Tag Archives: Events

Getting ready for the Elves!

The Heritage Centre has seen  a fair bit of movement in the last couple of weeks – just about everything has been moved!  And, for a day or two, you can see the mural!DSCF1908The Neilson loco, ‘Alfred Paget’ has been moved into the workshop, the steam crane has been moved out and the hand crane has changed roads.DSCF1909

I suppose what I am most pleased about is the fact that the Planet has moved over so that the inside can be seen – thank you folks!!

I must say that it is good to see well-painted items of rolling stock leading down to the Museum – it seems to add so much to the impression of the rolling stock being taken care of.DSCF1911The narrow gauge carriage at the end makes a good back-drop too.

Now it is all ready for Santa’s little helpers to build the grotto!!

Mind you, I did think I saw one or two in the distance starting work the other day……..DSCF1904

Severn Valley Railway Autumn Gala


Double-headed 41241 and 46443

This Saturday, 26th September 2009, I had a change and visited the Severn Valley Railway for their Autumn Gala.  Beautiful Autumn sunshine and 13 locos steaming, some resident and some visitors – a brilliant day.  2009_09260015

Bradley Manor

The event ran from Friday morning until Sunday evening non-stop! It was certainly well attended on Saturday with a number of trains full to capacity.2009_092600295764 leaving Bridgnorth2009_09260036

Great Northern Railway Class N2 0-6-2T No.1744


The stations were shown at their best too.2009_09260074

The Bridgnorth to Hampton Loade shuttle with 5764 in charge waiting in sidings for the big boys to come through!2009_09260047The favourite on the day – 43106

The roping-off of the area in front of the shed at Bridgnorth was well done.  It showed visitors where they could go rather than where they couldn’t!  Nice to get up close and personal to the locos!!In Yard

Don’t forget the first visit by ‘Tornado’ to the Severn Valley Railway,

24th October to 1st November.

Christmas is a comin’

Santa Specials

2008_11302008Santa0009Santa won’t be long, now!

With his friend Meccano JoeMeccano 3

It’s time to think about booking for your visit:  go to


for your booking form or ring 01543 452623

To see the Meccano working, use the link to youtube

and enter ‘meccano’ in the search box

Industrial Gala

Sunday 13th September

2009_09130039The second day highlight in the heritage centre was this six coupled diesel loco – it’s just a pity more people didn’t see it.  As I said yesterday, our visitors don’t like walking round to the back door.  There were times when there was no loco movement in the vicinity and it would have been safe to cross – if only we had a Station Master on duty to control the crossing.  It would surely be a quite simple task for someone with an understanding of the timetable.  To continue the now regular moan about station staff, it does seem absolutely ridiculous that the railway has a Gala, with a fairly complex timetable, and no-one on duty on the platform, in uniform to help our paying passengers.  Earlier in the year, were five people not appointed Station Masters – what has happened to them?

One is now a valued member of the museum staff2009_06090009But that still leaves four!

As for the Gala attendance, it didn’t seem to be as busy as you would expect  – not what you would hope for with such good weather.  A lot of work went into the Gala, especially by the train crews, but with no different locos on show, interest seemed to be lacking.  Also there were a quite a few other events held over this weekend.

The highlight of the running locos was, for me at any rate, the re-appearance of the ‘Bass No.5’ diesel engine – nice to see it back in the yard.2009_091300412009_09130046

2009_09130100The narrow gauge ran demonstration trains for a while, but, with no passenger facility, didn’t seem to generate much interest among the public on this occasion.

The museum also continued to suffer low numbers, with just an occasional burst of activity, in spite of having the Industrial Railway Society’s Eric Tonks nameplate collection on show.2009_09130057I hope that passenger figures prove me wrong as to the overall ‘feel’ of the Gala, but after the great success of the 50th Anniversary bash it felt a little flat.2009_09130052It’s a frame-up!!

Industrial Gala

Saturday 12th September2009_09120001Getting steam up!

The first day of the Industrial Gala and beautiful warm sunshine – couldn’t be better!  Once timetables were available and things started moving, everything seemed to run very well and right on schedule.2009_09120011For the first time for a number of years we had the Western Re-enactment Group showing what they could do.  They certainly enjoy themselves and try to ensure that spectators enjoy it too!  Everyone knew that they were there – those guns had no silencers!!

