Work continues on returning Bluebird to service

In what has been volunteers week the workshops at Crich continue to be a hive of activity with three major projects ongoing with a view to returning more trams to the operational fleet. With Newcastle 102 and London Transport 1622 more recent arrivals into the workshop the long-standing, long-term and major project continues to be that of London County Council 1 – Bluebird – with major progress continuing to be made as it starts to reach a conclusion, although at this stage, rather sensibly one might say, no end date has been announced.

It is now very nearly five years since Bluebird was moved into the workshop for a start to be made on its restoration – Saturday 14th June 2014 was the actual date – and in the intervening period a lot of work has been done. To the untrained eye when a tram such as LCC 1 enters the workshop which looks like a fully restored tram (as opposed to the likes of trams such as Leeds 345, London United Tramways 159 which didn’t look in the same condition) you may think that very little work would be needed but far from it, in fact this has been a very technical and challenging restoration for the team in the workshop.

Over the past year progress has continued to move at a pace and it is very much looking like a tram again helped no end by the high quality repaint into its original Blue and White livery style when it was first introduced into service in the capital in 1932. Other progress being made in 2019 has seen glass fitted to most of the windows whilst ceiling panels have been reinstalled in the upper saloon. The front destination blinds and service number blinds were also put into place – these are replica versions of the originals and have been made by Roy Makewell.

When completed the tram is set to include an air operated step – the return of this feature which although originally fitted to the tram was removed when it was transferred to Leeds after withdrawal in London. A mock-up of this has been made and trial fitted to the tram to make sure everything is as it should have been. The interior of the tram is also been attended to with replica and accurate moquette being sourced. The workshop team have been working alongside Camira Fabrics – who are the modern day successor of the firm who provided 1’s original moquette in the 1930s, Holdsworth. The finished product will be slightly different to that carried on 1622 as research has found that they were not the same.

All of the work is only possible thanks to the generosity of the London County Council Tramways Trust who have funded the restoration.

With all the hard work going into the work on Bluebird we for certain can’t wait for the finished product – it is bound to be worth the wait!

Work is also continuing in the workshop on the Tramcar Sponsorship Organisation funded project of Newcastle 102 and that of London Transport 1622. As so often happens when a tram is lifted more work than expected has now been discovered as a required on 1622.


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