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159 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces from Chasewater News Summer 1993 –Part 2 The Re-opening of the Museum

159 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

from Chasewater News Summer 1993 –Part 2

The Re-opening of the Museum

Bob Duffill

I am sitting in a Midland Railway chair, aptly for the article, in the museum which is housed in our LNWR full brake.  The rain is tipping it down and Easter Sunday has Chris’s pipe in danger of being flooded!  As it is not very busy I’m writing this article as for some time we’ve called ourselves the Chasewater Railway and Museum Co. but have not had a museum for the last few years.

Firstly, I would freely acknowledge past members who have gathered together a very good collection of railway relics and artefacts.  The last curator  being Barry Bull, who put in many hours over the years.

My involvement began when, a couple of years ago, I went into the museum to tidy up and dust and polish the display cabinet.  It was soon obvious, however, that all was not well.  The roof leaked badly, the exhibits had become dirty and run down, and many items were being ruined due to lack of care and attention.

The next few weeks were spent in desperation salvaging items that had become wet and taking them home to dry out as best I could.  The house began to look like a waste paper collection point as rare items were carefully dried out.  The smaller exhibits were also taken away for safe keeping, and the larger ones moved to drier spots in the brake.

Eventually the L&NW Society found that it had enough money to re-roof the vehicle, and after much reminding and being a nuisance, Steve Organ and his helpers re-roofed the vehicle, and the top-lights were rebuilt.  Adrian Hall re-wired the vehicle and installed new light fittings.  All of the remaining exhibits were taken down and moved to one end to enable a start to be made on painting the interior.  It was decided to use the coach for Santa’s Grotto, and John Duffill did most of the scraping down and painting.  Once Christmas was over and Santa’s Grotto was taken away, I re-arranged the interior to look a bit like an office and rebuilt and varnished the display case.

Keith Poynter has made a start on painting our metal signs.  He is making an excellent job of it but it is a bit like painting the Forth Bridge, there’s a lot more to do yet!A view of one end of the museum which has been re-roofed and re-decorated and is now open to the public once more.   Pic – Nigel Canning

Anyway, the museum re-opened on our first steaming of 1993, March 21st, it still needs work but at least we’ve made a reasonable start, and hopefully it will be an added attraction for the public, and reveal our collection to members who just did not know what we had in store.

The latest news is an attempted break-in during the week before Easter when two local youths broke open a door.  Fortunately they were heard by Chris Hatton, and he and Steve Organ apprehended one of them who will shortly be appearing in court.  The burglar alarm fitted to this vehicle is in perfect working order, so hopefully this will be our last break-in and I look forward to the museum being further re-opened in stages.

Part of the 2012 museum

Finally, if anyone has photos of the local engines or collieries we are always willing to copy them for the collection in order that we get a comprehensive display.

This final sentence still holds good in 2012.

Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Van

Bob Duffill

As Tony Wheeler has been busy working on the L&Y (ex Cadbury) van recently, I have found some information on this unusual vehicle.  The original design goes back to the 1860s when an 8 ton version was introduced with a single roof door.  With the improvement in springs and wheels, this was later uprated to 10 ton in the mid 1870s.  The vans continued in production until 1916 when the last few were made, these having double roof doors.

I am unable to date ours yet, but it is between 1875-1913.  The LMS started scrapping them in earnest from the mid-1930s and ours was probably acquired by private industry shortly after.

The van should be painted in grey (Tony’s favourite colour) with white lettering, but as a change there was a variation which I feel we should adopt.  If they were shopped in Lancashire they had white roofs, but if they were shopped in Yorkshire they were painted red oxide, carrying old favours into newer times.

Some of our wooden-bodied vehicles are in fact quite interesting and well worth having restoration work carried out.  More paint to the C&W dept’s elbow! It won’t be long before we can have a decent goods train.

