217 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News – Summer 1998 – Part 2
From the Board Room
David Bathurst, Chairman
Early indications are that we are maintaining the record traffic figures set in 1997. Despite one of the worst months of April since records began, wee are continuing to attract passengers, both casual and regular. We are increasingly welcoming visitors from longer distances, and in greater numbers. Our existence is becoming more widely known within the enthusiast community.
Chasewater Open Day
At this time of the year, cash flow is at its most critical, with a number of substantial annual bills (insurances in particular) falling into the treasurer’s lap. A reliable income stream is therefore essential – not only in respect of passenger income but also membership subscriptions. Fortunately, the Chasewater Open Day, on Monday 4th May, produced support beyond our wildest expectations and made a significant and welcome contribution to our early-season income figures. Lichfield District Council are to be congratulated for promoting this successful event.
‘Thank You’, Tarmac
Elsewhere in this edition, reference is made to the magnificent donation of 600 fully chaired sleepers by Tarmac, through their subsidiary company Centrac. With the recently acquired rail and a highly successful programme of trackbed preparation, our working members are proceeding towards Threes Junction with unprecedented speed. Indeed, we have already reached (and passed) the location at which the early plans suggested a deviation so as to avoid the proposed Burntwood Bypass island (although I must hasten to add that there is a lot more work to be done before we can contemplate extending our passenger services).
Negotiations are proceeding with Staffs County Council regarding the Bypass and its implications. Company representatives met on site with SCC Officers on 18th June, when a number of very detailed aspects were examined and amicably agreed. We are now awaiting formal confirmation of the constructive and positive decisions taken at the meeting and provided that the expected letter correctly reflects what we believe to have been decided, we should be able to withdraw our statutory objection to the compulsory purchase order for Phase 2 of the Bypass scheme.
Further encouragement arrived the day following the meeting in the form of a letter from Lichfield District Council confirming that the SCC proposals were acceptable to the District Council from a planning viewpoint. In view of LDC’s role as planning authority, this is a most welcome development within the negotiation process.
Birmingham Northern Relief Road (M6 Toll)
Local members will know that the legal challenges to the decision of the Secretary of State to approve the Birmingham Northern Relief Road have rather muddied the waters so far as the highway promoters are concerned, resulting in some unavoidable delay. Nevertheless, the feasibility study on the ‘replacement’ of Brownhills West Station and related facilities is still proceeding, with various further options now being examined in some detail. It is entirely understandable that the highway promoters and Lichfield District Council would prefer to find a solution not involving the use or acquisition of land in the ownership of third parties.
An Early Christmas
In the meantime, enquiries in other areas have resulted in the acquisition, at no cost, of a number of items of track furniture, tools, equipment and other useful odds and ends. What do they say about ‘one man’s rubbish…?’ The sight of certain members rooting about in rubbish skips may well have looked suspicious, but it certainly proved productive – although whether our new line speed will within the foreseeable future be reflected by the newly-acquired 75 mph speed limit sign is a matter open to some uncertainty.