Tag Archives: Railway Preservation Society

Chasewater Railway’s Former Stock – Travelling Post Office

Travelling Post Office

TPO at Hednesford in the 1960s

TPO at Hednesford in the 1960s

Anyone who has been reading this blog may have noticed, in ‘Bits & Pieces’  in the 1970s and early 80s, the mention of a Travelling Post Office (TPO).  Our museum curator has recently acquired a book for the museum’s reference library – ‘An Illustrated History of the Travelling Post Office’ in which the Railway Preservation Society’s purchase is mentioned.  It was bought for £200 and housed at Hednesford, later being transferred to Chasewater and sold in 1983 for £1,000,

TPO at Tyseley

Built in 1909, London & North Western No.20 was renumbered 9520 by the LNWR and 3227 and 30244 by the LMS. The latter number, allocated in 1933, lasted until the vehicle was withdrawn in 1961. It was used on the Irish services until 1940 and its apparatus was removed in 1945.

TPO Old CLR Pic

After withdrawal it was acquired by the Railway Preservation Society, Hednesford, Staffordshire, where it housed the small relics collection, and later moved to Chasewater. In 1983 it was sold to the Birmingham Railway Museum, Tyseley, which in turn sold it to the Royal Mail Museum in 1999. It has been overhauled and had its apparatus restored, and in 2007 was put on display at the Crewe Heritage Centre.
It is currently at the Nene Valley Railway, Peterborough.

TPO Nene Valley Licensed

The TPO at Nene Valley Railway

There is another post following this one with more information about TPOs and more photos of the former CLR vehicle.

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262 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Spring 2003 Part 1 – Editorial and a Tribute to David Ives

262 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News – Spring 2003

 Part 1 – Editorial and a Tribute to David Ives

Front CoverEditorialDavid Ives 1David Ives 2D.IvesThis room is dedicated to the memory of Dave Ives, co-founder of the
Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands District) holding membership
number two. The first Hon Secretary he became Chairman in 1969 and
President in 1974 of the RPS. The RPS was a founder of the Association of
Railway Preservation Societies (now the Heritage Railway Association) of
which Dave was a Vice-President and served a term as Chairman.

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.

2013_01060010

Chasewater Railway’s ‘Asbestos’ Hawthorn Leslie 2780 of 1909

While clearing out the last of the first phase of cataloguing in the Chasewater Railway Museum, I came across an old video of Asbestos.  So after a little editing I put it on youtube and added some notes on this post, with the link to the video

Turner’s Asbestos Cement Co. Ltd ‘Asbestos’

Hawthorn Leslie 2780 of 1909

Flagged

Asbestos in the old Brownhills West Station

 Hawthorn, Leslie 0-4-0ST, 2780 of 1909.  Built at the company’s Forth Bank Works, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The loco has outside cylinders 14” diameter x 22” stroke, 3’ 6” driving wheels with a fixed wheelbase of 5’ 6”.  Weight in working order 27.5 tons.

Delivered when new to Washington Chemical Company, County Durham, which became a subsidiary of the Turner and Newall Company Ltd. in 1920.

A large industrial complex served by sidings and a half mile branch just south of Washington station on the line between Pelaw and Penshaw, the locomotive working here until 1933, when transferred to Turner and Newall, Trafford Park Works, Manchester.

The locomotive came to Chasewater in 1968 from the Turner and Newall factory, Trafford Park, Manchester, where asbestos was produced – hence the name.  The company asked for £100 for the loco and was asked if they could wait while the Preservation Society could organize a raffle, being short of funds.  Upon realizing the situation, the company generously waived the fee and donated the loco.

Shortly after its arrival at Chasewater, Asbestos became the first locomotive to steam on the railway.

