Monthly Archives: November 2011

Canal News – Early December Events – Waterscape .com

Canal News

Walsall Canal View

The Canal near the Black Country New Road at Great Bridge

© Copyright Gordon Griffiths and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Restriction: Walsall Canal

Bradley & Forsters Bridge to Forsters Bridge

Tuesday 29 November 2011 – Friday 9 December 2011
A 50 metre stretch of towpath between Bradley and Forsters and Forsters Bridge will be affected by boundary wall demolition works being carried out.

The towpath will remain open at all times and towpath users will be escorted through the works.

British Waterways apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Enquiries: 01827 252000

  Muddy Waters Santa Cruises

03 December 2011 – 04 December 2011
Annie’s Tearoom
Canal Road

Oxford Canal

Oxford Canal at Aynho Weir – © Copyright Shaun Ferguson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

A festive canal boat ride from the peaceful village of Thrupp, with Oxfordshire Narrowboats and the child-friendly narrowboat Muddy Waters.

Visit Santa in his floating grotto. Price includes gifts for the children and tea and a mince pie at Annie’s Tearoom for the grown-ups.


£7. To book, call 01865 356140 in office hours, or email

Christmas music at Foxton Canal Museum

04 December 2011

Foxton Canal Museum
Middle Lock
Gumley Road
LE16 7RA

Grand Union Canal Leicester Line

Bridge 53 Grand Union Canal Leicester Section.  The summit level of the Leicester Line is at 412ft, runs 20.5 miles between Watford locks to the south and Foxton locks to the north going through practically nowhere, and does it very well.  © Copyright Maurice Pullin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Christmas music at Foxton Canal Museum. Plus, the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust’s grand prize draw.

For more details, or to volunteer to help out, call 0116 279 2657.

Wharf Inn Christmas Fayre on the Oxford Canal

03 December 2011 – 04 December 2011

Wharf Inn
Wharf Lane
Fenny Compton
CV47 2FE

Oxford Canal »

Unusual and handmade Christmas gifts will be on sale at the Wharf Inn on the Oxford Canal.

There will be stalls in the pub and in a heated marquee, selling gifts, spices, cakes and homemade Christmas puddings, hamper orders, bird boxes, sticks and turned items. Stalls will include Cartia handmade fashion jewellery, Crafts in Wood and the Cheese Boat with a selection of yummy cheeses and chutneys. Plus learn how to make a Christmas wreath on Sunday at 4pm.


Historic fly-boat is an education

18th Nov 2011

A historic Shropshire Union fly-boat will be used to teach children about canal heritage, thanks to a £4,000 grant from the Waterways Trust.

The Saturn is a cheese fly-boat, which used to deliver cheese to Manchester, via the Llangollen Canal and Shropshire Union Canal. The Shropshire Union Fly-Boat Restoration Society (SUFBRS) will use the money towards an educational programme, including visual age, future plans for more horse-boating, and for on-going maintenance of the boat. The society is also installing traditional white cloth coverings on the boat, which will have the added benefit of providing wet weather shelter.

Keeping canal traditions alive

The Waterways Trust chief executive Roger Hanbury said: “We are delighted to be able to provide this support to Saturn. This project helps open up the story of our waterways, keeping alive the traditions and culture of the canals for future generations to enjoy and learn from. This grant has been made possible due to the generous support of Tony Hales CBE.”

SUFBRS chairperson Sue Cawson said: “The Saturn Project would like to say a very big thank you to Tony Hales and The Waterways Trust for this grant. It will make a real difference to our work with schools to improve the activities we provide. It is a real delight spending time with all our visitors, young and old, passing on our knowledge of the canals and boats of the past – especially Saturn.”

The overhaul of Saturn on Ellesmere Dock has just been completed and SUFBRS would like the thank Craftmaster Paints for providing the paint and BW North Wales & Borders Waterways for the use of the dock. Boatbuilder Adrian Polglase and the Project’s boat manager, artist Tony Lewery, worked with and directed the volunteers.


