Work to overhaul the bogies of two distinctive semi-enclosed single deck trams in different UK museums is taking place this winter. Whilst work on Manchester 765 gets underway, the similar attention being lavished upon Oporto 273 is now rapidly approaching completion, bringing this car a step closer towards being able to carry passengers again.
Having been out of action since its unsuccessful visit to Blackpool in 2010, it was pleasing to see Oporto 273 move into the Crich workshop in September 2013. Since then, no time has been wasted in carrying out its ‘eight-year overhaul’ as well as repairs to some issues with its bogies which led to its withdrawal from service after returning home. This overhaul has been carried out in a very short space of time, and impressively 273 was re-trucked on Saturday 21st December, just three months after work began! This must be one of the fastest overhauls tackled at Crich in recent times, probably helped along by the fact that 273 has always been a low mileage car since being restored, so presumably some of its mechanical parts are not too worn. Hopefully this attractive tram can now look forward to a happier career in the years ahead, and with the increased level of co-operation between museums of late, maybe one day it could even be reunited with its little brother, Oporto 196 at Beamish?
Meanwhile at Manchester, work began the same weekend on preparing Manchester 765 for what is likely to be its most thorough mechanical overhaul for over thirty years! The tram has provided sterling service at Heaton Park since being restored, as well as enjoying periods of operation at Crich, Blackpool and Beamish, but is now set to be lifted for its trucks to be overhauled. The tram will also receive some other remedial work which should ensure that it will be fit and active next summer, as 2014 will its 100th birthday year. In the longer term it is likely that further work will be required but this should extend 765‘s working life and help it to look its best for this momentous occasion. So far, various fittings have been removed from the car, including its lifeguards, so that it can be jacked up for work to get seriously underway early on in the new year.
Metrolink have very generously offered to support the project with a donation of £1,500 towards the work which has been gratefully accepted by the Manchester Transport Museum Society, again showcasing the excellent relations being built between this organisation and various other operators and museums.