Back in Harness Railway Forum Summer 1968

‘Asbestos’ Back in Harness

From the ‘Railway Forum’ Summer 1968

Steam open day started at 4.30am on June 29th, 1968 with the lighting of the fire in ‘Asbestos’, the Hawthorn Leslie saddle tank presented to the Railway Preservation Society by Turner and Newall, Trafford Park, Manchester.  Steam was raised slowly at first, but soon, with the blower working at full blast, there were 80 lbs on the clock at 7.00am

‘Asbestos’ then moved off to have the tank filled with water, which was drawn from the lake at Chasewater.  The train consisted of the Midland full brake and the Great Western 16-ton brake van.

At about 1 o’clock passengers began to arrive and trains were operated continuously until 7 o’clock when the fire was dropped, the smokebox cleaned out and the ash pan raked.

Steam was soon raised on the Sunday and by 1 o’clock the visitors had exceeded Saturday’s figures.  During the weekend the locomotive behaved very well, was easy to handle and similar in many ways to the old Great Western locomotives but, of course, much smaller.

For the open day, trains were run with the one engine in steam principle, but for the next open day it is hoped to have a Hudswell Clarke locomotive also in steam and to be able to operate a more elaborate timetable.  The Maryport and Carlisle Railway saloon and the Society’s MS&L brake third coach will also be used on one of the trains.

It is hoped to operate again on Sunday and Monday, September 1st and 2nd.

Bashers, Gadgets and Mourners – the life and times of the LNWR Coal Tanks

Bashers, Gadgets and Mourners

the life and times of the LNWR Coal Tanks

A new book written by Peter W. Skellon about the 0-6-2 tank locomotives, known as Coal Tanks, and particularly about No.1054, which started life in preservation in a temporary home at the Railway Preservation Society, West Midlands branch at Hednesford, Staffs.  This was, of course, the forerunner of today’s Chasewater Light Railway and Museum.

For anyone interested in purchasing a copy, the address and details are given above.

 No.1054 at Hednesford in the early 1960s

 

 

109 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – April 1986

109 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

 From ‘Chasewater News’ April 1986

 News from the line

 Loco Dept.

Asbestos and the Sentinel both performed satisfactorily at Gricers’ Day and both have undergone further work during the winter months.  Asbestos has had the vacuum brake finished and the regulator has been the subject of much attention due to its tendency to remain open when shut!  The Sentinel (alias No. 59632) is being fitted with vacuum brakes and its water feed pump has been completely stripped and rebuilt.  Both engines will be test steamed prior to the Transport Extravaganza in May.

On other fronts, No.6 the Albright & Wilson Peckett needs the extension to its smokebox takeplate replacing due to the severe wastage, as well as replacement of some of the rivets which fix the takeplate to the boiler barrel.  It could be that the boiler will have to be removed from the frames.  Tony Sale is progressing with overhauling the axle boxes of S100 and it is hoped that re-wheeling will take place soon.  The small Andrew Barclay has had a patch let into the side of its firebox so progress should speed up once several stays have been renewed.Sentinel Feb 2004 – Nigel Canning

On the diesel front, No.21 has had its engine removed to enable Colin Marklew to piece together a decent working engine from this and the two spare engines that we possess.

Task Force

Like the Phoenix, from the rubble of Brownhills West has arisen a splendid new platform which was 90% finished before the West Midlands County Council was abolished at the end of March, and the Task Force left Chasewater, supposedly for good.  However, at the beginning of April they reappeared under the guise of Wolverhampton Task Force to finish the job and to complete the drainage of the station site.  The Society is left with the job of removing the remaining rubble and fashioning a track bed adjacent to the platform before the Wickham buffet car can be installed.

Motorway Madness

Just as the railway is recovering from the enforced siesta that it has enjoyed since 1982, comes the news that the infamous North Orbital Route (as an alternative to the crumbling M6) is to plough straight through Chasewater, in fact, it is likely to plough straight through the new platform at Brownhills West!!  This of course is a major blow to the intended development of the park, not least the railway.

