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Tag Archives: DL7
One from the Engine Shed
A member of the Chasewater Railway Museum Staff brought the latest magazine from the Cambrian Heritage Railways for others to have a look at, and there, on the cover, was an old friend of the Chasewater Railway. Any readers of Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces will recognise it. It left Chasewater for Titley Junction, and has now moved on again.
A New Operating Set for Llynclys
Since operations started at Llynclys in 2005, operations have mainly been operated by a DMU set (apart from the occasional forays with steam). For the 2012 season the DMU services will be supplemented with a formation comprising a diesel shunter, a passenger carriage and a brake van.
Diesel Shunter 11517
On Friday 30th September 2011 a new locomotive arrival was to be seen at Llynclys. The loco is a vacuum fitted 0-4-0 diesel electric shunter (dual fitted with air brakes), built by Ruston & Hornsby. The 165 hp Ruston diesel engine powers a single traction engine located under the cab. The electrics were all supplied by Allied Electrical Industries (AEI). Although it has a works number of 458641, it now masquerades with the fictional BR number of 11517.
It’s in need of a good clean and repaint on the outside but the cab interior is in excellent condition. We need to source new fuel filters for the engine and Richard Boughton (our CME) is looking into this for us. Thanks to all those who have helped with this latest arrival, it represents another step in the right direction. As they say “the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”.
A Previous Repaint
It was quite a coincidence that the magazine should turn up this week (Tuesday April 17th) as one of the Chasewater members instrumental in the previous repaint was Helen Borton (nee Dean) who was at Chasewater this past weekend with the Chasewater Transport Show!
It needed it!!
From the ‘Chasewater Railway News’ – Summer 2002, Editor: Helen Dean
The repaint began on Good Friday of this year. Our initial idea was to give the loco a quick sanding and a lick of paint just to brighten it up. Therefore we all thought it would be finished within a week. HOW WRONG WE WERE! After a long talk between ourselves we decided to strip the loco down to bare metal, however, we did not anticipate just how long it would take. We first started stripping the paint by using a needle gun, which turned out to be very time-consuming. It took us four days just to strip one side of the loco back to the metal. Therefore we decided to change our tactics. We found that a blowlamp and scraper was a much better method. After another two days (six days in total) the stripping was complete and we were ready for the first coat of primer. We brush painted three coats of the grey primer onto the metal and sanded between coats. We then began brush painting the black undercoat and the finish we achieved was fantastic. Three coats of the black undercoat were applied and we were then ready for the top coat. After all of the hard work we had done we hit a big problem – we could not get the brush marks to disappear from he top coat and we began to panic.
Luckily, one of our working members, Mark Sealey, very kindly offered to spray the top coat on for us. Mark sprayed two coats of the top coat on and you could see your face in the paintwork when it was dry. Mark also very kindly obtained the British Rail lion and wheel transfers for the sides and the BR numbers for the cab. These were fixed along with fabulous new nameplates and brand new headlights for the front and back (courtesy of Les Emery). At last, after 25 days the job was complete.
119 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From the Editorial
This magazine sees another change of Editor as I (Nigel Canning) volunteered to take some of the load off Steve Organ. We both spend a lot of time at Chasewater so we have up to date material for the magazine, but perhaps the problem is recognising it. A number of members and visitors who had not been to Chasewater for a while have expressed amazement at the recent improvements and are obviously delighted, whilst those of us who work there every week tend to have on our minds want we haven’t done yet rather than what we have. As you read the various sections of this magazine you will see the usual excuse for jobs not being completed, ‘lack of manpower’, however, if you look back through previous magazines the problem has subtly changed, hopefully for the better.
It used to be: ‘Insufficient manpower to rebuild the railway to allow train operation’.
Then: ‘Insufficient manpower to run trains more often’.
Now: ‘Insufficient manpower to open the bar every week’.
Next perhaps: ‘Insufficient manpower to sell tickets at Willowvale Halt’.
Asbestos – This engine has worked all of this year’s trains so far with only various minor leaks having needed attention. The recent introduction of two coach trains has proved to be no problem at all for it, with only apparent minimal increase in coal consumption.
