Transport & Industry News Update - Week 4, April 2014...

Transport & Industry News Update – Week 4, April 2014…

There is a lot to report on this week!  Here is a summary of projects, their progress and a glimpse of what is to come over the next few months…


Vince has been making good progress with Rambler’s overhaul.

Below: The built up tubeplate is seen here being tapped for the washout plug at the base, this being an area that was particularly thin.  Note also the new front ring welded to the barrel, a replacement as the original section had become thin and this is an important area of strength on the roller, as it is this to which the front end is attached!


Below: Tubes in and being expanded.


Below: The tubes from the firebox end – a rather more confined working space!  Note that crown stays are not fitted, but the engine has the Fowler type of firebox corrugation to impart strength into the inner box crown, the first two corrugations being visible here.


Below: The refurbished (largely new) smokebox ring and door are seen in place within the headstock.  We will be repainting this black during the final finishing stages, along with a few other detail changes to bring Rambler more in line with its working guise and less like its latter rally-field appearance (too much chrome!).



Below: Now based at Rowley, Vulcan has been undergoing a rapid repaint, part of its operational agreement for use here, and is seen here on Monday whilst being rubbed down.  The deadline of completion within one week was set, so as to operate over the Bank Holiday weekend, a challenge taken up by Phil Anderson!  The livery requested was ‘something LNWR-like’ and you can see the result further down the page…

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Below: Phil applies the second coat of black to the flatted back first coat, adding depth to the finish as well as a better surface for applying the lining to.

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Below: Phil applies the lining, based on LNWR style, suitably amended to suit Vulcan’s industrial lines. The blue/grey lines are masked, the rest is done free-hand.


Below: The finished result- rather nice isn’t it…

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Below: Blackpool 167′s successful visit concluded with its departure for Blackpool on Monday.  The familiar lines of Scotts’ low-loader appeared in the afternoon,with 167 being rapidly loaded and dispatched to Blackpool where it was unloaded that night and placed into the electrical compound there pending reassembly and commisioning for operation in its home town.  Our thanks, as ever, go to the TMS and its workshop staff and curator who made 167′s visit possible, and Andy Bailey (one of the workshop team) who must have driven very many miles in support of our efforts to see trams from the National Tramway Museum operating at Beamish.

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Accessible Bus

Some exciting news – we have been awarded a substantial grant towards the creation of the first of a new fleet of accessible buses for use in and around the Museum.  Whilst the source of the funds will be confirmed shortly, we are looking at the various options for providing new vehicles.  I favour something ‘real’ rather than another replica, but was anxious about the inevitable curatorial dilemma of adapting an extant vehicle.  We contacted a number of companies who might be placed to provide such a bus and as a result were put in contact with a bus collector who was looking to thin out his collection – the suggestion being that his 1932 Leyland Cub, which is derelict, would be an admirable basis for creating such a vehicle.  As a result, we have purchased the remains of 1932 Leyland Cub No.716 Reg FM 7443, ex Crosville. It is identical to the example in the photograph below though as I say, it is totally derelict.  The livery of these buses, at this stage, was LMS Crimson with a silver roof (the LMS had a major stake in Crosville).  Quite how we progress this project is still subject to our procurement process, which hadn’t initially anticipated the use of an existing vehicle.  I will report more on this in due course, but it promises to be an exciting and ambitious (in terms of timescale) project, with the added challenge of adapting such a vehicle for an accessible role.


Showmans Living Van

Below: Here we have a new project… Last year this Brayshaw made Showmans living can arrived at Beamish, transferred from storage in Lincoln and an opportunity seized by us as a potential addition to the Fairground here at the Museum. We have been asked to restore the van for use by staff at the Fairground, adding to their comfort (standing there on a windswept cold day is not a pleasant or desirable experience) and improving the overall fairgroundscape in this area.  It requires extensive work, but has been prioritised ahead of the Lighthouse Slip, which also requires extensive work before being rebuilt on the Fairground site.  The work involved will include mechanical attention (to enable it to be towed), a full body overhaul, work on the interior to suit its new purpose here and major work to the clerestory and roof.  New mudguards are also needed as well as a rear belly-box.It is now in the Erecting Shop to dry out, before work begins in earnest next month.  See later in this posting to see just how glorious these living vans could be…

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Below: By the close of play today, Tony, Matt and Bill had stripped the roof and found the roof planks to be in very good order.  The photographs show the issue with the clerestory (known as a Molly Croft on these vans), both rot and a major structural fail being evident here.

