Glasgow 1245 restoration continues

The restoration of Glasgow 1245 – a 1937 built Coronation car and reputed to be the last tram in Glasgow – is continuing at Summerlee with recent progress seeing the completion of the restoration of the tram’s motors.

1245 arrived at Summerlee – which let’s not forget is Scotland’s only heritage tramway and up until last year was the only operating tramway north of the border – in 2003 and after a period of storage restoration of the tram commenced during 2012. The tram was split into three main components in 2013 (upper deck, lower deck and bogies) and since this time good progress has been made on the extensive restoration of a tram which has not turned a wheel in anger for many decades.

1245’s 4 x 35HP 600v motors have now been restored and extensive work has also been completed on the two bogies. Extensive repairs have also been completed on the chassis and work is also being progressed on the refurbishment of the lower deck.

A modern controller is now required for the tram and the Summerlee Transport Group have recently been in contact with Wabtec (as a supplier) and Blackpool Transport (to view their heritage fleet of converted thyristor controlled trams) to progress further with this stage of the restoration.

The restoration of 1245 is still very much a long-term project but the small Summerlee Transport Group are making good progress so far with the work and are now seeking further support with funding to complete the work.

The tramway at the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life operates on 361 days a year (only being closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and 2nd January) with one tram normally running. This is taken from the operational fleet of Lanarkshire 53, Dusseldorf 392 and Glasgow 1017 with the German tram being an access tram for disabled visitors. If you are ever in the area why not pay a visit to this hidden UK tramway gem.

* A Facebook page has been created detailing the restoration of 1245 and can be found at

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11 Responses to Glasgow 1245 restoration continues

  1. John says:

    Modern control? This implies the car is not being restored ‘as was’ ? Have I missed something or was the equipment not there to restore?

  2. A. D. Young says:

    The book “The Glasgow Tramcar” by Ian Stewart is to Glasgow trams what “Leeds Transport” by Jim Soper is to Leeds trams. It records 1245 as having entered service in May 1939. Far from being the last car in Glasgow (and by that I assume you must mean the last car to run in Glasgow, since the museum cars retained by the city have never left it for a day since then), 1245 was withdrawn from service in June 1962, some time before the Glasgow closure of September 4th, 1962, the separate Clydebank closure of September 6th, and the final shunting movements on Albert Drive in January and February of 1963. These latter movements were made primarily to position cars intended for the Glasgow Museum of Transport in their appropriate places inside the former Coplawhill paintshop that became the museum’s first venue. Additionally those cars destined to be sent elsewhere were also shunted around on Albert Drive at this time.

  3. Phill says:

    Does seem a shame they’re not keeping the EP gear. The tram was preserved complete so it must have had it. Whilst it is a fiddly pain in the arse of a thing to overhaul and service compared to modern electronics, but is a huge part of the trams character. Having said that, it is their tram. I just hope that the conversion is done sympathetically so it could be reversed, the EP gear is stored safely and they are fully aware of the can of worms about to be opened regarding safety cases and suchlike!

  4. Peter says:

    I must agree with Phil on this matter. Having been involved with the overhaul of the EP unit on 869 I don’t see the problem with keeping the EP unit on 1245. Its going to sound VERY strange not to hear the EP unit in operation, to be replaced with the whine of a chopper. I imagine that there will be significant issues with intergrating it into the tram ie how will electric breaking be implemented (not done in Blackpool) plus interlocks with the air brake system to overcome. Must be cheaper ot overhaul the EP than buy a new system.

  5. Keith Patten says:

    Keith overhauled the EP contactor unit when it was at lowestoft renewing all parts that we found worn out ie. valves ,copper contacts,and total rewiring all the unit and controllers right through the car. All track brakes air and magnet worked after refurbishment. We tested everything and run the car at the Museum every weekend under its own power. It was a mystery to us however if this car ran in Glasgow how the compressor that was on the car ever worked as it needed a total rebuild ,big ends, little ends,liners,piston rings,and also the motor itself.So where did the original compressor go, and where is it now? I also re-gauged the wheels at lowestoft. The team at Summerlee are doing a grand job and we visited them in October 2014.

    • Phill says:

      I hadn’t realised it had ran in preservation. One thing I heard said yesterday, this isn’t an April fools wind up? Are they going to repaint it in purple with pleasure beach ads?

    • Hi Keith thank you for your kind words. I was on holiday when you visited Summerlee last October and am one of three in the group who are refurbishing the four motors for 1245 which are all running very nicely thank you. As for the quality of the workmanship on them I would say they are 100 times better than they were when they left the factory in 1937/8 due to modern insulation materials and high quality flameproof cables. Due to our acute lack of funds we are unable to refurbish the EP which has various parts missing including the compressor unit plus its motor. It would seem that on its long journey back to Coatbridge it has been well and truly cannibalised. If the armchair experts who seem to be in great abundance could dig deep into their pockets we would get along much faster. Hope you enjoyed the visit and your mementos of the tram days.

  6. Steve says:

    Am puzzled over the EP issue, surely if all the museums pooled their resources and experience a new EP set could be made for the car, it could also be useful for 762 as I understand that also had EP at one time.

  7. A. D. Young says:

    Doesn’t the Glasgow Transport Museum in its present incarnation still have an EP set from 1256, admittedly with auto-acceleration gear fitted?

  8. George Drain says:

    While we would love to restore the original EP controller, to keep the purists at least content, however we have taken a conscious decision to make this change, as we know the EP was prone to failure and on occasion could burst into flames.

    The cost to install a modern controller far out ways the cost to rebuild, repair or renew the EP with all the health issues and operational problems that go with it

    The tram arrived at Summerllee in a sorry state many years ago with the compressor missing, we are unsure what happened to it.

    What we in the group and the museum don’t want is for the paying public and indeed enthusiasts to arrive at Summerlee Museum and find this tram (in its original Glasgow colours not PURPLE ) sitting in the workshop waiting to be repaired.

    We would prefer the public enjoy and use the tram on every occasion the tram is required to run. If that means modern efficient technology is used to meet that requirement then so be it.

    The originality of the look and feel of the original tram will still be there, the only change will be a modern efficient controller that will ensure an effective operational life for the tram.

    Please do not be surprised if some of my colleagues on the 1245 project also respond. Many thanks

    • Phill says:

      First, I apologise if I’ve come over as a pain, if you could send me details of how to donate I’ll put a bit in by way of apology. I was asking out of curiosity. I’d always thought electronics would be as expensive as EP gear, and hadn’t realised it had been so heavily stripped. Without wishing to be a smart arse, what will be done about brakes? Will it have a modern compressor for the airbrakes or some other system (e.g. regen, rheostatic?)
      One of the other commenters is, I believe, the man who revived 762s electronics (hence the purple livery joke, maybe a bit too niche) and is currently sorting out 869’s EP gear.
      Either way, no doubt nothing will be done to stop it ever being put back to EP in the future. If chopper control gets another Coronation running, fantastic. I’ll be interested to see how it is done.

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