This week is shaping up to be an exciting one for British tramway preservation, and the Lancastrian Transport Trust are playing a key part in this. The Trust have announced that work has now restarted on the reconstruction of English Electric Railcoach 279, one of their large collection of vintage Blackpool trams. The car is currently based at Brinwell Road and is now thought to be staying there for the time being, despite the LTT deciding not to continue with their lease of the premises.
279 was originally supposed to be restorted back to near-original condition with pointed cab ends in time for the Blackpool tramway’s 125th anniversary in September 2010, but sadly the work couldn’t be finished in time and since then work had ground to a standstill. Now however, the LTT have decided to resume work on 279 although it is not known what plans exist for its future, with Blackpool Transport seeming reluctant to use any of their trams on its new heritage service. This has not put off the LTT who have now sent away 279‘s steel bumpers and its trolley tower, so that they can be shot-blasted. Work is also progressing on the interior woodwork which is being prepared for re-fitting.
Although the once 45-strong class of English Electric Railcoaches live on under the guise of towing cars, OMO cars and even illuminated feature cars, none have remained in their original form and so hopefully 279 will become the first of the type to run in preservation at some point in the future. If Blackpool is no longer the place for it to run, then hopefully another tramway will be prepared to help bring this significant piece of tramway history back to life.