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Readers will have noted in previous posts that we are in the process of recruiting a member of the team, following the departure of our steam technician.

Anyone who is interested in applying should go to http://www.beamish.org.uk/vacancies/ where the full job description, person specification and application form are available to read and download.

As regular readers will be aware, the role is very much a hands on role, undertaking washouts, routine fitness to run examinations and running repairs. Heavy overhaul work is also included. Some photos of some past work are below to give a flavour of the role…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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I thought a quick post showing some views of the Old King Coal event over the weekend might be of interest to readers…

First of all, here are some photos taken by Dave Hewitt and reproduced here with his permission, for which we thank him:

Here are some of my grabbed images, taken over the weekend – which was very very warm!!!

Finally, a couple of views to continue the narrow gauge theme (this won’t carry on forever, I promise!  I know readers want to see more of the other work we are doing…) showing the Wellington Coach paintwork progressing – Rebecca is doing a terrific job and this will be quite a stylish (unusual!) coach when completed – not something everyone sees everyday!

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There has been plenty to report on the blog lately – and this week is no different!  Anyone able to visit this coming weekend can look forward to seeing a much-enhanced variety of steam in operation – including 813 and Glyder making their public debuts here.  There is a brief look ahead to the Old King Coal event further down this post.

RHEC

Below: Gateshead 10’s re-tyred wheelsets have been moved into the workshop to be cleaned and painted.  The various lifetrays and guards, as well as dog-guards are also being prepared for painting, in order to progress the project whilst there is an opportunity.  The machinist-fitter is currently assisting in covering the gap created when the steam technician left, so work on the bogie frames (to follow the centre engine) is waiting on workshop time.

Below: Rebecca is progressing the paintwork on the Wellington coach – which has a potential event to attend to represent Beamish in August…  The roof is also progressing, with the brass supporting standards now completed.  There are even cushions for this very well appointed (but draughty!) coach…

Below: The inverted roof for the Wellington coach.  The Pew coach is waiting on couplings, thus completing our new-build narrow gauge programme (for now…!!!).  The BINGE group of volunteers will continue with the restoration of rolling stock however, as there are still three Ffestiniog Railway granite waggons to complete.

Bus Depot

Below: The brickwork continues, whilst the gable ends are being clad.  The impressive colouring of the depot is now clearly visible – based on the Northern General Transport Company crimson used on the buses.  There still remains much to do, but the programme is felt to be realistic and we should have the depot for fit-out in the late summer…

Accessible Bus (Crosville 716)

Below: Work has recommenced on this project, which has become somewhat protracted to say the least!  However, design work is underway for the rear entrance, which will now include a powered lift identical to that used on our existing accessible bus (and which has proven to be successful and generally very reliable in use).  The height at the back of 716 was always a challenge, so a destination-box style projection will be incorporated into the rear dome of the bus to accommodate a pair of doors which will retain the style of the single door originally fitted, for most of their height.  Once the work to complete the rear of the body, and the roof, is complete, it will enable the project to move forwards at greater speed, including wiring, glazing and a start on the paintwork.  Much detail work has already been carried out and awaits fitting, so we are hopeful that this progress marks the start of the final phases of this ambitious project…

Glyder

I mentioned a film of Glyder in a previous post…  Here it is, courtesy of David Watchman and the Beamish media team

Glyder returns to steam! - YouTube

Below: My rather more amateur attempt at gathering some film – including the very first movement of Glyder under steam…

Glyder's first day in steam - YouTube

Old King Coal

A reminder –  we are currently holding our Pit Village based event, Old King Coal, which will be enhanced at the weekend with a variety of steam performance on site.  We will have steam-powered stone (brick!) crushing in the new working ‘arena’ in the Colliery, with the narrow and standard gauge railways operating Coffee Pot No.1, No.18, Glyder and Samson.  The Waggonway will be operating and at Rowley, 813 (which operated at Backworth Colliery in Northumberland for part of its life) will make its debut in Beamish service.

