Well we haven't actually taken our sleeping bags to Middleton but it has been suggested by at least another 'other half'.   However things are coming on well.  Three decency boards are now hung and the fourth and final one is painted and ready for vinyls.  The vinyls have arrived and look magnificent, especially the garters for the waist panels.   We applied the vinyls to C side decency board and were initially rather concerned about bubbles but most of them have now dissappeared.   Jim and Mike have persevered with lots more rubbing down and painting while I've continued with various bits of metal work.  Two of the dash pillars needed their bases extending so a bit of lathe work resulted, with studding inserted in the centres and some extra 5/8" rod added.  They were then installed today and are very firm.   The second gate has been welded and today Dave Hector kindly altered the B end dash rail.   After sorting the dash columns I set to to bend the brass handrail for B end to its correct curve.  This is now onging but still needs a few tweaks.  The rails at D end are now complete.  The frames for the lamps are painted and in place, they just need glazing and screwing in place.   All in all quite a bit of progress.


Since last week we seem to have lived at Middleton but there has been real progress.  Last Friday I got the handrails at D end installed and rivetted.   On Saturday the painting and rubbinbg down continued and again on Sunday.     Yesterday whilst Mike and Jim continued painting I got the middle rail for B end bent using the D end one as a pattern.  In the evening I went over to Cheshire to meet Roger Mills from Hetherington Lamps who dellivered the frames for the two lamps and showed me the nearly completed first lamp unit. This morning I did some more work on the bell mechanism and have now got all the parts for the first one made and it works.   Then whilst Mike and Jim continued their undending task of rubbing down and Jim installed the two lamp frames.  I drilled and fettled the parts for the staircase gate at B end, while Malcolm Johnson kindly turned a couple of new handrail spigots to suit the internal diameter of the new pieces of tube for the middle rails.  After lunch it was time to finally install the handrails on the stairs at D end and I managed to get the first rivets in.   It really is progressing fast.  More pictures in due course.   Away from the tram the advert vinyls have been ordered and the first transfers should be applied before the end of the week.  It might be easier if we put mattresses on the lower deck and slept there.


Back in our normal conditions work has continued.   Jim, Mike and I plus other helpers have continued with painting and lining.   Mike Walton and I spent yesterday morning starting the other set of upper deck handrails, which have to be started from D end, then along C side before the B end staircase is tackled.  This has to be tied into work on the C side decency board which Jim has now got into undercoat.  Today we had a major meeting with all the various people involved in the operation of the tram at August Bank Holiday.  As the tram has to operte on what is an opertional railway a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to sort out a Rule Book and Special Traffic Notice to govern the operation of the tram.  Today we had two reps from the Middleton Railway, Our own Conductor Mike Waring, Geoff Senior and his sons from Heaton Park (Geoff will be the brakeman) and James Hanson of Hanson Carriage Hire who is going to provide the horses.    All sorts of practical details had to be worked out and we even had someone bid to take the first load of manure for his roses.   Even though we didn't appear to achieve much it was a worthwhile day.


A Day Out in The Sun

Yes we actually escaped today and went out.  Our Friends at Middleton kindly shunted the two cranes out of the way and we were able to push the tram out over their ash pit which gve us access to the underside. A good team turned up of Paul Abell, Mike Waring Jim and I. Paul spent the morning freeing off one of the bell rods then managed to get 5/8ths of them painted without getting any paint on the varnished woodwork or the polished brass handles.  Mike spent the day touching up lining and rubbing down the corner pillars ready for a final coat of vermilion.   Jim turned troglodyte and painted everything he could find under the car.  I spent the morning shiopping mortices and inserting captive nuts to keep the dash pillars and brake columns on.    Then I managed to get the two brackets fitted that stop the brake rods dropping down.   All this on a very hot day with constant stops for liquid.   

After lunch we fitted the two dashes which Jim has painted and gilded then paused for a well earned photo session.

All in all we were very pleased with the rapid progress and are looking forward to the launch in August.


Apoligies to readers for the lack of updates over the past couple of weeks but even tram restorers need to take holidays occaisionally.  Anyway while the cat's been away the mice have played. and much painting and lining has been done.   The tram now looks like this.

The main panels are now complete; the vermilion on the corner pillar needs a final coat and some lining has been done. The end decency board is not fixed on yet but is looking good.   All in all a nice sight to come home to.

Today we had an inspection visit by various worthies from Crich, which went well and before they arrived we fitted the bell handles that had been polished by Pickersgill Kayes.

Here are the bell handles on the bulkheads and over a window inside.  A rod runs down each side of the car with a handle above each window.

Here is the lining at B end to show how colourful the tram is getting.  

After everyone had gone I did some fixing of handrail brackets but will be working more in the morning.