As reported previously, Stockport 5 is receiving some well-deserved attention at the Heaton Park Tramway this winter. The car has put in excellent service since it arrival at its new home in August 2011, but it is currently undergoing a range of cosmetic work and general repairs to improve its appearance. Here, an update is provided on what has been achieved so far.
The work on car 5 has turned out to be surprisingly extensive, with numerous items being removed for attention. These have so far included many small brass fittings, to allow them to be polished more thoroughly than could be done if they remained attached to the tram. Both destination boxes, which have been badly dented for many years, have been removed and repaired, and the top deck seat backs have been removed and sanded down ready for re-varnishing. The upper deck handrails have also been stripped down to bare metal for repainting, whilst other areas of paintwork around the windows are being touched-up. In addition, it is known that the body has suffered from leaking for a while and now the trolley mast has been removed so that the area which is letting water access the lower deck can be repaired. Finally, some mechanical attention is also being carried out, meaning that when it returns to service next year, it should be fit for many more years of regular use, as well as looking pristine again.
There is no doubting that Stockport 5 has been an extremely popular addition to the tram fleet at Heaton Park, and therefore it is very pleasing to see such work being lavished upon it. It is also pleasing that, with more trams in the running fleet than in past years, a tram is able to be withdrawn for an extended period and the service can continue unaffected. It may be remembered that 5 was the main service car at the park last winter, but much to the relief of volunteer crews, the more suitable Blackpool Brush car 623 has now taken over this role!