Tag Archives: Rugeley

Canal News – Work Party on the Trent & Mersey Canal

Canal News

Work Party on the Trent & Mersey Canal


16 May 2014
9:30 am – 3:00 pm
Join the IWA Lichfield Branch in a work party on the Trent & Mersey Canal.
Wolseley Road

Meet at the bottom of the steps by the aqueduct, accessed along the footpath between Albany Drive and the pumping station, off Wolseley Road, Rugeley.
Starting at 9.30am, the work party will continue until approx 3pm but please feel free to come along for just a couple of hours if that’s all the time you have. If turning up just for the afternoon please arrive at about 1 pm and notify the organisers in advance.
refreshments available for all – lunch provided for those staying all day.
Heavy duty footwear, tatty clothing and a smile are all you need to bring!
Further information from Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk

Canal News – Protect yourself and your boat from the floods, and Rugeley Work Party

Canal News

Protect yourself and your boat from the floods

Flooding on the Oxford CanalFlooding on the Oxford Canal

If you’re a boat owner you’ll want to make sure that your boat isn’t damaged, and you stay safe, during the horrendous weather we’re experiencing. To help you, we’ve put together a short guide to help you battle the wet weather.

While many of these points are common sense we think it’s important to share the information as not every boat owner has years of experience under their belt. If you’re a boat owner with an extra tip to share please email us at feedback@canalrivertrust.org.uk.

• Don’t use a centre rope as a main mooring rope. Bow and stern strings should take the strain (ideally set with springs) and use the centre rope as a failsafe emergency rope.

• Check your mooring lines regularly (and don’t use taut lines)

• If you’re not able to check on your boat regularly ask friends in the area to take a look when they can.

• If water levels are forecast to rise and you think you’re going to be stranded for a while then make sure your loo is empty and that you have enough fuel and food

• Use double pins in your upstream mooring point

• Do not travel on red boards (you won’t be insured)

• Insert a vertical (scaffold) pole, forward and aft, between the boat and towpath to stop beaching on towpath when the water recedes if your boat has drifted during flooding.

• Don’t forget to move your car to higher ground if parked close to mooring

• Don’t forget to top up on fuel for your tender outboard motor – please store all petrol safely and not inside your boat!

• Keep checking the Environment Agency river levels and flood warnings website and be prepared to take action, quickly, if required

• Check on vulnerable neighbours

• Don’t forget to stock up on essential medication if required

• Put dogs in kennels, if required, as walkies maybe become impossible!

Although you might float in a boat and think that there’s not much to worry about, follow the link below and read just how bad it can get. With more rain forecast for the coming days, please take heed of the advice on this page!

• Evesham in Flood

Work Party at Leathermill Lane, Rugeley


Leathermill Lane
WS15 2HN

 22 Feb 2014  9:30 am – 1:00 pm

Come and join the IWA Lichfield Branch for a work party at Rugeley.

Bridge 66, Trent & Mersey CanalBridge 66, Trent & Mersey Canal

Bridge 66 carries Leathermill Lane over the canal.  © Copyright Stephen McKay and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Come along and help with painting and re-badging the Canal & River Trust signs along the towpath plus general clearance, maintenance and litter picking.  Meet at Leathermill Lane, Rugeley, Staffs. WS15 2HN by the canal noticeboards on the towpath.

Come along and make new friends.

Hot drinks, cake and all equipment provided, no experience needed, but wear stout boots and old clothes.

Weather permitting!

Further information from Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk

Canal News – Canal volunteers unearth historic tramway

Canal News

Canal volunteers unearth historic tramway

Volunteers working alongside the Trent & Mersey Canal at Rugeley have unearthed a historic tram route which would have played an important part in the development of the town over a hundred years ago.

Volunteers in Rugeley
Volunteers in Rugeley

Volunteers from the Lichfield branch of the Inland Waterways Association and the local community have been working with us over the past year to improve the area around the ‘Bloody Steps’ in the town.

