Tag Archives: Chasewater Steam Railway

Chasewater Railway – Some recent photos around the Heritage Centre

Some recent photos around the Heritage Centre

Two strimmers in action, 15-7-2012.

Jonathan with plenty to go at!

Not to mention Dave Borthwick!

Albert & Co.’s handywork

New Narrow Gauge shed – by Albert & Co.

Progress being made!

And a couple of new items from the Museum to end.

A commemorative plate from the Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society meeting, and a book about Walsall’s Engine Shed by Jack Haddock.


A few more pics from the Chasewater Railway Model Railway Exhibition

This gallery contains 21 photos.

A few more pics A first class weekend, organised by Alan, Dan and Tony from the Chasewater Model Railway group.  The Museum was very busy both days but Barry was not quite right with his figures – we had 2 … Continue reading

Chasewater Railway Model Railway Exhibition video clips

Chasewater Railway Model Railway Exhibition video clips

Events on the weekend of July 7th & 8th

Saturday & Sunday – July 7th & 8th

This year’s Chasewater Railway’s Model Railway Exhibition is to be held on both days over the weekend – full details below.

Also to be held on both days, at Amerton Railway, is a charity event:

On 7th and 8th July 2012 the railway will be running in aid of a charity which Malcolm Garner supports for deaf children in the Gambia – The Gambia Deaf Children’s Support Project”. On these two days steam locomotives Isabel and Paddy will be in steam and the Hayfield Coach will be in use behind Paddy, visiting the railway to give special rides.

So, two events in two days, nice and easy – Chasewater Railway for the Model Exhibition one day, and a ride into the Staffordshire countryside to support the charity on the other.

Finally, if you feel like getting up early on Saturday 7th July,

Saturday July 7, 2012 All Day

Stratford-Upon-Avon To Carlisle Rail Tour

This train will be operated by DRS and will feature a pair of veteran Class 20 locomotives throughout.

Bloxwich 08:00/ 21:30

Hednesford 08:20 / 21:10

Rugeley Trent Valley 08:35 / 20:55

Stafford 08:50 / 20:40

Arrive:  Leave: Carlisle                  13:10  15:45

Information from the South Staffordshire Railway website:


This site is well worth a visit, especially for Chasewater Railway members, as the Chasewater line used to meet the main line at Anglesey Sidings, and there are some good pictures on there when it was Charrington’s oil depot, and lots more besides.

Chasewater Railway – More Busy Weekends – Concert & Model Railway Show

Chasewater Railway – More Busy Weekends

Following the last two successful weekend events, the Chasewater Railway now has two more busy weekends to come. Firstly the Walsall Symphony Orchestra Concert on Saturday June 30th:Click to enlarge

Then on Saturday and Sunday July 7th & 8th, the Model Railway Exhibition:Click to enlarge

For reports and photographs of the ‘We’ll Meet Again’ day, go to Bob Anderson’s photos and Browhills Bob’s blog.



180 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Spring 1995 – Part 3 From the Boardroom

180 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News Spring 1995 – Part 3

From the Boardroom

Lichfield District Council and the Railway

By David Bathurst – Chairman

It is a little over 12 months since Lichfield District Council (LDC) assumed responsibility for Chasewater in succession to Walsall MBC.  Maybe now is the opportune time to reflect on the Railway’s relations with our new landlords during this period.

It is generally recognised that LDC has inherited an area of recreational land and some very modest amenities where ‘investment’ had become an unknown concept.    Whilst Walsall MBC must accept some responsibility for this state of affairs, it is however a fact that the plans for the Birmingham Northern Relief Road (BNRR) have prevented any serious attempt to maximise the commercial and leisure potential of the area.  The BNRR may or may not happen and whichever way it goes, it will have a major impact on both the Park and the Chasewater Railway.  Until a decision is made and the first contract has been let, Chasewater will inevitably remain in limbo.

It is in this context the Board has made a number of proposals to LDC and it is similarly in this context that LDC has been unable to offer anything other than a series of courteous and sympathetic acknowledgements.

This does not mean that LDC is sitting back on Chasewater issues.  The council recently approved a document on Chasewater’s future with a view to inviting public participation and consultation.  The Railway is awaiting a copy of the document with interest and will certainly be wishing to make representations.  It will also be interesting to see whether the results of the Municipal Elections on Thursday May 4th 1995 will have any effect on LDC’s policies towards the future of Chasewater.

For the information of members, the following is an indication of the matters currently with LDC, awaiting decision.

Presentation to the Council

The Railway has indicated a willingness to make formal presentation to LDC’s Leisure Services Committee to define more clearly the current and potential roles of Chasewater Railway within the context of Chasewater Park.

