Monthly Archives: November 2012

Canal News – IWA Welcomes Increase in CRT Dredging


IWA Logo

IWA Welcomes Increase in CRT Dredging

IWA Press Release

26 November 2012

The Inland Waterways Association has welcomed the announcement by Canal & River Trust that it will increase its spending on dredging over the next ten years.

In a speech to the AGM of the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators on 23rd November, John Dodwell, Canal & River Trust trustee explained that a ten year dredging programme was being planned, effectively doubling the current annual £5 m spend on programmed dredging. He went on to explain that two key elements will be looked at by the Navigation Advisory Group. One will be to increase the ratio of spot dredging to main-line dredging. The second will be to change the “failing threshold” measure. At present if 70% of the channel cross section in each km meets the depth criteria, then it is deemed Ok. On this basis, only about 7% of the total mileage fails. It’s proposed to raise this so that 90% of the cross section in future must comply – it is estimated that this will double the failing lengths, but this is actually more in tune with what users say.

DroitwichDroitwich Barge Canal emerging from under the A449

The canal has now been dredged and the earth dam that was more or less at the tail of the embankment has been excavated out.  © Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

  IWA had previously criticised British Waterways for the lack of dredging. As far back as July 2010, in answer to a series of detailed parliamentary questions placed on behalf of IWA, the Waterways Minister Richard Benyon MP had explained that British Waterways had plans to only dredge between 30 kilometres (km) and 40 km of its waterways during 2010-11, at an estimated cost of £4.5 million. He went on to explain that British Waterways estimated that 291 kilometres of its canals and rivers required dredging. IWA subsequently gave evidence on this gap to the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways inquiry into the formation of CRT.

Speaking of the announcement of the increased funding, Les Etheridge, IWA national chairman said:

“IWA has been steadfast in seeking to demonstrate the need for increased funding for navigation on the canal and river network .It has been clear anecdotally for many boaters that there has not been enough depth of water for navigation, and we have sought to highlight this with hard evidence. We are delighted that this campaign has resulted in a commitment for additional spend on this important area”.

WoodseavesCanal maintenance boat in Woodseaves Cutting, Shropshire

Woodseaves Cutting is dark, narrow and tree enshrouded and shallow. Not often does one exceed 2mph. Several sections are too narrow for boats to pass each other, north of Hollings Bridge, where I was confronted by this tug pushed butty full of dredgings. I waited!  © Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.



Canal News – Nov 29th 2012 – Canal Camps 2013

Canal News  – Nov 29th 2012

Waterway Recovery Group launches its Canal Camps for 2013!

Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) runs a programme of unique week-long residential volunteering opportunities, known as ‘Canal Camps’ designed to restore the derelict canals of England and Wales to their former glory. Canal Camps give you the chance to do your bit for the environment whilst having a fun holiday.

We have 23 Canal Camps planned for 2013 giving volunteers the chance to get involved in various activities such as the reprofiling and lining of the Lancaster Canal at Stainton, to the restoration of damaged brickwork on the Swansea Canal; or the rebuilding of towpaths on the Chelmer and Blackwater to the construction of a new lock on the Chesterfield Canal!

We’ve still got two working holidays running this Christmas on the Uttoxeter Canal (Staffordshire) and on the Cotswold Canals (near Eisey Lock) from the 26th December 2012 – 1st January 2013.

The Brochure has been sent to the printers but we thought you’d like to have a sneak peek!! Click here to view an online version of the brochure.

If you’d like to request a hard copy please click here (if you subscribe to Navvies you will automatically be sent a copy with your next edition).

To see all our Canal Camp locations for 2013 and get further details go to:

Book now!



Phone: 01494 783 453 ext 604 Keep in Touch!

Subscribe to Navvies magazine

RAF Museum at Cosford, Nov 17th


The RAF Museum, Cosford, Shropshire


Our first visit to Cosford – what a lot to see!  On the day of our visit the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford’s award winning Conservation Centre was open to the public – really worth seeing but not often open to the public.  Check their website for details:

We were there for about three hours, but a whole day could be taken quite easily.  I’ve included a gallery of photos, some of the planes I knew and some I didn’t – sorry.

