164 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News Autumn 1993 – Part 3
General Manager’s Report and Boardroom Notes – Steve Organ
At the last meeting, the Board decided that certain changes should be made to reflect more accurately the roles required to be played by certain Board members. As a result, I have relinquished the role of Chairman after seven years in office, and have been appointed General Manager. David Bathurst has consented to act as Chairman. The changes reflect the fact that I have perhaps more time than other Board members to supervise works being carried out during the week, and my new role gives me the opportunity to act as a liaising officer for the various projects being worked on at the railway. I think that the Board also wants me to have the task of seeing to fruition the various projects that I have initiated during my tenancy as Chairman!
I first wish to thank Tony Sale for the work that he carried out as General Manager for more years than I care to remember, and to say how grateful I am that he has offered to administer the engineering records and locomotive examinations, as well as overseeing the Loco Department.
When Adrian Hall and I arranged the present company and administration in 1986, and engineered the amalgamation of the old Society and Company into the present Charitable Trust, the membership made it quite clear that the most desirable change to the old ‘set-up’ was to transform the Company into a real railway, running trains all the way along our leased trackbed to Burntwood, and perhaps towards Anglesey Basin and beyond. In the first magazine produced by the new Company, I wrote a long piece entitled ‘The Lost Causeway’, about the perilous state of the old causeway that once carried the railway across the northern part of Chasewater, then severely eroded by wave action. It was quite clear that if we were ever to fulfil our ambitions, the causeway would need a huge scheme of works tore-establish the old link. Mindful of that, it was decided that we would seek ways of carrying out those works, whilst in the meantime rebuilding the permanent way to the causeway from Brownhills West. David Bathurst has described in previous magazines some of the ways we have attempted to bridge the causeway gap. That scheme is at last well under way, with well over 30,000 tons of infill having already been delivered and landscaped, with completion envisaged around December 1993. In the meantime, tracklaying gangs have achieved a great milestone marked by a visit by HM inspector of Railways in September, during the course of which visit we were given authority, subject to completion of certain works, to operate passenger trains to the start of the causeway on and from our Autumn Vintage and General Rally on October 10th.A recent view of the causeway showing the scale of the earthworks, and the track in place. The pylon on the left has been demolished since this photo was taken greatly improving the scene.
The most difficult of the outstanding works are to re-pack the whole of the relaid section as a certain amount of settlement has occurred, an inevitable result of the complete rebuilding of that section of line, so any Saturday or Sunday that you have time to spare, come on down. We will find plenty for you to do. This doubling of the railway’s operational line with passenger traffic to the start of the causeway for the first time ever can only happen if our efforts continue apace.
August Bank Holiday weekend saw an historic event, when the first four lengths of concrete-sleepered track were placed on the new causeway. Using a sleeper refurbishment technique developed by Dave Borthwick and Keith day, which received very favourable comment from the Railway Inspector, a very hard worked team really showed their pace. No further tracklaying is likely to take place before early December, as the rest of the causeway is nowhere near complete. It is also necessary to stockpile huge quantities of ash ballast and topsoil ready for the final shaping of the causeway once the arrival and compacting of fill materials is complete, and the only place available to stockpile is on the completed areas of the causeway itself.
The station on the northern side of the causeway is under construction, and by the time you read this, the platform should be complete except for coping stones and the northern ramp.
Revised plans for our new relocated station at Brownhills West, with associated works yard, are under preparation by Ove Arup and Partners after consultation between Midland Expressway and the Railway’s negotiators (i.e. David Bathurst and Stave Organ). MEL’s Consultation Manager, John Burton, has told me today (21st September) that ‘a scheme’ will be ready by mid-October. I hope that he is right, because new sidings are urgently needed, and we must plan them to tie up with the motorway’s scheme.
The railway is an exciting place just now. Dreams have become plans and are now hardening into reality. All members of our group have a part to play – come and help make it so!!