Following the announcement that the Lancastrian Transport Trust would be vacating its leased premises at the Brinwell Road industrial site in Blackpool, further negotiations have taken place resulting in this decision being reversed. This means that the trams residing there have been granted a further stay of execution and won’t be forced to endure a period of outdoor storage. More surprisingly though, the number of trams housed there increased by one on Friday 20th April, when Blackpool ‘Standard’ 143 returned!
Those of you who follow the Blackpool tramway scene closely will no doubt be familiar with 143‘s sad story, but here is a re-cap: in 2002, the remains of this tram were donated to the LTT by Blackpool Transport, and moved to Brinwell Road. There it was extensively rebuilt, with the eventual aim being to run it in service at Blackpool alongside sister car 147. Work to restore the tram to its original appearance with open balconies and without driver’s windscreens was costly and the completion date was moved back several times, but in August 2010 the car was finally transported to Rigby Road. It was intended that Blackpool Transport would finish the restoration to enable 143 to star in the tramway’s 125th anniversary celebrations the following month; however, the tram still needed a considerable amount of work doing to it before it could carry passengers, and the company were unable to have it ready in time due to the need to commission other visiting trams for the special events. As a result, the 143 project was shelved and despite hopes that it would be completed at Rigby Road, the car has sat untouched in the depot ever since. Hopes that it may be included in Blackpool’s heritage fleet have now also been dashed amidst claims that it may require more work than was previously thought.
With seemingly no propsect of the outstanding work on 143 ever being completed at Rigby Road, the LTT took the decision to return it to Brinwell Road, and it was duly collected by Scott’s Heavy Haulage on April 20th. The Trust now hope that they will able to finish work on 143 themselves, and perhaps if Blackpool Transport no longer wish to operate this tram then it could end up at one of our museum tramways instead. Alternatively, the Standard car would make an excellent exhibit should the LTT’s plans to develop their own transport museum at Thornton Gate come to fruition.
This writer is unwilling to side with or against Blackpool Transport in regard of their decisions regarding 143, but obviously it will be hoped that before too long, this attractive tramcar will be able to return to passenger service, be it in Blackpool or elsewhere. Although its departure from Rigby Road will be disapointing to many people, this is probably what’s best for the tram, which should always be the focus.