The thing with all these Covid-19 restrictions is that it makes you yearn for a time when normality can return which is something to look forward to in itself but when you couple this with the anticipation of the conclusion of some restoration projects then there really is a future we can all look to with excitement. Possibly one of the most exciting projects, which has continued to make excellent progress throughout lockdown and beyond, is the recreation of a traditionally shaped English Electric Railcoach with 679 becoming 279 again and once we can report on excellent progress in the work to complete this tram.
The vast majority of bodywork jobs on 279 have now been completed at Brinwell Road – save for a few remaining minor jobs – and there can be no doubt that the tram is truly looking stunning! Recently bumpers, tail lights and coupler boxes were fitted to no. 1 end swiftly followed by window cappings.
The Fylde Transport Trust are now waiting for the electricians to return to finish the re-cabling jobs and the windscreens also have to be finished. The handbrake columns have been secured in both cabs and on the roof new fittings for string lights have been fitted to allow for this long-forgotten feature to be potentially returned to the Blackpool Tramway on an enclosed tramcar.
The tram is starting to approach the stage where very little additional work can be completed at Brinwell Road and thoughts are turned towards moving the tram to Rigby Road where the full restoration can be finished. This will be dependent on agreement between the FTT and Blackpool Transport on timings with the Covid-19 restrictions not yet having seen a return for heritage operations.
But however long it is before 279 can be transported across Blackpool and work finished there can be very little doubt that when it does return to service it will be a credit to all involved in its restoration.