Metro engineers help Beamish Museum keep its tram services on track after Storm Arwen

Metro railway engineers have taken a step back in time to help Beamish Museum keep its iconic tramway on track after Storm Arwen.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 5:00 am

Metro staff conducted a safety critical inspection as part of a scheme allowing workers to do a day’s voluntary work in the community.

They brought in advanced equipment, normally used on the system for nightly maintenance tasks, to undertake the detailed inspection work.

A special road rail vehicle, known as an RRV, was deployed so that they could safely work at height to inspect the lines. Drone technology was also used.

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Principal Engineer at Nexus Malcolm Irving and Matt Ellis, Keeper of Transport at Beamish Museum

Principal Engineer at Nexus, Malcolm Irving, said: “It’s been a fantastic experience for our staff carry out such vital work on the Beamish tram system. We were more than happy to help out, and we really enjoyed the day.

“The work we did was of some extra importance given the recent ravages of Storm Arwen, and it was certainly a big help to the team at Beamish.

“We undertook a full safety critical inspection of the tramway’s overhead lines. It’s a working transport system so the equipment needs to be checked in accordance with the modern-day safety regulations just like any other railway network.

“We have the expertise and the equipment to do this sort of work, which is a daily occurrence on the Tyne and Wear Metro system.

Past and present vehicles side-by-side

“Nexus has a specific policy that allows staff to do a day’s voluntary work every year, and everyone was keen that we should devote that to helping out a not-for-profit organisation like Beamish, a museum that has helped to put our region on the map.”

Matt Ellis, Keeper of Transport at Beamish Museum, was grateful for the help: “We’d like to thank Nexus very much for coming in and helping us with this work, it’s very much appreciated.

“Nexus supplied their equipment for their staff to use and the team inspected the entire overhead line equipment and fittings, for any degradation due to weather, age, storm damage and any long-term wear, particularly to the contact wire. It’s a routine thing, we would have to get round to each bit eventually ourselves, but the fact that we can do the entire system in one day makes it quite an easy thing.

“Thank you to Nexus, we’re very grateful.”

The vehicle is used to carry out overnight safety checks on the Metro system

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Metro workers check the power lines