183 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News Summer 1995 – Part 3
P. Way News – Arthur
Here we are again, writing to let you know how the track is coming along. Well Tom and I have been shovelling out the four-foot, which to Joe Public, is the distance between the inside of each rail in preparation for weedkilling which is now overdue. This operation cannot take place until all the excess ballast in the four-foot has been removed to the track shoulders.
When this operation is completed we can start to look forward to planning the work on the new sidings. The pointwork involved will mean the prefabrication of the new turnouts alongside the existing running line, so that when they are completed they can be put into place with the JCB over one weekend after the end of the season, so causing the minimum of disruption to the running line. When this is completed the rest of the sidings can be put into place so relieving the overcrowding in the top compound.
But this is in the future. The weekend of the 30th July will be given over to upgrading the track in the new station area; this will include levelling out the one or two odd rough spots due to ballast compaction, and shouldering the track ends to generally tidy up the area.
The next 8 weeks over August and the beginning of September should see the new station up and running, as there is only some brickwork to finish off and the last few fence posts to be put in place. The overall deadline is to be finished before the October Rally, but this will depend on members coming along to help out, there are plenty of tasks from mixing the mortar for the bricklayers to helping backfill the platform.
The sooner we can get these tasks finished then the more important job of extending the line towards Church Street can go ahead. I feel that this is well within our capability as long as we have the numbers of long term dedicated volunteers. The overall extension to the running line can only continue as long as we have the manpower to help lay it, and then maintain it. The overall standard of track has greatly improved over the past few years but it is a constant battle not to slip back, and as we use the line for more running days the overall wear and tear is getting heavier. So if you can spend a few hours for one or two weekends a month I will be more than happy to see you.
L & Y No.1 – A Brief History – A.Mould
Many of us are asked questions regarding the history of our stock stored on site. Hopefully this article will start the ball rolling as a starter for a series of short articles on various items, and so improve our own knowledge about them.
Just after the First World War the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway were finding that the capstan and horse shunting were laborious and time consuming so creating inefficiencies in labour and increasing expense, so attempts were made to find a more efficient replacement. Two battery electric locomotives were constructed for shunting at the L & Y’s power stations which provided power to the Bury routes around Manchester. In 1919 they had been provided with an 8 ton Simplex shunter for demonstration purposes, which they later bought and numbered No.1 in their internal combustion list. The Simplex locomotive was a development of the first oil-engined locomotive built by Mr.Priestman in 1894. Simplex used a transverse mounted engine and gearbox. In 1920 a further two locomotives were ordered from the Motor Rail & Tramcar Co. Ltd. (Simplex) of Bedford England. The locomotive itself was based on well proven and reliable technology, being based on Motor Rail’s war time design, which had given sterling service in the front line trenches in France and Belgium where a steam locomotive would have been an instant target.
The propulsion for No.1 was provided by a W.H.Dorman 4J.o. petrol engine of 6.4 litres with magneto ignition which was capable of developing 40 hp at 1000 rpm and was originally designed for use as a road vehicle engine for lorries and other large commercials. The automotive arrangement of the engine where the main bearings were mounted on the upper half of the crankcase was scrapped and the locomotive engine was built up from a sturdy cast iron lower crankcase. This followed marine engine practice. The lower crankcase held a considerable amount of lubricating oil, much more than a sump. The position of the cooling system water pump and the magneto were changed for ease of maintenance.
At the Dorman works in Stafford this form of 2 and 4J.O. engine produced for Motor Rail was always known as ‘Trench Engines’ due to their service in the First World War. The Dixon-Abbot gearboxes used in the 8 ton shunters were built by David Brown. The gearbox was driven through an inverted cone clutch from the engine, and with two forward and reverse positions it was then connected through heavy roller chains to both axles. A tractive effort of around 3,500 lbs. in low gear, at up to 3 mph and 1,250 lbs. in high gear giving a top speed of around 10 mph. The clutch, which was part of the flywheel assembly, was lined up with Ferodo friction material, and this could cause great difficulty biting violently when engaged and changing gear, should the engine and gearbox ever become out of line, so potential drivers – you have been warned! (as Financial Controller I have been informed that it does 1 mile to 5 gallons, therefore if he is prepared to buy the petrol, he can run it! – Chris Chivers, Editor.)
As delivered it was believed that the locomotive was a bright red, but after acceptance it was soon repainted in Lancashire & Yorkshire lined black. The first shed it was allocated to was Sandhills, later renamed Bank Hall, and it quietly resided there with Nos. 2 & 3 going about its duties of shunting wagons in and out of warehouses, etc. until 1922. It was repainted into the livery of the LMS sometime in the 1930s after the LMS had inherited the three Simplex from the London & North Western Railway’s division B, as the LNWR had merged with the L & Y earlier in 1922 during the grouping of the independent companies into the ‘Big Four’. The LMS transferred it to Scotland on the old Glasgow & South Western Railway, but for what purpose we don’t know, but it returned to its home ground because in 1932 it was offered for sale from Horwich works as well as Nos. 2 & 3 and all three were bought by George Cohens, a Leeds scrap man and locomotive dealer who refurbished them at his Stanningley Depot and then sold them on. No.1 went to Ryland Brothers at Warrington who were wire makers and continued in their service until its retirement, whereupon it went into preservation and came to Chasewater.
L & Y No.1 – In Rylands Livery, Railway Forum 1976
Upon arriving at Chasewater, no.1 was repainted into Ryland Brothers colours and was exhibited at Dormans 100th Anniversary at their Stafford works.
It is now 21 years since No.1 last ran in anger at around 5 gallons to the mile!!! In petrol consumption. Restoration is well under way and a pair of split spoked wheels have been obtained to replace the solid wheels that are presently on the locomotive. Shortly. Maybe even by the time you read this magazine, it will be craned out from its position on the bay platform ready for further attention to its frames and bodywork. How long you say – well let’s take the job slowly and deliberately with care. I’m looking at 2 – 3 years, maybe sooner with assistance.
Sadly, most of L & Y No.1 was stolen before it was fully restored – I believe that the original engine and one set of wheels are still at Chasewater.