Monthly Archives: January 2014

Railway Miscellany – Steam Speed Records

Railway Miscellany

 Steam Speed Records

2007_0516York Rly Museum 18

In 1804, when Richard Trevithick’s pioneering locomotive made its journey along the Penydarren tramroad, its inventor operated the controls by walking along the track in front of it.  In a letter the following day, Trevithick recorded that ‘The train while working went nearly five miles per hour’ no more than a brisk walking pace.  This was perhaps the first ever steam speed record.

When ‘Locomotion’ ran from Shildon to Stockton 21 years later, it could only outdistance riders on horseback because marshes alongside the line impeded the horses.  At full speed the locomotive could just manage 15 mph.

At the Rainhill Trials in 1829, Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ achieved 29 mph.  This was eclipsed in tragic circumstances the following year, when ‘Northumbrian’ reached 36 mph as it conveyed the dying MP William Huskinson to Eccles after he had been run over by ‘Rocket’ at Parkside.

The contestants’ achievements at Rainhill were carefully recorded.  Later it became difficult to establish accurate claims as speeds increased and railways spread throughout the world.

Unlike world speed records on land and in the air, there are no international standards for railways.  For example, the effect of a strong following wind has never been taken into account and on almost every occasion a record breaking train was appreciably assisted by gravity.  This applies equally to the TGV’s present world record of 320.2 mph as to ‘Mallard’s’ 126 mph in 1938.

Speed records were usually obtained by stop-watch measurements from mile or kilometre posts.  In some cases the speed claimed at the time was later adjusted after the information had been examined further.

The performance of the Milwaukee Road’s Hiawatha expresses in the 1930s was accurately measured and the 112 mph record by the streamlined Atlantic N0. 2 in 1925 was adequately proved.

During the 1930s, there was considerable rivalry over maximum speeds between the LNER and the LMS.  In 1937, the LMS claimed a maximum of 114 mph on the press run of their Coronation Scot streamliner train.  This would have beaten ‘Silver Link’s’ record but the figure was not confirmed by a number of experienced recorders on the train.  This left ‘Coronation’ sharing the record of 112 mph with the LNER A4 and Milwaukee Atlantic.

By 1936 the German Pacific No. 05.002 reached 124.5 mph and in 1938, ‘Mallard’ achieved an historic all-time record for steam of 126 mph.Table

All the fully authenticated world records achieved by steam locomotives are the maximum speed attained, rather than averages.  Some top speeds, like ‘Mallards’ were sustained only for a few yards.8205

Although a record of 74 mph was achieved by a GWR locomotive in 1846, it was not until 1931 that the company ran trains at such speeds in everyday service.  The Cheltenham Flyer was the first train in the history of railways to average regularly over 70 mph.  On 14 September 1931, the express sweeps through Tilehurst, Berkshire on its way to London.

USA – Fans Welcome Big Boy No. 4014’s Return to the National Rail Network

 Fans Welcome Big Boy No. 4014’s Return to the National Rail NetworkNo. 4014 Covina

 As the sun came up in Covina, Calif, the crowds came out to welcome UP’s Big Boy No. 4014 as it made a stop on its way to Colton, Calif.

It was a historic day for Union Pacific’s steam program. After months of preparation, UP’s Big Boy No. 4014 returned to the national rail network in the early morning hours of Jan. 26, 2014, to the applause of the hundreds of rail fans on hand to experience the moment.

The mammoth steam locomotive departed its former home at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, Calif., at around 1:45 a.m. Pacific Time, to begin its 56-mile trek on Metrolink and Union Pacific track to UP’s Colton, Calif., rail yard.

“The move went off flawlessly,” said Ed Dickens, senior manager of UP’s Heritage Operations. “We came into Covina very carefully and methodically. We were prepared to deal with little issues, but those issues didn’t materialize.”

While the Big Boy had been thoroughly prepared and inspected prior to the move, Dickens said there are some parts inside the engine that are simply impossible to carefully inspect. “We have little access to those huge roller bearings, which have been sitting since 1962,” he said. “The good news is that they reside in a semi-sealed environment.”