Despite the likelihood of a public enquiry it is almost certain that this ‘preferred route’ (out of nine possible options) will be built, construction not due to start until 1991.  As it will be some 12 to 18 months before detailed plans are published then the Railway will have to have its own plans ready to make maximum use of any compensation it is eligible for.  The main options open to the Railway are:

  1. To forget it all and disperse the collection
  2. To move lock, stock and barrel to somewhere else
  3. To move Brownhills West some 200-300yards down the line
  4. To move operations to the other side of the lake.

The executive committee have appointed Messrs. Hall and Patterson to investigate the feasibility of these and any other options and to find out what the chances of gaining compensation are.

“431 Hudswell Group”

At the Chasewater Light railway Society AGM on 13th November a resolution was passed empowering the Executive Committee to sell the Hudswell Clarke Locomotive No. 431 of 1895 to a consortium of Chasewater members and others.  A price of £2,500 was agreed upon provided that the locomotive would remain at Chasewater.

All this led to the formation of the “431 Hudswell Group” which is offering 25 shares in the locomotive at £300 each.  This covers £2,500 for purchase, leaving £5,000 for restoration.  An easy payment scheme has been set up whereby prospective shareholders pay a minimum of £5 per month per share. (There is a maximum shareholding of two shares per person) and to date 18 shares have been taken up.  Each shareholder will be issued with two certificates:

a)    When £100 has been donated representing 1/25th of the purchase price – i.e. 1 share – and

b)    On completion of restoration work to certify ownership of 1/25th of the locomotive.

No heavy restoration work will take place until the CLRS has been paid in full for the locomotive and there is enough money available to allow restoration to proceed unhindered.

Late News – A deposit of £500 has been paid by the 431 Hudswell Group to the CLRS.

Catering News

No doubt you will have read elsewhere about Gricers Day.  However, from a catering point of view it was both good news and bad.  The good news was that we literally sold out of everything and had to send out scouts to locate further supplies.  This resulted in the maximum profit being made.  The service went well except for the bottleneck around the hatch and doorway, and everyone drank the tea and coffee so it couldn’t have been too bad!

However, running the kitchen is hard work and we would not have coped except for volunteers who turned up who are not Society members via the Hon.Sec.  Thanks go to all concerned.  For future occasions if they are not available, ordinary members will have to be rostered for these duties, as the money raised by this service will be essential.  Other Societies have learnt that they can increase their income considerably by offering an efficient service and although none of us joined to make tea and wash up, this is part of the price you pay to see the engines running again and to keep them running.

Barry Bull is again providing sterling service on Saturdays and Sundays to members and the few brave souls who appear during the winter months.

On November 17th we ran the first ever “Chase Diner Train”, which taught us a few lessons – we must be mad!!  However, despite a few obvious points such as the gap between courses and lack of heat in the vehicle, it went reasonably well considering it had never been done before.  Apart from a longer cooking time than anticipated, due to overloading of the electricity supply, it proved what can be done when we are fully organised and better equipped.

Remember – help support our project “Eat, drink and be merry”.

Re-organisation Committee Report

We are still dealing with the Charity Commissioners who require more information than previously thought and so this is taking longer than expected, though there should be no problem in having the new Company set up by the Autumn.  Meanwhile, the Re-organisation Committee (gang of four!) are working hard to ensure a smooth changeover when the time comes.

The management structure was agreed at the last committee meeting and consists of seven Director Offices covering the main area of the business – the sub-board structure being a matter for the Directors to determine later.  The intention is for seven (of the possible maximum of ten) Directors to be elected to office concurrent with their election as Directors at the AGM.  The offices are:

  1. Chairman  (usual duties and to ensure Directors pull in one direction – the one the members want).
  2. General Manager  (control, planning, budgeting of on-site work).
  3. Engineering Manager  (ensuring that the Railway meets the Inspector’s requirements).
  4. Operations Manager  (rue book, staff training, rostering and timetabling).
  5. Commercial Manager  (sales, catering, etc., planning of rallies).
  6. Marketing Manager  (marketing the Railway, including publicity and advertising, magazine and public relations).
  7. Financial Manager  (treasury, liquidity and cash-flow management, budgetary control system, VAT/Revenue).

