Monthly Archives: April 2012

174 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Autumn 1994 – Part 3

174 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Autumn 1994 – Part 3

Carriage & Wagon News

New Acquisitions – All four of the new DMU cars mentioned in the last magazine have now arrived at Chasewater and are in various stages of repair or modification.  This now makes a total of five asbestos-free coaches available for service.  The spares for these cars are to a large extent interchangeable, and a large stock has actually been collected together over the last twelve months and stored at Chasewater.W51372

Pressed Steel Co. DMBS W51372 – Since its arrival just before Whitsun, this unit has remained coupled to W59444 to form the steam-hauled train.  A bar, removed from the Wickham, has been installed in the Guard’s compartment, and a ramp is now available to allow access for disabled passengers through the double doors.  Repainting in carmine and cream livery to match W59444 is almost complete, giving us a very smart two coach train.  The history of this car is quite interesting.  It was built in 1960 without asbestos in its construction for Paddington suburban services and was later transferred to Tyseley for use on the Cross-City line.  In 1993 it was again transferred to TML and was the first DMU used to convey contractors through the Channel Tunnel during construction and has been through to France.W59603

Derby Works centre car M59603 – This car has remained out of use since its arrival at Chasewater.  It is intended to repaint it in carmine and cream livery to match our other loco hauled stock.  This centre car was built in 1959 and used on the St. Pancras to Bedford service.  Later it was transferred to Tyseley to strengthen their 3-car 116 and 117 sets from 3-car up to 4-car.

Derby Works centre car W59444 – This car has remained in service, running since Whitsun coupled to W51372 on steam-hauled trains.  The repaint into carmine and cream livery has recently received the finishing touches of lining and numbers.W51370

Pressed Steel Co. DMBS W51370 & DMS W51412 – This class 117 DMU has been purchased by Steve Organ for use at Chasewater.  Built in 1960 without asbestos in their construction, these two cars worked out of Paddington until they were transferred to work over the Cornish branch lines.  They eventually ended their working lives at Tyseley.  Both cars were in excellent condition on their arrival at Chasewater due to work carried out on them by our members whilst still at Tyseley.  They have already been put to use this summer on a number of mid-week school specials, and it is also intended to run the on non-steam Sundays and Saturdays.  Eventually the cars will be repainted in early BR green livery.

Wickhams E56171 & E50416 – Since their sale, these two cars have remained at Chasewater awaiting their removal to Llangollen.  In August contractors, paid for by the new owners, stripped both of these cars of their asbestos.  The interior of these vehicles was completely gutted right through to the steel framework and aluminium skin, which appeared to be in excellent condition.  Finally, on Monday 12th September the first car was removed by low-loader to its new home, followed the next day by the other half of the two-car set.  This has now relieved our immediate problem of lack of siding space for our own rolling stock, but more importantly, means the end of the liability of having asbestos insulated stock on our site.

Tank Wagon – Steve Organ has also purchased a tank wagon from Redditch Railway Society.  This vehicle, which is relatively modern, was built in 1963 by Chas, Roberts.  It is 15ft. wheelbase, with roller bearings and is vacuum brake fitted.  It was originally donated by Shell Oil UK and renovated by Wagon Repairs Ltd in 1981.  Whilst still in service the wagon had received a general repair in 1979.

4-Plank coal wagon – Tony Wheeler has now finished the re-paint of this wagon into the livery of the ‘Conduit Colliery’.  The only outstanding work is the renewal of one of the springs which looks to be highly dubious.The 4-plank wagon in the livery of one of our local pits, ‘Conduit Colliery’

Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln 6-wheel coach – Work has begun on sanding down and painting the body panels of this coach.

Other Vintage Stock – Very little work appears to have been carried out on any other vehicles this summer.

Works Train – The 20-ton Great Western Toad and the Southern brake van have run together for most of the summer to form the basis of the works train.  The 21-ton steel mineral wagon which had been full of scrap has been emptied and the door hinges un-seized.  Since then it has been used to carry ash ballast to the causeway for track laying.  The flat (ex hopper) wagon has also assisted in this.  Obviously as the railway gets longer we are becoming more reliant on a works train to carry materials and provide shelter.  The middle of nowhere beyond Norton Lakeside is no place to be in the middle of winter with only a platelayer’s trolley.

