on the railway, and 9632 seemed to be much happier running on the replacement Littleton coal, however with the arrival of our two new mineral wagons and their unexpected contents the loco is again running on Lea Hall coal. One consequence of a Sentinel powered railway is that the water column has fallen into disuse and has not even been filled this year as the loco will run all day on its 500 gallon thankful with perhaps a little topping up from the hosepipe.
No.2 Lion – Four new mud doors have been made and fitted to the firebox, but the loco still awaits a set of washout plugs before it can be hydraulically tested. Already two sets have been specially made and found to be wrong to the dimensions specified. A third set is now being made!
DL7 – Upon attempting to start the engine after its having stood out of use for a few weeks yet another valve jammed, bending its pushrod. This time the damage appears more serious, requiring the removal of one of the cylinder heads to allow a repair to be effected. As a consequence the loco has been out of service throughout the summer.
Fowler – This loco has remained in regular use for shunting and for works train duties without problem, although it seems to have developed a loud hiss from the exhaust outlet, the reason for which has yet to be established.
Smith Rodley Crane – The crane has remained out of use lately although some work has been carried out in preparation for the fitting of safety guards over the exposed gearing in the cab.
As usual a lot of hard work has been put in on track maintenance and relaying. Work on the extension has been restricted to the monthly ‘track bashes’, but even so we are now getting very close to the houses at Norton. The may ‘track bash’ was boosted by help from the 1st Burntwood Scouts, although since then the holiday season has reduced numbers quite dramatically (to four on the August ‘bash’.Flier included with the magazine!
On other weekends effort has been concentrated on the existing running line. Various sections have been re-packed and aligned, as a result of which the ride is much smoother than it has been.
The whole of the running line as far as Willow Vale has been weedkilled by hand using watering cans, a mammoth task by any standards, and now looks very tidy indeed. In July a large area of weeds was dug out from the end of the line by a party of pupils from Brownhills Comprehensive School, making a great improvement. Even the bridge handrails have been renewed, this time using toe-rag proof bullhead rail and point rodding.
The concrete platform for Willow Vale was scheduled to arrive in July, but due to the SVR’s crane driver being ill, has been delayed for a while. Hopefully we can still get it delivered to Chasewater before the start of the dark evenings.
Carriage & Wagon News
It looks as if work will shortly begin on building a small carriage shed to allow restoration of wooden stack to continue in bad weather. It is intended that this ’temporary building’ will be erected against the buffer stops on No.1 road using steelwork and sheeting which has been in storage in the loco shed yard since last year. Work will commence with the painting of the metalwork and clearing of the proposed site.
Midland four-wheel Passenger Brake – A number of wooden panels have been removed for repair and to give access to the framework beneath. Because of this, the vehicle has remained partially sheeted over.
Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln six-wheel coach – This vehicle has also received attention to its wooden panelling.
Great Eastern six-wheel Passenger Brake – This is yet another vehicle which has had body panels repaired, and this time painted in blue temporarily in order to keep out the weather.
Maryport & Carlisle six-wheel coach – This vehicle has been completely sheeted over and no further restoration has been carried out.
Wickham 2-Car DMU E56171 & E50416 – These two vehicles are still separated as the trailer is still; running as part of the passenger train. With the new station buffet now open for business, and the Derby centre car soon to take over on the passenger train, they will shortly be re-united so that their restoration to a working DMU can begin.
Gloucester Trailer E56301 – This vehicle has remained in service on the passenger train without problem, although the bodywork is now somewhat tatty to say the least.
Derby Centre car W59444 – This vehicle has not yet entered service but will do so shortly as soon as the Guard/Driver buzzer system has been modified. Up until now a separate wiring harness has been added to each coach for this purpose, but to simplify things, a special jumper cable has now been made so that coaches can connect via their own cabling, and to the loco via the new jumper lead. Once the Wickham is taken out of service, a new bar will be needed, possibly the ‘Derby Bar’.
Wagons – Details of the two new steel-bodied mineral wagons are given in a later post. The two GWR brake vans have remained in use as mess and tool vans on the works train. No work has been carried out on any other vehicle.
General News From The Line
Bric-a-Brac Stall – This now well established feature of Brownhills West Station continues to make a large contribution to the upkeep of our railway, typically £50 or £60 over a Bank Holiday weekend. Many thanks to Jan Forrest for the donation of books for the stall.
Station Buffet – The new station buffet is now open for business and requires only minor work such as the fitting of steel roller shutters over the windows to complete the structure. Named the ’Shunters’ Cabin’, this establishment is also making money and is a fantastic improvement over the previous arrangement. Mains water and electricity, and a staff toilet, are among the facilities not previously available in the old Wickham buffet.
Portaloos – The ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gents’ have also opened for business. This feature of the station will no doubt be appreciated by the public, and stands as a tribute to Walsall Council’s total disinterest in facilities at Chasewater. The building has been painted in maroon and cream with strategically positioned flower beds to hide the wheels.