Lichfield District Local Plan

The Railway has submitted a formal objection to the Draft Local Plan.  The Railway wishes to see an additional policy added to the section related to Chasewater, namely “The District Council will continue to make provision for the development of the Chasewater Railway”.

The Railway will be represented at the Public Local Enquiry which commences on 5th September 1885 and which is expected to last 8 weeks.

Extension to AngleseyWharf

The Railway has asked LDC to give planning protection to the alignment of a possible extension to our operational line, to Anglesey Wharf.  Unfortunately the proposed line of the Burntwood By-pass means that the Railway extension would need to intrude into two SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest).  This could represent a major threat to the plans for extending our operational line.

At the same time the Railway has invited LDC to examine the land ownership issues and to agree, in principle, to the grant of any necessary leases.

BNRR (M6 Toll): Brownhills West Station

The Railway has asked LDC to honour a commitment made by Walsall MBC to provide an alternative site for the relocation of Brownhills West Station and associated facilities should this be necessary because of construction of the BNRR.

Causeway/Norton Lakeside Station

LDC has been invited to assist in undertaking finishing works on the Causeway where the Railway has neither the expertise nor finance to carry out a substantial scheme of environmental improvement.  In particular the concealment of materials at the water’s edge by proper treatment works could well bring about a significant improvement in appearance.

In a related proposal, LDC has been invited to ’adopt’ the footpath across the Causeway and in the vicinity of Norton Lakeside Station within a co-ordinated approach to access the north shore area of Chasewater.  This would not involve the footpaths becoming formal public footpaths but would nevertheless be of benefit in a wide range of senses.


LDC has been asked to participate in some tangible form of official opening of the extension across the Causeway and opening of Norton Lakeside Station.

Land Tenure

LDC has been made aware of the Railway’s concern regarding the current leases which may not be sufficient to enable the Railway to gain access to finance potentially available through various funding regimes (see also below).


LDC has been asked to undertake a survey, in conjunction with the Railway’s surveyors, for the purpose of identifying the physical boundaries of the land held on lease by the Railway.  Significant changes in the landscape at the easterly end of our line makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint the extent of our lease without resort to modern surveying technology.

Carriage Shed

LDC has been asked to consider making a deemed application for outline planning permission for the provision of covered accommodation at Brownhills West adjacent to the shed compound.  The close proximity of houses might represent some difficulty although this would be removed if the BNRR were to proceed as the houses referred to would be demolished.

If the Railway were to seek National Heritage Lottery Funding for this project, it would need greater security of tenure (that is to say, a freehold interest or a long leasehold interest in the land concerned.  As an alternative, an application for Lottery funding could be made as a collaborative application between LDC and the Railway.  LDC have been asked to consider the implications.

In view of the fact that Lottery funding provides a contribution only towards cost and that a partnership approach is essential, LDC have agreed to enquire into what other grant regimes may be available to help the Railway to construct this essential covered accommodation.

Light Railway Order

Walsall MBC actually made a number of applications in the 1980s to the Department of Transport for a Light Railway Order.  The applications were so flawed that they were eventually withdrawn and put into abeyance.  The Railway has invited LDC to pick up the pieces and to seek the modern day equivalent of a LRO on the Railway’s behalf.


From this summary, members will surely form an appreciation of the importance of a good relationship between the Railway and our landlords.  Each of the items mentioned has generated considerable correspondence and has involved lengthy meetings with LDC Officers.  We must not allow ourselves to become impatient, particularly in view of the uncertainties surrounding the BNRR.  Operating a Railway involves a wide range of activities not generally known to the membership and where it is necessary for a highly trained professional and mature approach to be taken by all concerned.  There can be no certainty as to the response of LDC in relation to any or all of the matters which are currently on the table with them.  What is certain, however, is that the Council is committed to the development of Chasewater Park and, once the BNRR issue is determined, there must inevitably be significant changes on the horizon.

The Cannock Chase Railways (1948)

The Cannock Chase Railways (1948)

This article was taken from the ‘Railway Magazine‘ of November and December, 1948, price 2/- (or 10 pence if you prefer!). I thought that it would make a change to see an article written about railways of Cannock Chase while they were still working.

