News update – December 2014

© 2014 The NSR Rolling Stock Restoration Trust. Registered Charity No 1127895



On behalf of the FOXFIELD RAILWAY and the KNOTTY COACH TRUST Dave Scragg arranged a photo charter of the KNOTTY HERITAGE TRAIN on 29 December 2014.  The charter consisted of Bellerophon and the two restored Knotty coaches visiting the colliery for the first time in public.


The coaches were used to create cameos of a “Paddy train” within the colliery environment.

The "night shoot" took place from around 16.00 to 17.30 with Richard Newton providing the spotlights.



After an enormous amount of work the prospectus for the ABC (Accessible Brake Coach) has just been published. Copies are available from the Knotty Trust. The prospectus will be widely circulated amongst local & national industries & organisations of various sorts appealing for donations for this very worthy project. We hope to be able to confirm the order with Stanegate Restorations early 2015 so that the vehicle will be in service at Foxfield at the end of 2015 or early in 2016.


The vehicle will ride on an ex LMS brake van chassis, already purchased, & in store at the colliery. The chassis is the correct length & wheelbase so modifications required will be minimal.The bodywork is based on original parts from the recently recovered Knotty Brake 3rd vehicle reclaimed from Rudyard. The vehicle will be an exact replica of the NSR Brake 3rd as shown in this photograph at Prestbury c.1890:


The ABC will provide a much needed brake vehicle for the KNOTTY HERITAGE TRAIN and provide extra seated accommodation for

passengers. Most importantly it will allow wheelchairs users & their companions to “enjoy” the experience of Victorian railway travel through the Potteries.The CAD’s (courtesy of Mark Smith) on the following page show the ABC coach highlighting the wheelchair compartment left) & guard’s compartment (right):

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The KNOTTY COACH TRUST together with the FOXFIELD RAILWAY and the VINTAGE CARRIAGES TRUST provided the centrall display at the country’s largest annual model railway event, the Warley Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre, over the

weekend of 22-23 November. The event was a great success - the VCT loco BELLEROPHON & NSR COACH no 61 creating a great deal of interest and favourable comment.  Mark Smith who co-ordinated our display on behalf of the KCT (and who built our impressive stand in his garage!) said “Many thanks to all involved in making our attendance such success, especially the VCT members whose assistance proved invaluable in running the stall. We raised £2,000 for the Trust, a tremendous achievement. Just as important we made many new contacts – so many people realise the importance of the KNOTTY HERITAGE TRAIN and would desperately like to see it running on their railway!”  Mark added “I would also like to thank Sara Shrives and all the team from STANEGATE RESTORATIONS for the working display they provided – restoring the brake 3rd guard’s ducket reclaimed from Rudyard only a month previously”.



The KNOTTY COACH TRUST’s own enlarged, improved, more youthful (and indeed more handsome) version of Tony Robinson viz.

David Woolliscroft led an archaeological dig in Rea Cliffe Wood on the shore of Rudyard Lake in October.  David is the Director of an

internationally known archaeological project, which usually investigates the very different world of the Roman army, but ran an excavation of the remnants of an NSR brake third found on the site. This will be incorporated in the ACCESSIBLE BRAKE COACH (ABC) that will

soon give us both a far more authentic brake vehicle and full disabled access to the train (see above). David says “We were able to discover more about the history of the vehicle, which had been used as a holiday chalet for many years after its retirement from the railway. For example, we now know that it had been considerably shortened for its new role, and was given a glazed, end partition. Wonderfully, though, it was the brake end that was preserved, and this was the section for which we previously had the least

information. We also found a number of fascinating artefacts including a fully intact door lock” (see below). David added “I have made a search and can find no previous report of a formal excavation of a railway carriage in the literature – so this is another first for the KNOTTY COACH TRUST!”



The Trust has just purchased and taken delivery of two excellent quality chassis as the basis for future restorations.  The LMS brake van chassis is to be converted to provide the underframe to carry the ABC (see above). Work will commence at Foxfield next Easter, so the completed underframe will be ready to receive the restored coach body towards the end of 2015. Much less work will be required than was necessary on the chassis for NSR coaches no’s 61 & 127 as the brake van chassis is already the correct length and has the correct wheelbase.The second chassis is a rare beast indeed – a Midland Railway sixwheeler! Again the condition is very good. In years ahead this will be used either as an underframe for one of the Midland coaches we have awaiting restoration; either the brake composite at Foxfield or the family saloon presently in store at Rowsley.



Our very own engineering wizard Dave Donkin has cast his special engineering magic on the original NSR carriage door lock excavated at the Rudyard “dig”. Dave has restored the 140 year old lock to pristine condition as can be seen in these before and after photos:

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Dave will be fabricating all the other locks for the ABC coach from this master, making identical replicas.



Since the inaugural running of the KNOTTY HERITAGE TRAIN in August there has been a great deal of interest in the press with articles in Railway Magazine, Today’s Railways, Steam Railway, Heritage Railway, the Stoke Sentinel and Staffordshire Life.  Gary Boyd-Hope’s recent 5 page article in the Nov-Dec issue of Steam Railway is particularly worth seeking out. The photographs in the September edition of Staffordshire Life are exceptional, portraying a number of your favourite Foxfield characters in their finery. Some of them look almost human.


Ron Whalley on the phone to the letting agent when he finds the “luxury

chalet” he has hired for the weekend is not what he expected: