Monthly Archives: October 2013

Lichfield News – Bulb planting day at Chase Terrace Park

Lichfield District Council Parks Team

Bulb planting day at Chase Terrace Park


Everyone’s invited to roll up their sleeves to plant spring bulbs on Saturday 2 November 2013.

Thanks to a donation of £200 by County Councillor Sue Woodward, through the Staffordshire Local Community Fund, Lichfield District Council’s parks team is inviting local people to help plant more than 1,500 bulbs at ChaseTerracePark this November.

The bulbs will be planted under the trees and around the main entrance of the park. Come the spring, the park should be a riot of colour when English bluebells, snowdrops and daffodils come into bloom.

Councillor Val Richards, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Communications & Tourism, said: “This is a good opportunity for local people to volunteer for their park. We’d like to thank Councillor Woodward for donating the bulbs, and look forward to seeing the flowers in all their glory.”

Staffordshire County Councillor for Chase Terrace Ward, Susan Woodward, said: “ChaseTerracePark is a little gem – a real asset to the local community that is valued and well-used, so I hope we’ll get lots of local people of all ages coming along to lend a hand. We can all then look forward to a fantastic display next spring and know that we’ve been a part of it.”

The bulb planting day is taking place at ChaseTerracePark, which is on High Street in Burntwood, on Saturday 2 November from 11am to 2pm. All tools will be provided, but if you have gardening gloves, please bring them with you.

Model Railway Shows – November 2013

Model Railway Shows – November 2013


• Sat 2nd November 2013 – Sun 3rd November 2013

• Wolverhampton Model Railway Club – Wolverhampton Model Railway Club. 2013 Annual Exhibition

• Wednesfield High School, Lichfield Road, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, West Midlands WV11 3ES

OPENING TIMES: SAT 10am-5pm, SUN 10am-4.30pm

ADMISSION: Adults £5.00 Concessions £4.00 Children £1.00

Wolverhampton Model Railway Club 2013 ANNUAL EXHIBITION.Please note NEW VENUE: WEDNESFIELD HIGH SCHOOL. Public Transport is available from the Bus Station, which is adjacent to railway station. You will require a National Express West Midlands bus, Route No 59, departing approx every 6, minutes to Ashmore Park. Please ask the driver for a ticket to WEDNESFIELD HIGH SCHOOL, price per adult is £2.00p and for a child is £1.00p. You will travel along the Lichfield Road, stopping outside

CONTACT: 01902 337264


• Sat 2nd November 2013

• Rodington MRS – Rodington Model Railway Exhibition

• Rodington Village Hall, Rodington, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY4 4QS

OPENING TIMES: 10.30am-4pm

ADMISSION: Adults £3.50 Concessions £3.00 Children £1.00 Family £8.00

This is our 9th annual Model Railway Exhibition and as usual we will exhibit layouts in as many different gauges as possible. Trade will also be varied including crafts for the ladies. Admission prices held at 2008 level. Free on site parking. All funds raised will go towards providing additional disabled facilities at the Village Hall.

CONTACT: 07794849776

DSCF9463 Model Ex Cropped 11

• Sun 3rd November 2013

• Burton Railway Society – Burton Model Railex

• National Brewery Centre, Horninglow Street, Burton Upon Trent, Staffordshire DE14 1NG


ADMISSION: Adults £4.00 Concessions £3.00 Children £1.00 Family £9.00

The Burton Model RailEx is again being held at the National Brewery Centre (Formerly the Bass Museum). Up to 14 layouts and a full compliment of traders with demonstrations and railway societies. Plenty of free parking. Refreshments available. Entrance to the museum is included in the RailEx fee. The Bass No9 loco, Directors coach and the Planet loco will all be on view as static displays plus the museums collection of vintage vehicles.