The large and important Cannock Chase Colliery area in Staffordshire began to be developed about the middle of the 19th century when John Robinson McClean, the Engineer and Lessee of the South Staffordshire Railway, the Engineer of the broad-gauge railway between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and also the Promoter and Engineer of the South Staffordshire Water Works Company, obtained a large mining concession from the Marquis of Anglesey.  McClean was a man of restless enterprise.  Coal had been worked profitably at Norton-under-Cannock and McClean successfully demonstrated its existence under the Chase itself.  The first railway in the area was the South Staffordshire railway, which opened its line from Walsall to Lichfield and Wichnor Junction (on the Midland Railway) on April 9, 1849, and the coal traffic brought on to the railway from the Cannock Chase district was a principal factor in its success.

In 1854, the Great Western railway endeavoured to obtain Parliamentary Powers to construct a mixed gauge line from Wednesbury to the Cannock Chase coal pits, but failed as a result of opposition from the South Staffordshire Railway, after which no further effort to extend the broad gauge in the Midlands was ever made.  The South Staffordshire already had secured powers to build a line to Cannock and in 1855 an Act was secured for the Cannock Mineral Railway authorising the construction of a 7½ mile line from Cannock to Rugeley on the Trent Valley line.  The South Staffordshire Railway opened its branch from Walsall to Bloxwich and Cannock, and also the Norton Branch , on February 2, 1858, and the Cannock Mineral Railway was opened from Cannock to Rugeley on November 7, 1859.

The Cannock Chase Railway Act of May 15, 1860, authorised the Marquis of Anglesey to construct lines: (a) from the junction with the Cannock Mineral Railway, near Hednesford to Coopers Lodge; and (b) from Coopers Lodge to Heathy Leasons (just beyond the Wimblebury Road), to be so constructed as to allow the Birmingham Canal to connect its Littleworth Tramway.  The railway was not to be used for the carriage of passengers except by consent of Parliament.  Under agreement dated June 29, 1861, the Marquis of Anglesey sold the undertaking to the London & North Western Railway Company, and the line was constructed by the LNWR and opened on October 7, 1862.  The arrangement was sanctioned by the LNWR (Additional Powers) Act of 1863 which empowered the LNWR to agree with the Marquis of Anglesey (or owner) for the transfer to it of the Cannock Chase Railway, which transfer was approved by the proprietors of the LNWR in August, 1863.

Until March, 1867, the line was worked by LNWR engines, but subsequently, by arrangement with the railway company, the line was worked only by Cannock & Rugeley Colliery engines as between Hednesford and Coopers Lodge.  The section between the latter point and the Littleworth Tramway was worked over by both the Cannock & Rugeley Company’s and the Cannock Chase Company’s engines.  An agreement of October 6, 1908, between the LNWR and the Cannock & Rugeley Colliery Company permitted the colliery company to run trains over the branch for the conveyance of its officials, workmen, colliers and other employees at such times as the railway company should approve.  At present a three-coach set is run once each way daily over the branch from Hednesford to Cannock Wood Pits.  The arrangements and agreements entered into by the colliery undertakings with the railway company have been vested in the National Coal Board since January 1, 1947.

The Littleworth Tramway, to which reference is made above, was built in connection with the Cannock Extension Canal.  The canal was authorised by the Cannock Extension Canal Act of 1854 (17 & 18 Vic. Cap. 112) and was completed to the Hednesford Basins in the summer of 1862.  It appears that the Littleworth Tramway was built at the same time, and it was probably opened simultaneously with the Marquis of Anglesey’s Cannock Chase Railway on October 7, 1862.  The Littleworth Tramway was constructed by the LNWR, but the cost was repaid by the Company of Proprietors of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, and the tramway became the property of the canal company as from July 1, 1865.  As may be seen from the map, the tramway took the Cannock Chase Branch Railway to within a short distance of the Norton Branch of the LNWR, but the two were unconnected.  As it was felt that the construction of a short link between the two would be of great benefit in developing the coal traffic of the district, the railway company secured powers under the LNWR Act of 1880 to build and maintain the Littleworth Extension.  The LNWR thereupon made an agreement of December 6, 1880, with the Cannock Chase Colliery Co. Ltd., under which the Littleworth Extension was built, and the colliery company guaranteed certain minimum traffic receipts, and worked the line up to Littleworth Junction with the Norton Branch, as well as working the Littleworth Tramway.  Subsequently, the Cannock & Rugeley Colliery Co. Ltd. also arranged to work its traffic through from Rawnsley to Littleworth Junction.

