Richard the chilled out conductor!
The use of the term "linear junk yard" is sympomatic of a negative attitude amongst tram enthusiasts and TMS members towards tram track in general, and towards heritage tram track in particular. If unchallenged, such terminology could encourage unsholarly undervaluing of track artefacts whether stored or in-service. At the National TramWAY Museum, any failure to properly respect and interpret the importance of tramWAY infrastructure is bizarre to say the least.
David, get your facts right in that it's not just tramway artefacts stored along the side of the tramway but all sorts of what to the ordinary members of the public look like junk. Richard was not negative in his comment of 'linear junk yard' as that what it looks like no matter what is stored there. Are the concrete sleepers part of the heritage tramway track you mention?
I was talking to one of David Holt's mate's from the old PW gang last Sunday and he made a comment that now the Klv was operational that the linear scrapyard would be sorted and valuable PW artefacts would be scarpped. My retort was then tell us what the various artefacts are and work with the team. His response was a shrug of shoulders and and a I'm not getting involved comment. David don't critise - contribute!Nobody wants to scrap valuable PW artefacts, but there is a lot of rubbish up there also.
It is important to show the development of the infrastructure. You need some artefacts to do that.However, the museum has another function as well, which is to operate a museum tramway and let the visitors experience what tramway operation was (and still is).This latter function requires a properly build and maintained and most of all SAFE infrastructure. 50+ year old partly worn track in the mainline is not only a false investment, it can be dangerous. That was the junk I referred to. I am not saying this as an illiterate enthusiast, but as a professional civil engineer who happens to be senior inspector in the Dutch railway inspectorate and who is at present almost on a weekly base confronted with the consequences of a worn out tram system that was build cheaply (i.e. using junk rails from the mainline railway system).If you think safety is expensive, try an accident!
Wim B's words 'If you think safety is expensive, try an accident!' is very sound advice. The main operating line must be laid to the highest standards and also have a life long low maintenance cost, hence the quality of the relaid Xover at Town End - this sets the standard and meets the latest HMRI guidance on PW for tramwaysConversly we must not forget the artefacts buried in the linar scrap yard at Cliffside do have their place and must be conserved - but as artefacts!
You wouldn't believe the dire consequences of a serious accident. In 1995 a historical Dakota of the Dutch Dakota Association crashed into the North Sea taking all the lives of the crew and a party of inspectors from the Dutch Government, 32 in total. It nearly finished historical air transport in the Netherlands and it's still very difficult to operate historic planes with passengers on board.For this reason the Dutch railway inspectorate required that from 2009 on every railway train must be fitted with full ATP (which can be modified for ERTMS) when operating on Dutch main lines. The equipment was subsequently sponsored by our minister of transport.Up to now Crich has been spared serious accidents, but disaster is always waiting around the corner. Drop your standards and it will hit. Be sloppy with procedures and you'll get buried. If things go wrong, Crich has to prove that the organisation has done what it could to prevent it. And that means the best possible infrastructure supporting the old trams restored to the best possible condition operated by crews who get the best possible training. And most of all: a continuous vigilance among everybody involved to stay alert. Check each other. Correct each other if your buddy deviates. Report dangerous situations. A near miss is a near hit (the expression we use in Holland). This time you got away with it. Next time you and your passengers won't be so lucky.Crich is doing very well. But sometimes even that is not good enough. Therefore: yes we should preserve artefacts, in a display situation, not supporting tramway operation.Out on the mainline we need the best possible genuine tramway infrastructure.
