Liverpool 245 comes back to life

Wednesday 26th March 2014 will go down as a landmark date in history for the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society, as for the first time, Liverpool 245 emerged into the open air under its own power to be photographed in the sunshine for the first time since arriving at Birkenhead. The tram has of course been the subject of an extremely thorough rebuild, largely undertaken by MTPS volunteers, and financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For many years, the Liverpool Museums group – who retain ownership of 245 – had expressed reluctance to see the tram restored to running order as they wished to preserve it in the condition it last ran. However, a realisation that its condition was deteriorating at a quite alarming rate, coupled with the impressive restoration work undertaken by staff and volunteers at the Birkenhead heritage tramway, led to the Liverpool streamliner being placed in their care. Restoring this derelict tramcar to its former glory has been a massive challenge, but one that has now been achieeved successfully, resulting in an absolutely stunning operational tramcar.

Having initially been run up and down the pit in the Taylor Street depot/workshop, where its restoration has been carried out, and following completion of all the transfers – including fleet numbers, legal lettering, Liverpool Corporation crests and lettering on the used ticket boxes - 245 was finally driven outside on 26th March. The car was then taken out for some test runs, and the opportunity was also taken to pose it with the MTPS’ other restored Liverpool tram, 762 giving the opportunity to see two Liverpool cars in contrasting liveries together at last.

Unfortunately the initial test running highlighted a minor mechanical issue which will require rectification before 245 can enter public service at Birkenhead, which is likely to delay its launch. However, the wait for this magnificent tram to carry its first passengers since 1957 should be well worth it, although the MTPS have wisely refrained from announcing when it will enter service until they are more confident of a date which can be met. In the meantime, our thanks go to MTPS member John Hewitt who has very kindly kept us updated on the final stages of the tram’s restoration, and was once again on hand to capture these historic images. A video clip of the tram running can also be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyqCQWf7oJw&feature=youtu.be

Liverpool 245 seen in all its glory on the approach track to Taylor Street depot at Birkenhead on 26th March.

245 in action on one of its first ever runs along the Wirral tramway, and indeed this was also its longest move under power for more than fifty years!

Back at Taylor Street, and the sun came out to show off the immaculate paintwork on 245 which has only recently been completed.

A mouthwatering sight which many of us have waited a long time to see - two Liverpool electric trams, 762 and 245, together at Birkenhead. (All photos by John Hewitt)

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4 Responses to Liverpool 245 comes back to life

  1. Colin Smith says:

    Fantastic! She looks beautiful. Well done guys. Can’t wait to come down for a ride.

  2. This is where I’m starting to feel slightly old (and I’m only in my early 20s), I remember when 762 was under restoration and seeing that on the rails for the first time – that too a mouthwatering sight.

  3. David Taylor says:

    A well posed shot of the two Liverpool cars. It was a good and smooth ride enjoyed by the few.come and see us in the Summer and join in the fun.

  4. James Robinson says:

    What a wonderful sight, two superb restorations pictured together from an under-representated system. Pleasant change from the incessant news about a certain other system !