To serve the interests of the Cannock Chase Company, the idea of providing a link with the GWR was again raised, and a separate company called the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway Company was incorporated by an Act of July 19, 1864, to build a line 10½ miles long between Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton (GWR).  On July 16, 1866, a further Act was secured, authorising 5¼ more miles, namely, from Cannock Chase to Hednesford, where a connection would have been made with the South Staffordshire Railway.  In common with many other railway promotions of the period, a considerable portion of the scheme was never carried into effect, but about 11 miles of single track was eventually built, radiating from Chasetown, and extending to Anglesey Sidings and New Hayes, with a branch to the Walsall Wood Extension of the Midland Railway near Brownhills.  No record appears to have been preserved of the exact date that the various sections of the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway were opened but the ‘main line’ from Anglesey Sidings (junction with the South Staffordshire line of the LNWR) to New Hayes appears to have been brought into use about 1867.

At Coopers Lodge Junction near New Hayes a physical connection was made with the Cannock Chase Branch of the LNWR permitting traffic to be worked through.  The Walsall Wood Extension of the Midland Railway from Aldridge to Brownhills was opened on July 1, 1884, and it appears that the link with the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton was made at this period.

Passenger traffic has never been worked over any section of the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway and its activities are confined almost exclusively to conveyance of coal from the Cannock Chase group of collieries.  The line however is equipped with a system of semaphore signalling.

McClean 0-4-2ST Beyer Peacock 28-1856 Cannock Chase Colliery Co 7-9-1946

Three classes of locomotives are in use on the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway, the oldest of which comprises four 0-4-2ST engines built by Beyer Peacock & Co., between 1856 and 1872.  The first of the series, now believed to be the oldest British locomotive still in service, was described by Mr. H. C. Casserley in The Railway Magazine for November-December, 1946.  0-4-2ST Foggo Built Chasetown 1946 from parts supplied by Beyer Peacock

The design has been perpetuated recently in a locomotive embodying only minor modifications.  (Foggo).

No.6. 0-6-0ST Sharp Stewart 2643-1876

In 1876 an 0-6-0ST engine was purchased from Sharp, Stewart & Co.  A different design of 0-6-0ST (making the third class) was built by Kitson & Co., in 1913.  At the Cannock & Rugeley Colliery there are eight 0-6-0 tank engines of varying design, built between 1866 and 1917 and one 2-4-0 tank engine, built in 1888.

Griffin 0-6-0ST Kitson 5036-1913


News – Jubilee Street Party – Chasewater Railway

This gallery contains 17 photos.

News – Jubilee Street Party Chasewater Railway After the disappointment of the Bank Holiday weekend, the Jubilee Street Party went off very well.  The weather forecast was not at all promising so it was decided to put the stalls inside … Continue reading

This Summer’s Events at Chasewater Railway

This Summer’s Events at Chasewater Railway

See the Home Page for Further Details

176 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Christmas 1994 – Part 2

176 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Christmas 1994 – Part 2

A Christmas Message from the Chairman

It is difficult to believe that we are about to enter the Christmas period yet again. The year has passed so quickly that it seems to have passed us by.  Yet for the railway, such a short period has witnessed so many exciting developments.

Anyone visiting the railway for the first time would wonder what it’s all about and why we are all so enthusiastic.  But for regular visitors and, more importantly, the intrepid band of volunteers who devote so much time to the welfare of the railway, the year has been full to overflowing.

This is not the time to review, in detail, the year’s events; the annual report is more appropriate for that.  However, the extension to the line merits comment, because of its importance to the public’s perception of our operations and, perhaps more vitally, our credibility as a passenger-carrying railway.

We had hoped to have laid the track into Norton Lakeside Station and to have completed the construction of the station during 1994.  That we did not achieve this ambition is of little importance; my colleagues will be familiar with my entreaty that “it is not a race”.  We cannot afford to compromise on quality by cutting corners in the interests of speed.  It is essential that the extension across the causeway, the station itself and the remainder of our line all meet the standards necessary to satisfy the Railway Inspectorate.  We have much work to do to consolidate our current line before we invite HMRI to return to Chasewater.

Having said all that, Easter 1995 now seems a realistic target for the opening of Norton Lakeside Station.  Pencil the Easter Weekend into your new diaries, and “watch this space” for further information.

1995 will also see an increase in momentum for the carriage shed fund.  If the spirit of Christmas moves you to make a donation to this worthy cause, then please do not hesitate to see Chris Chivers or myself.

May I remind you of the ‘Santa Specials’ on 11th and 18th of December when we can all find an excuse (if we need one) to open up the seasonal festivities.  Whether or not you are able to join us on one of these dates, may I take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a very prosperous New Year.

David Bathurst – Chairman

A view looking across the causeway back towards Brownhills West, just over a mile away.  On the left can be seen the platform face for the new Norton Lakeside Station with the first length of track in place.  A lot still remains to be done, but this could be a very popular place for photographers next year!

