Lowestoft 14 has been undergoing restoration at the East Anglia Transport Museum since 2005 and in the last few years, significant progress in returning this tram to operating condition has been made. Since work commenced the tram has rarely, if ever, emerged from its spot at the back of the museum’s tram depot – but that changed on Sunday 27th May, when 14 was brought outside for a very special event.
On this date the museum celebrated the fortieth anniversary of its opening to the general public, with Blackpool ‘Standard’ 159 expected to take centre stage as the first tramcar to operate there. However, it was completely upstaged by the surprise appearance of Lowstoft 14 which was towed out into the sunshine and displayed in front of the depot where it normally resides. This was a highly appropriate way to mark this occasion as 14 was the first vehicle to be preserved by local enthusiasts who went on to create the excellent transport museum that we have today. Despite this, the car has never run at the museum and so when restoration work is eventually completed, this will be the first chance to ride on it since the Lowestoft system closed in the 1930s!
The tram is already looking fantastic and appears to be almost complete structurally, with the lower deck fully panelled and primed, as well as being mounted on its complete underframe and truck. Railings around the open top deck are also starting to appear, along with some more advanced touches such as headlight casings which ensured that 14 looked very striking for its day of glory. Work will now continue on rebuilding this tram, and although no timescale has been announced, recent views suggest that a few more years of hard work could well see the car back in service. Anyone who has seen the last tram to be restored at East Anglia, Blackpool VAMBAC Railcoach 11, will know just what the volunteers at the museum are capable of and will no doubt be looking forward to the day when an immaculate open top tram can join the running fleet at Carlton Colville!