Glyder has been in steam today to shunt in preparation for the weekend event – these views also show the completed stone-crushing area.  Just the water tower and a suitable coaling area remain to be completed, which will progress when time allows.  A huge amount of crushed tarmac has been spread and rolled into this area to create a hardstanding for displays – today’s hot weather being very helpful in settling it down and binding the tar within this material.

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It’s been a busy week so far…  We have seen the return to steam of Glyder, No.18’s trip to Tanfield and the arrival of 813 from the Severn Valley Railway (via the Tanfield gala).  In the workshop, progress has been made with the Fairground packing truck and some other odds and ends (see below).  Work on the bus depot is also striding forward, with the concrete works for the inspection pit being created, whilst the bricklayers are flying along erecting the walls on the outside of the building.  We are told it will be ready in late summer – we have everything crossed it will be as it will transform the working environment for vehicle inspection and maintenance, hugely enhance the space for visitors and staff around the depot at Foulbridge, and provide, for the first time, a window (quite literally) through which some of the background work can be observed.

However, back to where I started – No.18’s trip to Tanfield…

No.18 at the Tanfield Railway

Below: No.18 performed well over the three day Legends of Industry gala at the Tanfield Railway last weekend.  It operated at Marley Hill, shunt releasing the coal train each time it arrived – a process that took around an hour as the train had to be broken down into several sections to fit the various sidings and headshunt available for the shunt.  This kept 18 busy and provided entertainment for the visitors to the event.  It also provided an opportunity to contrast 18 with the descendants of the wooden chaldron waggon – in the form of the steel coal hoppers that run in Tanfield’s coal train.  Some photographs of 18 show that it was occasionally partnered with such stock (one at a time!) at Seaham, and so this was a chance to see just how small it is when compared to the capacious hoppers – it really is tiny!

Below: Though both will operate at Beamish over coming months, often simultaneously, they won’t actually meet!  So this is an opportunity to compare the two saddle tanks and observe their extremes of size (and 813 is not a large locomotive!).

We very much enjoyed seeing 18 at Tanfield and thank them for the invite to attend the gala and for the locomotive to be seen in different environs and with very different rolling stock to usual!

813 arrives at Rowley

As seen above, another visitor to the Tanfield gala was Great Western 0-6-0ST No.813 (built 1901) from the Severn Valley Railway and owned by the 813 fund.  It has come to us for the summer, and will enable the steamings booked for Peckett No.2000 to be spread out over the rest of the year.  The locomotive arrived on Monday 17th June and will not immediately enter service as a fitness to run exam is pending.  However, it is an ‘actual’ main line locomotive – something not seen at Rowley for many years!  The 813 fund summarised it’s latter history thus:

813 itself was placed on the GWR Sales List in March 1933 and eventually sold direct from Duffryn to Robert Stephenson & Company on 25th January 1934 for £360. After a few modifications, which included the fitting of Ross Pop valves in place of the GWR safety valves and brass bonnet, Stephenson in turn sold the locomotive to Backworth Collieries Ltd. near Newcastle-on-Tyne. There it was re-numbered 12 and put to work on the Backworth system which extended from the pits owned by the Company to coal shipping staithes on the River Tyne. In 1947 the locomotive passed to the newly formed National Coal Board, becoming NCB 11 in 1950. In the same year a new boiler was supplied by Hudswell Clarke followed by a replacement firebox in 1962. The latter was, undoubtedly, a contributing factor to the survival of the locomotive into the preservation era.

By 1966, with the contraction of the coal industry and availability of more modern locomotives, NCB11 was relegated to the status of spare engine at Backworth and in the following year was offered for sale to the newly formed GWR 813 Preservation Fund for the sum of £320 (£40 less than the amount realised by the GWR in 1934!).Following hectic fund raising activities, purchase was eventually completed and the engine moved to the fledgling Severn Valley Railway on 25th November 1967.

You can read more about 813’s history on the very comprehensive 813 fund website here: http://www.gwr813.org/loco813.html

Below: Ian Thompson moved 813 for the short journey from the Tanfield Railway to Beamish on Monday morning, the locomotive being seen in the process of unloading here…

Below: Peckett 2000 was in steam to collect 813, and the pair are seen together in the lush-green surroundings at Rowley Station (lush on account of the heavy rainfall we’ve ‘enjoyed’ recently!).

