Monthly Archives: April 2014

Ecclesbourne Valley Railway – Free Tickets for a Rainy Day!

Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

Free Tickets for a Rainy Day!

Ecclesbourne Valley Railway guarantees the Summer for families!

On Platform

Ecclesbourne Valley Railway launches the Rainy Day Guarantee to keep the skies clear!

The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway is excited to announce its unique rainy day guarantee. During the months of May, June, July and August. Should it rain continuously for three hours or more during a visit to the railway, passengers will qualify for a free ticket to return when the weather has improved.
Tom Tait the Railway’s Commercial Director said, “The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway is Derbyshire’s longest heritage line and the beautiful views of this unspoiled valley are best experienced by train during sunny weather. We want our visitors to enjoy the wonderful vistas during their visit to the railway. Not only do we offer the best of Derbyshire scenery but we are so lucky to have an abundance of wildlife which can be normally be seen from our trains but unfortunately are more difficult to spot when it’s raining.”
If the weather prevents passengers from delighting in the Ecclesbourne Valley at its best, we will be offering our visitors free return tickets.

Full details of the offer are published on the Railway’s website at

Canal News – Floating market in Stone, Staffordshire

Canal News

Floating market in Stone, Staffordshire

Floating Market, Birmingham

02 – 05 May 2014
10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Visit the floating market along the Trent & Mersey Canal and enjoy a day out with a difference.


Take a trip to the floating market and enjoy all of the colourful narrowboats selling a range of arts & craft products.

While you’re there you can enjoy a tranquil walk along a very picturesque stretch of canal.

Trading boats

The RCTA is still taking bookings from trading boats. For more information and to book your place at one of these events visit

If you’ve got any questions about the upcoming markets please contact

Lichfield News – Beacon Park’s Victorian May Day

Lichfield News

Beacon Park’s Victorian May Day

Published on Monday, 28th April 2014
Head to Museum Gardens on May Day to enjoy all the vintage activities on offer.
Lichfield District Council’s park rangers are hosting a Victorian May Day at Museum Gardens in Beacon Park on Monday 5 May, between 11am and 2pm.
The May Day celebrations will include maypole dancing workshops, a coconut shy, croquet, hoopla, a Victorian flower cone workshop and possibly Victorian swing boats.
A traditional Punch and Judy Show will also take place from 12 noon to 1pm on the day, which has been part funded by Chandlers Café.
Councillor Andy Smith, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure & Parks, said:
“We hope plenty of people join us for our Victorian May Day event, and enjoy all the activities on offer.”
Thanks to the new Decades Vintage Boutique, which is set to open on St John’s Street in June, the park rangers will be dressed in Victorian costume throughout the day.
It is free to come along to the Victorian May Day event, although there will be a small charge for some of the activities.
To find out more about visiting Beacon Park, go to




Founded 2002

HQ: 27 Melbourne Rd, Heath Hayes, Cannock, Staffs. WS12 2SH

Dear Member

The next members meeting with speaker will be held on Wednesday May 21st at the Museum of Cannock Chase, Valley Rd, Hednesford, Staffs. WS12 1TD.

We start at 3.00pm prompt and the speaker will be DAVID MOORE who will speak on ‘South Staffs Water’

Please make every effort to attend as numbers were low at the last event the Panama Canal talk

Bring a friend or partner its free with no obligations


Hot from the printers the “Hawkins Colliery” book is now available for purchase it costs £10.00/copy + P&P and they are available from the address above.

The book will also be available from the Chasewater Railway Museum

This IS the final book in the series and the society would like to thank everyone who has helped with or supported this monumental task

Thank You Very Much

Best Regards

Alan Dean (Chairman)



Classic Streamliners – “New Haven’s Roger Williams: Still Running Since 1956!”

“New Haven’s Roger Williams: Still Running Since 1956!”

The Roger Williams was a streamlined, six car, lightweight, DMU passenger train, built by the Budd Company in 1956 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The train was based on Budd’s successful RDC DMU cars. The end two cars were equipped with streamlined locomotive style cabs and noses, resembling those on the Fairbanks-Morse P-12-42 Diesel locomotives. The four intermediate cars lacked operating controls and cabs. For operation into Grand Central Terminal, the cars were each equipped with third-rail shoes, and small traction motors, allowing them to operate into the terminal under electric power, with their engines shut down. After a short period of time in high speed service, the train was split up, and the cars were used in service with the New Haven’s other RDCs. They worked for the New Haven, Penn Central, and Amtrak, until the last cars were retired in the 1980s. The 2 end cars, and one intermediate car, are preserved in operating condition, by a private owner, at the Hobo Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

Hednesford News – The Dedication of the third phase of the miners’ memorial

Hednesford News


Hope the weather’s better than today!

