As reported previously, Paisley 68 has recently entered the workshop at Crich Tramway Village where work has already started on tranforming this tram ready for a starring role in a very special event later this year. To help mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of Glasgow’s extensive tramway – the last traditional system in a British city – the car is to be repainted in its latter day guise as Glasgow 1068.
With generous financial support from the Scottish Tramway & Transport Society, work has now begun on car 68 which will emerge from the works in orange, blue and cream. Of course Glasgow used different colours on the between-deck panels and so 1068 will become a blue route colour, making it different from the other Glasgow cars at Crich. Excluding the horse tram on static display in Glasgow, no open-top Glasgow tram is preserved (car 812 at Crich was originally open-topped but is preserved in fully enclosed condition), so 1068 will recreate a lost part of Scotland’s rich tramway history. The first traces of orange paint have already appeared on one dash panel, whilst the body sides have been rubbed down and primed.
The repaint of this tram will allow it to return to service later this year for the first time since 2009, when it was withdrawn due to wheel problems. It is planned that the car will initially run on a restricted basis, but it is hoped that a full truck overhaul will follow in the fairly near future, which would allow the car to rejoin the operating fleet on a regular basis. A close examination of the tram has revealed the bodywork to be in far better condition than was previously thought, which also goes in its favour and will make work on returning it to a serviceable condition much easier. Hopefully in the next few years, the running fleet at Crich will be enhanced by Glasgow 1068, which will hopefully give a trio of open top double-deckers in contrasting colours and shapes, with Southampton 45 already a regular performer, and London 159 expected to enter service this summer.
Following the recent repaint of Berlin 3006 in its original cream livery, it is pleasing to see another familiar tram at Crich being returned to service in a different livery and has almost certainly taken inspiration from well-received repaints elsewhere, including Leeds 6 at Heaton Park and Blackpool 31 at Beamish Museum. Hopefully these positive developments are a sign of more innovation to come at Crich, as they certainly give enthusiasts more reasons to make repeat visits.