Tag Archives: Industrial Locos

Chasewater Railway’s Hudswell Clarke 431 – 1895

HC1

In my last post a Hudswell Clarke loco was mentioned as possibly being in steam on the next open Day.  This was  No.431 of 1895, which arrived at Chasewater shortly before ‘Asbestos’.  Sadly, this did not happen, and as far as I am aware, this loco still has not steamed at Chasewater Railway, over 40 years later!

‘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.

It was built by Hudswell Clarke & Co., Leeds in 1895, works number 431 and spent most of its life in the hands of the Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Company in whose fleet she became No.15.  It was allocated the name ‘Sheepbridge No.25’, but this was never carried and with the removal of its official number and works plates ran its last years without any identification at all.

HC3

It has on two occasions been rebuilt, first in 1928 and secondly in 1944, by the Sheepbridge Company themselves.’

‘The engine was first suggested as a suitable candidate for preservation some two years ago when it was one of several locomotives at work at Desborough Warren Quarry near Kettering.  One by one its companions were withdrawn leaving No.15 as the only workable source of motive power.  After closure of the quarry it assisted with the lifting of the track, until the early part of 1967 when it too was withdrawn and stored in the engine shed at Desborough in company with an Avonside 0-6-0T.

The RPS then stepped in and after pleasing, successful negotiations with Stewarts and Lloyds Ltd., the locomotive was purchased.  The firm kindly allowed us to steam the engine before purchase.’

HC7‘Steamy’ pics by Rob Duffill

2013_01060004

At the moment, ‘Asbestos ‘ is in the Heritage Centre awaiting a major overhaul, as, indeed, is 431.

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207 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Autumn 1997– Part 3 The Sentinel

207 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News – Autumn 1997– Part 3 The Sentinel

Sentinel early BR colours

SENTINEL

 Sentinel was built in 1957 by Sentinel of Shrewsbury with the works number of 9632. It was bought by the West Midlands Gas Board for use at Pleck Gas Works, Walsall and was the last steam loco of the upright boiler design built by the Sentinel Company.  Upon arrival at Chasewater the 4wVBT was assigned the number 5 and has been in regular operation ever since.

Early Sentinel shot

Sentinel 9632 at Chasewater

Nigel Canning

The concept of the Sentinel shunting loc was nominally quite clever in that it allowed a loco of relatively low horsepower and size to produce a useful tractive effort and shunt relatively heavy trains, albeit at the expense of a reduced maximum speed.  This is, of course, also true for industrial diesel shunters where shunting speeds much above 10 or 15 mph are unnecessary as well as undesirable from the safety point of view.  Problems arise, however, when you try to reverse the role and run light trains at relatively high speeds as we do at Chasewater.  It is not difficult to imagine a rail-connected industrial concern a few years ago owning a Sentinel and a Hawthorn Leslie similar to ‘Asbestos’ and using both locos to do similar work.  However, if opened up, ‘Asbestos’ can produce several hundred horsepower and a maximum speed far in excess of its road holding capacity.  Consequently, on the causeway bank, ‘Asbestos’ will out-perform either of the diesels or the Sentinel, which is always likely to struggle due to its relatively low power to train weight ratio and low maximum speed, which prevents a decent run being taken at the bank.

When 9632 arrived at Chasewater in 1982 we set about getting it into good working order.  The big worry then was whether or not it would be capable of operating passenger trains reliably.  Eventually we proved that it was, although at that time it was only a matter of moving a single coach back and forth between Brownhills West and the bridge at Willow Vale.

Over the years various modifications were carried out to try and improve the performance of this ‘one man operated’ shunter attempting to run passenger trains.  This culminated in the reliable running of two coach trains to a point about half-way between Willow Vale and the bottom of the causeway bank.