While clearing overgrown shrubs and greenery from the area the volunteers uncovered the remains of a tramway that linked the canal with the nearby water works. In the early 20th Century there was a canal wharf at the Bloody Steps and it is thought that the tramway would have been built to supply coal arriving by canal to the steam engine at the water works.

The volunteers have been keeping the area clear while a full heritage assessment of the site takes place. It’s hoped that over time the line of the tramway can be marked so that people can see how the area might have looked and understand the role the canal played in daily life. As part of their assessment the volunteers have also recorded an interview with a local couple who remember the tramway and who remain active participants in the campaign to preserve the water works.

The Bloody Steps have a grisly history and got their name from the gruesome murder of Christina Collins in 1839. Christina was paying to travel on one of Pickfords boats to join her husband in London but was brutally murdered by the boat crew who had been drinking heavily. When Christina’s body was discovered in the canal, it was carried up the sandstone steps and her blood is said to have stained the stone giving them their macabre name – which persists despite the steps’ replacement in the mid-20th century

Colourful history

Tom Woodcock, heritage advisor for the Trust, said: “The tramway is a very useful find as it adds to the picture of life in Rugeley over a hundred years ago. We already know the very colourful history of the canal but this discovery tells us a little more about how the canal contributed to day-to-day life in the town.

“The volunteers have been doing a brilliant job to look after the canal and this discovery is a great reward for their hard work. It gives them a terrific opportunity to help preserve this interesting feature but, perhaps more importantly, enables them to record for the very first time the important role the canal played in supplying clean water to the people of Rugeley.”

Margaret Beardsmore, Work Party Coordinator for the Inland Waterways Association said: “Our volunteers are really enjoying their work as a local ‘Time Team’ and uncovering a previously unknown heritage gem.”

Walsall-Rugeley Chase Line Electrification

Walsall-Rugeley Chase Line Electrification

Train in StationThe Council have been pushing for this important transport scheme for many years, which will transform CannockChaseDistrict. As well as making the District more attractive for inward investment and job creation it will lead to more frequent, faster, quieter rail services from Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley to Walsall and Birmingham. It will also help make the case to restore direct services to Stafford and potentially beyond to the North West and south to London.

Construction works are due to commence in November, with major bridge rebuilding at Station Road, Hednesford and on the access to the Chase Enterprise Centre.

Network Rail will produce information material for the project which will include fact sheets covering the following:

      • General Electrification
      • Walsall to RugeleyTrentValley
      • Individual sheets about the initial bridge reconstruction works (Station Road, Hednesford and Chase Enterprise Centre, Hednesford)

2010_02010011Network Rail will also produce posters for display at Stations along the route; they also intend to distribute invitation letters to residents etc. in the vicinity of the initial bridge re-constructions.

Councillor Gordon Alcott, Economic Development and Planning Portfolio Leader said, “Electrification of the Chase Line will see the biggest improvement to passenger services since the line was reopened in 1989. The rail service attracted an additional 100,000 passengers within the District in 2011/2 alone, with a total number of 700,000 per annum.  This is the first electrification scheme in the West Midlands since the Cross City line to Lichfield was electrified 20 years ago and as well as benefiting passengers with faster, quieter, more frequent services, is set to make the District  more attractive for investment. Whenever a railway line is electrified, the ‘sparks effect’ that follows always leads to a substantial increase in passenger numbers as well as economic benefits to an area. 

Note: The Chase Line electrification project was announced by the Government in July 2012. Work will start in November 2013 and completion is planned for December 2017. The £30m project will involve electrifying the 15 mile, strategic missing link in the West Midlands electrified network between Walsall and Rugeley.


Canal News – Round the MIdlands, March 2013

Canal News round the Midlands, March 2013

Canal Br 66Trent and Mersey Canal in Rugeley, Staffordshire

Approaching Leather Lane Bridge, No 66. Visitor moorings here are good for a visit to Morrison’s supermarket nearby off to the left.  © Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.



Boating MontgomeryBoating on the Montgomery Canal

Discovery and invention at Gloucester Waterways Museum as part of National Science and Engineering Week

15 – 24 Mar 2013
10:00 am – 4:30 pm

Science and engineering is at the heart of Britain‘s waterways and what better time to celebrate the inventions that have contributed to our canals and rivers than National Science and Engineering Week (15-24 March).