A first class place to visit.

Click on the photos to enlarge


Canal News – Santa Comes to Audlem Wharf

 Old canalside crane, Audlem.

Outside the “Shroppie Fly”. This former industrial area in the Weaver valley was important for chemicals and salt. Today the traffic is more recreational.  The crane originally stood in the goods shed at the former Audlem railway station. In the early 1970s when the complex of warehouses on Audlem wharf was turned into the Shroppie Fly, the corrugated-iron shed that stood on this brick base was demolished and the old railway crane brought half a mile eastwards to form a feature in the new canalside development. [Thanks – Christopher Hilton]  © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Santa Comes to Audlem Wharf

29 Nov 2012

17:30 pm – 21:00 pm

It’s the big Christmas lights switch-on in Audlem and Santa is arriving by boat.

Join in the festive fun at Audlem with the big Christmas lights switch-on, the children’s Santa Parade from Audlem School and last but not least, Father Christmas himself arriving in Audlem Wharf by boat.

The festivities commence at 5pm with Santa set to arrive at 6pm. Late night shopping will follow.

Shropshire Union Canal near Audlem Wharf

  © Copyright David Martin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Audlem stands at the intersection of the roads from Nantwich to Market Drayton and Newcastle to Whitchurch. The Shropshire border is just over a mile to the south on the Market Drayton road and about 3 miles to the east on the road to Woore and Newcastle. The parish includes the pretty hamlet of Coxbank situated about one mile to the south between the canal and A529.

The Shropshire Union Canal, with its run of 15 locks, runs through the village. The River Weaver passes by to the west of the village, and flows north through fine open countryside to Nantwich.

Adderley Locks, south of Audlem, Shropshire

There are five locks in the flight at Adderley, altogether altering the water level by thirty-one feet ( about nine and a half metres). This image, taken with some telephoto from Adderley Wharf Bridge (No 69) shows Lock Nos 1 and 2 with Wems Bridge. Massey’s Bridge is just visible in the distance.

The Shropshire Union Canal was opened fully by 1835, engineered by Thomas Telford. © Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1899 – American 2-6-0 Midland Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1899 – American 2-6-0

Midland Railway

One of the Baldwin engines, MR 2506, later 2205, which was broken up in 1913.

About the turn of the 19th/20th century there was a considerable demand for more engines by many of the major companies which could not be immediately met either in their own workshops or by the various private firms of locomotive builders.  As a temporary expedient, therefore, three railways, namely the Midland, the Great Northern and the newly formed Great central, ordered some 2-6-0s from the Baldwin and Schenectady works of the USA, forty for the Midland Railway and twenty each for the other two lines.

Although of the same general design, they differed slightly in detail, some having two domes, as in the example illustrated above.  The 2-6-0 type, which had long been used in America, was almost, but not quite, new to this country, the Great Eastern having had some very unsuccessful examples built in 1878 to the design of W. Adams before he went to the LSWR; the small Midland and South Western Junction Railway also acquired two of an Australian design from Beyer Peacock in 1895-7, one of which later survived at a colliery in Northumberland until the 1940s.

The new 2-6-0s did not have a very long life on any of the three lines which acquired them, and all disappeared between 1909 and 1915.  They had several features, in particular the bar frames, which were common American practice but alien to the standards of this country.

The Midland engines, at first numbered 2501-40, became respectively 2200-9, 2230-9, and 2210-29 at the 1907 renumbering.

Driving wheels – 5’ 1½”,  Pony wheels – 3’ 0”,  Cylinders – 18”x 24”,  Pressure – 175 lb.,  Weight 45 tons.

