Friday, 20 April 2012

Standard 143 returns!

Following discussions with Blackpool Transport, Standard car 143 has today returned to the LTT's Brinwell Road depot for restoration work to be completed. 143 had moved to Rigby Road back in August 2010 for completion of BTS' pledged commitment to the project. However, the preparation work required for the tramway upgrade and the realisation of the extent of heritage tram operation has resulted in the project to complete 143 for operation on the tramway being shelved.
In recognition of the original agreement and as an act of goodwill, Managing Director Trevor Roberts donating the overhauled trucks and motors to the LTT. Following this positive step, arrangements were made to return 143 to Brinwell Road for completion work which will allow the Heritage Lottery Fund to "sign-off" the project which is a stumbling block towards our application to HLF for the proposed Thornton Gate project.
Although the reality of 143 not realising its original aim of returning to operation on the tramway is of course disappointing, we would like to place on record our thanks to Blackpool Transport for overhauling the trucks and motors which is a significant contribution to the project. The removal of 143 leaves Brush Railcoaches 624 & 632, Balloons 704 & 715, Coronation 304, OMO 8 and Rocket 732 stored at Rigby Road depot.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Staircase stanchions trial fitted

Recently fabricated by Bri-Met Engineering in Poulton are the staircase stanchions for 143, copied directly from a set borrowed off Standard 147. They were trial fitted to 143 on Thursday 5th May and this has revealed a few minor tweaks are required, but these are best done in situ.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Standard 143 update

It has been a long 8-months with seemingly no visible progress on Standard 143. However, behind the scenes has not been inactive.

Work on preparing the double deck Balloon cars with widened doorways for the post-2012 tramway has occupied the workshops over the winter months and there is a growing uncertainty over the role of the 'vintage' trams on the upgraded tramway. Both of these issues have resulted in Blackpool Transport parking up 143 over the winter months.

However, a kit of body parts required to complete the bodywork restoration of 143 now exists and awaits assembly. For example, the open balcony stanchions and panelling, the balcony staircase panelling, staircase grab rails and balcony seat brackets and the end destination boxes. All of these are ready to be delivered to Rigby Road depot for fitting to 143.

We are currently discussing with Blackpool Transport an arrangement whereby the LTT would contract BTS to do the work over the summer months.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Statement from LTT regarding Standard 143

Standard Car 143 touched down back on Blackpool rails on Thursday 19th August and represented a significant milestone in a restoration project that started back in November 2005 and has cost in excess of £80,000. In addition, Blackpool Transport (BTS) has spent around £20,000 overhauling the trucks and motors for the tram and the body and trucks were finally re-united the day before its delivery to Rigby Road tram depot.

When 143 was delivered to BTS there were still some outstanding bodywork jobs to be undertaken and it was understood that these would be undertaken on BTS premises. BTS also made a full assessment of the mechanical and electrical work to be completed by them and the ability to slot this into their work programme at the busiest time of the year. Added into the mix of issues to be resolved is a need to formalise a long term operating agreement between the Lancastrian Transport Trust and BTS that justifies BTS' expenditure and use of the LTT's £80,000 asset.

Since the original understanding between the LTT and BTS agreed back in 2005, BTS has a new Managing Director and Finance Director and a meeting with them has been scheduled to formalise a long term operating and financing agreement. This needs to be agreed and drafted in the context of 143 having a future role in a retained heritage fleet as part of the multi-million pound tramway upgrade.

Unfortunately, no work has proceeded on Standard 143 in the interim.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

What a difference 7 years makes!

143 is now being worked upon in the fitting shop at Rigby Road depot to prepare the car for operation in September. This view shows '753' on its last visit to the fitting shop when it was cannibalised of parts for Standard car 147.

As fire-damaged 753, the car was moved to the LTT's Brinwell Road depot on 13 April 2003 and many enthusiasts and Blackpool Transport's management were of the opinion that it's restoration was not achievable and that the tram would never run again. Restoration work started in November 2005 after a grant from the lottery supported 'Local Heritage Initiative'.
The scope of the restoration increased after it was found that new underframe sections were required and the total spend by the LTT has been upwards of £80,000. In addition, Blackpool Transport has overhauled the trucks, motors and other equipment which will increase the total restoration cost to around £100,000.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

143 goes to Rigby Road

143 returned to Rigby Road on 18th August after a seven year absence during which it has received a thorough restoration to original 1924 condition.

The move from the LTTs Brinwell Road premises to Blackpool Transport's Rigby Road depot was not without its complications, the biggest of which was manourvering 143 from its position in the corner of the depot to a position in line with the main doorway of the building. The trucks, overhauled by Blackpool Transport, were collected from the Fitting Shop and brought to Brinwell Road, where the car body was raised to allow the bogies to be rolled beneath. Once on its trucks it was winched aboard the the Scotts low loader, and then moved via Brinwell Road, Cornford Road, Clifton Road, Preston New Road, Oxford Square, Park Road, Bloomfield Road and Lytham Road to Blackpools tram depot, where it was unloaded the following morning.

It arrived at Rigby Road at 21:18 on Wednesday 18 August and the low loader was parked on Blundell Street overnight, with 143 finally touching down on Blackpool rails again on 19 August around 11:00.

Monday, 2 August 2010


143 was scumbled today by Phil Anderson, a professional painter and signwriter from Stockton-on-Tees. Phil has recently completed Marton Box 31 at Beamish - and soon 143 and 31 will be alongside each other again at Blackpool. Ironically, both once shared roles as Overhead Line cars.
Scumbling is a painting technique that allows a varnished teak effect to be created on the marine plywood side panelling. Firstly, a coat of eggshell tan colour was applied (see previous post) and then scumble paint (dark brown) is applied. This paint is so thin and heavily linseed-oil based that it allows the eggshell undercoat to show through whilst soft brushes are used to create a wood-grain effect.