WD SentinelWhen the loco came out of service at the end of 1995 for its major boiler examination, it was decided to further improve running performance.  These are a few of the modifications carried out to achieve that.  One of the main problems has always been the very limited boiler capacity.  Timing the boiler being filled from the loco shed hose pipe shows that there is less than 10 gallons difference between ‘bottom’ and ‘top’ of the gauge glass.  Combine this with the fact that on shutting the regulator when the engine is working hard the level drops by half a glass, or when the safety valves pop you lose half a glass, and a notice in the cab warning ‘IMPORTANT: Water level should never be higher than half glass’ things are never going to be easy.  Originally the loco had the controls for the injector and the Weir pump on the driver’s side, leaving the fireman with nothing to do but shovel coal occasionally, and the driver with the headache of maintaining boiler level in addition to driving.  Both of these controls have now been re-positioned on the fireman’s side, and the Weir pump itself turned sideways to make a bit more room in the cab and give better access for draining it in the winter.  The lubricator sight glass tube has been filled with anti-freeze mix rather than just water so it can survive the winter without attention.  The Weir pump itself is always very messy with excess oil, probably because it always gets a double dose, on from the engine lubricator and again from its own lubricator.  This may have to be rectified at a later date, but in the meantime at least it won’t go rusty!

For a long time the pump has been blowing live steam through to exhaust due to bad corrosion of the valve spool.  This is a weird |Weir arrangement, which looks like a cross between a slide valve and a piston valve enabling the piston to move up and down without any rotating parts being required.

The cast iron spool had to be built up with weld, the intricate pattern of ports ground and filed back to shape, and then the complete spool ground back to the correct diameter.  The result is still not perfect but the pump is now a lot quieter in operation and starts more reliably.

The loco was designed to use superheated steam for the blower, but because the engine lubricator feeds oil 9in immediately after the superheater, all superheated steam has oil in it, which promptly burned to form carbon, blocking the blower jets every few months.  This has now been re-piped to use saturated steam, and new stainless steel blower rings have been fitted with finer jets making the blower more effective on low pressure during lighting up.  The control valve has also been moved to the fireman’s side of the cab.

Boiler outer shell

The vacuum brake system, which was fitted at Chasewater, has gradually evolved over the years, the latest mod being to supply the ejector with superheat steam.  Previously, when using saturated steam from the top of the boiler, any rough bit of track combined with slightly high water level could spill water into the system temporarily destroying release pipe vacuum and partially applying the brake.  Using superheat steam avoids this problem but may possibly erode the pipework or ejector nozzle over a period of time, as well as rob the engine of some of its lubrication.

A new superheater coil was fitted in 1982 and worked without problem for the first five years, but later, small bits of rust about the size of coffee granules started to be thrown up out of the superheater, jamming the regulator open and damaging its seating faces.  To cure this, a perforated stainless steel baffle has been made and fitted in the regulator housing so that any debris now piles up behind it and can be cleaned out occasionally when convenient.

During the recent boiler examination one of the boiler tubes was found to be leaking through a pinhole during the hydraulic test.  This meant that the boiler, which had just been re-assembled, had to be split again and a new set of plain tubes fitted.  At least the tubes are relatively short, and there are only fourteen of them, so they are cheap to buy and will fit in the boot of a car.  The extra work was completed in a couple of weekends and the boiler subsequently passed its hydraulic and steam tests.

When, in 1996, the loco was eventually tried out on a passenger train to Norton Lakeside the result was fairly disastrous.  With two DMU power cars making a trailing load of around 75 tons, 9632 struggled to move at all, let alone climb the causeway bank.  Upon eventually reaching Norton it was found that the loco would hardly make steam even when standing due to the poor coal.  The round trip took an hour and a half, forcing the decision on whether to change the coal merchant, or fit a corridor bunker to allow crew changing at the half-way point on the journey!  The coal was subsequently returned to the supplier!

Two further trips were made on that day, but the third ended in total disaster.  One of the tappet adjusters had worked loose and out of adjustment causing the engine to run on one and a half cylinders, making it snatch a bit.  On the climb back up to Brownhills West one side of the duplex drive chain from the engine to the front axle broke, the loose bit climbed over the sprocket, jammed, and almost ripped one of the gearboxes out of the frames, shearing its mounting lug with a loud bang.  The loco was a total failure and had to be removed to the shed where it remained for the rest of the year whilst repairs were effected.  This involved building up the damaged sprocket teeth with weld and filing back to the correct profile, purchasing an 18 inch length of new chain and modifying it to fit, and drilling and grinding away the back of the front buffer beam so that a new gearbox mounting lug could be fitted in its place.

