News from around the site.

News from around the site.

3rd February 2010

Various bits and pieces today…

Below: Shaun continues the refurbishment of the gallopers decking. The first piece is complete, the second is being stripped and has revealed some extensive localised rot which will entail new framework being manufactured.

Below: Before the view above was taken, the timber didn’t look too bad!

Below: The first board, completed and awaiting painting. This is No.12 of 12.

Below: Tram 196 is receiving attention to an electrical resistance problem – as denoted by the red and white striped pole hanging from the boom.

Below: Meanwhile, the relaying of Foulbridge loop has started, with the new turnout and rails being laid over the existing tracks in order to enable them to be pre-bent to shape. This will be a lengthy process but minimises disruption in this area.

Below: The Tele-Handler positions one of the new Ri60 rails.

Below: A quick visit to Washington F pit with Anthony Coulls (of NRM fame) was squeezed into the itinerary yesterday. This is a preserved mine winding engine, built in 1888 by the Grange Iron Company (Durham) and supplied second hand to F pit in 1903. I was particularly taken with teh repairs on the cylinder cover – a result of the drain cocks not being opened when the engine commenced a spell of running during the closure of the mine. A driver unfamiliar with its operation set it away, the result being the end of the engine’s working life…

Below: A view from the winding wheel towards the cylinder. The engine is a Duplex type – two cylinders fed and exhausted independently (rather than a compound or tandem type).

Below: Mr Coulls himself, recording the twin-cab Ruston & Hornsby underground locomotive under the pit-head winding gear. See Ant’s own blog at

Below: A view from the cylinder end of the engine. Sadly F Pit is open only on very few occasions during the year, but it is a very well preserved artifact and rare in still being on its original site.

Below: Meanwhile back at Beamish… This Gwynne pump arrived to join the museum collection. It is a high capacity pump and the intention is that it will be demonstrated driven from an appropriate steam engine!

Below: Another view of the pump, taken from the drive pulley end.

Below: Davy Sheen has all but finished the stone crusher, and is applying the final coats of paint and finishing touches. We intend to test the crusher in coming weeks – which should be interesting!

Below: David Young is assembling the Steam Mule engine and applying the finishing paintwork. The new crankshaft is in place and the only outstanding item of note is the flywheel, which is being provided by an outside supplier.

Below: Locomotion No.1 is off on its travels again. This time for a spell of operation at the National Railway Museum, York over the February half-term holidays. As there is a very tight clearance under one of the bridges in York, the chimney has to be split and the motion arranged in its optimum ‘down’ position – not always the easiest feat to achieve!

And finally…

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the closure of the Consett Steel/Iron works. TO mark this, the access team at Beamish are arranging a number of events and community activities based around this. As well as meetings and exhibitions, we have asked Tyne & Wear Museums if we can borrow CIC A No.5 (the Stephenson long-boiler type pannier tank) which is on display at the Stephenson Railway Museum in North Shields. They have agreed and on February 13th the engine will appear aboard a lorry in Consett on display. It will then spend half-term week at Beamish on display at Rowley Station (alongside our CIC tank wagon) before returning to its owners. The engine is currently out of ticket but is in superb condition. It was originally purchased from the NCB by Beamish, later being sold for restoration at Monkwearmouth Station Museum, later moving to Middle Engine Lane, the home of the SRM. It was stored at Marley Hill during its Beamish ownership, never coming to the museum site, so it will be nice to see what might have been! Incidentally, it was purchased as a job lot along with Twizell (shortly to return to steam under a loan to the Tanfield Railway), No.14 (recently deaccessioned pending transfer of ownership to the Tanfield Railway) and Harton electric loco E1, which was scrapped at Marley Hill, being in very poor condition.

Below: A photograph of A No.5 at SRM in 2005.