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Other news…

Below: The troubled organ engine has run into problems (again!) when a loud knock developed, shortly followed by an immediate stop- the result of a failed component in the crosshead.  Whilst the offending item could be simply swapped, some damage to the crosshead keep was observed, as well as a long-term wear issue and cracking.  As a result the engine has been removed to the Erecting Shop where Chris, our RHEC Technician is to attend to all of its ailments.  He has begun by surveying the engine and starting to draw it on a CAD program, which will enable us to produce a set of drawings for these high-wearing components.  He is seen here surveying the bits and planning the next step.  He will also attend to a number of wear points, and weld these up and then machine back to specification.  This little engine, along with the centre engine, running daily from Easter until the New Year, must be among the hardest working steam engines in the country, operating at their limits almost continuously throughout the long season.

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Below: As well as being our main maintenance and restoration centre, the RHEC also serves an educational purpose.  We have a young engineers club and also host local school visits where an engineering experience is desired.  Lately, Tony and Matt have been creating kits for a colliery railway system- with a shaft for winding tubs, a counterbalanced incline and a coal drop inspired by the Seaham counterbalanced drop that we have in our collection.  Here, observed by Shaun (now happily ensconced in the Buildings Team), the first test runs are made.


Below: The Y7 has reached the end of its hire to us, but requires remedial work to one of the driving wheel tyres, which means lifting the engine to extract the rear axle.  Here preparations are made for this, with John Young (volunteering on his day off) and Dave Grindley removing components to enable the loco to be jacked up.


Below: A tidy up around the RHEC gave me a chance to un-sheet my own two Barford & Perkins A-Series rollers (one is a donor for the other) and take some measurements in anticipation of progressing the restoration of EE 067 (the green one).  Numerous plates were also removed, shot-blasted and primed. A productive lunch break!


Below: In June I hope to progress some work in the Rowley Station area, once the new Keeper of Transport is in post and can take over the operational duties.  The water tower and coal drops need finishing, we are going to create an inspection pit and in the space between the railway and the wall to the left, a roadmenders/council depot is to be built, for which some long-stored roof trusses are currently being overhauled.  This area will enable the numerous exhibits we have on site to be grouped in one place, as well as ensure our rollers (steam and internal combustion) can be kept under cover when not in use, but on display.  As ever, for progress on this project, watch this space…


Cheffins Vintage Sale

Below: Last Saturday (26th April) Cheffins held the their Cambridge Vintage Sale.  I attended, to bid on some ephemera we were interested in, but a look around the larger items consigned for sale was also possible.  Seen here are the ‘big ticket’ items – Fowler ploughing engines No.15340 and 15341 which have been at Strumpshaw Steam Museum sine 1975, neither operational.  A balance plough and cultivator were also sold from this source.  A huge restoration job awaits someone.

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Below: Also in the sale was an Aveling F type steam roller from Strumpshaw and a privately owned  Fowler B4 Traction Engine,  named Blackjack (which didn’t sell).


Below:John Murphy is well known in the north east as a member of the famous showland family who travelled their fair across the region.  In 1904 he ordered this fine living van, from Howcroft of West Hartlepool.  It remained, lvied in, int eh family until 1997 when it was sold and fully restored and sensitively modernised.  Whilst it would have been nice to add it to our fairground, it was rather out of our price range a the moment and was sold to someone who we hope may bring it to Beamish for a reunion of Murphy’s equipment – the Howard Brother’s Fowler showmans engine ‘Renown’ that visited us a few years ago was a Murphy’s engine and there are two others still extant that might be added to such a line up…


Below: I rather liked this!  It is a 1940 Fordson N with a  Stanhay portable crane attached – this is powered by air, the receivers being clearly visible at the back of it.  Note the industrial wheels too.


Below: A Ransomes MG5 Crawler – fun!  Below it is a modified Ransomes Crawler, work that was carried out by Whitlock in 1962, to create a small and versatile loading shovel.

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Below: There were numerous tractors and commercials for sale, including this 1932 Foden 6LW.


Below: On the way home there was time to call in at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway, where they had taken delivery of this S160 2-8-0 – a type used in the UK during WW2 and built in the USA as a robust and powerful means of getting railways across Europe running during wartime conditions.  Impressive if not handsome!

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Below: A BR(W) Class 14 taking a spin on the NVR’s turntable – included here just for Duncan…