On the morning of Wednesday 29th June, the body frame of London County Council 1 was returned to Crich Tramway Village. This follows a six week period undergoing expert attention by Garmendale Engineering’s workshop premises at Ilkeston, and represents a huge leap forwards in this massive restoration project.
During its time away from the museum, LCC 1‘s top rail (which had corroded to the point of being unfit for further use) has been replaced and the curved end frames used as patterns to create new steel sections. The lower deck body side panels have also been replaced, with one of the originals carefully removed and returned to Crich so that the original LCC crest can be preserved. It should be noted that the new panels differ from those they have replaced, as they had sections cut away when the tram was sold on for service in Leeds to enable it to negotiate some of that system’s tight curves. Now that it is to be restored to a more original appearance, this alteration has disappeared. The framework has also been cleaned, shot blasted and primed in red paint with hot riveting techniques used to fit the new panels to the restored frame.
Meanwhile, Dorlec Ltd. are working on the mechanical side of the project with work on the motors and gears underway. One of the axles of the tram failed an ultrasonic test and due to excessive wear, a decision has been taken to replace all four of its axles – a costly job, but this will certainly add to the life of the completed vehicle.
The Tramway Museum Society hope that the entire restoration of this iconic London tram will be completed in around two years time, which seems an ambitious target but whenever 1 joins the operating fleet at Crich, its entry into service is sure to be a grand occasion and a real cause for celebration for the many fans of London’s transport of the past.