Jump to content

andy1702

Sheffield History Member
  • Content Count

    449
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    4

andy1702 last won the day on October 18

andy1702 had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

16 Good

About andy1702

  • Rank
    Sheffield History Pro

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://www.andysshed.wordpress.com

Recent Profile Visitors

9,011 profile views
  1. I hear there is a general election coming. This would be a good time to get rid of some of the corrupt Labour and Liberal politicians that have destroyed Sheffield so comprehensively over the years. Amey should be forced to return and reinstate evrything they have removed. Over in Derbyshire I have been keeping a close eye on some cast iron lamp posts, similar to the ones Sheffield had until a few years ago. I'm pleased to report the council in Derbyshire have simply removed the non original electric swan-neck and replaced it with a modern LED one. This is something Amey and Sheffield council said was impossible to do. Everyone at Amey / Sheffield City Council should be done away with immediately. The producers of Threads had the right idea of what to do with the council chambers!
  2. Now you've said Prussion Blue that rings a vague bell with me too. While you're looking at 510 up close, can you have a look to see of the blue bits are lined out in black please? There's certainly no black border to the bands on 513 at the moment, but that isn't in it's commemorative livery any more. I have a feeling some of the earlier trams in post war livery (264 etc) had a black edge to the blue stripes, then a very thin red line about an inch away from the black, on the cream. According to bus number 1 (which I finally got to sit still long enough for me to at least look at it) the pre-war lining is white on the blue and a dirty brown colour on the cream, together with some black pinstriping. I now need to find a way to make the trailer's springs squeak, so it's a proper representation of 510!
  3. The problem with trams is that the infrastructure is always been ridiculously expensive to install. The Supertram system tried to improve the track by using a system of digging a trench, laying a concrete pad in the trench with two slots roughtly where the rails would go, then dropping in a continuously welded rail and gluing it into the exact position by filling the gaps around the rail in the concrete slots with a type of resin. We were told this would be faster and easier. Well, it worked so well that no other British tramway used it. Although I understand Preston is currently considering it. (more fool them!) Because of the high costs of track, overhead and very expensive vehicles, you need a lot of passengers travelling over each mile of track every hour (passengers per hour) to make it worthwhile. If it's just, say, 100 passengers per hour, it's much cheaper to run a bus. The problem with Supertram has always been that the route was seriously flawed. It doesn't go anywhere where there are enough passengers per hour to make the system cost effective. Yes, some trams are full. But there is not enough demand to justify increasing the service. That's why Sheffield is still soldiering on with it's original fleet which has never been suplemented. Wouldn't you have thought that sometime in the last 30 years someone somewhere might have thought to get half a dozen extra vehicles? They didn't because there has never been enough revenue generated to make any additions to the fleet worthwhile. And when the trams are REALLY full, those journeys are often seen as EMPTY because the conductor hasn't been able to move around the vehicle to collect any fares. So when he/she logs off at the end of the day, that trip shows no revenue and hence no passengers, despite the fact it was packed to the gunnels! There is also a huge problem with fare dodging. It's very easy to make a journey on Supertram without paying and the way the vehicles are designed and operated doesn't help. They need to go back to the pre-journey purchase of tickets which could be swiped through a reader on boarding the vehicle. London style Oyster cards would be a big help too. The old pre-pay system was abandoned because of the ticket and validator machines getting vandalised. What they should have done was to sell the tickets at newsagents etc (which they did) then have the validator situated aboard the vehicles, where they could be better protected. Regarding Birmingham's battery trams... they sound like a VERY bad idea to me. It's ok when everything works, but what happens when there is a line blockage due to things like road accidents? A tram stranded on the section without overhead would eventually run down and not be able to move. I understand the Birmingham examples only have enough battery power to do one return trip out onto the dead extension before they have to go back under the wires to recharge. They've just started testing them to make sure they actually can get there and back, so there seems to be some element of doubt. I was aboard the first tram-train to run in service to Parkgate and I have to say that for a system the world was supposed to be watching, nobody seemed to put in much effort towards getting it right. The thing just ground to a halt on a non-descript bit of railway track, behind the bins out the back of the Parkgate centre. There were no signs telling us where to go and certainly no kind of welcome. We eventually found our way down a narrow, windy passageway between the industrial type buildings, being careful to note the small gap between the shops where we had emerged so we stood a chance of finding our way back! As there are absolutely no facilities of any kind anywhere near the hastily constructed bit of platform they call the terminus, we headed for the supermarket in Parkgate, where we were greeted by the man collecting trolleys. "Where have you all come from?" he asked "We've come on the first tram train" I replied. He looked puzzled for a moment, then asked "What's a tram train?" That says it all really! If you want a sightseeing trip of the back of a row of industrial dustbins and a spot of on-foot training for the next marathon, I can heartily recommend a trip on the tram-train. Otherwise just catch the bus to Rotherlham!
