Jump to content

Lemmy117

Sheffield History Member
  • Content Count

    138
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    2

Posts posted by Lemmy117


  1. The routing of Supertram has always been an issue, it misses most of the populated areas and bypassed the major shopping area in the town centre unlike Manchester's Metrolink which runs right through it.

    While I agree with what you say you have to remember when the system was built. Sheffield followed quickly on the heels of Manchester's Metrolink, and construction was started before that system had opened, and the two were very different animals. Manchester effectively joined two existing railway line with a bit of street track. Sheffield on the other hand didn't have the luxury of existing infrastructure and was completely new. Remember that to most of the construction companies building tramways was something new and there wasn't a definitive way of doing it. In Manchester they had cast concrete track panels made off site then transported, installed, track laid, connected up and overhead erected. This was on a relatively short length of roadway and took some considerable time. With more street track to build in Sheffield, the construction company, Balfour Beatty, decided it would take too long to do it this way and went the 'slip form paver' route, to create a continuous concrete base, lay in the track, and so on. The major problem with this was getting the  special concrete mix to site within the timeframe to allow the paver to work correctly, and this didn't always happen! I'm not aware if anyone else used this form of construction, different contractors have different ideas of what will work for them but it's worth remembering Manchester had a lot of remedial work to their original road installation a few years after the system opened as the road surface disintegrated around the panels.

    Balfour's were also on a learning curve, and a lot of the time hadn't a clue what they had let themselves in for, indeed I believe they tried to back out of the contract but their legal team said they couldn't afford to get out of it. They didn't/wouldn't/couldn't get information from those that knew about tramways, i.e. Europe, and chose to try to reinvent the wheel! I well remember going to a meeting where they stated that the girder rail they had to use could not be bent downwards when they were making the decent into the underpass at Brook Hill, and the computer model they used to design the overhead was based on the one used to design the East Coast mainline electrification they had just finished, and that turned out to be totally inadequate. I also remember a small group of men leaning over the barriers at construction site saying they 'wouldn't do it like that' and we know where they came from!

    The ticketing was always a problem, buying a ticket and then validating it took ages, I well remember the queue at Meadowhall for the first tram, we nearly didn't get on it, but there wasn't much of an alternative. Manchester had machines on each tram stop, they had CCTV on each stop also and vandalism was a problem, but Sheffield didn't bother with the CCTV and the machines were much smaller and easier to break into. There was no pre pay card ticket system in operation anywhere at that time, London only introduced the Oyster card in 2003, so Sheffield took the decision to have conductors, not a totally perfect system as you say. Manchester has recently introduced a system similar to based on Oyster using mobile phones, but that is causing problems as you have to swipe to start a journey and swipe at the end again, which people are forgetting to do and getting charged more than they should be. As there a many ways onto and off tramstops it is easy to forget as you are not confronted by a barrier to get off.

    Its sad our system never got extended, but that's been discussed before, the one thing we seem to have got right was the selection of the vehicles, still going strong twenty seven years later when Manchester's original vehicles have all gone for scrap, although they will have to be replaced soon as they don't conform to disability requirements. Technology moves on, and although battery trams are being tried I agree they won't be the complete answer, indeed I see that Bordeaux in France is using a modern version of the Lorain stud contact system to power its trams to get rid of the overhead, maybe that combined with batteries is the way forward.

    Nigel L


  2. Sorry it's been a bit delayed, but here are the colours as used on 74 and 510.

    74.  Prussion blue and Light Cream for the main colours, Cobalt blue is used for the lining on some of the cream along with dark brown and red. On the blue it is gold leaf and white.

    510. Azure blue, and South Yorkshire Cream. There's no other lining on the blue bits, there is a raised beaded band but this is the same colour, on some pictures it looks like it is a little darker but it is the same colour. 264 is in a similar livery with no black lining.There is also the red pinstripe, and as it is in a commerative livery there are the gold bands on the blue.

    I have seen some pictures of buses with the black edges to the blue bands, but not on trams, I wonder if the trams carried a simplified livery as part of post war austerity?