Sentinel at Pleck Gas Works Nearly newSentinel at Pleck Gas Works, Walsall – nearly new.

In 1997 the loco again passed its boiler test and was subsequently tried out on trains.  The first test was to shunt around 180 tons of assorted wagons and dead engines up out of the shed road, which it did fairly effortlessly and without the chain breaking.  Next it piloted an ailing DL7 and a single coach on a couple of passenger trains to Norton and back, then spent the rest of the day working trains on its own.  Since then it has successfully run two-coach trains to the normal 45 minute schedule and appears to be quite happy, although speed at the top of the causeway bank is little more than a fast walk.

As expected, the main problem is control of the boiler.  With a good hot fire it is quite capable of producing more steam than the cylinders can cope with, but if you have to stop unexpectedly, as is the case when the local toe-rags have been bust piling things up on the line, all hell lets loose from the safety valves within seconds of shutting the regulator.  Even during planned stops this can be a problem as both our stations are approached up steepish banks requiring near full pressure right up to the last minute.  The surprising thing is that the latest batch of coal, which produces enormous amounts of clinker, blocking the grate to the extent that the fire looks completely black from underneath, still produces enough heat to run trains all day without any fire cleaning.  At the end of the day hardly any ash has made it into the ashpan, and when the grate is dropped the fire remains in position without visible means of support until it is hacked out with the fire iron.

On diesel days the loco is being gradually repainted in gasworks red livery, but as this involves a couple of hours each time just to clean and de-grease it after the previous steaming, progress is slow.  A number of modifications and repairs are still planned, but now the loco is back in regular service it is likely to be some while before they are carried out.

Sentinel

190 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Summer 1996 – Part 1

190 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News – Summer 1996 – Part 1

Editorial

So far this year the weather has been kind to us, with the exception of the Spring Bank Holiday, and unlike 1995 this has been reflected in the ticket receipts so far received.  The number of passengers carried for the first two months of the season is significantly up on the same period last year.  This has also had a knock-on effect within the catering and shop sales areas.  It is welcome that our core business is starting the season off so well.  If the trend and the weather keep up then the Railway should be back in profit by the second half of the running season.

Plans are also in hand for the further acquisition of track that should take the Railway to the end of its current lease if not further.  There is no doubt that the Railway is enjoying a higher profile with the general public and railway fraternity.  This has been dramatically shown by the speed of membership renewals and the number of new members joining since January.  Also it is welcoming to see a number of old members whose membership has lapsed taking a renewed interest in the Railway.  I would like to welcome all the new members who have joined this year and I hope that you will feel at home at Chasewater.

Loco No.8 at West Cannock – With kind permission geoffspages.co.uk

The Railway has had fewer instances of trespass over the past few years than used to be the case, and when it has occurred it has taken the form of a nuisance value rather than really serious damage, even though the damage caused has been b—– aggravating and has wasted our time in clearing up afterwards. However we look at the results of a break-in, the security of the site is still going to be a major headache.  Do we spend a large amount of cash (which we haven’t got) in re-fencing the compounds, only to have it demolished within a few years by the BNRR (M6 Toll), or do we try to make do and mend until the BNRR issue is finally resolved.  The dilemma is not an easy one.  So far this year apart from a number of coach windows broken, and one raid into the buffet, the vandalism and theft is nothing compared with the break-in to the shed several years ago.

After the AGM, which was held in much more comfortable surroundings than in past years, a pub, the following people were elected:

David Bathurst                        Chairman

Steve Organ                           General Manager

Chris Chivers                         Financial Controller

Bob Duffill                              Commercial Manager

Andy Clegg                            Company Secretary

Arthur Edwards                      Director

Dave Ives                               Director

As Arthur is the new member to the Board I can only wish him the best and hope he doesn’t get as much grey hair as I’ve got!

