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.