Association of Railway Preservation Societies  (ARPS) AGM25-1-1986

For the first time in over four years the Society sent a delegation to an ARPS meeting, this year’s AGM being held in London.

The only really useful part of the meeting was a talk by Major Olver of the Railway Inspectorate on various current problems facing the preservation movement, certain aspects of which were discussed in a private conversation between Major Olver and the CLR delegation (Steve Organ and Adrian Hall) after the meeting.

The need for agreement between railways and private owner stock was raised which is something the CLR will have to look at before we recommence train operations.  The Annual ARPS Award was intended for BR for organising the Marylebone – Stratford dinner trains but as they are ineligible – not being members of ARPS you understand – the Award was given instead to the owners of the engines used on said trains.  As the Award is supposedly for an outstanding contribution to the Railway Preservation movement, there were surely better qualified contenders such as the KWVR for the splendid restoration of the unique Haydock Foundry built ‘Bellerophon’;Bellerophon at Caverswall Road, Foxfield Railway

City of Truro at Hampton Loade

the SVR’s restoration of ‘City of Truro’; the North Norfolk’s Gresley buffet car; the Llangollen Railway’s extension to Berwyn, etc., (or even the CLR’s nine year restoration of ‘Asbestos’!).Berwyn Station on the Llangollen Railway – and the former Chasewater Wickham.  Hondawanderer.com

The Best Preserved Station Award went to the SRPS for Boness Station.  This is interesting in that it is not strictly a preserved station, being an amalgam of various Scottish station buildings brought in from other sites.  Enquiries were made to see if Brownhills West would be eligible – apparently it would so we shall have to see what can be done in the future!!  – Any (sensible) ideas are welcome!

Chasewater Transport Rally Report

Sunday October 13th not only brought a return to steam to the railway but also the largest event held since the last Transport Scene in June 1982.  It was also one of the warmest days of the year!  A total of 129 exhibits were in attendance, ranging from buses to stationary engines.  As organiser of the event it was a great pleasure to realise that although we may have gone through bad times over the past three years we have certainly not lost our friends in the world of preserved vintage transport.  Thinking back to the original Transport Scene organised by Andrew Louch in 1977 when we had about 70 exhibits over a summer weekend, who would have thought that an October day eight years later would see almost double the number of exhibits and sales stands with free admission and still enough money raised on sales stands, our own refreshment and miscellaneous sales to make a healthy profit.

Aside from the obvious thanks to all the exhibitors who attended and members who assisted on the day, I would like a special vote of thanks to be accorded to Angela, the two Sues and Tim – all non-members who were coerced into helping out in the Wickham buffet.  It is fair to say that without their help profits would have been minimal as most of the profit came from refreshment sales.  The day’s refreshment sales realised £165, by far the highest achieved in the Wickham in one day.

One spin-off from the event was our first major publicity in the railway press for years, with photos of the Sentinel and/or Asbestos appearing in ‘Steam Railway’, ‘Railway Magazine’ and ‘Railway World’.  We were also featured in the Lichfield Mercury and shortly afterwards a photo of the ex-Walsall Gasworks Sentinel appeared in the Walsall Observer.

Chasewater Transport Extravaganza

Yes, another transport event is in the formative stages.  A group of enthusiasts headed by our friend Peter Magee of Lichfield are hoping to organise a weekend event in the Park on May 17th – 18th.  Admission will be free and they hope to cover costs by selling trade space and by means of donation.  An enjoyable informal event is promised and will include guest appearances by up to half-a-dozen steam traction engines.  Any profit made is being donated to the Chasewater Light Railway Society.

