Friday, December 10, 2010

Leeds 345 and Sheffield 510

Leeds 345 is now in the workshop for remedial work to make it serviceable. Two major problems are water ingress and defective axles which failed ultra sonic tests. The body will have lifted from the truck and then the motors and wheel sets removed for new axles to be fitted. To fix the water leaks, all the windows will have to be removed from the body.This work will obviously be time consuming and expensive but it will also prevent work being carried out on other trams as the Museum has limited resources.
Personally I would have preferred to see Sheffield 510 in the workshop this winter. My understanding is that funds are in place to pay for the mechanical repairs and 510 is simply waiting in a queue for attention and deteriorating quite badly at the back of a cold, damp depot.
Berlin 3006 is scheduled for attention next winter and obviously this work must be done because there is no back-up for 3006 as an access tram. I have also heard a rumour that a Blackpool boat will also take priority over 510. To me that would be quite simply bonkers and irresponsible. Sheffield 510 was donated to the Museum by the citizens of Sheffield in full running order and beautifully painted fifty years ago. Now it is dumped at the back of the depot whilst an endless stream of Leeds and Blackpool trams are given priority.
Thirty years ago Sheffield 189 and 264 were withdrawn from service pending major overhauls for which they are still waiting. 510 was in much better condition and has been kept running until a few years ago. Please don't let 510 languish for another thirty years.

In his comment, Wim asks me to make my mind up. What do I want?
Yes I have deluded myself for many years that 264 could be restored to service. I have now accepted that this will not happen and that for the forseeable future the Museum will have to concentrate on less ambitious projects. I think that getting 510 back is the next best option and should be within the Museum's resources.
The bigger picture of how to stop trams such as 510 and Edinburgh 35 slowly rotting at the back of cold damp depots has been in the 'too difficult' tray for years.
Similarly there is the question of conservation of trams and other artifacts in the exhibition hall. Has any of the grant money been earmarked for this purpose?Posted by Picasa


  1. Personally I'm not that fussed about 510 being overhauled but I see your point about it being left even though funds are in place - weird! I'd actually have liked to see it displayed in the Exhibition Hall as part of a 'Last Tram' scene, with something that hasn't run for a long while being overhauled instead (102? 10?), however I appreciate not everyone will agree with that.

    I think some of the recent discussion on the TMS Yahoo Group probably indicates why all these Leeds cars are being prioritised - there doesn't seem to be any desire to maintain a varied operating fleet anymore and trams that are easy to maintain and have similar equipment seem to be in favour. Obviously that has pros and cons; certainly it makes life rather less exciting for enthusiasts although I guess the guys in the workshop would probably see it as a positive. My main issue with Leeds 345 though, is why on earth a tram that was only restored a few years ago already in such a bad state? Something's not right there!

  2. Richard, perhaps you don't like it (that is your right) but it does make sense what is happening now. 345 was a recent restoration job (apparently not very well done at the time, but nevertheless a recent restoration job). A lot of money was spend on it. Axle failures seem to be epidemic now, but they can be expected given the lifespan of the fleet. Compare the job needed to bring 345 back in full working order with a full restoration of 510 and the picture is still in favour of 345. If and when the sun is shining, a car like Blackpool 166 is very popular. It needs a backup, for which a Boat is an excellent candidate. Nobody said that 510 will be postponed forever. The fact that it was donated by Sheffield 50 years ago to me is no argument. Besides Richard: make up your mind. What do you want? First you want 264 to be restored, now it is 510. What will it be tomorrow? I think the top priority is to get a fleet of reliable workhorses for the operations department in proper working condition. Next priority is to finish the long drawn restoration of 159. That creates space for other projects such as 510. Though I must admit that the condition of 510 (and others) makes me sad, very sad indeed. But that can all be related back to underinvestment in a climate control in the depots. I can't do much to alleviate this from Haarlem, but I can do one thing: if a depot climate fund (sounds like Copenhagen) is started, I will donate 1000 pounds to it. Who will join me and who will start this appeal?

  3. And suddenly we all unite and agree on the urgent need for a full climitised depot at Crich. Again I reissue my invitation to start a Depot Climate Fund and start now! I am willing to commit 1000 GBP. If 200 other members join me, we can start with this project in 2011. I am sure that this investment will repay itself by stopping the deterioration of valuable cars like 35, 264, 510 and many others. In fact, doing nothing means that a beautiful car like 159 will be in London United Condition within a matter of years. Who will join me in funding the 200.000 pounds needed to start with this urgently needed piece of infrastructure?

  4. Just a couple of questions though Wim:

    1- Where has your £200, 000 figure come from?

    2- Have the TMS Board agreed that they will go ahead with the project if funding is available? If not, then I'd advise to check that they will, otherwise people could end up contributing towards something that the people in charge have no intention of doing.

    That said, good luck and I hope you do get the outcome you (and seemingly a fair few others) want! :-)

  5. The £200.000 figure is appr. 40% of the total investment needed for tracks 4-6 and the exhibition hall. We are talking of 9 sets of sealed doors (each costing around £30-40.000), ventilation ducting, dehumidifiers and heaters. The £200.000 funding is necessary to generate outside funding, which requires a substantial contribution by the TMS. Given the nature of the works, the TMS contribution can't be paid in volunteer costs, such as when a tram is being restored. Once installed, a saving on maintenance can be achieved, which can be used to upgrade the remaining depots.