149 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News Autumn 1992 – Part 2
Permanent Way News
Track Update – Keith Day
Work on the track is progressing well. On most Sundays there is a regular crew working at the end of the line. Timbers recovered from Hams Hall have already been used in extending the track. In mid-July we calculated that we were only nine 60ft panels away from the causeway, and since then several of these have been laid. Work has been made easier by the professional way in which we use the JCB and in Ian Buswell’s skill in driving it.A view of newly laid track on the extension curving towards the causeway bank. A comparison between this photo and the one in the previous post reveals the fantastic improvement made during the first half of this year.
If anyone reading this article would like to join the permanent way gang, if only for an occasional Sunday, we would be pleased for you to come and join us. Just ask for Les Emery or Arthur Edwards at Chasewater, or phone the station or just come along on any Sunday.
Work on the metalwork has been completed with the addition of ”Chasewater Steam Railway” painted in large letters on the road side of the bridge. Tony Wheeler and Arthur Edwards have cut back the trees and undergrowth compassionately before the nesting season, and now the railway has come alive to the many people who pass that way daily – another case of free advertising!
Brownhills West Station News
All weather working with power tools can now be accomplished safely following the installation of RCCBs (Residual Current Circuit Breakers) on all the power circuits at Brownhills West.
Adrian has almost finished the lighting on the station platform following his success with the shunters’ cabin, public loos and bric-a-brac stall.
We can be seen from the other side of the park now!In preparation for the spring and summer season a tidy up was needed around the station site. A number of things have consistently offended the eye, such as the abandoned signal post once sited on the platform, but recently cut down on instruction from the Railway Inspectorate. It was too heavy to lift very far, and too big to hide, so the ideal thing to do was to raise the damn thing. A hole was dug; bull-head rail was pestered out from around the site and drilled to form two bracing pieces which were fixed to the base of the post. The next week with the help of Keith Day, Ken, Larry, Dave whittle, Andy, and Paul Whittaker, and with no help from the rain we arrived to find our hole full of water. With a rope on each side of the signal top (maypole-like) we heaved and stood the signal erect. Newton’s gravitational theory nearly took effect on two occasions, but with frantic assembly of the other two bracing pieces of bull-head rail, and Paul Whittaker arc welding them into position, all became steady and perpendicular. The signal mechanism can now be operated from just above ground level.
Turf was planted around the base and is now growing profusely. Total cost of the project was just the welding rods supplied free by Paul Whittaker, but the main thing that was achieved was the free advertisement of the signal arm being visible from the other side of the park.
Donation boxes are a feature at most railways and bring in a modest income to fund various projects. The chimney from our Peckett 917 was rusting away on its saddle tank, but painted and planted on the station it offers a home to our passengers’ nuisance change.
Can members think of ideas to utilise any other railway components? Perhaps our modellers could show off their engines in a glass case where a donation could power the driving wheels to show off the workings. We must amuse the mums and dads and kids as well as the rivet counters! Pennies into Pounds!!
Meeting with Walsall Council – David Bathurst
A number of CLR members will have been aware of correspondence from Walsall Council instructing the railway to stop work on track preparation and re-laying and certain remedial works to repair the breach in the causeway. It was suggested by the Council that the railway required planning permission for its works, and that the railway might be acting against the various nature conservation designations (SSSI & SINC) within Chasewater Park.
The Council’s ‘instructions’ caused some concern to the working members.
However, a meeting was quickly arranged between the Council and representatives of the railway, at the Council House, Walsall, on 14th May 1992. Steve Organ, Les Emery and John Selway represented the railway, with the meeting both convened and chaired by David Bathurst – who was faced with the dilemma of having a foot in both camps!!
The meeting proved to be immensely satisfactory from the railway’s point of view with the Council conceding early on that the railway is in fact in possession of all the necessary planning permissions to carry out its immediate future programme. It seems that the Walsall Council did not have on its files a copy of a very important planning consent granted in the 1970s by its predecessor planning authority, Staffs County Council, which fortunately was able to be located within the railway’s records.
Perhaps more important was the clear impression gained from the Council’s Officers that they wish to assist, and not obstruct, the railway in its proposals, while at the same time offer advice as to how best proceed in the best interests of preserving the environment. Indeed, a meeting took place on site a couple of weeks later, when Steve Organ and others enjoyed a high-speed programme of plant recognition. It should not be construed that the railway can do what it likes because certain future projects may well require planning consent, but at least proper lines of communication now exist between the railway and the Council.
In conclusion, the need for a good working relationship between the railway and the Council cannot be over-emphasised. What could have been a confrontation resulted in exactly the opposite, thanks to a professional presentation by the railway’s representatives and good will on the part of the Council’s Officers. At least on this front, the future looks good indeed. – David Bathurst
Of the three posts recently advertised, the best job has already gone! The successful applicant for the position of Company Treasurer checks the takings following Transport Scene. Such youthful enthusiasm!! Whatever happened?!