The new season is looming with alarming speed and all around the workshops the staff and volunteers are busy preparing the fleet for 2020 and the busy year ahead. Off-site work on our two big projects continues – Dunrobin at the Severn Valley Railway and Crosville 716, the new Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) at Gardiners in nearby Spennymoor. We also have a programme of work looking ahead for the next five years, but in the year to come focuses on Gateshead tram 10, Steam Elephant and two apprentice projects, including Kerr Stuart 721 (as reported previously). The Dodge bus, VK 5401, is also on the move and will shortly enter the workshops for assessment of its condition and, we hope, the start of its restoration, initially by the Friends of Beamish engineering volunteers.
There has been considerable activity around the site as the engineering team prepare the engines for the season. In addition to those below, there is considerable work taking place on Puffing Billy to prepare it for the season ahead. This is to try and improve its reliability whilst Steam Elephant is out of action and consists of numerous jobs, including renewal of the chimney and improving the handbrake (replacing a JCB type fitting with a screw and nut arrangement to allow a graduated application). Numerous other jobs are on the list and will be covered in a forthcoming post.
Mutual Improvement Classes
Every year two training days for all of the transport team take place, covering trams, buses and railway operations. New rule amendments are issued, along with a review of incidents and learning points from the previous year. Additionally, training on specific topics takes place (for example, lubrication of steam locomotives or using new safety equipment). Everyone then leaves with updated rules folders, renewed authorisation for their duties in 2020 and hopefully a clearer understanding of their part of the operation. We also add a few parish notices on up and coming developments.
GDPR makes it impractical to include photographs of the day, but as well as classroom work, topics covered included:
1.Coupling of tramcars (for recovery/shunting)
2.Towing of tramcars (for recovery/shunting)
3.Use of emergency manual ramps for Wheelchair Accessible Bus (J2007)
4.Correct procedures for reversing buses into the new depot
Dodge VK 5401
BINGE (Beamish Industrial Narrow Gauge Engineers)
The volunteers who form the narrow gauge restoration group continue to progress a number of the Ffestiniog Railway Granite waggons. These are now located in the engineering workshop and have had numerous repairs carried out to the structure of the body, and have now been inverted so that the centre spine and chassis elements of the frame can be repaired. A jig was manufactured at a previous working day to enable the manufacture/repair of new spines for these waggons (and others in the future) – the whole train being pulled through the centre spine to which the couplings are affixed.
More information on the granite waggons can be found here: https://www.festipedia.org.uk/wiki/Granite_waggons