With four trams undergoing active projects the Fylde Transport Trust are certainly busy at the moment and updates have recently been given by the group on all four of these trams. The trams are, of course, Standard 143, Railcoach 279, Coronation 304 and Balloon 715.
The most straightforward of the trams is Balloon 715 which has been an active member of the operational heritage tram fleet in Blackpool for a number of years. It is planned that the tram will enjoy some paintwork alterations to take it back to the 1970s Green and Cream livery and in preparation for this its Fleetwood Tram Sunday side adverts have now been removed. When 715 is completed in its new livery style it will have period side adverts including one for Blackpool Zoo following an online poll.
The other tram currently under attention at Rigby Road is Standard 143 – probably the biggest job undertaken there since the heritage tram operation got going. The aim remains that it will be completed by the end of August with a launch date of 28th August set and there continues to have been plenty of progress on the restoration of the tram recently. It has been confirmed that 143 will be fitted with original high voltage lighting and bell circuits rather than the more modern 24v wiring and to fit this the upper deck ceilings have recently been stripped. The upper deck seats are also to be modified (the FTT believe they came off a Dreadnought) to bring them more in keeping for an enclosed Standard car. Meanwhile, the lifeguards and sanders are now fully fitted and functioning – another step towards the tram being completed. There is still much work to be done but it is good to see progress being made on the restoration of this tram which is sure to prove popular when it does return to the Prom.
Another tram also at Rigby Road is ever popular Coronation 304. A longer term project before it returns to the rails the compressor has now been removed from the tram and sent away to a contractor for overhaul. The air operated door rams have now been overhauled and are back at Rigby Road awaiting refitting whilst progress is awaited on the making of new suspension rubbers, again away with a contractor.
The final tram currently under attention is Railcoach 279 – with this at Brinwell Road where work is ongoing to bring it back to operational condition. Excellent progress is being made on this tram with the past week having seen attention turned towards the interior of the tram with Woodside Designs visiting the depot to complete the hardwood interior trim and other joinery work. The fabricated steel ends have also been removed for final welding and painting with protected primer. Once the cab floor is stuck down they will be refitted which will also allow for the permanent installation of the various cab equipment including controllers. Other work now completed is the framework for the side skirt panelling. The next major work to be targeted is the rewiring and to this end the FTT are awaiting the delivery of wiring conduit to allow further progress on the rewiring of the tram; this is being manufactured to rail safety specification but is specially made to fit down the framework of the Railcoach. Once this is received and installed work can get underway on a full repanel of the tram. With the rapid progress now being made on the restoration of this tram it hopefully won’t be too long before we can all enjoy a ride on an original shaped English Electric Railcoach once more!
* All the latest updates from the Fylde Transport Trust can be found on their Facebook page.