CMCR9 – appearances summer 2014

CMCR9 at Onslow 2013, photo Steve Harris

CMCR9 at Onslow 2013, photo Steve Harris













North 3 [Pebble Mill’s first CM1, CMCR9] (possibly accompanied by Unit 23) is all set to appear at the Kelsall Steam Fair near Tarvin, Cheshire next weekend (22nd, 23rd June). Also in the offing are the Wilmslow Show (appearance to be confirmed) on Sunday, 13th July, Astle Park Steam Fair, near Chelford, Cheshire, on Sat/Sun 9th and 10th August and Shrewsbury Steam Rally, Onslow Park, on Sun/Mon 24th and 25th August. We hope to meet up with some of you (especially the crew!!) at one or other of these events.

Jerry Clegg

CMCR 9/ North 3 Outings 2014 – Jerry Clegg

Steve Harris with North 3 at Lymm, last year. Copyright resides with the original holder.

Steve Harris with North 3 at Lymm, last year. Copyright resides with the original holder.



North 3 Wins an “Oscar”

The last BBC Type 2 colour scanner still on the road, CMCR9/North 3, has won an award. The Duncan Neale Award for Excellence in Preservation has been awarded by the British Vintage Wireless Society to Steve Harris, the owner of the restored LO5 / Midland / North 3 OB unit CMCR9, which entered service in 1969. Steve’s self-effacing acceptance speech lavished praise on his small team of dedicated volunteers and their multifarious talents, but not mentioned was his own multi-skilled determination without which the North 3 Project would never have got off the ground.

Steve and his team spent the winter getting ready for the new show season and preparing new treats for the visitors. October saw Steve H  produce the first pictures for many years from a 44 year old EMI 2001 camera and December saw the first powering-up by Steve Jones of a very rare Philips PC80 camera originally from North 1/CMCR7. Richard Ellis, former Chief Engineer of Pye TVT Ltd has restored to full operation the original Pye sync pulse generators which he designed back in the 60s. This involved finding equivalents and replacing more than 100 discrete transistors.

Meanwhile, Eric Hignett has been building an amazing generator, powered by a Ford Transit diesel engine. In ‘proof of concept’ form, this was a real Heath Robinson affair on a trailer, with a motor-bike silencer and speed maintained by a modified cruise control for a car. It worked and the first run, apart from producing a tremendous amount of noise, delivered 40 amps at 230 volts, which powered three aircon units and other auxilliaries in North 3, all electronics being kept well away from this unproven beast for the test run. Eric went away to scratch his head, refine the design and try to make it produce less noise!

North 3 was booked at the time of writing to take part in the Cheshire Commercial Vehicle Run on 27th April starting at Lymm Truckstop on the M6. This is a trip of over 100 miles. The first public show this year was at the Llandudno Transport Festival on 3, 4 and 5 May, followed by the Kelsall Steam and Vintage Rally at Kelsall near Tarvin, Cheshire, on 21and 22 June.

Kelsall is a special event for ERF vehicles, originally manufactured at nearby Sandbach, as it marks the 25th anniversary of the enthusiasts’ club. Steve is hoping to take his latest acquisition, ex-BBC Type 7 scanner LO23, (an ERF E6) to display alongside North 3. Restoration has not yet started, so it will be just as it was when rescued from imminent destruction at a scrap yard following decommissioning by SIS.

Later in the summer we expect North 3 to be at the Wilmslow Show in July and the highlight of the season will be another appearance at the popular Onslow Park Steam Rally near Shrewbury over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Jerry Clegg

(This article is due for publication in Prospero’s June edition)


The following comment was posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook Page:

Keith Brook (Scouse): ‘Of all my memories of that scanner, I think having so much fun with the riggers was the best. They really were the salt of the earth.’

Tom O’Connor Roadshow – Toby Horwood

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.












Here’s me on The Tom O’Connor Roadshow (picture by Nigel Beaumont).  

This was at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. The camera is an LDK 5 working out of our big OB truck called CM1. This picture exemplifies the long hours of waiting that OBs sometimes entail.  I think at one point I did actually doze off. I just had the big wide ‘low cock-up factor’ shot, not very challenging. It was sometimes a good idea to bring along a book. Some crew members bought along golf clubs, badminton racquets and watercolour sets, so that their time off duty away from home could be made more useful. I remember going to a fringe comedy show one evening whilst we were in Cambridge for Tom O’Connor.

Toby Horwood

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook Page:

Mike Renshall: ‘North 3 did Falkirk and Blackpool (twice), all of which I was on the crew for.’

Alan Jessop: ‘That Schneider ZDU has the external v/f switch adaptor that I thought was only on LO6 cameras, was this CM1 then?


CMCR9’s Outings 2013 – Jerry Clegg

CMCR9 at Onslow, photo Steve Harris

CMCR9 at Onslow, photo Steve Harris














CMCR9 at Onslow, photo by Steve Harris

CMCR9’s cameras at Onslow, photo by Steve Harris














The restored heritage TV outside broadcast truck CMCR9 successfully completed all the summer commitments with its appearance at the Shrewsbury Steam Fair on 25th/26th August. The vehicle itself has run without a problem all summer long. This year’s shows were at Kelsall, Astle park, Wilmslow and Onslow Park with an additional private demonstration for the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club. Steve Harris and Steve Jones restored a little more of the ancient equipment to operation for each show and most of the sound desk is now working quite well, although the PPMs are still giving some trouble at the moment.

The Wilmslow Show took place in the middle of the July heatwave with the temperature reaching 30 degrees. Fortunately the show organizers provided us with a large 45 Kva generator which more than met our needs and enabled the air conditioning to be used for the first time. Having received some recent attention, the two aircon units over the cab worked faultlessly all day and people were coming into the scanner to cool off. This was very unlike the previous outing at Kelsall on 23rd June when folk were coming inside to get out of the cold squally wind!

The last three shows all took place in good weather which attracted lots of visitors, keen to see how we were getting on. A number of former staff visited us who had not been to see us before.  We were fortunate in getting excellent pitches for all the shows with plenty of room for our static display which included PC 80 and EMI 2001 cameras. The main problem now is that the power demand of the working equipment exceeds the power available from Steve’s 6.5Kva generator. He’s looking around for something more substantial!

Thanks to all those who sent reminiscences of the Anglsey Climb OB back in 1970, produced by Alan Chivers. What a pity we don’t see shows like that any more.

The only remaining scheduled public appearance of North3 this year is to an exhibition at Salford University Media Centre towards the end of October.

The pictures (from the Onslow Park Rally) are by Steve Harris.

Jerry Clegg

For more details about North 3 see:

For details about the Salford Technology Fair on 19th and 20th Oct, use this link:

Update on CMCR9

Prospero North 3 JC


















Copyright Jerry Clegg, no reproduction without permission.

This article from the BBC retirees’ magazine, Prospero, by Jerry Clegg gives an update on the OB scanner CMCR9  – Pebble Mill’s original CM1, and later Manchester’s North 3.

The scanner will be on display several more times this year, in case you would like to visit it, see the article for the details.