© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 I hadn't planned for this trip - but an old (in the sense of long-established) friend suggested a visit to the line's Autumn Gala might be in order. He'd never been to Chasewater - amazing! "We'd better have a day out then..." Star attraction would be the ex-Port Talbot Railway 0-6-0ST, GWR no 813, normally resident on the Severn Valley Railway, supported by the Chasewater Railway's "Asbestos" and Sentinel steamers, plus an assortment of diesels (the nice black Baguley, above left,  is an "old friend" - I met in when it was in industrial service at Western Fuels' Filton depot more than 23 years ago - see Industrials - Bucks to Bristol). "If we get there reasonably early we can probably get a bite to eat". The railway is barely 2 miles long - but was able to provide a wide variety of railway operation while we were there. The Sentinel stuck to its "auto trailer" in the form of a single DMU driving car, and shuttled between Brownhills West and Chasetown Heaths; in the meantime a passenger train and a freight train ran the full length of the line (admittedly only a few more yards) to Chasetown (Church Street), where loop enabled one train to run round, then await the arrival of the other before setting off back along the line. To add to the fun, locomotives changed at regular intervals, so that no two trips along the line seemed the same. If 813 was the notional "star", the loads provided gave it little trouble, and while it appeared to do everything asked of it, it never really seemed to have to exert itself, and it must be said that the real honours lay with "Asbestos". The 96-year-old Hawthorn Leslie (2780 of 1909) made a splendid sight as it worked hard to ensure it was not upstaged! Little more needs to be said - we thoroughly enjoyed our visit (the "bite to eat" in the fine cafe at Chasetown Heaths was pretty good too...). Keep an eye on the railway press for next year's event... Link: Chasewater Railway Chasewater's Gala ...a selection of clips. 813, Asbestos, the Sentinel, 11517 and 73 128 in action on passenger and freight
Baguley 3410 of 1955, "Marston, Thompson & Evershed" Station seat, Brownhills West RH 458641 of 1963, in guise of BR11517 813 at Brownhills West 813 pulls away from Chasetown Heaths 73 128 on the freight near Chasetown Heaths Strange double header - Ruston and 813 leave Chasetown Heaths (no, it hadn't failed...) Asbestos approaches Chasetown Heaths Asbestos makes a spirited departure from Chasetown Heaths On the causeway 813 on the freight in the haze of the afternoon Chasewater freight - 813 Sentinel push-pull Late afternoon passenger Where's the hole for the key? Bass Baguley 3027 of 1939 Kent Construction 1612 of 1929, built for Worthington's brewery GWR at Chasewater