In a very welcome act of great generosity, the Tramway Museum Society have provided two tramcar trucks to other preservation organisations, to assist with the restoration of two very special trams. Both of the trucks had been housed at the National Tramway Museum’s reserve store at Clay Cross for many years, prior to being extracted and moved away earlier this month.
A large pile of trucks and other equipment was kept in the brick building at Clay Cross along with two Blackpool trams with near mythical status: OMO car 5 and the much-loved Dreadnought 59. It took a great deal of planning and hard work by staff and volunteers to extract the two required trucks, along with a third which has been earmarked for a third restoration project, and was made more accessible so that it can be moved on when needed. Scott’s Heavy Haulage also came to provide help, bringing their specialist lifting equipment which was used to place the trucks onto low loaders for transport to their new homes. It was also necessary to extract OMO 5 from the shed, with temporary rails laid out in front of the building so that it could be gently rolled out into the daylight, giving sufficient space to maneuver the valuable trucks outside.
One truck was moved by lorry to Birkenhead, where it is to be used by the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society to complete the restoration of the sole surviving Warrington tram. The second made an even longer journey to Brighton, after being acquired by the Tram 53 Group to enable the restoration of another unique tram, Brighton 53. Additional items accompanied it in transit, including some circuit breakers, controllers and a compressor, all of which should prove invaluable in returning the Brighton car to its former glory. Both of these trucks originate from Lisbon, and were part of a large contingent of bits and pieces acquired by the TMS some years ago.
It is always good when tram organisations help each other out, and in this case these parts will complete two trams which have been stored for many years and lacked running equipment. Thanks to the TMS, there will be no need to replicate long-lost trucks for Warrington 28 and Brighton 53; which would have been a hugely costly issue which could easily have made their completion financially impossible for their respective owning groups.