The following is quoted verbatim from Grahame Taylor’s “Operating Notice” in the November 2009 edition of “The Rail Engineer”: “Last month, if you recall, we were presented with the vision of mechanical engineers sifting through their parts bins for components to make a new range of rolling stock. This month we have a more down-to-earth account of experienced civil engineers doing what they do best – scratching through skips for second hand material. Collin Carr’s piece on the Boston to Skegness* renewal touches on a favourite theme of mine – exploiting good used materials instead of automatically looking for new. About time too! At long last we have got away from what has been often a commercial need to inflate project values by the needless use of fresh components when serviceable equivalents are available. Of course there are times when new has to be used for sound engineering reasons but heading in that direction regardless of need is poor engineering. It is also lazy engineering. So, long let the second-hand market flourish.”On many high-speed passenger railways in the UK, trains are protected by well-maintained “heritage” signalling equipment such as can be found in countless museums. Worn track components are repeatedly reclaimed by metal deposition thus achieving an almost indefinite lifespan under heavy main line traffic. None of that is “sloppy”.The TMS doesn’t scrap worn trams and replace them with new ones, they are repaired to “as good as or better than new” condition. The track deserves the same reverence as is accorded to the trams and indeed to the Stone Workshop with its listed status. The track deserves to have its own listed status conferred on it by its custodians the TMS. The loss of the word “Sheffield” from under people’s feet at Town End is one stark manifestation of double standards.The presence of miscellaneous other items stored with genuine heritage track items does not justify the use of the collective terms “junk” or “scrapyard”. Do conserved track components like the Grand Union have to be buried or otherwise hidden away before they can be referred to without disparagement? The trouble is that such assets are then forgotten about, which may be what some would prefer. I wish I could believe that “no-one wants to scrap valuable PWay artefacts”. Remember the conduit!I am only expressing one side of this particular argument because I am a voice in the wilderness, as can be seen from the responses above. A balanced, rational approach is needed, and I am not sorry to have tried to express the alternative “preservationist” viewpoint. There will, after all, always be plenty of people ready to set the safety stakes sky-high and argue the other way, using a bit of hyperbola if it suits them to do so. Polyphobia, the fear of everything, sanctimoniously taking the moral high ground all the time, is a very seductive path to take, and very hard to temper without the risk of being portrayed as a reckless idiot. The risks surrounding life in general can get hyped up to such an extent that the final result is paralysis or insolvency or both, making it impossible (as has already happened in the case of the former PWay team) for individuals or teams to be able to risk doing anything.Finally, in answer to one of the anonymous respondents, I did “contribute!” at Crich, but only for about 36 years, and I now “contribute!” in a small way elsewhere, where things are done in perhaps a more balanced and rational way, also under the scrutiny of HMRI - which body is not, I believe, as unsympathetic as it is made out to be towards the responsible employment of well-maintained heritage artefacts. Safety policy is not a one-way dictatorial affair – it is determined in the real world by dialogue and common sense. That’s my opinion anyway.
David. Have you ever thought about setting up the National Tramway Track Museum? I'm sure you'll be fighting off the crowds by August Bank Holiday! Alternatively wake up and smell the coffee in the wilderness. Worn out track is exactly that and Joe Public is neither interested nor cares where it's from as long as it's safe! Please enlighten us as to where on the UK rail network there are 100 year old rail components that are on high speed passenger routes that are being reclaimed by metal deposition(welding?)so we can all avoid those routes! Yes, save examples of the various items that are scattered about, but get real and scrap the surplus because in reality no one really cares and non of it is either fit for purpose or ever likely to be used in any shape or form. Finally, only fools under estimate HMRI. Enough said!
Isn't the new material less compatible with the NTM wheel profile, with its narrow flanges and very wide back-to-back dimension, than the heritage material is (or was)? This is an inescapable fact rather than the sort of wild obvious exaggeration resorted to above. I don't think any track components in passenger use at Crich are 100 years old, not that it would matter if they were, as long as they were compatible with the rolling stock and were being maintained properly for the line speed and traffic.No matter how much you want to wallow in personally slagging me off with your slurs and innuendo and mockery, being offensive and sarcastic will not win you friends and there are still TWO imperatives to be reconciled in any working museum - safety and preservation.
The NTM wheel profile is not much different of what's being used elsewhere. In fact, modern Ri60 track has been in use at Crich for a number of years without problems. Besides, sooner or later the old rails are completely worn out, just as much as sooner or later the old trams will need new tyres.Unless we opt for another solution which is to shut down operation, because it's no longer possible to run trams with their original tyres on the good old BS tram rails.In other words, if the wheels of a tram are condemned, it will mean the end of the tram as a runner. I don't think that'll be acceptable, neither to the public nor to the members. It is as the Bluebell Railway puts it: after 50 years of maintenance, we have created a replica because all the original parts have been replaced. A very exact one but nevertheless a replica. That's the price you have to pay for running an operational museum railway.