The equipment used to move the mammoth locomotive included two diesel locomotives and 10 freight cars used for braking. As part of the operation, the train also delivered UP diesel locomotive No. 3105, a UP caboose and UP boxcar to RailGaints museum, where they will become part of the museum’s permanent display.

Dickens said the crowd on hand to see the Big Boy return to live rail operations was enormous. “The huge crowd was literally pressed against the chain link fence,” he said. “The mood was very happy and very vocal, with lots of clapping. It was really a magical moment as the Big Boy was pulled backward by the UP 1996, the Southern Pacific heritage locomotive, from our holding track to Metrolink’s track.”

Top speed during the move was 20 mph. Dickens said the operation was completed by 4:30 p.m. with the arrival of No. 4014 to Colton Yard, where it will remain over the coming months before its move to Cheyenne, which has yet to be scheduled.

Dickens thanked the many who worked first-hand on the operation at UP’s Los Angeles Service Unit, including General Superintendent Rod Doerr, Regional Vice President Transportation Shane Keller, the folks at UP’s Harriman Dispatching Center and Metrolink.

The public is invited to view Big Boy No. 4014 in Colton Yard Feb. 1-2 and 8-9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Colton rail yard is a busy ’round-the-clock operation. Because of safety concerns access is limited.No. 4014 prepped to leave Pomona

 No. 4014 prepped to leave Pamona

Canal News – A ‘dad’s army’ relic causes a stir and ‘Folk in the Museum’, Foxton

Canal News

A ‘dad’s army’ relic causes a stir5346

A volunteer at the bottom of Lock 66 Grand Union Canal holding the WW2 helmet

 A watched phone never rings.

I’m waiting for a colleague to ring me back because I want to take a picture of him with a hat. Not very exciting, you may think. But it’s not just any old hat. It’s a World War 2 steel helmet of the type worn by all branches of HM forces as well as the police and emergency services, including civil defence personnel (the Home Guard – unfairly dubbed ‘Dad’s Army’) and air raid patrol wardens.

The helmet was found at the bottom of Apsley Lock 66, Grand Union Canal, when it was drained in preparation for replacing the gates. While the lock was empty, we held one of our weekend open days and more than 1,200 members of the public came and had a look at some of the things we do to keep 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in working order.

Throughout the day groups of visitors were shown around the chamber of lock 66 by staff and volunteers. As well as free lock tours there were children’s activities run by education volunteer co-ordinator Elaine Stanley and her Explorers team, an opportunity to try fishing under the watchful eye of match booking organiser Dick Pilkinton and national angling development manager Becca Dent, boat trips, and guided tours of Frogmore Mill. National volunteering manager Ed Moss and volunteer leader South East Miriam Tedder had made sure there was a heavy volunteer involvement on the day. Despite the cold January weather, there was a real festival atmosphere.

Anyway, back to the hat. Down in the lock, the helmet – which was thought at first to be a theatrical or fancy dress prop – was shown to interested visitors. Because of the queues of customers waiting to go down into the lock, I was using the ‘family hold back’ philosophy, so I didn’t get the chance to take a close up of the chap who found the helmet – which has now been verified as the genuine article by the ‘Curator Uniforms, Personal Equipment and Flags’ no less, – that’s a great job title isn’t it? – at the Imperial War Museum! I hope my colleague rings back soon…

Foxton Locks

Folk in the Museum at Foxton Locks Canal Museum

02 Feb 2014  7:30 pm – 10:00 pm


Middle Lock  Gumley Road  Foxton  Market Harborough

Leicestershire  LE16 7RT

Free event

Folk in the Museum on Sunday 2nd February

Free event, please take part or sit back and enjoy

For more information please call Tel: 0116 2792 657

Lichfield & Cannock Chase News

 Lichfield & Cannock Chase News

Lichfield News

Beacon Park

CPCG Beacon Park stream improvements

Published on Monday, 27th January 2014

A group of volunteers is set to kick off 2014 with two days of conservation work at Beacon Park this February.

Lichfield District Council’s Countryside & Parks Conservation Group (or CPCG for short) volunteer to help maintain local parks and green spaces across the district.

