From the RPS Newsletter Oct 1960 Vol 2 No.1
From the General Secretary’s Page
Following a proposal from the Middleton RPS that they would form part of the national organisation envisaged by the RPS, a plan was drawn up outlining an organisation of autonomous groups, each covering a heavily populated area and taking over all responsibility for voluntary preservation in their area. The national level of the organisation would transact such matters as were more effectively handled on a country-wide basis and would provide a common pool of information for all groups to draw on. This was expected to be the most important subject at the AGM on October 22nd 1960.
The District Report
The next item to be moved into Hednesford depot will be a LNWR travelling post office van built in 1909. This carriage keeps most of its original fittings, though the ‘pick-up and drop’ apparatus has been removed at some time and a plain panel used to cover the resulting gap. This is not only a fine relic in itself, but will give covered space for display of historic relics. The British Transport Commission preserves a replica of the original TPO on the London and Birmingham Railway which was built by LMS. Now we have preserved an example of the type used during the early years of the 20th century.
D. Ives Collection
Requirements of the post office were standard for all types of TPO and the appearance of these vehicles only varied with the roof contour and panelling details of the companies who operated them. A very high proportion of pre-grouping types have remained in service until recently when British Railways put in hand the building of complete new trains. An interesting survival was reported a few years ago in the model railway press. This was a six-wheeler TPO of the GNWR stripped and used as a tool van on a break-down train.
Progress on Great Eastern Coach
West Midland District
Despite rather thin attendance at working parties, progress of restoration work on the recently acquired Great Eastern coach has been very satisfactory. It is hoped that the interior will eventually form the first railway museum in the West Midland District. A temporary exhibition will be staged there for our annual meeting on October 22nd.
Inside walls have been scraped and have received a generous coat of priming paint. Most of the woodwork has been repaired. The small brake compartment at the end of the coach has been converted into a tool store.
Improvements are slowly but surely being made to the exterior, one side and end facing the main Hednesford – Cannock line having been completely stripped of paint. Over half of this has been primed. Quite o lot of the panelling had to be replaced, particularly at one of the corners where to our dismay, we found that not only had the panels gone rotten, but also the framework. Fortunately this has now been repaired and new panels fitted.
Work has not yet begun on restoring the Maryport & Carlisle coach, and it may have to be next spring before a start is made. Continual appeals are still being made for more members to come and lend a hand, especially the more local people. Working parties are held every Saturday from 3.00pm to 6.00pm and on Sundays from 2.30pm to 6.00pm.
Visit to Oakamoor Station
Twenty-four members and friends of the WMD visited Oakamoor Station on the ex-North Staffordshire line in the Churnet Valley on June 18th.Rail37.com Churnet Valley Railway Oakamoor Station
The Stationmaster, Mr. Lister, took members on a conducted tour of the station buildings and adjacent copper works sidings. Much interest was shown in an ex-NSR battery electric locomotive, a relic of prime importance, being built at Stoke works in 1916. Still in excellent working condition and used for shunting work in the siding, Mr. Lister demonstrated the vehicle by giving members a short trip up and down.Rail37.com Oakamoor Station – same view as previous.
Returning to the station, members were shown several items of interest including an old print of Oakamoor station in North Stafford days, and two lovely old NS office chairs with the Staffordshire Knot carved on each back-rest. Each member of the party was presented with a sealing wax impression of the NS Railway Oakamoor seal.
Above: The delightful crossing keeper’s house at Oakamoor, just south of Oakamoor Tunnel, which can be seen in the background. This building looks as if it is another of Pugin’s designs, but we have been unable to confirm this. Oakamoor station was situated a short distance behind the photographer and was the next stop north of Alton. 10 November 2007. (Bob Prigg)
Finally members went by train to Alton Towers, a local beauty spot – not without noticing the magnificent NSR stove at Alton station.
Above: This is Alton station in Staffordshire, which was renamed Alton Towers in 1954 – only to close ten years later. (Surely the line might still be busy with a modern theme park en route?) The station was designed by Augustus Pugin (1812-1852), an English architect of the Gothic revival who is better known for his church designs and his work on the interior of the Houses of Parliament. However, Pugin did accept some more modest commissions, including this one for the North Staffordshire Railway, and the railway cottages at Windermere, Cumbria. Alton station is now owned by The Landmark Trust and can be rented for self-catering holidays. The trackbed is used as a railway path linking Oakamoor to the north and Denstone to the south. 10 November 2007. (Bob Prigg)