Sentinel – Getting this loco through the various stages of a major (five yearly) boiler examination has proved to be a long drawn out business, however it is now ready for its steam test and should be back in traffic by the time you read this magazine. In addition to the statutory inspection work, an extra water level gauge has been fitted to the boiler, also a new, larger ashpan ready for working the new Norton Expresses.
Lion – Much enthusiastic work has continued on this engine, mainly getting the boiler ready for its initial major examination. In addition to this, various new boiler fittings have been procured and machined, further vacuum brake pipework added and more paint applied to the frames. Hopefully the loco will enter service during 1990.
DL7 – This loco has again run well, performing all the shunting and works train movements. The only minor failure was that of a bearing in the small battery charging dynamo which was repaired fairly easily. Following a bout of vandalism by local tow-rags the loco has been repainted in ‘Rail Blue’ complete with yellow and black striped ends to cover the graffiti.
Fowler – This has remained ‘standby diesel’ due to a blowing cylinder head gasket. Attempts at finding the necessary details required for the repair, type of head gasket, torques and torquing sequence, etc. gave been somewhat protracted due to the engine manufacturer’s inability to provide the information even when the block number was quoted. This loco is also in the process of being repainted, but in Longmoor Military style of blue with the motion and other details picked out in red.
The big news is that the Wickham trailer entered service on Saturday 17th June coupled to the Gloucester to form the first regular two-coach train. The following day there was another first when the bar was opened and refreshments were served on the moving train. Although a certain amount of finishing off work is still required to the interior, the coach has run every week since its inaugural day and has been a great success. A finishing touch currently underway is a pub sign ‘The Wickham Bar’ being painted on the large unglazed body panel at the gangway end of the vehicle. A precedent for this was the Southern Region ‘Tavern Cars’ which ran for a while in the fifties in ‘ blood & Custard’ livery with brickwork and a pub sign painted at one end. Other than the three DMUs, no work has been carried out on rolling stock due to lack of manpower.Permanent Way News
One problem with running trains every Sunday is that it doesn’t leave enough people to do much in the was of trackwork. However, the track we are currently running on is in reasonable condition and, by our standards, is remarkably free of weeds. In view of the above situation, all efforts will be concentrated later in the year, starting around September, on a number of projects. These will be; packing rough bits of the existing line, repairing the fencing again, completing the run round loop at Brownhills West, building a platform at Willowvale and then extending the line towards the causeway. Any volunteers for this work will receive a warm welcome and a choice of shovels!
So far this year operating the railway has been even more hectic than usual for a number of reasons. A lot more trains have been scheduled, running every Sunday in July and August, which is another ‘first’ for the railway. In addition to this, steam trains were run on Monday July 3rd, two school specials, and the first ever Birthday Party Special, all of which were very successful and will hopefully be repeated regularly. The recent addition of two-coach trains in itself has been no problem, but when the bar is in use at least one extra person is needed to staff it. For the obvious security reasons the day’s work involves loading every item of stock onto the train and unloading every remaining item at the end of the day. As a result, so far this year the bar has been open only on special days when staff have been available. A similar problem has of course existed for a long time with the Wickham buffet car with all stock having to be transported to and from safe storage. As usual any volunteers will receive a warm welcome and a choice of whatever the apparatus for this work might be!
98 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Summer 1983
Editorial – Chasewater in Crisis
On behalf of the Society I must apologise for the long gap between this and the last magazine due to a long list of reasons. There has just not been either the time or the money to expend on such a publication.
At present our membership wavers around the 100 mark, of which around 10% manage to visit regularly. It seems unfortunate that each week we rely on the same members attending to the Railway’s needs, without the active support of the other 90%. It is little wonder that the veterans are fast becoming despondent with the work load being foisted on them.
Unless there is a significant change in the attitude of our membership, one of two things will happen: either the Railway stock will have to be drastically pruned to the minimum required to run a service, or we shut the doors and sell the lot.
I beg more of you to attend, if only on an occasional basis. It always seems strange to me how many of you can attend the AGM and that’s the last we see of you for twelve months.
Tony Sale – Assistant General Manager.