There has been pressure at Crich for at least twenty years to eliminate traditional track from the museum tramway. Now that that has been accomplished at the two focal points of the tramway(Town End and Wakebridge) it is clear that the process will be continued until the entire track layout has been similarly dealt with, including the depot fan, where the consequences of a derailment would be similar to those at Town End, on either new or on well-maintained older track. But the TMS is not the proprietor of a modern light rail system, it is the proprietor of a tramway museum, and a tramway is a complete coherent package, not just trams, not just track, not just overhead or conduit or stables or depots or paving or uniforms or power supply arrangements or advertisements or street furniture or surroundings, but the whole package. The Office of Rail Regulation’s “Guidance on Tramways” (http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/rspg-2g-trmwys.pdf) says:“Some heritage tramways possess works, plant and equipment (including vehicles) which do not meet the terms of the guidance in this document in all respects. Where such works, plant and equipment have been in use over a sustained period, and these disparities have been countered by suitable operating practices and staff training, the guidance should not be taken as suggesting that these arrangements should be disturbed so long as the works, plant and equipment continue to be used with these safeguards.”and:“Flangeways of rails laid in the street should be kept as narrow and shallow as is reasonably practicable so as to avoid nuisance to other road users.”During the historical period represented at Crich, tram rail had to be compatible by law with the prevailing road traffic which included a profusion of narrow-tyred horse-drawn vehicles. Wide-grooved modern rail and pointwork would have been non-compliant with Board of Trade requirements.This topic is too important to be confined any longer to this forum. Two different seminars are needed - one within the TMS or HRA to determine a PWay policy which fully reconciles preservation, accuracy, truthfulness and safety, taking all the imperatives into account. The other seminar needs to take place nationally, perhaps internationally, to agree once and for all upon the function(s) of the integral check, flange or "keeper" which characterises grooved tram rail and which has a bearing on this present topic. An idea of the extent of the "keeper" confusion can be found within the following RAIB derailment report: http://www.raib.gov.uk/publications/investigation_reports/reports_2009/report252009.cfmFurther information can be found in HMRI’s “Determination of Tramway Wheel Profiles to Minimise Derailment” (http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/sres-RTU-rep_90_3A_iss1.pdf), which inexplicably concentrates on the gauge face and entirely overlooks the back of the flange interacting with the integral check, and in the Health & Safety Laboratory’s “A survey of UK tram and light railway systems relating to the wheel-rail interface” (http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/Report_FE-04-14b.pdf) which with evident satisfaction, verging on relish, describes all the rich variety of types of traditional pointwork then in use at Crich, before any of it was discarded and referred to as junk by TMS members.The LCC was reclaiming track wear by metal deposition during the period represented at Crich, because it was wasteful not to. Wear reclamation by metal deposition is used all over the world, without irresponsibility, on heavy railway, light rail, tramway, metro and underground systems including the Tube, Blackpool, Croydon, and so on. On main line railways the technique is used to repair squats, tache ovales, wheelburns, and damaged and worn switches and crossings. Evidence of implied approval of the principle of main-line crossing repair can be found in the RAIB fatality report (http://www.raib.gov.uk/publications/investigation_reports/reports_2008/report042008.cfm)
David Holt is wrong where he states that modern rails wouldn't meet the old standards. The Ri60 profile is a narrow flange profile, successfully used in countries where cyclists have to share tram track, such as The Netherlands. Ri59 is the wide flange equivalent, also used in The Netherlands, but only on tram systems where there is no interfacing with cyclists such as the Sneltram Utrecht.It is good practice to repair surface wear and damage by welding up, but there comes a point in time where steel becomes brittle through ageing and fatigue. At that moment it is necessary to replace the track.One other point: nobody suggested that all the track at Crich was junk. Indeed, from the civil engineering point of view it is a valuable asset of the museum, as it shows the development in tram track construction. Based on risk analysis it can be justified to maintain as much as possible of the original track as long as possible. However bear in mind that already worn track incurs damage to the tram wheels. This will cost money, money Crich can ill afford. The Hague can tell you all about that!A compromise is therefor necessary where the mainline, intensively used and barely visible to the public, is gradually relaid with modern tram track such as used nowadays in Blackpool and Sheffield (also part of the British tram history!). The little used depot fan can be maintained as long as possible using old track, until it is really life expired. And yes, we need a proper display of tram track. A Stanly Swift exhibition as one could call it, because tramway history is also the history of the tramway i.e. the track.By the way: the track at Crich may be original, the construction of substantial sections of the permanent way as a whole is not. Only the newly relaid track sections show a proper (be it modern) historically correct permanent way.
