It has been a busy few days in Blackpool what with Coronation 304 out on test plus updates on some other projects in the Rigby Road workshops but that isn’t where it stops as the Fylde Transport Trust have also released an update on the restoration of Railcoach 279. Another tram which saw its restoration stall in 2012, work on 279 has resumed in 2018 thanks to the reinvigoration of the renamed Fylde Transport Trust.
279 – which last operated as 679 as flat fronted ex-Towing Railcoach – was moved from Rigby Road back to Brinwell Road earlier this year and since then excellent progress has been made on restoring the tram to its traditional English Electric Railcoach condition – complete with “pointed” ends.
The fabrication of the steelwork at one end has now been mostly completed (although still requires the opening cab doors to be done, and this is a job for a later stage in the project) giving the tram its easily recognisable streamlined shape once more. Other progress has seen the curved roof dome and destination box worked on by coachbuilder Stuart Craig. This work has been able to be done thanks to generous funding from Philip Higgs and Catch22Bus.
It has also been decided, following an inspection by Blackpool Transport staff, that the traction cabling on the tram will have to be fully replaced as the cabling in place doesn’t meet modern safety standards (it remains vulcanised rubber insulated). Three companies have been contacted by the FTT to undertake this work with a view for this to happen in January 2019. Once again this work is only able to take place because of the generosity of an individual, in this case Peter Watts.
All in all, excellent progress is being made on the restoration of 279 which should once again be seen in service in the near future.