Some Early Lines – The Lambourn Valley Railway

The Lambourn Valley Railway

The Lambourn Valley Railway (LVR) was a minor branch railway line running from the town of Newbury, Berkshire north-west to the village of Lambourn. It was opened in 1898. In 1904, the locomotives were sold and two steam railmotors were hired from the Great Western Railway (GWR). The GWR took over the line in 1905.

The line closed to passenger traffic in 1960, but a section between Newbury and Welford remained open for freight traffic to RAF Welford until 1973. A special passenger service operated on 3 November 1973 between Newbury and Welford Park to give the public a final trip over the line; a nine-coach train made four runs in each direction, and unusually, a special souvenir booklet was produced.Midland & South Western Junction Railway 2-4-0, later GWR No. 1335, nears Welford Park with an up Lambourn Valley train.   J.F.Russell-Smith


At the opening, there were seven intermediate stations; after Newbury, where the GWR station was used, these stations were Speen, Stockcross, Boxford, Welford Park, West Shefford, East Garston and Eastbury, before the terminus at Lambourn.  The line ran from a bay platform at Newbury with a connection into the main London-bound platform, and ran parallel to the double track main line west of the station for half a mile (800 m) before veering to the north. It was single-track throughout with passing loops at several of the intermediate stations. Two of the stations were soon renamed (Stockcross becoming Stockcross & Bagnor, and West Shefford becoming Great Shefford).  After the GWR took over, a further station was opened at Newbury West Fields Halt between Newbury and Speen, whilst two existing stations (Stockcross & Bagnor, and Eastbury) were downgraded to halts on 9 July 1934.A pre-war shot on the Lambourn Valley line, with an 0-6-0 shedding its load. – Lens of Sutton

The connection to RAF Welford was added in the 1950s. The line north of this point was lifted in 1962.

Currently there are no plans for re-opening the disused branch line for running trains since closed in 1973. Today, the old railway remained open as a track route, known as the Lambourn Valley Way.Ex-MSWJ 2-4-0 later GWR No. 1336, brings the daily goods down the branch during the summer of 1947.  J.F.Russell-Smith


From the opening of the line on 4 April 1898 until the delivery of the LVR’s first locomotives in late 1898, the line was worked by a locomotive loaned from the GWR. This was their no. 1384, a small 2-4-0T which they had acquired from the Watlington and Princess Risborough Railway in 1883; it was built in 1876. Altogether the LVR owned three locomotives:

Aelfred, Chapman and Furneaux 0-6-0T, built October 1898 (works no. 1162)

Eahlswith, Chapman and Furneaux 0-6-0T, built November 1898 (works no. 1161)

Eadweade, Hunslet Engine Company 0-6-0T, built June 1903 (works no. 811)

Although produced by two different manufacturers, the three were generally similar: they were outside cylinder 0-6-0T locomotives with 3-foot-7-inch (1,090 mm) wheels, but Eadweade was slightly larger than the others: its wheelbase was 10 feet 6 inches (3.20 m) and it weighed 24 long tons (24 t) as opposed to 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m) and 23.5 long tons (23.9 t) for the other two. Eahlswith and Aelfred were painted dark blue, lined out in black and white. Eadweade was painted similarly, but had a copper-capped chimney and a brass safety valve cover. Nameplates were brass, with red backgrounds. On 15 May 1904, the LVR hired two steam railmotors from the GWR, and the locomotives were put up for sale. They were sold to the Cambrian Railway in June 1904, where Eadweade became no. 24, Ealhswith became no. 26, and Aelfred became no. 35.Dean Goods No.2532 heads a Lambourn to Newbury train in the summer of 1947.  J.F.Russell-Smith

More info:

154 – Chasewater RailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Dec 1992 – Part 4 Cannock Chase Colliery Company Transport Development – The Formative Years.

