….we always seem to restore more wagons!
This year is no exception, the images below show the progress being made with the French Artillery Pechot well-wagon and the British Army Class A 4 wheel wagon.
This first photo shows the progress with the Class A wagon. The Class A, B and C were the first standard types of wagons specifically produced for the British forces in 1916, when the official orders finally came through to use tactical light railways. This restoration follows the important restoration in 2014 of the similar Class B wagon.
In recognition of the 100 year anniversary of the British Army formally adopting light railways in preference to other transport in forward areas, we are proud to be the only UK railway to demonstrate an authentic 1916 train from that moment. Watch out for these Class A & B wagons being paired with a 1916 Simplex or our 1916 Hudswell Clarke steam locomotive during the event.
The second photo shows the rapid progress with the 1888 dated Pechot well wagon. The Pechot wagon was delivered to Apedale, and partially restored in advance of Tracks to the Trenches 2014. However, although usable, it still required further attention to the body and replacement of missing bits!
Watch out for more to come in the next few days!
The Moseley Railway Trust has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £10,000, it was announced today. This money will be used to develop the Trust’s interpretation of the role of the horse with both civilian industrial railways and in delivering supplies to the front lines during the First World War.
During the 1914-1918 conflict, both sides used horses not only for direct combat (cavalry regiments and the like) but also as a means of moving the huge weights of supplies which a fighting army needs to sustain itself. Light Railways were laid as a means of increasing the amount which a horse could haul, and also to spread the weight of wagons in the infamous mud of Flanders Fields and elsewhere. Frequently, supplies would be hauled by steam or petrol-powered locomotives to a point near the front lines, and then horses were often used for the last mile to the front – the so-called Trench Tramways. Using the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the Moseley Railway Trust will replicate these operations and demonstrate them to visitors.
Thanks to National Lottery players, the Trust will now be able to fulfil two key objectives. Firstly, it will enhance the displays which will be available to the public at the forthcoming Tracks to the Trenches 2016 event at the Trust’s Apedale Valley Light Railway site. During this event, part of Staffordshire is transformed into the Western Front in 1916 – including a replica trench for visitors to experience. The event will include displays of working horses, mules and horse-drawn vehicles. This event takes place on May 13, 14 and 15 2016, and further details can be obtained from this website.
Secondly, the grant will allow permanent improvements to the facilities and exhibits at Apedale. These will be constructed by volunteers at the Apedale Valley Light Railway, and will include an extension to the existing demonstration railway and an interpretative panel. These will further enhance the Industrial Railway Trail which was initially funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2014. A Trench Tramway wagon will also be constructed – these vehicles were hauled by horses on the very lightly-built railways which spanned the vital last yards to reach the troops fighting at the front.
Commenting on the award, Phil Robinson, Moseley Railway Trust Chairman said “We are once again delighted that the HLF have rewarded the efforts which our dedicated team of volunteers have made. Working with the HLF, this grant will not only transform the Tracks to the Trenches event in May 2016, but also allow permanent improvements to the visitor facilities at Apedale. We are very grateful to HLF for their continued support”.
Vanessa Harbar, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £70million in projects – large and small – that are marking this Centenary. Our small grants programme is enabling even more communities like those involved in The Power of the Horse to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”
In anticipation of the Tracks to the Trenches event, we are pleased to confirm the arrival of a rather large French railway wagon! Intended as a companion for the “Joffre” steam loco, this is a French Artillery railways 60cm gauge “Pechot” well-wagon.
These wagons were named after Colonel Prosper Pechot, who in conjunction with engineer Charles Bourdon created a revolutionary and high adaptable modular system of 60cm gauge wagons and trackwork – capable of moving almost anything to almost anywhere! Although the equipment was already around 25years old by the start of the Great War, it was used to great effect by the French, British and even the Germans (captured material) throughout the conflict. Some French forts were still using original Pechot vehicles until relatively recently.
Obtained with thanks to the Chanteraines group in Paris, this vehicle had apparently been used at a concrete works prior to preservation. It has been subject to extensive restoration off-site prior to arrival at Apedale, in an effort to rectify many years of heavy industrial use. It is now, by some margin, the oldest railway vehicle on site – dating from 1888 or 1889, depending on where you look.
Please keep watching for more details of Rail, road and other exhibits soon!
Over the last 12 months we have been steadily working behind the scenes to raise the profile of First World War light railways and our own Tracks to the Trenches – 2014 event.
We were privileged to be invited to be part of the First World War Living History section at the 5 day War & Peace Revival show in Folkestone last weekend – by providing a 20hp Bent-Frame Simplex and Class D open wagon. Through the good offices of the Royal Logistics Corps museum and the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent’s Living history group we were able to provide a truly realistic combination of Trench and Trench tramway.
The public seemed to have appreciated the efforts of the West Kent’s – as their display was awarded best in show!
The photos below give a further taster of what should be happening at Apedale next September!
The Moseley Railway Trust is honoured to have been asked to provide exhibits to support a major exhibition which is to be staged by the Dutch National Railway Museum at Utrecht – “Tracks to the Front“. 40Hp Motor Rail locomotive no.1369 and a water
tank wagon departed from the Trust’s base at Apedale, Staffordshire on 9th
March 2013. They will be displayed in Utrecht alongside other exhibits
gathered from as far afield as Serbia. The Motor Rail locomotive is one of
the distinctive “Enclosed” type locomotives. It was restored to working
order during an episode of the “Salvage Squad” TV series.
Phil Robinson, Moseley Railway Trust chairman said – We are delighted to be
able to support one of Europe’s major railway museums. We are confident that
this loan will further raise the profile of the Moseley Railway Trust, and
will also raise awareness of our major event “Tracks to the Trenches – 2014”
which will be held at Apedale in September 2014 to mark the start of the
First World War.
It’s been a while since I posted anything about restoration progress, so I thought I would update you all on the latest to arrivals to Apedale – a pair of bogies from a US Pershing wagon.
When the USA entered WW1, they had the benefit of the British and French experiance with light railways.
The US freight cars were an evolved design, and in many ways miniature standard gauge mainline freight cars!
There are parts for 2 wagons in store – will we manage to rebuild them before September 2014? Watch this space, or better yet – please lend us a hand!