T&I News 16 2020...

T&I News 16 2020…

The schools have gone back and we are now contemplating operations under the new ‘normal’ outside of the school holiday period. The weather has been kind to us so far and the re-commencement of a bus service around the main perimeter road has certainly helped restore some life to the bits in between the main visitor areas. We are largely running Rotherham 220 or Darlington 4 (as well as the on-call Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, J2007) with the replica Daimler D-Type also available if required. The pattern of service is to have a bus out all day, with an additional relief bus at the start and end of the day, the crew from this providing the lunch and break cover for the service and WAV buses through the day to ensure these are available.

The buses pick up at the Entrance, Pockerley then to a set-down point at the top of the 1950s Front Street, then moving forward (following cleaning) to the Park Stop, Foulbridge and the Entrance once again. This seems to be working well and gives ample chance to use sterilising products on handrails and seats etc. Capacity is obviously limited, and passengers (unless exempt) must wear a face covering.

Two new drivers have been familiarised and signed off to drive Darlington 4, whose crash-gearbox is somewhat trickier than 220’s silky pre-selector box. With both of these in service it gives visitors a chance to experience something a little different on each trip too!

Crosville 716

Talking of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles… Crosville 716 is progressing slowly and the wheelchair lift has now been fitted (see below). Painting is expected to be complete in the next week or so, to be followed by wiring and then a period of reassembly before the final mechanical work is completed and inspected.

Above: A view of the lift in situ, with access into the saloon being pretty commodious. Note the wander-lead control for the lift tucked in behind the left hand door, plugged into the seat bulkhead.
Above: With the lift installed, the last panel can now be finished and fitted. Also visible here are the rear lights/brake lights, that will also fit into this panel. The registration number will be centred on the panel, as its original location is not available anymore.
Above: I cannot recall if I featured the alternator bracket here – anyway, here it is! This replaces the magneto and is aimed to provide more reliable electrical supplies to both the bus itself and the wheelchair lift (originally a ramp was envisaged, but this proved to be too steep when tested and it was felt a lift would make the WAV ‘fleet’ more uniform as well).
Above: The bell has been refitted. This is not operational, as it will not be needed in the Beamish operation, but it is a nice original feature to recover and incorporate.
Above: There was a body-builder’s transfer above the driving position, signposting the observer to Brush as the manufacture of the 20 seat body. The original had suffered very badly (see below) and so a replica was designed from scratch by James Hilton, who is a specialist model maker and also produces artwork for waterslide transfers. He has done a superb job using only the original and a few blurry photographs to work from. As the panel is now rexine, we will make a small pattress to mount the transfer on. For more of James’ work, see his blog: https://paxton-road.blogspot.com
Above: The original transfer on remaining paneling from 716.
Above: The lights are now all available and are being prepared for installation, the vintage brass fire extinguisher is hoped to provide a water supply for the screen washers, there being a modern extinguisher behind the driver.
Above: A peek at the livery, with varnish applied to this panel… It will be a stunning finish when the bus is rolled into daylight…

Savage Steam Gallopers

The member of staff working in the RHEC has been busy making barriers for use around site, but has also been making lightweight rounding boards to fit to the gallopers. The originals were no longer fit to use and fibreglass replacements were cast from these. Unfortunately substantial amounts of steel were included in these and they are too heavy to fit without modifications being made to the ride itself. These will be made in due course, as the swifts (wooden beams that radiate from the centre of the ride) will require attention in the coming years. Meanwhile, as it looks odd without rounding boards, and because the lettering itself is applied to removable panels, these lightweight boards are being made – to which the lettering panels can be attached.