This year, an extra day of conservation work has been added to the monthly programme, so the volunteers will be rolling up their sleeves twice a month to help cut back scrub, build insect hotels, create paths and more.

The first two events of 2014 are on Wednesday 5 and Wednesday 19 February from 10.30am to 3pm.

Both events will take place at Beacon Park, where volunteers will don their wellies to make improvements to the stream.

Councillor Andrew Smith, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure & Parks, said: “The Countryside & Parks Conservation Group does a fantastic job in helping us to look after and improve the district’s parks and green spaces. These two events will help to maintain Leomansley Brook, which runs through Beacon Park. It will involve clearing back scrub and vegetation and digging silt out to make the stream flow better.”

Anyone over 18 years of age can volunteer. All tools are provided as well as light snacks. Wearing outdoor waterproof clothes and sturdy footwear or wellies is recommended.

Councillor Ian Pritchard, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth & Development, added: “The extra day a month will mean that even more conservation work can be tackled and I hope plenty of people volunteer to get involved in this important work. I know the group is always keen to welcome new members, so do come along if you are interested in taking part.”

To book your free place, please call Denice Deverall at Lichfield District Council on 01543 308183 or


Cannock Chase News

Volunteering Day – Holly ClearingShoal Hill Common

Shoal Hill Common

Nature reserve in the corner of Shoal Hill. Shoal Hill is an isolated fragment of Cannock Chase separated from the main body by the old Littleton Colliery site. It is nonetheless heavily used by walkers and horse riders and offers a taste of the open areas of the Chase, typically heather and silver birch woodland.  © Copyright John M and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Date: 7th Feb 2014

Location: Shoal Hill Common

Time: 10:00 – 15:30

Cost: Free of Charge

Volunteering day – Holly clearing on Shoal Hill Common

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) holly clearing volunteering day on Shoal Hill Common

Voluteer leader is Bob Collett

Most leaders will be on site until 3:30pm or until the task is complete. Volunteers are welcome to stay until the end but any time you provide is gratefully appreciated. Please ensure that you wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring a packed lunch if you intend to stay after lunch.

For more information contact Emma Beaman, Assistant AONB Officer on 01785 619186 or email


 Lichfield News

Olympic torchbearer cuts ribbon on improvementsFriary opening

Published on Tuesday, 28th January 2014

A day of celebration took place at Friary Grange Leisure Centre on Sunday 26 ,

January 2014 to officially launch the £500,000 makeover.

Former Friary School pupil and Olympic Relay torchbearer, Tom Bolton, cut the ribbon to formally open Friary Grange Leisure Centre’s improvements.

Tom was joined by project partner representatives, including Lichfield District Council, The Friary School, Staffordshire County Council, Sport England and Aiming High.

To celebrate the improvements, Lichfield District Council invited everyone to a day of celebrations, offering an extended free swimming session, fun swimming activities, and Evolve Fitness membership deals.

The day was a chance to showcase the completed makeover that includes the new frontage and reception, refurbished swimming pool changing rooms, improved access to the leisure centre and pool, and a viewing gallery to the pool from an extended refreshment area.

Councillor David Leytham, Chairman of Lichfield District Council, said: “The day was a great success with more than 400 people coming to see the improvements and to enjoy all the activities on offer. The works have made such a difference to Friary Grange Leisure Centre, from the new entrance to the changing rooms. I am also really pleased the project has made it easier for people with disabilities to access the pool and the rest of the building.”

Tom Bolton said: “It’s a fantastic makeover, and I hope it encourages more people to swim, especially people with disabilities. It was great to be asked to cut the ribbon and to be back at my old school.”

The Friary Grange Leisure Centre Makeover Project was funded by Sport England, Aiming High, Staffordshire County Council, Lichfield District Council and section 106 contributions.

For more information about the project, visit


Foreign Lines – New Zealand Narrow Gauge – Driving Creek Railway And Potteries

Driving Creek Railway

And Potteries

380 Driving Creek Road, Coromandel

PO Box 87, Coromandel, 3543

Ph/Fax: 07 8668-703

 New Zealand’s only narrow-gauge mountain railway along with a working pottery and wild life sanctuary.ThreeTrains_600

Three trains at the No. 5 Reversing Point

The 1 hour return trip on our innovatively designed trains takes you through replanted native kauri forest and includes 2 spirals, 3 short tunnels, 5 reversing points and several large viaducts as it climbs up to the mountain-top terminus.

