This week there is quite a lot to report, so I will probably spill some of the image-based content into separate posts next week. Meanwhile, I have included a sample of these within this post as a taster of what is to come…
No.18’s last public operation
Below: On Friday 22nd October No.18 made its last appearance in steam on a conventional running day. Whilst it has three or four more booked steaming ahead (two of which will be at Rowley Station to prepare the area for Christmas, and move rolling stock in readiness for this), these won’t be the typical loco+chaldron operations, and they will probably also coincide with days that the museum is closed due to the nature of the work. Therefore this was the last opportunity to see No.18 in steam, working in the Colliery with the chaldrons, before its boiler certificate expires in February, completing a ten-year stint of operation.
As for when (or even if) we will be able to overhaul No.18 very much depends on finding capacity in an engineering programme that is under considerable pressure for at least the next five years. The Coronavirus pandemic harmed our progress and set us back not just a year, but a number of years as the knock-on effects are felt and the congestion around required maintenance vs statutory intervals (in particular for boilers) take effect. No.18 must sit in a queue which includes Gateshead 10, Steam Elephant, Puffing Billy and Oporto 196. And this is without the engineering team (of two people) responding to running repairs or unexpected occurrences. So we will store No.18, intact, and in due course it will return to the Colliery for display. If we can find a sponsor or other way in which to enable us to consider its overhaul, we will, of course, do this.
Bus Running Day
Below: Satruday 23rd October saw the return of our bus running day, which was well attended by local vehicles (and their owning trusts/groups), working alongside our own collection. Crosville 716 operated excursions in order to give all visitors an opportunity to ride on it, and a number of the visiting buses also saw passenger service during the day.
Below: During the afternoon there was an opportunity to pose the Aycliffe & District Bus Preservation Society’s Darlington No.7 alongside our own No.4.
National Tramway Museum Members Day 20th October 2021
Below: An event of great interest to enthusiasts of north east tramcars took place last week when the workshop at Crich unveiled the completed (heavy) overhaul of Newcastle 102, sponsored by the Tramcar Sponsorship Organisation. Here is the tram after emerging from the workshop, looking superb and ready for running-in prior to entry into service.
Below: An interesting model on display in the exhibition hall at Crich is this Darlington Corporation Light Railway (not Tramway) single deck combination car (with open areas of the saloon for smoking). The livery is very attractive and has been mooted as a potential future livery for our Oporto 196 when its next overhaul and repaint is carried out – recreating another regional scheme that has not been seen for very many decades (and possibly by anyone in living memory now).
Below: The spacious exhibition hall at Crich is always an interesting area to explore. Here I’ve included the Falcon (ex Brush Works in Loughborough) – noting the link to our Crosville 716 and the body transfer now carried reflecting its construction by Brush, and inclusion of the Falcon in the transfer imagery.
Below: Blackpool 166 and LCC 1 are see inside the workshop. Matt and I were able to look around No.1 and the quality, complexity and scale of the restoration is incredible.
Below: The overhead contact equipment servicing gantry always catches the eye – we want to build something similar at Beamish in order to service tramcar trolleypoles (and bases) as well as the same equipment on the trolleybuses.
Below: Blackpool Railcoach 298 is the next big workshop project at Crich, seen here (in the middle of the view) being dismantled. A new chassis has been constructed at Boston Lodge for this tramcar, and a substantial restoration fund has been in place for sometime. The bogies under the chassis (which are temporary) are those removed from Beamish last year for this very purpose.
Below: A number of trams were in service – and I have included views of Blackpool 167 (which readers will recall spent part of the 2014 season with us) and firstly Leeds 399, one of my favourites in the collection at Crich – the livery is vibrant and the large fleet of trams in these colours must have brightened the industrial landscape of Leeds no end when they first appeared in service.
Outside works – the new Front Street
Below: Visitors to site will have noticed the dismantling of the fence that obscures the view into the 1950s development, as the entrance/junction into the new Front Street is constructed. The bus stops for the 1950s service will be located to the rear of this scene, on a widened section of the existing roadway.
Below: This is the new view of Front Street, showing the road in the foreground. The concrete base for the tarmac section has been cast, and the section to the right will be cobbles. This area will then be fenced to enable the continued construction of the buildings in the background, and a start on the cinema and shops that will occupy the area to the left of these two views (facing the terrace). Trolleybuses are planned to operate (as part of the 1950s bus route) along the street, turning right at the end of the terrace to ascend the hill with the Police Houses (visible here) and semis to their left.
Below: Construction work on the pavements is also underway, with this area being stone flagged (as it is Edwardian, set in the 1950s) and moving to concrete as the area develops into 1950s era buildings beyond. It is expected to have this initial section of work completed next spring.
Below: here is a video about 716, filmed prior to entry into service in July, when the sun was still bright and the air warm!
Kerr Stuart 721
Below: Zoe is making progress on her apprenticeship project, the diminutive Kerr Stuart Dundee Gas Works locomotive. She is continuing the dismantling of the locomotive, labelling, removing and assessing components as the come off. The first photo is a reminder of how small the engine is! Note the WD40 can as a scale. The locomotive is extremely worn and there will be considerable work required to restore the original dimensions/tolerances.
Below: A view of one of the slide valves and buckle/rod following removal. An errant bolt and washer were also extracted from the valve chest with great difficulty – had these been there since the locomotive was last in service?! There is also a spanner trapped within the water tank – which will be one of the components we have to look at a contract repair of. Note the type profile (very worn!), clearly visible now that the running plates have been removed.
Other news from the workshops
Below: One of gateshead 10’s bogies is seen sat on its own springs, with the new hornfaces/cheeks in place. There is more work to do, so this is by no means the final assembly.
Below: Work on the Ford Model T Ton Truck cab is underway, with Colin Goode (one of the Friends team) constructing a replica cab for the vehicle. This is based on a photograph of a local Model T, from which the dimensions are being extrapolated.
Below: The Crewe Tractor is now going to receive a heavy overhaul of the engine – when it was converted from the laundry van, the engine and gearbox were left as received, so this work will bring it in line with the extensive work carried out on the Ton Truck.
30742 Charters visit
Below: Last week (october 15th) we hosted a Martin Creese photo charter in the Colliery, using No.18, Peckett 1370 and Glyder. The weather was glorious and there have already been a great number of photos from the day appearing on social media. Here are a few that I grabbed between runs with No.18, and I will feature a gallery on the blog in due course. It was a fitting end to No.18’s current working career here, and a day that was greatly enjoyed by everyone it seems, including the many visitors who observed the activities taking place.