154 – Chasewater RailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News Dec 1992 – Part 4


Cannock Chase Colliery Company

Transport Development – The Formative Years

Mike Wood

Cannock Chase prior to 1840 was an expanse of barren, desolate heathland with no centres of population and without developed rail, road or water networks – on of the last great wildernesses of England.  The villages of Chasetown and Chase Terrace did not yet exist and were twenty years into the future.  Its few inhabitants made a living from the land selling agricultural produce at market in Cannock or extracting coal from shallow bell pits or drift mines.  There was not only coal on the Chase but also ironstone.  Local opencasters had been aware of its presence for many years but made no use of it as the smelting of iron required organisation and equipment well beyond their primitive means.  For the mineral resources of Cannock Chase to be exploited to the full, big business had to take a hand.  In the form of Henry William Paget, landowner and Marquis of Anglesey, and John Robinson McClean, civil engineer, big business was just around the corner.

The Marquis of Anglesey, whose estate encompassed almost entirely what was to become the Cannock Chase Coalfield, did not begin exploitation of the mineral wealth on his lands until the mid 1840s.  By this time, coal had superseded water as the new power base of the industrial revolution with the increasing use of steam driven machinery in factories and for producing iron.  The success of Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ at Rainhill in 1829 had also led to the widespread adoption of steam traction on the new fast-growing railway network.  The comparative late development of the Chase as a coal producing area is almost certainly attributable to the absence of a satisfactory transportation network of roads, railways or canals.

The first canal to enter the region was not completed until 1797, when the Wyrley & Essington completed its north easterly course from Wolverhampton to Huddlesford Junction near Fradley where it joined the Trent & Mersey Canal.  In connection with this W&E scheme, a large feeder reservoir was created in 1798 by damming Crane Brook at a point one mile north of Watling Street between what are now the villages of Brownhills West and Chasetown.  Norton Pool, as it became known as, was constructed as a storage facility in connection with maintenance of water levels on the main W&E canal. Access from reservoir to canal was via a narrow drain-off channel of approximately 1¼ miles in length to Ogley along the exact course of what eventually became the Anglesey Branch of the W&E or ‘Curly Wyrley’ as it was known locally.

A similar view to the previous photo – the old Wharf Lane bridge can be seen through the new one carrying the M6 Toll.

By 1840 the national canal network comprised over 4,000 miles of navigable waterways providing a means of high capacity, low cost transportation,

It is certain that the presence of a new waterway crossing the southern boundaries of his estate plus imminent construction of the South Staffordshire Railway, due to be opened in 1849, and padding by in the same area as the canal, finally encouraged the Marquis to exploit his underground wealth.

In 1845 the Marquis directed that shafts be sunk at Uxbridge, Hammerwich and Four Mounts on the south eastern shores of Norton Pool, 1½ miles north of the W&E canal and the proposed South Staffs Railway.

The canal company built its Anglesey Branch in 1850 by enlarging its drain-off channel from a main line junction at Ogley.  This branch terminated at Anglesey Basin, a few yards south of Norton Pool where facilities included stables, offices, coal loading chutes and gantries, plus a railway interchange which opened in 1858.  Deep moorings accommodated the endless stream of high capacity canal boats which were to pour their black wealth south down the Birmingham Canal Navigation to fire the industries of Birmingham and the Black Country. These two photographs show the stables and other buildings at Wharf Lane.

News from Waterscape Boaters needed for Canal & River Trust Council

News from Waterscape Boaters needed for Canal & River Trust Council

21st Nov 2011

Boaters are being asked to stand for election for the Canal & River Trust Council and get involved in shaping the future of Britain’s waterways. The nominations for boaters’ positions on the Council open on 12 December 2011.

