On October 31st, Blackpool ‘Boat’ 233 (605) ran under its own power for the first time since arriving at its new American home in San Francisco. Since the tram arrived just one week ago, a considerable amount of work has been undertaken on the tram which is now expected to go on display at the San Francisco Railway Museum on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd November, although there are no immediate plans for the tram’s entry into passenger service.
A huge amount of effort has been made to prepare 233 for trial running in a very short space of time by expert engineers at Muni’s historic streetcar works. The damage to the bumper and panelling at one end, sustained during the loading process at Beamish, has now been rectified and the affected panel has been painted in the correct shade of cream. For now this looks somewhat mismatched as the rest of the cream paint retains its minty shade, although it is believed that the car will be fully repainted using the authentic colours in due course, to match sister car 228. In addition to this, all of the seats have been repainted giving its interior a vastly improved appearance. The trolley tower has been cut down, with a significantly smaller version now fitted atop the central canopy to suit the lower overhead wires of the American line. The first test runs were then undertaken at Cameron Beach Yard, where unsurprisingly the tram ran perfectly, and further trials are due to take place on Friday 1st November before it goes on display at the museum this weekend.
Although there remains much sadness at the departure of this Boat car from the UK, these developments are a clear indicator of just how well looked after it will be at its new home, and its owners are obviously very dedicated to ensuring that the tram looks its best. Indeed, the rather shabby seats did let down its appearance when it was at Beamish, so it is pleasing to see that this has been dealt with so soon after its delivery.
A picture of 233 looking stunning in its new home can be seen at http://www.streetcar.org/blog/2013/10/toot-toot.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook