Sunday, 12 August 2012

Snibston, Chasewater and The Missing Bits

Early in 2012, I visited the Chasewater Railway at Brownhills, north of Birmingham. While talking to some of the staff, it became obvious that a number of them were very familiar with Sentinel 7109. The reason for the familiarity was from their interest in purchasing 7109 at the time when MSN volunteers finally purchased it late in 2004. Moreover, I was stunned when told that one of their staff (absent that day) knew that there were some of 7109's missing parts in a particular goods wagon at Snibston Colliery at Coalville.
Not this particular wagon!
This was too good an opportunity to miss so I contacted Snibston and was put in touch with Nick Pell, their museum curator of mining and transport. Nick, also a volunteer at the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, Porthmadog, could not have been more helpful but, after some searching himself, was highly pessimistic that the parts could be at Snibston. I arranged to visit him there on 31st July 2012.
Prior to the visit, I had also been in touch with Mark Sealey, General Manager at Chasewater. He was more confident that there could be some parts at Snibston and even suggested where to look.

Come the day, Nick kindly led us on a thorough search but to no avail. It also became clear that the wagon in question had been one of five originally at Snibston but they had all been transferred to Chasewater about five years earlier.

So a visit to Chasewater followed as it was close on the way home.
I found the five wagons.
The five(ish) wagons at Chasewater Heaths Station
There was nothing in them, let alone any Sentinel parts.

I rang Mark Sealey later to discuss the search but had to conclude that this was the end of the line and that the parts really had disappeared. A pity. We'd had high hopes of finding our spectacle windows and safety valves if nothing else.

It was an opportunity that could not be ignored but in the end no joy! If anybody does know the whereabouts of any of these parts, do (please) post me a comment below and I'll contact you to discuss possibilities.

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