Shed Fund – This fund is increasing steadily.  Meanwhile a rough track-bed has been cleared to give access to the proposed site on the side of the existing loco shed yard so that track can be laid for temporary storage of stock.

The Redditch Railway Society – Keith Day

The Society, formed 1981, whose original aims were to operate trains over the Redditch to Barnt Green Branch have given up its base and equipment at Dixon’s Sidings site, Enfield Industrial Estate, Redditch, together with plans of running trains.

It was decided by the Society that since the refurbishment and electrification of the branch, the Society’s original aims could never be brought to fruition.  On the land leased since 1983 by the Society from Redditch Council are remains of the old Redditch loco shed, which comprises of the shed wall footings and part of the inspection pit.  Apart from the track and various railway relics, the Society owned an 0-4-0DM Fowler No.410013/1948, plant N0.1301 donated to them from Garringtons of Bromsgrove.  The Society is to carry on as a film and social society.

Some 300ft. of trackwork and the diesel loco have been donated to us at Chasewater by the Society.  Lifting and dismantling of the track took place over several weekends by members of both societies.  Removal was only possible by mobile crane from access gained with consent of the cement works next door to the sidings.  Track was loaded onto lorries on Saturday 23rd April, and moved to Chasewater the same day.  The track is to be used on the causeway extension.

The Fowler, under the custodianship of Andy Mould and Chris Hatton, is to be returned to working order in Garrington’s livery in the near future, with work on its engine taking priority as it has been out of use for the last two years.

Redditch Railway Society’s tanker wagon has been purchased by Steve Organ, and was recently removed to Chasewater.

It is hoped that some members of the Redditch Railway Society will follow the loco and track to Chasewater, where a warm welcome will be given.

The Dedication of the Mining Memorial, Hednesford, 28th April 2012

Dedication of the Mining Memorial, Hednesford, 28th April 2012

3.00 pm Saturday 28th April 2012 saw the Dedication of the extension to the Miners’ Memorial in Hednesford Town Centre.  The Committee of the Chase Arts for Public Spaces  (CHAPS) had achieved the culmination of this project, some six years following the original Memorial.

For the Memorial extension, inscribed bricks were again used, but this time laid flat around the flower beds.

The individual pits were also commemorated in concrete blocks set in the block paving.

Before the Ceremony started, the Rugeley Power Station Band kept the crowd entertained with some lively music, very much appreciated.

The welcome and introduction to the ceremony was delivered by Dr. Tony Wright, Chairman of CHAPS 2003 – 2010, after which he introduced the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch BA, Hons. DCL, Bishop of Manchester to lead the Service of Dedication.

Following the first Hymn and a Bible Reading, the Bishop Dedicated the Memorial.

Following the Dedication, a beautiful and moving poem – “A tribute to the Miners of the Cannock Chase Coalfield” – written and read by Julie Squires.

Music next, from the Cannock Chase Orpheus Male Choir.

Then came the final Hymn, the Blessing from thr Bishop and closing words and thanks from Dr. Tony Wright.

An excellent Ceremony, attended by a large crowd – exceptional considering the cold weather, but at least it stayed dry.

173 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Autumn 1994 – Part 2

173 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Autumn 1994 – Part 2

Locomotive News

No.4 Asbestos – This engine has run exceptionally well considering the dubious start to the season.  Since then a total of twenty-two boiler tubes have been renewed and seem to have cured the problem of leakage at the firebox end.  Another 124 new tubes have now been acquired and are stacked in the shed ready to complete the re-tubing at the end of the running season.  Slight weepage of a few stays and part of the foundation ring will also have to be corrected.

The latest batch of Russian coal, although somewhat smoky, is giving excellent results without the problem of clinkering inherent in the last lot.  This is just as well, as with trains running every Sunday in this summer’s hot weather the last thing anyone wants to do is rake the fire through after every other trip.

Asbestos with a three-coach test train stands on the causeway ready to return to Brownhills West

No.5 Sentinel – Progress on this loco remains slow, although the boiler is now ready for its hydraulic test.  All of the boiler fittings have been refurbished and will be hydrauliced along with the boiler.  The injector has been moved to the fireman’s side of the cab and that and the Weir pump are being re-piped in such a way  that they can be drained easily in winter to prevent frost damage.

