T&I News 6 2024...

T&I News 6 2024…

A shorter post this time – but one which hopefully satisfies those with an interest in what we get up to behind the scenes here…

Below: In the growing list of jobs for the workshop, one is actually one that has been on the to-do list for many years.  For now I’ll say no more than this, but this photo shows a gearbox drive, which will have an electric motor input, and the output will enable us to engage a space that has wanted some activity for very many years…


Readers may be interested to hear of progress on the commissioning work on Lisbon tram 730 by the Beamish Tramway Group (BTG).  The aim has been to carry out a certain amount of work to align the tramcar with our standard practices for trams, which is defined in our Safety Management System as well as the practice developed by the BTG over the last fifty years or so.

Most of the work at the moment is focussed on the electrical systems, this tram having low-voltage wiring as well as the traction wiring that feeds the motors.  Some cabling has been renewed, most of it traced and labelled, and a number of fuses/protection devices have been installed.  We also need to be able to isolate the low-voltage system from an external place.  The work is aimed at allowing limited operation at Fares Please! in June, but under a specific risk assessment, before taking the tram back into the commissioning process.  There are also some other things we need to consider in terms of introducing this new piece of rolling stock (that aren’t as applicable for visiting tramcars), and a detailed paper-trail will be part of this.

I should point out that none of this suggests that there is anything wrong with the tram (which has been approved for service by the HMRI), but reflects the process of integrating 730 a part of an existing fleet.  All of the work so far has been carried out by volunteers, and once the commissioning has been completed, we can turn our attention to the cosmetic appearance of 730, with a repaint planned.  The plan for this is that it will be painted into Darlington Light Railway livery in due course.

The photo below shows what is behind one of the saloon access panels, where some replacement wiring, plus new switches for the low-voltage electrics (lighting), have been installed.

Below: We’ve received a set of photos showing the refurbished resistance for Gateshead 10, which is now on its way back to us.  The internal components have all been replaced and tested, having been manufactured to the same specification as the original.  The casing was also overhauled, with the cast iron parts coming back to Beamish for old repairs to be undone and new repairs made.

Below: Whilst outwardly, it is the same resistance cabinet, plus a coat of paint, this work represents a significant investment, as part of 10’s overhaul, and one that should hopefully contribute to the longevity of the finished tram.

Below: A review of outstanding mechanical work on Gateshead 10 has revealed some areas that we are going to go back to and address – these having been on the ‘might do’ list, but which really want attending to, in the spirit of addressing everything that we possibly can in order to give the tram as long an interval between overhauls as possible.  With new eyes on the project too, it has been a valuable exercise as part of the overhaul.

The coil springs that the bogie bolsters (these engage with the bolster pins on the body and unite the bolster with the secondary, leaf, springs)) are retained within a two-piece pocket arrangement (seen in the first photo, loosely assembled) which is in turn kept in position by stay rods from a bracket beneath the bolster itself.

This means that the whole assembly moves in an arc, when deflected, a less-than-ideal situation that leads to the leaf springs being slightly rotated away from their resting position (when viewed from either end of the tram).  J. G. Brill, who manufactured the bogies, later modified this arrangement, to ensure that the spring pockets lay level, and in turn evenly distributed the weight onto the central buckle of the leaf spring.  This in turn is held onto the bogie frame via two large inverted U shaped hanger brackets.

We have decided to modify the arrangement to improve the mechanical performance of this part of the bogie, in line with a revised design that Brill themselves incorporated into later versions of this particular bogie design.  These views show the spring pockets and the control arm, loosely assembled, which will be modified to the later Brill design.

Below: This is the lower cup of the pocket that retains the three coil springs (one inside the other etc.), of which there are two on each bogie.  The section to the left will be cut back, to have just one hole (which in turn will be bushed and arranged for lubrication via grease nipple – part of the overall work on the tram to ensure that lubrication is more precise and in turn, it attracts less dirt).  The adjacent ribs will also be trimmed back, to allow two linkage arms to be attached (one on each side) which are terminated on the existing bracket on the base of the bolster beam.  The intended outcome is that the movement of the spring pack in an arc, does so whilst enabling the pocket (top and bottom cups) to remain horizontally aligned with both each other and the lead spring below them.

Before any metal is cut, a design-change process has commenced (which is carried out for all rolling stock if the overhaul and maintenance requires/includes a change to the original design), and once this has been completed and the drawings reviewed, work will start in earnest.  The eight hangers that carry the leaf spring are also to be replaced, as no two are the same and they in turn have placed significant wear onto the assembly that supports the end of the spring.  These will have to be forged.


Below: A start on recording the condition of Sunderland 2 has been made, with this forming the basis of a conservation management plan (CMP) for the bus.  It is in a condition such that the plan records the desire to retain as much of the present finish as possible, but restore areas or features where necessary or desirable.  Internally, the ceiling (as with the roof itself) would benefit from attention to the paintwork, the electrics are yet to be explored and the seats and floor require work – restoration of the seats and a new linoleum floor being the most likely work we will carry out here.  We also need to establish whether the glazing is safety glass (it doesn’t appear to be) and do something about this, and also see if we can restore the origianl seating layout plus fit replica luggage nets.

Below: Externally, there is a lovely patina evident, and I am keen to retain this.  The cream may need repainting completely as it is quite rough in places, but the crimson has such a lovely finish that this really just wants flatting and varnishing to protect it.  We also need some crests for the side panels – these have been missing throughout preservation.  Replicas can be made, albeit at a high cost, but are such an important element of the livery (and we’ll need some for Sunderland 16, which is due to have its waist panels repaired and repainted this year).

Below: One challenge in conserving the crimson is the lining, which appears to be applied as a strip, rather than painted/gold-leafed.  On some panels this has curled upwards, as below, and so will need removing carefully and restoring with something identical (or nearly so).  Some of the crimson has drawn back from the beading too, so this will need colour-matching and the joints sealing to protect them from water ingress.  These three views just give a snapshot of the project to conserve Sunderland 2, but retain its capacity for limited operation.


Below: Matt Ellis sent a few photos of Dunrobin’s new cab alongside the old.  The new one will soon be heading to Bridgnorth, where a start will be made on painting it before it is installed onto the locomotive’s frames.

Photos in this post by Cressal, Matt Ellis and Paul Jarman