It has been a busy week at the Museum, with maintenance work taking place in the Exhibition Hall, ready for Bournemouth 85 arriving later in the year, and whilst that was happening, we also had a team of our Workshop staff and volunteers, working down at our off site store, to extract spare trucks.
We’ve been a little while in the planning of extracting the trucks as it is not a quick or easy process, as they needed to be lifted off of the piles that they were in, and this required a team from the Museum, as well as the assistance of Scotts Heavy Haulage with the lifting equipment to do it.
So why were we doing it. Well we had requests from a couple of our fellow tramway organisations, the Brighton 53 Tram Group and The Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society, as to whether we had any spare trucks available to help with their restoration projects. Some years ago we acquired some ex Lisbon Maley & Taunton trucks that we have been able to transfer to the these two groups to assist with their work.
In order to get to the trucks, we needed to move our Blackpool ‘OMO’ no.5 tramcar right out of the building and into the backyard. In preparation for moving this tramcar, we had ordered some lengths of bullhead rail which were laid out in the yard to make a temporary track for the tramcar to roll onto.
In the two photos above you can see the piles of spare trucks alongside OMO 5, and then the tramcar being carefully extracted from the building, under the watchful eye of our Workshop team members.
It is a rare sight to see OMO 5 out of the store and in the sunshine. But with 5 standing in the yard, access to the trucks was created, and also provided the opportunity to shine a little bit of Derbyshire sunshine on Blackpool 59, which is stored behind OMO 5 in the store.
Now we had access to the trucks it was time to bring in the heavy lifting equipment of Scotts Heavy Haulage to lift the trucks out. We actually moved three trucks in the end, as we have a third now in a position to send off to another preservation group, once their project progresses further.
In the mean time truck no. 1 , seen in the picture below, was allocated to the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society, and loaded onto a truck from local company Dorlec Ltd, who are going to be doing some initial assessment work for the group.
Truck no. 2 was to be loaded onto Scotts Heavy Haulage, along with a couple of ex Lisbon controllers, compressor, circuit breakers and other smaller components, to make the slightly longer journey south, to the Brighton 53 Tram Group. As you can see in the photos below, the Scotts hiab made light work of moving the truck onto the trailer.
It is always great to be able to help our fellow tramway organisations out, especially when they are working on restoration projects, as means more opportunities for people to experience and learn about our tramway heritage. We’re going to look forward to seeing how the Brighton 53 group and Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society progress with their projects and seeing how the trucks help.
Photos courtesy of Mike Crabtree and Crich Tramway Village