T&I News 24 2019...

T&I News 24 2019…

Bus Depot

The depot is now more or less complete and on Friday 22nd it was formally opened by guests from Go North-East, The Reece Group and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Northern sign, including original depot letters, has now been hung. A clock will also be hung above this sign in due course. Note the black and white stripes around the doorways. These are something often seen on depot doorways to aid drivers in reversing buses into depots. They are particularly noticeable from 1939 onward, when the blackout conditions made driving more hazardous. Other signs have been affixed around the depot area, these originating from the closed Go North-East depot at Stanley and recovered specifically for Beamish.
Buses at rest in their new surroundings…
Two Northern buses together. We have, unfortunately, in trial opening of the depot, seen a small number of visitors misbehaving around and on the vehicles, risking injury and damage. We are now reconsidering how to enable safe access for visitors to the depot whilst protecting the buses but keeping them available for use (without extensive movement of barriers etc.)
This is the view through the gallery window, showing the excellent workshop vista, and high quality of the lighting within the building.
Jobs to finish… This is the heated bus-wash. To this we have the compressor and waste oil tank plus salt bin to add. They will then be screened by a wooden fence to hide them from view (and misuse!). The provision of modern washing facilities to clean our vehicles with has long been on the ‘wishlist’ and will enormously improve both their appearance (as the salt accumulation in the winter can be spectacular) but also make them far more pleasant to maintain. The washer is heated (both to prevent it from freezing but also to give a hot-wash) and the detergent selected is environmentally sustainable as well as including additives to protect vehicle paintwork. The 21st Century has arrived!


A number of steam engines are now resident within the tram depot, marking the start of the adaptation of some of the space within this building for new purposes… The previous vehicle bay will become an area for the Friends of Beamish to use (Model Ts, horse tram and motorcycles), whilst the rear of Road 4/5 will become a heavy-engineering space, with good proximity to the machine shop. This will enable work to be carried out in far more convenient circumstances than has been the case previously.

This is the start of a number of phases of development in the workshops, to streamline the work and become more efficient.

The Steam Mule has been relocated to the tram depot/workshops for winter storage and preparation for its annual boiler exam. It is seen in company with Rambler, which has now been withdrawn for mechanical overhaul. As a major component in the Museum’s Have-a-go courses, Rambler sees regular use throughout the years and so has worn out far quicker than we anticipated when we purchased the roller! A full ‘top end’ overhaul will take place, along with the replacement of the low-speed gears. We also think new cladding might be necessary, so a full repaint may also form part of this process. Work will start once Steam Elephant’s overhaul has been completed (which in turn will start once the Gallopers Centre Engine overhaul is finished, very soon).
Here we see Steam Elephant and 721 (the ex Dundee Gas Works Kerr Stuart) inside the new engineering area. The horse tram, to the right here, will be moving shortly into the old vehicle workshop (just beyond Steam Elephant in this view). Steam Elephant is to have a heavy mechanical overhaul, whilst 721 is having some exploratory and investigative work with a view to carrying out its restoration as an apprentice project. It’s owners, the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum at Tywyn in Wales, have agreed to us carrying out this work and then reporting back what we find…
721’s boiler has been stripped for removal, so that the condition can be assessed. One of two survivors of what was quite a numerous class of locomotives (built by five manufacturers), it is certainly diminutive. The other survivor is Bonnie Dundee, converted to 15″ gauge and owned by the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, though under overhaul for the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway to whom it has been placed on loan – so there is the prospect of reuniting the pair at Beamish in the future!
We would be interested to see any images of the Dundee locomotives – we have a small number available to us but would like to see more if anyone has any images in their collection (not already published). I should also point out that these are different locomotives to the Andrew Barclay engines, of which we had No.5 from Granton Gas Works on loan to us for a while. Nor the type that Dougal on the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway is.
David Young has been busy with his homework… Making and refurbishing components for the gallopers centre engine (built by Savage in 1895). Here are various cocks, complete with handles – all of which now have bespoke (and rather beautiful!) handles made to fit each – no more will an adjustable spanner be seen in the vicinity of the working engine!
Various unions have also been made by David for the water supply feed for the engine (the tank now being hidden away within the centre truck, rather than beneath the engine where it was previously located, and subject to all manner of oil contamination). The unions area seen being parted off on David’s lathe.
The finished unions, ready for installation into the water feed pipework for the engine.

Rowley Station

One of the mens group volunteers at Rowley Station, Brian, has been restoring this NER trolley – its origin not previously being known to us, until the restoration work started (and by happy coincidence it proved to be of a suitable origin for the Station!).
The NER stamping on one of the trolley axles – confirming its provenance.
The overhaul and repaint of the Great Western Mink van is also nearing completion – the final touches currently being added…