Although we remain under Covid restrictions there is still some good progress to be reported on two tram restorations in the north west – one in Blackpool and the other in Birkenhead. Those trams are Blackpool Railcoach 279 and Warrington 28.
We’ve reported on the restoration of 279 by the Fylde Transport Trust regularly over the past few years with much of the tram’s bodywork having been completed last year. One item which has yet to be fitted are the windscreens which have to be made specially for the tram. Wigan Aluminium were contracted to make the screens during 2020 but there were delays to their manufacture both down to the various lockdowns which have taken place and also other work the company had to complete on behalf of the NHS.
But good progress has now been made on the windscreens – four are needed of course, two for each end – and they are now approaching completion before being delivered to the FTT’s premises at Brinwell Road. The tram should be transferred to the Blackpool Transport depot at Rigby Road in due course where work will be completed ahead of it being loaned to Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours.
Meanwhile, a tram we haven’t reported a lot on recently is the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society’s Warrington 28. Being rebuilt as an open balcony car (which is why it was decided by the Society’s membership that the tram would receive the number 28 instead of its original number of 2) the project to restore the tram has inevitably stalled a little over the past year or so but the tram is really starting to take shape with the upper deck having been completed in late 2019/early 2020.
One part of the project which work has been able to continue on throughout the pandemic has been the truck. Alan Keef Ltd – well known in preservation circles for their work which has included the rebuild of several of the Volk’s Electric Railway vehicles – have been working on the truck and they are now in the final stages of this. It is hoped that the truck and motors will be returned to the Wirral Transport Museum during 2021 when the volunteers of the Society can start the final stages of the restoration.
That’s two trams in the north west which are in the process of restoration and we are sure that once completed they will both prove to be very popular additions to the ranks of tram preservation!