208 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News – Winter 1997– Part 1
From the Editorial – Chris Chivers
Even before Christmas has come and gone, thoughts are already turning to next season’s running schedule. As this year has been a successful and, from the passenger side of things, a profitable one for the Railway, the 1998 season will be starting at the end of March, several weeks before Easter, and will run through until the end of October or even the beginning of November. All this, of course, will be subject to the proposed works commencing on the BNRR, which will have a major effect on Brownhills West Station and the compound. The timescale involved in moving our stock and rebuilding a new station with the attendant track layout, will be one of the largest tasks undertaken by the Railway to date. Once the final plans have been made hopefully the planning blight on the Brownhills West site, which has prevented us from putting up permanent accommodation for our wooden bodied rolling stock, will be lifted, so that we can go ahead and preserve our unique heritage to the railway.
As the year has gone by, our Publicity Officer, Kim Wilkins, has managed to raise the profile of the Railway considerably in the public eye. The number of visitors to the site from different areas has been gratifying to see. Many of them commented that they did not realise that we were local to them, as they only seemed to have heard of The Severn Valley Railway, The Great Central, Shackerstone or Foxfield. This is despite them travelling down the A5 past our prominent signs – and missing them!
As Newsletter Editor I would like to thank those who read my plea for articles for the magazine, and especially those who have written in for the first time. It also seemed to have jarred loose several articles which were promised but never arrived. I hope that you enjoy this 40-page edition, and if the articles keep coming I can keep this size of magazine for every edition. As the number of issues being sent out has grown (now over 160) I have been looking into the cost of producing a colour cover for the Chasewater News.
I must give a thought to Arthur Edwards and all the lads on the P Way gang. Just when they thought they could ballast the track that they had laid since the summer, somebody delivered another 100+ sleepers for the next six lengths of track, with, I have been led to believe, more to come. The track extension is already half-way to Three’s Junction (Chasewater Heaths), and the effort put in has been fantastic. This leads to the perennial problem that as the Railway grows, so the need for more staff also grows. So if you know a friend who’s mad about railways, 1 to 1 scale mind, and fancies a day out in the fresh air with a little hard work thrown in, come along any Sunday about 10 o’clock.
Loco Shed News – Steve Williams
With our running season now drawn to a close the Railway has partially wound down for the winter period. This does not mean that we have no jobs to do on our locomotives. Asbestos once again opened the 1997 season for passenger services, but she has only a few days out in traffic this year because she is due for her major overhaul this winter. The year has passed without any major locomotive failures to interrupt our scheduled train services. The Sentinel has proved to be a reliable hard working locomotive. This is mainly due to Nigel Canning who has put in many long hard hours on the locomotive over the past few years.
The Sentinel and Asbestos double-headed storming the causeway bank, August, 1997
No. 4 Asbestos – The major overhaul is now under way and the boiler fittings have started to be removed and inspected. The tubes are scheduled for removal soon so that a boiler inspection can be carried out. We are hoping to have Asbestos back in steam within the next few years. Additional help in the locomotive department will be needed to carry out the repairs.
No. 5 Sentinel – Nigel has now cured the problem of the Sentinel’s low oil pressure, and the locomotive has had no problems during its workings over the end of the season. Another coat of paint has been applied, and it should see service for the Santa Specials and for the 1998 season.
No.11 Alfred Paget – Work on the boiler has now restarted with the welding hopefully being done over the Christmas period. The firebox has now been marked for the position of the new gauge glasses and preliminary works has started on making the boiler flange plates. Over the next few weeks the parts of the motion which have been removed for attention will be going back onto the locomotive.
S100 – The work of refitting the axle boxes has now commenced with the shims and brasses being put back into their appropriate boxes. It is hoped to have it back on its wheels by the end of next year as a rolling chassis.
DL7 – DL7 has returned to traffic after the broken gauges have had their glasses replaced and have been recalibrated. The intermittent fault with the traction motor has been cured by the replacement of a new ignition switch. Also work is being done on the cab doors to replace the broken locking mechanism and to make the locomotive more secure.
Fowler Diesel Hydraulic 422015 – Ken Dyde and his team have repaired the batteries and they have also carried out some minor maintenance work on the engine. The Fowler is still in constant use, working on P Way trains every Sunday during the extension to the track.
DMU – Work continues in replacing broken timber, particularly on the guards’ doors, also the one section of the DMBU which suffered from water ingress has now had the interior panelling and rotten window frames replaced by Keith Pointer. The painting of the exterior of the Hednesford Road side of the set has continued and the unit is starting to look much smarter.
The Neilson Restoration Project – Steve Williams
Last year in the summer issue of the Chasewater News, my partner in crime, Paul Whitaker wrote an article on how things had progressed on the locomotive in the previous twelve months. Work has progressed at a fast rate since that last article.
The new saddle for the steam chest has now been finished and fitted to the locomotive. This was to replace the shattered casing where the boiler had seized up in the past. The manufacture and shaping of the saddle took many weeks of hard work and many cold late nights spent in the loco shed.
The next new components to be manufactured were two new boiler slides. This was to stop the boiler seizing up again and once again damaging the steam chest casing. These took several weeks to manufacture in the locomotive workshop. These components are ready to be fitted to the boiler when all other major works are finished. The Neilson team are trying to raise money for the boiler repairs needed. These are the welding of some stays in the firebox and the four corners of the firebox. This is estimated to cost about £800, so work has had to be halted on the boiler until we raise sufficient funds.
In the meantime, work has continued on the motion of the locomotive. A new bush carrier has been manufactured out of mild steel, to replace the cracked cast original. This took Paul and myself many hours of machining till it was ready to be fitted. It was then that we decided to look at the inside rod which goes into the bush carrier. After a long discussion we decided that we had better have the rod out for inspection. After we had removed the slides, we could see that a nasty flat had worn on the front of the rod, which at its lowest point was under half of its original diameter. Another discussion had to take place on how we were going to repair the rod. The conclusion arrived at was to weld up the flat and then turn it back round on the lathe. As this was a job which no-one had attempted before at Chasewater, we approached it with some trepidation. After building up the weld on the worn section of the rod, we then started the operation to turn it back to its original diameter. It took many weeks work to get the rod to turn true and then get it back to its original size. The next step was to repair the connecting boss. This had worn its way off-centre, so we had to fix a block of mild steel into the hole of the boss. It then had to be bored out to the right size. The whole process has taken most of the summer to do and it is now ready to reassemble.
Paul and I have also replaced a badly worn spring hanger and again this turned into a big job, with a new locking pin being manufactured in the workshop. This has now been fitted to the locomotive.
Finally, I would like to thank all the members who have helped the team from time to time in our efforts. Also Paul and I would like to say thank you to the members for all their help and support with the locomotive fund-raising.
A locomotive worksplate, Neilson, 2937, 1882, from a 0-4-0ST O/C new to William Baird & Co (Ltd from 1893) at Bedlay Colliery near Glenboig, their No 11, becoming part of the Scottish Iron & Steel Co Ltd in January 1939, Bairds & Scottish Steel Ltd six months later and the National Coal Board in January 1947. It returned to Bairds & Scottish Steel Ltd at Gartsherrie Ironworks, Coatbridge, in about 1950 and following withdrawal, was acquired in June 1968 by Railway Preservation Society, Hednesford, Staffordshire and later went to the Chasewater Light Railway.
Cast brass 10 x 6″¼”, the front of the plate has been repainted. Bought at Auction, January 2012