Where are the weeks going? I can’t believe it is late July now and the summer, so much anticipated, is now well underway (and raining!). As ever here are some updates, including a piece on Dunrobin’s latest progress. What isn’t shown is the involved work by the Site Maintenance team on numerous aspects of repair and maintenance across the Museum, especially at this busy time – jobs have included renewing the kitchen floor on the Sinkers Bait Cabin (rotted away after the drains had blocked and backed up) – such was the extent of the rot, the joists in the vicinity also required renewal. Also worth mentioning are the ongoing painting and decoration around the site, attempts to keep the surfaces in good order and the track team’s battle with the weeds across the various railways we operate. It would be fair to say they are starting to win!
Below: Volunteer Peter is manufacturing a set of oil lamps for the horse tram restoration. These consist of an outer case, with the bullseye lens in the middle and an oil lamp inside. This is quite an involved job and I’ll show more of his progress in future posts. Peter recently made the replica NER lamp tops for the station, so is becoming well versed in fine tinsmithing!
Below: The battered remains of the high-striker has arrived in the RHEC from the Fairground. Tony is now rebuilding this out of the very substantial sections of wood from our haul of pitch pine church pews (which we are on the look out to re-stock…).
Below: The Pockerley Apochethary project is progressing apace. Shaun and his team have cleaned and primed the donor wheels and forecarriage components, built a new chassis in Douglas Fir, renovated the old Experiment carriage body and mounted this onto the chassis and are presently building the front seat and fridge unit plus re-covering the roof. As I have mentioned before, the basis is pure whimsy, but it will serve as a more appropriate food outlet than the present arrangements.
Below: Samson put in a day of work on the ash train run. This is ash gathered from the Waggonway for use in the on-going blackening of the Colliery environs. Stored materials have slightly disrupted this ‘flow’ now, but ash is a precious resource here so I’m keen we make the most of what is otherwise a waste product from the many coal fires on site…
Below: Matt and Rob have set up Roker and the Kerr Stuart in the engine shed as a cameo to demonstrate what the jib on the crane tank actually can do. Hopefully of appeal to photographers and explaining the purpose of Roker in one go.
Below: This steam winch will be a future volunteer project, to give a haulage engine adjacent to the boiler house (once the Brightside engine and new forge have been completed). It is two-speed and is fitted with a band brake as well. The valve gear is Stephenson and reversible from the quadrant at the ‘driving’ position.
Below: The Steam Operations engagers in the engine shed are also busy enhancing the exhibits whilst talking to visitors. Rob has completed the repaint of one of the chaldrons, and the side tipper has moved in for the interior to be repainted as this is the ash waggon used on the standard gauge. It was rebuilt by the Friends volunteers with a new body by Andy Basnett, and we are keen to ensure it does not deteriorate as it is a useful and historic waggon; more so as it is still in operation!
Below: The Fordson had suffered some damage within days of going back into service, so this has now been repaired and the area affected has been repainted.
Below: Next into the paintshop is the Morris Commercial – the contractor David Purvis preparing the Morris for undercoating (below). Chris has rebuilt the bonnet hinges and these now look far better than those previously fitted (presumably after the originals had perished).
Below: Wheels off and into grey… Considerable rubbing down and filling takes place at this stage before re-priming and application of the top coats. It will retain the livery of it’s donor, the Jerry family who owned it from new (see article featured in the menu at the top of the blog site).
Below: Outshopped today… Still very much smelling of new paint, the S&N van was completed and test-run today. This will be back in service with its team next week. Some decoration and sign-writing will probably be added in the future but it looks far better than its very sad and shabby previous self, and stands and drives as if it were new. A lot of hard work has been carried out by Alan and Chris, with Brian, Tony, Matt B too. Paintwork is again by David Purvis. Brian has re-wired the lights and many of the old ‘niggles ‘ (lack of proper door locks etc.) have also been attended to. The interior is lined out in Buffalo Board – a commercial heavy duty board used on bus floors etc.
Below: Over the road, John and Mike have test-run the engine of the 1914 Model T, and are now trouble-shooting and testing it as a running vehicle – for the first time in Beamish ownership and probably the first time in three decades. The front wings have been re-sprayed and numerous other items are being prepared for fitting.
Below: We had a visit to Bridgnorth this week to view progress on 4085 Dunrobin. This has now been placed onto their jacks and the driving wheels removed – making it look even smaller against some of the other occupants of the building!
Below: The restoration of the bogie has been completed, and the wheels are in their first coats of deep bronze green, the shade that the locomotive will be carrying (which is distorted here by the high ISO the camera has selected).
Below: The driving wheels have been stripped bare to enable examination of the spokes (for potential cracks) and are due to be turned soon, to produce a UK profile on the tyres (themselves fitted in Canada in the 1970s).
Below: The crank axle is shown here – the journal nearest the camera is one of the big-end journals – see a photo of the big ends themselves further down…
Below: The frames are having lose rivets or fitted bolts removed and replaced as required, ahead of the new cylinder block being placed in situ for alignment checks to be made.
Below: The four coupled wheel aleboxes are badly worn and will need considerable work to rebuild them, including manufacture of new crowns. A modification to be included is an underkeep reservoir of oil with sprung oil pads to lubricate the journal from below as well as the feed into the top.
Below: The two big end bearings, following white metalling and machining, seen in their raw state. These are the ends of the connecting rods, and so take the full force of the piston strokes. Unlike most of the locomotives operating at Beamish, Dunrobin is inside-cylindered, so these are hidden between the frames (whence the need for a pit, for inspection and lubrication purposes).
Below: The station staff have been busy enhancing their area and improving the visitor access at Rowley, the most recent project being the redecoration of the ex Glanton weighbridge office. Internally the walls have been repainted and the skirting boards etc. newly scumbled (the application of a wood-grain effect, widely used by the NER). A new door insert has also meant the building can be opened to viewing through the doorway. For their next project, watch this space…
So all in all, a busy week in the workshops and transport teams… Jonathan will be updating on the industry side of things separately such is the volume of news at the moment…