Chasewater News is edited by Chris Chivers.

Loco Shed News

This year seems bedevilled by problems in trying to get steam traction out in traffic.  The first problem was duff coal, a test batch was sent to us and then a further 10 tons was sent in replacement for the original 10 ton delivery.  After spending an afternoon shovelling it out of the mineral wagon to send back I am still trying to get some feeling back into my legs.  The new batch of coal, yet again British, as no Russian is available, has proved more volatile therefore freer steaming, but the problem of clinkering still remains.  The diesel department has received yet another locomotive courtesy of Mr. A Clegg and this is stabled on 2-road in the top compound.

Steam Locomotives

No.4 Asbestos

The Boiler Inspector has seen Asbestos and subject to a small amount of welding around the bottom of the firebox along with the replacement of several tubes all looks well.  If the Inspector gives it the all-clear after the steam test, Asbestos should be back in traffic by the time this mag is published.

No.5 Sentinel

Sentinel in original livery – 1

After several steamings the Sentinel suffered from a broken drive chain.  This has been a blow to Nigel Canning after putting so much work over the past two years into the Sentinel’s overhaul.  Apart from the broken drive chain the crank case and drive sprocket has suffered some damage and the full extent of the damage is still being assessed.  Members of the loco department are looking into finding replacement links for the chain so therefore salvaging as much of the original chain as possible.

Sentinel in original livery-2

No.11 Alfred Paget

Work on Alfred Paget is continuing at a pace.  Since the spring mag all the tubes have been removed and the saddle tank has also been moved onto the platform, along with the boiler cladding, cab and bunkers.  This has allowed the boiler to be partially lifted out of the frames so that the stays can be checked.  Along with the rotten smokebox being removed the boiler has been cleaned internally and externally.  It has been decided that the work on restoring Alfred Paget will be funded separately and any offers of help and/or donations can be made to Paul Whittaker whose wife Janet is acting as treasurer for the Alfred Paget Fund.

S100

Tony Sale has now completed replacing the slide bars on S100 ready to re-install the cross-heads.  This has included the manufacture of new slide bar shims so that they can be lined up correctly with the pistons.  The framed should be receiving a final coat of paint along with the wheels before the bearings are checked so that the wheels can be put back into place.

Invicta

This locomotive is still stabled on the end of one-road and is still awaiting attention from Mike Wood as to its long term future.  This locomotive provided the Railway with some sterling service before its boiler ticket ran out and it would be useful to see it back into traffic sometime in the future.

917

This has received a second coat of paint courtesy of Dave Borthwick and the Railway must think of the long term future for this engine, considering the repairs needed to the boiler.

Diesel Locomotives

Fowler diesel hydraulic No.422015

The Fowler is still running even though there are signs of water leaking into the sump.  The overall work that the loco is carrying out is being kept to a minimum while the problem is being traced.

L&Y No.1

The body of No.1 has now been lifted out of the bay platform and has been prepared ready for needle gunning.  One set of buffers and draw gear have been removed and are in the shed after being cleaned and painted.  The brake gear and sand boxes have been removed as well as the wheels.  A new set of spoked wheels are due to replace the current solid wheels so bringing No.1 back to its original condition.  The gear box has now been stripped down and is undergoing repairs before being installed.  The engine has now had the clutch mechanism attached and only awaits a few minor parts before being completed.

No.21

Work is still continuing on the restoration of No.21 and is only subject to the time available from Jonathan Clegg & Co.

DMU Set

Ken Dyde with the DMU at the new Lakeside Station

The bar is now all but completed and the broken windows were re[laced within 24 hours by Ken Dyde & Co.  A number of additional spares have been purchased from Tyseley depot, including a replacement engine if required.

Ruston Hornsby DM48

This has recently arrived on site and a few basic jobs have been carried out to tidy up its appearance while an engine head and other spares are located.

 

Forthcoming Event – Apedale Valley Light Railway Gala Sept 8th & 9th

Apedale Valley Light Railway

In the Apedale Valley Country Park, Chesterton, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire

The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted that the Contractor’s Delight Gala on September 8 and  9 will be held at the Apedale Valley Light Railway.

