A tram which has been exposed to the elements for nearly 90 years has been rescued by the Amman Valley Railway Society (AVRS) with the long-term plan being the full restoration of the tramcar. The Swansea tram has been in use as a poultry shed since 1927 in the Black Mountains but forthcoming redevelopment works have meant that it has needed rescuing before it is lost forever.
At this stage it is not known exactly which tram it is but the AVRS believe that it started off life as a horse car when it was built in 1890. Withdrawal came in 1927 and it was then sold to a local farmer to provide storage and for a time became the home to some chickens. The existence of the tram has been known about for over 20 years and indeed limited restoration work took place a couple of decades ago in situ at Brynamman but circumstances at the time meant this soon stalled. Now with building work set to take place in the locality the chance has been taken to rescue the tram body with it being transported to the AVRS headquarters at Enterprise House, Castell Close, Llansamlett.
David Stonehouse, AVRS heritage director, said: “Although there is as yet no positive identification, we believe this is the shell of a horse-drawn tram, built around 1890. It’s probably built of oak or teak, which explains why it has survived so well. It is understood the seats were removed from the tram at some point, and are now being stored at Swansea Museum. We’re now planning to carry out full restoration, and who knows, one day we may see it running on tracks again in Swansea.”
The charity are now looking for help to both fund the restoration work and also to assist with the work required on the tram. Mike Smith, CEO of AVRS, said: “We need artisans or companies who could help with specific aspects of material refurbishment such as timber, metal and bronze fittings. It would also be really helpful to find a project manager who could oversee the restoration. In addition, we’ll be looking for local businesses, the public and possibly crowd-funding to help raise enough money to complete the work.”
* More details of the tram and how you can help either by donating or volunteering to assist with the restoration can be found from the dedicated website at http://www.swanseatrams.cymru.