Called the Eyefull Tower, this handsome new building (shown below) offers great panoramic views out over the island-studded Hauraki Gulf with the forested valley and mountains behind.

The railway and pottery complex blends into the natural bush setting.

The train ride is one of the most popular in New Zealand. To avoid disappointment, please book at least a day in advance to reserve your seats.

You can either request a booking online or use phone or fax when booking ahead.

Eyefull-Tower_360The ‘Eyefull Tower’ at the end of your train ride

Building Driving Creek RailwayTrackLayingAtChipmans_220

Laying track at Chipmans Reversing Point

Track laying began in 1975 by Barry Brickell shortly after he established the pottery workshop on a corner of the 22Ha block of land he purchased in 1973. As a railway enthusiast he saw the practical and environmental advantages of having a narrow-gauge railway system through his rugged scrub-covered land to give all weather access to clay and pine wood kiln fuel. Yellow plastic clay derived from the weathering of the old volcanic rocks. The scattered pine trees are self-sown from original pines planted by the early Californian gold diggers of last century. New Zealand‘s first official gold discovery was made in this district in 1852. Most of the raw materials for the making of terracotta pottery garden wares, tiles and sculpture thus comes from the hills above.

Brickell worked for 15 years and poured a considerable amount of money into railway construction before it was licensed to carry fare-paying public in 1990. This huge gamble has now paid off, while returns from the pottery have been steadily diminishing. A recent move into the tile and brickmaking industry is an exciting new development.Elephant_300Work train with “Elephant” locomotion

Today, the railway carries more passengers than raw materials because it has become a major and unique tourist attraction. Unlike most other tourist railways, the DCR is newly built rather than being an old, line that has been restored. It is New Zealand‘s only narrow-gauge mountain railway. All earlier railways built to convey minerals and timber have been abandoned, some now made into heritage trails.

 Early surveying of the tortuous route was done using a home-made instrument and miles of survey tracks had to be cut through the steep scrubby land. A maximum workable adhesion gradient of 1 in 15 was decided upon but the average gradient of the line is about 1 in 26. Despite the narrow gauge of 15 inches (381mm) which allowed for sharper curves, there are plenty of heavy earthworks along the line which necessitated the use of a bulldozer contractor and the digging of some very deep cuttings.

The trains are wide enough to accomodate two adults per seat.DoubleViaduct_360The Double-deck Viaduct

 There are several major civil engineering features on the railway. Some of the big viaducts were built under difficult conditions, reminding us of the early colonial engineering feats. The three short tunnels were made by the cut and cover process. Ceramic art works complimenting the engineering can be seen from the train.

The specially designed passenger trains were built at the DCR’s own engineering workshop located beside the potteries. The “Possum” is a 14-seater twin-bogie diesel railcar built in 1994. The “Snake”, a double-articulated 3-bodied train-set, a truly ambitious project was built in 1992. Like a snake it can twist and turn around the sharp curves abounding up the line.

 A new train called the Linx is of more sophisticated design, completed in 2004, is similar in seating to the Snake. These units have special features possibly unique in New Zealand railway engineering such as the use of hydraulic transmission and special designs for safe operation on the sharp curves and steep grades. The trains are also fitted with modern air-type braking, air operated track sanding and centre-mounted diesel engines. The “Snake” and “Linx” can accommodate up to 36 people each, which is a modern tour bus load.

There are two older diesel locomotives and various wagons used for conveying clay, wood, native plants for the extensive forest replanting project up the line, and others for construction purposes.Dieselmouse_300Dieselmouse – the very first passenger train

There are five major viaducts and five reversing points up the main line as well as two horseshoe spirals, on the route to the present summit. The double deck viaduct is unique. In a return trip on the railway, trains pass over it four times in different directions on both levels. The two levels are connected by a spiral all in very rugged, forested terrain. The main span is 14 m long and total length of the upper level is 46 m. Its construction took two years.