The theme for the September 2012 Gala weekend will be Contractor’s Railways. Until the advent of the dumper truck, most major civil engineering projects would have a narrow gauge railway for materials movements on site – and indeed some still do, especially in the field of tunnel construction.

As ever, there will be a full complement of displays, sales stands and attractions to entertain and delight all the family, young and old including Visiting Locos, Model Railways, Vintage Cars & Lorries, Industrial Displays and much more!

The Trust would be pleased to hear from potential exhibitors.

The Gala will be open from 11.00 to 17.00 on each day. Adult entry will cost £6, Children (2-15) £3

Marchlyn comes to Contractor’s Delight

22 August 2012 The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to announce a second visiting steam loco at the Contractor’s Delight gala on September 8 and  9. “Marchlyn” is a delightful Avonside side tank. She was new to Durham County Water Board for a dam construction contract. Like Apedale resident “Stanhope”, when the project was complete, it was sold on to Penrhyn Slate Quarries, arriving there in 1936. In 1965, it went for preservation in the USA, returning to Statfold Barn Farm in 2011. The Moseley Railway Trust is very grateful to Graham Lee and the Statfold team for exhibiting this locomotives, and the other visiting loco – Hudswell Clarke “GP39”.

Hudswell Clarke GP39 – Dave Willcock

Contractor’s Delight is shaping up to be a classic Apedale event. A key attraction will be a newly built link across the site between a recreated industrial railway and the main railway network. This link runs across the site of the Museum at Apedale – and work will recommence on the Museum immediately after the Gala. So, if you don’t see trains on this track at this event – you probably never will. Two visiting steamers, the home fleet, lots of other attractions and entry only £6. How can you go wrong? There are a few “Access all Areas” passes left when I write this – check out here for details of these and all other Gala matters.

188 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Spring 1996 – Part 1

188 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News – Spring 1996 – Part 1

Editorial – Chris Chivers

On December 16th 1995 a long-awaited dream of the Railway became a reality; the official opening of Norton Lakeside Station took place.  The Chasewater Railway can at long last run from Station A to Station B.  With the possibility of further track donations the Railway will be able to run over the entire length of the land which it currently leases.  Hopefully, further parts of the original track bed can be obtained and the line extended first to Church Street and then to Anglesey Wharf.  Great strides have been made over the past number of years to upgrade the Railway, and we have now moved into the middle rankings of railway societies in this country.  We are no longer an occasional weekend steaming preservation society but we can now offer a regular Sunday service during the running season to passengers who wish to travel to the north shore of Chasewater.

1996 I’m sure will be a year of consolidation for the Railway, and in this, my tenth year as a member of the CLR, I have seen a lot of progress along with the occasional cock-up at Chasewater.  When I first came to the Society the feeling amongst the membership at the time was one of ‘the Railway is run as our hobby and for our amusement only’. (Going through the magazines from day 1 I never got that impression – a great deal of work has been done over the years by a group of not too many people – a large debt of gratitude is owed to all of them!)  This has changed over the years to a more business-like attitude, so fuelling the growth of the Railway.  It will be interesting to see what happens in the next ten years.

Loco Shed News

 Work is continuing at a steady rate on all the locomotive restoration projects, with some work being done to stop any further deterioration on several of the Company’s engines.  Unfortunately the 16th December did not see a double-headed steam train on Chasewater metals, but it could happen in the near future.

Steam Locomotives

No.4 Asbestos – Asbestos returned to traffic in time for the Santa Specials after the refitting of part of the main steam pipe.  The amount of maintenance carried out on the locomotive will now be cut back to a minimum as Asbestos’ boiler ticket is due to expire this year and a major overhaul will be required.  All being well there should be sufficient funds to have the boiler sent away if need be, so reducing the overall time needed to be spent in the works.

No.5 Sentinel – The Sentinel has now been steam tested and should be returned to traffic within the next few weeks.  After the initial steam test several minor adjustments were required to the steam brake, along with the tightening of a number of glands.  All the minor adjustments should be done to Nigel’s satisfaction within the next few weeks.