CONTACT: 07425 140 292

DSCF9070• Sat 9th November 2013

• Solihull Model Railway Circle – Model Railway Exhibition

• St Marys Church Hall, Hobs Meadow, Solihull, West Midlands B92 8PN

OPENING TIMES: 10:00am-16:30pm

ADMISSION: Adults £2.50 Concessions £2.00 Children £1.00 Family £6.00

Annual model railway exhibition presented by the Solihull Model Railway Circle St Marys Church Hall and 3rd Solihull St Mary Scout Hall – 15 minutes from J6, M42. 11 layouts are invited plus trade and society support. Light refreshments and free parking available. Buses to Hobs Moat Road: 71, 72. Buses that stop at Wheatsheaf, A45, Coventry Road: 58, 60, 900. Bus information available from Network West Midlands: 0871 200 22 33


 • Sat 16th November 2013

• St Laurence PCC – St Laurence Model Railway Exhibition

• St Laurence Church, School Lane, Alvechurch, Worcestershire B48 7SB

OPENING TIMES: SAT 10.30am TILL 3.00pm

ADMISSION: Adults £1.00 Children £1.00

Layouts in N to 1 gauge. Traders in all common gauges, new and secondhand, two demonstrator. Also other stalls of a more general nature, ie; tabletop sale. Proceeds to the St Laurence Church.


• Sat 16th November 2013

• Weston-on-trent Primary School – Weston-on-trent Model Railway Show

• Forrester Avenue, Weston-on-Trent, Derbyshire DE72 2HX

OPENING TIMES: SAT 10.30am – 4.30pm

ADMISSION: Adults £3.00 Concessions £2.50 Children £2.00 Family £8.00

Following the success of last year’s show Weston-on-Trent Primary School will be holding its second model railway exhibition. A friendly show with well praised venue and catering.


 • Sat 23rd November 2013 – Sun 24th November 2013

• Warley Model Railway Club – Warley National Model Railway Exhibition

• NEC, A45/M42, Birmingham, West Midlands B40 1NT

OPENING TIMES: SAT 9.45 – 6pm and SUN 9.45 – 5pm

ADMISSION: Adults £12.00 Children £8.00 Family £37.00

Warley National Model Railway Exhibition, the UK’s Premier Model Railway show, opens its doors on the in November as usual, celebrating our 46th exhibition and the 21st year at the NEC. The world renowned event is also a fun day out for local families, and the largest model railway show in the UK. This year sees over 80 model railway layouts on show. As usual there will be a huge trade interest with all the major model manufacturers and most of the smaller ones on hand.

Advance ticket holders 9.15am both days

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Some Early Lines Helston Railway, Cornwall

Some Early Lines

 Helston Railway, Cornwall

Helston Phoenix LocoThis locomotive was purchased by three members of the Helston Diesel Group from the Northampton Ironstone Railway and delivered on the same day as another shunter.  In all respects its build history and design is exactly the same as the other shunter.

The shunter first ran under its own power on Sunday 3 October 2010 following overhaul by the railway’s volunteers and is now in use for passenger trains.

 The Helston Railway was a 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge) railway branch line in Cornwall, United Kingdom, opened in 1887 and absorbed by the Great Western Railway in 1898, continuing in existence as the Helston branch.

It was built to open up the agricultural district of south-west Cornwall, joining Helston to the main line railway network at Gwinear Road, between Penzance and Truro. It was 8.5 miles (13.7 km) long.

Its predominant business was agricultural, but in summer it carried holidaymakers, and its terminus at Helston was the railhead for a pioneering road connection service to the Lizard. During the Second World War there was considerable goods traffic at Nancegollan, sponsored by the Admiralty.

The Helston line was the southernmost branch line in the United Kingdom; it closed to passengers in 1962 and to goods in 1964.


MapThe line ran from Helston, in south-west Cornwall, to a junction with the main line of the Great Western Railway at Gwinear Road(50.1972°N 5.3475°W)(50.1070°N 5.2713°W). The connection there faced Penzance.

