Anyone in Blackpool on Tuesday 11th December may be forgiven for thinking they were seeing things as for the first time in over two years a Coronation Car was seen on the Prom with 304 the lucky tram as its VAMBAC equipment required testing. The tram’s owner – the Fylde Transport Trust – have been looking at the equipment on the tram for a number of months with a view to eventually returning the tram to service and this was the next step – although there is still a great deal of work to be done before passengers can enjoy the smooth ride on a Coronation once more.
304 ran on test between Foxhall and Pleasure Beach – with single line working in place between North Pier and Cabin for work to connect the Blackpool North extension to current tram line meaning it wasn’t possible to go any further north – with the purpose of these tests to test the VAMBAC acceleration and braking following the fitting of new batteries and to allow checks to its 24v inverter charger system.
The FTT are now due to draft a programme of works to overhaul various components including suspension and to look at fitting a VAMBAC bypass to operate the track brakes directly. A full repaint will also be undertaken before a return to service.
If you go to Blackpool for the Santa Specials over the next two Saturdays don’t expect to see 304 in action but this is an important step towards its eventual return to service, a return which is sure to welcomed by enthusiasts.