One of the biggest talking points of 2019 was the high-profile failure of Blackpool Standard 143 on the night of its launch in September. Now over 12 months later and Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours have confirmed that the defective motor which caused the failure is to be repaired with a view for the tram to return to service – after a full period of testing.
In a statement on the Heritage Tram Tours website it has been confirmed that a priority target upon the return of engineering staff to Rigby Road after they were furloughed at the height of the initial wave of the Coronavirus was to resolve the issues on 143. Described as an intermittently faulty traction motor, it had been sent to specialist contractor CPM Engineering in Manchester before the pandemic struck for investigations to take place.
These investigations found that a full rebuild and restoration of the motor would be required at the cost of £13,600. CPM Engineering have been contracted to complete this work although there have been delays as a result of everything that has been going on. It has been confirmed that these repairs will be funded by Blackpool Transport as part of their ongoing commitment to the tram which has included a £23,000 overhaul of the bogies and a full overhaul and repair of the other motor.
The statement says: “As Blackpool Transport had previously undertaken a £23,000 overhaul of the bogies, including a full overhaul and repair of the other motor by CPM as our contribution towards this project some years earlier, we felt we were honour bound to make good the newly failed second motor as part of our ongoing contribution towards the operational re-instatement of this lovely vehicle.”
When the motor is repaired and returned to Blackpool it will be refitted to 143 before a period of testing is undertaken and only then will the tram be cleared for service. It is particularly pleasing to hear that there will be testing this time as ahead of its previous launch last year very little if any testing did take place.
There is no timeframe for when this may be completed but at least this update does show that 143 has not been forgotten and at some point in the future it will return to the tracks.