Leeds horse tram prepared for painting

The ongoing project to restore Leeds horse tram 107 has not been featured on British Trams Online for several months, but it’s now time to change that with an update on recent progress. A lot of recent work on this tram has focussed on the seats, but soon a landmark event will take place as its original primrose, white and brown livery will reappear on the body panels.

Suitable paint has now been obtained, arriving at the work site earlier this month. Meanwhile the body of the car is undergoing preparation for painting, with it being rubbed down and filled in readiness for this momentous achievement. Some of the more visual touches are also being made internally, with the woodwork being rubbed down ready for varnishing, and the running gear has been painted. Dash panels, which were delievered early in 2012, have been primed and really do improve the appearance of 107, which is looking much more tram-like than it did a few short years ago.

The all-important seats have taken up a lot of volunteers’ time of late and very visible progress is being made. Trial fitting of the wooden bench seats inside the lower saloon has been undertaken and patterns for the upper deck seat frames have now been approved for production. An issue was found with the window ledges which were drooping slightly at each end, but thankfully this was resolved with fairly minimal effort. A huge amount of research has gone into small details such as the internal trim which will go a long way towards making this tram a stunning museum exhibit once it is completed.

Looking ahead, plans are afoot for 107 to go to the Middleton Railway in Leeds for completion of its restoration, as the shed it currently resides in is only slightly larger than the car body, meaning it would be impossible to assemble the truck and upper deck at the current location. A haulage firm have already visited the tram to measure it with a view to moving it later in the year, with a date of August being mentioned. Ultimately it is expected that the tram will travel to Crich, when it will hopefully become the first double-deck horse car to run in passenger service at the National Tramway Museum.

For any readers not familiar with Leeds 107, the tram is the only surviving Leeds horse car and it is being restored by members of the Leeds Transport Historical Society – who have previously supported the preservation of other vehicles from the Yorkshire city. For further information on the restoration project, please visit http://leedshorsecar107.squarespace.com/ where you will find regular updates on the horse car’s progress.

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