Tag Archives: TPO

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 The latter number, allocated in 1933, lasted until the vehicle was withdrawn in 1961.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.

99 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Late 1983

99 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – Late 1983

Editorial: Several things have happened, but little has changed.

 Several significant things have happened at Chasewater since the last magazine was printed and these will be detailed in the next few pages.

Little has changed because we are still short of manpower and cash, of these two shortages surely the lack of manpower must be the more inexcusable.  On one Sunday this summer there were only two members at Chasewater and I make no apology for the fact that we spent the day working in the shed whilst the public looked through the locked gates of Brownhills West Station.  Fifty per cent of those people must have thought that it was a railway scrapyard and the other fifty per cent, who knew better, probably thought that we had closed down for good!

If we are very lucky, sometime next year, we may have a railway which is once again fit to run passenger trains on and probably a couple of locos and coaches in useable condition, but will we have the people to run them?

Nigel Canning – Operating Superintendent

 Locomotives

Asbestos – The six missing firebox stays have been riveted into place and the boiler will shortly be hydraulically tested.  If this is successful the loco can be reassembled, steam tested and the newly installed vacuum brake equipment tested.

Sentinel heading past the old rear of the loco shed in 1992

 Sentinel – The Boiler Inspector will carry out a visual examination on the boiler and superheater of this loco when Asbestos is hydraulically tested.  Work will then continue until completed.  A trial will have to be carried out to see if this loco is capable of successfully operating passenger trains before any though is given to fitting vacuum brake equipment.

 S-100 – Tony has been making use of the summer weather to paint various parts of this loco whilst trying in vain to find somewhere to have its wheels turned.

 DL7 – This loco continues in fairly regular use and is to be repainted with a bogus BR ‘D’ number.  However, one or two points should be remembered:

  • If it is to be used on passenger trains again it will have to be vacuum brake fitted.
  • The brake and starting air tanks will, under new regulations, shortly to be introduced, require to be insured and regularly tested.

 Small Peckett – Albright & Wilson, the Company from whom this loco is on loan, have recently offered to help pay for a replacement saddle tank.  The tank has been measured and drawn so that quotes can be sought for both a complete assembled tank and for a rolled plates do-it-ourselves kit.

 No.21 – This loco is still operational if tow-started and has been used on occasion to move items of stock into sidings to pass DL7 in the absence of a run round loop.  A complete engine rebuild is probably necessary to enable it to be started from the battery.

Carriages & Wagons

Wickham Class 109 at Llangollen Station. Photographed during the Llangollen Railcar Gala weekend, 16-17 July 2005.  
This image was taken from the Geograph project collection. on the Geograph. The copyright on this image is owned by Mark Riley and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

Wickham Motor car 50416 – Throughout the summer this vehicle has been in use as a station buffet.  A considerable amount of work has been carried out including enlargement of the kitchen hatch, removal of one of the internal bulkheads and screwing down of tables.  A start has now been made on completely replacing the guttering so that the coach can be repainted before next year.

Wickham Trailer 56171 – Progress has also been made with this vehicle with the fitting of seats from a Cravens DMU and the removal of rain guttering.

Gloucester Trailer 56301 – No work has been carried out on this vehicle although it will require a repaint and clean up before re-entering service.

http://postalheritage.org.uk/collections/museum/transport/mailbyrail

TPO 30244 – Following the offer from Tyseley Museum this vehicle was sold for £1,000 and left Chasewater on September 8th.  It is reputed to have twisted one of its bogie frames when one corner broke through the floorboards due to being stood on uneven ground during loading.

 Six-Wheeled Coaches – One new end has been fitted to the M & C Coach and replacement luggage rack netting is being fitted to the MS & L.

 Loco Shed

The only work carried out in this building during the summer has been the painting of ‘Asbestos’.  A three phase cable has been obtained so that during the winter the workshop can be wired up and used.

 Taskforce & Trackwork

During the summer all of the plain track from Brownhills West to Norton East has been relayed with concrete sleepers and work has started on installing a new siding between the station and the shed.  Run round loops at both ends still remain to be installed plus level crossing gates and fencing.

Brownhills West station platform has remained half demolished throughout the summer awaiting funds for rebuilding.  A grant of £15,000 due in September never materialised and we await a possible grant of £5,000 to be applied for in November.

