Blackpool Railgrinder 752 has become the second tram to depart from the premises of the East Lancashire Railway at Bury within the space of just five days. Hot on the heels of Balloon car 708 – which moved to Sunderland recently – it was 752‘s turn to be moved on Tuesday 23rd July, with the works car making the short journey by road back to Heaton Park.
752 had languished in outdoor storage at Bury since August 2011, when it was moved away from the tramway to allow Stockport 5 to be accommodated on site; a move that has been a very positive one, as 5 instantly became the tramway’s star exhibit, with its open top deck playing a key role in the recent increases in passenger numbers. However, the railway museum has now indicated that the space occupied by trams is required for other purposes, hence the removal of both 708 and 752 in quick succession. The other Blackpool tram left behind at Bury, Balloon 702, will be staying put until later in the year, when it will hopefully move into the new depot at Heaton Park once this is completed.
752 was transported to the park in the early afternoon without incident, and was soon unloaded outside the existing depot building. There, it has now joined ex-Blackpool Vanguard car 7 and Leeds 6 on the depot approach track where all three trams now reside awaiting the new depot to be constructed. This will inevitably mean a lot of shunting whenever the tramway is open in order to extract the operational cars from inside the shed! Hopefully, the current situation will not last very long and soon these three trams, plus various others, will be securely housed at Lakeside. For now however, the presence of six complete trams at the park is a new record for this heritage tramway, and a total which is likely to be shattered before 2013 is over, cementing this as a monumental year for the Heaton Park line.