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!
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.
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.