No.2516 – Howden Boys Book of Locomotives, 1907

201 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Spring 1997– Part 2

201 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News – Spring 1997– Part 2

Railcars on the Chase – Part 2

DMUs in Preservation – Steve Organ

DMU carriages had come into preservation at Chasewater rather by accident.  The need to carry our visitors over the line was driven by the need to collect revenue for our more general preservation aims, and the opportunity to buy the first ‘Gloucester’ trailer driver car, and later the ‘Wickham’ two car set, were seen by the then management committee as providing Capital stock; low maintenance, light, high capacity carriages which could take the place of the fragile vintage carriages which were deteriorating badly and in need of a more thorough restoration than had previously been given.

In 1986, the present, newly formed Trust, surveyed and assessed the capital stock, and found lots of blue asbestos in the roof and side skins.  It was also clear that the bodies of these vehicles were deteriorating badly, thus raising the spectre of exposing the deadly material.  A clear and serious legal, Health and Safety, and financial liability loomed.  That was the day I bought my first bottle of Gaviscon!

A ‘lowest cost’ solution to the potential problem was sought.  Estimated of around £15,000 were given for the removal of the asbestos, and after the removal, we would have been faced with the huge task of completely rebuilding the interiors which would have been destroyed during stripping.  Time for reflection, then.

Only a few volunteers were at work at Chasewater at this time.  The Society had been forced, because of track defects, to stop running trains in 1982, at the same time that a huge debt had been accrued whilst a STEPS scheme had worked on the Railway, and the morale of the group was very poor.  The present Company had only recently been formed to amalgamate the old Society and Company into a single Charitable Trust, and whilst volunteer numbers were on the increase, carriage rebuilds were financially and physically beyond our reach.  Other preservationists had expressed interest in our DMU cars as worthy of preservation in their own right; we saw this as a possible means of disposing of our liabilities, and so we started to consider our future requirements for stock.

The new Trust had started afresh, renewing the aspirations of the earlier Society to operate considerably further with public trains than had previously been achieved.  This was to give a better chance for the locos to work, to give a longer ride to the people who paid for our projects, and to have a ‘real’ railway – with more than one station!  We also decided that we wanted to operate every Sunday from Easter to October, and that meant that we would need to provide a back up for the steam locos in case of failure or maintenance needs, so as to provide a reliable service.  Standardisation of components would clearly be an advantage, but traditional-looking stock would enhance the appearance of the Railway.  These were some of the factors which influenced our assessments of stock requirements, and gradually a consensus of opinion was achieved.

In the 1954 modernisation plan, BR had chosen to replace many traditional multi-compartment suburban and long distance steam hauled rolling stock with two types of self-propelled diesel trains; local and suburban services would have 64’ long cars with doors to every seating bay, and would therefore look from the outside much the same as carriages which had run since the 188s, albeit much longer (and therefore cheaper to maintain) than their ancestors.  Longer distance (cross country) trains would have only two or three doors to a car side, and be built variously on 57’ or 63’ 5” underframes.

In the mid 1980s, British Rail were disposing of DMU stock which had been refurbished in the mid-seventies.  The attraction of good condition, complete and relatively easy to maintain rolling stock was obvious.  For some reason, the idea of buying Mk 1 carriages was greeted by a majority of our group with derision – low capacity, poor external view compared to DMU cars, and the fact that ‘everybody’s got them; were the main objections.

Chasewater had first received the Gloucester car in 1973, it having worked in East Anglia for only 16 years since new in 1957 – the lines on which it had operated having mostly been axed.  The Wickham two car unit arrived next – one of six units built as a sample batch for assessment for the modernisation plan, but withdrawn early as non-standard, The BR Board not having proceeded to put the design into mass production.  A feature of the cross country cars was the BR Mk1 carriage style ventilating lights above each window.  Whilst essential for air circulation, these proved to be a pain in the neck to renew when vandalised.

The units available for ex BR sale in 1987 were mostly built with lots of blue asbestos, and required stripping or inspection (at a similar cost and with lots of internal damage) paid for by the purchaser prior to release from BR.  Our plans were channelled partly by this factor into looking at the cars BR planned to keep longest – the class 117 suburban and the class 108 longer distance units, most of which had been built without blue asbestos.  The 117 units were the most traditional looking, and would be available in the greatest quantity – meaning they would be quite likely to fetch only their scrap value when sold.