The unique 1957 built Wickham & Co Class 109 DMU (50416 & 56171) pulls away from Berwyn station on 26 June 2010 with the 16:50 Llangollen to Carrog service, during the Llangollen Railway’s Railcar Gala. The station occupies a very restricted site, next to the main Llangollen to Corwen road, and perched high above the River Dee.


105 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 1

105 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Autumn 1985 – 1

Chasewater Comment – Ian Patterson (aka the Hairy Youth)

Scanning through the draft for this magazine I came to the conclusion that things must be improving as there seems to be a lot happening and even more to look forward to as indeed there is.  However, this illusion is rapidly shattered by a visit to Chasewater where a visitor asked me “is this railway derelict? – I came here expecting to ride behind a steam engine” a tour of the engine shed and a chat with the Sunday regulars changed this person’s view but there must be many more who don’t enquire and merely see what they see – not a pretty sight.  For all intents and purposes the railway is derelict and a hell of a lot of hard work will be needed to run trains again.  With the present day work force there is two to three years work to be done before a passenger train can run again and apart from this, a large amount of money will be needed to pay the legal fees, etc. necessary to gain the all important Light Railway Order.  This brings me to another point and that is the apparent lack of progress on the administrative side of the re-opening process.  Moves are afoot to get things moving and it is to be hoped that the membership will vote on certain resolutions at the forthcoming AGM with the aim of getting the Railway re-opened as quickly as possible, rather than letting personal prejudices cloud their vision.

Provided that West Midlands County Council do rebuild the platform and provided that Walsall District Council do provide us with the necessary leases and Light Railway Order then perhaps next year we can attract more visitors who will be able to believe that real progress is being made, and help dispel the working members’ fears that trains may never run again.  Whilst this uncertainty hangs over the railway’s head the wooden bodied rolling stock is disintegrating before our eyes, doesn’t anyone care?

I hope members will visit the railway on Gricers’ Day (13th October) and see for themselves what needs to be done – perhaps it will inspire you to come and give a hand or perhaps it will finally convince you that your membership is a waste of time and that the Society will finally collapse after all.  The choice is yours – if thirty working members turned up every weekend from now until next Easter then one could confidently say that services could re-open next May – think about it, your apathy could be the final nail in the Railway’s Coffin.

Now from a rather pessimistic outlook with a touch of optimism towards the end to some really sad news:

Obituary

It is with great regret that we have to report the death of Charles Ives, Society Vice President and former President and benefactor for many years.  Ill-health has for some time forced Charles to take a back seat in Society matters but his influence in the formative years of the Railway Preservation Society (West Midlands District) can never be undervalued.Charles provided the Society with its original home on siding space at his Hednesford engineering establishment.  For ten years the Society had free use of the siding including an overall roof to assist early members in their restoration work.

His presence at Committee Meetings was always welcome with his sense of wit and countless anecdotes and sayings.  In his own way Charles was one of the pioneers of the preservation movement although perhaps a name that might not readily spring to mind.  A true character he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.  Our condolences go to his widow.  B. Bull

Anyone who has followed this blog cannot fail to recognise the contribution of Charles Ives to the RPS West Midlands District and ultimately the Chasewater Light Railway Society. CWS

 

97 Chasewater Railway Bits & Pieces 1982-1985

Chasewater Light Railway Society

1982-1985

Newsletter January 1983

News from the line

Loco Shed

The loco shed is now completed and the engineering department has taken up occupation.  At present the shed houses the Sentinel 4wVBT, MSLR 6-wheeled coach and Asbestos.

The shed was built with the aid of a Manpower Services Commission Youth Opportunities Programme under the direction of Derek Cartwright. Unfortunately the scheme overspent by a sum well into four figures.  Whilst a small sum was inevitable on the end of the final scheme, the size of the present liability has to be met by the Company is of particular concern to the Directors.

West Midlands County Council Task Force

The Directors have chosen this as a means of achieving further developments at Chasewater, in the light of experience with the loco shed.  A special thanks goes to John Selway for getting the scheme off the ground.

