The future of Warrington 2 has now been decided by members of the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society, who voted to decide whether the car should be reconstructed as a fully enclosed car, or with open balconies, at an Extraordinary General Meeting held earlier this year. As well as determining the finished appearance of the tram, it was also agreed that it would be renumbered and will henceforth be known as Warrington 28.
It may be remembered that originally the Warrington car was to be restored in open balcony condition, until further research revealed that, unlike the majority of its class, the tram never actually operated in this form and went straight from being an open topper to being fully enclosed. A decision by the MTPS Board to present it in enclosed condition was met with disapproval from working members however, and as a result work on the project had stalled. It was subsequently decided to invite the entire membership to vote on how the tram should be restored at a meeting held on 26th March. A considerable majority voted by secret ballot in favour of the tram having open balconies, to fill a gap in the collection of the MTPS and to represent a typical Warrington tram rather than be authentic for the actual vehicle. However, a member suggested another idea: as the design of upper deck to be created will be based on available images of the long-lost Warrington 8, and fitted atop the restored lower deck of Warrington 2, the finished vehicle could be numbered 28. This met with approval at the meeting, and so the tram will be officially known as Warrington 28. No tram ever ran in Warrington with this fleet number, and so it was felt that this is a way of acknowledging the role of the tram which is no longer really representative of how car 2 once looked, but instead represents a generic tramcar from the town.
At the same meeting, concerns regarding the amount of available depot space at Birkenhead was discussed although this matter has since been resolved by placing Liverpool 43 to one side of the Pacific Road depot complex. This leaves space for up to eight other trams in the shed, so long as they are positioned very carefully, meaning that when Warrington 28 is finally completed it will fit in without any of the other cars having to move out. Therefore, suggestions to dispose of one of the two Hong Kong replica cars or place another of the collection on long-term loan to another tramway will not need to be pursued, at least for the time being.
The decision made on the future of the last surviving Warrington tram is likely to be a controversial one, but most importantly it was reached democratically and will allow work on this long-running restoration job to finally resume. Indeed, various items stored inside the lower saloon have already been cleared out and work has been undertaken on a number of small brass fittings, indicating that the project is now very much ‘live’ again.