Taken from Mercian Early 1968 Vol.1 No.2
Hon. Secretary’s Report
This is the first time I have had the pleasure of writing a report for the ‘Mercian’.
As some of you are aware Mr. D.A.Ives resigned at the AGM from the post of Secretary, after eight years of Secretaryship of the Society, in which he has put in a tremendous amount of work. I was elected Secretary for the coming year at the AGM, and Dave has very kindly stayed on as Joint Secretary, until I am fully conversant with the job.
There have been several interesting developments recently, which I might briefly mention, as they are all very new. Firstly the Brownhills-Aldridge UDC have kindly filled in and levelled the plot of our proposed Museum at Chasewater. Secondly our line at Chasewater is now an isolated railway – we have been cut off from BR by the removal of a level-crossing. (Presumably the one at the entrance to Anglesey Sidings) Thirdly on Saturday 2nd December, 1967, a long-awaited member of our loco stud arrived – by road – a Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST, used until December, 1966, in the Ironstone Quarries at Desborough. This locomotive was steamed by Mr. Civil and Mr. Luker (our expert loco-fitters) before purchase, and ran for some little while before they declared it a good purchase. Fourthly we are now in possession of a weed-killing wagon from Holly Bank Colliery, which will be a useful vehicle. Lastly we have the MR covered wagon ex bass Breweries, now at Chasewater.
Things have been happening in the last week or two, but as we still have to transport two coaches from Yorkshire, an engine from Warrington , and are assisting Mr. Wildish with the purchase of another engine for the Society, we cannot afford to be complacent. We still desperately need labour and money! Any help at all, in either of these directions, will be more than welcome, especially in the selling of Tote tickets amongst your friends, or coming along on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon fro a bit of track digging , or painting.
T.G.Cousens Hon. Secretary
From the Chairman’s Notes
The Society had a new Chairman as well as a new Secretary, with Mr.C.E.Ives taking over from Albert Holden, who was thanked for his work for the Society, especially as the organiser of the weekly Tote, which has brought in hundreds of pounds to the Society.
In addition to the usual appeal for members to help with track work, there was also an appeal for help with the smaller relics in the museum, Mr. Nigel Hadlow was the Hon. Curator.
Also grateful thanks to our engineering staff both at Chasewater and Hixon, who are both restoring and maintaining motive power, I understand that before long, steam will be up at Chasewater. Long may it blow off!!!
In conclusion a special thank you to one of our junior members Doug Hood, who spent most of his summer holiday painting and restoring stock at Hednesford.
Progress at Chasewater
As regular members will know a considerable amount of progress is taking place at Chasewater. The present project is the complete clearing of all track. This is a formidable operation but already a good portion of the Norton passing loop is complete and if progress is maintained the causeway over Chasewater should be reached by winter. A weed killing wagon has been purchased and this will be put to use as each section is cleared. The removal of the undergrowth has revealed the track to be in a remarkable state of preservation.
During the summer months the level of Chasewater dropped several feet ( the 2010 version really showed how it should be done!!) and the opportunity was taken to do some work on the bridge at the end of the causeway.
The works trains are now hauled by the ex Worthington diesel No.21 with diesel No.1 acting as spare engine. The third diesel No.20 is at present being overhauled and will no doubt be in use in the near future.
At the beginning of October contractors working on behalf of Aldridge-Brownhills Urban District Council commenced the preparation of the ground on the site of the proposed museum and this stage is due to be completed by December bringing us one step nearer to our goal.
Although the winter is ahead work will proceed as usual. General maintenance will continue to be done on Saturdays and track clearing on Sundays. All members, old and new, are welcome. The job is a hard one but as everyone who has helped agrees the sight of nice, clean permanent way is one of the most rewarding experiences we have yet had at Chasewater.
Report on the Neilson Locomotive Fund
The fund was helped in no small measure by the running of a raffle, which made a profit of £92. 16s. 9d. (£92.84p) The figures seem very small by 2010 standards!
The income was £32.50 donations, £ 92.84 raffle and a loan of £80.00. The first payment on the loco of £75.00 had been made. Payment for the locomotive has been guaranteed by the end of March – that is the other £75. This leaves us £57.36 to move the Neilson which may well have to be moved to Chasewater in April, and another £100 will be required by then.
There followed an appeal for more funds – public appeals in the Railway Observer and the Railway Word had not brought in a penny despite good billings in both magazines.
Thanks to everyone for help with the raffle. It is hoped that before the summer is very old we shall have Baird and Scottish Steel’s No. 11 in steam at Chasewater.
From an article by Gerald Wildish
A Weekend at Desborough by Laurence Hopkins.
Saturday 21st October, 1967. In spite of typical RPS weather, as members set out for Desborough we were in high spirits, and were looking forward to seeing the Hudswell Clarke in steam. On arrival the members found a difficult task before them in that nearly three lengths of track had been lifted, between the points on the shed road. While Mr. Civil and Mr. Luker got steam up, a start was made in lifting three lengths of track from an adjoining line. This being done, and the engine having sufficient steam up, we proceeded to move the rail 60ft lengths up to the points. This task was carried out in filthy weather, and half the distance was completed by nightfall.
Sunday 22nd October,1967. Transport was by Mike Lewis’s van, and having made ourselves comfortable, we proceeded on the way via the Chester Road, as Trevor had run out of petrol at New Oscott. We then did a grand tour of Coventry City. On arrival at Desborough, the remaining lengths of track were laid. The track being completed, the engine was run out over the section laid. After lunch the engine was put through its paces and found to be mechanically sound. To sum up – we must thank Mr. Civil and Mr. Luker for the fine work they put in, getting the engine ready for its steaming test.