The line was 8 miles 67 chains in length. As a purely local line running through difficult terrain, it was heavily curved and graded. Although Helston is an important town, most of the intermediate area was dedicated to agriculture, with little population, and the terminus at Helston was some distance from the seaside.

The main line at Gwinear Road gave direct access to London and the rest of England, on the route that is now known as the Cornish Main Line.


Before the advent of the railway, Helston was an important centre for tin and copper mining, as well as being the hub of an area of considerable agricultural production. Local businessmen observed the success that followed the opening of early railways elsewhere in Cornwall and further afield, and from 1825 a succession of schemes for tramroads and railways were put forward, many of them oriented towards Falmouth or Penryn and the River Fal estuary because of the harbour facilities there, (and, later, the arrival of the Cornwall Railway, enabling onward transport of minerals by coastal shipping).

All of these schemes fell by the wayside due to the high cost of crossing the difficult terrain; after the collapse following the Railway Mania in the mid-1840s, money became increasingly scarce, and moreover the shallower seams in the mines began to become worked out, reducing the profitability of local mines.

Finally in 1879 the Helston Railway Company was formed, with a share capital of £70,000, with the object of building a standard gauge railway to Helston, not from the Falmouth area but from Gwinear Road on the West Cornwall line. The Great Western Railway was friendly towards this line, and they agreed to work the line when built.

The line received its Act of Parliament on 9 July 1880, and the first sod was cut at a ceremony on 22 March 1882. Work proceeded but the original contractor found himself in difficulties early in 1884 and work stopped for a period, but was resumed under Lang & Son of Liskeard.

Even as late as 1886 there was debate over the site of the Helston station; the site actually adopted, in Godolphin Road, was some distance to the east of the town centre. Some interests had proposed instead a location nearer the town; however the incremental cost would have been considerable and the proposal was finally dropped. The station was built as potentially a through station, with the idea of extension to the Lizard. This was revived from time to time, but was never acted upon.

The line was opened for the first service train on 9 May 1887

The line today

Although overgrown, much of the alignment of the line remains. Most of the bridges, including the Cober viaduct, are still in good condition as property of the Strategic Rail Authority.

Helston Station, Cornwall The former station at Helston has been surrounded by housing development, but the site is identifiable, north-west of Godolphin Road and between Station Road and Park an Harvey. The former GWR goods shed has been converted into part of a sheltered housing development (Henshorn Court), but all the other buildings have been demolished and the site has become wooded.

North from Helston the first visible trace of the railway is the stub of a bridge on the edge of the Water-Ma-Trout industrial estate.

At Nancegollan, a business park stands on the site of the former station, although the bridges remain in situ. At Praze, a house has been built on the station site and two road bridges either side of the approach have been demolished. The cuttings near to Gwinear Road have been in-filled.

Future Prospects and Railway Preservation

Cober ViaductCober Viaduct

 Since April 2005, The Helston Railway Preservation Company has undertaken extensive restoration work on the southernmost part of the line, between Prospidnick and Truthall.

As of June 2013, 1 mile of track has been re-laid, and public passenger rides are available on Thursdays, Sundays and bank holiday weekends from Easter through to October.

The Helston Railway had constructed a station platform on the Trevarno Estate, however they have now relocated 544 yards north to a new temporary platform site at Prospidnick Halt, as the Trevarno Estate has been purchased by new owners. The Trevarno Estate is now a private dwelling, instead of a tourist attraction and is not available for public access. The Helston Railway track itself is not affected and public access is now at Prospidnick, respectively.

What’s on in 2013

This is our second year of running services for customers, so it is likely that more events will be added as we go through the year. Therefore, please check details below before you come to see us.

Open every Thursday and Sunday and Bank holiday weekend until the 3rd November. Trains run every half hour from 10.30 am until 4pm.

