Monday, 19 August 2013
Here is a summary of the trip of the 16th to the 18th of August.I turned up at Darren's a little early and though we left on time, bad traffic on the M25 and M1 meant we were forty minutes late. Luckily, so were the Crich staff.Just like the Batman of my youth, we found ourselves at a seemingly deserted warehouse on the edge of the city, ok village. You almost expected the Joker to appear, but instead we filtered into a small door to find ourselves surrounded by vast amounts of tram bits and trams.It was unbelievable, I have seen stacked equipment on many railways, but this was massive. In a cage in the corner they had even kept a group of ex Glasgow tram inspectors to clone, how they fed them,etc, I don't know. If you have seen the end of Indiana Jones and the Ark of the covenant, then you were close, but we didn't need the golf trolleys. It was very business like and we selected two controllers, another truck in one piece, a compressor with governor and two circuit breakers. I am not sure about the the finance/ cost, but let us see.Crich are confident that we can do a deal, it will be the cost of bringing them down to Sussex. I have never seen so many spares.... more then my total un- made model collection,which is not inconsiderably big. just ask the missus.There was also a tower lorry for the overhead and even a dismantled steam tram.I could have stayed for hours but the staff are busy, so after mucho thanks we left for Crich. We went straight to the workshops where one of my favourite trams, Sheffield Roberts 510, was been overhauled. There was also another tram from the 1920s been rebuilt which gave us a lot of clues on 53. The ever courteous staff explained what they were doing and how they did it, and the one piece of advice that sticks out was dismantle everything. That one piece of wood you don't check could be the defective one. The turn buckel device on each side of 53 should be stripped, nothing hard there according to the men who do.We also saw the sand box layout as well as wiring,so again we have more clues. We then moved on to the trucks area,where we found ourselves next to a Brill 21e and the Maley and Taunton truck from the Roberts car.I had a very special moment when I did a Vulcan mind fusion with the Brill truck, Darren will section me later. The Roberts truck, was very complicated, it was the final four wheel truck design of British trams and contained Silent bloc rubber suspension, magnetic track brakes, rubber bushed gear wheels, a lot of air cylinders for all the brakes and even roller bearings on the motor sprockets, amazing.The staff had spent six months on the truck and it was almost ready, our truck/s will be easier.After a nose round the sheds to see some old favourites,we went out to our hotel and a meal that evening that could have fed most of the society, the portions up there are BIG! Next day I went for a ride on the Blackpool car and we also went round the museum to see if any thing else would yield clues for 53. I am pleased to say the shop stocks models again, so I bought a Becs London E tram, only a tenner! The weather was now cloudy and rain threatened, so after a final look round we headed off to the Midland railway centre at Butterley, which is fantastic, but that is another story.....We left Sunday morning and I was home by 2.30, thank you to Darren for being such a good driver, he knows the pubs and the area very well! Thank you to all at Crich for being so helpful. If you haven't been, go!