The Terminal building, the “EyefullTower” at 165 m above sea level offers wide panoramic views over the island-studded Hauraki Gulf and valleys covered in native forest.

Train Timetable 2014

  • 10:15am & 2pm daily throughout the year
  • over the summer period, additional trains run at 11:30am, 12:45pm, 3:15pm and 4:30pm.
  • extra trains may be available at 11:30am, 12:45pm, and 3:15pm throughout the rest of the year for groups of more than 5 adults.

Train Fares 2014

  • Adults: $28
  • Children: $12 (up to 15 years)
  • Family: $68 (2 adults and 2 children)
  • Special Excursion Rates: $27 for seniors and $25 students (with ID)

Children under 4 years old can go free if they do not require a seat


As well as touring the pottery complex you may also spend some time in the craft shop viewing the finished works. You can also find well-researched material on local history and ecology in our bookshop, as well as a variety of souvenirs.

Getting Here

2 3/4 hour drive from Auckland

Take the southern motorway to the bottom of the Bombay Hills, 30 minutes. Take highway 2 to Thames, 1 hour. From Thames take highway 25 to Coromandel. Driving Creek Railway is on Driving Creek Road 3km past the township.

News – Ecclesbourne Valley Railway – Railway Restoration Team Wins National Award


Railway Restoration Team Wins National Award51073 emerging

Class 119 vehicle W51073 as it emerges from the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway’s restoration

A team of volunteers from the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway has won the prestigious Railcar of the year award for their work in restoring a rare class 119 Diesel Multiple Unit. Diesel railcar enthusiasts throughout the UK have bestowed the accolade on the team following an annual competition that has restorers from other heritage railways throughout the country entering the highly respected contest.

In November 2008 the small team of volunteers decided to take on the mammoth task of restoring the unit to its former glory. The unit was withdrawn from service in 1993 and was an empty shell when it arrived at the railway in 2006.

The project represents the first full restoration that has taken place at the railway. The skills and expertise of the restoration team have been further recognised as other heritage railways are now sending their units for restoration and maintenance for the award winning team of volunteers to work their magic on.

Leigh Gration, the Team Leader commented “The class 119 is the only one of its class carrying passengers in preservation and I am very proud of the quality of work and dedication of the team in completing such an epic undertaking within such a short timescale.”

Opportunities will be announced on the railway’s website for passengers to ride with the driver in the cab or the chance to take the controls of the award-winning vehicle51073 undergoing trials

 W51073 undergoing her initial trials

USA Trains – “The Erie Lackawanna Railway Phoebe Snow ca. 1963-66”

“The Erie Lackawanna Railway Phoebe Snow ca. 1963-66”

Another reblog from


Phoebe Snow was a named passenger train operated by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad and after a brief hiatus, the Erie Lackawanna Railway. The train was named as part of the DL&W’s marketing campaign, around 1900, along with the fictional character of Phoebe Snow to emphasize how the exhaust from its steam locomotives was cleaner than competitors’ locomotives, as a result of using anthracite coal. It traveled across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Southern Tier of New York. The line’s route pass over the Paulinskill Viaduct and the Delaware River Viaduct of the Lackawanna Cutoff in northeastern New Jersey and the Tunkhannock Viaduct on the portion of its route between Scranton, Pennsylvania to Binghamton, New York. On November 15, 1949, the Lackawanna Railroad inaugurated a new streamlined passenger train named after its long-dormant promotional symbol. The new Phoebe Snow represented the modernization of the Lackawanna passenger train fleet, and its image. The new train became Train No. 3 (westbound) and No. 6 (eastbound), which previously had been assigned to the railroad’s formerly premier train, the Lackawanna Limited. The Phoebe Snow ran on a daylight schedule between Hoboken, N.J., and Buffalo, N.Y., a trip of 396 miles, in about eight hours. The train was retired in 1966. See more at and follow us on Facebook at

Some Early Lines – The Stamford and Essendine Railway.

