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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Now for something very different

Hybrid 1100 outside Partick Depot shows off its unique redesign features - a cross between a 1920s Kilmarnock Bogie and a 1930s Coronation car. The latter neatly showing up the comparison. The main line running to Dalmuir West in the background.

The vogue for enthusiasts to follow the minutae of tram museum developments as opposed to actual tram systems is understandable given the lack of character or uniqueness in the light rail vehicle world. With rare exceptions, accidents, renumbering and fleet livery changes - today's rolling stock is a world removed from the first generation tram fleets. Blackpool managed to retain an extended operating life for its 'traditional' trams and bravely continues to provide a tourist service with representative examples, including the classic Bolton 66.

However the weatherbeaten and worn down rolling stock familiar to those old enough to recall Britain's remaining tramways in a postwar world were full of character and held genuine public affection. Of these, Glasgow's tramway had the last hurrah in 1962 when its final route (9) was replaced with buses. The Glasgow tram fleet was full of character, whether the 'Coronation' cars to that city's unique design, or the countless wooden framed 'Standards' and 'Kilmarnock Bogies'. Oddities crept in even to the end with hybrid 1100, prototype 1089 and modified double deck 1005 - the latter being a brave effort to trial 'Vambac' power controls and resilient wheel bogies as well as being unidirectional. Even the works car fleet caught attention with a mixed bag of weird and wonderful 'handmedowns'. Fortunately several of Glasgow's 'caurs' survived, with one about to return from the dead (as it were) and extended vacation in Paris. Standard 488 has returned to these shores from France and presently undergoing a comprehensive reconstruction before joining the museum fleet at Carlton Colville. It will reappear in the classic Glasgow City Transport, green, cream and cadmium orange livery in a welcome throwback to a past era. Below : Standard 488 residing amid French trams (Lille interurban and a Marseille car) with a younger (and leaner) Author. Sister car 75 traversing one of Glasgow's many tramway junctions hotly pursued by two of the city's 'Coronation Mark I' type. All Images Copyright : John Woodman.

Argyle Street in its prime - all setts, span wires and rows of trams heading on the main east west axis. A postwar Coronation Mark II leading the line up on Service 18. Apologies for scuffed negative. A neat Renault 'Dauphin' escorts the 'caur' through the junction. Ah those were the days.

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