Brake Van rides : Children under 5 free. Adult £5, Children (over 5) £3, Family £12 (2 adults and 3 children).

All Day Rovers: Adult £8, Children £6.

Footplate rides £10.

Special Events

Thursday 31st October. Its Halloween Day – themed buffet and fancy dress welcome! Open 10.30am to 4pm as usual.

December 14th &15th, 21st & 22nd. Santa Specials.


2 Centenarians at Chasewater Railway

On platform colour

2 Centenarians at Chasewater Railway

The Chasewater Railway Museum has  a significant amount of paperwork formerly belonging to David Ives, a founder member of the Railway Preservation Society and a long-time Board Member of the Chasewater Railway.  Our curator is working his way through this paperwork to put it in some sort of order, and is finding some interesting photographs in some of the boxes, including the ones shown here.B&W no people

The centenarians involved are the traction engine ‘Little Wonder’ and the Neilson steam locomotive known as ‘Alfred Paget’  (2937/1882).

The gentlemen in the photo holding the cake are the late Johnny Mayes, at the time the owner of ‘Little Wonder’,  and the late David Ives of Chasewater Railway, on the right.

Hats off Gathering&utm_medium=email&utm_source=NRM Adult Events

Mallard Gathering&utm_medium=email&utm_source=NRM Adult Events.

Chase Gazette Magazine

Chase Gazette Magazine

Issue 3 Ian GarfieldI am enjoying reading the ‘Chase Gazette’, Issue No. 3 which has arrived today, with an excellent front cover photo by Ian Garfield and lots of local interest pieces.

I also enjoyed No. 1Issue 1But sadly, issue No.2 eluded me – shame!

More Halloween and Half-Term Stuff

More Halloween and Half-Term Stuff

Museum of Cannock Chase

2013 Half term holiday fun at BeaconPark

There is a lot of fun to be had at BeaconPark in Lichfield this autumn half term with plenty of family activities.

BeaconPark is offering a range of activities for families this half term. The fun kicks off with a Feed the Birds workshop.

Taking place at the park’s Discovery Hub on Saturday 26 October, between 11am and 3pm, this drop-in workshop is a chance to make a bird feeder out of pine cones and seeds. Each feeder costs £1.

Over half term, children are also being offered a spine-chilling time by following BeaconPark’s Halloween Puzzle Trail.

The trail guides families around the historic park, solving clues to help Witch Wizz remember her cat’s name. It costs £1 for each trail, which includes a small prize at the end.

The Halloween Puzzle Trails are available from BeaconPark’s Ranger Station (the kiosk next to the crazy golf course) from 26 October to 3 November between 10am and 3pm.

Families are also invited to tee-off at Beacon Park this half term holiday with the Rapid Round special offer.

A Rapid Round is perfect for beginners and young people as it allows players to complete a smaller circuit of 9-holes.

The offer is running from 26 October to Sunday 3 November between 10am and 2pm. It costs £2.50 for children and from £3.50 for adults. All the equipment can be hired from the Ranger Station. There is no need to book, just turn up, pay at the Ranger Station, and enjoy a ‘Rapid Round’.

Councillor Val Richards, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Communications & Tourism, said: “BeaconPark offers so much for families to do on a day out in the autumn, from woodland walks and playing in the play area, through to pond dipping. This half term BeaconPark is once again running a great programme of activities and so there is plenty to keep families busy all week-long.”

To see Lichfield District Council’s full half term Holiday Fun programme, which includes activities at BeaconPark, Burntwood, Friary Grange and King Edward VI leisure centres, visit


Canal News – Dudley Canal Childrens Halloween

Canal News

DudleyCanal Childrens Halloween

The Car Park
off the A4123
at Birmingham New Road
West Midlands

30 Oct 2013
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Pumpkin by the canal

Spooky Boat Trips through Dudley’s underground caverns!

There will be light shows, family entertainment and Groovy UV Entertainments Company are providing their amazing ‘glow in the dark’ Halloween puppets. Best fancy dress costumes get great prizes!

