Blackpool 31 almost ready to go!

Pleasing news to report from the Beamish Museum is that Blackpool 31 will soon be making a very welcome return to passenger service. Since it last carried visitors at the museum back in February 2016, 31 has of course spent a very memorable year in Blackpool, but since its return has been confined to the depot undergoing some essential workshop attention.

Initially sidelined for re-tyring on its return to the North East in March 2017, 31 has actually received a fair amount of work. The controllers and motors have also been extensively overhauled, with the latter’s return earlier this week allowing the final reassembly of the bogies to be completed, and these were then taken for a test run around the tramway, hauled by Newcastle 114. This has seemingly been a success, and the Blackpool open topper is now expected to be back in use by the end of June – just in time for the museum’s busiest months!

Blackpool 31 has been much missed at the museum, particularly with Sunderland 16 also waiting for workshop attention as it awaits tyre turning. The operational tram fleet at Beamish so far in 2018 has comprised Newcastle 114, Oporto 196 and Sheffield 264 – meaning that the growing number of buses at the attraction have played a more significant role in transporting guests around the vast open-air museum site. Indeed, 196 has been operating for several months without its familiar roof advert panels, which were removed at the end of last year during a rather hurried visit to the works for some vital body work. However, with the school summer holidays fast approaching, it seems unlikely that this will be corrected just yet with all four serviceable trams likely to be needed for regular service this summer.

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