Some form of sleeper built platform may also be constructed at Norton East if funds and manpower permit.

At the present state of progress it will be touch and go whether the railway will be running next year.

Vandalism

Since the last magazine was published the following instances of vandalism have occurred:

1.    Half drum of steam oil drained onto floor.

2.    Two large coach windows smashed.

3.    Three small coach windows smashed.

4.    Paint poured into Gloucester trailer heater fuel tank.

5.    Fence cut at least once a week.

 Museum Notes

The arrival of the LNWR 50 foot passenger brake in its own platform in time for Easter has given a much easier access to the vehicle for old and young alike.

Various item have been acquired this year, some have come by way of donation – others have actually cost money although usually as part of a deal where other items have been acquired to offset the cost.

Relics, mainly paperwork previously kept in the TPO had to be removed in some haste following the decision to sell the vehicle to the Birmingham Railway Museum.  Much of what had been kept in the TPO had suffered from the damp conditions that had prevailed in that vehicle for many years following problems with the roof.  Most of the old GWR drawings obtained by Mike Lewis many years ago were still in a reasonable condition but some of the larger ledgers and books were virtually no more than mould and were consigned to the bonfire.

Despite what has been happening to the station area (demolition and not much else!) things have ticked over quite nicely in the museum.  Obviously fewer visitors without steaming but with more time to listen to comments from visitors it makes one realise how much importance our collection of small relics is to the Railway.  Whatever 1984 brings you can be assured that the museum will be open whatever happens outside.

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 76 – April 1977

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 76 – April 1977

The Railway Preservation Society Newsletter

Chasewater News 19

Editorial

With the operating season nearly upon us, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the same few regular volunteers will be responsible for the operation of the railway during the coming season.  Appeals for extra help during the closed season have had the usual minimal response but the usual crowd have ensured that the railway will reopen as scheduled on the 10th April.  In many ways the RPS is the Cinderella of the operating preserved railways, but it reflects great credit upon the dozen or so people who have turned up week in, week out, enduring rain, sleet and snow, that we have entered our sixth season of steam-hauled services, which promises to be our most successful yet.

Locomotives

Pride of place must go to the ancient Neilson ‘Alfred Paget’.  Although built as long ago as 1882 it passed its steam test on 17th March with flying colours.  This was the result of much hard work by the engineering department in re-machining parts of the motion, which had earned it the nickname of ‘shake, rattle and roll’ in some circles.  The planned repaint for the Neilson has had to be delayed due to the adverse weather conditions.

‘Invicta’ the Andrew Barclay saddletank has passed its visual inspection and now awaits re-assembly of cab fittings, etc., and then a steam test before re-entering service again.  Its owner is still threatening to complete its restoration by giving it a uniform coat of Great Western green!

Unfortunately ‘Asbestos’ repairs are beyond our financial resources at the moment and so it has been put to one side until we have the necessary cash.

The next major locomotive job is to strip the Peckett 0-4-0ST ‘Lion’ in preparation for its major hydraulic test.  The two Worthington diesels have had repairs as and where necessary and are both serviceable at the moment.

Lion in 1978 with ‘Colonel’  Plate

It is pleasing to report that the Company are financing a complete repaint of the DMU trailer coach by a local firm of contractors, in the early stages of the season.  The expected final livery is grey roof, crimson lake bodywork and black underframe and running gear.  Great progress has been made with regard to trackwork with the construction of a point for a siding at the crossing.  This took less than a month despite the fact that the recently restored petrol crane broke its main shaft whilst lifting the first piece of rail into place.  Several crossing timbers were obtained by our general manager at a bargain price.  Ballasting and packing has been completed, considerably eased by the use of the tractor and bucket scoop, kept in trim by Brian Hames.

The footings of the lever frame have been laid.  The necessary walls should be built during Easter week, enabling the platform to be extended to its full length.

Other work carried out on site has been mainly in tidying up in preparation for the coming season.  A scrap drive resulted in a load of scrap being sold to bolster the Society’s coffers.  The sale of the engine out of the scrapped J4 van realised £25.