Trips last 1 hour and run every 30 minutes
Places are limited, so early booking is strongly advised. For more information please call 0121 557 6265 or email     

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – The Great Central ‘Directors’

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era

 The Great Central ‘Directors’

Casey Jones

1 No. 5502 'Zeebrugge' After groupingNo. 5502 ‘Zeebrugge’ shortly after the grouping

In 1913 there emerged from Gorton Works the first of Mr. J.C.Robinson’s Class 11E 4-4-0s.  This locomotive was numbered 429 and named Sir Alexander Henderson after a Director of the Company.

It was followed by nine others numbered 430-8, all of which were named after other Directors of the Great Central Railway Company – hence the name by which the class has always been known.

The locos were of sturdy design with 20 X 26 inch cylinders, 6’ 9” driving wheels, a Belpaire firebox with a grate area of 26 sq. ft. and 1963 sq. ft. of superheating area, and a working pressure of 180 lbs. per sq. in.    Weight was 61 tons of which 39 tons 12 cwt. was carried on the coupled axles.  The tender was of the graceful standard type introduced by Robinson, with a water capacity of 4,000 gallons and room for 6 tons of coal.

In 1919, a slightly enlarged version, Class 11F, appeared, the difference between these and the original batch was a reduction of the superheating area from 304 to 209 sq. ft., increase in weight of 3cwt., a difference in safety valves – from Ramsbottom to Poppet type – and a new style of cab incorporating a side window.  In all, eleven of the new version appeared between 1919 and 1923; these being numbered 501-11 and again all were named after Directors of the Company, the Royal Family and various battles fought in World War 1.  Two of the original batch – 429 and 437 – were also renamed Prince Henry and Prince George respectively.

4 62659In 1923, the class passed into the hands of the LNER and had 5,000 added to their numbers, becoming 5249-38 and 5501-11.  Their appearance changed little under the new regime apart from the removal of the footplate valancing for ease of maintenance and the substitution of an ugly flower-pot type chimney for the original – later a more pleasing type similar to the original was fitted – and a squat dome cover.

The tasks set the ‘Directors’ were greater than those for any other 4-4-0s in Britain.  Their hardest task was the 3.20pm from Marylebone to Manchester Central, 212 miles without changing locos.  The 103 miles from London to Leicester were scheduled for 109 minutes, which included the steep climbs to Harrow and Amersham.  24 minutes were allowed for the 23 miles from Leicester to Nottingham which was followed by the steep climb to Pilsley and still worse the long grind from Sheffield up to Dunford Bridge which is about 1,000 feet above sea-level, including the long foul smelling Woodhead Tunnel (this before the new tunnel was opened for the electricification).The ‘Director’ working the 2.15pm from Manchester had the same task haulage in the opposite direction.  The locos were allowed between 180 and 220 tons by the work required to keep time under the conditions described were little short of phenomenal.

3 62664In 1946 the whole series was renumbered 2650-70 and in 1948 was passed into the hands of British Railways becoming 62650-70.  Between 1953 and 1955, all the older members were withdrawn from traffic, mostly from Trafford Park and Heaton Mersey Depots.  Inroads into the second set began in 1960 and by 1962 the last were in store at Darnal Depot from where they had worked local services in their declining years.  Thence they left for breaking up at Doncaster except for 62660 Butler, Henderson, which was despatched to Gorton Works to restoration in its original Great Central splendour.  It re-appeared in 1961 when it was handed over to the Curator of Historical Relics to the British Transport Commission.  After being on show at various places, it was transferred to the Transport Museum at Clapham.

 To complete the record, principal dimensions were:-

Nos. 429-38 – Dr Wheels 6’ 9”,  Cyls 20” x 26”,  Pr 180lbs.

T.E.  19644lbs., Weight  61 tons.