The Health & Safety Laboratory’s “A survey of UK tram and light railway systems relating to the wheel-rail interface” (2006, http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/Report_FE-04-14b.pdf) states in paragraph 17.3.2 on Page 150:“As the purpose of the museum is to display and demonstrate the many different aspects of first generation tramway practice, a wide variety of turnouts and crossings have been incorporated in the system. Traditional cast manganese steel turnouts and crossings have been used. Edgar Allen Ltd or Hadfields Ltd, both of Sheffield, manufactured the majority of these at various times during the 20th Century.”2006 is not all that long ago. Has the purpose of the museum changed in the last four years? Is the focus now entirely on tramcars rather than on tramway practice, which obviously includes tramcars and a lot of other things as well? Shouldn’t any such profound change in the museum’s purpose be run past an EGM?None of the track at Crich ever needs to wear out. Wear can be reclaimed, as documented elsewhere in the HSL report, far into the future, which effectively at Crich means for ever. Computer-controlled metal-deposition processes are in widespread use, putting to shame the wildest and most ill-informed scaremongering. Only the other day as part of a team brief I was shown a movie of a crossing being repaired in this way. There is nothing unsound about the technique whether done manually or automatically.Having once condemned, under mentorship, a cast manganese steel crossing at Piccadilly Station in Manchester, I am aware that manganese steel castings can exhibit faults - but I don’t recall ever hearing of any terminal unsoundness in any manganese casting, new or heritage, at Crich.If the track “damages” the wheels, which it doesn’t, the wheels likewise “damage” the track, if you prefer the term “damages” to the more accurate term “wears”.The track at Crich is not by the wildest stretch of anybody’s imagination “intensively used” compared, for example, with Muntplein in Amsterdam or Market Street, Manchester or, once upon a time, Kennington Gate in London.I am intrigued about the concept of a “modern historically correct” permanent way. The tramway at Crich will soon be completely without provenance. How the track at Town End can be considered “hardly visible” is beyond my comprehension. Until last year, Guides and hosts could explain to visitors and professionals that the crossover under their noses at Town End, the focal point of the museum, represented the once-great British steel industry, was made and used in Sheffield, and was the first pointwork ever to be laid at the museum, by volunteers who had inherited their know-how directly from first-generation tramways, back in 1961-62, and who are still amongst us? What can be said of equivalent local, historical and human interest about the new crossover? Not a lot. Something of significant richness has been discarded.The following are the actual dimensions of rails as given in millimetres in the HSL document:Rail Flangeway Flangeway Head Width Depth WidthBS7 28.58 31.75 53.98BS8 28.58 36.51 53.98RI60 34.40 47.00 56.0035G 35.97 40.50 56.23The first two, BS7 and BS8, are the ones which were compatible with Board of Trade requirements during the period represented at the museum.In case anyone wonders why I continue to bash my head against this particularly solid wall, it’s because I am archiving the entire blog for future reference, thus recording at least some of the influences lying behind current TMS PWay policy.
"influences lying behind current TMS PWay policy" Easy as mentioned above a safe operating system where wheels and rails are fully compatable with each other after advice was taken from experts in the field from what's known about BS101 wheel profile from what I've been told in the past. If you really look into wheel profiles the root radii is important as well as the flange angle of which BS101 profile has no flange angle so WHY HAVEN'T THE TRAMS BEEN DERAILING? STOP TRYING TO MAKE THINGS LOOK SO HARD AND DANGEROUS. It give me reasurrance that the present regime is active in safety at the museum so when I visit I can ride with much degree of confidence of a safe operating system as possible with heritage equipment. There is non of the old mentallity of 'That's how they use to do it' which is no good in this day and age. Anyway from what's been said and on Richards blog at last something is happening with what looks like a linear scrap yard. Before any one else moans, Town end was laid on a concrete raft (look at the pictures on this site) which is historically correct as this was done in pre electric days as well
David. I think you protesteth too much! How old was the old track formation at Town End and what state was it in 50 years ago? It was used because that is what was available at the time and nothing to do historical accuracy or the British steel industry. It had been life extended with metal deposition and bodge ups for how long? What came out last winter was a totally life expired, a mis-matched mish mash of castings and scrap rail sat on subsiding foundations.Stop dwelling in the past,take the rose tinted specs off and realise that most of the track and point work at Crich was worn at the very least when it was recovered from the first generation tramways with unknown history and metallurgy. It has seen a further 50 years of use or been sat corroding in the undergrowth and is totally beyond repair, economic or otherwise! Fact!Yes, as commented on earlier on this thread, save examples of the first generation pointwork and rail sections, making sure that they are exhibited and correctly interpreted, they are very important in tramway history.Safety is paramount and in 2010 how many visitors (life blood,fact) to Crich give a monkeys' what name's on the pointwork or what the rail section is as long as it complies with current legislation, is correctly maintained, safe to ride over and they have a good day out? How many visitors and professionals will guides and hosts be showing the focal point of the Museum to when it's got a prohibition from HMRI? Errrr...... none, but never mind because it was a very nice 100 year old worn casting that had been subject to a bit of metal deposition a few times and it looked nice and was made in Sheffield by a bloke with a big flat hat on before the nasty Germans came and flattened it a bit that failed resulting in the catastrophic derailment that shut the place down.Sorry David, very few of your arguments hold any water in the modern world and to be blunt make any sense by you keep trotting out and quoting standards from the 'old days' that are no longer relevant or accepted as the industry standard (law, fact).