S100 – Work has continued with the manufacture of new mountings for the brake hangers to replace the original items which were somewhat bodged and worn out.

Fowler diesel hydraulic No.422015 – Replacement injectors have been acquired and fitted to the engine of this loco with the result that its performance has been transformed.  A few other minor problems have occurred, but it has remained in regular use for shunting and works trains.

Ruston diesel electric DL7 – One of the starting air valves of this loco has had to be renewed due to a damaged seat in the original.  A fuel leak from one of the injector pipes has also been rectified.  The loco is serviceable but has remained out of use mainly due to passenger trains being steam hauled throughout July and August.

Fowler diesel mechanical No.410013 – Following arrival from Redditch this loco has had its engine de-seized, the injectors have received attention and the engine has been run.  Faults have been found with the injection pump and governor and these have now been removed for attention.  Following completion of the air system overhaul the loco should be able to enter traffic.The new Fowler stands in the platform shortly after its arrival from Redditch

L&Y No1 (Motorail No.1947) – All of the axleboxes and springs have now been stripped and rebuilt and a new bearing is being made to replace one which was stolen recently.  Once the sandboxes and inside of the body castings have been stripped and primed the loco will be ready for craning from its present position in front of the museum coach so that final erection can begin.

No.21 diesel – This loco is making steady progress, the engine is now complete but still awaiting cylinder head gaskets.  It is hoped that it may be running for the Diesel Gala which is a new event to be held for the first time in September.

Lion – Following its removal to Foxfield last Autumn this loco entered service at Easter, running initially double-headed with ‘Harwarden’ The vacuum brake hoses were apparently awkward to couple as ours at Chasewater are the opposite side to ‘normal’ to suit our DMU stock.

Smith Rodley crane – This again remained out of use awaiting a potential purchaser.  So far a couple of enquiries have been received but no offers have been forthcoming.

From the Board Room

The Board has been actively involved in a number of new initiatives, while various on-going matters have been subjected to scrutiny and, where necessary, review.  The following will be of general interest to the membership.

1.    Personal circumstances have brought about the resignation from the Board of Les Emery.  However, Les has indicated a willingness to continue with his other roles on the railway.

2.    The Board has agreed to the co-option of Company Secretary Andy Clegg to the Board.

3.    The trading name of the company has been changed to the “Chasewater Railway”.  Previous official and unofficial trading (‘Chasewater Steam Railway’, ‘Chasewater Light Railway’, etc.) are no longer considered suitable and are felt to give a misleading impression of the nature of our current and future operations.

4.    In an attempt to encourage family travel during this period of continual financial restraint, the price of the Family Rover has been reduced, until further notice, from £5.80 to £4.95.

5.    During the course of the nest few months, the Board is to produce a new business plan for the purpose of clearly defining objectives and priorities, and how they might be best achieved within the resources (including financial and manpower) expected to become available.  Associated with this proposal is the revival of the concept of departmental heads, holding pre-determined budgets, to give focus to the completion of the many and varied tasks necessary for the railway to both exist and develop.

6.    The Board has responded to a plea from Rallies Organiser Dave Whittle by delegating various aspects and responsibilities to specified individuals.  Thanks largely to the efforts of Dave, the Chasewater Rallies are rapidly gaining in reputation, with Paul Richards taking up much of the strain as Administrative Officer.

7.    On other fronts:

·        Negotiations are proceeding with HM Railway Inspectorate in relation to the extension into, and construction of, Norton Lakeside Station.

·        The railway was represented at a meeting of Chasewater user groups hosted by Lichfield DC, and arranged on a largely social basis for the various groups to meet the Members and relevant Officers of the District Council.

·        Lichfield District Council has generously offered grant aid to the railway in the sum of £1,000 by way of a contribution towards forthcoming expenditure.  This generous act by the District Council signals a solid measure of support for the railway by its new ‘landlord’.

·        Accommodation at Brownhills West has become a problem in consequence of stock acquisition, (4 DMU coaches plus one tanker wagon).  However, this should be relieved by the imminent removal of one (at least) of the Wickhams, and the Board is still anxious to dispose of the crane (preferably to a good hole on another railway) as a matter of priority.

·        The transfer of records from Adrian Hall should enable Paul Richards to take up his responsibilities as Membership Officer with early effect.