Seven positions on the 35-strong council are to be filled by boaters or boating businesses. Four positions are to be elected by boat licence holders and two positions elected by boating businesses. The British Canoe Union, which holds a collective licence for around 60,000 individual and club members, will be asked to nominate a person to fill a further position representing all those who use the waterways for waterborne sport and recreation without holding individual licences. A Canal & River Trust employee will also be elected by all employees at this time to serve on the Council.

The Council is the guardian of the long-term values and purposes of the Canal & River Trust. While the trustees are responsible for determining policy and strategy, the Council will have an important role in helping to shape policy, raising and debating issues, and providing guidance, perspective and a sounding board for the trustees. It will also have the power to appoint or dismiss trustees.

Voice for boaters

Members of the Canal & River Trust Council will be expected to bring the experience and perspective of the constituency they represent and to provide a voice for their interests. In exercising this role they will have to at all times act in the interests of the charitable purposes of the Trust. Members will serve for a term of four years.

Tony Hales, chair of the Canal & River Trust, said: “The boating community has a wealth of hands-on experience of the waterways, and having boaters on board is essential to the success of the Canal & River Trust. I am writing to all licence holders and I encourage them to put themselves forward and add their voices to those shaping the Canal & River Trust’s future.”

Boaters wanting to stand for election in any of these groups will need to complete a simple nomination form which will be available for download from from 12 December 2011 until 18 January 2012. To be eligible to stand for election and vote in the election, boaters must hold a 12-month boat licence on 18 January 2012. Nominations must be supported by ten sponsors who each also hold a valid 12-month boat licence on this date.

Voting will take place between 8 February and 9 March 2012 via a designated website or by SMS text. Voting by post will also be possible, but only for this first set of Council elections. The election is being managed by Electoral Reform Services

Asbestos Special and the National Railway Museum Shop

Chasewater Railway “Asbestos Special”

Chasewater Railway is running an “Asbestos Day Special” on 1st January 2012 from 10 am to 5 pm. This event is to mark the end of 1909 built Hawthorn Leslie No.2780 “Asbestos” 0-4-0ST’s  current time in traffic and it’s 10 year steam ticket. The one day event will see Chasewater’s favourite steam engine, 102 year old Asbestos providing traction. Resident loco RSH 0-6-0T  No.7684 Nechells No.4 will also be in steam to accompany Asbestos on her last day. It will be a time of celebration for the railway owned locomotive which is always very popular with our visitors, and it has been the main stay of service at the colliery line having arrived over 40 years ago. Shortly after the event Asbestos is going to be retired to undergo a heavy general overhaul. Subject to the required funds being raised we expect that the work needed to return it to traffic should take approximately three years to complete. We estimate that around £30,000 is needed to complete the project and in support of this, any profits made on the day will go into the locomotives fund. Any donations would be most welcome, and can be sent to the Chasewater Railway with the envelope marked “Asbestos Project” please. (Normal 2012 fares will apply

National Railway Museum Shop

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1864 2-4-0Ts – Isle of Wight Railway

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1864

2-4-0Ts – Isle of Wight Railway

Wroxall as running in 1928

From the opening of the line in 1864 until the amalgamation of 1923, the whole of the heavy summer traffic of the Isle of Wight Railway, which may be regarded as the ‘main line’ of the island, from Ryde to Ventnor, was worked by the seven 2-4-0Ts owned by the old Company.  The first three, Ryde, Sandown and Shanklin, came from the works of Beyer Peacock in 1864, followed by Ventnor in 1868, Wroxall in 1872, Brading in 1876, and finally Bonchurch in 1883.  The last one was a little larger than her sisters, and had Ramsbottom safety valves in place of spring balances on the dome.  The cab was also modified.

As soon as the Southern took control in 1923, they immediately sent two LSWR Adams 0-4-4Ts to assist in working the line, and many others followed later.  Sandown was in poor condition at the time and was sent over to Eastleigh and scrapped; the others, however, became SR Nos. W13-W18 (the Nos. W1-W12 having been allocated to the other two island systems’ engines, the Isle of Wight Central and the Freshwater Yarmouth and Newport).  In IOWR days its engines had never been numbered.

