We’ve been catching our breath this week after the extremely busy summer holidays, and are now taking stock of feedback, job lists and other works needed to improve performance and also maintain various exhibits following this period. In the workshops, the heavier maintenance work as well as lighter jobs continue, and we have now expanded the team, with the return to the fold of one of the museum’s joiners (who has been working in maintenance latterly), which will improve our ability to carry out some of the wood-based work needed. For instance, the restoration of the NER yard gate for Rowley Station, work on Gateshead 10 and also the renewal of the treads and risers on Blackpool 31’s staircases this winter. Other jobs, not quite ‘heavy’ but certainly more than ‘daily’ maintenance are also in hand – notably the B-Type bus, which has new wings to be fitted. This requires the bus to be out of service so whilst it is, the same short period will be used to replace the kingpins and tidy up the bonnet paintwork, in order to keep on top of its mechanical condition and appearance.
Below: The new wings that Chris and Dan made in the fabrication shop for the B-Type have been away for blasting and powder coating – and very (very!) nice they look too. The idea of powder coating high-contact components has come from the damage to enamel paintwork caused when bonnets are opened for instance. This is a more durable finish and more resistant to scratches and wear than paint alone is.
Below: Chris has been setting up to weld the new track brake components for Gateshead 10 – involving a jig plus a healthy number of clamps!
Below: This view shows the prepared steelwork, and tack welds holding it in place prior to full welded joints being created. These items are jigged to to the precise nature of their fit within the guides now installed on the tram’s bogies.
Below: Undercoating of the crimson panels has begun on 10, the remaining green areas around the window frames waiting for work on these to be completed shortly before stripping and prepping. The tram will shortly be surrounded by scaffolding to enable repairs to the roof canvas, trolley planks and repainting to be carried out safely, with the aim being to complete this in order to lift the tram and carry out the rest of the work on the underside of the body that is still required. In due course it will then be placed onto its bogies, and only then will the gloss coats be applied (in case the body settles at all and any joints open up).
Below: This little hut has had a varied life at Beamish, originating in the garden of what was one of the site resident’s houses. It later found use as the storage building for lichen (used to feed the Reindeer) and it will now be used as a crossing hut at Foulbridge for the tramway staff who control access for construction and site traffic at that location. It will be cleaned and repainted as part of its new role.
Below: The Waggonway team have been working on some maintenance tasks around their area of the site, including a lot of work to replace rotten boards on the points-hut (as it is referred to here). This houses the ground frame used to control access from the running line to the yard as well as operating the disc signal at the end of the platform. A water trough and fire buckets have been added to complete the installation.
Below: Over the weekend we’ve held our autumn Transport Gala. Building on the invite-list of the April Steam Gala, we reduced the number of steam engines and increased the internal combustion visitors – in part to give everyone who has expressed support for the events programme a chance to come with their vehicles.
The Saturday of the event became synonymous with the Rowley puddle, which occupied a large amount of the goods yard! This provided some unusual photographic opportunities, the reflections being nice even if the mass of black water was less appealing. Here Michael Davison’s Armstrong Whitworth steam roller (ex Bishop Auckland UDC) dips a roll into the water during the morning preparations.
Below: Providence arrived under its own steam and immediately visited the coal pile at Rowley – and yes, more reflections!
Below: A vehicle that is starting to become a very welcome regular visitor to the bus route at Beamish is Sunderland 13 – a 1947 Crossley DD42/3. It has now returned to the north east and we look forward to further visits by this striking bus, which is seen here on the bus apron resting between duties.
Below: A contrast in Sunderland Corporation passenger transport… (Photo by Russell Walker)
Below: The Crossley was used throughout the weekend, putting a smile on the face of at least one of our drivers, who takes the bus up the hill from Pockerley towards the Town in this view, complete with Saturday’s heavy rain!
Below: A new engine to our event was Kingfisher (Fowler R3 road locomotive No.14888 of 1917) which towed the Pickfords trailer, which itself carried components from the Warden Law engine (see previous posts for more on this).
Below: Around thirty cars and motorcycles were in attendance too, being driven throughout the site over both days. Rudge and Triumph marques are to the fore in this view.
Below: The weather on Sunday was rather better than Saturday, with sunshine and warmer temperatures making for a much more pleasant day for the exhibitors and visitors alike!
Below: Road engines were burning the last of the Shotton Colliery coal that we had in stock, which is very smokey, there now being supplies of Welsh Steam Coal available for the railway operations, with plans to stockpile more of this now precious commodity over the winter.
Below: We hadn’t originally anticipated having any visiting buses at the event, but in the end the Sunderland Crossley was a welcome guest, as was Cumbria Classic Coaches Leyland 1946 Leyland Tiger, which operated alongside the museum’s buses (and the Crossley) throughout the weekend.
Below: The dismal weather on Saturday rather suited Glyder, with the atmosphere much enhanced by condensing steam in the cool air. At the risk of repeating the same views as have appeared on here many times before (though usually in sunshine!), here are a couple of images of Glyder resting between duties.