·        The Board has agreed strategy towards bidding for the trackwork at Bromford Sidings, and has noted that the remaining trackwork at Four Ashes is due to transfer to Chasewater in August.

David Bathurst – Chairman.

Asbestos at Bromford

Chasewater Dam News, The Dam Work is Finished

Chasewater Dam News

The Dam Work is Finished

Chasewater starting to fill up – still a long way to go!

Staffordshire County Council has announced that the major £5.5 million engineering project at Chasewater reservoir has now been completed.

The 200-year-old dam at the heart of Chasewater Country Park was drained of water in early 2010 amid concerns for the safety of the reservoir which dates back to 1797.

The plug went back in last October and water levels slowly started to rise once more, helping to restore Chasewater to its original position as a major regional leisure attraction, wildlife haven and key component of the Midlands’ canal network.

The last major milestone took place this February when 100 tonnes of concrete were pumped into the dam to create a weir which will control the flow of water when the reservoir is full.

County Councillor Mark Winnington, Cabinet member for Environment and Assets, said: “Chasewater is one of the Midlands’ most popular beauty spots so it was absolutely vital that the safety improvements were carried out and the site is now returning to its former glory.

“We appreciate the impact that this vital work has had on people who use the reservoir for activities ranging from sailing to angling and wildlife spotting. The county council’s expert engineers pulled out all the stops to get the work done as efficiently and effectively as possible so that local people as well as visitors from far and wide can enjoy the tourist attraction as we approach the summer months.

“The team has improved the overflow to safeguard nearby residents in the event of severe flooding, which will enable us to monitor the condition of the dam much more closely in the future.The drawdown culvert – the equivalent of the plughole in a bath – was located and inspected for the first time in over 200 years.”

A mystery brick-built chamber that does not appear on any plans was also discovered inside the dam, and will now be used as part of the monitoring procedures.

The original role of the reservoir was to regulate water in the Midlands canal network – in times of drought water would be drawn from the reservoir to ensure the economically vital canals were still deep enough to navigate.

Fears had grown that the earth dam was no longer safe to withstand major floods, was leaking, and could pose a danger to nearby homes.

Water does naturally seep through the dam. This is perfectly normal and acceptable as long as it is carefully monitored to spot potential safety concerns. It has also created a mini-ecosystem that has become a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The work has ensured this is safeguarded.

British Waterways is pumping water into the canal system from other sites and will continue to do this while the reservoir refills.

Apr 23rd, 2012 by Lizzie Thatcher

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this blog over the last few years. It’s been a great way to tell you all about the work that’s taken place at Chasewater, and we’ve been bowled over the amount of public interest, involvement and support for the blog.

Now the works are complete we are no longer going to be using the blog to communicate news about the dam or reservoir. News updates will be issued by the press office at Staffordshire County Council. To keep up to date on any news visit

Thanks again to everyone who has commented, given their support (their moans or their groans) on this blog. We very much hope that the blog helped you to understand the works in hand and that you felt more informed as a result.

Kind regards

Lizzie & Neil


Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1888 – Holmes 0-6-0 North British Railway

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1888 – Holmes 0-6-0  North British Railway

One of the returned war engines, No.9620 Rawlinson in 1827

This was Matthew Holmes’ standard freight engine built for the North British Railway from 1888 to 1900, during which period 168 of the class were built, mostly at Cowlairs, but there were fifteen from Neilson’s and another fifteen from Sharp Stewart & Co.  25 of the class were sent overseas during the First World War, and on their return were given suitable commemorative names, such as Ole Bill, Verdun, Ypres, and so on, which in most cases they carried for the rest of their existence, notwithstanding the extreme rarity of goods engines in this country carrying names, at any rate since very early days.

Scrapping of the class commenced in 1926.  Previous to 1946 their numbers were somewhat scattered, but in that year those then remaining were renumbered by the LNER into one series as 5210-5346.  At Nationalisation in 1948 these became 65210-65346, and about eighty of them still remained in traffic in 1959.

Driving wheels – 5’ 0”,  Cylinders – 18¼”x 26”,  Pressure – 165 lb.,  Tractive effort – 19690 lb.,  Weight – 42 tons,  NBR classification – C,  LNER classification – J36,  BR classification – 2F.