  4. As far as I know all the tram trains are fitted with the signalling systems they need, but only 4 at a time are supposed to have the 'railway' wheelsets. There is apparently a 5th set of spare 'railway' wheels, should they be needed. Which I guess they probably have been! The wheel profiles are interesting because, as Lemmy said, a compromise profile was designed for the tram-train route vehicles. Apparently ordinary tram wheels can't run on Network Rail and ordinary train wheels can't run on the old Supertram network. I say 'old' because even the compromise wheels can't run on the grooved street track which existed on most of the system. However with the recent rail replacement work I would hope they've had enough foresight to change the rail so compromise wheelsets will eventually be able to work everywhere. Are you confused yet? You will be...! Read on... Now... two out of the 7 tram trains have been onvolved in fairly serious accidents, strangely both in almost the same place. This has resulted in the vehicles involved being split up, with the good end and mid section of one tram-train being coupled to the undamaged end of the other one. The swapped end has been renumbered to carry the same fleet number as the good end and mid section, so this vehicle isn't completely the vehicle it was when it entered service. Meanwhile the smashed up ends and other mid section have been put together and I believe they have now been sent back to Bombardier, who I think ought to send them back with bull-bars fitted! As to the reasons for the accidents, I can only comment on the first one because I don't know the full details of the second. Apparently the lorry ran a red light. However the tram hit it in the side, so the tram hit the lorry, the lorry did NOT hit the tram. Although the lorry driver has been blaimed for the accident, I don't think this is entirely correct or fair. Trams (unlike trains) should always be driven on sight. In other words, the driver should only drive to what he or she can actually see ahead of them, just like road vehicles. Trains are not operated on line of sight, being totally reliant on signals. At the time of the incident, the tram-train was acting as a TRAM on the TRAMWAY, so should have been operating according to line of sight and should have been able to stop for any obstacles that came into view. As the tram hit the side of the lorry, which was already crossing the line, I believe the tram should have been able to stop. The fact it didn't opens up a whole host of questions. Was it travelling too fast? Did the driver apply the brakes? Did the brakes work? It seems strange that the Siemens built trams have been operating over that junction for over two decades without any major incidents, but the tram-trains have suffered two very similar incidents within a couple of months. One thing I'm not sure of is how the braking system of the tram-trains works. The Siemens trams have a number of braking systems, including magnetic track brakes, which are long flat shoes that clamp down directly onto the track when activated. These are VERY effective and are not normally used except in an emergency because they could easily catapult the passengers through the windscreen. That's how good they are! But do tram-trains also have them? If they don't, that will definitely mean they can't stop as quickly. Maybe MadAnnie or Lemmy could enlighten me? Finally... The whole 'experiment' is nonsence anyway! In reality wheel profiles don't actually matter all that much. provided the flange of the wheel will fit in the slot of grooved track, pretty much anything will work. It might not be ideal, but it will work. Historically this has been proved time and time again. Railway coal wagons used to make extensive use of the old Glasgow tramway. All they did in Glasgow was lay the tram tracks a quarter inch further apart so the railway wagons with their deeper flanges ran in the bottom of the grooves, not on the rail head. Also the Blackpool Loco, now at Crich, was originally used to haul yet more coal wagons on the Blackpool system, mainly between Copse Road Deopt in Fleetwood and a coal yard at Thornton Gate. It's not rocket science to make a tram run on a railway or a train on a tramway (Weymouth Quay anyone?)
  5. I'm currently in the process of repainting a box trailer that I tow behind my van and thought it would be a bit of fun to paint it in the old Sheffield tram colours. I know they were always blue and cream (we'll not talk about the green experiment) but what shades were they? I have a feeling the blue got lighter over the years, but can't be sure. Was the pre-war livery a darker blue than the postw ar style on the Roberts cars etc? There are a couple of modern buses running around that look like they've got it pretty much spot on. At the very least they're a lot closer than the blue and cream Supertram, which I'm pretty sure is just about as wrong as it's possible to be. If only I could get the buses to keep still long enough to hold up a colour chart against them!
  6. I've often wondered where all the old air raid sirens went? There must have been loads of them during the war and I assume at least some were retained in case of attack during the cold war. (Is there one in Threads?) I've only seen two in my whole life. I found one being kept outside a shed at the East Anglia Transport Museum about 20 years ago and a few years back I spotted another on top of a pole near Waterloo Station in London. But where are the Sheffield examples?
  7. Have you had a look in Heeley Bank Antique Centre? Last time I looked there were quite a few old street signs in there. No doubt Amey / whoever has replaced them these days get a few quid for them, like they did the lamp posts! Not to mention the hefty cash payout for providing a plastic replacement.
  8. I agree with what Madannie said. The horses never got this far through the town centre.