Asbestos – This engine has now been in the process of restoration for about five years, due mainly to shortage of manpower. The frames and wheels have been re-assembled, the boiler tubed and the tank and cab are being repainted. Now we have to complete the boiler repairs and drop it into the frames and one day we may have a working engine.
Invicta – This engine is now in store pending the fitting of vacuum brake gear and the overhaul of the main bearing brasses. Work is hoped to commence on completion of Asbestos.Sentinel taking water at our old HQ
Sentinel – The boiler was split to reveal the inner firebox for the boiler inspector but work has now been shelved in order to concentrate work on Asbestos.Ruston & Hornsby DL7 entering the old Brownhills West Station
DL7 – The mainstay of our shunting force has performed reasonably well over the last two years and it holds the distinction of being our only regularly working engine. This diesel locomotive is subject to an appeal to maintain its presence at Chasewater, which you may or may not like to subscribe to.
S100 – If I didn’t have to assist running the Railway I might find more time to devote to this rather large jigsaw puzzle, but despite all, progress is still being made, weather permitting, you would be amazed how much one person can achieve by himself, so if someone would like to assist, twice as much could be accomplished.
All other locomotives are stored unserviceable for the foreseeable future, including the Neilson, which requires new tubes. It can only be hoped that decay can be kept to a minimum to ensure resurrection in years to come.
Carriages and Wagons
Here I hoped to bring glad tidings, but unfortunately the only news is that the MSLR carriage is still in the shed and has been largely untouched due to the fact that there are no carpenters in our midst. The only other news is that a few more doors have dropped off the Maryport & Carlisle coach and the rest are generally suffering from many years of neglect.
Another late snippet is that someone wants to buy the TPO. Your Committee is in favour and I myself fully support them, but the choice is yours, so make it known fast, it will be no good grumbling after it has left.
As many of you know, much of the money needed to support the Railway is generated in the form of sales of soft drinks and chocolates. Recently the Wickham DMU was acquired in order to branch out further into the prepared food department, all we need is one interested member prepared to buy, prepare and sell. If anyone would come to volunteer we would be only too happy to assist in any way, as well as supplying a warehouse card which could also be used for their own benefit.
The new loco shed has certainly proved to be one of the most important developments at Chasewater. Not only does it supply ideal conditions for thorough restoration, it also allows work to continue after dark. Although this building has been with us for over a year there are still improvements to be made, i.e. fitting of three phase electric cables within the building and also fitting of a compressed air circuit. Once the former has been completed, all our machinery can be powered and the shed can be said to be fully operational.Taken from DL7, approaching the loco shed from the same direction as we do now – obviously before the changes!
T ask Force Notes
A new task force was supplied together with finance and a new Manager, to commence work on the track layout. After last season the Railway lost its powers of running the line until such times as the whole of the permanent way was relaid in order to comply with the Railway Inspectorate’s standards.
In short, the platform front has been demolished to supply the necessary clearance, (rebuilding is now underway) and a run round loop is being built in the vicinity of the compound. Next the line will be lifted and replaced with better quality materials down to the old exchange sidings where another run round loop will be constructed. Upon completion a further visit by the Railway Inspectorate will then be made, and hopefully we shall run again. I can only say that I hope all goes well for the Task Force and both luck and weather is on their sides.
On behalf of the Company I have been asked by our Chairman to include the following appeal.
Save DL7 for Chasewater
The Company needs money to service a large overdraft and whilst the Railway is not running, little money is being repaid and understandably the Bank Manager is a little distressed.
If you would like to give some money to this appeal, you will be helping DL7 because if the Company is declared bankrupt, DL7 will certainly be seized as an asset. If the engine belongs to the membership it is safe along with the rest of the Society’s collection from the grips of the Liquidators
If you cannot afford a share, buy one together with some friends – you may buy as many as you like.
Shares are available in multiples of £10.00.
94 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
21st Anniversary Edition – 1
News from the Line
As a follow-on from the previous post, there is another comprehensive report on the locos, so I thought that I would reproduce it to check on the progress on the engines.
This loco finally entered service on Gricers’ Day, 12th October, after several test steamings. Many repairs were carried out to the tank before it was refitted. The loco appears to be very powerful and is mechanically superb and will come into its own when services are eventually extended. The external finish however leaves a lot to be desired and it is hoped that the owners will rectify this in the near future.