The scheme is exclusively devoted to improving trackwork and associated facilities to a standard acceptable to the Railway Inspectorate.  This will entail the relaying of the track on the entire length of the line and the construction of a run round loop at Brownhills West Station. A material grant of £10,000 is available which has been earmarked for the purchase of rail and concrete sleepers.  Labour is provided by WMCC, who are also responsible for day to day administration.

Work on this scheme will shortly begin in earnest, with progress dependant on the weather conditions during the coming months.  This work will commence before the 1983 running season and it is likely that the running season will not start at Easter.

Asbestos

This loco will operate the first passenger train in 1983, after its prolonged overhaul is completed.  The loco will emerge in a new blue livery and will be fitted with vacuum brake equipment, which is a necessary feature of all future working locos.

Society members are currently working on the loco which is the first priority, ahead of the striping for boiler examination of the Sentinel.

That is the end of the Jan 1983 Newsletter, and considering the piece which follows, mainly taken from the history of Chasewater Railway, they really didn’t know what was coming!  There were no passenger trains from October 1982 until Spring 1985.  And, just as a matter of interest, ‘Asbestos’ in blue wasn’t a success either!

The Society had been proud to be represented at the Stockton & Darlington 150th celebrations in 1975 by the restored Maryport & Carlisle coach, but by 1982 things were not going too well at Chasewater. Vandalism and theft were rife, especially during the time when a Manpower Service Commission programme had been engaged on construction work for a new engine shed and some track work.

The Railway effectively closed in October 1982 when a miserable wet Saturday saw just two fare-paying passengers carried on the last train of the day. Although no trains were to be run for the foreseeable future, it was decided to soldier on behind the scenes as a Society. However, further problems occurred during a West Midlands County Council Task Force Scheme the following year when, after construction of a bay platform to accommodate the museum coach, the remainder of the platform was demolished by the Task Force – who then failed to return to rebuild and extend the platform as promised, for nearly 18 months.

It was not until 1985 that regular steamings began again, but in the intervening three steam-less years, membership had dropped by some 50 per cent. The Society deemed it necessary to prune its stock as it was realised that without an injection of cash, the whole affair might fold. The L&NWR Travelling Post Office went to Tyseley; a small “Planet” diesel went to Brian Roberts’ Tollerton Farm Railway, while individual members purchased two steam locos and one diesel loco in order that they could remain safely at Chasewater.

Working membership fell to single figures, but that small band succeeded in rescuing this early standard gauge preservation scheme from the brink of extinction. Subsequently, as described later, a new company was formed in 1985 – the Chasewater Light Railway and Museum Company – and achieved status as a Registered Charity.

 

96 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Gricers’ Day 11th October, 1981

96 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

Gricers’ Day 11th October, 1981

Welcome to our annual end of season ‘Gricers Day’.  This year we have organised a small gathering of preserved buses to create added interest.

1981 has been a good year for CLR and the progress achieved can be seen around the compound area and down the line where the new locomotive shed is gradually taking shape.

A Y.O.P. scheme has helped in the restoration of wooden bodied coaching stock, particularly the ex LNWR non-corridor brake coach on which progress is spectacular as regular visitors will appreciate.

Society members have been kept busy on the overhaul of ‘Asbestos’ which is slowly being reassembled and also the dismantling of the Hudswell Clarke side tank S100, as well as keeping the regular working locos in trim, whilst also running the twice monthly steam trains which have shown a good increase on last year’s figures.

As the average number of volunteers is round about ten, restoration is obviously slow, and more numbers are urgently required – especially with a view to running a longer length of line in the not too distant future – enquire at the booking office for further details.

Two further passenger carrying coaches arrived this week and the diesel gricers will recognise them as DB975005/6, formerly E50416 and E56171 the sole surviving DMU set built by D.Wickhams of Ware in 1957, which have latterly served as the Eastern Region General Manager’s Saloon.

