Whilst all eyes are on the continuing work to bring Standard 143 back to operational condition ahead of its official launch into service on Monday 23rd September there are also other projects continuing in the background as preparations are made to provide an even more varied selection of trams. This includes two Coronation Cars, one of which remains in Blackpool but the other is in Heywood where it has been receiving attention to its bogies.
But before we get onto the Coronations we start off with the tram of the moment – Standard 143. Latest progress has seen the balcony end framing and panelling approaching a conclusion and the upper deck seating is now also being fitted and fixed. The decorative lining out of the tram is scheduled to be completed by Buchanan and Pitts from the Isle of Man in the week commencing 16th September with other paintwork due to take place before their visit.
Coronation 663 was moved from Rigby Road to Riley & Son Ltd in Heywood near Bury in late 2018 for a start to be made on an overhaul to allow this tram to run once more (it last ran in 1974). Work is underway on its bogies and it has proven to be quite a task as they are life expired with only the bogie frames able to be reused (and even those needed extensive work). New nuts, bolts, bushes and pins have had to be manufactured and it is necessary for new steel mono-block wheels to be ordered after the creation of a CAD drawing of the original Maley and Taunton wheelsets. These alone cost £15,000.
And that’s not all on 663 either as replacement rubber suspension units are required which will include 32 rubber blocks and 16 rubber sandwiches which have to bolt on either side of each wheel. And if that’s not enough the traction motors (all four of them) are with a contractor for evaluation. This is very much a long-term project but it is good to see progress being made on returning the tram to the tracks.
The other Coronation Car in the news is the Fylde Transport Trust’s 304. The FTT have recently been quoted £3,160 for a complete overhaul of both the electrical and air side of the Maley & Taunton compressor with a 3-4 week delivery time once ordered. A decision will now be made on how to progress with the project as the FTT have bene heavily involved in other projects recently and it is likely to be necessary for another fundraising appeal to take place.