There were the usual passenger, coal and freight trains, together with the popular push-and-pull with Asbestos and Colin McAndrew in action with the riding van and a brake van.2009_09120025The only down-side as far as I could see was the number of visitors to the museum.  Whenever our visitors have to walk around the platform instead of entering the Heritage Centre via the crossing, it seems that they just won’t do it – numbers today were well down on recent weeks, enthusiasts come to see us but not ordinary passengers.   Perhaps it will be better tomorrow if the narrow gauge is running demonstration trains.2009_09120007Bearing in mind that Sundays are nearly always better-attended than Saturdays, and the weather forecast is still exceptional, we should be very busy tomorrow.

Finally, somewhere in the region of Lakeside Station and Chasewater Heaths, the carrying case for my tripod went missing, if anyone should have picked it up, would you please hand it in to either Chasewater Heaths or Brownhills West Station?  Thank you.

August Bank Holiday in the Museum

Museum Sign cropped

This Bank Holiday in the Museum started, as usual, with a quiet Saturday.  We never seem to see many visitors on Saturdays except for Galas.

Sunday started well, with a fair few visitors in the morning but it started to rain around lunch-time and that was that – it went very quiet.

On Monday the weather was cloudy but warm.  We started well in the morning and, this time, continued in the same vein all day long.  Other than Galas, the busiest day of the year.

Locos running over the weekend were Peckett No.2000, Bagnall loco ‘Linda’ and Barclay ‘Colin McAndrew’ on Sunday.


December 2008, Bagnall engine, Linda on Santa Special dutyColin McAndrew After

Bucket Chain Re-enactment

On Sunday 23rd August it happened – 19 people back onto the causeway with Barclay ‘Colin McAndrew’ and the riding van for the re-enactment of the bucket chain water tank fill-up of 40 years ago!Bucket Chain Some of the original cast were there, Barry Bull even had the camera that the original photo was taken with!

The event started earlier than expected, when the Barclay engine 1964/1929 which had been struggling with clinkering up was taken out of service to be replaced by ‘Colin McAndrew’, already in steam for the bucket chain.  Could it pull 2 coaches to Church Street and back? was the question – no doubts in the minds of Keith, Mark and Donna and off they went.  On their return, they looked quite pleased!C A on trainLike gladiators in a chariot!CA on train 2Mark’s comment ‘I might be small but I can pull heavy loads!’  They all looked like cats who’d got the cream!  Brilliant!

So, now on to the next event of the 50th Anniversary.  Hitch up Bob’s riding van and off to the causeway.  Barry Bull got together a collection of buckets and away.2009_08230007I must say, they did look a very smart combination.2009_08230015It all worked very well – but Bob did complain about the buckets being too full!!  Not as strong as he used to be!!2009_08230031The bucketeers – all reasonably dry!   Just being a bit picky, but with all those cameras present you’d have thought somebody might have fallen in!!2009_08230036This was the first time that I’d been in the riding van – a first-class job of restoration.

More on flickr and tordy64 (see links).

Brownhills Walk 2

Another stroll with the dawg, this time starting from Brownhills West Station – I had some leaflets to drop off so it made the decision easy.2009_08220001I decided to walk along the Midland Railway trackbed to start with – ‘our line’ from the other side of the M6 Toll.  This first pic is taken from the bridge over the motorway.2009_08220005This bridge is where you first take the footpath along the trackbed, just over the motorway.2009_08220006Nice to know that the trackbed was put to some good use.  This pic was taken a few hundred yards from the previous one – I bet this was better than playing at Wembley when the kids were young – their very own goal-posts!2009_08220009Talking about football, this was taken in between the A5 and the Chester Road and it is the pitch where Brownhills Scouts used to play – takes some believing!2009_08220011Back to the trackbed, this is taken facing from the Chester Road back towards the A5.2009_08220014There is still some brickwork left of the old Brownhills Midland Railway station in the undergrowth.2009_08220016Walking along the Wyrley and Essington canal now, the photo looks back from High Bridge bridge.  I had taken a bit of a short cut, which didn’t do me any good.  I’d crossed the Chester Road, meaning to go down the Norton Branch trackbed but found another footpath before I reached it and took that instead.  Just a path through trees, nice pool half-way along (which the dog fell in!), otherwise muddy and boring.2009_08220021This photo was taken on the other side of the bridge and shows the area where the Norton Junction marshalling yard used to be.  From here I crossed a field and made my way onto the LNWR Lichfield to Walsall trackbed, from which you can still make out the trackbed of the branch from Walsall Wood Colliery to the LNWR line. We have the train staff for this line in the Museum.  This picture was taken by my good friend Godfrey Hucker and used with his permission (well, he would have given it if I’d asked him!!)Trackbed 3 Walsall Wood Colliery to Norton JunctionFrom here I walked along the trackbed towards Brownhills.2009_08220023A lone signal post is all that’s left and a little further along, the trackbed gets much narrower.  If you look closely at our Ellie you will see that she looks as though she has got grey wellies on.  It was foul smelling clay-type mud – if the weather had got much warmer I would probably had to chip it off!

