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Sandtoft Gathering Souvenir Programme 2000 - Forward

Many people have told me over the years that they don't come to Sandtoft because they are not interested in trolleybuses. On the face of it, that is a fair comment; but then again, if you look deeper, is that all we are about?

Yes, the centrepiece of the Museum is the collection of trolleybuses and their overhead circuit, but look at the different aspects of activity involved in providing just that. Our fleet of service trolleybuses is maintained to class VI standards [as used on public roads]. Someone has to test them both electrically and mechanically, someone [else] has to mend them, and they have to be regularly serviced and cleaned. The workshop itself has to be maintained [yet more repairs and cleaning], for it is used not only for testing and repairing service trolleybuses, but also for restoring and repainting vehicles. We have people who work on this aspect of museum life; joiners, mechanics, glaziers, upholsterers, painters and golfers!

The 'overhead line' also requires a professional approach to its maintenance, while behind the scenes we have a large stores with many unidentified spares for overhead equipment, trolley and motor buses, as well as machines as varied as towing wagons and lawn mowers. A small group of people owns and restores diesel buses for the rally scene and once fit for the road they travel many miles on most weekends throughout the summer to gatherings of one sort or another. The miniature railway is undergoing major change, yet again, and a group of people is now struggling to re-establish this interesting little line.

Yet the activities just described on the transport items themselves is only part of life at a museum such as Sandtoft. The gardens are a story in themselves! Four acres of grass needs to be kept trimmed and there are borders to be weeded and kept smart - not an easy job in the summer months. The toilets have to be checked regularly and kept up to the standards required by the Yorkshire Tourist Board. All the litter bins need emptying regularly, the tourist information tramcar body has to be kept stocked up and the tram-shelter kept clean for picnickers! Our latest building, Axholme Stores, has window displays that require seasonal changes and showing the same films in the Ritz Theatre would become boring if they were never changed. And someone has to make the tea!

Our head office functions from a new room and we are at present listing exhibits for museum registration - another time-consuming job. We are hoping to build a new canteen for the public in the near future but this will depend upon the support of staff to run this amenity. Apart from a small amount of support from Action for Employment, volunteers do nearly all the work carried out on the site. Summer staff barbecues are not uncommon.

We are always willing to welcome new members to help in any of the above jobs. If you can't do it but would like to, then we can train you. There is always a shortage of drivers and conductors as well as of people to staff the shops and exhibition areas. So come and have a go. You may even enjoy it! Please feel free to give me a ring [01427 872374] to learn more.

This article was written by Brian Maguire.

How to get there:

Sandtoft Transport Centre is situated in open countryside some 15 miles northeast of Doncaster, in the Isle of Axholme. Their address is: Sandtoft Transport Centre Ltd, Belton Road, Sandtoft, Nr Doncaster, DN8 5SX