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Back in March 2012 the blog carried the news that Beamish would display two former Durham County Water Board two-foot gauge steam locomotives, named Ogwen and Glyder.  Originally named Durham and Grey, the two engines were probably better known by their Welsh names, for they had spent most of their working lives within the expansive slate workings of Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales.

This is how the news was reported:

There truly is never a dull moment at the Transport & Industry desk here at Beamish! You may have read elsewhere, as news has gone viral online, but we are to be the lucky recipient (on loan) of two narrow gauge locomotives which have not seen the light of day since the mid 1960s.

’Durham’ (Avonside No.2066/1933 ) and ‘Grey’ (Barclay No.1994/1931) were both supplied to the Durham County Water Board to work on the extensive Burnhope Dam contract in the early 1930s.

Paid off at the end of the contract, they were sold in 1936 (Durham) and 1938 (Grey) for further use on the extensive Penrhyn Quarry Railway system in North Wales where they were renamed ‘Ogwen’ and ‘Glyder’ respectively. In 1965 they were part of a large shipment of narrow gauge engines that headed across the Atlantic and has seen the surviving locomotives widely dispersed (coincidentally the same year that ‘Dunrobin’ set sail for Canada). Three notable recent examples, Edward Sholto and Elidir (originally a DCWB locomotive named ‘Lanchester’) have been brought back to the UK, the former fully restored and the later in an advanced stage in its restoration. Another former DCWB Avonside, ‘Marchlyn’ (once named ‘Wear’ is undergoing restoration at Statfold Barn.

Given the County Durham connections we are delighted that the owners have enabled us to look forward to placing the pair on display at Beamish (they will be in the rear space of the Colliery Engine Works, though a future venturing onto our new narrow gauge railway system cannot be ruled out!) and their presence will hopefully prove to be a great draw to enthusiasts and the public alike. It is also worth reflecting on the fact that so many of the well known Welsh quarry locos were obtained second hand. Other examples of ex DCWB locomotives exist in the form of Barclay ‘Caledonia’ at Hollycombe and Kerr Stuart ‘Stanhope’ at the Apedale Valley Railway. In addition to these there is the aforementioned ‘Elidir’ as well as recently repatriated ‘Marchlyn’.

Ogwen has now moved from Beamish to a private site where restoration is well advanced and a return to steam is anticipated in 2020.  Marchlyn has been restored at the Statfold Barn Railway, and visited Beamish in September 2012 (see below).

Below: An early photo (probably showing the engines leaving the makers) of two Avonsides loaded aboard a standard gauge weltrol wagon. ‘Durham’ to the rear became Ogwen and is one of those coming to Beamish. ‘Wear’ was to become ‘Marchlyn’, now at Statfold Barn and seen visiting Beamish in the photo above.

Glyder’s history is reasonably straightforward.  It was originally built and supplied for the Durham County Water Board’s reservoir construction project at Burnhope, in Weardale.  Supplied in 1931 by Andrew Barclay Sons & Co, Kilmarnock, as works number 1994, it was one of their standard class of well tank 0-4-0 locomotives, designated ‘E’ class.  It’s specification stated a weight of 7.5 tons and it was fitted with 7″ x 11″ cylinders.  The design bore a striking resemblance to the standard locomotive designs by the German manufacturer, Orenstein & Koppel, with a high-pitched boiler sat on top of (rather than within) the frames, which themselves contained the water tanks.

At Burnhope, 1994 was named ‘Grey’, gaining its Welsh name GLyder when it arrived in Wales in 1938.  Costing £60 second hand, it was re-gauged in January 1939 having had a new firebox fitted in 1938. Glyder was originally intended to work at Penrhyn on a scheme to extend the LMS railway’s standard gauge Bethesda branch to the Penrhyn Quarry workshops (and sidings) at Coed-y-Parc, this scheme being shelved with the advent of the Second World War. Glyder was thus was stored a Port Penrhyn until 1952 when it was commissioned, wearing its DCWB livery of grey It is thought).  It was repainted in 1957, and again (or in part) in 1965.  It was the last locomotive overhauled at the Penrhyn Quarry workshops at Coed-y-Parc.