Aston Manor Road Transport Museum – It’s not only about Railways & Canals

Today I  (Alan Neath) have been speaking to the Financial Director of  Aston Manor Transport Museum who are in the process of a move into Aldridge…see below

Aston Manor Road Transport Museum has relocated with all it’s Historic vehicles & Buses from Birmingham to Aldridge in the Former Jack Allen dustcart production line building off Northgate. Geoff Lusher, museum chairman, and Richard the finance director hope that the move to Aldridge will be be the start of a secure future for the Bus Museum, but nothing is formalised yet and the future is still uncertain. Volant Passenger Vehicle Solutions, the company which owns the Aldridge site near Walsall, hopes to convert it from a bus refurbishment business into a bus manufacturing site. The company has given the museum an initial six months rent free with the hope of a 10-year lease to follow. Matt Shenton, from Volant, said: “The museum will be located into one half of the building and the other side of the building will be where our production line will be. “There will be viewing areas where you can look through and actually see the production in progress.”
see the Aston Manor Road Transport Museum website here

Can you Help…

or do you know some body who can help ?

Richard told me today….

Thanks for the talk earlier on this evening.

We are getting very close to moving the final items out of the Witton premises, but with Christmas and a request to hand over the keys to the premises back to the City Council on the 28th, we still have some heavy and awkward items to move away. 

  These include some display cabinets, a telephone box, Bundy clocks, one of which is complete, a wheeling machine and some work benches. 

 There is also the small issue of a tram body but I feel there is a major logistical problem at the Aldridge end to actually get it inside the section of building we may eventually occupy as a new museum.

 What we require is a forklift capable of lifting weights up to half a ton

(ignoring the tram, which is probably around 5 tons). 

 Then a suitable vehicle to lift these on to, with the forklift available at the Aldridge end to reverse the process.

 While I hardly expect anyone to offer to assist on Christmas Day, I, certainly, can be available on any other day up to and including the 28th if necessary, if by any chance someone has the means to move these items. 

  We would not expect this to be done for free, but at a reasonable price.

 Anyone able, capable and have the equipment to help?

 My home phone no. is 0121 – 449 4606 (also a fax) should you want to talk further about this.

Hope somebody can help at short notice and I apologise for troubling the readers of Aldridge and Streetly newsletter with this request so close to Christmas

 Kindest regards

 Alan Neath

 07932 174550


Chasewater Railway Museum 1968 Vol.1 No.3.Bits & Pieces 42.1

From the Chairman’s Notes 1968 Vol.1 No.3.

The Society is now passing through a difficult stage, this is common with individual members, indeed the country as a whole, is suffering from a severe depression with the economic climate.  The loan for our museum building has now been deferred, may we hope for better tidings later in the year?  We are, however, most grateful to members who are coming forward with loans to cover the cost of the museum compound.  Once this compound has been erected and the track into it laid, we should have two of the locomotives installed in the compound and ready for steaming.  The target date is late June and should not prove too difficult, if help, both financial and practical, is immediately forthcoming.  Your committee is working extremely hard, both on administration and practical work.  I therefore appeal to all members to back the committee and so push the work along faster.  A colossal amount of work has to be done this summer.  I am going to itemise the list of vehicles which require immediate attention.

D. A. Ives.

Chasewater Railway Museum

About the Chasewater Railway Museum

The Museum is open to the public on Sundays and Bank Holidays from

11.00am till 3.30pm.

These are the minimum opening hours and we do try to open on each running day, subject to staff availability.

Days when the Museum will not be open will be published on the home page this blog.

Private visits for groups and parties can be arranged by prior appointment.

Dedicated telephone hot-line: 07563 754498.

Admission to the Museum is FREE

The Museum is situated in the Heritage Centre adjacent to Brownhills West Station and is fully accessible to visitors with mobility difficulties.  A refreshment room and disabled facilities are available at the Station.

Directional signs are provided whenever the Museum is open.  On Gala and other days when there is a high number of trains operating, an alternative entrance is provided in the interests of safety.