No.11 Alfred Paget – No.11 has been moved from the top compound to the shed road where its boiler tubes are being removed.  The operation is taking some brute force to move them due to the number of years that they have been in place.  This is due to the length of time that Alfred Paget has been standing idle allowing the tubes to ‘flake up’ and rust in solid.  Once the tubes have been removed a thorough inspection of the boiler can take place, with the long term view to bring another Company vehicle back into traffic.  Most of the initial work is being carried out by Paul Whittaker who would be grateful for any additional assistance.

917 – Dave Borthwick has started to carry out some remedial work on the rolling chassis of 017 including repainting, so as to stop the weather taking its toll of the metal work.  Another job for the near future will be to remove the tubes from 917’s boiler so allowing the boiler inspector to have a look at both 917 and Alfred Paget at the same time.  Also it has been suggested that 917 could be called ‘Brightson’ (yuk!) as it originally came from Albright and Wilson at Oldbury.

Hudswell Clarke (431) – The fund (?) set up for this locomotive has now reached a reasonably modest amount and there is now some talk of making a start on the restoration of the only other 0-6-0 locomotive at Chasewater.  After its coat of paint last year there has been very little further deterioration to the metalwork on this engine.S100 on arrival

14-11-2010

S100 – Work continues at a steady pace on restoring S100, and the work on the valve chest has now just about been completed.  Within the past few weeks the connecting rods through the frames for the eccentrics have been connected and the holding taper wedges have been put into place.  Tony Sale is now starting to sort out the axle boxes with a view to re-wheeling the frames during the summer.

Going through these magazines covering many years, and typing this in 2012 it can get rather depressing.  This particular magazine was first published in 1996 and in the 16 years since none of the last four locos have steamed.  No.11 Alfred Paget steamed here many years ago.  Neither the Peckett No.917, the Hudswell Clarke No.431 nor the Hudswell Clarke S100 have ever steamed at Chasewater Railway.

Diesel Locomotives

Fowler diesel mechanical No.410013 – The ‘baby’ Fowler has started to receive a coat of paint and one side now looks quite respectable.  Work is continuing on the locomotive but due to the weather it is in fits and starts.

Fowler diesel hydraulic No.422015 – The three injector pipes which were broken before Christmas 1995 have now been replaced, and with a few other minor jobs being completed the ‘Black Fowler’ is now back in operation.

L&Y No.1 – Most of No.1’s engine is now back together with the second cylinder head back in place.  Some work has been done on the clutch as well as the brake mechanism and sand boxes being removed from the chassis.  As soon as the main body of the locomotive has been lifted out of the bay siding work can continue on finishing the restoration of No.1.

No.21 – as with No.1 most of the engine has now been put back together and attention has been turned to the cooling system.  Jonathan Clegg is investigating the possibility of uncovering a new radiator core similar to the original, or if not possible, the use of a new radiator supplied by Nigel Canning, which would take some modification to fit in No.21’s chassis.

DMU Set – The two coaches which comprise the DMU set have been receiving attention to the mechanicals.  Routine maintenance has been carried out where possible due to the atrocious weather, and both coaches should receive an internal clean out before the start of the running season.

Industrial Railway Society Day at Chasewater Railway. 16-04-2011

Industrial Railway Society Day at Chasewater Railway.

 The Chasewater Railway was honoured to host the Annual General Meeting of the Industrial Railway Society on Saturday 16th April 2011.

The day started with the unveiling of the Eric Tonks Collection of locomotive nameplates and worksplates, this was, of course held in the Museum.Following this, and many photographs, a number of rides down the line with ‘Asbestos’ and ‘Linda’ taking turns in hauling the train.  I think that ‘Colin McAndrew’ was in steam later.Pic by oakparkrunner

The Marston’s Baguley diesel shunter and the Class 08 were also put through their paces.

There was a buffet lunch on the first floor of the Heritage Centre which was well appreciated – well done Linda and Mavis and anyone else involved.