    The paints we use are from Williamsons of Ripon, so the colours are as described by them.

    When your trailer gets to 70 years old it will probably have acquired 510's squeak naturally! Next year 510 will be 70, and it will be 60 years since thectramway closed.

    Nigel L


  3. It's more a case of cost. To maintain a decent service to Rotherham it could only run from Catherdal, any further and more trams would be required, and they would probably interfere with the normal routes. There was a proposal at one stage to construct another siding at the Cathedral stop to allow a bit of lay over time, but that came to nothing which means the current service has to make a quick turnaround to get out of the way. There is not much of a problem with 90 degree corners, there are plenty of tight bends on the tram train route, look at Park Square delta, of the curves off Tinsley South.

    I think 3rd rail for trams would not be acceptable to the rail inspectorate, even if only used on reserves areas, plus there is also the added complication of the shoes retracting when not in use. With technology advancements the dual voltage trams we have are already out of date, Birmingham have battery trams in use so that parts of the new routes can be built without overhead.

    Just after the trams system opened there were plans to extend it, along the track bed towards Heeley and Millhouses, a hospital loop to the Hallamshire, and again on the track bed to Stocksbridge. The political will and adverse publicity during construction put paid to most of them, remember it took over 6 years to build the system. I started with the construction way back in 1989 when statutory utilities were being moved to allow construction, well before any track was laid. Manchester on the other hand got behind their system and it continues to be extended making it by far the largest tram system to date. We do need more park and ride areas though.


  4. Wow this could open up a whole can of worms! The difference in wheels comes about due to the way trains run on rails, the profile makes up a coning angle which keeps the wheels running along the rail head, the flanges have little to do under normal conditions, only coming into play on tight curves and poor track. Trams on the other hand have a much flatter wheel profile so rely more on the flanges as curves are generally tighter. Tram flanges are much shallower than railway flanges and the 'tread' is also much less. A tram wheel is generally thinner than a railway wheel. At low speed this doesn't really matter, but get up to a decent speed and the wheels will start to 'hunt', it will become very uncomfortable to ride on and comes with a higher risk of derailment.

    You are quite correct that Glasgow used wagons on tramway track, they reduced the gauge to 4' 7 3/4" and the wheels ran on the flanges, but only at low speed. Weymouth 'tramway' was really a railway laid in the road, very wide flange way, and not made up of traditional tramway rail but railway track with a separate continuous check rail, similar to what you would find in goods yards.

    The remaining bits of the tram trains involved in the crashes have gone back to Stadtler/Vossloh for repair. Again you are correct that tram drivers drive 'line of site' and should be prepared to stop in the distance they can see, but on a signal controlled junction they effectively are given a 'green light' as all traffic is supposed to have stopped. The first incident had the tram hit the lorry just behind the cab. I believe visibility at the junction was called into question and it is interesting that the Council installed new signals after the second accident. Speaking recently to a Supertram driver it seem the Siemens vehicles have finer control than the tram trains and respond better. As far as I am aware the tram trains have both track brakes and auto sanders, but that still relies on the driver to hit the emergency brakes, and if you get a proceed signal you are probably not expecting someone to jump the lights.

    As far as the 'trial' is concerned it is totally flawed. Apart from the vast increase in cost, mostly because Network Rail underestimated the cost of building tram trains into the existing signalling, the vehicles were built to operate on 750V DC and 25kV AC, but they only run on the 750 as NR didn't install the higher voltage, so what has it proved? On the continent they regularly operate the 'tram train' principle, it is nothing new, so why did we need a 'trial'.

    Sits down and waits for the bullets to fly!!

    Nigel L


  5. Not sure but Prussion Blue springs to mind. I will probably be at Crich on Tuesday so will check what paint is used on 74 (pre-war livery) and 510 (post war livery). The cream Supertram used is pretty close, but the blue is rubbish, it's probably Oxford Blue which is the darker blue the stops used to be painted in!