Work in the Museum

Work in the Museum

There has been a lot of activity in and around the museum recently.  The Heritage Centre has been very well tidied up and the museum has had a number of new plinths made by our man Derek, the former scenery builder. 

We found two willing (!) helpers for varnishing.

Barry Bull and Bob Anderson – who’d’ve thought it?!

These were needed as part of the accreditation process to keep exhibits off the floor in case of damage by flooding.  It’s nice to see Derek back again after a family illness.  Derek fits out all the display cases in the museum, working at home and trusting his measurements – which have been almost perfect so far – one case proved to be a slightly different size to the others – but Derek’s skill soon sorted that out.  Another member working at home is Godfrey.  He has made all of the Museum direction boards and the ‘Next Event’ boards and has now started to paint the information  stands in the Heritage Centre.We’ve even got plinths for the bricks!

A great deal of work has been done on all three floors of the museum corner, both before and after the Accreditation Assessment.  Now it’s back to our regular cataloguing sessions, including taking photographs of the collection.  We are getting near the end of listing all the items in the museum and stores and soon will be starting to list the thousands of paper items held in store.Here’s a rarity – Barry Bull sitting at a computer!

(Mind you, he didn’t touch it!)

Steam Locomotive Classes of a Leisurely Era

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era –  by Casey Jones

The London, Brighton & South Coast Railway

E1 0-6-0T

In1874 there appeared from Brighton Works the first of Mr. Stroudley’s standard goods tank engines, No.97.

The class was a six coupled version of the D1 0-4-2T and the boilers, motion and cylinders of the two types were interchangeable.

Number 97 was followed by numbers 98/9 in the same year, 100-2 in 1875, 103-8 in 1876, 109-120 in 1877, 121-138 in 1878, 139-144 in 1879, 145-152 in 1880, 153-156 in 1881, 85-96 in 1883, 157 in 1884, 159-164 in 1891, making a total of 79 locos.

Dimensions were:

Cyls 17 x 24 ins. DWH 4’ 6” THS 943 sq ft Grate 15½ sq ft Pr 170 lbs/sq in

Wt 4Tons 3cwt.No.110 before restoration, at Hednesford ‘Cannock Wood’ No.9

In typical Stroudley tradition the whole class was named, rather a strange assortment of French towns and villages being chosen, together with other continental places and a few English as well.

As the standard goods shunting tank, the class was spread all over the system, doing extremely useful work.  In fact the class was so robust that Stroudley’s successors did not bother to design a replacement.  Mr. Billington did produce his E2s in 1913 to replace earlier E1s which had been withdrawn but the new development only numbered ten locos.

In 1911 Mr. Marsh the CME rebuilt No.89 with a new boiler 4’ 6” in diameter, she was the only one so treated and later when this boiler wore out she reverted to he original style.

Quite a few were taken out of traffic in LBSCR days but the majority were taken over by the Southern Railway who added 2000 to the original numbers.

In 1932-3 four of the class were transferred to the Isle of Wight and details of these are:

No.2136     Brindisi       W1   Medina

No.2152     Hungary      W2   Yarmouth

No.2154     Madrid         W3   Ryde

No.2131     Gournay     W4   WroxallWroxall

Incidentally the LBSCR renumbered certain of the class as follows before the SR added the 2000 to the numbers.

Nos. 85-91 to 685-91, No.99 to 610,      Nos. 100-5 to 692-7,

Nos. 106-9 to 606-9,   No.111 to 611

Further withdrawals took place in early Southern Railway days and in 1927-8 ten of the survivors were rebuilt at Brighton to the specifications of Mr. Mansell as

0-6-2Ts for service in the West of England on the newly opened line between Halwill Junction and Torrington.  These rebuilds were classified E1/R and those so treated were numbers 2094-6, 2124/35, 2608/10, 2695-7.  As originally built these were found to be unsteady on passenger service but this was soon eradicated by Mr. Bulleid who rebalanced numbers 2094-6, 2608/10.  These together with number 2696 spent most of their lives at Barnstaple depot, the other four being at Exeter for banking duties up the steep gradient between Exeter Central and Exeter St. David’s.