2009_08220026 Back on to the Wyrley and Essington canal now, looking through the LNWR railway bridge to the Pelsall Road bridge beyond.2009_08220033I came off the canal in Brownhills at the new bridge and walked across the parade towards Chasewater.  I took this photo to illustrate my point from the first walk, about the lack of light and grass under the trees – it uses to be just grass and very pleasant.2009_08220035Back to the entrance to Chasewater Country Park and a chance for Ellie to have a paddle to get rid of the mud – not to mention a well-earned drink!2009_08220041Nearly back at the railway, and as you can see, the mud has been washed off and she has company – she ignored them to start with but had to say a quick ‘hello’ eventually.  They were completely unimpressed and it was their turn to ignore her!!

Brownhills Walk

Although I left Brownhills in 1960, I still think of it as my home town (despite having lived in Hednesford for some 44 years!), and since I finished work about 11 years ago, I’ve tried to have a walk around at least once a year.  This has slipped a bit in the last two or three years but today I made it – complete with camera.2009_08210066I parked at Chasewater, by the Innovation Centre, instead of at the Railway – makes a change – and my trusty hound and myself went back over the bridge and turned left on to the public footpath by the old trotting track.2009_08210031The picture shows what’s left of the back straight.  We went over to cross the A5 by the White Horse, and then on to the common.2009_08210033This pic shows the common not far off the A5.  When we were kids, this area was long, tufty grass with lots of small pools in and around – almost impossible to walk across – so a great deal of work has been done to get the ground up to this standard.2009_08210036This is where the Brownhills St. James football team first started playing.  This is somewhere else where a lot of work has been done.  We never had a surface to play on anything like this – talk about jealous!!  Passing through the gate and into the park we came to another pitch we used to play on.2009_08210037In fact, we were the first team to use it, the land the pitch is on was also reclaimed from long, tufty grass – you’d never believe it now.  The only used to be a triangular path round the park leading from the entrance to some swings near the far gate, then across and along the fence by the cricket pitch to the ride called the ‘Boat’, then back to the entrance and the ‘Giant Stride’ and the ‘Witches Hat’.

On and out of the park and onto the Parade – an area that I don’t think too much of!2009_08210040Again, when we were kids, we used to have a kick-about along this area.  If I remember correctly, there was a well spaced row of trees on either side of the parade but the grass area was just that – open grass.  Now there doesn’t seem to be any light along there, the grass struggles to grow and when the leaves fall it becomes something of a mess (just my opinion but I much preferred the open space).2008_0708Miners0053Through Brownhills next, past the ‘Miner’ down the High Street and up Church Hill.  Through the Church Yard and down Vicarage Road to Ogley Road.  Turned left and went towards Newtown Bridge, getting on the canal side to walk back to Chasewater (I’ve got used to the name now, but when thinking back to Sunday afternoons of our youth, we still went for a walk ‘over the pool’ – a reference to the old name of  ‘Norton Pool’).2009_08210042Walking along the tow-path, it’s nice to see that some of the residents on the far bank have made a very neat job of running their gardens down to the canal-side.2009_08210044Just putting my railway head on for a while, on the other side of this bridge, the railway and canal came together.  It seems a shame that they both couldn’t have passed under the M6 Toll together, too.   That bridge looks very wide just for a canal!2009_08210046That’s the direction the railway used to take.  A level crossing across the road and on to Anglesey Sidings.  The next picture faces the other direction.2009_08210047The track used to be here and a building which housed the old stables from way back.  There’s plenty of room for a small station building and a run around loop, if only we could get there!2009_08210052The old track bed is still there for a lot of the way, but as you can see in top right of this photo, the road runs on some of it before running down to the island at the access to the M6 Toll.  Shame.  Not far to go to Chasewater now, so back along the canal. passing what is left of the loading gantry and the overflow from Chasewater.2009_082100572009_08210056If the canal also gets full to overflowing, the water can run through the grating at the front of the picture and on to the low lying ground behind.  Towards the basin and the start of the canal – where the water comes in from the reservoir.2009_08210061It would be nice to think that, sometime in the future, if the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Trust succeed in reopening the canal as far as Lichfield, and we at Chasewater Railway, should succeed in reaching the wharf, the basin would again be a hive of activity, this time for tourists.  Well, we can but dream!