It’s easy to use wild obvious exaggeration and scaremongering and mockery under the peculiar cloak of anonymity. This entire blog shows precisely how the established Pway team was hounded out by a steady and deliberate campaign using exactly the same tactics, and why it has not been replaced.I repeat that I have only been expressing, openly, the preservationist, anti-dumbing-down perspective, because nobody else will. The Museum isn’t of importance only to the average visitor, but also to professionals, students, historians, teachers and other more serious people – exactly the ones, in fact, who are catered for in the Library and who ought to be catered for outside in equal measure.
David, just as it's easy to stand on the side lines, criticise and tell people what they should be doing, yet not take any responsibility yourself. That is what is shown here.
This subject is of immense importance. Regretfully I have to disagree with David on the matter of only running on life-extended original track. I have had to face this sort of problem myself in the past and have concluded that the only answer is to use new, sometimes higher quality, material for operating historic vehicles – themselves often far from original. BUT we are talking about a museum. Where compromises have been made these must be admitted to the users of the museum. Additionally there must be a proper collection to demonstrate the original equipment. Ideally this would be on public display but at the least it should be available for study by researchers. We have an excellent library of books and papers but where is the library of track? One of the things we have to be aware of is the pressure put on an historic organisation by the “get the money” brigade who just look at the visitors as a source of money and forget the purpose of the museum. Such divergence of opinion can be seen in many of the preservation setups – the Welsh Highland is a good example. The "get the money" brigade are necessary for the continuation of the museum, while visitors can get to the museum, but the historians are needed to ensure we do not give false information to the world.
What I notice is that Crich' trams experience far more damage to wheels and bearings than other historic trams in museums I know. The joints in the track at Crich are pounding the trams. This is no safety issue (until a wheel or an axle fails) but it certainly is detrimental to historic artefacts. A modern continuous welded track can be a tremendous step forward. The old rails are not fit for welding. They will break next to the weld, as I have experienced in Amsterdam with similar track.In other words: to preserve the fleet Crich needs new track. To preserve the historic development of the tram permanent way, we need a dedicated exhibition in some sort to show this. My bottom line is that Crich is a tram museum. Any permanent way should show a typical tram construction, both in track and overhead. Crich does this very well. The street setting including the marking of the famous 18" on either side is correct (for Britain). The Amsterdam museum line is at present being criticised because they are relaying their track with concrete sleepers. The old trams never used such sleepers. Correct, but the Amsterdam line is 4 miles long and, has 7000 sleepers, most of them life expired. By going to concrete sleepers they safe tremendously in money and blood, sweat and tears. Maintaining wooden sleepers implies replacing 300 of them every year. And they are increasingly difficult to get, because of environmental problems.And given 30 years' time, tram track on concrete sleepers is historically acceptable, because all new tramlines use them.In fact the opposite will happen: by then it is historically not correct to show an Amsterdam Combino on track with wooden sleepers.
For those of you interested: recently I gave a lecture at Delft University, titled: Managing risk in transportation systems; welcome to the real world.The presentation (in English) can be found at: http://www.dispuutverkeer.nl/media/file/3._Wim_Beukenkamp.pdfOr simply Google Wim Beukenkamp.
