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andy1702

Sheffield History Member
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Everything posted by andy1702

  1. Dear Admin... As you like editing my posts so much, please remove ALL my other posts from this forum. I also revoke all rights you have to use any writen or photographic material contributed my myself. If youw ant to censor my posts, then you will not benefit from ANY of my posts. GOODBYE!
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. 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?)
  6. 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!
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. I agree with what Madannie said. The horses never got this far through the town centre.
  10. 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.
  11. Very cool! I'd be interested to know if there is anything left of the bell system behind them.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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?
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. No part of the council has any respect for anything to do with history or heritage. Anyone can do anything provided they provide a big brown envelope with enough £50 notes in it! That's the impression I get anyway.
  18. I think the photo dates from sometime around the mid 1980's. I'm working this out mainly from the buses in the photo. the single decker nearest the camera appears to be an experimental 'kneeling' Leyland National, which replaced the first generaltion of bendy buses on the City Clipper service. I don't know how many kneeling Nationals they had, but I do remember the front bumpre being painted red so intending passengers knew the bus could kneel for them when it stopped. It seemed a bit pointless really as a Leyland National has a step entrance. There was a big fanfare about this bus being modified (they added some dump valves to the air suspension or something) to make it kneel and they claimed the whole operation took less than 3 seconds. What they didn't tell you was it took it about half an hour to get up again! There is also what looks like an Ailsa and a Mk1 Metrobus in the background. I'd guess at about 1983?
  19. When the supertram first started running in the early 90's, who remembers the ticket machines at all the stops and the 'validators'? The idea was you bought a ticket for £1 which the first machine spat out. You then validated it by putting it into the other machine before you got on a tram. This stamped a time on your ticket and you could travel any distance as long as your journeyw as completed within a certain time. Was it two hours? This caused an interesting note in history the very first morning the trams ran in service. The first tram, full of dignitaries and the press was supposed to leave Meadowhall at 6:30am, followed a few minutes later by the first car in normal service. However at about 6:20 the validators on the platform broke down so nobody could 'punch' their ticket to make it valid for travel. For this reason the first service car came in and went out almost empty! By the time the next one came the validators had been fixed and most people got on that one! So if anyone ever tells you they've got a ticket from the first tram, they haven't... it was the second! The youth of Sheffield soom realised the ticket machines were full of pound coins, so they started physically stealing the machines from the platforms, aided by things such as fork lift trucks and JCB diggers! As supertram had to employ inspectors on the trams anyway to make sure nobody was riding after their time limit, they eventually saw sence and converted the ticket inspectors into conductors, doing away with the machines on the platforms in the process.
  20. I think you're right about YouTube. I have a channel on there, which you can find via the website at www.andysshed.callpress.net I'm planning to do more historical content after a couple of videos on lost railways went down quite well.
  21. They could have done a lot better Thorntons Girl. A year before they launched loads of people potched programmes to them (including yours truely) but nobody heard anything back for many months. Then we found out (weren't told but found out) that they had commissioned a few pilots. Eventually I went to an event where they screened the pilots and wished I hadn't! I'll never forget something called 'Peak Signal To Noise', which was nothing more than flashes of random images and ear-bleeding white noise. This piece of 'art' went on for over an hour! In the end I made sure I cut all ties with Sheffield Live (I used to front a lunch time radio show) a few weeks before the TV channel went on air, mainly because I could see the car-crash coming! It's interesting that nobody ever mentions SLTV now, even in Sheffield! My guess is their audience is a big fat zero! Meanwhile I switched to being a youtube content creator, which commands a much bigger global audience.
