The Fylde Transport Trust have announced today that the launch of restored Blackpool Standard 143 is due to take place on the evening of Wednesday 28th August this year. No detailed information has been provided as to what form the event will take, but as the entry into service of this tram has been awaited for so long, it should be an occasion to remember, even if the date chosen seems a bit random!
143 last ran in its final guise as Engineering car 753 back in 1990 when it was severely damaged by fire, although for its last runs with passengers you have to go right back to the 1950s – and so a ride on this tram is sure to be in great demand! Extensive restoration work undertaken some years ago stalled when relations between Blackpool Transport and the Lancastrian Transport Trust turned sour, but 143 is currently in the workshops at Rigby Road for completion of this project. Sufficient progress has been made for a planned launch date to be chosen, with 28th August set to be the day that 143 finally makes its return to service. Not only will this be hugely significant for 143 itself, but it will be the first time an open-balcony Standard car has run in Blackpool since 1985, when sister car 40 paid a visit from Crich for the famous tramway Centenary celebrations. 143 will be the only Standard car restored in original unvestibuled condition, and is sure to be a real head-turned on the promenade!
After many hurdles, it seems that the end of 143‘s long-running restoration is finally in sight. This is thanks to the co-operation between Blackpool Transport and the tram’s owners, the Fylde Transport Trust (previously LTT), whose finance has made the completion of the work possible.