Centenary car 641 helps its sisters

Whilst its latest transformation is ongoing, preserved Blackpool Centenary car 641 has also made a significant and welcome contribution towards the upkeep of its class on its old home tramway. Its owners, the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust, have very kindly agreed to donate 641‘s compressor to the Blackpool Heritage Trust for re-use in one of their own Centenary cars, for which parts are not at all easy to obtain.

Whilst volunteers were busily applying coats of paint to the pioneer Centenary car as part of its makeover at the hands of local charitable group Horizon, a small team from the Rigby Road workshops were also present at Pleasure Beach, where the tram is currently displayed, on 18th August. Their mission was to extract its compressor and return it to base so that it could be used in one of their own fleet of Centenary cars – most likely 642 which has been out of use since early last year with unspecified faults and is believed to require some replacement parts. This task was not aided by the very un-summer like weather conditions, but soon enough the required components were retrieved and loaded up into a van for the short journey to Rigby Road.

The FHLT have recently confirmed that 641 is to remain in situ at least up to 2019, which is of some concern as the tram is already showing signs of severe deterioration, no doubt due in part to its current exposed location. The exterior, however, is being improved having been treated to a grey undercoat, followed soon afterwards by the first traces of purple paint – the trademark colours of the organisation behind its new guise. Whilst this situation is by no means ideal, at least offering useful parts free of charge to their neighbours will be of real benefit to the preservation of other Centenary cars in operational condition, and for this generosity the FHLT do deserve some credit.

The latest progress on 641's repaint to promote a local charitable group is seen, with the lower body now painted purple and some traces of the grey undercoat still in evidence. This work followed the removal of its compressor by BTS engineering staff. (Photo by Rob Bray)


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