Brush car 621 – back from the dead!

After a short spell in Blackpool’s Electrical Compound, Brush Railcoach 621 is now able to move around under its own power for the first time in several years. As reported previously, the tram is being restored to running order to mark the 80th anniversary of its class, with sponsorship from TRAMS magazine, and will regain its 1950s green and cream livery on completion of the current work.

621 only moved into the compound a few weeks ago but work has already progressed to the extent that it can now be driven around the depot area. It has been fitted with a pantograph and tower – although the tower will actually need to be repainted as it is green and to suit the chosen livery it will need to be changed to cream! After some essential checks, the car was driven from the Electrical Compound to the Fitting Shop on May 5th for work to continue. There, its bogies, brakes, resistors and sanding gear will be worked on whilst its traditional lifeguards will also be refitted. None of these jobs should be too extensive; indeed all early signs indicate that, despite not having run in passenger service since 2004, the car is in remarkably good condition and only an intermediate overhaul should be required. It is expected that this work will take roughly one month, and then 621 will move to the Body Shop where it will be re-panelled before receiving its fresh coat of paint. All of this positive news is a reminder of just durable these trams really are, and it is amazing to think that after many years of storage, this tram will soon to be fit to run again in return for a modest outlay.

Due to the sponsorship deal, photographs of 621 are generally being reserved for use by TRAMS magazine, but a special Facebook page has been set up to keep its fans informed of all major progress and this can be accessed here:

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11 Responses to Brush car 621 – back from the dead!

  1. Franklyn says:

    During the re-panelling would it be possible to uncover the green ‘standee’ windows and maybe reinstate the correct cove windows in the roof? It would be silly to redo it as it currently is only to need to do the work again later to more correctly fit 1950s condition.

    • Micky says:

      My understanding is that only the lower panels are being treated so no it wouldn’t! It is also a really big and very expensive job to do the roof windows. Not all the cars kept them under the panelling and its unlikely they would be intact if they were still there. they are stupidly expensive to get new ones made. Personally I’d be looking at a window fund and putting them back in some cars, not all because you weant to portray their whole life conditions but definitely some.

      • Andrew Waddington says:

        The window fund is a good idea – it would be good to restore them in 621, and maybe the costs could be shared with other organisations if, for example, the MTMS wanted to restore roof windows in 623 at some point and a small batch could be produced in one go to keep costs down a bit.

        A shame if only 621’s lower panels are being done – so much for a complete re-panel!

        • Ken Walker says:

          I would imagine that the time factor restricts how much can be done if the car is to be ready for July. Perhaps there is a plan to do upper panels and reinstate windows together when there is more time and more funding available. Of course it also depends on the extent of the sponsorship.

          • Andrew Waddington says:

            I have now received confirmation that 621 WILL be fully re-panelled before it returns to use!

            Also please note its relaunch is planned for September, not July. 623 will hoperfully debut in July for the Tram Sunday weekend though.

  2. Ken Walker says:

    Oh yes 623 is what I was thinking of for July. Blame old age!

  3. David Edwards says:

    A photo would have been useful

    • Gareth Prior says:

      Because of the nature of the sponsorship deal to restore the tram the only photos of the progress are available on the Facebook page detailing the project.

  4. Franklyn says:

    So am I right in thinking they’re going to do a full re-panel WITHOUT the cove windows? Surely that’s not correct for 1950’s livery, is it? If they can’t afford the roof windows then it would be better to choose a later livery which is more in keeping with the current structural condition of the car.

    • Mike says:

      That’s what the press release said. there is neither the time nor the money to do more work on it. The livery has been chosen as it is attractive and gives an impression of how the car will eventually look. Historic liveries on non authentic bodies have always been a feature of the Tramway (636 even getting the wrong wartime livery!) It is a Heritage operation NOT a museum.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      For once I partly agree with you – but as Mike says it is an attractive livery that will look good to the public. I think also we have to remember that the sponsor has presumably requested 1950s livery, and so that is what it will get. Possibly not my first choice either but I’m not paying so I can live with it!

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