Thursday, 22 October 2020

Model Week : Showing the dust

As i dusted off my SLR last week (for the Hatton trip) i thought i would also take some photos of the layout. With the greater detail you get with a proper camera you can really see the dust! In layout news the new tramway siding has been glued down, the bogie goods wagon has returned to the layout. The three tourist coaches have gone into storage.

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.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Keeping in Kidderminster

I have been to Kidderminster quite a few times over the last few years, however it has always been to visit the Severn Valley Railway. So, i have walked out of the mainline station across the carpark to the SVR station and that had been it for my exploration of this Worcestershire town! That changed yesterday, i went into the town centre. Kidderminster has a wonderful church which the canal runs next to. You can see my Kidderminster photos here, and photos of the canal here.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Story of the British Tram (1) : Horse drawn

This new series will track the story of the British tram from horse drawn to electric trams, their downfall and rebirth in the modern day.

The use of rails or tracks for transportation purposes dates back to the Classical World as we saw in the series on the Earliest Railways. In the late 18th and early 19th century mineral carrying railways or tramroads (as they were often called) often unofficially carried passengers, usually just by letting them hitch a ride and sitting atop the coal or other mineral in the horse drawn wagon!

In 1807 the Swansea & Mumbles Railway became the first to officially carry passengers, these were carried in a horse drawn horsecar or tram. The tram owed much to contemporary stagecoach practice. Despite this early start the horse tram service closed in 1827 (it was restarted later) and it was not until 1860 before another horse tram service began in Birkenhead.

Many horse tram networks followed, they competed with the horse bus. The smoother ride offered by using rails giving them an advantage. By the late 19th century there were scores of systems across the country. However, the use of horse power carried a number of disadvantages in terms of expense, operational difficulties and time wasted. Horses needed to be changed regularly, as many as ten horses were needed for each tram car. Horse manure was also a problem, the tram companies being responsible for cleaning it up!

The advent of alternative propulsion systems for trams, most notably electric, saw the quick demise of the horse tram though some remained in service until the 1910s. The last horse tram in regular service remained in use in Northern Ireland until 1957 but nowadays they can only be seen as heritage tourist attractions.
Horse bus and horse tram at the LT Museum, notice the similarities

A Leamington & Warwick Tramway horse tram, they later switched to electric

Chesterfield Tramways Company Number 8

Monday, 12 October 2020

Another canal walk at Rugeley

I am not working this week so headed up today to Rugeley. A couple of months ago i walked the Trent & Mersey Canal up there. Today i returned and went in the opposite direction! I had a long walk through and beyond Rugeley, the towpath was nice and firm most of the way which is always good especially after wet weather! You can see my canal photos here.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Along the Erewash

I've been to the Erewash Canal in Long Eaton once before, that time i walked along it up to where the canal meets the mighty river Trent. This time i went in the other direction and into the centre of Long Eaton itself. You can see my photos here.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Back to Long Eaton

Today I headed up to Derbyshire for the first time since March. I returned to Long Eaton which I have visited once before. That time I only did a canal walk up to the river Trent, this time i took the canal in the opposite direction and reached the centre of this interesting little town with a number of fascinating old buildings. Canal photos will be discussed in a separate post, but my photos from Long Eaton can be seen here.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Churches (80) : St Mary, Warwick

The Collegiate church of St Mary dominates the centre of Warwick. Although much of the current church dates from a rebuilding in the early 18th century, St Mary's origins are Norman. The church's foundations date from 1123CE, created by the second Earl of Warwick, Roger de Beaumont. The crypt is the only surviving part of the original church.

The chancel and vestries were rebuilt in the 14th century. The church was devastated in the Great Fire of Warwick of 1694 (as was much of the town for that matter). The nave and tower were destroyed in the fire and were replaced in a Gothic rebuilding of the church in 1704.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Model Week : The new tramway siding

An extra siding has been added to the tramway which should complete the track layout. This will allow for the engineering Class 33 to be stored out of use while the tram does it's work. Now the track layout is completed the next aim is to continue the ballasting as far as here and begin building the second tram stop.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Worcestershire Places (5) : Pershore

Pershore is a market town which dates from Saxon times and belonged to Pershore Abbey as per a charter dating from the late 7th century. The abbey may have been founded around 689CE by King Oswald. The abbey was partially demolished in the 16th century after the Reformation. The (still impressive but much reduced) remains of the abbey form the parish church of the Holy Cross.

Pershore is renowned for it's Georgian architecture. Pershore is known for the growing of plums nearby and celebrates a plum festival.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Soggy Stourbridge

With a lot of rain forecast to drop on Saturday I decided to stick to a fairly local destination for my rail adventure. I went to Stourbridge, updating my imagery of the stations and having a look around the town. On my previous trip to the town I didn't really see much of the town itself as i was concentrating on the canal. Stourbridge has some nice buildings and the rain largely held off while i was there! You can see my photos here.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Churches (79) : Abbey Church of the Holy Cross, Shrewsbury

The Abbey Church was founded in 1083CE as a Benedictine monastery by the Earl of Shrewsbury. The abbey was destroyed in the 16th century during the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII but the nave survived to become a parish church. The North and South transepts were demolished and remaining brickwork scars on the surviving church (see below) shows where they once were.

The surviving church has a West tower. The nave has three aisles with a transept chapel and chancel. The church was restored in the 19th century though the masonry is mostly original.