So what to pursue? By 1988, Mk 1s were fetching £4000, whereas rumour had it that £1200 would buy a DMU car.

Policy was finally agreed at Chasewater.  Class 117 cars were the favourite option.  We would attempt to buy two centre cars – one with lavatories and one without, so that we could operate through carriage trains without a cab at either end once loco run round facilities were established at either end of our projected running line.  A driving car would be needed to maintain the present push-pull operation, since Major Olver had spoken so favourably about the full observation available for the person in charge of a propelled train from a proper cab.  Finally, a ‘power twin’ – two car unit, one car with guard’s van and one without – would be sought to operate as required, i.e. mid-week for school parties, to cover for steam loco maintenance, (once a month) and to provide cover for failures.  The push-pull car would become a mobile spares bank for the power twin set, and one car could, when spares eventually ran out, be cannibalised to provide spares for the other four cars.

Tyseley depot became familiar with the Chasewater group over the following years.  The first car purchased was Trailer Composite (TC) No. 59444 built in 1954 at Derby, one of ten built as lot No. 30448.  The car had been stored spare at Tyseley for six months after major overhaul, not having gone onto a set because the 4 and 3 car sets were being reduced to 3 and 2 car formations by the time of its return from Doncaster.  This was being done to allow sets to accelerate better in view of the fact that deliveries of sprinter sets were running late and the older sets often had to substitute for the unbuilt sprinters, in accelerated schedules.  The ‘power twin’ two car suburban sets, with a combined 600 HP to move their 72 tons were widely referred to as ‘Mark 1 Sprinters’.  My last ride on such a set was in winter 1996, on the Clapham Junction to Willesden run, with its severe gradients and sharp curves – and a stunt pilot in the cockpit!  I was astonished at the performance of the set, and at the confidence of the driver – approaching Willesden up a very steep hill, on a sharp bend, two diamonds and other switches at the top, on the curve, with 50 mph on the clock and a temporary ‘10’ marker board alongside.  ‘Silly stunt’ I commented to a gricer alongside me.  That was the day I bought my first bottle of Grecian 2000.  Back to 59444.  What a superb buy!  Just one problem – the Trust still had no money, and there sitting at Tyseley was exactly what we needed for our first acquisition, complete with new batteries, new floor, new seat coverings, heaters still in warranty…..  and so Les Emery, at the time a Director, purchased the vehicle and brought it to Chasewater, had it painted Carmine and Cream, and ran it with the Wickham Trailer car.  Les sought partners, and the coach is now in shared ownership, still in superb fettle.

With 59444 in service, further 117 sales thought imminent, and siding space at a premium, we let it be known that  the Wickham set and the Gloucester were up for grabs.  British Nuclear Fuels near Preston were in the market for a carriage at the time.  Eric Bond, a PR Officer there, was leading a preservation group on the internal works system, and saw a role for the Gloucester as a mobile classroom, as part of a PR educational package.  The BNFL group hoped to carry out asbestos stripping on an in-house basis, made a donation to Chasewater, and took the Gloucester away – although not without incident.  But that’s another story!!!

Canal News – November 21st 2012

Canal News

November 21st 2012

Santa, Cllr Ken Savidge, Mrs Jo Savidge, the Mayor and Mayoress of Chesterfield, Cllr George Wharmby

Santa cruises on the Chesterfield Canal

24 Nov – 23 Dec 2012

10:00 am – 16:30 pm

Book a boat trip with Santa along the Chesterfield Canal.

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a trip to see Santa. Book a special boat trip along the Chesterfield Canal and your child will meet Santa and get a present.

Mince pies and hot drinks are available for every adult.

Boat trips run all day every Saturday and Sunday from 24th November to 23rd December.

£6 per person. Booking essential. Please call 01246 551035.


Stret Lock 48, Chesterfield Canal, 25 November 2012

Come and watch us widening the lock to allow more boats to access the upper section of the Chesterfield Canal.