Since the last report a vast amount of work has been carried out on this loco. The boiler returned from Park Holland Ltd. in February after having the necessary fire box repairs. Following this little work was done on the loco due to work on other engines but after mechanical problems with the ex MD and HB crane the wheels were despatched to the SVR wheel lathe at Bridgnorth and were back at Chasewater in October. Their return signalled renewed vigour upon the loco and the wheels were stripped to the bare metal and given five coats of paint before the axle boxes were refitted. The first weekend of 1981 saw the frames back on the wheels making the loco mobile again after eighteen months of elevation. Following this the inside motion has been refitted and retubing of the boiler has started. Hopefully the boiler will be hydraulically tested during the spring and refitted to the frames. Although no firm date can be given, ‘Asbestos’ should return to steam this year.
The big Ruston has run trouble free most of the time and has earned its corn by performing several ‘master shunts’ over the last twelve months. A rather garish ‘Bull inspired’ livery has been applied and has been met with the usual mixed CLR reaction to such creations.
After another trouble free year the loco is in store until the new season starts at Easter. Unfortunately the six-yearly hydraulic test is due at the end of June, immediately after ‘Transport Scene’ 1981 which will be its last appearance for a while. The hydraulic teat will be carried out during the winter of 1981/82 and hopefully no problems should ensue.
The dawning of a new decade saw the re-emergence of one Mr. T.R.Sale Esq. which has resulted in dramatic changes – i.e. the loco is completely strewn to the four winds! The boiler was jacked up out of the frames and then lifted onto a flat wagon and finally deposited on a pile of sleepers next to the Great Eastern mess van. The boiler inspector has been and shaken his head at three corners of the firebox and given instructions as to what must be done and where, which basically involves building up of wasted plate work and a dozen or so new rivets. Following removal of the boiler the chassis has been dismantled and the wheels removed which are to follow in the step (?) of ‘Asbestos’ and spend a day or so on the Bridgnorth lathe. Most of 1981 will be spent cleaning frames, etc. which should keep one or two people out of harm’s way!
This is the first time that any progress can be reported on this loco which is the ex Walsall Gas Works Sentinel loco No. 9632 of 1957. The loco is still at Butterley on the Midland Railway Project Group’s line but following various excuses and delays the boiler has been re-tubed, successfully hydraulically tested and refitted to the frames and at the time of writing new pipework is being fabricated. Current thoughts seem to indicate that the loco will finally arrive at Chasewater in June or July. For newer members it should be explained that the loco (in working order) forms part of the exchange deal for the ex Midland Railway Royal Saloon Coach which was agreed upon back in 1978.
This loco has been loaned to the Bass Brewery museum at Burton-upon-Trent for an initial period of ten years. The main reason for this is that the engine is in need of a drastic rebuild and as the sister engine No.21 is in full working order (and newly painted) neither the time nor the money will be available to repair it in the foreseeable future.
Photo from British Locomotive Preservation – 1969
This loco is, as already stated, in full working order and was repainted by the Brothers Grimm to celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the Society.
93 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Autumn 1979 – 2
As it’s the end of a decade, a complete rundown of locos is given.
‘Invicta’ AB 2220/1946The loco was kept in reserve at the start of the season and was not steamed until June 10th and then chose to run hot! As there was only two weeks to go before Transport Scene there was much gloom and despondency around as well as a fair amount of bickering.
The offending bearing was the rear driver’s side axle box and this was duly removed following sterling work by those stout fellows Messrs. Hames and Luker. Inspection of said bearing revealed the cause of the trouble. It was a well known fact that during her latter years at Chatham, ‘Invicta’ had been fitted with a brand new rear axle and someone had obviously forgotten to cut oil grooves in the bearing brass, leaving only two small holes to lubricate the axle – not very good – especially as one had got blocked leading to overheating so bad as to actually melt the bearing surface.
Swift alterations to the bearing saw the loco back in service within four hours and the loco has performed without trouble ever since.
‘Invicta’ is undoubtedly the loco to be used at the start of the 1980 season, following the annual boiler test.