The Dedication of the third phase of the miners’ memorial in Hednesford takes place this Saturday, 26th April, at 2.00pm. The Service will be led by the Rt. Rev. Nigel McCulloch, KCVO.

A further 913 named bricks, remembering those who worked in the Cannock Chase coalfields, have been laid around the grass areas by the clock tower in the town centre and adjacent to the iconic Davy Lamp.

All those who have bought a brick have been invited to Saturday’s dedication, which is open to the general public. It is hoped that hundreds will turn up.

Rugeley Power Station Band will perform, while Cannock Chase Orpheus Male Choir will sing, among other things, the miners’ hymn ‘Take me Home’. Local man, lay preacher and past miner Jim Bullock will be taking part, as will Deputy Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Mr. Anthony Winterton.

Market Street will be closed to traffic from noon. Members of the Chase Arts in Public Spaces (Chaps) committee and Hednesford Lions Club will be acting as stewards and handing out Order of Service sheets, which families will be able to keep as a memento.

After the service, copies of the book ‘A Lasting Tribute’ will be on sale at £5.00 per copy, with inserts containing the names of all included in this latest phase. These will be sold from the large room at the rear of the Light Works arcade. Refreshments will also be available within the Light Works.

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era – 1925 – ‘Garratt’ London & North Eastern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1925 – ‘Garratt’
London & North Eastern Railway

The engine as running in 1947

The engine as running in 1947

The largest and most powerful locomotive ever to run in the British Isles. The Garratt double engine design, patented by Beyer Peacock & Co., achieved considerable success on many foreign and colonial railways, particularly in South Africa, even on fast passenger work, but its only application in this country has been in this solitary locomotive on the LNER, a series of engines on the LMS and a few smaller examples of the 0-4-4-0 type for industrial use.
No.2395 was constructed for banking on the Worsboro’ mineral line near Wath, and when this was electrified it was transferred for a time to the Lickey Incline of the Midland Railway. For some reason, however, it did not achieve great success here, and it was finally scrapped in 1955 after being for a short period converted to work as an oil burner. In 1946 it had been renumbered 9999 and at Nationalisation it became BR No.69999.
Driving wheels – 4’ 8”, Cylinders (6) – 18½”x 26”, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort – 72940 lb., Weight – 178 tons

1925 'Garratt' LNER

Canal News April 23 – A secret garden in Smethwick? – Mon & Brec to reopen

Canal News April 23

Could you help create a secret garden in Smethwick?

April 23Birmingham Canal Main Line

We’re calling for an army of local volunteers in Smethwick in the West Midlands to lend a hand and help us transform a once thriving nature trail along the Birmingham Main Line Canal back to its former glory.

The Galton Valley Nature Trail was once farmland and a haven for plants and insects. The area is now looking unloved and unwelcoming so local people living in Smethwick are being asked to help the charity, Canal & River Trust, to recreate this canal side community garden.
The volunteers will be helping to clear pathways and cut back vegetation, plant a whole host of wildlife loving plants as well as putting up bird and bat boxes in the trees and installing reed beds to help improve water quality. There are also plans to create a community orchard which, once established, could provide fresh fruit to the local community via the local food bank network.
Beauty spot
Peter Mathews CMG, chair of the west midlands waterways partnership for the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Galton Valley Nature Trail used to be beautiful and often you would spot bluebells and early summer raspberries poking through the trees and bushes. This part of the canal could once again be a really lovely beauty spot but we need help from local people to help us to revitalise this nature trail and attract more animals and insects back to this secret garden.
“We do have quite a bit of work to do and, where we have already made some small improvements, we have already noticed an increase in the amount of wildlife fluttering along the canal which was brilliant to see but more work needs to be done and we need everyone to muck in and help lend a hand.”
The next meeting is on Saturday 3 May from 10am – 3pm at the Smethwick Pumping House, B66 1BA.

Mon & Brec to reopen following major repairs

Mon & BrecMon & Brec repairs

A stretch of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal will reopen to boats on 25 April, following around £1million of repairs to stabilise an embankment which had ‘slipped’ after it had become so saturated with rain over the wet winter period that it slumped down the hillside.