Ventnor was the next to go, in 1925, Brading in 1926, Shanklin in 1927 and Bonchurch in 1928.  Wroxall lasted until 1933, but the original Ryde, then the oldest engine on the Southern Railway, was sent over to Eastleigh in 1932 with a view to preservation.  Unfortunately this did not come about, and after storage in the paint shop for several years it was broken up in 1940.

                             First four engines                            Later three engines

Driving wheels             5’ 0”                                                   5’ 0½”

Pony wheels                 3’ 6”                                                  3’ 6½”

Cylinders                       15”x 20”                                           17”x 24”

Pressure                       120 lb                                               120 lb

Weight                          30½ – 31½ tons                               34 – 35 tons

Varied with individual engines

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1864 – 4-4-0Ts – Metropolitan & District Railways

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1864 – 4-4-0Ts – Metropolitan & District Railways

Both the metropolitan and the District Railways adopted this type of engine for general use, the District in fact exclusively, and it remained the standard locomotive for working on the Inner Circle and other underground sections of the line until electrification in 1905.  The design of the locomotives must be credited to the builders, Beyer Peacock & Co.  In addition to the 66 supplied to the Metropolitan between 1871 and 1886, the LNWR, Midland and LSWR had 28 between them, and five others went to the Rhenish Railway in Germany.  The Metropolitan and District engines were fitted with condensing apparatus for tunnel working.

District Railway Loco 25 –

When the lines were electrified most of the engines were naturally rendered redundant, but the Metropolitan still found use for some of them on its country extensions.  Many, however, were scrapped or sold out of service.  The District retained only two for departmental use, and one of these remained in service until 1932.

A number of the Metropolitan engines were sold, some to collieries, one to the Somerset Mineral Railway, and five to the Cambrian, who later rebuilt them as 4-4-0 tender engines.  In 1934, when the Metropolitan became merged into London Passenger transport Board, they still had Nos. 23, 27, 41 and 49 in service, one of these being in use a week at a time on the Brill branch, which was closed in 1936.  The last to remain was No.23 which became No. L45 in London Transport stock, and since withdrawal in 1948 this has been preserved at Neasden.

Driving wheels – 5’ 9”, Cylinders – 17”x 24,  Pressure – 160 lb,  Tractive effort – 12,600 lb,  Weight – 42 tons 2 cwt.,  Metropolitan classification – A

Pic:  The last surviving District engine at Lillie Bridge in 1926, then still largely in its original condition.


Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1862 – Outside Cylinder 4-4-0 – Great North of Scotland Railway

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1862 – Outside Cylinder 4-4-0 – Great North of Scotland Railway

No.29 as originally built

From 1862 onwards, until the railway ceased its separate existence in 1923, the standard type in use on the GNOSR for all classes of work except local suburban and shunting was the 4-4-0.  Apart from the 2-4-0s which had preceded them, all future tender engines which the company ever built were of this type, and the line was unique in being the only one, apart from the few which exclusively used tank engines, never to possess a single example of the ubiquitous 0-6-0 tender engine.

The earliest of the 4-4-0s, which were designed by W.Cowan, Nos. 28-30, came out in 1862, and were almost the first engines of that wheel arrangement in the British Isles, having been preceded only by a year or two by a few on the Stockton and Darlington Railway.  They were followed by Nos. 31-6 in 1863-4, and subsequently further batches came out between 1866 and 1879, with progressively increased dimensions, numbers of the whole lot running from 43-62 and 1-3.  All of these were of one basic design, the principal features of which were outside cylinders, domeless boilers and a large brass bell-shaped dome mounted on the raised firebox.  In later years they were rebuilt with domed boilers and other modifications.