Steam locomotive “Maude” at Bo’ness

A well-restored steam locomotive at Bo’ness Station on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway. Number 673 “Maude” was built in Glasgow in 1891 for the North British Railway Company.  © Copyright Ron Hann and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Museum and Other News

Museum and Other News

Museum News Thanks to the generosity of Godfrey Hucker, with a substantial donation, together with the profit from the Museum’s Easter raffle – our thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Roy Sealey and Poxon’s Butchers and others for the prizes – a nice collection of colliery checks has been acquired, including several of local interest.

 Coffee Break for Mining Project

The maquette heading into the Heritage Centre at Chasewater Railway

 The Burntwood Chase Heritage Group is raising money towards a mining memorial at Sankey’s Corner by hosting a coffee break with photographic exhibition this weekend.

It takes place at St. Matthews Social Club, Burntwood on Saturday, April 28th, from noon onwards.  Admission is free and there will be a raffle and tombola.  The bar will be open and coffee and tea will be served.

Proceeds will go to the Sankey’s Corner Arts Project (SCAMP).

Saturday 28th April 2012.

The Dedication Ceremony of the extension to the original miners’ monument in Hednesford Town Centre will take place on the above date at 3.00pm.

The Bishop of Manchester Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch will officiate, music will be provided by Rugeley Power Station Band and the Cannock Chase Orpheus Male Voice Choir.

Some Early Lines – Taunton to Minehead Railway – West Somerset Railway

Some Early Lines

Taunton to Minehead Railway

West Somerset Railway

The Origin of the Line

The official confirmation to engage engineers to plan and build the line came in 1857 when the advantages of rail communication with the busy harbour at Watchet and the County Town at Taunton became apparent.

There was some initial difficulty in raising the capital, which delayed the start until 1859, and the commissioning until 1862.

The following extract from ‘The History of the Great Western Railway’ by E.T.MacDermot, M.A. gives a brief description of the origin of the line:

‘The West Somerset Company, promoted chiefly by the local landowners with Sir Peregine Acland for Chairman, was incorporated in 1857 to make a railway from the Bristol and Exeter near Taunton to the harbour of Watchet.  Brunel was retained as engineer, though he himself probably had very little to do with the undertaking, which must have been about the last to be brought out under his auspices.  He was soon succeeded by his chief assistant, R.P.Brereton.  The Directors had much trouble in raising the capital of £160,000, but at last work was begun at Woolston Moor on the 10th April, 1859.  Owing to mainly financial difficulties, it proceeded very slowly and nearly three years elapsed before these 14½ miles of broad gauge single line were finished.  They were opened by the Bristol & Exeter Company, to whom the line was leased in perpetuity on the 31st March, 1862, for passenger traffic only, the goods shed not being ready till August.  The stations between Taunton and Watchet were Bishops Lydeard, Crowcombe Heathfield, Stogumber and Williton, there being none as yet at the junction two miles west of Taunton.’

Norton Fitzwarren station was first constructed in 1873,

The Minehead Extension

As the traffic on the line grew during the early years it became obvious to the Directors of the West Somerset Company that an extension of the line as far as Minehead would increase the business from areas as far afield as Porlock and Lynton.

It was decided that a local company should be set up to deal with the affairs of the new line, and although the work was due to start in1865, financial difficulties delayed the opening for a further nine years.

The ‘History of the Great Western Railway’ by E.T.MacDermot, M.A. recalls:

‘An extension of the West Somerset Railway from Watchet to Minehead was first authorised in 1865 to be made by a local company, entitled the Minehead Railway Company, which, however, failed to proceed with its undertaking and was dissolved in 1870.  It was reconstituted under the same name by an Act of the following year with better results, and succeeded in opening its 8¼ miles of broad-gauge single line on the 16th July, 1874, to be worked by the Bristol and Exeter Company at a rent of half the net receipts with a guaranteed minimum of £2,000 a year.’

The Minehead Company was absorbed in 1897, by which time all its capital had been acquired on behalf of the Great Western.

The Act of Parliament referred to by Mr. MacDermot was mentioned in the Free Press together with details of the activities  and celebrations which took place.

Alteration of Gauge

In 1882 the Directors of the West Somerset Railway authorised the reduction of gauge from the 7ft wide gauge track to the 4ft 8½ins. narrow gauge.

