Blackpool 752, the Heaton Park Tramway’s dedicated works car, is back in action following some minor remedial attention, including the re-fitting of the large snowploughs at each end of the car on Tuesday 15th October. It will be recalled that 752 had spent two years in store at the East Lancashire Railway, but after being required to move recently, it has been decided to use the tram in connection with the current track laying work in progress at Lakeside Depot.
Despite being stored out in the open since August 2011, 752 has survived in surprisingly good condition, although its paintwork admittedly looks awful! However, and more importantly, the car is still in full working order and was therefore approved for use to assist with the transportation of equipment to the work site at the far end of the Heaton Park line. The tram was also used on 15th October to carry out gauging tests along the newly extended track between the Lakeside terminus opened in 2011, and the new depot itself, making it the first powered vehicle to operate over this short section of track and duly making history for the tramway. These trials were completed successfully, allowing work to continue on completing the first line into the new depot, which has now been laid all the way up to the rear wall.
At present 752 is having the protective wooden boards over its windscreens refitted following each session of use, these then being detached again when it is required to run. However, once it can be safely housed within the new depot this temporary precaution will no longer be needed and 752‘s operational flexibility can improve. It is also intended to give the tram a much-needed repaint, although recent research has cast doubt over whether it was originally painted red, as was previously believed. Plans to repaint the car in red have therefore been dropped, and instead it is expected to receive a two-tone green livery which it previously carried during the 1930s. It is hoped that this work will be undertaken over the coming winter, although with fairly major work on Hull 96 and Manchester 765 also planned, it remains to be seen how these plans for 752 will fit in with these other projects.