185 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News Autumn & Winter 1995 – Part 2
Working Members’ Meeting – David Bathurst
27th September 1995
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 running and management of the Railway. The second such meeting was held on 27th September 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.
The HMRI had visited the Railway on Friday 22nd September 1995 and the outcome of the inspection was announced. (See post No.184) The Railway Inspector’s request for the platform surface at Norton Lakeside to be improved has already been attended to.
Timetable for 1996
Once Norton Lakeside Station is open to public traffic, anew timetable will be introduced. Services will depart at 45 minute intervals with a short lay-over at Norton Lakeside.
Condition of Steam Locomotives
It was noted that the 10 year boiler certificates for #Asbestos’ will expire in July 1996. The Board will be discussing, at an early meeting, the implications in the light of the current requirements of the Boiler Inspector.
Maintenance of Operational Rolling Stock.
Reference was made to the lack of resources to carry out the full and proper maintenance of the operational rolling stock although it was accepted that there is a need to strike a balance, taking account of the standards which are achievable having regard to resources available.
Platform adjacent to the Locomotive Shed
Some, albeit minimal, works have been carried out on the platform. Subject to appropriate supervision, there was no objection to more substantial works being carried out by a CS team.
Contents of Locomotive Shed
It was felt that a number of privately owned locomotive parts could be removed from the locomotive shed into storage elsewhere.
Heads of Departments, Etc.
The Board was in the process of inviting individual working members to accept responsibilities in particular fields, but wished to ensure that the working members were involved in the process. During lengthy discussions, a number of suggestions were made as to the filling of various posts and which will now be considered at the first available meeting of the Board.
In relation to the appointment of a press and publicity officer, it was suggested that contact be made with a local college with regard to the involvement of a student undertaking a media-related project.
What are we trying to achieve?
At a recent meeting of the Board, the question was raised as to the Railway’s sense of direction and raison d’être. Although we promote ourselves as ‘The Colliery Line’ we do little to substantiate the claim in this respect. Do we wish to become a miniature Severn valley Railway? How much use should be made of diesel locomotives and DMUs? Is there merit in expanding the use of brake vans for passenger traffic? What image do we wish to project?
It was agreed to include this matter for the agenda for the next working members’ meeting for a full and open discussion.
It was agreed that more members should be encouraged to undergo training in basic first aid. One of the appendices to the proposed rule book is to include the names of persons with first aid qualifications. It was also accepted that there should be a St. John’s Ambulance Brigade presence at rallies.
Concern was expressed regarding the condition of the fire extinguishers at Brownhills West and it was confirmed that new charges were awaiting delivery. The matter was of sufficient gravity that it was accepted without dissent that any member found misusing fire extinguishers would have their membership of the Railway withdrawn and might be subject to prosecution.
Further Working Members’ Meetings
The members expressed the wish for a further meeting to be held on a similar basis later in the year or early in the New Year. This meeting will be held at the Pear Tree Public House on Wednesday January 10th 1996 at 7.30pm.
HMRI Inspection – David Bathurst
Results of the first inspection (22-9-1995) in post No.184.
The following subsequent inspection by HM Inspecting Officer of Railways, Mr. Colin Law, was carried out on 25th October 1995.
The outstanding matters which needed to be attended to following the earlier inspection were all completed in good time except that some vandalism on the evening prior to the inspection meant that an amount of last-minute fence re-wiring had to be done. Our grateful thanks go to the members who helped out in repairing the damage.
The outcome of the inspection was that Norton Lakeside Station meets the necessary standards and is accordingly approved for passenger use with immediate effect. The only matter which concerns Mr.Law was in relation to the structural integrity of Great Crane Brook Bridge, where the track had to be slewed off-centre to gain the necessary track clearance into the station. There is no problem in the use of the DMUs, but the short wheel-base and axle loading of our locomotives, both steam and diesel means that they cannot be used on public passenger services until the integrity if the bridge structure has been established.
So, we are now in a position to operate a ‘proper’ passenger service between two ‘proper’ stations, thereby fulfilling the ambitions of members who have been associated with the Railway much longer than me. The importance of this achievement cannot be understated and will form the subject of an article in a later ‘Chasewater News’.
The official opening will take place on Saturday 16th December 1995 and all members will receive (or perhaps have already received) a separate notification of the event. For the public, the first passenger trains will operate in the form of Santa Specials, on Sundays 17th and 24th December 1995.