Blog coverage has been a little disrupted this last fortnight, but plenty is going on, and for some of it I took photographs to illustrate this post. Hopefully more to follow on engineering projects in the next post (including machine shop developments and the installation of a mechanical blower to help ventilate the Waggonway shed with the smoky coal we’ve been forced to use), but for now here are a few bits and pieces from the last seven days or so.
Testing Front Street with buses
Below: With so much design work having gone into the 1950s developments, and then evolved and changed as buildings have been altered or adapted to better suit our needs, I had a nagging doubt about the left hand turn into Front Street that will be negotiated by motor buses and trolleybuses as the 50s bus route is developed then opened. To scratch the itch, we took Rotherham 220 and Darlington 4 for a test run this morning. The location of the bus stop has moved several times, and whilst there is a de-luxe version, we are probably going to accept the budget option (or option within budget!) which will be located where Darlington 4 is stood on the right in this view. To ensure that a bus can pass another in this location, Rotherham 220 manoeuvres around Darlington 4 before making its left hand turn.
Below: The test to prove that a bus could pass a bus, and another could make a standing start at the curb then turn left, was successful – both buses then posing in new territory for them. The fence to the right hides the site of the cinema and toy/electrical shops that are currently being tendered for construction. The street is fairly narrow and so we may limit parking to the terrace side, when it come into use as a through route. The two buses then proceeded via the construction site roadway, back to depot. And we can sleep at night knowing that they will easily fit within the road scheme!
Transport Collection Thursday
Below: The operation this month was slightly hampered by COVID-19, but Coffee Pot No.1 made an appearance in the Colliery, whilst operations at the Waggonway resumed (now operating Thursday to Sunday each week). Rambler, the Fowler steam roller, had been scheduled to run but will now operate next time. The weather forecast wasn’t promising, but in the end it was a lovely day down in the Colliery – always an advantage for a locomotive with no cab!!!
We’ve reached the nice point of operation during the season where there is a good variety of transport at work around the museum, but we’ve not hit the busy period of school holidays – ideal if you want to come and watch the service at work!
For example, today you can ride on one of the open top trams, the B bus to the Colliery, Darlington 4 and the Waggonway. The weather is fine and there are plenty of seats available. The Waggonway is operating regularly Thursday – Sunday, with Glyder in steam on Mondays and Tuesdays. The trams rotate depending on weather, and the Crosville 716 us out on WAV duty. It is very pleasing to see, and throw in some of the vintage lorries (the Morris and Leyland Cub have both been out too), it makes for a very appealing spectacle for the enthusiast and visitor alike. Sometimes it is easy to forget just what a variety and scale the museum’s transport teams can operate with and on, so it pays to remind ourselves just how good it is!
Below: Sunderland 16, Blackpool 31 and Newcastle 114 are the core fleet this week, with 196 available if required. Motor repairs to 264 are still underway before it is able to rejoin the pool, hopefully in time for the school holidays.
Below: Meanwhile, Darlington 4 is running this week whilst Rotherham 220 has its platform repainted and some other jobs completed. The B and D Type replicas are available and in use (the former on the Colliery shuttle) and 716 and J2007 offer the WAV service each day.