The next stage of the story of the sale and later repatriation of three Penrhyn locomotives, including Glyder, from Indianna in the USA is told by the Bala Lake Railway website, home to Winifred (another one of the three), here: https://bala-lake-railway.co.uk/steam-locos/winifred/

The salient extracts from the Bala page are quoted thus:

On 4th January 1965 the BBC screened the Tonight Programme and it featured a report by the veteran broadcaster Fife Robertson from Penrhyn Quarry. He was reporting on the demise of the steam locomotives in the quarry that were being replaced by diesel locos in the name of progress.

An American antique dealer, Mr. C. B. Arnette, was over in the UK buying stock and saw the programme whilst staying in Glasgow. Not being a railway enthusiast but sensing a business opportunity he immediately went to Penrhyn and bought six locomotives for export back to the states.

So it was on the 31st July 1965 “Winifred” along with “Nesta”, “Marchlyn”, “Cegin”, “Ogwen” and “Glyder” set sail on the SS Manchester Progress bound for Norfolk, Virginia and the New World.

On arrival they were taken to Murfreesboro in Tennessee where they were put up for auction on 14 September. About 300 people attended the auction, mostly dealers from throughout the eastern half of the United States.

One of the main bidders was Mr. Anton (Tony) Hulman owner of the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway home of the Indy 500 race. Mr Hulman bought three of the locomotives: Glyder; Ogwen; and Lot no. 25, Winifred, for $3300 – approximately $24,000 at 2012 value (£14,800).  His intention was to set up The Early Wheels Museum in his home town of Terre Haute some eighty miles west of Indianapolis.

In fact it was only Winifred that was exhibited and that was only for a few years. After the museum closed she was taken back to Indianapolis where she was put into storage.

In February 2012 a deal was struck between the directors of the Motor Speedway Museum and Julian Birley and Graham Morris for her repatriation along with “Ogwen” and “Glyder”. Having had a preliminary visit, Julian and Graham flew back to begin the loading of the engines on 27 March.

Below: Glyder and Ogwen were never placed on display and remained in storage for the entire time of their spell in the USA.  Here is Glyder, as first seen by new owner Graham Morris, exactly as as it had arrived in 1965, albeit dustier!

Burnhope narrow gauge locos loaded in USA…

The pair arrived at Beamish on May 1st, 2012, after one a lengthy journey from the USA.

DCWB locomotives arrive onto British soil!

In May 2015, the blog reported:

With the loan of the two engines, owned by Graham Morris and Martyn Ashworth respectively, coming due for renewal and the expectation of Ogwen moving on later this year for restoration by Martyn and his team of assistants, we began to discuss with Graham the future of Glyder.  We are now pleased to report that the loan of the loco has been extended and will include its re-commissioning into steaming condition. 

I am careful not to say ‘restoration’ as the plan is to keep its external appearance exactly as it appears now, with some conservation of the paintwork to retain the patina.  The loco requires regauging to two-foot from the very near but not compatible Penrhyn gauge of 1ft 10 3/4 inches.  It was supplied new to the Durham County Water Board as a two-foot gauge locomotive so this work is readily achievable but requires the dismantling of the running gear to free the wheelsets. 

Otherwise no other work on the mechanical components is planned as it will give the opportunity to see exactly how a Penrhyn loco worked as it will be just as it had been in 1965!  The boiler will be removed for inspection and overhaul as obviously this must be compliant with PSSR and our own SMS/insurers standards.  However, it was extensively rebuilt at Penrhyn, including a new firebox, and the loco saw little use there until 1952, so fingers crossed on that front!

