One piece of news from the winter period which has gone unreported on British Trams Online – at least until now – was the arrival of Graz 210 at the North East Land, Sea & Air Museum late last year. Having been in secure storage for many years, the tram has now joined most of the collection of the North East Electrical Traction Trust at the Sunderland site and has also become the first non-Blackpool tramcar to be housed in their depot.
Graz 210 has not had the best of times since arriving in the UK. Originally exported for preservation at the West Yorkshire Transport Museum, latterly Transperience, the tram never operated there and indeed, the attraction closed down before its turn for restoration came. After finding itself in private ownership it later transferred into the care of NEETT, along with the Budapest twin set which later returned to its country of origin. The car has now taken up residence in their tram depot along with Blackpool cars Centenary 647, Twin set 674+684 and Balloon 721. Of these, only 721 is currently the subject of any restoration work: cosmetic attention focused on the interior has recently resumed, although it is unclear what future plans exist for the car, which was at one time earmarked for a loan to the Heaton Park Tramway, although this seems to have been quietly forgotten about. The Trust has also recently acquired a number of buses which have taken up residence in their depot, suggesting a change of direction – and maybe a new name would be appropriate if this is to pave the way for the organisation’s future?
Incidentally, 210 is of course not the only Graz car in Britain; similar car 225 is currently housed on a site near Brighton in the ownership of the Tram 53 Society, having been donated to them by the Summerlee museum after being deemed surplus to requirements following several years of operation in Scotland.