With its origins stretching back as far as 1959, the Chasewater Railway has come a very long way in almost six decades. From a low point in the early 1980s when the railway effectively closed, it has bounced back with a vengeance, to the point where its volunteers’ efforts have received royal recognition. Gary Boyd-Hope explains.
CHASEWATER: A CINDERELLA STORY
The Chasewater Railway of today is dedicated to its industrial roots and the preservation of the industrial railway heritage of this part of south Staffordshire. On September 7, 2007 visiting Hunslet ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Wimblebury (3839/1956) – a local engine formerly based at Cannock Wood Colliery and now resident at the Foxfield Railway – departs from Brownhills West with a train of empty mineral wagons. ROBIN STEWART-SMITH
ON THE evening of June 1, at the Chasewater Railway’s Brownhills West headquarters, a gathering of the line’s working members sat with mouths agape and expressions ranging from shock to delight as chairman Mark Sealey revealed that the railway had been selected to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
For the small band of dedicated volunteers that give up their free time to run trains over this two-mile length of former colliery railway, recognition for their efforts does not come much higher than this.
It is most certainly a far cry from the days of the mid-1980s when the number of active volunteers was down to single figures and the railway was forced to sell off a number of items of rolling stock simply in order to survive.
How times change!
Read more in July’s edition of The RM