Below: A key part of the engine’s re-commissioning is the retention of its workmanlike appearance – earned the hard way!  It was cosmetically attended to help its sale in 1965, and certainly the lining is very much brighter now than it appears below (taken in 1961) but as many of the scratches evident then are still evident now, I wonder if was fully repainted in 1965 or merely brightened up.  The photo below shows how Graham and ourselves would like it to look…

Original optimism that the mechanical condition of the locomotive could remain untouched were disproved, as the restoration developed.  The boiler was removed, and after initial hopes that the work could be carried out at Beamish, it was decided to send it to the Severn Valley Railway, who carried out repairs to the firebox, smokebox, replaced some stays and installed new material in the firebox.  It was also retubed.  The boiler then returned to Beamish for further work on fittings and mountings.  Meanwhile, a team of volunteers expressed an interest in assisting the project, and they set about improving Glyder’s mechanical condition as well as repairing items that had been damaged in quarry service but would need to be intact for use at Beamish.  

Graham sent the wheelsets to a contractor, where they were restored to two-foot gauge and re-profiled.  Great care was taken at all stages to retain the original patina wherever possible, but the boiler cladding paintwork was very rusty so the sheets were shot-blasted and then primed.  They would later be painted in a black undercoat which, after some experimentation, proved to be the closest match to the photograph above.  Other scratches and scrapes were either left, or the undercoat was ‘dry-brushed’ (applying minimal paint, and with a lot of blending around the edges) onto these areas where required.

In May 2019 the boiler was steam tested at Beamish, then immediately placed into the frames for lagging and cladding.  The following weeks saw the rest of the locomotive reassembled, before it was moved to the narrow gauge railway in anticipation of steaming and making its first moves, under steam, since 1965…

Recommissioning Timeline

Below: In September 2015 Ogwen and Glyder were extracted from the Colliery Engine Works, where they had been on display since arrival in 2012.  The temporary rails were laid again and the process by which they were put into the shed was reversed in order to release them.  Ogwen departed for the Statfold Barn Railway for display pending its move to a private site (where it is now located, with restoration well underway), whilst Glyder was moved to the RHEC for overhaul to commence.

Below: Once removed, each engine had to be turned on a bespoke panel, in order to then be collected by lorry.

Below: Glyder emerges into daylight once again

Below: A few hours later and the locomotive was safely installed within the RHEC, its home for the nearly the next four years (where does time go?!)

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Its been a wet week at Beamish!  This hasn’t hampered any of the activities, but it has made it unpleasant at times – not least for the track team who have been wading around in deep mud whilst installing the new narrow gauge siding.  Glyder has also been steam tested as a complete locomotive and then relocated to the narrow gauge line – expect to see more of this next week.  Off site, Dunrobin’s new driving wheels are complete and will shortly be delivered to the Severn Valley Railway.  The cylinder block is also promised imminently, having been back to the manufacture for remedial work in what has seemed to be an interminable process for this particular component.

We have also seen two personnel departures, with Tony Vollans (the RHEC Engineer) and David Grindley (the Steam Technician) moving on to new roles elsewhere.  They will both be a big miss to us.  Tony came to the museum as part of the initial project to create the Regional Heritage Engineering Centre (RHEC) which existed in name alone – he then had to build his own workshops before starting any work within them.  We now have an excellent restoration centre, thanks to his work, including a new generation of staff trained by him to carry on the work he started here.

There is also a long list of projects, official and unofficial, that have been accomplished by Tony and his team – notably Sheffield Tram 264, various coaches for the Waggonway, the roof of the Quilter’s cottage and some fun narrow gauge rolling stock, to name only a few examples of a huge portfolio created over the last seven years.  David came to us on the Heritage Skills Initiative scheme, later becoming a full-time member of staff here.  He is moving on to a similar role at the North Tyneside Railway.  These will be big gaps to fill, and we are in the process of considering how this is best tackled…

Narrow Gauge

Below: The laying of the stone-crusher siding on the narrow gauge has been proceeding, in atrocious weather conditions.  Work will be completed in the coming days, and the first photographs here show the rails being laid onto cut-down sleepers.  The rail is ex Kirklees Light Railway, the sleepers being scrounged from our own scrap piles!  Note the water tower stand to the right of the scene, which is adjacent to the Sinkers Bait Cabin cafe and picnic site – giving a very good grandstand for visitors to watch the operation from.