  22. I'll just add my bit about Crystal Peaks. yes, teh railway was LGB size. It was in a glass case about 12ft infront of where that pork pie stand is now on the lower level, meaning you walked right by it (with it on your left) as you came down the escalator and headed for the doors or McDonalds. What a lot of people don't remember is a big chunk of Crystal peaks got demolished when Sainsburys moved. The old layout was as follows... When you went in the doors on the lower level (where Sainsbury's is now) the entrance to the Indian restaurant was immedialtely on your right. Turn right and walk past it and you found yourself in a big concourse with a long row of doors across the far end. This was the entrance to the UCI 10 cinema. The box office was a self contained unit right in the middle of the row of doors and you could buy your tickets from the mall side or go through the doors and buy from the cinema side, although i think they stopped using the cinema side eventually. I went to see Blair Witch Project there and on visiting the gents found it full of leaves and twiggs with blood-spattered cubicles and 'help me' scrawled in blood on the mirrors! The food court was exactly where the small food court is now, but it was much deeper and therefore bigger, with outlets on two sides. It closed about the time Sainsburys opened and I seem to remember all the tenants had been kicked out because sainsburys didn't want any competition for their very mediocre cafe. I thought "**** Sainsburys!" and went to eat in the market hall after that. McDonalds was always where it is now. There was also a Blockbuster Video outside at the far end of McDonalds. The Time Cafe was (I think) a Pizza restaurant back then. What I've never known is why the cinema closed? It was a really good cinema and plenty of people went there. I also gave the place a lot of night time business. Cleverly all the night services pixxa restaurant, indian restaurant, cinema, mcDonalds etc were on that lower level, so they used to close the rest of the center but leave that bit open, placing a fence across the bottom of the turned off escalators. It was a great place to go for a night out and I wonder how their takings fell once the cinema was gone and they stopped opening late? And by late I mean LATE! You could often go to see a film at a midnight showing, which was great because kids were banned after midnight. I remember seeing Disney's Beauty & The Beast there in a kid-free environment, which was a great selling point. The theming of the whole place was quite good originally, very much like an American mall with a distinct theme, in this case alpine peaks. We all just accepted it, but looking back the name and theme does seem strange for a place in Yorkshire, so I wasn't surprised when i read above about it just being the best name the council could come up with. The only problem with Crystal Peaks in the early days were the shops upstairs. I remember every second store seemed to be a shoe shop! Great if you wanted a pair of shoes, but useless if you wanted anything else. The whole centre was also much smaller back then. It's encroached onto the car parks bit by bit over the years. The cimema and Indian restaurant was derelict for a while then that whole section got demolished and a new wing in almost the same footprint built to accomodate the moved Sainsburys. Personally I'd rather it was still a cinema!
  23. I've not read the book, but here's the guy who published it https://www.1889books.co.uk/ It looks like it's self-published, so it's proabbly not widely avilable.
  24. We now know (thanks to Ian's research) that you WERE on Park exchange in the early 1960's, although because it was part of the LNS your actual telephone would have said 'Sheffield 37605' on the label in the middle of the dial. In theory any current Sheffield number ending 37xxx was most likely at one time or another on Park. However that doesn't necessarily always hold true as some numbers may have now been re-issued. It's a reasonable guide though.
  25. I dropped a line to Ian Jolly, well known telephone enthusiast, about Park exchange and received the following back from him. 'Park' opened as a Non-Director satellite automatic exchange between the 31st March and 30th September 1936 when it had 201 lines with 240 phones connected. These were the exchanges then in the Sheffield LNS which used their own names in 1937 – there were four other exchanges in the LNS which used ‘Sheffield’ as their exchange name – ‘Firth Park’, ‘Holymoorside’, Park’ and ‘Ranmoor’ It was in City Road, Sheffield 2 and it was set back behind where there is now a flat topped building in the centre which houses four shops – that is certainly the location of it from old large scale OS ,maps in the 1950’s. It was where the rear of the red/white building now is plus its ‘car park’ to the rear. Numbers of ‘Park’ were in the 37XXX range as this 1937 entry for the Park & Arboretum Labour Club a couple of hundred yards along City Road towatds the city centre shows. At the end of March 1951, ‘Park’ had 650 lines plus there was a relief ‘Park’ exchange shown as a UAX12 with 42 lines on it – very likely a Mobile UAX12 as they didn’t list them as ‘mobiles’ until the mid 1960’s. There was also a UAX12 relief to ‘Firth Park’ , another exchange in the Sheffield LNS which used the ‘Sheffield’ exchange name. Both UAX12s had gone by March 1952. Numbers on ‘Park’ (which had grown to 804 by 31st March 1964) were move onto ‘Intake’ exchange – still as ’Sheffield’ numbers by 31st March 1965. The above (which I have just copied and pasted from Ian) tells us that Park was part of the Sheffield linked numbering scheme (LNS), which means all the linked exchanges would have collectively been known as Sheffield. Exchanges that were NOT in the LNS and so used their own names are shown in the left column of the table. Although when dialling a number in Park's area you would have officially been dialling the Sheffield code then a 5 digit number, anyone in the know could have known the number was off the Park exchange because all numbers at Park began 37xxx. this means any calls beginning with the Sheffield code or originating within the 'Shefield' area of the LNS would have been routed to Park if the next two digits were 37, which is effectively the exchange's own code within the LNS. With 804 numbers in use on Park exchange in 1965 and only three digits to play with, it looks like it was incorporated into the Intake exchange because it was getting quite full. At intake they would have been able to assign another batch of numbers to the area once all the 37xxx ones were used up. So... to sum it all up... (and if I've understood it right)... if your current phone number including STD code is now 01142 ?37xxxit probably originally went through Park exchange. It's a bit complicated to get your hear around. But once you understand that telephone numbers don't start at 00001 and run to 99999 then it gets a bit easier.
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