Due to the necessity of completing the work as rapidly as possible, a large number of railway workmen were engaged in the project.

The change-over was successfully completed between the last train on the Saturday evening and the first train on the Monday morning.

West Somerset Railway

On 5 February 1971, a Minehead Railway Preservation Society organised a meeting in Taunton and a working party headed by Douglas Fear, a local business man, was tasked with investigating how the line could be reopened as a privately-owned railway. In May, a new West Somerset Railway Company was formed to acquire the line and operate a year-round commuter service from Minehead to Taunton alongside which a limited summer steam service could also run. A deal was agreed with British Rail to purchase the line with the support of Somerset County Council, however the council was wary of the lucrative Minehead station site falling into private hands should the railway fail. Instead, it purchased the line itself in 1973 and leased back the operational land to the West Somerset Railway Company.

The proposed commuter service never materialised but the line was slowly reopened as a heritage railway. Minehead to Blue Anchor was the first section to see trains restored, opening on 28 March 1976 and services were extended to Williton on 28 August the same year. Trains returned to Stogumber on 7 May 1978 and they reached Bishops Lydeard on 9 June 1979. A new station at Doniford Halt was opened on the coast east of Watchet on 27 June 1987 to serve a holiday camp at Helwell Bay.

In 2004, work started on constructing a new triangle at Norton Fitzwarren which included a part of the old Devon and Somerset line  and a ballast reclamation depot opened there in 2006.  In 2008, a new turntable was brought into use at Minehead.  A new station opened on 1 August 2009 at Norton Fitzwarren on a new site a short distance north of the main line.

For more information go to –

172 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Autumn 1994 – Part 1 Permanent Way News

172 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Autumn 1994 – Part 1

Permanent Way News

The second and final batch of track has now arrived from Four Ashes and is being put to good use by the Permanent Way Gang.  The works train has had to spend every Sunday ‘out of section’ at the end of the causeway just to make enough room for passenger trains, as with the amount of rolling stock now on site there is insufficient siding space at Brownhills West.  The track gang have put this situation to good use, and at the present rate of progress track will be in front of the platform at Norton Lakeside well before the end of this year.

In order to quantify the progress already made, and to assist with the planning of the future extension of the line, David Bathurst has produced the chart below showing distances between various points on the railway.

All distances were measured by pushing a pedometer along the head of the rail, and sleeper ends were marked with yellow paint at 100 metre intervals.  The ‘Zero Point’ was chosen as the gate post at the end of the loco shed yard, as after the motorway is built it is likely to be the closest surviving landmark to Brownhills West station.  When the time comes, new measurements can be made into the replacement station from the same spot.

The chart shows that we are currently running passenger trains over a distance of about a mile to the present running line limit almost half-way across the causeway.  When we ultimately reach Anglesey Wharf the total distance (estimated over the final section) will be around 2¾ miles, assuming that nothing is lost or added by the repositioning of Brownhills West Station (nice dream, but that’s all!).

171 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Bromford Special 1994 – Part 3 Permanent Way News

171 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Bromford Special 1994 – Part 3

Permanent Way News

Words on Synthetic Chemicals – Arthur Edwards

This story started back in October, 1993 when a Mr. James Bates of Synthetic Chemicals paid us a visit with the news that his company was doing away with its railway network, which connected with the BR Wolverhampton to Stafford line at four Ashes.  Jim told us that a number of items, some chairs and a point lever had been disconnected and were surplus.

The following weekend Paul Whittaker, Dave Borthwick, Tony Wheeler and Keith Day drove over to Synthetic Chemicals to collect the items which were brought back and stored at Chasewater.  Jim said that the company would have to consider all the pros and cons on how to deal with the demise of the rest of its railway network.

In the spring of this year we learned that Synthetic Chemicals had generously donated the rest of their track to the CLR, and on May 7th a gang of our P.Way staff went back to Four Ashes to make a start on the dismantling.  All of the fishplates were unbolted, some of the pointwork was split up and all of the keys were removed and brought back to Chasewater.

The second week was spent doing more or less the same again, at the end of which Chris Chivers informed me that the track was all ready for lifting in 60ft panels.