Reverting back to the E1s proper most had their names removed before passing into Southern hands, and as already remarked the survivors continued to put in useful work at various shunting yards.  Several were sold on withdrawal and these included number 2163 sold to Ashington Colliery in 1932, number 146 sold in 1908 and number 2110 ‘Burgundy’ sold to Cannock Wood Colliery, Staffs in 1927 and renamed Cannock Wood.  This latter is now the only surviving member, albeit in slightly modified form and is at present housed at Hednesford Depot  of the RPS (1968).  A fund is at present open towards the cost of purchase and restoration to full working order of this locomotive, and I can do no other than to commend this fund to our readers – after all plenty of passenger types are being saved but not the traditional British 0-6-0 shunting locomotive of which old number 110 is a worthy representative.

Trolley Bus No.3 (Not counting Godfrey’s)

More Trolley Bus Stuff – Mercian Jan-Feb 1967 Vol.6 No.1

The Odd Man Out at Hednesford – Part Three  – J. Hughes.

Although the RPS had asked for a trolley bus, this request was unknown to the Wolverhampton Trolley Bus Group.  It was the Transport Department who informed us of the RPS and as a result of this, two of our Group went along to see Mr. D. A. Ives, RPS Secretary – and this incidentally was the beginning of a happy relationship with the RPS – which resulted in some of our group members joining the RPS.

As has previously been mentioned, No. 616 was the choice – and incidentally Wolverhampton Corporation Transport Department towed this vehicle to Hednesford as well as supplying paint and a number of useful spare parts.  It was the original intention to use the vehicle as a cinema but this was found to be impracticable due to the restricted width.

However, restoration commenced and the first task was to give the vehicle a thorough clean and to touch up the paintwork.  It is amazing how much dust and dirt the interior of a trolley bus collects, the cleaning went on for weeks.  Notes were made of all the parts requiring replacement or repair and these parts were salvaged from other scrap trolleys.  It was decided to do the inside first, starting with the upper saloon although the outside is kept in condition by ‘touching up’ regularly.

The seats were removed and all the panelling dismantled.  This was followed by another clean then the entire framework was given a good coating of wood preserver.  The interior panels were similarly treated before being refitted.  The biggest job upstairs was one which we were not prepared for.  That was the rebuilding of the destination box!  The framework of this was completely rotten and with the awkward shaping of the frame, this operation took four months to complete.

Work continued for weeks and weeks with very little to show for our efforts.  However, with the commencement of painting, the whole scene was transformed and within a few weeks the job seemed to be nearly finished.  In fact the whole job will have taken nearly 15 months when it is completed.

The next job is the cab, this will be followed by the lower saloon and finally the platform.  Then we can start on the outside!!

To return to the second vehicle – the one to be exhibited in the Museum of Science and Industry, Birmingham, this vehicle has been the subject of much discussion, and negotiations mainly made by Dr. E. Clark, one of the original members of the Wolverhampton Group, and the next part of this article will deal with this project when the final details are known.  At the time of writing there are only 28 trolley buses on the road – serving the one remaining route from Wolverhampton to Dudley.  However, these were due for conversion to motor buses during last December.Heanor & District Local History Society

May in the Museum

May in the Museum

The next two weeks are going to be very busy for the museum staff, getting prepared for our Accreditation Inspection on Sunday, May 16th.  A great deal of work has been done over the last couple of years in preparation for this visit – a great deal of paper-work, courses to attend, the museum building to furnish with regards to heating and humidity control, display cases to fit out and lots more besides.

Notices will be going up this weekend asking members for their cooperation in keeping the Heritage Centre clean and tidy – over the last few weeks it has been a pleasure to open up each Sunday after the last shunt around – now there is just a bit of dusting to do!

