Its been another one of those weeks where lots of work hasn’t produced so much to show on the blog, though hopefully I can change this soon with some interesting developments on a number of fronts… Behind the scenes I have been working with Tony Vollens on the planning for our new workshop facilities, which should truly transform our capacity to carry out work in house and will include a heavy engineering shop, machine shop, long term projects joinery (capable of dealing with tram bodies etc.), a machine shop, dedicated tramcar overhaul area and various improvements to the existing vehicle workshops and facilities. Our target is to open most of the facility in the early autumn.
Planning for the Great North Steam Fair has reached a point where we will shortly be able to announce most of the expected exhibits and as usual there will be a Flickr page to the right of this blog showing what is coming. Planning for the September event is also in hand, likewise the events for 2013 and even 2014!
We are looking to increase our fleet of period vehicles for use on (and off) the Museum site. I am currently looking for three vans, 1940s/50s and these will be used in place of modern vans currently fulfilling a role on site. I then aim to find as many as three more so that there will be a complete range of site transport available for diverse roles such as those carried out by the track team, attendants, handymen, gardeners and catering departments. The Model Ts haven’t been universally popular with the Ton Truck doing most work and the rather better van seeing less use. We are working on improving this.
If anyone has a period van or even car (especially an Austin 7) that is in good condition and they might like to give us then I am all ears – the Morris Commercial was a good example of someone placing their pride and joy into a museum collection but being assured of its care and future use.
There is a cracking set of Dunrobin photos to put online shortly, taken in 1970, but until then here are a couple of views showing progress in recent days:
Below: Tony Vollens, while waiting for a timber order to arrive, has set about overhauling one of the chaldrons from the running rake. This has included new boarding and partial top rail replacement. Our longer term view is that we will always have a chaldron passing through the works, aiming for an eventual total of 12 running waggons (three rakes of four) plus one spare, a replica ‘box’ chaldron and a replica Londonderry brick waggon. This is on top of the waggon at the entrance building. This project would pretty much use up all the available parts and spares accumulated over the years and would enable the Colliery to look far more populated in terms of coal waggons, though this situation has certainly improved in recent years.
Below: Meanwhile, Lewin has not been forgotten and much beavering away in various parts of the country is taking place to enable the completion of the project sooner rather than later.
Dave Young has braved illness and a trapped nerve to keep his lathe turning and produce the components required to make the two water valves (of two different types) required to feed the injectors, which are currently a contract job for Graham Redfern. Dave will also tackle re-handling the injector steam valves and is busily pattern making for flanges as well as producing odd size nuts, bolts and studs to speed up the assembly of the loco. We are regularly visiting to paint various bits, Vince Allen working on the valve gear having spent considerable time realigning such things as slide bars etc (Lewin was very worn!). In Staffordshire the Hunslet team are manufacturing the cab, bunkers and tank and the boiler awaits collection from Derbyshire.
The photo below shows Dave’s drawings of the water valve operating linkage along with the completed valve itself. At the heart of this is a commercial valve, altered to suit our purposes both operationally and cosmetically.