As milestones in the restoration of a tram go they don’t get much more significant than the first runs under its own power – and that is exactly what happened for Bluebird at the Crich Tramway Village on Friday 22nd April. London County Council 1 has been under restoration since June 2014 and with work progressing well it has now reached the stage where it can be shunted without the need for something else to provide the power.
As mentioned in the first paragraph the restoration of 1 first got underway in 2014 with it being moved into the Workshop at Crich on Saturday 14th June. Over the past almost eight years a lot of progress has been made in the restoration and to the casual observer the most obvious has been losing its later London Transport red livery for its original blue and white style (which is why its got its nickname of Bluebird).
Recent updates on the restoration include work on the wiring which is now nearing completion with the upper deck paintwork almost finished. There remains further work to be done on the lower deck external paintwork as there does on the painting of the trucks whilst the upper deck paintwork requires final signwriting. Internally the upper deck has seats in position (with protective coverings in place) whilst there remains much work to be done on the lower deck. Doors have been fitted as have the folding steps with lifeguards also in place.
Bluebird was seen out in the open over the weekend of 9th/10th April when it was shunted by the Blackpool Electric Locomotive to allow the new underframe of Blackpool 298 to be moved into the Workshop. But then less than two weeks later and it was possible for 1 to move under its own power for the first time during the restoration. It only moved up and down the depot yard a few times but no problems were experienced during these runs which is always a good sign.
After this excitement work on the restoration will continue in the Worksop. The wiring is almost complete and once that is done attention can be turned to completing the lower deck interior. And there are bound to me many more exciting days to come for Bluebird in its restoration!
- A video of the moves is available on the Crich Tramway Village Facebook page at https://fb.watch/czCShpuL0A/