Stret Lock, Chesterfield Canal

The lock widening scheme here will involve taking down two of the of the outer brick courses on the towpath side and replacing it with one, increasing the width by 50mm. The wall will not be taken down fully to the lock floor but will extend beyond the minimum depth dimension for the canal.

We took detailed measurements of the lock in 2011 and determined that the actual minimum width through the lock was 6’10”. As the advertised maximum boat dimension is 6’11” it came as no surprise that boats were getting stuck! This work to the lock will enable boating customers to progress further up the canal section to enjoy this pleasurable waterway in addition to it being a very popular route for walking and cycling.

Before starting the stoppage, lock wall anchors will be installed to ensure the walls do not move over time and other maintenance such as lock chamber repairs will be carried out.

Location: Stret Lock, Chesterfield Canal, Worksop, off Sandy Lane, S80 3EZ

Time: 10-4pm (last entry strictly 3:15pm; site closes 3:45pm)

Parking: Available next to the lock next to the pub off Sandy Lane (S80 3EZ)

This year’s winter stoppage open day programme has been sponsored by May Gurney

Tapton Lock

A small visitor centre on the left, explaining this part of the Chesterfield canal and the wildlife that can be found in the area. There are also boat rides, the road bridge can be seen in the background.  © Copyright Ashley Dace and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1899 – Aspinall’s ‘Atlantics’ Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1899 – Aspinall’s ‘Atlantics’

Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway

No. 10307, formerly L&Y 1398, as running in 1925.

This was J.A.F.Aspinall’s last design for the L&Y R, and at the time of their appearance they were among the largest engines in the country.  With their big boilers and large driving wheels they were considered most impressive machines, as indeed they were.  Known by the nickname of ‘Highflyers’, they were fast and free running engines and popular in L&Y days, but the LMS which inherited all forty of them at the grouping, did not seem to like them very much, and they were all scrapped between 1926 and 1934.  The first twenty were built in 1899, and the second batch in 1902.  No. 1400 was the prototype, and their L&Y numbers were eventually 1392 – 1424, together with a few odd numbers in the 700s.  They became LMS Nos. 10300-39.  They had Belpaire boilers from the start, and some of them were fitted for a time with a steam drier, an early form of superheater.  These were eventually removed, and none of the class ever received a modern superheater.

Driving wheels – 7’ 3”,  Cylinders – 19”x 26”,  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Tractive effort – 16506 lb.,  Weight – 58 tons 15 cwt,  L&Y classification – 7

No. 711, early 20th century


Some Early Lines – Waveney Valley Line

Some Early Lines

Waveney Valley Line

Showing the route of the Waveney Valley Line railway

Date 2 May 2009 (original upload date)

Source Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Kafuffle using CommonsHelper.  Author Openstreetmap and contributors. Original uploader was PeterEastern at en.wikipedia

 The Waveney Valley Line was a branch line running from Tivetshall in Norfolk to Beccles in Suffolk connecting the Great Eastern Main Line at Tivetshall with the East Suffolk Line at Beccles. It provided services to Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Ipswich and many other smaller towns in Suffolk with additional services to London. It was named after the River Waveney which follows a similar route.

Harleston Station

Date 12 July 2005   Source From  Author Ron Strutt Permission  Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0


The line was authorised by the Waveney Valley Railway Act on 3 July 1851. The line opened in stages, firstly from Tivetshall to Harleston on 1 December 1855, then to Bungay on 2 November 1860, and finally to Beccles. When the line was completed it was incorporated into the Great Eastern Railway. The line then became part of the LNER on 1 January 1923.The Waveney Valley Line – Pulham Market Station

This view was taken in south-easterly direction, looking along the station platform and the dismantled trackbed of the line. The station building can be seen in mid-distance.