GCR Class 11E.  LNER Class D10

Names                 Prince Henry, Purdon Viccars,  Edwin A. Beazley,

Sir Edward Frazier,  Walter Burgh Gair,  The Earl of Kerry,  Sir Clement Royds,  Sir Berkeley Sheffield,

Prince George,  Worsley-Taylor.

Nos. 501-11  Dimensions as above except weight 61 tons 3 cwt.

GCR 11F,  LNER D11

Names                 Butler-Henderson,  Gerard Powys Dewshurst,  Prince of Wales, Prince Albert, Princess Mary, Mons, Zeebrugge,

Somme, Jutland, Ypres, Marne.

2 62674

Although they do not come within the scope of this article, a further 24 locos of Class D11 were built in 1924 for the North British section by Sir Nigel Gresley.  These had cut down boiler mountings and were classified D11/2.  This batch was numbered 6378-6401 and named after characters from the novels of Sir Walter Scott.  Of these the first was taken out of traffic in 1960 and the last example, 62685 Malcolm Graeme in 1962.

Canal News – IWA to Celebrate Stratford Anniversaries – Festival Plans Announced

Canal News

IWA Logostratford_festivalPRESS RELEASE: IWA to Celebrate Stratford Anniversaries – Festival Plans Announced

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has offered support to Stratforward and other local organisations in Stratford-upon-Avon to ensure appropriate celebrations for the significant waterways anniversaries in 2014. Stratforward Business Improvement District, an organisation of local businesses, has been responsible for organising the annual Stratford River Festival for the past five years, and is organising an even bigger and better event in 2014, at which IWA plans to have a significant presence.

The Association had looked at holding a 2014 National Festival in the town, and had held discussions with Stratford District Council to review the options for the holding such an event in place of the usual Riverside Festival. However, in the light of the poor financial outturn of the 2013 National Festival at Watford the Association has decided against planning festivals of this type for the foreseeable future, as the financial risks for the Association are too great. IWA will, instead, put its efforts into rallies with clear campaign objectives, and proven annual gatherings such as Canalway Cavalcade, as well as supporting other major events such as Stratford River Festival and Crick Boat Show, where IWA hopes to have an enhanced presence. IWA’s commitment to such events will produce more benefit for the Association, and for the waterways in general, at less risk.

 Moorings & Boatyard RKMoorings and boatyard in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

These are private long term moorings. Ahead is the new Premier Inn by One Elm Lock, No 52.  © Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

IWA has announced plans to hold a number of significant events in 2014, starting with the annual Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice in London, over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. This is followed by IWA’s annual National Trail Boat Rally over the late May Bank Holiday weekend on the Grand Western Canal, and is to be hosted and organised by Devon County Council, and will include celebrations for re-opening the canal following the major embankment reconstruction currently in progress. IWA’s 2014 National Campaign Rally takes place at Chester in early June and will promote improved waterway connections through the city and to make better use of the river Dee and all parts of the Shropshire Union Canal in the area. IWA Festivals also plans to hold a significant event, in the style of a traditional boat rally, over the August Bank Holiday weekend, the details of which are planned to be available at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, IWA branches plan to hold a range of rallies up and down the country.

Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman, said “IWA has a busy year planned for 2014 and our Festivals team has been tasked with an ambitious range of events to support. Festivals are important to us for the promotion of the waterways where they are held, and the engagement with a wide range of boaters, other waterway users, as well as the opportunity to draw in new waterway supporters. The old formula for IWA’s National Festival clearly no longer works and a new style is needed. We intend to support a wider range of events across the country.”

Winding HoleWinding hole on the Stratford-upo-Avon Canal

Just above the Birmingham Road bridge.

Where the parked vehicles can be seen there was formerly a small basin arm running directly away from the camera serving a brickworks which occupied the right hand side of the picture. The winding hole was necessary to allow boats to turn into the basin.  © Copyright Alan Murray-Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.