Below: By Friday, the sleeper revetment wall was complete and the area was waiting on a delivery of road planings (scraped from roads when they are relaid, and then crushed).  We will be using the area for stone crushing at the Old King Coal weekend, and the arisings from this work will be used to further consolidate what remains very boggy ground – the aim being to create a hardstanding useful for future events and working displays.

RHEC

Below: Work on the Austin 10 has become more and more protracted as more and more previously hidden issues are brought to light – largely due to the generous use of filler in it’s past lives!  With staff time also divided across several ‘urgent’ projects (how do you choose which piece of work is most urgent when everyone believes it to be their own job?!), it won’t now be ready for the Beamish Reliability Trial on Father’s Day.  Chris continues to work miracles with thin metal, thin air and the certainty that cleaning anything back for welding will reveal more rust!  The mechanical work has been completed and once the bodywork is finished the car will be re-sprayed and also have a full interior trim renewal as the use on site at Beamish rendered this aspect less than tidy.  We won’t be allowing the finished car to be used as a pool vehicle again, such is the time and money invested in it, in order to ensure it is available for such occasions as the reliability run in the future.  Here are some photographs illustrating the corrosion being encountered, and the repairs…

First up is the new nearside A pillar lower section – made from scratch to replace the corroded original.  The B pillars appear to have been done in the recent past, possibly by the previous owner, and these are sound.

Below: Whilst in pool use with the attendants team, the rear nearside wing was damaged by a wayward opening door (the retaining strap for which had broken but was not reported).  Chris has been building up this section to restore the original profile.  Whilst repairs to corrosion are one thing, the regular damage the period vehicles received in the hands of some staff has always been particularly galling, and now that steps have been taken to personalise vehicles, and allocate them to regular users, this has hugely improved the situation.

Below: The top of the nearside A pillar, into the roof structure is not pretty.  The gutter is also in poor condition (a feature of all period vehicles that we’ve tackled).  Chris will manufacture patches and piece these in, then make good the structure with additional welding.

Below: I have no idea why I can’t rotate images in WordPress anymore!  However, hear, to make you dizzy, is Oporto 65 lifted free of its truck.  The truck will be extracted, surveyed, turned and then returned, so as to sit beneath the car the correct way around as part of the ongoing work to recommission the tram and establish what further work will be required to it.

Rowley Station

Below: A new suite of posters adorns the station noticeboards as seen here…  A new bench is also being manufactured for this area and we are purchasing additional NER furniture when the opportunity presents itself.

Below: Jorden has been busy creating a new running in board for Rowley, to mimic the enamel sign that would have originally been made for the station.  Enamel signs are challenging to replicate and do not seem to use the same process as they would have historically, whence this approach, which looks very well.  The artwork was generated by one of the volunteers, using various photographs to create replica font for the sign.

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This week we have another eclectic mixture of projects, all of which have been progressing within the Regional Heritage Engineering Centre (RHEC) or which will become part of the facility (namely the new vehicle workshop within the bus depot).

RHEC

Below: We start with a sequence of photos showing the transformation of the fairground packing truck, which has been enhanced to provide better storage for the gallopers’ horses.  What started as a quick improvement has now become a rather more impressive piece of work – Rebecca, the RHEC painter, using tracings from the gallopers rounding boards to reproduce the signwriting on the side of the vehicle.  The rest of the RHEC team has repaired and painted the truck, fitted a permanent roof and improved the interior as well as manufacturing steps for fairground staff to safely access the truck.  The plan is to position this truck, and one other, so as to screen the gallopers and fairground area from the wind, which blows hard across the events field.  In due course, I recall, a small wooded area is to be planted to provide a similar effect, but trees take time to grow (and even longer to plant sometimes!) so the trucks will hopefully provide some shelter in the meantime.

Below: A mixture of staff and contract work has seen the re-skinned Daimler bus panels repainted, signwritten and lined.  Large parts of teh rest of the bus have received attention to paintwork, as have the top-deck seats.  It awaits fitting of the re-tyred solid-tyred wheels before an entry into service soon.

