While engineering staff are now back at Rigby Road in Blackpool preparing the trams for a return to the tracks at the August Bank Holiday weekend as well as continuing the work on the overhauls of the illuminated feature cars there is also progress being made away from Blackpool Transport’s facility. We’ve heard a lot about Railcoach 279 over the past few months but good progress is also being made on the restoration of Coronation 663 which is at Riley & Sons Engineers in Heywood.
The last update we had on 663 was in August 2019 when work was underway on the bogies and now 12 months later that work has been completed and the bogies are back under the tram again. It was late 2018 that 663 was first moved to Riley & Sons near Bury and the first big task has been to fully overhaul the bogies, with the tram having last run in 1974. The bogies have been fully rebuilt with new components and with this work completed they have been returned under the tram once more.
There still remains a lot of work to be completed before 663 can return to Blackpool and into service with the next task to include underframe repairs around the centre platform and the overhaul of the four motors. The tram will also need a full rewire and refurbishment of the bodywork.
Whilst on the subject of rewiring, Railcoach 279’s rewire has now been completed in full, although this did overrun slightly. This means the electricians will have to return to complete the fitting of the main switches and fuses to the cab panels. Elsewhere on the tram further undercoating has been completed and the reassembly of no. 1 controller been finished by a FTT volunteer.
Two trams which are on the road to return to the tracks in Blackpool in the future.