The forum for all discussion about the tramway museum at Crich


by Rich Westman » 01.06.2011, 16:29

On the Yahoo group there has been talk of pieces of trams still existing but not enough for a restoration to be viable. Or, in the case of Aberdeen trams and Middleton Bogies and many more, not a single shred still exists. So, what is the opinion on replica tramcars?
It would fill gaps in the collection that cannot otherwise be filled, and it would be an excellent example of TMS engineering to show what can be made from scratch, and if done properly it would be a shining example to other tramways of what we can do. But, I know some people will frown on this, and I know that restoration is more important, but how much of the current operating fleet is actually the original tramcar?
This is all purely hypothetical of course! There are quicker, easier and cheaper restorations and overhauls to get more trams in the operating fleet. Nothing wrong with speculation though, so which tram design(s) would you like to see a replica of?
Rich Westman
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Joined: 15.06.2010, 16:21
Location: Alfreton or Nottingham

by Advertising » 01.06.2011, 16:29


Re: Replicas

by wimbeuk » 16.07.2011, 13:10

I started this discussion in the Netherlands in 1989. The main reason was that we had come to a point were on the one hand trams were being restored that were not that important to show the development of the tram in the Netherlands and on the other hand, we were identifying gaps in the national collection that could only be filled by building 100% replicas.
The question when is a restoration job a restoration job and not a replica is hypothetical. I have seen examples of replicas that were more exact than some restoration jobs. I have seen restoration jobs which in the end were pure new construction, very little of the original being reusable. And I have seen conversions of existing trams into another type. A good example is the conversion of HTM motorcar 805 into trailer 905 with matching interior, running gear (single axle bogies!) etc.
This discussion resulted in Arnhem 76, one of the missing links in the Dutch national collection, which was duly commisioned by none other than Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1998. Despite the fact that in reality it's one of the newest trams in the Netherlands, it has been fully acknowledged as belonging to the historic transport collection, together with replica ships such as the Dutch East India ship Batavia and the ship of the line Seven Provinces (now being build) and replica aircraft such as the Fokker F2 and the Fokker Spider in our national aviation museum Aviodrome.
In the Netherlands we also accept a restoration job as being the completion of a set. An example is the first generation (1956) TEE diesel multiple unit that one operated between Amsterdam and Zurich, now being restored in Amsterdam. When they were sold to Canada in 1974 , the motor cars were scrapped after a cpuple of years. Thereafter only two sets of trailers could be brought back. There are plans to build a new motorcar. As such it will be a replica, yet it restores the multiple unit to its functional original condition. Therefor it is regarded as a restoration, despite being 100% new. A similar idea exists towards the building a new motor car to make a Budapester tram set from the NZH interurban system. At present, only a control trailer exists, which can't operate without a matching motorcar. Again, such a restoration job requires the building of a new motorcar, yet it is the functional restoration of a set.
My advise to the British is, first to draw up a national plan of the development of the British tram. The next step is to see were deficiencies can be identified that can't be covered through the restoration of an existing tram. Then comes the question how important such a deficiency is, followed by the selection of the best candidate for a replica.
To give an example: there were few examples of a modern suburban tramsystem in Britain. The Middeleton tramway was such an example, with matching rolling stock. The omission of a Middelton Bogie is a gap in the national collection and an important one. This justifies the building of a replica. Even better: it is more important than the restoration of a hulk such as Gateshead 52.
Another example: nothing remains of the large system that Bristol was. It was also a pioneer systeem. A lower Milnes saloon ex Hull exists. It could be restored as a Hull tram, adding very little to the national or even regional collection. It could also be used to recreate a replica Bristol tram, thereby filling a gap in the national collection.
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Re: Replicas

