The September 2013 issue of the East Anglia Transport Museum’s quarterly newsletter is a ‘restoration special’, focussing largely on some of the long-running projects which are keeping volunteers at Carlton Colville occupied. The front cover features a striking image of Lowestoft 14, which has made impressive progress in the last couple of years, and as well as an update on its rebuild, news on Glasgow 488 is also provided within.
14 has been occupying the work area of the museum’s tram depot since 2005, when the car was dismantled so that it could be completely rebuilt. Since then, the car body has been fully re-assembled and many smaller detail fittings have now been added, although some of these are only trial assembled at present. Preparing staircase handrails required a considerable amount of painstaking work, which was undertaken by a contractor using steel and brass. Meanwhile, assembling the vertical stanchion part way up the stairs has stretched the ingenuity of museum volunteers. Application of paintwork continues, with those involved in working on it determined to produce a high-quality result. Remedial work on 14‘s truck is also continuing, whilst the body sits on a former Glasgow accommodation truck.
Away from the museum, the upper deck wooden seats are progressing nicely, whilst the connected metalwork is being manufactured as funds permit. It is pleasing to see that one of the team at a contractor who have helped with ‘Project 14‘ has retired recently, but continues to assist with the restoration of the tram as a volunteer – clear proof that restoring vintage trams can be very addictive!
Whilst Lowestoft 14 takes shape, work has begun on Glasgow 488 at the Boston Lodge railway works in Wales. This tram – which was of course returned to the UK earlier this year after being repatriated from France – is currently split into three main sections: top deck, bottom deck and truck. The lower deck has now been moved into workshop itself, following removal of the lifeguards and saloon seating, with assistance from Ray Maidstone of the East Anglia Transport Museum. It is anticipated that much of the timber structure will have to be replaced, whilst one end (which was removed when 488 first moved to France) will require a full rebuild. Volunteers from Carlton will work on electrical equipment, the breakers and the compressor unit, whilst the Boston Lodge team get to grips with the car body.
The current work on both of these trams will add considerable value to the operational tram fleet at East Anglia, as well as taking some of the burden away from Blackpool 159 and London Transport 1858, which would benefit from some TLC themselves. The Glasgow Standard, which managed a working career of around 60 years, should be a valuable workhorse, whilst there is expected to be considerable local interest in the Lowestoft car when it finally enters service, especially as it will become the first open-top tramcar to run at the museum.