A glance through the content of this post reveals just how varied the work is, and how much is going on, carried out largely by a fairly small team of staff and volunteers. The winter maintenance work is on-going, whilst ‘project’ work by staff and volunteers is also being developed. As will be seen below, work has now started on the new bus depot – I will cover this in a separate post once I have the architects 3D renders to show what the building will look like. Just getting to this stage has been a lengthy process and inevitably compromises have been necessary – multiply this process by something like 20+ to cover the whole of the Remaking Beamish scheme and it can be seen why these things take so long and cost so much! It is very pleasing to see the contractor moving onto site now to start the build…
Below: As Matt reported, 765 has arrived and on Friday it undertook its first test runs on this visit to the museum. Some further work is being attended to but it should enter service fairly soon. David Watchman captured it in the sunshine during a reversal in the Town street…
Below: David also made this short film of the occasion:
Below: The current RHEC team focus is on the B-Type bus, which is having its rear platform rebuilt and re-boarded. This vehicle sees a very high level of use at Beamish and we are lucky that it is so robust! However, the more we run in the winter, the more salt we have to put down, and this has a detrimental effect on our vehicles. Part of the new bus depot development incorporates a washing area so that vehicles can be washed down after service each day to remove salt and road dirt deposits.
Below: The frame of the platform, as rebuilt, to include additional strengthening gussets within the structure.
Below: Over the road, the volunteer team are making very good progress on the Model T Ton Truck, as seen here. The replacement rear axle has been fitted, along with all of the associated mechanical bits and pieces.
Below: Last year, when I was looking for a prototype for the new Waggonway brake coach, consideration was given to using a vehicle used in Seaham for the conveyance of the visiting Duke of Wellington in the 1850s as a basis for it. In the end it was deemed unsuitable for the purpose, and we went with the Brampton coach design (which also gave much increased passenger accommodation on the train). However, the idea of this interesting coach wouldn’t quite lie. It was written by George Hardy (the Londonderry Railway engineer, who also looked after the docks) that when the coach was painted, the paint had not dried before it was used by the Marchioness of Londonderry – the damage to her clothing resulted in the painter being told he must always turn away whenever he saw her passing through the town… The image below refers to a painting that I have never seen a copy of, but which was presumably in colour and was a relatively accurate rendition of the coach.
Below: I was idly sketching one meeting when the Wellington coach idea came to mind – this time as a narrow gauge version… This was the result. I showed it to the RHEC team and they had some spare wood…
Below: A further sketching session saw a roof added – to avoid the ruination of those top hats!
Below: This was the result! There is also a chassis, for which Dave Young has machined some wheelsets using bits we had. Dave is now making the canopy – all bits are largely reused or from the scrap bits pile – and I wills start painting the coach shortly… There are also matching upholstered seats and I am hoping we might add the Londonderry Crest if we can find a copy of the one used by the railway.
Below: The Friends team continue to progress Glyder’s boiler in readiness for steam testing. With some studs replaced, the firehole door was refitted on Saturday, along with the regulator quadrant. They are also originating a pattern for the firebars and working on the chimney and smokebox door.
Outside Works – Colliery Railway
Below: A current development, with some interesting consequences to be revealed, is the laying of some 15″ gauge track within the Francis Street siding. This will enable ash removal from the cottages, which is currently deposited over the fence for us to dispose of (just like real life!). We plan to have a couple of V skip waggons, to be filled by the cottage teams, then taken for removal by the transport team. With second-hand rail to hand, a start has been made on this siding, whilst options for the creation of the skip waggons are being pursued…
Below: Samson is having a short holiday away from us, though will return in time for the steam fair. It will be placed on display at the HQ of Pearson Engineering on Scotswood Road (former site of the mighty Armstrong works and later BAE Systems) on behalf of the Reece Foundation – who funded the RHEC, which in turn enabled us to build the locomotive. For this, it received a thorough clean and had some areas of the paintwork touched up to improve its appearance. It is nice to observe areas of wear in the paint – these somehow make it seem more ‘real’!
Below: Readers may recall the adaptation of the GER van into the Betchworth transporter waggon. It is now complete and back on the Colliery line, as shown here. Narrow gauge rails have been installed on the deck, so at some point we should put some skip waggons aboard! The GER body has moved to Spainsfield Farm where it will become a typical outbuilding for that new development. I’m very much looking forward to matching Coffee Pot with this waggon in the near future!
Below: The station team have been busy continuing to develop curatorial enhancements over the winter. The level crossing has also been rebuilt to make it more accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs. The programme to install working oil lamps continues and this view shows the interior of the waiting area of Waterhouses Station. Note the oil lamp on the wall.
Below: Volunteer Peter Wilcox has produced a number of replica lamps (and is unable to supply replicas elsewhere – we get asked this a lot!) and has now turned his attention to replicating this style of NER lamp. Here is his drawing of the lamp, examples of which will be made for Rowley. In time we would like to re-establish the waiting area screen on the front of the building, opening up the possibility of getting more of the NER collections on display in this area. This is a little way off yet though!
Below: A reminder of the results of such dedicated work, with the station now having a good working set of lamps installed.
Below: I will post separately about the bus depot, but as can be seen here, the preparatory work has begun on site with the construction of a screening fence along the northern aspect of the site.
Below: The group of volunteers working on narrow gauge waggons met on Sunday to progress the rebuild of two FR granite waggons. Refurbishment of parts and manufacture of new items continues… Seen here is the process of manufacturing new brake push rods, with the completed item seen below.
Below: Rows of painted parts accumulating in the workshop, mainly consisting of axleboxes and keeps plus brakegear.