The Annual General Meeting was held after lunch, followed by more railway activity.Pic by oakparkrunner

Our visitors’ book bears testimony as to how well Chasewater Railway’s efforts were appreciated.  Well done everyone.

Pearson & Knowles Coal & Iron Co. Ltd

Pearson & Knowles Coal & Iron Co. Ltd.

We have recently acquired a card advertising locomotives manufactured by this company. It’s a company which I hadn’t heard of before and I don’t think they built many locomotives – if anyone knows differently, please let me know.

Sunk on Coppull Moor between 1891 and 1900, Chisnall Hall Colliery was the largest pit in the area north of Wigan. It was owned by the Pearson & Knowles Coal and Iron Co Ltd, of Warrington and connected to the LNWR Wigan – Preston main line by a 1.5 mile private railway. In 1930, Pearson & Knowles merged with the Wigan Coal & Iron Co Ltd (and others) and all the collieries, including Chisnall Hall, became the property of the Wigan Coal Corporation.

After nationalisation on 1 January 1947, a major rebuilding of the colliery was authorised by the National Coal Board. New headgear and new screens replaced the fairly ramshackle original structures and a coal washery was added. During the 1950s and early 1960s, well over 1000 men were employed, producing about 250,000 tons per year.

The colliery closed on 24 March 1967, the last in the Wigan area other than small private mines. The washery and railway remained open for about 4 months, washing coal brought from Wood Pit, Haydock.  Landscaping of the very large waste heap and colliery site was very thorough and won awards]. Almost no traces of the colliery or its railway survive.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 2

Another couple of bits and pieces from the Railway Forum – Winter 1965.  The first is a display of name and number plates, loaned by one of the members, and laid out in the Royal Saloon – which left Hednesford  in  1970 for the British Railways carriage works at Derby for restoration and then on to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley.

Midlands RPS Open Day display

An interesting display of locomotive nameplates and numbers was arranged in the Royal Saloon for inspection by visitors at the Midlands R.P.S. Open Day.

New locomotives preserved in Midlands

Members of the Midlands area, R.P.S. expect to take delivery of another locomotive later this year which has been acquired through the generosity of one of their members, Dr. P.G. Plummer, who has offered to purchase it for them.

The locomotive is a Hudswell-Clarke 0-6-0ST built for the Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Company in 1895 (Works No. 431).  It was transferred to its present location, Desborough Warren Quarry, Northamptonshire, in March 1951 and was due for withdrawal in July.  It is believed to be the oldest Hudswell-Clarke locomotive still in working order and once carried the number 15.  Now it has no number or name, although known as “Sheepbridge No.25”.

Painted in apple green it should be a valuable addition to stock already acquired, and will be of considerable use at the Chasewater branch line which has been leased by this group.

Two other locomotives have also been donated by the Whitecross Co. of Warrington.  They are Peckett 0-4-0STs of 1900 and 1904 vintage.  They were withdrawn from service by the Company in 1961, being replaced by two Fowler diesel locomotives.  They carried names up to withdrawal, the older being “Baden Powell” and the younger “Lancet” the nameplates of the latter being transferred to the Diesel No.1, and those of the former being acquired by local enthusiasts.  Only “Lancet” will be able to run again.  It is hoped to exhibit “Baden Powell” statically.

The second is about new locomotives coming to Chasewater.  Sadly the Hudswell Clarke, although we still have the loco, has never steamed here. The two Pecketts fared even worse.  The ‘Lance’ (not Lancet) 1038/1906 was scrapped in March 1972, and another Peckett – 1823/1931 was also scrapped at the same time.  The Loco ‘Baden Powell’ was in too bad a condition to be moved.  The other loco was an 0-4-0F a fireless Andrew Barclay locomotive 1562/1917 – scrapped in March 1973.
The articles were writtten in 1965, the photos taken in 1969.

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A bit more chat.

We had an interesting meeting before Christmas in the Museum on the subject of Accreditation.  Our documentation seems to be all complete and updated as required, and the systems for the recording  of Museum artefacts are also in place.  There is still plenty of marking and cataloguing to do, but now the guidelines are there it should all be straightforward to make more progress on our current collection and keep on top of any new items.