 Originally the platform had a length of 99 feet (30 metres). It was extended by 30 feet in 1885 and lengthened again in 1892.  The Waveney Valley Line ran from a junction with the London to Norwich mainline at Tivetshall > Link – Link servicing the market towns of Harleston,, Bungay and Beccles, where it connected with the East Suffolk line to Yarmouth. The line was opened between 1855 and 1863 but its first stations (Starston > Link and Redenhall) were closed as early as 1866. The passenger service was eventually withdrawn in 1953. Freight services were but back in 1960 and in 1966 the line was closed. Part of its route – between Harleston and Broome – has since been taken over by the realigned A143 road.  © Copyright Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Starston and Redenhall stations were closed in 1866, only 11 years after the line opened.

The line was closed to passenger services on 5 January 1953. With the last passenger train from Tivetshall junction to Beccles pulled by Class F3 2-4-2 tank locomotive No 67128.

A Light Railway Order was obtained in November 1954, after which there were some special services run by railway enthusiasts.

J15 class 0-6-0 No. 65471 with cab tarpaulin out takes a sugar beet train up the Waveney Valley Line of the Great Eastern Railway near Homersfield. – Dr. Ian C.Allen

From 1960 the line was split into sections – Tivetshall to Harleston and Beccles to Bungay.

The lines were finally closed from 19 April 1966 during the Beeching Axe and the track eventually removed. Some of the last wagon loads to leave Ditchingham were sand and gravel from Broome Heath, used in the construction of Hammersmith fly-over in west London.

In the early 1980s, many of the remaining old buildings, including stations and goods yards, were demolished to make way for a new road.

The Waveney Valley Line – view north-west along dismantled trackbed

Here the line passed a crossing cottage .  © Copyright Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Canal News – November 16th 2012

Canal News – November 16th 2012

Lock on MontgomeryCanal

View of restored lock on Montgomery Canal taken from Morrisons supermarket car park in Welshpool .  © Copyright John Firth and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Welshpool Lock open day, Montgomery Canal, 17 November 2012

Come and watch us replacing and refurbishing the gates at Welshpool Lock. If you arrive at the right time you’ll even get to see a fish rescue.

Fish rescue at Hollybank basin

We’re draining the lock so that our engineers can carry out a detailed inspection and repair the brickwork before replacing the bottom lock gates, which date back to 1973.

Come and see the stoppage works taking place as part of the overall restoration of the Montgomery Canal and you’ll have the chance to join a guided tour and walk down into a drained lock chamber.

As part of this project we’ll carry out a small-scale fish rescue. This is your chance to get close up to some of the many fish species our waterways are home to.

Powysland Museum, located next to the lock, will be open with free entry on the day. Go inside to hear talks about the heritage of the local canal network, as well as learn about local history. Refreshments will also be served here.

Dogs and children are welcome.

Time: 10am-4pm (last entry strictly 3:15pm; site closes 3:45pm)

Address: Welshpool Lock on the Montgomery Canal, Powys, SY21 7AQ

Parking: Pay & display car park at Morrisons next to the lock. Tescos car park over the bridge (charges apply)

   Hillmorton Lock 4, Oxford Canal, 18 November 2012

Come and see the work taking place on one of the busiest lock flights in the country. We’ll be draining the lock and installing commemorative lock gates.

Locklines arts project

We’re offering you the chance to descend into a drained lock chamber to get a closer look at the maintenance work taking place on this unusual twin flight on the Oxford Canal.

We’ll also install a pair of commemorative lock gates, designed by artist Peter Coates, built in our own workshops and inscribed with a poem by Roy Fisher. Make sure you don’t miss out on this historic moment.

Hillmorton Locks, Rugby, Warwickshire

The flight of locks at Hillmorton consists of three pairs, the bottom pair (here) numbered 2 and 3, then up to Nos 4 and 5, with No 6 and No 7 being the toplock pairing.  This is because of the stop lock at Hawkesbury, about sixteen miles away being allocated number one on this, the North Oxford Canal!  © Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


No pre-booking required.

Time: 10am-4pm (last entry strictly 3:15pm; site closes 3:45pm)

Location: Hillmorton Lock 4 on the Oxford Canal

Parking: Free parking is available in the car park behind Badseys Café Bistro next to the Locks

This year’s winter stoppage open day programme has been sponsored by May Gurney