    Nigel L


  6. Its 25 years ago today (21st March 1994) that the Supertram opened for passengers. The first tram from Meadowhall carried the local dignitaries, press etc, and the second one carried those daft enough to get up early to get to Meadowhall for just after 6am, I was one of those!

    There was such a long queue of people going through the long winded procedure of buying a ticket at one machine and validating it at another, that the tram left late but with a full load.

    First journeys were Meadowhall to Commercial Street and when we arrived I got cornered by a Star photographer and ended up with my photo in that nights paper.

    Nigel L

    • Like 2

  7. This may not be an original feature of the Roberts cars, but is a necessity at Crich. The curved parts of the roof at the side and ends are not very thick and certainly will not support much weight, only the grey painted area is safe to stand on. Getting onto the top from the gantry in the workshop to adjust the springs tension or attend to the grease points requires a climbing board put across onto the grey part and a leap of faith. With so many different trams and servicing people, it is safer to put the writing on to remind everyone!

    Nigel L


  8. After the recent Tram Train incidents which resulted in 399202 and 399204 being damaged, speculation was rife as to which other TT would be pressed into service on the Parkgate route. Well it appears that now we have another tram running around made up of the best bits of others.

    399202 entered service again on Tuesday 18th December, it is made up of 2 parts of 202 and 1 part of 204.

    This trams joins 102, 111, 118 and 120 as being made up of parts of other vehicles.

    Nigel L


  9. I wonder if apart from fitting the different bogies they also need the Network Rail signalling equipment fitting, or do they all have this fitted as standard?

    Seems strange that within a couple of weeks there have been two incidents at the same junction with the new vehicles, while in the previous 20 odd years there have seen virtually none.

    Nigel L


  10. There are 7 of the Tram Trains, although I believe only 4 are designed to work the Rotherham service, and one of those is out of action having hit a lorry on the first day of the new service!

    The problem is the difference in wheel profile between light and heavy rail, so a compromise wheel profile and track profile has been evolved. Tram Trains that run to Rotherham can only operate between Cathedral and Parkgate, this part of the track has been profiled to accept the revised wheels.

    • Like 1

  11. It turns off the Supertram system at Tinsley South tram tramstop, passes under Tinsley viaduct on a new bit of track then joins the old railway lines towards Rotherham Central, continues to the back of Parkgate retail park where a siding and platform have been installed.

    • Like 1

  12. Indeed I do! The original panels containing the artwork on 510 have been retained as part of the collection as they are of historical value, new panels being fitted and painted to match.

    513 had such a nomadic existence it's is surprising more of it didn't get stolen, where the controller's went to is a mystery, though some panels are at Crich. The two trams differed in the location of the pictures, 510 between the top and bottom deck. 513 below the bottom deck windows. 

    510 is a joy to drive, especially if you are left handed, as I am, as everything is operated by the same handle, power, air track brake, electric brake and airbrake, not much for the other had to do, and you have a seat to perch on!

    Nigel L


  13. The old tram poles were still in use years after the trams were withdrawn to supply overhead power to street lights, although in this case I think they are probably powering the clock on the pole on the left. They were a devil to remove, well concreted in and virtually impossible to pull out so they had to be burnt off below ground level. A few were filled with concrete where the tension on the tram overhead had a tendancy to pull the pole out of line, you could spend a full day trying to get one of those out.

    The last use of the poles for lighting was on Penistone Road, from Hoyle Street towards Hillsborough, and I think they were removed in the mid '90's

     

    Nigel L


  14. A few additions to the list:-

    Cut down from double deckers and still knocking around

    M3 OWJ 353A in Blackpool area

    M4 OWJ 354A in Blackpool area

    M16 OWJ 782A in South Yorkshire Transport Trust (SYTT) Rotherham

    And subtract from the list 

    61 C61 LHL Ford Transit / Carlyle - recently scrapped.

    Others in existence used by STD/SYT but not new to either:-

    M1 DUG 167C ex-Blueline now SYTT

    M18 BWW 654B ex- T. Severn & Sons in Doncaster now in Keighley bus museum

     

    Nigel L

     

×