by David Holt » 24.07.2011, 12:12

I think it’s important to consider how the replica will be used/displayed/interpreted. There’s nothing dodgy about “Tornado” as long as it’s seen outside a museum environment. It’s just another operational loco. In the same way, there’s nothing wrong with Seaton running splendid rebuilds or representations of heritage trams – it’s just evolution and commerce going on in the real world. “Curatorial exactitude” only really comes into play where there’s a curator or any other interpreter/educator involved, within a museum or within any educational context, which is where I think you have to be very careful not to dumb down your standards and let things drift out of control. For example, a tram displayed and operated in a serious tramway museum in a form in which it never existed is on very shaky ground indeed, precariously wobbling its way onto the slippery slope of untruthfulness. Anything that falls into that category is neither an original nor a replica, it’s a fake, an example of artist’s licence gone haywire.
As far as the definition of “rebuild” is concerned, surely the “volumetric occupancy” rule applies (eg “four new heads and six new handles, as long as each bit is faithfully identical to its predecessor(s) when new”). In other words, if a whole tram or each of its main sections (top deck, bottom deck, truck[s]) only ever occupied their own single volumetric space at one time, then it’s wholly the original thing no matter how much has been replaced within that single volumetric space over the years, in and out of preservation. On the other hand, if a section of the thing or the whole thing was ever created outside the volumetric space occupied by (what’s left of) the original, or if there wasn’t any surviving original, then it’s a replica in whole or in part.
For me, a Hull tram should be restored as a Hull tram. Bristol trams were all destroyed in an air raid. That’s history and we can’t turn the clock back.
What does anybody else think?
David Holt
Posts: 6
Joined: 23.07.2011, 22:15

Re: Replicas

by wimbeuk » 23.07.2012, 17:57

Turning back to using the Hull tram or body as a replica Bristol tram. There were few examples of more or less standard trams in the Netherlands. The first one is the 'Union' type (named after the supplier of the electrical equipment Union Elektricitats Geselschaft for the first series of these Amsterdam trams). This type also operated in The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht (and was very similar to the early trams in Liverpool). Amsterdam Union 72 was restored in The Hague on the condition that for a number of years it would run as The Hague 2. In fact, this tram has regularly changed identities running as 2 or 72 as required.
The second one was the Hawa type. This type of tram was supplied from 1920 on to The Hague, Groninbgen and Utrecht-Zeist. None of the Groningen trams have survived nor any of the Utrecht-Zeist cars. However, apart from original The Hague motorcars 265 and 274, several The Hague cars were converted to works cars. Of these one became Groningen 41 and another will return as NBM 12 (Utrecht-Zeist).
Since there is a Hull tram preserved (in fact two are preserved), there is a serious case to go for a Bristol tram. It is also the largest systems (as far as I know) of which nothing remains. And it was a pioneer system with Victorian trams.
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Joined: 15.12.2010, 19:13

Re: Replicas

by Nick » 23.07.2012, 18:42

I've thought about the Hull car as a Bristol car before and there are a few things to consider:

a) What is the condition of the Hull car and how much do we know about it?

As we don't even know its number we know it was part of a batch built in the late 1890s and was short canopy/open top originally. Considering Hull seemed to rebuild everything differently we could do with knowing a number to get a complete history otherwise it is meerly a body that once ran in Hull, this doesn't mean anything to anyone and as it stands its falling apart. I'd be suprised if no one has looked for a number on it.

b) Is there a need for a replica Bristol car?

I'd say yes, Bristol was an important company system and isn't represented anywhere in the collection (neither is the rest of the West Country with systems such as Exeter, Plymouth, Torquay, Bath and Weston-Super-Mare also missing), its one of the few large systems that remained publically owned through its existance and was quite influential.

c) Can we get the bits?

Yes, there is more of Bristol trams still about than some perhaps realise..certainly the patterns for stairs,ticket boxes, wire netting, lights etc. that would all be informed guess work are all avalible.

d) Are we shunning Hull if we use the body as a Bristol car?

No, we have 132 on loan to Hull Transport Museum which is a far more typical Hull car.

Those are my views anyway. I'd quite like to see a Bristol car be reborn, though it would be far more a representation of a Bristol car using similar and new parts than it'd ever be original.

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Re: Replicas

by wimbeuk » 24.07.2012, 15:43

The basic point is that whatever tram it will become, very little of the original will remain. It will be a restoration job along the lines of 159. Everything you need for a Bristol tram has been done before at Crich including building a new Peckham truck. And as Nick states correctly, the West of England is very poorly represented by preserved tramcars. It will certainly bring more balance in he Crich collection. Apart from that, an unvestibuled uncanopied open topper will be a usefull car in the Crich fleet. It will not be one of those white elephants that Crich has had in the recent past (Porto 273, Leeds 345 and Halle 902).
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Joined: 15.12.2010, 19:13


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