During the last couple of weeks we have been asked for our help in answering one or two questions.  One referred to the loco and gentleman in the picture:The gentleman in the photo is Thomas Longstaff, one time undermanager at Cannock Wood Colliery and it was thought that the pic was taken at that colliery, but we could not recognise the engine as being local – no 0-4-2 tender engine being used in the collieries of Cannock Chase.  I put the pic on flickr ‘Industrial Railways’ group and they came up with the following answer

view photostream

ecimitar reliant Pro User says:

A reply from a contact see below.

Hi George,

More from Allan Baker – not what you might have been expecting though…

> I wonder if our friend Longstaff ever visited Ireland; he may have had relations there?
>
> Waterford & Central Ireland Railway 10 and 11 were Avonside 965 and 966 of 1873, 0-4-2 tender, inside cylinders 16x24inch and 5ft 3inch driving wheel diameter. They became Great Southen & Western Rly 258 and 259 on take-over in September 1900. With such large drivers these were passenger engines and would have been vacuum braked following the 1889 Regs of Railways Act which at that time covered Ireland: indeed it was the Armagh accident that was partly the reason for the Act. The locomotive would appear to have driving wheels of about 5ft diameter judging by the men.
> I have scoured the country and cannot find anything to fit this side of the Irish sea!

Cheers, Howard.

On the plates of the loco can be seen the words ‘Bristol’ and the number 11 and ‘Railway’.  I have been told since that Thomas Longstaff’s brother-in-law was probably in Ireland from 1863 til 1892, so it is possible that Thomas saw the loco while on a visit.  It would be nice to think so!

Our other query cocerned Lady Hanbury of the Coppice Colliery and a possible connection with Harper Bros. bus company.  We’ve answered half of the question and are waiting for more information on the other half, concerning Harpers.

Hednesford Railways 1

The view in 2009, looking towards Rugeley from Hednesford Station bridge.As it was in the late 1950s, a very busy railway location, with pits sending coal into the sidings from all directions.

Looking forward and to the left, the line leads to West Cannock Colliery No.5 and to the right, to Cannock & Rugeley Collieries at Cannock Wood and the Valley Pit.

From the rear, coal comes in from West Cannock Collierys Nos. 1, 3 and 4 – situated in the  Pye Green Valley.

The picture shows the site of West Cannock No.1 and No.4 Plants circa 1920s, it looks north east towards the top end of Green Heath Road.  No.4 Plant is just above the top of the chimney and steam can be seen coming from its winder stack.  The brickworks is the furthest building centre/right at the base of the mound.  A fourth shaft to the north of the brickworks has been covered by the mound.  The picture shows the enormity of the West Cannock Company’s operation in the middle of Pye Green Valley.

From here, the railway ran down to Hednesford Station via a bridge under the road by the ‘Bridge’ public house.  It then went through the left-hand arch (looking towards Rugeley) and into the sidings.With the closure of West Cannock Collieries 1-4, lines to the left found little usage.  The old station building, imposingly symetrical on the overbridge, castle-like dominated the access to the platforms.  One of  Bescot’s 0-8-0s, 49373, sorted out the empties to transfer to the collieries.

On the other side of the bridge, the sidings opened out into the marshalling yard.William Stanier designed 2-cylinder 2-6-4T no.2579, built by the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow in 1936 and withdrawn in June 1962, runs in with a Rugeley Trent Valley to Walsall local passenger.  The station was demolished after the passenger service was withdrawn in January 1965 and the sidings were removed following the closure of almost all local collieries in the 1970s.  The signal box (formerly No.1), seen behind the water tower remains in operation. No.2 signal box closed on January 14th 1973 and No.3 from 18th December 1977.  Passenger services were reinstated from Walsall to Hednesford in 1989, using newly built platforms.  The service was later extended to Rugeley and Stafford, although, by 2009, it terminated at Rugeley Trent Valley.This is a cold view of West Cannock No.5, which continued producing coal until 1982.  The locomotive in the photo is Bagnall 0-6-0ST  ‘Topham’ 2193/1922.