This winter has already been a busy one at Rigby Road Depot’s heritage tram workshops with Boat 230, the Frigate and the Western Train all already seeing attention. In addition the major restoration of Balloon 704 is continuing and there is also some news to report on Standard 143 in this latest update.
Let’s start off with 143 as that is the tram which it is most anticipated when it may return to the rails. As is widely know the fault with the tram was with its motor and this has now been removed from the Standard Car and sent away for repair. The external contractor will now set about completing repairs on the motor before it is returned to Blackpool, refitted to the tram and in time we should see the tram back on the Prom – hopefully this time for a bit longer than last time!
Meanwhile, the major project in the workshops now – and for the foreseeable future – is that of restoring Balloon 704 to 1950s condition when it will also be renumbered 241. Recent progress has seen cross braces fitted to the interior to strengthen the body and the new underframe is also currently under construction.
Since our last look at the workshops the Western Train has also now moved in for attention in preparation for the replacement of its bulbs, where it has joined the Frigate. Both illuminated vehicles should look as good as new in time for the 2020 illuminations!
Away from Rigby Road and the Fylde Transport Trust are also working hard on restoring Railcoach 279. The controller is currently under overhaul and templates have been made for the side cab side windows – with the complicated curve required for these.