In this brief update we continue to follow the progress on Gateshead 10’s heavy overhaul, as well as looking at some work underway to improve the condition of the working fleet of passenger carrying vehicles (trams and buses) ahead of the busy autumn and winter season.
Don Cook sent some photos to show an example of more of the sort of work easily described (x or y were ‘re-bushed’, for example) but which actually takes quite a long time to accomplish!
Below: This hole is one of the brackets for the bolster suspension pins – which as can be seen has worn to an anything-but circular state. This is also in the cast parent material of this part of the bogie.
Below: Don, with our new apprentice, Sam, rounded out the hole by hand, then reamed it to create a true circle.
Below: A bush was then made and fitted, and drilled to include a grease lubricating nipple, so that these components (there being two bogies, of course) will be lubricated for the first time. Not per the original specification, maybe, but a sensible improvement to improve the longevity of the mechanical components on this tram. A curatorial eye is kept on such modifications, but I think we can consider them to be acceptable for a number of reasons: 1. We have made a conscious decision to modify/improve the design, and have recorded this along with the rationale for it. 2. We do not necessarily have the same resources as the fleets originally had in their service days, where such wear and tear would have been accepted/eliminated by replacement or the vehicle withdrawn as life-expired. We don’t have the latter option, which would rather fly in the face of our objectives to keep transport running into the future at Beamish! 3. If the original designer of these components had anticipated a 100 year+ life for these artefacts, they would no doubt have upped the spec similarly.
By carrying out sensitive (and usually completely hidden) modifications like this, we can greatly improve the tram’s reliability and endurance. Gateshead 10’s purpose is to be a working artefact, safe and reliable and with a long life expectancy ahead of it – the benefits of running our tramway with rolling stock like this are readily apparent, from a visitor and operator point of view. 10 has lubricating points all over the bogies now – largely in an effort to obviate a reoccurrence of the challenges the engineering team have faced this time around. Bushes, when worn, can readily be replaced too – protecting the parent material around them from further wear and degradation.
LGOC B-Type Bus
Below: This hard-working bus is in the workshop for a couple of weeks in order to have a brake-overhaul, the new wings fitted and some of the paintwork tidied up. Rebecca is seen here rubbing back the bonnet ready for the application of new coats of Saxe Blue, to restore the finish to something more in line with our aspirations for our vehicle fleet.
Below: Dan has removed the old wings and is seen preparing the brackets to receive the new wings, manufactured by himself and Chris in the fabrication shop (seen in a recent post following powder-coating).
Below: Mechanically, one of the other jobs to carry out is replace the kingpins on the front axle assembly. Russ located a stock of these and had them in hand, ready for this period of down-time for the bus.
The steam team are carrying out a number of repairs and improvements around Rowley Station as part of their engagement activities there and efforts to ensure the station remains vibrant and alive, even without any trains running at present.
Below: The doors at the western end of the station building have been treated, with repairs and painting restoring their appearance.
Below: The fencing and crossing gates have had numerous repairs, filling and then coats of paint applied to them. The footbridge is currently closed whilst some of the boards are inspected and repaired.
I’m sure this interest in Rowley will spark the question – when will trains return? At present, we are looking at 2023 being a year of track repairs and maintenance, with a view to re-starting passenger trains sometime in 2024. We will not restart until Dunrobin is complete, due to the cost of hiring locomotives on a season-long basis. We also need to carry out some repairs to the Duke of Sutherland’s coach roof, which have to fit in with a long to-do list which is currently dominated by Gateshead 10. So, no promises on a date, but 2024 seems likely (though perhaps later in that year), and this very much depends on progress on Dunrobin, whose overhaul should re-start shortly.
Cover photo – the heading shot for this post shows a scene from last weekend’s Attelage event, with a horse-drawn dray making its way along High Street, with the D-Type to the left, Sunderland 13 to the right and Newcastle 114 in the background. The Sunderland double-decker put in a good few days work for us in September and hopefully we can enjoy its presence a little longer as it has proved to be very popular with visitors and staff alike.