From the Wensleydale Connection
A special issue of Parry News published by JPM Parry & Associates Ltd
IN JULY 2003, the PPM 50 railcar needed to be moved at very short notice (just one day) from the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire, when vandals from the local estates who had been regularly trashing the exteriors of carriages had also, to our misfortune, discovered the Parry vehicle.
There can be few organisations as responsive as the Chasewater Railway in the West Midlands and on hearing of PPM’s predicament the General Manager, Steve Organ, made immediate arrangements to receive the vehicle and put it inside the headquarters compound at Brownhills West station. What was intended to be a brief stop-over then turned into two years of activities, all of which have been entirely beneficial to the company’s programme.
The Chasewater Railway’s two mile long line has been ideal for driver training, vehicle shakedown and demonstrations for visitors. Many distinguished people from far and wide – including Australia, Argentina, South Africa and Malaysia – have ridden on the PPM 50 railcar during its stay, as well as a galaxy of senior figures from Britain’s transport industry.
And what next?
The convenience of the location and the facilities offered by the railway, within 20 miles of Parry Associates’ base, and the flexible and co-operative attitude of the Chasewater Railway managers has made this an ideal resource for an R&D partnership.
The next big project for PPM is the development of the bogie-mounted passenger vehicle, particularly with reference to potential future needs of community railways. This work will need facilities for the development running of test beds and complete vehicles. One way to accommodate a need of the Chasewater Railway itself is for a special ‘Permanent Way Vehicle’, in effect a crew cab pick up truck on rails, which PPM may be able to create using the existing technology. The amicable, informal partnership between the Parry companies and the Chasewater Railway has opened many possibilities to develop the important new sector of lightweight rolling stock for community railways and the export market. For the future there is even the prospect for the Chasewater Railway and PPM to join forces with local interest in promoting and executing the vision of a railway-reopening project – the former line from Brownhills to Walsall.
A Parry People Movers railcar is in daily service on the StourbridgeTown branch in the West Midlands. The fleet of two PPM 60s, or Class 139s as they have been designated, run as part of the London Midland franchise. Timetable and ticketing information can be found at www.londonmidland.com, simply type in ‘Stourbridge Junction’ and ‘StourbridgeTown’ as start point and destination. Stourbridge Junction station is served by frequent local trains operated by London Midland, and trains from London Marylebone operated by Chiltern Railways.
Return tickets, for a modest fare, can be purchased at either station for a return trip on the line. If you intend to travel to Stourbridge Junction by rail, make sure that your ticket has ‘StourbridgeTown’ as its destination rather than ‘Stourbridge Junction’. This will allow you to travel on the shuttle service when you arrive.
Services are frequent – running every ten minutes in each direction from early morning until late at night Monday to Saturday (and slightly less frequently between 10am and 8pm on Sundays) – so you will not have to wait long for the next Class 139 departure.