181 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News Summer 1995 – Part 1
From the Editorial
The first of this year’s rallies has now come and gone, and the overall figures for the rally were disappointing, but I understand that, like so many other events on over that weekend, we all lost out to the England – New Zealand semi-final in the Rugby World Cup. The overall passenger figures for the first two months of the running season on the Railway have remained fairly level with last year which means that we are carrying about the same number of passengers as we were for the same period last year if you factor in the decrease in ticket prices. This is also in spite of some miserable weather for the first two months of the running season which has kept the park fairly empty over the weekends. The Railway is still running from hand to mouth, but 1994/5 has been an exceptionally remarkable period in the history of the Chasewater Railway.
As nearly all the major expenditure has now been cleared there is at long last a light at the end of the tunnel, and as there are no more ‘major’ projects on the horizon, it should give the Railway time to gather its breath before the next phase of expansion. The critical areas are now engineering and restoration. The team in the locomotive shed have been doing a fantastic job, but the amount of repairs required to maintain the running locomotives that we have has been stretching them to the fullest, and this is without restoring further engines back to running condition. Some cosmetic work is due to be carried out on one of the locos to stop any further deterioration of the bodywork, and this will have the effect of putting the loco back together so finding out whether any parts are missing and also clearing areas of the site where they are currently stored.
Work is nearing completion on the new amenities block and at last it is beginning to present a neat and tidy face to the general public, as parts of the awning/roof facia, which were finished by the Community Service people are put into place. As the timber work is finished so the undercoat and top coat of paint have been applied in all but a few sections. The guttering now needs to be put into place so that the exterior can be completed. Tony Wheeler has also tidied up the ‘one road’ side of the portacabins by enclosing them in with corrugated iron sheets, after the placement of an amount of concrete to further secure the foundations of the area. This has also been finished off with topsoil and planted flowers.
The station area is gradually being cleared of all rubbish, scrap metal and junk, and the departure to the bottom compound of S100’s tanks and cab roof have allowed the area between the end of one and two road to see the light of day for the first time in many years. It also means that all the relevant pieces of S100 are gradually being brought together as the work on this locomotive gathers pace. (This was written 17 years ago!)
Also a large number of plants have been planted throughout the section between the booking office and the new toilet blocks so considerably enhancing the area. In conjunction with this work, the main fence is currently receiving a coat of paint to smarten up the front facing the road. The chain link fence that is still standing should have been renewed some time ago but with the outcome of the third public inquiry into the BNRR (M6Toll) still not resolved it seems pointless in replacing the rest of the main compound fence only to have it demolished if the motorway is constructed.
I would also like to ask members working on site not to throw any litter on the floor but place it in the bins provided, that’s if the wasps don’t make it a hazardous operation, as this reflects on the Railway in the eyes of the general public. Also if you see litter lying around don’t just look at it, pick it up and ‘bin it’. Following this plea of ‘Good Housekeeping’ please don’t leave any unnecessary lights, equipment or other electrical appliances turned on, not only does it cost but it could also lead to an accident – live cables lying around being accidentally cut giving somebody a nasty shock. The site is a lot tidier than it used to be but there is still some way to go.
From the Boardroom
Working Members Meeting
David Bathurst – Chairman
At the 1995 AGM, members expressed a wish to hold occasional meetings with Board members to discuss a wide range of topics associated with the management and operation of the Railway. The first such meeting was held on Wednesday 21st June, 1995, when an encouraging number of members attended at Brownhills West Station.
For the benefit of working members who were unable to attend, the following is a brief summary of the principle matters which were discussed:-
Platform adjacent to the locomotive shed – Concern was expressed regarding the safety of this platform and short/medium term remedies were discussed.
Restoration of No.917 – An enquiry was made with regard to which steam locomotive was next to be restored into working condition. It was the opinion of a number of members that No.917 was the obvious choice. The meeting was informed that the restoration of the locomotive was in fact on the agenda for the next meeting of the Board, as a written proposal having already been made to the Company regarding its cosmetic (at least) restoration.
Water supply for steam locomotives – A member expressed concern that the demand for water for steam locomotives would increase once the extension into Norton Lakeside Station was open to regular traffic. However, it was generally agreed that the current arrangements are satisfactory as the locomotive crews had proved their ability to take water without major disruption to the timetable.
Rallies – The rallies organiser, Dave Whittle, spoke at some length on the shortcomings of the June Festival of Transport. He questioned the members’ commitment to rallies and referred to the need for a stronger communications chain and team work in particular. The Board had indicated an intention to invite Dave to attend the next Board meeting with a view to examining in detail has specific areas of concern.
Junior Members Section – It was suggested that the time had now arrived to harness the interest of younger members by establishing, on a more formal basis, a junior members’ section. Health and Safety legislation prescribes certain minimum age limits for undertaking different categories of work but it was acknowledged that the junior members have much to offer in the operation of the Railway. Andy Clegg and Keith Pointer were invited to submit written proposals to the Board in due course.
· The number and distribution of keys was to be reviewed. Members were urged to’ lock up behind them’ when leaving the premises or individual buildings.
· To avoid misunderstandings and to promote greater public confidence, it was agreed that when the bar is in operation, alcohol is not to be served to persons in high visibility vests or known to be operationally active on the day.
· Concern was expressed with regards to the gates not having been replaced at the entrance to the bottom yard. In a related matter, members were urged to be respectful of work undertaken by other members. Instances had come to light of members doing things with good intention but without consulting with other colleagues who may have already been involved in previous work.
· It was confirmed that a members’ notice board is to be erected in the members’ mess.
· Tony Wheeler confirmed that he could generally be available, given reasonable notice, for members needing to gain access to the premises and where the alarms needed to be de-activated.
· The Magazine Editor would be asked to include in all future editions a list of Board members together with the Heads of Department.
The meeting, which commenced at 7.30pm, closed at 10.30pm and the members present were appreciative of the opportunity to raise matters of personal interest to them. By common consent, it was agreed that further meetings be held on a similar basis during the course of the year.