Visitor numbers are now being recorded, our busiest so far being 440 on the Sunday of the Classis & Vintage Transport Show.   The Easter Weekend brought in 200/300 on the Sunday and Monday.  With easy access the over the crossing and through the side shutter door, coupled with signs being displayed each week more visitors are finding their way into the Heritage Centre and Museum, hopefully making the remark ‘I didn’t know this was here’ a thing of the past!

Over the next few weeks I hope to carry on with the series of posts about the early days of Chasewater Railway, and also include articles about branch lines and ‘Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era’.  I’m enjoying going through our old magazines and finding out what used to be here, although they can be a little hard work when all you get is ‘we need more money and people’ true as it may have been then (and we could still do with more of both now!).

Wagon Builders’ Plates

Cambrian Wagon Works Builder’s Plate

The cast-iron plates fixed to goods wagons can give a wealth of information and detail about the origins and use of a particular vehicle.

Wagons were either built in the workshops of the pre-Grouping railway companies or by outside carriage and wagon builders.  In either case, a plate would indicate the railway company and the wagon number.  A separate builder’s plate would be found only if built by an independent manufacturer.

Many wagons, especially in the days of privately owned fleets of coal trucks, were built not by the railway companies but by private wagon builders.  In some cases the builder’s plate would have a distinctive shape so that it could be recognized easily even if rendered illegible by grime.

R.Y. Pickering of Wishaw used a lozenge shape and the Standard Wagon Co. of Reddish and Heywood used a bell-shaped plate.  The Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. used an elongated capita; G – which gave the plate a fish shape – and the Central Wagon Co. of Wigan had a downward pointing crescent.  These were unusual; most makers used oval plates, some with fancy lettering and scrollwork on and around the plate.  The company’s initial letter often formed a feature of the design.

The larger main line railways generally had their own wagon works which met most of their requirements, and not all of them affixed separate builder’s plates.  Among those which did were the GER at Stratford Works, and the NBR at Cowlairs.

The Big Four railways settled on a standard design based on the final Midland pattern, which was shaped like a letter D with the flat side at the top.  The LNER plate carried the most detail with the wagon number, capacity in tons, builder and date built.  British Railways continued with this style, using the LNER plate as the final design.Ince Waggon & Ironworks plate with the double G spelling.

Wagon Plates

Midland Railway Wagon  Plate

Railways first came into being not to carry passengers, but to convey freight, especially mineral traffic like coal.  In the early days, when few lines were interconnected, the variety of goods wagon did not matter, but as railways expanded and through trains became common, it was essential to have wagons whose buffers, brakes, couplings and so on all matched up.

The Railway Clearing House (RCH) the body which liaised between the railways, looked into the problem early on and issued standards to all railway companies, wagon builders and private wagon owners.

LMS Wagon  Plate

The wagon carrying this plate was registered by the North British Railway Company and allowed to run on main lines.

The main line railways adopted these standards fairly quickly, but the private owners, especially collieries and coal merchants, were reluctant to comply, and damage and derilaments became common due to their wagons either lacking proper buffers and brakes or being poorly maintained.

In the 1880s, however, it became a legal requirement for all privately owned wagons to be registered by the railway company to whose sidings their owners were connected, and only those that reached the Clearing House standard were allowed to run on main lines.

Each wagon so passed had two plates, one on either side of the main frame, advising its date of manufacture, its registration number and its carrying capacity.   In 1907, the RCH designed a new star-shaped plate for tank wagons.

Many of the ordinary registration plates come with their lugs broken off, but these can easily be repaired usingfibreglass filler.  The normal colour seems to have been black with white lettering, and red with white letters for tank wagons.

However, some privately owned wagons were painted in quite garish colours, and it seems likely that their plates were similarly treated.  Nearly all plates were made of cast-iron, but examples in brass or lead alloy are occasionally seen.London & North Western Railway Wagon Registration Plate