There is quite a bit to report in this post, after a short break on the blog… We start with work taking place in the RHEC…
STOP PRESS!!! Today the blog clicked over the 1 million views mark, which excludes all of those views via subscription and e-mail. In due course it will receive a refresh of some sort, but for now it remains something of a record of the activities of the transport and industry teams at Beamish – many thanks for reading and support it!
Below: The ‘new’ Waggonway coach has now been completed (and since this post was started, delivered to the Waggonway). The flatter varnish has toned the colours down a little, as will service – it is certainly striking and really is a lovely piece of work by Tony and Matt B – and a change to work in new (or as-new) material.
Below: Volunteer Peter has been refurbishing oil lamps for use at Rowley Station, and finding we were short in number, is now manufacturing new ones to make a full set…
Below: The Fordson Thames has arrived in the workshop for assembly following its rebuild and repaint. This work should be completed later in the week – I will update the blog if it is ready!
Below: Also nearing completion is the B-Type bus, the side panels having been glossed since this photo was taken. The paint was matched by code, and needless to say it does not match on the bus itself! But nevermind, such patch-repaints were not uncommon in service days so it adds to the story – at least that is our story and we are sticking to it!
Below: Blackpool 147 has now returned to its home town, whilst 31 has arrived at Beamish. As part of the agreement, 147 had its dark green paintwork restored and some bodywork repairs were also carried out. 31 is now stored pending reassembly and a very thorough clean. The tram will not operate in service until re-tyred it has been decided, and the paintwork may be prepared for re-varnishing too as it is starting to lose some of its lustre. Oporto 196 and Newcastle 114 are similarly due for re-varnishing in the short-term, showing how quickly a backlog of such work can grow…
Below: In the fabrications shop Dave Young, with assistance from Chris, are drawing to a conclusion with Samson’s new tender, which is seen jigged for brake gear test-fitting and also with the wheelsets in place. It is hoped to have the tender complete in time for the Great North Steam Fair in a few weeks time, after which Samson is moving immediately to the Ffestiniog Railway where it will be taking part in their Quirks and Curiosities 2 event over the first May bank holiday weekend – more on this in due course.
Below: More projects chasing the steam fair deadline include the ‘Beamish’ timber bolster, which was prepared in BINGE time but is now with volunteer Bill to assemble and fit the timber deck and stanchions to. Since this photo the chassis has been reassembled and the timber for it ordered.
Below: Not ones to shy away from some pressure, the FR granite tipper is also chasing down the deadline, the body being complete sans door and the chassis now riveted to its new floor. It is touch and go as to whether it will be completed in time for the event, but it will be soon and there may be one or two waggon surprises to look forward to in April…
Other works on site
Below: Shaun and his building joiners are making rapid progress on the W H Smiths style kiosk within the Town tram shelter. The wiring and plumbing is currently being installed before completion of this new facility.
Below: The trench in this view signifies the installation of both water and telephone communications to the narrow gauge railway – again chasing the steam fair deadline.
On-site and off-site haulage…
Below: Bon Accord has been moved from the Colliery to Rowley Station. It will operate this weekend (non-passenger, as the coach is trapped behind the Peckett which is receiving repairs). We hope all will be back to normal for the following weekend and to give us time ahead of the steam fair and Easter (the past date of running commencement) to get everything ready.
Matt had the dubious pleasure of overseeing all of these moves, which totalled five in total – always slightly stressful as you are handling precious rolling stock, made doubly interesting by having Bon Accord in steam (to shunt itself) and all taking place within the same 24 hours!
Below: The Duke of Sutherland saloon 58A made its first daylight appearance since the restoration reached the current stages, the contractor having completed the paintwork and the RHEC team working on the interior. Some mechanical work remains, plus fitting the electric lighting and droplights. It was shunted to allow the Forcett coach to be extracted and moved to the Waggonway – this coach having travelled more on low-loaders at Beamish than it has done on rails! it requires extensive mechanical work and fitting of a continuous brake before it can operate – any sponsors out there?! It is unusual for is date in being fitted with most of its original chassis, though not running gear, as most of its contemporaries are carriage bodies united with more modern wagon chassis. One key job is to replace the wheels, both for tyre wear and profile but also size, those fitted being too large for it (added in 1974/5 when rebuilt at Shildon Wagon Works ahead of the Stockton & Darlington Railway 150th anniversary).
Below: Blackpool 147 is seen during its departure to pick its way westwards around a very circuitous high-load route and return to its own tramway in Blackpool – a popular and very useful tram!
Below: A last-minute view of the Kitching coach being loaded from the RHEC ready for its short journey to the Waggonway for inspection and commissioning.