Wickham – S.Organ video

Locomotives in service on the railway today are:

1.         ‘Alfred Paget’ built by Neilson’s of Glasgow in 1882 and formerly at Gartsherrie Ironworks, Coatbridge; the oldest working locomotive in the Midlands.

2.         ‘The Colonel’ built by Pecketts of Bristol in 1914 and latterly at Swan Hunter shipyard, Wallsend.

3.    DL7 built by Ruston & Hornsby’s of Lincoln in 1961 and purchased from the NCB Whitwell Colliery, Derbyshire.

Passenger trains ran at frequent intervals of between 15 and 40 minutes, with freight train run pasts between passenger services.

The freight train will be available for photographic purposes on the as yet unopened section of the line which crosses the lake on a causeway, beyond the limit of the passenger train service.

Don’t forget to visit the museum coach and sales stand at Brownhills West.

List of buses in attendance

At the time of writing only five entries had been confirmed but it is hoped that more vehicles will be present on the day.

transport-illustrated.blogspot.com

1.    EA4181  Dennis ‘E’ single decker, 32 seats.  Formerly no.32 in the West Bromwich fleet.  Built 1929, body by A.Dixon Ltd.  Ambulance service 1939 – 1945.  Illuminated ‘Christmas Lights’ bus 1948 – 1962.  A regular visitor to Chasewater.  Courtesy R.Coxon and the 32 Group.

oxford-chiltern-bus-page.co.uk

2.    BTA59  Dennis Mace, built 1934, single deck, 26 seats.  Restored to original colours as Southern National 668.  First visit to Chasewater since 1977.  Owner A.Gameson, Four Oaks.

JOJ 245 The Transport Museum, Wythall

3.    JOJ245  Leyland P52/1, Metro Cammel Weyman 34 seat single deck.  Built 1950 for Birmingham City Transport.  Owned by Acocks Green Bus Preservation Group and another regular visitor to Chasewater.

4.     FJJ86  Bedford MLC with Lee Motors 16 seat bus body, built 1952.  Originally Dorset CC Education Committee.  Owned by P.Mason, Hereford since 1977 and extensively rallied.

FRC 956 Leyland The Transport Museum, Wythall

5.     FRC956  Leyland PD2/12, built 1954 and delivered to Trent.  Sold by Trent 1967 and since 1972 owned by the 1926 Preservation Group.  Restored to original colours 1976, the interior is also completely refurbished.

Please support the sales stands connected with some of the above listed buses as these small sales help in the restoration and continued running of these vehicles.

The owners will doubtless be pleased to answer your questions, but please do not enter the buses without their permission.

Finally we hope you have an enjoyable time and will come again next year when regular services will start again at Easter.

95 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 21st Anniversary Edition – 2

95 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

21st Anniversary Edition – 2

Twenty one not out

Ian Patterson

The history of the Chasewater Light Railway goes back to a meeting called at the Station Hotel, Stafford on October 10th, 1959.  This meeting led to the formation of the West Midlands District of the Railway Preservation Society, whose aim was to set up regional depots around the country where railway relics could be collected, restored and eventually returned to their native area.Hednesford Depot

The first West Midlands Division was set up at Hednesford, Staffs. in a siding belonging to Penkridge Engineering Limited, and was in fact the 3rd Standard Gauge Preservation Society.The first items of stock acquired were the Maryport and Carlisle and Great Eastern coaches from the National Coal Board, Rawnsley.  The siding at Hednesford was partially covered and so in 1962 the ex London & North Western Railway coal tank 1054 was offered a home there.  This engine later went to Penrhyn Castle, North Wales, and then to Dinting Railway centre, appearing at the ‘Rocket 150’ celebrations in 1980.1054 at Hednesford

The West Midlands District decided in the early 1960s to find a suitable length of line on which to operate their growing collection of rolling stock.

