We’re back to looking at some of the engineering taking place behind the scenes this week, starting with the fabrication shop and moving onto the machine shop then outdoors to look at the Waggonway semi-open coach.
Below: Over in the fabrication shop, apprentice Dan has been manufacturing a new fuel tank for the S&N Van, shown here in the rather boring “box” view, this does not show the work that has gone into the baffles inside it. It now needs the filler neck fitting and seal welding before fitting to the vehicle.
Below: Dan has also manufactured some guards for the exhaust on the Crosville 716, these were made from flat sheet, with the edges folded in to give some rigidity, then curved to the profile required. Fitted around the exhaust they are to prevent grease/oil being thrown from the prop shaft and them burning/smoking off the hot exhaust pipe.
Below: The guards in situ.
Below: Chris has built up, with weld, the first of Gateshead 10’s pony wheel axle boxes. These needed material adding on the horn faces to restore original dimensions. Zoe has made some tooling (see earlier posts) for the boring machine and is now machining these built up faces to the required dimensions. Each side was machined in turn, as can be seen from the photos. The horn faces are now parallel and the correct width, ready for refitting to the axles. The other 3 pony axleboxes are to follow the same process in the coming days/weeks.
Matt will cover in detail the work on the axles and axle box brasses in a separate post soon, Don has been doing this work and there are photos to go with it but the narrative for it will be better in one post as it is an interesting and involved job.
Below: Rebecca has halted her work on the B-Type bus for a couple of weeks whilst she progresses the Waggonway Coach to completion. The weather has been less than favourable for outside work but even so, she has progressed rapidly and the coach is almost all in undercoat, ready for topcoat later this week/next
Below: More primer applied… The inner panels will be light green, whilst the framing will be dark green and the ironwork black – all of these being colours we happened to have sufficient paint of in stock already! It will look similar to the narrow gauge Wellington coach, completed a few years ago. Placing this coach back into service will, importantly, restore accessibility for wheelchairs on the Waggonway, as well as providing an additional compartment in the set.
Below: Routine maintenance work is being carried out on the Ifor Williams trailer, which will be needed for harvest later this year. It suffers from being used for heavy loads on unmade roads, so is having some mechanical work carried out, a new winch rope fitted and a few other jobs to bring it back up to standard again. This was bought by the curatorial department many years ago, and has been an invaluable tool for the museum.
Below: We’ve received some photographs from Kirby Stephen East to show progress on the NER Luggage Composite (818/3071). Work has concentrated on mechanical examination and de-rusting the underframe and bogies. These have then been primed, as depicted here.
Operations from July 19th 2021
We’ve been in extensive discussions, internally and externally, as to what our approach will be following the lifting of most COVID-19 related restrictions next Monday.
We’ve decided to maintain the restrictions on the whole. Visitor surveys across the UK by Visit England have identified a nervousness about visiting venues with no precautions in place (around 75% indicated this) and so, more or less as a whole, the UK tourist industry is approaching the lifting of restrictions with caution. This is coordinated by the Association of Large Visitor Attractions (ALVA) and so provides a level of continuity across the country.
We will, therefore, retain the pre-bookings system, a cashless site, some restrictions on numbers within confined spaces and will request that visitors continue to wear face coverings indoors and on transport (in line with Government recommendations). We will, however, increase the capacity on the buses to their maximum seated limits, and will adjust the route operation to take out the lengthy stop at the Bakery. Cleaning will continue to take place, crews will continue to wear PPE and visitors will be asked to follow suit, as a sign of respect to staff and fellow visitors if nothing else.
We will also see the site liven up another step, as we approach the summer holidays – in transport terms this will see more buses running. We will also lengthen the Waggonway train. More exhibits will have engagers working outside them and there is a programme of summer holiday activities to appeal to visitors.
We are still looking at our options for returning the tramway to operation – there is a considerable amount of inspection and maintenance work needing to be completed on the trackwork before services are operated, and so resources are being allocated to this with the aim of re-starting this autumn, all being well.
For more information on visiting, please see the museum’s website and, in particular, the FAQ section.