Families will be able to follow a specially created science trail around the museum and learn more about the science and engineering behind some of the museum’s mechanical exhibits, including the Fielding Engine, steam crane and the museum’s famous SND No4 steam dredger, restored recently thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding.

Visitors can put their problem-solving skills to good use when they learn how to build a bridge to get a tall ship through as well as understanding more about the intricacies of dredging Gloucester Docks.

Steam Dredger GlosSND No4 Steam dredger at Gloucester Waterways Museum

Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society Diary Dates For 2012

Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society

Diary Dates For 2012

Monday 6th FebruaryAGM at the Museum of Cannock Chase, commencing at 11.00am prompt.

Quarterley Meetings for 2012

Wednesday 7th March – Sinking of Lea Hall – Speaker – Alan Dean

Wednesday 16th May – Licensed Mines – Speaker – Brian Rollins

Wednesday 4th July – History of Bridgtown

Wednesday 3rd October – Life and Times of Robert Smillie

All talks will be held at the Museum of Cannock Chase, Valley Road, Hednesford, WS12 1TD,  starting at 3.00pm and are open to the general public – admission free.

Special Date

Saturday 28th April 2012

The Dedication Ceremony of the extension to the original Miners’ Monument in Hednesford Town Centre, will take place.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch will officiate and music will be provided by the Rugeley Power Station Band and the Cannock Chase Orpheus Male Voice Choir.

140 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Autumn 1991 – Part 3 A Goods Train for Gricers Day

140Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Autumn 1991 – Part 3

A Goods Train for Gricers Day

 When Baddesley Colliery was demolished in 1990 we managed to get a set of points at a reasonable price, so when Lea Hall closed earlier this year (1991) ‘your management’ paid a visit.

This time, a couple of steel bodied mineral wagons were singled out as being worthy of preservation, and in due course, a price was agreed.  British Coal/NCB have always been good to us over the years, so £50 plus VAT was probably the sort of good deal we would expect.  When, however, a check of the contents of the wagons reveals about three or four tons of coal left in the bottom, worth something approaching £100 per ton, it’s mot bad value at all!

To put the purchase price into perspective, an ‘0’ gauge model of a similar wagon would cost around £15, and , being in kit form, would have to be assembled and painted.  Ours are ready to run!Collection and delivery to Chasewater was arranged for Saturday 13th July, with one low loader making two round trips.  At 7.30am loading of the first 21 ton wagon commenced using the tractor unit to pull the wagon onto its own low loader trailer.  Additional power was provided during the operation by a fork lift truck pushing and lifting the wagon from behind.

At Chasewater the fencing had been removed from around the level crossing, and various tools and jacks gathered together.  The trailer was positioned on the crossing and a short ramp built in the general direction of the track.  With the Fowler diesel pulling via a cable on one end and the Southern brake van controlling the descent via a chain from the other, the wagon was dragged off the trailer and into the ballast.  After a bit of traverse jacking and pulling up re-railing ramps, the wagon was finally shunted into the shed yard.

Unloading the second, smaller, 16 ton wagon went more smoothly, requiring only a gentle sideways pull from the lorry to drop the wheel flanges between the rails.  By 4.00pm both wagons were safely on CLR metals, which, with only five CLR members and the truck driver helping, was not bad going.

The only details of the two wagons, which were painted various shades of blue and green, have been taken from the plates on their solebars as follows:

BC 503 – B316711 – 21 T – Re-bodied Shildon – 1972

BC 517 – B274600 – 16 T – Tees Side B & E Co. – 1957 – Lot 2817

Both are on the CLR stocklist of August 2011

Whilst the bodywork of both vehicles has rotted through in places, their running gear appears to be in excellent condition, which is why they were chosen from a number of others.  Both vehicles now require work to free off their doors, especially the end opening ones, as these will be ideal for ballasting track.  A repaint in a more suitable colour will give us quite a respectable goods train this Gricers Day, with a choice of brake vans!

Nigel Canning