Things might have seen a little quiet lately, but nothing could be further from the truth – its just finding time to write the blog can be tricky! Here is a quick trip around the Transport & Industry department and the current activities that reveal just something of what the team is up to at the moment…
Below: After a long delay the refurbished radiator for R025, the Barford & Perkins D4 motor roller that the Friends team are restoring in the Erecting Shop, arrived and was trial fitted. This has revealed some further work is needed and it has been returned to the contractor for this to be carried out. The engine has also had a certain amount of ‘cold’ running-in using a tractor driven belt and pulley.
Below: The Crewe Tractor project is nearing completion with the deck and seat complete except for painting and numerous mechanical jobs also finished. We hope it will debut at the Somme event, mounted on board the Pershing wagon to be pulled by Moelwyn on the narrow gauge railway.
Below: Dave Young’s current projects are on a rather smaller scale than Samson! First up is the overhaul of a vertical single cylinder steam engine manufactured by the Brightside Foundry in Newcastle (date unknown). The plan is to place this engine adjacent to the boiler house in the Colliery and it will power the blower for the blacksmith display using steam from the Winder boiler. The original paintwork will be retained and a governor fitted as part of the work.
Below: Dave has also manufactured patterns for the Horwich tender for Samson, this being a slow-burner project that is progressing at present. Dave has completed most of the drawings, including for the brake gear that will be fitted (not a feature of the originals) to this little vehicle – not much more than a tea-tray on wheels!
Below: The former Carriage & Wagon examiner’s shed from Brancepeth Colliery (later used in a domestic setting in Witton-le-Wear) is presently being dismantled to move to the RHEC for some attention before it is re-located to Rowley Station. Here it will serve as a base for the growing gardens activity there as well as the mens group, a team of volunteers who are working with the Health & Wellbeing staff and work from a base at Home Farm on numerous projects.
Below: It may be remembered that last year a toilet block for the Fairground was built in the RHEC. This has now been completed and fitted-out by a contractor complete with full facilities for families and access for all of our visitors. Some labels remain to be added but it is very much identifiable as a public convenience even without these!
Below: Gateshead Tram No.10’s bogies are still being dismantled and assessed as the list of remedial work required grows longer and longer. This overhaul is planned to try and correct many of the temporary fixes (from the last 70+ years!) and also enable a certain amount of standardisation in parts used in order to enable a smaller stock of spares to be carried. Such items include standardising on two or three pin sizes, self lubricating bushes and new brake springs for example. Russell is seen with a clamp to compress the bolster leaf-springs in order to enable the retaining links to be removed for inspection.
Below: The structure for the new van body for the Morris Commercial is taking shape, Chris having drawn out the design before making a kit of parts. This will fit onto the existing body-bearers on the chassis, enabling the original vehicle to remain unaltered other than for the removal of the flat-bed body, which remains in store. The van livery will match that of the coachwork, the whole vehicle planned to enter the paintshop in July…
Below: Mike and Darren have nearly completed installation of lighting and power within the Rural District Council building – this is a great step as (once the conduit is all painted) it will enable us to form some improved displays for visitors in this facility and make more of the period road mending and maintenance equipment in this area.
Below: A request for domestic coal storage at the station (for deliver to the Town) led to the construction by Jorden Sayer and his team at Rowley of this coal cell, the first of a pair made from recovered sleepers (largely found around the station area). This is a traditional solution to coal storage and further cements the coal office and use of the station as a dispersal point – nothing looks more realistic than something being used for its original purpose!
Below: More coal – in the coal cells where it now seems sensible to store it!
Below: We will be reading more about a new project at Rowley to restore the gardens to the original configuration as they appeared at the original Rowley site at the turn of the last century. The first phase has been research and development of the story and subject, the second phase being the commencement of the creation of the beds. The station was a past prizewinner (in its NER days) for the quality of its gardens and the project will continue to include a NER allotment with appropriate facilities. An article for the blog is in preparation…
Below: Something I haven’t covered on the blog is the refurbishment of the goods shed display at Rowley and that it is now open every day. The adjacent office room has also been refurbished to create a staff messing area, the station now being staffed even when trains are not running, something that is bringing the area to life and enabling progress on the attention to detail we aspire to across the site.
Below: I have only briefly covered the loan of the Peterhead Prison coach from the Maud Station project in Scotland. Here are two views of the coach which is with us until August. It was restored at Stanegate Restorations and Replicas in Haltwhistle and includes an interior display relating to the prison, its inmates and the railway which enabled construction of sea defences.
Duke of Sutherland’s saloon No.58A
Below: Phil Anderson is busily working on the saloon coach’s paintwork as we reach the closing stages of this project. Tony and Matt B are also working on internal panels and outstanding work includes fitting the restored footstep brackets and boards, electrical wiring for the lighting, re-fitting the refurbished droplights and luggage netting and reinstating the vacuum brake cylinder and drawgear – the former having been overhauled at the SVR whilst the latter has been crack tested and repaired and will be painted black before it is refitted.
Below: In order for a linoleum floor to be laid (in place of the rather less practical and worn carpet previously fitted), a skin of plywood is laid on the planked floor to provide a smooth base for the lino. This does not project entirely into the guards compartment and will stop ad the rear of the toilet bulkhead wall as seen here.
Power from the Past
Below: As described previously, last weekend was the June Power from the Past weekend with enhanced transport operation across the Museum. This saw all of the railways in operation plus a selection of road steam and some of the vintage and veteran motorcycles in action. Being confined to the narrow gauge railway I only managed to take a couple of photos of the weekend – there are more images on the Museum’s facebook page for those who are interested. Here we see Moelwyn on the US Army train and Mary Ann on the War Department Light Railway set. You will have a chance to see these in operation again over the Somme commemorations at the beginning of July (1-3).
Below: One of the most prominent and oft-photographed objects at Beamish is the Tiny Tim, the former steam hammer which straddles the entrance to the public car park. This substantial piece of equipment was originally built in 1883 by Glen & Ross of Glasgow for the Darlington Forge. In 1903 it was sold to Baker Bessemer in Rotherham, from where it was purchased for Beamish in 1970/71. It now stands, sans the hammer (!), over the entrance road and under a canopy of trees which tend to turn it green over time. For this reason the team are now steam cleaning it ahead of a full repaint which will take place over the coming weeks once the good weather arrives…
Below: Roker is now settled into its new home. As mentioned before, it may, in due course, turn green per the Doxford livery, but for now it rather suits this new space.
Below: More on this in the next post, but No.18 is having a little holiday from the Colliery – somewhere not so far away…