The Travelling Post Office has been partially re-roofed, with more to follow to make it water-tight again.  Re-panelling of this vehicle is to commence when the weather becomes drier.

The visit to South Yorkshire area of the Coal Board 9mentioned in the last Newsletter) was not entirely unsuccessful, as, although we failed (only just) to obtain the locomotive ‘Beatrice’, the Hon. Sec. was successful in obtaining many locomotive spares, notably boiler tubes and firebars from Rockingham Colliery.

Stroudley E1 Locomotive Centenary FundNo.110 Southern No. 4

Not a lot to report this month, but ads in Railway Magazine have been paid for to counter the apathy amongst Society members.  A rather neat handout has been produced and is obtainable.   Certain preservative work has been done on the locomotive and a repaint is planned before the high season.  More help and money is urgently needed for this project to succeed.

Track Fund

Negotiations within Walsall Council continue and a final decision is awaited.

The Chasewater Light Railway Company has awakened from its apparent siesta and a general meeting will shortly be arranged.

Meanwhile all members are urged to take up the offer of buying a yard of track, as the success of this fund will decide the fate of our Society.  Albert Haywood is the person to contact regarding the track fund and every £10 donation is certified.

Museum

Thanks are due once again to Mr. Clift of Chase terrace, who has donated a 25 ton locomotive jack, once used in the Central Workshops at the far end of our line, and a pile of magazines for resale.  On the museum front latest acquisitions have included a Great Western and Midland Railway joint cast iron notice and two very nice bridge numbers of Manchester South Junction and Altrincham and West Riding and Grimsby Joint origins.  Smaller items include a GWR paycheck, an LNWR (Walsall) paycheck, an LNWR 1894 handbill, LSWR carriage blind, a small GWR cream jug complete with crest and six LMS tickets, mostly from the Brownhills area.

The March meeting was a slide competition and there were close on 100 entries of varying quality, though every entrant had at least one slide in the last twenty.  The competition was won convincingly by Nigel Canning’s photo of ‘Asbestos’ taken from within the dark confines of the cab of the Hudswell Clarke.

 

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 71

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 71

From the ‘Chasewater Express’ April 1976

Editorial

Steve’s Bit

Considerable activity has been occurring on site in recent weeks.  This is no doubt due largely to the long stretches of dry and sometimes mild weather.  I hardly need say however, that those present were more or less the usual crowd.  Still, spring is near, and the prospect of a few more members turning out occurs as a dream to those of us tied to the site every weekend.  There are many fingers to be pulled out and bumps in the track to be smoothed, as well as a crossing and a siding to be laid, engines and carriages to be cleaned, painted, steamed and pulled in order to grab any stray waif, family of four or local loony for a ride, on which we depend so very much for our cash intake.  The Society has ‘just about’ ticked along financially – we must this year raise enough cash for active members to realise their ambitions, i.e. re-panel and refit what is known as the ‘Football Special’ – the LNWR compo brake; and more importantly, the TPO, which is in a shocking state for a vehicle of its importance. Travelling Post Office at Hednesford.

Engines too need cash, which they tend to consume in greater quantities than coal during the period of their restoration – not to mention Keith Sargeant.

Steve Organ – Editor, Station Master and Order of the most meritorious school of tipyng errrorz.

(Listen for loud popping noises as people pull their fingers out in what for many will be their only physical response to this apple peel!)

Not to mention K.S. who complained that he wasn’t mentioned enough in the last mag!

Chasewater Site Notes

Some lunatic has stuck pieces of wood in the platform, painted them pink, and left them – saying nothing to anyone regarding them. (This is a sight worth seeing! Ed.)

Invicta arriving 1975

Mike Wood has been seen in his role as scrubber extraordinaire (Special duties – preparing his engine Invicta for painting prior to its introduction to Chasewater service, at… well let’s say ‘as soon after April 11th as possible.  Said scrubber Mike, ‘this is going to look the most impressive engine at Chasewater.  It is going to be rather lavishly lined over Easter, you know’. (Not to mention this last bit to Keith Sargeant, the Neilson freak!)

The LNWR full brake has been completely painted and laid out as a museum.  Nearly 1,500 square feet of wall space is now devoted in this vehicle to the exhibition of relics, as well as exhibits in cases therein ( not to mention the nameplates of Alfred Paget, which are to be fixed by K.S. to the Neilson at some point in the future, we are given to hope). (Vaguely).

