As has become something of a tradition, here is a review of the last 12 months (which make up a year that has absolutely flown by!) along with a little look ahead to 2020 and some things we can look forward to in the next 12 months… This review is but a snapshot of blog posts throughout the year – of which there have been 25 news posts and several other postings on a whole host of subjects from the transport team. Much more detail is contained within the blog posts, but some highlights are presented here for readers to enjoy.
Looking ahead into 2020 (and a few updates along the way)
2020 will be another busy year for the transport and maintenance teams. There will be a lot of work to overhaul existing exhibits, which will reduce the amount of ‘new’ items coming back into action. Steam Elephant is a good example of this, and is likely to be in the workshop for 12 months or so. Before that work starts, Puffing Billy is receiving attention to improve its condition ahead of a season without a spare loco available at the Waggonway.
The tramway infrastructure and some at Rowley is also set to receive significant attention (and expenditure) during 2020, and the road network is also likely to expand as the Front Street Terrace comes closer to completion.
We will continue to operate the Colliery standard and narrow gauge railways through the year, with the former continuing its three-weekday operation outside of school holidays. We would like to run the latter more often too, and anticipate some enhancements ahead of No.18 not being available in 2021, to ensure we have steam activity on a regular basis within the Colliery environment, whatever gauge it is on. A number of narrow gauge waggons are under restoration by the volunteer ‘BINGE’ team, and two more of these should return to operation in 2020.
In April we will hold our annual Great North Steam Fair – which has a theme for 2020 – Heavy Haulage… I will cover this in more detail in the new year, but we are very excited by the line-up of exhibits that are being gathered for what will be quite a different event in some ways – in terms of sheer spectacle!
Beamish celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020 and the celebrations will take place throughout the year, and no doubt transport will feature within these. A new guidebook is in preparation and I am hoping to revisit the ‘Forty Years of Service’ book about the Beamish Tramway, and update/expand this to cover the public transport (not railways – that will be a future book!) that we operate at Beamish.
Here are a few key projects that will develop during 2020…
This completes the review of 2019. Thank you for reading this far, and for continuing to support the Museum’s work through this interaction (the blog is part of our desire to communicate what we are doing, as a charity and a museum). With best wishes for the new year, from all of us here.