Welcome to Beamish Transport Online 2020 – Happy New Year and here we go with the eleventh year of the transport blog covering the operational and restoration activities of the transport collections (and some historic industry too!) at Beamish Museum.
As before, the blog will be updated at regular intervals (weekly if possible) to provide what I hope will be an interesting narrative of what we get up to at the Museum. I would imagine that in the year ahead it will largely be written by me, but as before there will be contributions from other team members, including Matthew Ellis (Keeper of Transport) and Jonathan Kindleysides (Head of Industry).
Matt’s role covers the operation of the transport systems on site, and also the management of the workshops which support those operations. Jonathan’s remit has grown to include all site maintenance (non-transport) as well as an overview of the Drift Mine and Fairground from a regulatory perspective.
My role (as an Assistant Director here these days) is ever the broad one, including Matt and Jonathan’s Worlds, as well as a hefty chunk of the Remaking Beamish project and a fair bit of health and safety/policy these days. My trips around the workshops these days are therefore often a form of therapy and a chance to see the development of our various projects. It is a team effort and we now seeing the fruits of investment in staff, apprentices and facilities. The Gallopers centre engine, recent progress on the bus fleet and development of something of a strategic plan for the next five years all bearing witness to this.
We are also lucky to receive the support of numerous volunteers, including the Friends of Beamish workshop volunteers, and those who work with the staff directly. There are also several involved in the operation of the tramway (not least the Beamish Tramway Group) and who turn out for events and special occasions, as the need arises.
So, for those familiar with us and what we do, apologies for the brief pre-amble, we now move directly to news from the team…
The value of the bus depot and workshop is already being keenly felt. The B-Type bus recently required some gearbox repairs, to replace the friction plate of the clutch and repair the pressure plate. Previously this would have been an involved and not entirely comfortable job. Now, with the pit and a high-reach gearbox stand, the work was accomplished safely and swiftly. This reduces the time the bus is out of service for, as well as making the work to repair it far easier for the team and enabling other work to be carried out in the saved time.
The machine shop team of Don and his apprentice Zoe, with Chris and his apprentice Daniel; all assisted with input from volunteer Dave Young, have been focused on the rebuild of the 1895 Savage centre engine for the Steam Gallopers. The work has been comprehensive and extensive, the result being an engine that is pretty much perfect!