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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Standard 48 - one that got away

One of the author's favourite trams is Standard 48. Along with sister car 49 Number 48 was one of the two 'short saloon' Standards which were regular sights on promenade specials up to 1962. Number 48 was selected by Marton's Depot staff to operate the very last service run to Royal Oak, by way of a personal contribution to the last night of the Marton tram route (and of the depot itself). Both myself and Colin MacLeod decided to add our commemoration in the form of a small wreath affixed to the end of the tram above the driver's platform - and modest signs 'Royal Oak's Very Last Tram'. So it was. No trams ventured to that famous tram terminus after 48's departure (below) to Marton Depot in 1962. PS : wreath is on the other end.

In the clear out of Marton Depot 48 found a buyer in the form of Paul Class and the Oregon trolley museum he was responsible for founding. Another Standard - 147 similarly was given a lengthy lease of life at a second American trolley museum in the form of the Gerald Brookins working line at Olmsted Falls, Ohio. Number 48 had the longest journey - to the Pacific Northwest of the USA, but unlike 147 it would gain fame subsequently as a regular performer along a railroad line outside Portland - towing a portable generator. After many years of honourable service in this form its bodywork needed a well earned rest and it now forms part of a static display near Portland. Earlier (1955) a third Blackpool Standard Car, 144, also made the transatlantic journey and is a much loved part of the Seashore Museum at Kennebunkport, Maine. Recently overhauled and repainted, there are plans we believe, to adjust its wheels to allow operation on the Seashore Museum's quite extensive running track. Standards 49 and 40 found a safe haven at Crich and 160 nearly made it to a project in Salford - the proposed 'Museum of Lancashire Life', but this foundered and it was eventually scrapped at Rigby Road yard. Another Standard similarly dealt a lingering death was 158 which was also acquired by the Tramway Museum Society - ostensibly for spare parts. Standard 159 was more fortunate by being taken into care of the East Anglia Transport Museum, where it has gone on to provide unstinting service up to the present day. Both 158 and 159 owed their late survival to the external illuminated features added to the trams in a final decade of operation - the 2016 Heritage Tram Calendar by Rigby Road Publications* features one of these cars, among eleven other illumination trams over the years. * Available online, or at Brooks Collectables and Toys2Save as well as through Blackpool Heritage Tours.

Standard 48 in very unfamiliar surroundings. Portland, Oregon is the backdrop to the extended riverfront operation that has now ended.

Preparing for the long journey to the northwest coast of the United States - well away from familiar surrounds of Whitegate Drive and the Promenade.

Photos : John Woodman Archive

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