‘Alfred Paget’ N 2937/1882The ancient Neilson has performed without trouble all season and is now awaiting its hydraulic test, after Christmas, which will entail the removal of the saddle tank and boiler lagging and cladding. As its firebox has overcome its leakage problems it would seem probable that the boiler test will be passed without too much trouble. The opportunity will be taken for a thorough repaint and perhaps even new boiler cladding sheets will be provided to replace the current motley collection. There is every confidence of the loco working next season – the loco’s 98th year in fact.
The loco is completely dismantled and a thorough mechanical and cosmetic job is being done to ensure trouble-free running when it resumes earning its keep.
The boiler was lifted out of the frames in June and was finally despatched to Park Holland Ltd. of Hanley on August 12th. It now seems as though the firebox repairs will be of the welding and riveting kind rather than uplifting of the foundation ring, following a further examination by our tame boiler inspector. The boiler is said to be ready around Christmas time which will ensure plenty of work in the New Year.
Following the removal of the boiler the motion was completely taken down, followed by jacking the frames clear of the wheels to enable the wheels to be rolled out. Removal of the wheels has enabled a thorough paint job to be done on the frames, at present five coats have been applied with at least one more to follow. To enable all members to feel part of the restoration team a couple of carriage and wagon tappers were roped in for a paint session (only undercoats of course!) though with the onset of stormy weather they have been despatched back to their rightful place fending off the bitter easterly winds off the workshop area.
Removal of the wheels will enable tyre turning to take place, probably at Bridgnorth. The valves and motion have had attention with reassembly following, as far as the lack of wheels will allow anyway! Whilst Brian has been busy machining the regulator valve to allow greater use of the steam produced. All concerned with the restoration of the loco are confident of seeing it in steam next year.
‘The Colonel’ P 1341/1914The hydraulic test was passed in July, followed by refitting of the boiler cladding and lagging since when not much has been done save for the two Bobs (and others) finishing off the new coal bunker which looks rather fine. Providing the tank can be repaired the loco should see service next year.
‘Peckett’ 917/1902No work has been done on this loco apart from routine preservative maintenance, but the situation should change once ‘Asbestos’ is back in traffic, as it is the next loco due for ‘works’ treatment.
Hudswell Clarke 431/1895Following a relatively ‘light job’ on Peckett 917 the ‘old Hudswell’ should get the full treatment though this is probably a good 18 months away at the moment. (32 years and counting!)
This loco is in a presentable state at the moment but needs heavy boiler and firebox repairs before it can steam again – pity as the mechanics are in first-class condition.
The loco migrated into the compound and the boiler received a coat of paint, since when nothing, – where are you, Tony?
DL7 (RH 458641/1961)Once the loco was cajoled into action after removal to Chasewater it has proved to be a fine acquisition and it is to be hoped that the CLR Co. will have sufficient funds to buy it off the STEPS scheme.
Apart from working 5 days a week it has proved its worth on shunting duties on steam days, as well as hauling a couple of passenger trains on Gricers’ Day. Once its future is secure the NCB green will disappear under a coat of CLR livery of some colour or another.
Of the two Bass-Worthington diesels, No.21 sees occasional use whilst No.20 is rumoured to be going off on loan to the Bass Museum, Burton-on-Trent, which will be a useful advert for the Railway and give us a bit of room.(It went and is still there, 2011)
The two No.1s are performing sterling work as a stop block on ‘Three Road’ whilst various people mutter darkly about getting them going again.
Whilst on the subject of infernal combustion it must be mentioned that Bob Curtis has offered to paint No.21 as the Society is 21 years old next year. Well done that man.
Carriage & Wagon Department
He DMU trailer coach has performed well as usual but the paintwork is now in need of some touching up, especially around the windows – so hopefully this will be done before it gets worse as, having seen similar coaches on a North Yorkshire Moorland Railway, it wouldn’t be advisable to wait too long.
Messrs. Pearson and Curtis have been busy painting the ex LNWR TPO and nailing panels back onto the Maryport and Carlisle coach. We are hoping they will move onto the LNWR full brake after finishing the TPO as the paint is fast peeling off.
John Elsley is busy rebuilding the fire-damaged brake end of the ex MSL six-wheeler and it is looking better with every panel. The only other item to receive attention has been the Great Western brake van which should get repainted during the New Year, following some welding to the platework which is rather thin in places.
