203 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News – Summer 1997– Part 2
Loco Shed News
Work is progressing on all the areas of locomotive restoration that are in hand by various teams. The heating in the shed has proved its worth over the winter months and this has shown itself in the positive attitude of the respective parties to ‘get the job done’. Some of the projects are awaiting various parts so that the next stage of restoration can continue. The two ‘puddings’ Nos. 1 and 2 fall into this category.
No.4 Asbestos – With the start of the season Asbestos has performed well with only a small number of boiler tubes having to be replaced. Also a number of fire bars will have to be purchased within the next few months as several of the older existing ones are starting a tendency to shape themselves into a banana. Not the straight type!
No.5 Sentinel – The Sentinel has had a couple of outings this year in traffic after the refitting of the main drive chain. A number of small problems have arisen during the running period but these have been attended to, and so it is hoped that the Sentinel will be seen on quite a number of Sundays in the future.
No.11 Alfred Paget – The fund-raising is still well in hand as well as a number of tasks on the loco, now that it is inside the shed. A second boiler inspection resolved some of the earlier inspection problems, I.e. the boiler inspector himself, who had obviously never seen flush headed longitudinal stays before. Some of the smaller parts that can be machined in house are being manufactured, as well as further inspections of the running and brake gear.
S100 – With the rear spring assemblies now riveted back together, the usable springs have been located within the loco shed. Probably four new ones will be required as the coil springs were of several different patterns as well as broken into a number of pieces. The axle boxes have been found and work has begun in repairing the axle box keeps.
DL7 – Shortly after Easter DL7 was retired from traffic with problems to the main traction motor. This, along with a well overdue overhaul of the diesel engine, means that it will be some time before it could be back in traffic again. No decision has been made as to which way to tackle the problem at the time.
Ruston Hornsby – Work is still continuing on the small Ruston Hornsby by Andy Clegg and associates with the removal of the cab roof. A suitable replacement engine is being sought along with a number of cab instruments.
Fowler – The Fowler has provided the backbone of the shunting duties round the yard and is still working well. The only problem to occur recently was the ingress of water into the diesel tank by person or persons unknown one Saturday night. Approximately 30 gallons of diesel were lost due to this act of vandalism, but with prompt action by Nigel Canning the Fowler was back in action within a few hours of the discovery of the problem.
DMU – A number of windows have had to be replaced within the DMU set due to missiles being thrown by some of the local hooligans while the stock has been stationed at Brownhills West. The wiring problems which have been causing intermittent problems as well as several wires which had been connected to the wrong terminals in one box have now been traced and rectified. Both the front and the rear have received the old-style yellow panels as well as being painted green. This only leaves the replacement of several rusted panels on the Hednesford Road side of the train and a coat of paint to complete the set.
Publicity Officer’s Corner
The first year as Publicity Officer has passed very quickly indeed, and I have got to know quite a few more of the working members at the Railway, and given most of them a few headaches with my constant questioning, as well as making a few friends along the way. I have spent the past year experimenting with publicity for the Railway and in doing so have made a number of useful contacts. Lichfield District Council has contacted me about inclusion in some of their tourist leaflets, and we have been included in the local ’What’s On’ guide on more than one occasion. The local press has also included more articles in their pages, and our leaflets have been displayed in a much wider range of places.
On a personal level, I found the interview on Radio Leicester, on the Spring Bank Holiday Monday, the most exciting piece of publicity yet. This came about because I wrote to a number of local radio stations asking for publicity on their ‘What’s On’ slots. Radio Leicester then contacted me to ask if I would be available, it was a nerve wracking experience but well worth while, because people visited the Railway and said that they had come after hearing the interview.
We will be having a display in Lichfield Library during July, and I am exploring the possibility in other towns. I will be continuing to explore different avenues for publicity during the running season, and hope that by October I will be able to start a year planner for the coming years so that there is continuity for the future. I am not rushing to gain a huge amount of publicity all in one go, but continue to chip away with small articles, which will hopefully keep the general public coming to see us and hopefully some will join as members.
Rebirth of the Museum
Since the departure of Barry Bull to pastures new, coupled with the break-ins at the museum coach at the station, the museum has become rather neglected to put it mildly – a chaotic and sad state of affairs – in fact rather heart-breaking. Upon my return to the Chasewater site last summer after a period of absence, I was dismayed at the sight of the interior of the museum coach, with artefacts, lamps, cast iron signs, etc. just piled up in one half of the coach. Admittedly, the other half was still Santa’s Grotto!
Apart from photographing what I saw, my first job was to replace the metal sheeting of the guard’s look-out to the left of the doors. This was followed by reglazing the roof skylights and making them watertight. The grotto scenery was stowed away, leaving space for a sort-out and the photographing of the relics in readiness for eventual cataloguing. It soon became apparent that the more valuable items were missing, but enquiries revealed that various members had them secured at their homes – thank goodness! Will these members please make a list of any items in their possession. The Society’s intentions are to record on a database all items of Railwayana to confirm with the Code of Practice issued by the UK Museums and Galleries Commission. To enable me to confirm our existing records, will anyone having relics on loan to the Society please notify me.