Some Early Lines

The Stamford and Essendine Railway.Stamford Station

Stamford Station

 A very cold but bright day this is Stamford station looking west towards Oakham on the Peterborough to Leicester line. The station building house is a book shop now.  © Copyright roger geach and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 There were two stations in Stamford, both outstandingly attractive, of which one survives as a station, the other as a private dwelling.

The first station in Stamford was called Town station and was built in 1848 by Sancton Wood for the Syston & Peterborough Railway. This company was a protege of the Midland Railway intended to resist incursion by the Great Northern into what the Midland considered to be its own territory. The Marquis of Exeter at Burghley House required the railway to be invisible as it passed through the grounds of his estate so immediately east of the station the railway enters a tunnel. The station itself is in the Tudor style with tower and belfry, gables and bay windows. It remains in railway use though most of the building is a bookshop.

Stamford East was built in 1856 by William Hurst. The Marquis of Exeter had initially rebuffed attempts by the Great Northern Railway to pass through Stamford with its main line, and so the railway was routed through Peterborough instead. He then had second thoughts, and himself promoted a short 6km.(4m.) branch line to the Great Northern line at Essendine. For a short time he operated it himself but gave up in 1872. Meanwhile a second branch was opened to Wansford in 1867.

To accommodate this modest little railway he had built a gorgeously extravagant Elizabethan style manor house, replete with gables, finials, perforated parapet, tall mullion windows, and a square tower with a pierced parapet. It survived as a station until 1957, whereupon it was converted into two houses.

The Stamford and Essendine Railway.

Source: The Illustrated London News, Jan. 3, 1857Stamford Railway Station

This railway was opened for public traffic on the 1st November. It forms a junction with the Great Northern main line at Essendine, which is distant nearly twelve miles north of Peterborough; and by means of this communication the fine old town of Stamford is brought within about two hours of the metropolis. The works, which are constructed for a double line of rails, were commenced about two years ago, under the auspices of the Marquis of Exeter, the promoter and principal proprietor of the line.

We engrave (from a drawing by Mr. W. Hurst, jun.) a picturesque View of the Stamford Station, as seen from the bridge at the foot of St. Mary’s Hill. It is a handsome stone building of Elizabethan character, and consists of a booking-hall, with offices and residence for station-master. The principal front includes two peaked wings, having ornamented gables, and a central projection with perforated parapet, carrying a shield in sunk panel, containing the arms of Stamford, surmounted with a coronet, and relieved by foliated scrolls and ribbon, bearing the name of the railway and the date of its construction.

The front elevation is pierced by mullioned windows of varied dimensions, after Burghley House, and bisected for its entire length with an overhanging screen or verandah, ten feet in width, which is carried upon brackets of appropriate design, and affords effective shelter for passengers alighting at the door of the booking-hall.

This hall, which measures 27 feet by 32 feet 6 inches, is lofty and of peculiar design—the roof being carried upon cambered timber beams, set in pairs, and springing from neatly-carved corbels firmly grafted in the walls. It is lighted principally from the ceiling, which is partitioned in recessed compartments, having pendant ornaments at the intersections of the panels.

A gallery, supported on tastefully-scrolled brackets, runs round the building, and is faced with elegant cast-iron railing; from which, at the angles, rise ornamented columns with globular gas glasses at their tops.

This gallery leads, on the one hand, to the directors’ room and offices; and on the opposite side are ranged the living-rooms and other apartments of the station clerk.

On the ground-floor, opposite the entrance, and looking over the passenger platform behind, is the booking-office; and on each side the hall are placed the first-class waiting-rooms, parcels and other offices; while the area is provided with movable seats for second and third class passengers.

At the south-east angle of the building is a massive stone tower, in which, on the ground floor, are the porters’ and lamp rooms, &c.; and above are “stores,” well protected by a never-failing tank of water on the roof, which is surrounded by an open parapet, with projecting angles, carved finials, and columnar chimney-stack.

At the back of and adjoining the booking-hall is the passenger platform, covered by a light wrought-iron trellised roof of timber and glass. The up and down lines of railway are on either side the platform, and the whole is illuminated by lanterns hanging from the tie rods of the iron roof, and by wail-lamps mounted in cast-iron brackets of a neat and novel character.