92 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1979 1
From the Editorial.
In common with many other railways, the Chasewater Light Railway has had a mixed season and if the success of the 1970s in the preservation world is to be sustained into the 1980s then two problems need solving and solving fast. The first is the much publicised fuel crisis, caused in the main by the sharp increase in the price of crude oil (1979 or 2011 – some things don’t change much!). This undoubtedly has, and will continue to do so, restricted the freedom of people to go out in leisure time as often as in recent years. As the CLR is on the fringe of a large conurbation the problem should not be as great as on a good many of the standard gauge railways and perhaps we will gain an increase of visitors being close at hand.
The other problem is the ending of the Government sponsored job creation schemes, on which many railways have benefited over the past few years. The sudden termination of paid 5 day week staff will surely hit routine maintenance on our longer brothers and will lead to the need for railway sponsored full-timers or greater numbers of regular volunteers.
Perhaps it is fair comment to say that at Chasewater the era of Government sponsored full-time staff is ending at the right time. Throughout the year the number of volunteers has slowly dwindled, all too often comments being along the lines of ‘Oh, if I don’t turn up, STEPS will do it during the week.’ Well next year there won’t be any full-time staff so if a job is left undone by a volunteer then that’s the way it will remain. There has also been a feeling of it not being ‘our’ railway with full-time staff, and the communal atmosphere of Sundays at Chasewater is one of the nicest things about the CLR. Perhaps these factors and the end product of the STEPS scheme (i.e. a longer serviceable railway) will pull back the missing faces and some new ones as well, and with effort applied in the right directions our 21st year should be the most successful yet.Looking down ‘The Branch’ before clearing (towards the Norton East Road)
The scheme Is scheduled to finish on the 31st December although a limited extension with a few workers may see work carry on into March 1980.
The only way to describe the work being done is to give a list of the jobs done so far. Any comments about the scheme and the feeling of CLRS members is, in the final analysis, rendered somewhat superfluous by the sheer volume of hard physical graft that has gone on as well as the supply of materials for rebuilding the railway. One thing is certain and that is that Society members have been saved from 3 to 4 years of hard, back-breaking work, and that alone is something to be thankful for.
The jobs that have been done are listed in no particular order. (This sentence was written long before Philip Schofield and ‘Dancing on Ice’ or any of the other singing and dancing shows were on the telly. It was new then – it drives me crackers now!!)
1. Packing and repair of main running line which has resulted in a smoother ride, especially in the DMU trailer.
2. Finishing of point on south end of the loop – started by members last year.
3. Shortening of loop and removal of the two points at the northern end of the loop. In fact the whole of the loop has been lifted; the shortened loop awaits arrival of extra sleepers before it can be relaid.
4. Lessening of gradient of bank up to causeway.
5. Tipping on causeway and subsequent levelling.
6. Relaying of causeway – at present the causeway is wide enough for the railway but further tipping is necessary to widen the formation to provide adequate footpath facilities.
7. Digging out of top end of line – this has revealed the track to be in a very poor state and much work is needed to bring the track into a comparable state to the rest of the railway.
8. Digging out of ‘Branch’ prior to reclaiming track materials.
9. Moving of point and lengthening of ‘Elsley’s Siding’. This was completed in three weeks during a lull in train services at the end of July and beginning of August.
10. Building of compound and loading platform at ‘Elsley’s Siding’. This is a great improvement and the addition of a box van body will make it very griddy, very Colonel Stephens.
11. Relaying of level crossing, which is now much smoother.
The transformation upon the railway is somewhat devastating to the casual observer and if you haven’t seen the work done yet, then come on over – it’s YOUR taxes that have paid for it!
1980 should see consolidation of the work done under the auspices of the STEPS programme and promises to be every bit as exciting as 1979 has been.
The CLR Co. are planning to purchase a further passenger carrying coach as well as locomotive DL7, and making money available for any further capital expenditure needed.
Providing the purchase of the land and track (plus associated Light Railway Order) finally goes ahead then there is every confidence of services being extended to at least the north end of the causeway, with passengers being able to alight there and explore the previously out of reach NE shore of Chasewater. This will enable fares to be increased to give more much needed revenue as well as being far more interesting than the present 800 yard shuttle to enthusiasts, public and volunteers alike.