 Synthetic Chemicals – Final Phase – by Arthur Edwards

It doesn’t seem like it, but this is the final part of the saga of retrieving the track from Synthetic Chemicals.  After a call from our ‘Fat Controller’, Steve Organ, on Friday 15th October to establish whether I was available for the Saturday morning, about a dozen people gathered at Synthetic Chemicals to collect what track was left there.

Anyway, Mick had called for me at 8.30am and we had been there about an hour when Steve asked Mick and I to return to Chasewater to get the JCB ready for when the lorry arrived with said track.  At about lunchtime the lorry duly arrived and Mick and I did our stuff unloading it.  An hour or so later ‘Curly’ the driver went off to get another load.  While he was away, Mick and I straightened up the rails and sleepers.  I had to go at 5.30pm but I believe the rest of the crew stayed until about 8.00pm to complete the job.

After that Saturday all there was left at Synthetic Chemicals was a buffer-stop, some smallish lengths of rail and a few sleepers.  After some hectic phone calls, Steve managed to get about six people on Saturday 22nd to go back and retrieve the last few remnants of track.

On the Sunday, with the help of the CS people, we actually laid the track through Norton Lakeside Station.  Once agreement has been reached with the Railway Inspectorate, it is our intention to just keep laying track down until we run out of either sleepers or rail, or until we reach our next objective which is Chasetown.  It is thought that we now have enough track to get us to the end of our lease, but hopefully we will have topped up our stocks before we get that far.

Whilst we continue to work on the track, the CS people have begun re-pointing the platform at Norton Lakeside Station, and preparing the top for the edging slabs.

  The arrival of a loaned ‘dogfish’ hopper wagon will hopefully make the job of ballasting a lot easier, and there are even rumours of a rented track-tamping machine being used in the near future!


Kenneth Judkins – by Dave Ives

It is my sad duty to inform you that Ken Judkins (Ken the Steam to his close friends), passed away on September 27th 1994 at Anson House Rest Home.  Ken was 91 last January, being born in Little Haywood in 1903.  Ken lived a very colourful and busy life in various parts of the country.  He moved to Stafford for the final few years of his life from Wimbourne Minster, Dorset, stating that he wanted his bones to rest in his native county, which has indeed now happened.  His remains lie buried in Colwich Churchyard.  He was Christened in Colwich Church and served as a chorister for a number of years.

Members will be aware of Ken’s long association with steam traction having started with Ralph Gee & Son, Wolseley Bridge, then on to Staffs County Council, Foden’s, Thomas Hill (Rotherham) Ltd. and Sentinel.

Ken was the author of two books “My Life in Steam” and “More of My Life in Steam”.  The books are worth a read and give a fascinating story of the tough and skilful job of steam driving in the 1920s and 30s.  Ken also served six years in the army RAOC in the war and was wounded in the lung whilst being evacuated from Dunkirk.

I suppose one can sum up by saying that this is the end of an era and that Ken is sorely missed by numerous friends, especially on the rally fields where he gave a lot of advice to scores of steam traction owners.

Alas! We shall no longer see him propping up the bar, staying overnight in one of our coach compartments, puffing his pipe on Brownhills West Station seat or in his brown slop coat and Foden hat on the footplate of the Sentinel.

More about Ken – Nigel Canning

“Ken the Steam” as he was known to his friends, spent the majority of his working life and the whole of his retirement closely involved with steam traction on both the road and railways.  His experiences and expertise were sufficient to fill a book – or two, to be precise – both now sadly long since out of print.

Ken was never happier than when he was showing off just what steam power was capable of, and in his last two jobs, at Foden, and then at Thomas Hill (Sentinel) as Chief Demonstrator and Test Driver, that is exactly what he was paid for, selling those Companies’ products and fending off the advance of the motor lorry and diesel loco.

In his retirement Ken continued to take an interest in steam by helping the preservation movement where his enthusiasm backed up by a lifetime of experience was of invaluable assistance to many an amateur locoman or fitter.

At Chasewater his advice was of particular assistance in the operation of the Sentinel.  On one occasion when one of the poppet valves on the engine was playing up, Ken was all set to ride down the line and back to observe the valve events and pinpoint the problem.  It took a lot of doing to convince him that it was not the done thing to run a passenger train with an engineman in his late eighties hanging on the side of the loco, but we eventually succeeded, and as a result of his advice the valves were alter re-set to operate correctly.

Ken once admitted that he didn’t really like Sentinels as they were dirty things, but that just reflected his real love, the Foden, and his exploits with those machines are well-documented and will be remembered for a long time.