The station is approached through light wrought-iron gates, hung on posts of pierced castings, harmonising with the principal elevation of the booking-hall and offices before described.

The goods warehouse, granary, and other buildings common to terminal stations are plain and neat in design, and the arrangements generally are well compacted and complete. The whole of the works were constructed by the late Mr. Thomas Hayton, the well-known contractor on the London and North-Western Railway, from designs and under the superintendence of Mr. William Hurst, the Company’s engineer.Site of Stamford East Railway StationSite of Stamford East railway station – frontage

 Former railway station, terminus of the Stamford & Essendine railway.  Built to match the architectural style of Burghley House.  © Copyright Bob Harvey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.



Forthcoming Events – Museum of Cannock Chase – World War 1 Lecture

Forthcoming Events – Museum of Cannock ChaseMuseum of CC WW1

Canal News – Fazeley Junction & Brecon Canal Aqueduct

Canal News

Fazeley Junction & Brecon Canal AqueductNew Charity LogoBirds on a shed

press release  Issued: 20 January 2014

 Canal junction transformed by giant kingfisher

The Midlands’ historic canal network has a striking new landmark after a giant kingfisher and robin appeared on a canalside wall in Tamworth.

The giant mural was created as part of a Canal & River Trust project to transform a run-down canal junction. The Trust has been working with volunteers for over a year to breathe new life into Fazeley Junction where the Coventry Canal meets the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.

The junction was looking a bit tired until the Trust enlisted the help of its Tamworth Towpath Taskforce group of volunteers. The team quickly got to work tidying the junction, clearing litter, removing graffiti and putting up new fences. Over time the team hope to do even more and create a canalside garden.

To complement the team’s efforts local arts group New Urban Era have now created a wildlife-inspired mural on what used to be a graffiti blighted wall. The wall, which belongs to H & G Gould Timber Merchants, has been entirely repainted and detailed paintings of a kingfisher and robin added by freelance artist Steve Edwards.

Tom Freeland, volunteer coordinator for the Canal & River Trust said; “This is the culmination of a volunteer-led project to reclaim and restore busy Fazeley Junction for the benefit of the local community.  Over the last year, our volunteers have weeded, mulched, cleared rubbish, put up a new fence and removed graffiti from the site, and this mural will really set off their efforts.  We look forward to maintaining and enhancing it as we continue our plans to create the Junction Garden and if anyone wants to help us we’d love to hear from them.”

New Urban Era founder Vic Brown said; “We are delighted to have worked with the Canal & River Trust on this Fazeley project. Not only is the mural visually pleasing but also educates visitors about the wildlife that can be seen and heard along the regions canals and rivers. We hope the project will positively inspire the general public and further organisations to engage in the arts.”

The Tamworth Towpath Taskforce is open for anybody to turn up and join in. Activities take place every other Wednesday from 10am until 1pm. No experience is necessary and all equipment is provided. For more information contact Tom Freeland on 01827 252010 or go to


5263PRESS RELEASE Issued: 20 January

 Vandalised Brecon aqueduct repaired

A Grade II listed aqueduct on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in Pontymoile has been repaired, after vandals caused thousands of pounds of damage by hurling its 200-year old stone masonry onto the banks of the Afon Lwyd below.

Glandŵr Cymru – the Canal & River Trust in Wales – has invested £45,000 in the project, which also restored 19th century railings on either side of the aqueduct and gave engineers the chance to repair long term damage caused by growing ivy and tree roots. The work took over four weeks, having started just before Christmas.

David Viner, heritage advisor at Glandŵr Cymru, said: “We’re really pleased to get these repairs done. The damage appeared quite blatant. We suspect some larrikins hurled sections of the masonary onto the banks below, and quite a bit was carried off down the river. It just shows how much this sort of stupidity can end up costing.

“Because of the age of the aqueduct, and the Grade II listed status, it was specialist work. The location, effectively suspended above the river, also meant that quite a lot of effort had to go into getting the engineers in a safe position to do the job. The aqueduct is a very important piece of Welsh waterway heritage, so it’s great to see it back in top condition.”

The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is a 35-mile canal that runs through the Brecon Beacons and dates back over 200 years.