Of course, hopefully more volunteers will turn up to help (or else the improvements won’t be realised to their full potential) or will they……?Ruston & Hornsby 458641-61 at Brownhills West (Later known as DL7)
91 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces June 1979 1
News from the Line
The close season has seen a tremendous amount of work done, though with the start of the STEPS programme on 2nd January this is not altogether surprising. By the middle of March there were twenty one men in employment on the railway, their basic task being to rebuild it! Our thanks go to Derek Cartwright for giving up his job at British Rail, Derby to oversee the project. Due to the severe winter the STEPS workers have done a variety of smaller tasks including repainting the interiors of the Great Eastern and Midland passenger brake vans and completing the refurbishing of the DMU trailer coach. Their greatest impact so far is to be seen on the loopline where one line has been dug out and weeded. Great activity can also be seen in the vicinity of the causeway which has slowly been washed away over the last few years. The track has now been dug out in preparation for lifting and a start has been made on tipping some of the estimated 8,000 tons of hardcore needed to rebuild the causeway. Other tasks completed include extending the compound fencing around the station area and digging out and re-aligning the level crossing.
Whilst the STEPS programme has been busy there has been no let up on the volunteer’s workload, despite the inclement weather.
Since the last Newsletter there have been two new additions to stock. A three plank dropsied wagon has been donated by British Reinforced Concrete Limited of Stafford, and the Chasewater Light Railway Company has purchased a Ruston & Hornsby 0-4-0 diesel electric locomotive No. 458641/61 (which is, incidentally, the most modern item of rolling stock on the line) which will be ideal for pulling works trains and deputising for a failed steam loco if required. In both cases transport was provided by John Moores Limited of Hixon.
‘The Colonel’Work proceeds apace on the restoration of this loco which should see service before the end of the summer. The boiler inspector has given the go-ahead for conversion to coal-firing and so all the oil-firing equipment, including the hideous fuel tank of the cab roof, has been removed. Other work done on the loco includes removal of the tank, removal of boiler cladding and lagging, replacement of the dumb buffers by proper Peckett style buffers (these were taken off AB 1223 which has since been fitted with ‘Barclay’ style buffers off Hibberd diesel No.1, construction of a coal bunker on the rear of the cab, descaling of boiler and preparation for its hydraulic test. Removal of all the paint off the saddle tank reveals that it is not as rotten as first feared and thus the anticipated repairs will not be as expensive as first feared.
Inspired by this, the owner has ordered a set of name and number plates, the loco becoming No.2 ‘The Colonel’.
The end of 1978 saw the closing of the ‘gap’ between the present running line and the loopline. This enabled us to get a train up to the causeway and a start was made on filling up the holes which had undermined the trackbed. This was incredibly tedious work, unloading 8 ton wagons by hand, and thankfully this work is now in the hands of the STEPS workers. Following this we turned our attention to the station area and it was found that last year’s extension to the platform was slowly slipping away due to inadequate drainage. To this end, a series of trenches have been dug to drain the area, including the overflow from the water tower. The associated pipework now drains directly into the lake. With this problem overcome, work can be completed on the platform including the provision of lighting, and facing the platform walls with red bricks.
The brothers Grimm have been busy converting the box van body into a refreshment room cum waiting room which will enable hot food to be served due to the provision of electricity in the van body and the neighbouring office (yet another trench!) The other project done this winter has been to install mercury-vapour lighting in the compound area which will enable the various lamp posts in the compound to be installed on the platform. One other task has been to hire a JCB and driver to dig a drainage ditch alongside the loopline to prevent the ballast being washed away.
Passenger figures for the 1978 season show a 25% increase on those for 1977. Due to the modest fare increase implemented, receipts were double those for 1977. During the coming season trains will operate on the second and fourth Sundays of each month, starting at Easter.
One benefit already gained off the STEPS programme is the Cox’s Portakabin which has been set up as an office and contains all the Society’s files and information accrued over the past 20 years. The office is also on the phone, and will be used as an information centre on operating days.