Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Holiday Pics: Working Workbenches

Isle of Man Tramways clockWhile touring both the steam railway and electric electric railway sheds over on the Isle of Man, I developed a (possibly) unhealthy interest in the tools and equipment that are used to maintain vintage rail transport. In particular, I took photos of every workbench I could see.

Some, such as the MER bench on the right, were tiny work areas. I'll be honest, I took this photo more for the clock above it which proclaims it belongs to the "Isle of Man Tramways and Power Company".

This long title dates from the days when the railway generated its own electricity and as such was the first power company on the island to provide power in this way.

Nowadays, the power arrives from the grid but the setup isn't so different from the Hellingly Hospital Railway which existed partly to take coal to the power station. Built at the same time as the MER, there wasn't a national grid on the mainland either.

Steam Railway WorkbenchOver at the steam railway, this are a little more heavy industry with a pillar drill and fine collection of clamps hanging on the wall.

Maybe the staff had a tidy up before the tourists were admitted to look around, but it doesn't look pretty neat. All the drill bits are slotted in to the home-made wooden rack for easy access for example.

What you can't hide is the patina that engineering provides. Look at the metalwork making up the sturdy bench and the grubiness of the rough interior walls. You can't fake that!

If there was a tidy up it didn't seem to extend to sweeping swarf away or emptying the bucket of damp underneath. Not sure that electrical lead should be quite so close to it though.

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