Riding the Rails – Visualising Leicester’s Historic Trams

We thought we’d give this development video of the work the Digital Building Heritage Group is doing for our AHRC Connected Community partners the Leicester Transport Heritage Trust an outing on the blog to show where we are going with our approach to historic vehicle animation. In this case the vehicles and their operation are as important as the buildings and we’ve tried to give equal weight to both and a sense of what it may have been like to ride on the upper deck of one of these Edwardian open topped trams which were very popular in England at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Animating the vehicles in and around the London Road Tram Depot in Leicester is one of two outcomes of the co-production initiative we are working on with the Trust through an AHRC award. The other outcome is being developed by our colleague Dr. Eujin Pei who is currently preparing the digital files needed to create a highly accurate 3D printed model of one of the Trusts trams which will be based on archival material, the vehicle itself and examples of other similar vehicles at the Critch Tramway Village in Derbyshire, UK. The 3D printed model will be made in several parts using different 3D printing processes and materials to demonstrate the broad range of 3D printing capabilities which are used at De Montfort University. The finished model will be used for a number of purposes by the Trust including allowing visually impaired people to quickly gain an appreciation through touch of the form, shape and engineering detail of the Tram. This aspect of visitor engagement with museum exhibits and heritage outreach complements the more visually oriented work that the DBHG produces and is an area where we feel 3D printing has much to offer as well as the 3D printed models for “cased” static displays that the group produces. It does however mean that models for handling have to be more robust, particularly for young children, but the great thing about 3D printing is that if one gets broken you can just print another one. We’ll keep you posted on how this aspect of this project progresses over the next three months. In the meantime Steffan is putting the final polish on this animation sequence before it goes out in a High Definition HD form to the LTHT for them to use in their public outreach events.

About Douglas Cawthorne

Reader in Digital Heritage at De Montfort University.
This entry was posted in AHRC Connected Communities Projects, Industrial Architecture, Vehicles & Transportation, Video Fly Throughs. Bookmark the permalink.