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.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Prepare to scumble

143 has been prepared for scumbling today - a base coat of satin egg shell and next week Phil Anderson, the professional signwriter that has recently completed Marton Box 31 at Beamish, will scumble the side panels.

Meanwhile, the ceiling panels, side panelling and glazing on the upper deck of 143 have been fitted this week, following the completion of upper deck wiring.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

And then the headlamps

143 can see again following the fitting of the two headlamps generously donated to the project by the National Tramway Museum. These were both fitted today and await final wiring up.

Lower saloon complete

Apart from a few minor fittings, the lower deck saloon is now complete. On Tuesday 4th May, the seat cushions were fitted and with interior lighting switched on, 143 is really beginning to come back to life again as a genuine 1924 Blackpool Standard.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

....and then there was light!

The BusWorks electrician has wasted no time this week fitting the 2 x 12v batteries for the low voltage equipment, wiring up the bells and the lower deck interior lighting. On Saturday 24th April, 143 finally came back to life with fully functional interior lighting and bells.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Spotlight on 143

Thanks to our friends at the National Tramway Museum, 143 now has a pair of matching headlamps. These will be refurbished for use on 143 but it is proposed to fit some discreet halogen headlamps in addition to conform to Blackpool Transport's request. Meanwhile, the low voltage interior lighting and bells have been wired up, along with 2 x 12v batteries and a 24v isolator switch.

Upper deck assembly starts

Upper deck assembly has started and Gilletts have fitted the internal partitions that look absolutely superb. Meanwhile, the regular team of volunteers have started assembling the upper deck swingover seats.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Reunited with top deck

Rapid progress has been made on trial fitting the upper deck of 143 just one week later than it arrived as a kit of parts from Gillett's of Wesham. On 31 March, the two decks were reunited allowing the internal partitions to be fabricated before the two decks are separated once more. It is then proposed that the lower deck will be moved to Blackpool Transport whilst the upper deck is completed.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

... and now in Red

Some work is still continuing on the lower deck - the dash panels have received a coat of red and the ribbed flooring is now being completed on the cab platforms and saloon floor.

Roof assembled! A significant milestone...

Rapid progress was made today assembling the upper deck and fitting the traditional style tongue-and-groove roof planks. Next step is to lift the structure onto the lower deck and fabricate the upper saloon partitions.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Upper deck meets lower deck!

Today was another milestone in the project to restore 143 - the top deck arrived as a kit of parts from Gillett's of Wesham. By mid-day the basic frame was assembled and braced. More photos tomorrow!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

All wired up!

The rewiring of traction circuits on 143 has now been completed with both controllers now fully connected and the resistance box. Further work is now taking place on the 24v lower saloon lighting circuit in advance of 143's transfer to Rigby Road depot.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Plenty of seats inside - February 2009

143's new lower deck seats have now been trimmed in an approximation of the brown tan leather some early Standard cars had when new in 1924 - before red moquette became the norm on the lower deck. The seat backs & cushions were test fitted on 6th Feb and really begin to complete the internal appearance of the tram.

Meanwhile, all 550v DC traction cable lengths are now in place and the No.1 end controller is fully wired up.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

143 lookings dashing!

The front aluminium dash panels have now been fabricated for 143 using thick gauge aluminium and the first of these has now been test fitted. There are some final tweaks required before it is finally fitted and secured to the platform framing and, of course, we need to get head and tail lamps fitted.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Upper Deck ready for assembly

The kit of parts to assemble the upper deck has now been completed by Gilletts of Wesham. This view shows the main side frame which has utilised parts salvaged from 143's top cover back in 2006. Movement of the parts to the LTT's Brinwell Road depot is scheduled for mid-February where the side frames, roof ribs and roof will be assembled.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Great progress on 143's trucks

Blackpool Transport has made great progress on overhauling the Preston McGuire trucks for 143. This view, taken on 22 January, shows the frames substantially complete but awaiting axles and motors.

It is hoped to get the lower saloon body back to Rigby Road depot during February to be refitted to its trucks!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Xmas Progress on 143

Over the Christmas period, volunteers have done further work on 143. The interior woodwork has been stained and varnished and is beginning to look superb. Several more coats of varnish still required yet though!