  9. I'm not sure what the item is, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't relate to the trams. The trolley pole of a tram is insulated all the way to the end, with only the small wheel on the tip being live. The 550V DC was then carried down a heavy cable inside the hollow metal pole, first to a circuit breaker, then to the lighting circuit and controllers and then on to the motors. The pole was turned either by the conductor pulling on a rope from ground level, which was permanently attached to the trolley head, or by using a seperate bamboo pole when no rope was fitted. What it may be (although I've never seen one anything like this) is a device for recovering a "grounded" tram. Grounding occurs when the wheels become electically isolated from the track, which forms the negative return for the electrical circuit. Besides stopping the tram, grounding can be quite dangerous as the high voltage DV tries to find the shortest route it can from the overhead wire to the tracks. If it can't pass through the motors etc and out through the wheels there is a very good chance it will pass into the body of the tramcar. If this happens, anyone standing on or near the tracks (particularly on a damp day) who touches the tram will likely complete the circuit and experience a 550V DC shock. If they were to grap a handrail the shock would likely make theior muscles contract, meaning they are unable to let go, so prolonging the peroid of shock. The official way the Tramway Museum at Crich deal with a grounding is for everyone aboard the tram to be kept aboard. One of the platform staff (usually the conductor) then JUMPS off, making sure their body entirely leaves the tram before any part of them touches the ground. Next, using either the iulated rope attached to the trolley or a bamboo pole which can be found at staategic points along the route, the trolley is hooked down off the wire to cut off the electrical supply to the vehicle. The tram is then pushed or pulled ontpo a cleaner bit of track, where hopefully it's no longer grounded when the power is restored. This can be checled easily by turning the saloon lights on. There are other simpler 'dirty' methods for dealing with a grounding. One involves jumping from the tram and then throwing a bucket of water under the wheels. The water is a pretty good conductor at these voltages and will also swill away some of the dirt from the rails. This trick usually works and was common in the days when fire buckets full of water were common place. The other method, and also the most risky, is to jump from the tram with the point iron in your hand. The point iron is a thing a bit like a crowbar that all trams carry for changing the points. Just infront of the tram you have to wedge the end of the point iron into the groove of the track, making sure it is in contact with good metal. Then, with a swift and positive motion, ram the other end of the point iron down across the fender of the tram, scraping off as much paint as you can as you do so. The theory is because you made the connection with the track first, when the point iron touches the tram the current travels down the metal bar to the track without harming the person holding it. However if you get it the wrong way around and touch it on the tram first, then you'll likely get a 550V DC whack! I knew a chap who made this mistake while on a special tram tour in Sheffield in the late 50s or early 60s, which ran over some disused and hence dirty tracks. He didn't remember much about the shock, but woke up on the opposite side of the Moor to where he started! Luckily he lived to tell the tale! The thing on the pole could be something for wedging in the track and then attaching to the tram. Or it may be something for holding down the trolley if no rope is fitted and it can't be tied to the rear fender, which is the normal practice.
  10. Very cool! I'd be interested to know if there is anything left of the bell system behind them.
  11. I've long been on the hunt for an Anderson shelter, without much luck in finding one I could install in the garden. Most have eitehr rotted away to nothing, have been encased in concrete so they are inpossible to move, or were taken away years ago. Apparently, after the war most anderson shelters that had just been covered with earth were dug up and re-purposed as ground-level sheds, often with bricke end walls added. The one in the photo could well be a real one that has been moved. It looks to be in far better condition than most I've seen.
  12. Legend has it that the tiny people painted as part of the pictures on 510 & 513 were originally pretty good characatures of members of the Transport Department at the time. Unfortunately i don't think this ammount of detail was replicated when 510 was repainted and those on 513 are now also lost. I was told by a founder member of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway that the original controllers from 513 were stolen. They were quite unusual in that the air brake was controlled by the same handle as the power, making the Roberts cars one of the very few first generation trams that could be driven one handed. This fact was not lost on one particularly miserable driver at Crich some years ago, who preferred to drive 510 because he always liked to keep one hand in his pocket! Lemmy may well know who I mean
  13. Maybe they think if they put more crap stuff in the streets we'll forget about the nice stuff that Amey and their partners in crime at the council have destroyed?
  14. The one in Dr Who is supposed to be a concrete one too. It's (supposedly) exactly the same model as the one at Crich. I say supposedly because the Tardis actually changes on a fairly regular basis. It really winds me up when they get banging on about the Doctor's "funny wooden box". Just because the BBC made a wooden prop years ago, now all the brain-dead writers think a real box of this type is wood, which it definitely IS NOT. Wooden police boxes, like the one in Sheffield, are different.
  15. I think it's before 1990 as there's no bridge in the last photo to carry the tramway and the bridge was in years before the trams started running.
×