We’re installing almost 500 massive pins, each 10-15 metres long, along the canalside at Llanfoist in the Brecon Beacons. While the remainder of the canal has stayed open since work began in February, the full length of the waterway will now be navigable by boat for the first time this year, bringing a welcome boost to businesses in the area.
The final pins will be put in over the coming weeks, together with a mesh to secure them in place. New vegetation will be planted along the embankment to take the place of trees that had to be cut down to allow engineers to carry out the work. It is hoped that the towpath next to the affected stretch will reopen at the end of May; meanwhile walkers, cyclists and other towpath visitors can continue to use the canal thanks to a short diversion around the closed section.
Busy spring and summer
Vince Moran, operations director at Glandŵr Cymru, said: “We’re delighted to get the full length of the canal reopened in time for the busiest period of year. The Mon & Brec contributes millions to the local economy, so we hope this comes as good news for all those businesses who build their trade around a busy spring and summer.
“We saw unprecedented rainfall over the winter and it has required a major engineering project to repair the canal, with 500 pins effectively nailing the embankment back against the bedrock. We are pleased with how the work has gone and delighted that so many people have continued to visit the canal over the past two months. Now the navigation is open for business again we hope that even more people come and see one of the jewels of the canal system in the heart of the Brecon Beacons.”

Lichfield News April 23 – April’s Cycle Rides for All – Survey the birds at Beacon Park

Lichfield News April 23


April’s Cycle Rides for All

Bike Ride

Published on Tuesday, 22nd April 2014
Everyone’s invited to get on their bike and join a cycle ride to the National Memorial Arboretum on Sunday 27 April 2014.
Cycle Rides for All launched in March with an eight and a half mile ride to Fisherwick Lakes. Twenty-five people joined in the leisurely ride, enjoying the picturesque scenes and visiting the lakes.
The next group cycle ride in the series of six is to the National Memorial Arboretum on Sunday 27 April. It is 15 miles there and back and has been awarded a level three for difficulty, which means it is suitable for most, although beginner riders may find it a bit of a challenge.
Councillor Andy Smith, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure & Parks, said: “We’re always keen to encourage more people to get on their bikes and take part in this healthy and fun activity, and so are pleased to be working in partnership to offer these monthly cycle rides. They are a great way for people to discover good cycle routes, meet new people, and have an enjoyable day out.”
If you want to join in this free cycle ride, simply bring your bike to Freedom Cycles at 10am on Sunday 27 April, where it will be given a safety check before the group sets off. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
To find out more, or to check whether a ride is taking place if the weather is uncertain, please call Freedom Cycles on 01543 411633 or Karl Sproston at Lichfield District Council on 01543 308846.
The Cycle Ride for All 2014 programme is available from Freedom Cycles, Beacon Park’s Ranger Station and Lichfield District Council’s Frog Lane offices. Details of upcoming rides can also be found online at
Cycle Rides for All is run in partnership by Lichfield District Council, Freedom Cycles, Bromford Living, North Lichfield Initiative and Lichfield City Council.

Survey the birds at Beacon Park

Published on Tuesday, 22nd April 2014
Keen twitchers are invited to help an RSPB expert to survey Beacon Park’s feathered friends this April.
Come to Beacon Park on Sunday 27 April, between 9am and 11am, to spot and survey birds with Robert Russon – a local ornithologist.
Robert will help the group to identify the different bird species and how to recognise birdsong. The birds that are spotted will be noted down, helping the RSPB to monitor local bird populations.
Robert Russon, RSPB expert, said: “Beacon Park’s got a good variety of birds and we should spot a fair number at this time of year. We will be looking to see some summer visitors, such as the warbler and hope to count around 25 different species on the day. Everyone’s welcome to come to join me at this free event, and don’t forget your binoculars!”
Wearing warm clothing and suitable footwear is recommended. To find out more about visiting Beacon Park, go to

Some Early Lines – Six Counties Scenes

Some Early Lines

Six Counties Scenes

Pic 1Fintona Junction was one of those Irish stations at which, because it was a junction and a single-line passing place, everything happened at once between long periods of inactivity. GNR 4-4-0 goods engine No.73 of Class ‘P’ stands in the bay, having shunted its train to await the passing of the two passenger trains of the evening of August Bank Holiday Saturday, 1954.

Pic 2Cookstown Junction lay between Antrim and Ballymena, on the NCC main line from Belfast to Londonderry. The branch from the junction took the form of a loop which joined the main line again at Macfin, close to Coleraine. No.57 ‘Galgorm Castle’ leaves Cookstown Junction with a train for Cookstown via Magherafelt on 20th June, 1938.

Pic 3The Beyer Peacock 4-4-2 tanks were the standard passenger engine used on the Belfast & County Down Railway, and they worked the branch to the end. Unlike many Irish lines, the County Down ran its tank engines bunker first when it suited them; No.13 waits at the terminus at Donaghadee for the right away to Comber and Belfast. This branch was the last section to go, under the 1950 closures.

Pic 4In 1948 the Belfast & County Down Railway fell into the hands of the newly formed Ulster Transport Authority, and by 22nd April, 1950, the whole of the Railway had been shut down, with the exception of the Bangor branch which apparently still prospered. The first section to go was the main line south of Comber in January, 1950, and with it the branch to Ballynahinch, which was sometimes worked by the only remaining tender passenger locomotive 2-4-0 No.6