All except the first nine lasted into the 1920s, many of them latterly being placed on the duplicate list as 44A, etc. and eighteen of them passed to the LNER at the grouping in 1923.  No.45A took part in the Darlington Centenary procession in 1925.  All had gone by 1927 except No.40, which as No.6840 survived until 1932.

Original dimensions:

Nos. 28-36  – Driving wheels – 5’ 1”,  Cylinders – 16”x 22”,  Boiler pressure – 140 lb

Nos. 43-8 – Driving wheels – 5’ 6½”,  Cylinders – 16”x 24”, Boiler pressure – 140 lb, GNOS classification – K, LNER Classification – D47

Nos.49-50, 52, 54-7 – Driving wheels – 5’ 6½”,  Cylinders – 17”x 24”,  Boiler pressure – 150 lb,  GNOS Class. – L,  LNER Class. –  D47

Nos. 40, 51, 53, 57-62 – Driving wheels – 5’ 7”,  Cylinders – 17½”x 26”,  Boiler pressure – 150lb,  GNOS Class. M,  LNER Class. D45

Nos.1-3 – Driving wheels – 6’ 1”,  Cylinders – 17½”x 26”,  Boiler pressure – 150 lb,  GNOS Class. – H,  LNER Class. – D39

 No.49 Gordon Highlander


Some Early Lines – Culm Valley Light Railway

Some Early Lines –

Culm Valley Light Railway

From Tavistock Junction to Hemyock.

Map – Nick Catford, Roy Lambeth

The Culm Valley Light Railway was a railway that operated in Devon, England. Opened in 1876, it was built by local enterprise. The line was purchased by the Great Western Railway, which had operated it from the start, in 1880. The line closed to passengers in 1963 but served the milk depot at Hemyock until 1975.Planning and Construction

Receiving Royal Assent t in 1873, construction started the next year. There were delays but the line opened on 29 May 1876. Typically low budget it followed existing boundaries and the Culm Valley and avoided the need for any major engineering works. After early plans for eastward expansion faded, the line settled down to serve the local area, and eked out a quiet existence carrying sparse local passengers, agricultural produce and the output of a large dairy plant at Hemyock.Operation

Operated by the Great Western from its inception, it was transferred to the Western Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948. Services worked to Tiverton Junction on the Bristol o Exeter line, and some through workings to and from Tiverton on the Exe Valley Railway. The Tiverton Junction train had the nickname “The Tivvy Bumper”, a nickname that one of the preserved 1400 class locos, 1442, carries to this day.Motive power and rolling stock

Motive power was provided largely by the Charles Collett designed GWR 1400 Class 0-4-2T steam locomotive. Freight stock was a mixed bag of trucks and carriage stock was limited to a few old four wheel carriages by the sharp curves which were a legacy of the line’s original economic construction. Even after nationalisation, British Railways were obliged to use two ex- Barry Railway gas lit four wheel coaches on the line. This was necessary as the speed limit on the line was too low for the dynamos on most coaches to power electric lighting.

Decline and closure

The service was always slow and vulnerable to increasing road transport and car ownership. Passenger use declined and so the railway closed to passengers on 9 September 1963, and to general freight on the 6 September 1965. However, the line continued to serve the dairy at Hemyock until 31 October 1975. During this time it received visits from the occasional railtour.The line today

Today the line forms some popular riverside walks at various points along the valley. The reopening of the line has been raised but this is unlikely as the M5 motorway has been built over the track with no bridge. The station sites have been redeveloped.

Santa’s Vehicle Rally and Road Run

Santa’s Vehicle Rally and Road Run

Sunday 20th November saw some older vehicles arriving at Chasewater Railway as part of the run from Dobbie’s Garden Centre, Gailey to Chasewater, in aid of the Midlands Air Ambulance, organised by David G. Pearce. The weather was not at its kindest but a fair number did make the treck to the Railway.  More photos on picasa – Santa’s Vehicle Rally & Road Run