Concrete sleepers? Bloody ‘ell mate, what do you think we are, main line to Euston?  I mean – what? Donated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries? Lying in the grass at Lichfield for years?  Enough for seven lengths did you say?  Bloody ‘ell mate, how many?  22 letters to get them?  Three cheers for DEREK JUNIOR!

The Midland is being spruced up externally and painted properly internally in order to preserve it until we have time and money to do it properly.  If any member would like to dismantle and rebuild two of the doors on this vehicle, would he please come to the site and report to Andrew Louch or Steve Organ?  Ta.

The Great Western water tower, complete with tower, tank and cap were cut up on site and removed during the week ending 20th February.  We know not the perpetrators of this terrible deed – the police have no idea.  What to do?  Someone buggered off with two tons of steel and no-one saw them.  We have our suspicions but no proof.

Credits:

Pink posts – Steve Organ

Invicta scrubbing – Mike Wood

LNWR brake – Albert Haywood, Derek Junior, Nigel Canning, Steve Foster, Barry Bull, Richard Louch, Andrew Louch (who painted the doors a different green to the rest of the vehicle – is this man colour blind?), Adrian (I don’t know his surname but he’s nearly always here).

The Midland – As the LNWR brake, plus Steve O.  Not to mention K.S., who is preparing Invicta, in league with Derek Luker and Brian Hames.

Stock List – 1968

With so many new additions, it was decided to publish a stocklist in the 1968 Mercian, Vol.1 No.3

I hope you can read it ok, it’s interesting to see what’s still here after 40-odd years, and what’s gone.

Chasewater Railway Museum Mar,Apl 1962 Mercian Bits & Pieces 16

Taken from the Mercian 1.2 March/April 1962

The secretary’s report noted the fact that he had only received two articles for the magazine – sounds familiar!

Progress Report

A new siding has now been completed.  The GE Brake is now stabled on this siding.  This has allowed room for the TPO and the Coal Tank to be moved further under the covered space, giving greater protection from the weather.  The whole scheme of the new siding was planned by the Assistant Depot Master, John Elsley, the installation was very ably carried out by him and his small, but willing band of helpers.  New glass has now been fitted in the windows of the GE Brake, the toilet of the TPO is now in the process of being repainted, whilst the interior of this vehicle has been thoroughly cleaned.1054 under cover – R Duffill

Restoration Plans

We hope that the TPO will be finished this summer (on one side at least), this could easily be achieved if we had a few more willing expert hands.  Our woodwork expert Frank Harvey has had a considerable amount of new panelling to do, ably assisted by Fred Lewis.  A considerable amount of painting has yet to be done on the TPO so any member who is handy with a paint brush will be very welcome indeed.  The Maryport & Carlisle coach still has to be completely reglazed and we earnestly appeal to members for offers of glass.

David A. Ives Hon. Sec.Travelling Post office – R. Duffill

Hon. Treasurer’s Report.

When we in the Midlands area started our own Newsletter the Hon. Sec. asked me to enter a brief financial report in each issue.  I must apologise for not having given one in the first issue, but owing to work, I was unable to produce one in time.  However, from now on you will be getting a report, bad or otherwise, in every issue.

As many of our members will know, December 6th 1960 was the day we purchased our Royal Mail TPO, for the sum of £200.  The money was raised by means of a Bank Loan and since then, our main aim has been to reduce our overdraft.  At the end of the financial year (September 1961) this stood at

£93-4-10 (£93.24) .  Today it has decreased to £34-2-0 (£34-10), quite satisfactory progress you will agree.  Much of the money has been raised by social events.  At the Whist Drive on 23rd February for example, we made a profit of over £20.  Much of this was due to the hard work of Mr. Albert Holden, and on behalf of the Society I should like to take this opportunity of thanking him very sincerely, also all members who donated prizes and helped so ably on the occasion.

Membership renewals are still coming in very slowly and I would like all members who have not renewed to think again.  We rely to a great extent on membership subscriptions and donations for our income.  The success of this Society depends on YOU!

Frank J. Harvey  Hon. Treasurer