Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Story of the British Tram (2) : Going electric

As we saw in part one of this series, horse tram networks spread quickly across the country in the second half of the nineteenth century. However, tram companies were keen to find an alternative method of traction to the horse which had a number of disadvantages (especially manure!) Steam, cable hauled and even compressed air were tried as alternatives to the horse but the method which saw the most success was the electric motor.

The story of electric railways goes back as far as 1842 and the battery locomotive Galvani, but it was not until the latter half of the century when the technology had improved to make the use of electricity viable. The first electric tram was operated in St Petersburg in 1875. The first electric tramway in Britain was the Volk's Electric Railway which opened in Brighton in 1883 (and is still open). The first electric street tram network was a conduit system along the Blackpool promenade which opened in 1885. Of course electric trams still run along this route.

There were various methods of getting the electricity to the tram. The earliest systems used live rails (like a model railway) but these were hazardous to pedestrians and animals of course! One variation of this was the stud contact where the tram would complete the circuit as it travelled over the studs - though this was also prone to accidents. Successful systems either used overhead lines or less commonly power conduits buried underneath the road surface. Nearly all electric tram systems used parallel electric transmission but the interesting Northfleet tramway used serial. 

Electric tram networks sprang up quickly across the country, either conversions of existing horse networks or new lines built especially for the electric service. Over two hundred separate networks existed across the British Isles. Nearly every decent sized British town and city, and some relatively small towns too, had electric trams. However, the electric tram had a new rival on the horizon, in the early decades of the twentieth century, the motor bus.

One of the original Blackpool trams from the 1880s

Blackpool & Fleetwood Crossbench tram from 1898

Derby Corporation tram from 1901

Chesterfield Corporation tram from 1903

Monday, 19 October 2020

Copland, the mythical beast unveiled

Copland was one of Apple's biggest failures. It was an attempt to bring MacOS up-to-date in the early to mid 1990s but after several years of expensive development and project chaos, Apple was left with a mess which would crash even if you blinked too fast. Copland was cancelled, not even making it to a proper developer release and Apple looked elsewhere for the future, which ended up being MacOSX...

But Copland has been lost to time, or has it? A few builds did make it out into the wild and on this blog the sheer horror of build D7E1 is revealed (yes it crashes a lot). It did introduce a lot of technology which made it into subsequent versions of MacOS however. To me Copland is a bit of a mythical beast so seeing this video is like seeing footage of Bigfoot walking down Erdington High Street.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Model Week : Painting

The Dominie has now entered the painting stage. There was a short delay as I had run out of white paint! A number of new kits has also arrived over the last week or so so model making will continue into 2021.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Hanging around Hatton

Yesterday I went to Hatton. My plan was to go to the footbridge near to the station and take some photos of the railway line there with my Nikon (which has not seen any use this year so far). But when i was making my way there i was soon confronted by a rather unpleasant mud quagmire. I decided to return to the station and take my photos there instead! You can see my railway photos here. Plus you can see some canal photos i took with my iPhone here.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Churches (81) : St John the Baptist, Peterborough

The church of St John the Baptist is a rebuilding (after a relocation) of the original 11th century church in the early 15th century. The church was dedicated in 1407CE. The church is close to Peterborough Cathedral and was intended for the normal people while the cathedral was limited to the monks! The church was nearly demolished after the Civil War though this, fortunately, was abandoned.

The church was greatly changed in a late 19th century rebuilding which added a new clerestory and galleries. The church has a West tower, an aisled nave and a chancel.