The implication that anything needs to be discarded just because it is old or has been preserved should not be lightly accepted within a museum administration like the NTM.At the time when the volunteer PWay team was being effectively discharged after serving the TMS for 40 years, the Engineering Manager, who claimed the backing of the Board of Management – which, to do him justice, had recruited him on the premise that “volunteers support paid staff” - made two discouraging statements:That the objectives of the PWay team did not include preservationandThat if he had a pot of money, he wouldn’t be “sitting here talking to you lot”I can’t speak for other PWay volunteers, but that was enough, coupled with the paralysing “safety” culture then being promulgated, and the accusations being put about that our authentic well-maintained first-generation track was destroying the authentic well-maintained first-generation trams (as must surely, then, have been happening throughout 100 years of tramway history, which if true should be interpreted to the public on the preposterous theme of “track and trams don’t mix”), to ensure that the severance was brought about so completely and so irrevocably. It couldn’t have been done better if it had been planned.Wheel beats are an intrinsic part of the traditional tramway experience – for example, the distinctively rhythmic sound of maximum-traction trucks or a Cunarder at speed should not be lightly discarded. “Ally-Pally Bang-Bangs” would not have be so christened if they ran on cwr. Wheel beats are so intrinsically a part of the sound signature of traditional trams that there should be no deliberate movement towards their complete elimination at Crich. The significant loss of authenticity and atmosphere accomplished by doing away with mechanical joints is a matter which really needs to be run past the Society at an EGM - before members wake up one morning to find that it's too late.Just for the record, another allegation made at least twenty years ago against the track we provided at Crich was that the switches and crossings themselves were “damaging” the trams. How the various allegations, safety hypes and whispering campaigns should have been regarded in the circumstances is a matter for personal judgment, but suffice it to say that volunteers are unlikely ever to stick around to be treated as reckless and tiresome villains.
There is one word I have been missing so far in this discussion, that is the word "choice".Even as a complete layman when it comes to tram track I gather that we basically have two options for the tram track at Crich: Refurbished old material and new material to different but suitable specifications. There are various arguments for both options and many have been raised here. But in the end someone has to make a decision on the background of all arguments and that someone obviously opted for new and welded rails. Wouldn't it be a good idea to accept that choices exist and are being made? In my opinion that would be a professional and positive view of the matters. What some points mentioned say about the style of discussion and leadership qualities of individuals is another matter which in my opinion should be discussed in a more private atmosphere. Platforms available have been mentioned in the TMS Journal and in the comments section of that post: http://tramways.blogspot.com/2010/06/blog-post.html
Fortunately the history of the tram goes on. I had the honour in my capacity of senior inspector of the Dutch railway inspectorate to formally approve the brand new interurban tram line 19 from Leidschendam (NE of The Hague) via the former Airfield of Ypenburg to Delft. The remarkable thing is that this tram line does not run via the city centre of The Hague. It is a tangential line that intersects with three railways and four other tramlines.It is a true interurban tram line and serves as an example for other similar tram lines in Holland. And yes: it is fit for historic trams to operate over it. I made sure of that!
Are we still crying about track?Lord, give it a break and do something constructive PLEASE!You could actually do something for the Museum in the time it's taken to do this. Oh, I don't know, how about a proposal for a way of displaying the track...?!And I thought the 'discussions' about the trams themselves were bad enough...
Steam Railway launched an appeal to nominate a project for the HRA/Steam Railway award. Unfortunately the steam tram project can't qualify because it hasn't started yet. But we can use Steam Railway to generate funds for this unique project. I am sure SR will support it. SR has demonstrated time and again that they can raise substantial sums of money once they throw their weight behind a project. How about this proposal? Actually all it needs now is a firm commitment by the Board of the TMS that they will support this project as well, given time and money.By the end of this month we will have our AGM. I can't be there to raise this issue, but I hope others will do so. Let's get that chimney smoking! Let's introduce some decent tram technology to that sparking fortress.
Top idea Wim, bring it on! How about it after 159 is finished? Something new and different to generate interest and revenue, even better than that, no trolleys or brass handles! The conundrum is which one to do, John Bull or the kit of parts in Clay Cross? Which ever, let's go for it!P.S. Well said Jack, but you are wasting your time as too many people past, and present spend too much time dwelling in the PAST and are afraid to move on and accept the reality of the 21st Century whether it be tram or track.
As I said, I can't be there during the AGM. But hopefully others who are interested in this project will be there. I think the steam tram project should be the next project when 159 is finished. To my opinion the best candidate is the MBRO loco, now a kit of parts. John Bull is complete and useful as a static exhibit. The MBRO loco requires substantial rebuilding, making it doubtful whether it will ever be done. In fact, it is more or less now or never.I know that the excellent workshop of the Dutch Steamtram Hoorn-Medemblik can do this project for a very reasonable sum. They know what steam tram loco's are and they have been awarded for earlier restoration projects. In fact, by outsourcing this project the Crich workshop won't be overloaded should the LCCTT decide to start restoration of LCC 1.By the way: it's very well that an appeal has started to fund the extension of depot space for the new Blackpool trams. But how about improving existing depot space, like fitting proper sealing doors and installing dehumidifiers? It looks like the new toys are more important then the existing fleet. I think we need a firm commitment from the Board on this subject as well.