T&I News 3 2024...

T&I News 3 2024…

The blog celebrates fifteen years of existence this month – which is rather hard to believe, looking back!  Some of the earlier posts were rather brief, having been hosted on the museum’s website platform initially, but once it was on its own host, and especially after the move to WordPress, the content grew and grew (largely as I was able to upload posts myself, WordPress being within my own limited IT skills!).

I still use the blog as a database, as the search tool is pretty effective, and it often makes interesting reading to pluck a month and year at random, and see what we were doing.  The development of the blog coincided with the change in direction for the museum, as ideas began to flow freely and almost anything seemed possible.  It is interesting to now reflect on that period, and consider that the current focus us once again on making the day-to-day performance as robust and reliable as possible, and the exceptional things (which were present in abundance over the last 15 years) less of a focus.  This marks, I suppose, the next step in the maturing organisation.

Projects that were pushing the bounds back then, have come to fruition and run through a whole cycle of operation – SHDC No.18 is a good example of this.  It was a terrific project to do, and a struggle at times to make it happen (sheer determination drove it for a lot of the time!), its initial performance was indifferent, but with perseverance it became a regular part of the museum operation until the boiler reached its ten year limit of service before overhaul.  Now the loco awaits overhaul, which will be relatively routine – which I suppose is one of the nice things in making the exception to the rule, the rule!

Anyway, I thought it worth noting the significance of this anniversary – for now, back to the news…

Rotherham 220

Below: Rotherham 220 was placed back into service in early March, and is seen here on its first trip out from the workshop following repainting and some mechanical attention.  It does look rather good doesn’t it!  A lot of hard work was carried out by Russ, Ben, Tony and Matt to get it into this condition, with the B-Type not far behind on their list of work that has been tackled over the winter.  Easter will soon be upon us and we expect that the transport fleet will be as busy as ever in 2024…


Below: Chris and Dan have continued their work on restoring the rail depth on the tramway crossing components – the latest to be treated being the crossover in the Town area (High Street).  The work includes preparation, pre-heating, applying the new material and then grinding back to profile.  These turnouts in particular are generally used in the trailing position, so the wear was very pronounced for the straight-line running through them.

Below: Crosville 716 has had some bespoke shims manufactured and fitted to the kingpins to take out excess play in these components.  The second image shows the shim, about halfway down the image.  The kingpins are what the front wheels are secured to the axle with, and allow the wheels to swivel (the input for this coming from the steering wheel).  These components are subject to a great deal of force – as they absorb both the vertical movement of the wheel on the road, as well as the rotational one of the steering.  The shim thicknesses were established by using washers, until the correct amount of clearance was measurable, and then this measurement (of 3mm) was used to manufacture new shims in the machine shop.

Curatorial Work

Below:  The team at Rowley Station continue to work on improvements to the station environs using items that they are restoring for the museum.  There are a small number of NER bollards in the collection, and these have been prepared, and painted, so will soon be ready for installation around the goods yard area.

Below: A number of handcarts are also being prepared for display, in order to provide appropriate ‘clutter’ for the goods and passenger platforms.

Below: We’ve also seen Peter’s signs before – and here is one of his latest, ready for installation on the approach to the Waggonway area.

As I type this post, we’re less than two weeks away from the Wheels of Industry transport event.  This one is certainly a challenge as, with Easter falling early, there is less time to prepare – many of the exhibitors make their first appearance of the season at our events, and so the process of de-mothballing their precious exhibits has had to take place all the sooner in 2024, against a backdrop of wet and cold weather and rising costs of operation.

We’ve certainly seen the costs for operating the event soar – haulage and coal being particularly susceptible to the market fluctuations (though is it a fluctuation if it generally goes up?!).  I’m pleased with what we’ve managed to put together, and also that Sir Berkeley can stay on for a few weeks so we can enjoy it around the Colliery for several more steamings.  I’ll try and get some dates on here once I know what they are, so that anyone who wishes to see it repeatedly has a fair chance of doing so!

It has been observed that there have been a lot of bus posts here lately!  I am hoping to increase the tram and railway posts this year – but can only reflect what is happening!  We should see Gateshead 10 and Lisbon 730 making headway, and also look forward to significant (and observable) progress on Dunrobin soon too.