The ongoing restoration of Liverpool ‘Baby Grand’ 245 by members of the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society has continued to make impressive progress, with a particularly significant development being the delivery of its completed underframe and truck to Birkenhead early on in 2013. Both have been under attention in Derbyshire for many months, but have now returned to the Wirral to be refitted under the car body.
There have been a number of delays to the planned completion of the car’s truck and underframe, which have been rebuilt almost from scratch. The original truck had bowed badly, and therefore all of the original bolts had to be removed and replaced due to the distorted shape. The underframe had also deteriorated badly since the tram last ran, despite it largely remaining untouched for most of its time since entering preservation, and again virtually all of the original material has had to be discarded to ensure that the finished tram is safe to carry the general public, and will hopefully remain in excellent condition for many years to come.
Following some shunting of the other trams housed at the Birkenhead tramway’s Pacific Road depot, the rebuilt underframe was unloaded and moved inside, in front of 245 itself which remains raised on trestles, ready for the time when the two main parts of the tram are reuinted. As yet, no anticipated date for the completion of 245 has been announced – probably a wise move as the Birkenhead line remains closed at the time of writing – but hopefully these problems can soon be resolved, and it won’t be too long before the MTPS are able to operate two very different Liverpool trams together at Birkenhead. Seeing an immaculately restored green ‘Baby Grand’ car in service with Liverpool 762 in its earlier maroon and cream livery will certainly be a splendid sight, and one that should make the current efforts being made to restore 245 well worthwhile.