Below: The team have also been manufacturing firebar patterns for Glyder, seen here following painting and in readiness to go to the foundry for the iron castings to be made.

Narrow Gauge

Below: Work on Glyder’s boiler overhaul is now all-but complete.  The boiler was steam tested for our own purposes before a formal steam test with the insurance company inspector on Monday, which was passed. The first time that it has been in steam since the mid 1960s, and in steam in County Durham since the 1930s…

Below:  With the test completed and boiler cooled down, a start was made on preparing it for installation into the frames.  The firebox cladding was painted as this will be obscured by the bunkers, but visible sections and also the boiler cladding will be painted to harmonise with the original paintwork which is being retained on the cab etc.  The cloning of the German Orenstein & Koppel designs has become very clear during this process – with everything being pretty accessible – not always something we find with steam locomotives!

Below: These views show the certified boiler being lifted into the frames (or rather, onto the frames), in readiness for final assembly to commence.  Care is being taken to retain the industrial paint finish and knocks and bumps so evident in photographs of Glyder when working at Penrhyn Quarry.

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This morning Rotherham 220 and Darlington 4 were posed in the Town street for photographs to be taken for future publicity material use.  This obviously won’t be their long-term haunt (as they will work through the 1950s area on their circuit around the museum), but it makes an attractive backdrop.  David Watchman, from the Communications team, took these views and I thought that they would be of interest to blog readers…

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The blog recently recorded that we presently have the rather grand total of seven trams available for service!  To note this occasion, Matt Ellis and the tramway team arranged to parade and photograph all seven cars in the Town and around the Tramway – though sadly out of hours for operational reasons.  This was to produce a crop of up to date photographs (by David Watchman) for future use in publicity material.

Here is a selection of images of the occasion, with various scenes being created to show just how many seven appears to be when placed into the street!

The trams included: Manchester 765 (visiting from the Heaton Park Tramway), Oporto 196, Blackpool & Fleetwood 40 (from the National Tramway Museum at Crich), Newcastle 114, Blackpool 31, Sheffield 264 and Sunderland 16.

The last time we had seven trams together at Beamish was in April 2013, when a public parade during one evening of the Great North Steam Fair saw 114 head a line up of cars in the Town area – including three open-toppers together.  114 was bedecked for the 40th anniversary celebration of the tramway – fifty years won’t be so far away!!!

Trams in the parade included: Newcastle 114, Gateshead 10 (as G&I 26), Sunderland 101 (Blackpool 703), Blackpool 605, Oporto 196, Lisbon 730 (visiting from the Birkenhead tramway and making a rare appearance with the Oporto car – the two systems in Portugal being both remote and different gauges), Glasgow 1068 (visiting from the National Tramway Museum) and Blackpool 31 (running on one motor at the time).

The complete list of visiting trams (including three that were resident and have now left) looks like this:

Tramcars that have visited Beamish

Leeds 6 SD 4w Hurst Nelson 1901 03/10 – 03/13 (Heaton Park Tramway)

Cardiff 131 SD 4w Brush 1905 04/10 (National Tramway Museum)

Manchester L53 DD 4w Manchester Carriage & Tramways Co 1880s 05/09 & 09/10 (Heaton Park Tramway)

Manchester 765 SD 8w Manchester Corporation Tramways 1914 04/11 – 05/11 & 03/19 – 08/19 (Heaton Park Tramway)

Blackpool 11 SD 8w English Electric 1939 23/08/11 – 05/09/11 (EATM, Carlton Colville)

Birkenhead 20 DD 4w Milnes 1900 03/12 – 04/12 (Birkenhead Tramway)

Blackpool 304 SD Charles Roberts 1952 10/12 – 03/13 (Lancastrian Transport Trust)

Lisbon 730 SD 4w 1930 04/12 (Birkenhead Tramway)

Glasgow 1068 DD 4w Hurst Nelson 1919 04/12 (National Tramway Museum)

