On this slightly gloomy morning I headed down to Chasewater Railway
which runs around Chasewater Country Park. It is really the remnants of the historic Cannock Chase Collier Line, and operates out of Brownhills West Station.
The station is almost a destination in itself, with a cafe, shop, museum, model railway, narrow gauge railway, and the normal gauged trains that run on the almost 4 miles of track almost around the Chasewater Reservoir.
There are 4 stations on the line: Brownhills West, Norton Lakeside, Chasetown (Church Street) and Chasewater Heights. On this particular day they did 6 trips, each taking roughly 45 minutes. The locomotive in use was the diminutive Andrew Barclay 0-4-0st “Colin McAndrew” Works No. 1223 of 1911.
There were two coaches in the consist, one being a mixed slam door sub and the other a compo/guards/corridor first class saloon. The former is in the image below.
This was my first experience of older BR passenger stock, and I was pleasantly surprised. The coaches were spacious and reasonably well appointed without the heavy leather and wood look of the old slam door subs in South Africa. However, I do not know whether this was what they looked like in BR service originally.
I had decided to do the first trip to Chasetown Heaths as they supposedly had a G Gauge railway in the station, and then return to Brownhills for some snooping. I would then reboard at 1.30 and go all the way to the end of the line and head off home from there.
Our diminutive loco was dwarfed by the coaches behind her, she looked way too small for such a load, but these small locos have big hearts as they were built for industrial use and were very good with large loads. The station had a number of lines around it, filled with the old, tired and derelict, and projects for the future. Diesels were very well represented, as were a number of old industrial wagons. I suspect the railway operates on the “preserve what can be preserved and hope that one day we can tackle the rest when we have funds/volunteers/skills/spares”. It is a dilemma faced by most heritage rail and preservation societies.
And then we were off….
And we were off slowly! This loco was not in a hurry at all, but then considering that there was no real rush I can understand the leisurely pace. The track is also not a very long one, so completing it in 45 minutes was probably very do-able. I could probably walk the same track in the same time, but at this moment it was good to hear a steamer in front of the train once again. The trip to Chasetown Heaths was short and I bailed out to grab some pics and to see the G Gauge railway.
Unfortunately the G Gauge was not happening, so I spent some time idling around while I waited for the train to return. I was very interested to see whether they had turned the loco around, considering her size I would be surprised if they didn’t. Lo and behold they had shunted the loco to the back of the train (which was now the front), and she was running cab first, which made the drivers life so much easier as all the smoke was blowing over the coaches and not over the loco.
Now that I was back at Brownhills West I could take a look around the museum and the rolling stock in the yard and sheds. There are no mainline locos stabled here, it is mostly an industrial engine operation, and it is very professional and smart too.
I then scoped out the museum, but as I did not grow up in the UK a lot of the heritage here was outside of my experience and knowledge. I then had a look at some of the other equipment on the lines into the sheds and next to the station, and there were a lot of very interesting items.
It was almost time for me to leave. The train had arrived and the loco was up at the water tank having a drink and stocking up with coal for her next trip. It was almost 13H30, and I was finished for the day. All that was needed was a last trip to the Church Street Station.
The end of our coach had a glass window where you could see the loco in front, and it was monopolised by a woman and a baby, but I did get one shot from it, and you can see the cab and the driver and fireman.
I almost forgot to get off at the station, and once I did I saw the passing loop that they used to run the loco to the back of the train, there was no need for a triangle or a turntable.
And as I crossed the bridge to get home I could see the two brown coaches, the small green loco hidden from view, but ready to take her load back to the starting point. There were two more trips to go, and by the time I got home she would be getting ready once again, and I could not help but think that the loco reminded me a lot of Ivor the Engine.
I returned to the Chasewater Railway on the Easter Weekend and they were using two loco’s. The Friday was being handled by a class 08 Diesel Shunter D3429, and the Saturday by a Hunslett saddle tank loco 3783 “Holly Bank No3”. I also returned on Sunday to see the Peckett in action, and look for my lost camera batteries. In all it was a very successful outing.
Class 08-D3429 (Built in Crewe 1958)
Hunslett Saddle tank 0-6-0ST “Holly Bank 3”
Peckett & Sons 2012 “Teddy”.
On Saturday 15 May, I went to get better images of the Class 08 diesel and was pleasantly surprised to find that there were two trains running on that day, and one was waiting at Chasetown Church Street for the passenger train to arrive with the Class 08 in charge. This train consisted of 3 brakevans, and the loco in charge was a saddle tank Bagnall 2842 of 1946.
Bagnall 2842 of 1946
DRW © 2015-2021. Created 22/03/2015, updated 15/05/2015, images migrated 28/04/2016