There will be a number of separate posts over the next week or so covering some news from the transport side of things at Beamish, but in the meantime here is the usual roundup of news from the T&I/RHEC…
It is probably also worth pointing out, seeing as it has been the cause of some irritation it seems, that the 1950s project is very much something we are working towards and not doing now – so the vehicles, by and large, like other exhibits of the Remaking Beamish scheme, are not necessarily on display at the moment. This includes the ex West Riding Leyland Cub and the Rotherham Daimler – though the latter will make appearances at 1950s related events and Remaking Beamish promotional occasions during the year, and will also operate on some of the busy winter evenings. All being well, these vehicles will begin to appear in service from 2016 onwards so please do check with us if you intend to make a special journey to see them as until we open the 1950s area in particular, you won’t necessarily see them yet. Similarly the cinema is not showing films yet nor the 1950s shops selling their wares, coaching inn letting rooms or candlemakers making candles! We are working very hard on all of these and many more though so please rest assured that in time all of this will come together and the new buses, routes and operation will be launched in connection with it all.
Below: We open with a photograph of the newly repainted Bedford CA ambulance. As has been explained previously, there was considered to be a certain sensitivity for visitors receiving first aid attention from the many such trained staff, to be similarly attended by an ambulance that isn’t an ambulance. So it was decided to have it repainted – in this case it was sprayed locally and the chrome trim refurbished. Brian and Alan have carried out the necessary mechanical work and the van was handed over to the Attendants team this week. In due course it will be signwritten. Meanwhile the increasingly extensive rebuild of the Morris Commercial is ongoing at HVR and I hope to report on this next week.
Below: Readers may recall that Sunderland 101, (ex Blackpool Balloon 703) was withdrawn with a defective tyre at the beginning of the year. As part of our Safety Management System we must explore the cause of the failure and also circulate this amongst other interested parties – including the many other users of similar trams. The failure took the form of the tyre completely breaking, seemingly around an old ‘inclusion’ or weak spot, and with some contributory factors around this. We are employing the specialist laboratory at TATA Steel to carry out the metallurgical investigation and a report will be published in due course. Meanwhile, the rather awkward task of taking a sample from the defective tyre led to the decision to remove the tyre completely – as seen below.
Below: An unusual view of half of the tyre still in place. Shunting the tram after removal required care, and shortly 101 will be traversed sideways to the rear of Road 5, which is not provided with rail access, pending its eventual restoration. As it cannot be readily shunted, it was decided to keep Gateshead 52 mobile, as this moves rather well, and is ahead of 101 in the restoration queue in any case.
Below: The scene of the break – note how cleanly it has come apart.
Below: With duties over the weekend, the Friends were busy working on the SOS bus – having obtained new flexible couplings for the transmission, and fitted these, further adjustment was found to be needed and so the bus was receiving attention during the week in readiness for this weekends work – which it happily accomplished (in connection with the Women’s Institute event).
Below: The road works signs are still in the workshop being painted…
Below: A new roadmender’s hut is being built to accompany the roadworks display – volunteer Peter completing much of its construction in one session!
Below: N&G 49 (the horse tram) is receiving attention to the roof, including preparation of the canopies that overhang the platforms and provide additional seating upstairs.
Below: The new side panels for 264’s top deck have been made, painted and are seen ready for fitting, once the overhaul of the lazy-tongue supports for the dropping window frames are all back in place. The truck parts are with Dyer Engineering for copying and replacement/repair as needed, and the wheels are on the lathe at Boston Lodge on the Ffestiniog Railway as I write this post.
Below: Not a great photo but it shows the fruits of Sunday afternoon’s labours, with the red lining applied to Rambler’s cylinder cladding. This will be varnished and re-fitted next week – one bit less chrome on the engine!
Below: Chris has fabricated some stands to support the next fairground attraction, a pair of panels for the sandpit area, where visitors can stick their heads through holes in a picture (what are these actually called?!).
Below: Sarah is producing the artwork for the boards – one humorous and one traditional, based on the railway poster art for east-coast destinations.
Out and about
Below: The National Association of Mining History Organisations is holding its annual conference at Nenthead this weekend, and I spoke on Saturday on the subject of Samson and the Cornish Hush Tramway. While in Nenthead (in the sunshine!) I had a very quick look around the historic site there, a scheduled ancient monument: http://www.nentheadmines.com/ This is a wild location, just over the hill from Killhope (and Co Durham) and one well worth exploration. Maybe venues for Samson to visit one day…!!!