In 1963 it was suggested that the remnants of the Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton Railway around Chasewater would make a suitable length of line.  At this time the area was desolate, and it wasn’t until 1967 that the Society actually moved to Chasewater, development of a Pleasure Park had made the line more attractive.  By this time all the National Coal Board buildings and workshops had been demolished and all that was left was 600 yards of double track belonging to British Rail (ex Midland Railway) and 1½ miles of former Cannock Chase and Wolverhampton Railway, plus a 300 yard spur which formerly led to Conduit Colliery, upon which a lease was taken.The state of the track

The first task at Chasewater was to lay over 800 yards of track, partially along the former Midland Railway track bed and partly along new formation into the Pleasure Park.  Much of this work was done by hand – even the first wagon was a luxury.  Pittsteel No.1

It wasn’t until late 1967 that motive power arrived in the shape of Pittsteel Hibberd No.1.  Development at Chasewater was slow and laborious and it wasn’t until 1970 that all stock at Hednesford had been transferred to Chasewater and the Hednesford depot closed.

To return briefly to general aspects of Railway Preservation Society’s history, apart from Hednesford, depots had been set up at Quainton Road (London Railway Preservation Society and Falkirk (Scottish Railway Preservation Society).  However the main movement of Railway Preservation was to either preserve solitary engines or complete branch lines and so the broader aspects of Railway Preservation Society policy evolved into a body known as the Association of Railway Preservation Societies, which is an advisory body which gives help, advice and information to many preservation groups and has over 200 member societies.

Returning to Chasewater, as already stated all stock was there by 1970 housed in a security compound and thought was given to giving regular steam-hauled train rides.

During 1968/9 and 1970 several open days had been held with either AB1223 (Colin McAndrew) or HL 2780 (Asbestos) in steam, and limited train rides were given.  The formation of the Chasewater Light Railway Company in 1970 was necessary to enable trains to be run legally.  In 1971 a regular service was given using Nos. 20 and 21 at either end of the Maryport & Carlisle coach whilst ‘Asbestos’ was under repair.  Regular steam-hauled services began in September 1972 when ‘Asbestos’ was re-commissioned.  For the rest of the 1972 season ‘Asbestos’ hauled a train comprising of the 1875 Maryport & Carlisle six-wheeler and the 1880s 16 ton Great Western brake van – as far as the bridge at the Southend of the double track section where the embankment was burning.  1973 saw a start made on building a permanent platform at what is now Brownhills West and also saw the purchase, from British Rail, of E56301 (non-powered) driving trailer – ideal for observation and working push-pull.E56301 on her way

(Trailer car 56301 was the first diesel multiple unit car to enter preservation in 1969, originally being used at the Chasewater Railway)E56301 in through the farm gate at Chasewater

The Society’s aims were to run a service along the whole two miles of railway as and when track was brought into usable condition.  In 1974 British Rail ‘rediscovered’ that they owned what is now the central section of Chasewater Light Railway and banned any use of it, due to the burning of the embankment.  This was a major blow as Society members were just ready to start work on this section.  In 1975 British Rail allowed work to start on the burning embankment, which was completely dug out and replaced with non-combustible material and negotiations were opened for the purchase of this section.  The purchase price was raised by 1978, actual purchase taking place in 1980.

In keeping with its aims, the Railway Preservation Society changed its name to the Chasewater Light Railway Society in 1977, owning most of the rolling stock and relics whilst Chasewater Light Railway Company is responsible for the legal implications of running trains, i.e. insurance, etc.

In 1979 a great step forward was taken with using a Government sponsored STEPS project for rebuilding the railway, especially the causeway across the lake, which had been much eroded by wash from power boats on the lake.  The work accomplished in 12 months would have taken Society working parties 3 to 4 years to accomplish and will allow regular steam-hauled services to run over the majority of the line in 1982, subject to the granting of a Light Railway Order and a satisfactory inspection by the Railway Inspectorate.The Neilson with Gloucester E56301 working at Chasewater.