Blackpool 167 SD 8w English Electric 1928 01/14 – 04/14 (National Tramway Museum)

Blackpool 280 SD 8w English Electric 1934/1960(reb) 12/13 – 03/15 (Heaton park Tramway)

Blackpool & Fleetwood 40 SD 8w United Electric Car Co 1914 03/19 – 09/19 (National Tramway Museum)

Longer-term resident tramcars no longer based at Beamish

Blackpool 233 SD 8w English Electric 1934 (Lancastrian Transport Trust)

Blackpool/Sunderland 703/101 DD 8w English Electric 1934

Blackpool 284 SD 8w Brush 1937 Never operated at Beamish

So this just leaves Sheffield 513, Gateshead 52, Oporto 65, Blackpool 754 and N&G 49 unrepresented in this post!

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Most of this post is focused on the operation of buses at Beamish – including the rapid construction of the new depot and workshop as well as the purchase of a new motorbus for use here at the museum…

Bus Depot

The depot is making great strides towards completion, and the planned fit-out has also benefited from the recent relocation of Go North East’s Stanley depot to a new site (and bespoke modern building) in Consett.  With the support of Go North East, one of our major business partners (and who have also financially supported the depot construction) we have been able to obtain two sets of modern column lifts, numerous stands and tools, a compressor, LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation) system and numerous other items including the original depot noticeboards.  These will all be utilised within the workshop and depot and have been a colossal contribution to the facility, meaning that we will have a 21st century workshop to sustain our historic vehicle fleet…

Below: A selection of the items that we have been able to obtain at a very reasonable rate for restoration/reuse within the new bus depot.  Russell Walker, who looks after the buses and historic vehicles at Beamish, has been instrumental in making the links to obtain these items (from his former employer) and has been fairly determined in the acquisition of equipment that will stand Beamish in good stead for years to come.

Below: As well as a service pit, we will also be able to lift vehicles using these column lifts.  We have two sets here, and they will replace the current car lift (the existing vehicle workshop will become a fabrication shop in due course…) as well as provide the means of lifting two vehicles at a time within the workshops if required.

Below: Outside, the construction of the depot is proceeding apace, with the steelwork being erected this week.  Here the shape and size of the depot and workshop can clearly be seen.  Yes, it would have been even bigger, but for the need to respect the allocated budget for this element of the Remaking Beamish project!

Below: These views show the depot end of the building…

Below: … whilst these views show the workshop end, which has a lower floor to cater for the falling ground levels (and also gives a usefully taller workshop space).  The steelwork was completed on Thursday, with the cladding, internal blockwork, pit and floor to follow next.

Darlington 304

Below: We have added another bus to the collection, in the shape of Darlington Corporation Daimler CVG5 Registration 304 VHN.  The usefulness of Rotherham 220 has exceeded our expectations and the opportunity to purchase a similar vehicle, in full working order and with a local provenance was too much of an opportunity to miss.  There is also a great benefit from the overlap in spare parts the two buses will require, which assists the maintenance team in their work.

It was new to Darlington in 1964 (so very much at the edge of our 1950s period, which does, to be curatorially honest, stretch from c1945 to the mid 1960s in reality!), and was their fleet No.4.  The chassis is a Daimler example, with the coachwork by Charles Roe of Leeds (H33/28R).

A photograph of 304 in service can be seen here: https://bryansmith.smugmug.com/Bus-Operators-UK/Bus-Coach-Operators-C-D/Darlington-Transport/i-H7CQkMH/A

The bus was delivered to Beamish on the evening of the 24th April and will be commissioned for service at the museum – a little ahead of the completion of the new depot but ideally timed to assist Rotherham 220 with the relief duties it is currently performing on busy days.  The motor buses can circulate far faster than the trams, and as mentioned above, 220 has proved to be an ideal vehicle for busy start and ends of the working days when moving visitors from and to the main entrance is the transport team’s priority.  We had looked at other options for motor buses for this work, with 304 coming along at an ideal time for this role.

Below: 304 during its first inspection by Beamish staff.

Below: A selection of views of 304 after arrival at Beamish…

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