Railcoach restoration resumes

A slightly surprising development at the Lancastrian Transport Trust’s leased premises at the Brinwell Road Industrial Estate on the outskirts at Blackpool, involves English Electric Railcoach 279. This tram has been undergoing restoration to near-original appearance since 2009 having ran with flat ends as an Ex-Towing car for many years, but work had stalled as the LTT’s priorities changed. However, work has recently been restarted on the project.

Recent work on 279 has largely been focussed on its underframe, which has been extensively cleaned in order to remove almost 80 years of sand, dirt and rust accumulated from Blackpool promenade! Once this stage of work is complete, a red oxide undercoat will be applied to the underframe to offer it some protection, and this will be followed by the top coat. After this, attention will turn to 279‘s bogies which the tramcar body was removed from prior to its departure from Rigby Road early in 2009. These will need to be steam cleaned before they can be re-fitted. Meanwhile, some smaller tasks are also taking place internally – such as the drilling of window cappings ready for fitting. Many of these jobs have been made possible thanks to the efforts of local volunteers, including several new recruits, and it is excellent to see that so much support for the Trust exists in what has been an extremely difficult year for them.

Whatever your views on the LTT might be, the aim to recreate an English Electric Railcoach is certainly a very worthy cause and hopefully the recent progress will attract further support. What will happen to the tram when restoration work is complete, however, remains to be seen but it would be highly appropriate if 279 could return to service in time for the 80th anniversary of the Blackpool streamliners, which would be a great achievement.

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