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  • John Woodman and Colin MacLeod

Now you see it - now you don't

Glorious sunshine adorned a busy morning at Wyre Dock today when a team arrived to dismantle the gantry tower off Centenary 643. With surprisingly little difficulty the somewhat ugly unpainted structure was freed from its base and transferred to one side of the site. Cleaning the car's exterior and interior is underway and a remarkably well presented tram is now ready for its journey south.

With time on hand the team turned their attention to 678 and carried out a similar job removing its gantry tower - making hay while the sun shines I believe. Railcoach 678 is destined for a makeover which will do away with the abysmal black paint job that has marred its final years.

Seven out of eight Centenary cars survive. Two are in the Fylde being used as features at nearby Farmer Parr's less than a mile away, while another is at the Windy Harbour Caravan Park just off the A 585. The Trust's Centenary is on public display on the Promenade while another Centenary is under the ownership of the NELSAM group in County Durham. Blackpool's heritage tours are able to provide rides on two working examples so that those so inclined can ride up and down to their heart's content for ever and a day on examples of this final all-British tram. A design which was the subject of much criticism (too much like a bus) when this class first appeared in 1984. If only seven Marton Vambacs or Liverpool Green Goddesses had somehow survived - or possibly seven of London's E type double deck trams out of the thousand or so which typified the capital's system.

Number 643 is now destined for a special role well removed from the attention of obsessive anoraks, where it will be appreciated by a far more deserving audience for years to come.

PS :' The vinyl wrapped item is from an Edinburgh tram body.

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