The next week, after mid-week phone calls, we managed to get a crew for the lift at SC.  Meanwhile back at Chasewater Ian Buswell was hard at work with the JCB levelling the site ready for the pointwork and 30ft track panels which will be used eventually for our new sidings and shed.Nothing to do with the post – just looks nice! Beattie Well Tank in Brownhils West

Over at Synthetic Chemicals three of Cotton’s artic lorries were waiting for their loads.  At around 10.30am the first lorry was ready, and Steve asked me to return to Chasewater with it to oversee the unloading.  Curly brought his lorry up, and Harold set up his crane to lift the top panel, Curly then moved his lorry further forward, and Harold dropped the panel in more or less the right place.  This process was repeated until the lorry was unloaded and the next one arrived.

At around 1.00pm on the Saturday the rain started, and did it come down?!  By about 4.30pm I was absolutely soaked.  Funnily I had brought my wet suit but it was in Steve’s car and I didn’t have time to put it on anyway.  I thought it was about time to be heading back to the station where my Better Half was waiting to get away.

Ian told me on the following day he finally got away at about 8.3pm.

The new track panels stretch from the end of our current running line right across the causeway and through the platform of the new station, and there are still another two or three loads to come.

Thanks must go to Cotton’s Transport and Safe Load Indicators who provided the lorries and cranes.

Since the arrival of the panels work has started on fishplating them all together and jacking and packing to achieve the correct level and alignment.  This method of tracklaying is obviously much quicker than our traditional way and it is likely that we will have a train in front of the new platform very shortly.

The Causeway Station NameWorks train into Norton Lakeside

At the meeting on 25th March, the Board gave due consideration to the names proposed by members for the causeway station, previously referred to by the unflattering (but geographically correct) name of ‘Norton Bog’.

Members will recall that the Board had agreed to a form of competition, so that those who submitted the name eventually adopted by the Board will receive family tickets for the day of the first official public service into the new station.

The following names were suggested by members and other interested parties:

Chasewater Lakeside, Chasewater North Shore, Lakeside, North Shore Halt, Norton Biddulphs, Norton Bog, Norton Causeway, Norton Cranebrook, Norton East, Norton Lakeside, Norton Marsh, Norton Marshes, Norton Parkside.

Nominations for ‘Norton Lakeside’ were submitted by Mr.J.P.Merriman, and Mr.Chris Hatton, both of whom will be official guests on the due date.  The three Board members who submitted the name are disqualified from the competition!!

By way of thanking the other members who took the trouble to submit suggestions, the Board has also agreed to offer a small token of appreciation.

David Bathurst – ChairmanPassenger train leaving Norton Lakeside

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era 1888 – North Eastern Railway 4-2-2

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era

 1888 – North Eastern Railway 4-2-2

There were two classes of these engines, the first of which came out in 1888 and, following on the Midland Johnson 4-2-2s of1887, continued the grief popularity of this type for express working which was followed by other lines until 1901.

The North Eastern engines were all built as Worsdell-von Borries 2-cylinder compounds, but although moderately successful in that form all were converted to simple expansion within a few years.  The 7’ 7” engines in particular had trouble with the steam chests, which owing to restrictions of space had to be placed outside the frames, the valves being worked by rocking levers.  These were reconstructed in 1894-5, the 7’ 0” engines lasted as compounds until 1900-2.  The first lot, with 7’ 0” driving wheels, were numbered 1326-30 and 1527-31, and they were built between 1888 and 1890.  The second version with 7’ 7” wheels, Nos.1517-26, came out in 1889 and 1890.  They did many years of useful service, but all were broken up between 1918 and1920.


As compound – Driving wheels – 7’ 0”,  Cylinders – (1HP) 18”x 24”, (1LP) 26”x 24”,  Pressure – 175 lb.,  Weight – 43¾ tons,  NER Classification – I

Simple – Driving wheels – 7’ 0”,  Cylinders – (2) 18”x 24”, Pressure – 175 lb.,  Weight – 43¾ tons,  NER Classification – I

Compound – Driving wheels – 7’ 7”,  Cylinders – (1HP) 20”x 24”, (1LP) 28”x 24”,  Pressure – 175 lb.,  Weight – 46¾ tons,  NER Classification – J

Simple – Driving wheels – 7’ 7”,  Cylinders – (2) 19”x 24”, Pressure – 175 lb.,  Weight – 47 tons,  NER Classification – JIllustration: No.1526 when running as a compound.  Note the outside steam chests.