When completed, the Narrow Gauge Railway will run passenger and demonstration freight trains behind the Heritage Centre, from its own platform, using industrial and former military and colliery locomotives and rolling stock.
The Chasewater Railway Narrow Gauge (CRNG) was founded by Andy Clegg and Tony Wheeler in September 2001 when they visited Bolton Fell peat works. Tony had always wanted a narrow gauge locomotive and a Lister was up for disposal. A price was agreed and the locomotive arrived a few months later. A large quantity of 20lb rail was acquired together with some points. Track followed the fence line and was approximately 100 yards in length. Locomotive and stock sheds were erected and the waiting room from the old Brownhills West site was moved to form the mess room. Over the next six months, further locomotives, coaches and wagons arrived, however most are in need of restoration.
Before the track was lifted we realised our current rail would not be suitable for even a lightweight steam engine so the decision to upgrade was made. The CRNG was lucky to be able to purchase some points from the Golden Valley Light Railway at the Midland Railway Centre.
The CNGR (which is currently self-funded) is seen as an important future component of the Chasewater Railway, and will provide an additional attraction for visitors and contribute to the preservation of many aspects of industrial heritage.
The Way Forward.
In consultation with Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate, we are moving forward speedily to secure the approvals necessary to operate passenger services. Much work has already been completed to ensure that the CNGR complies with the statutory and other standards in respect of permanent way, locomotives and passenger carriages. In the meantime, we hope to be operating demonstration freight trains at an early date.
As a much longer-term proposal, and supported by Lichfield District Council, we would like to extend all the way to the main Chasewater Park entrance, to provide a convenient transport link between the principle car parks and Brownhills West Station itself.
The CNGR currently has a variety of diesel locomotives, together with ex-military and ex-colliery rolling stock.