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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

That Missing Glasgow Standard

Images of the returned Glasgow Standard car 488 now undergoing a total overhaul and being made ready for an operating role at the East Anglia Transport Museum reminded me of a special visit to a secured site near Swindon some years back. At the invitation of the Science Museum staff in charge of their extended 'reserve collection' I made a special trip to a large former airfield location on which several concrete hangars of wartime build housed a diverse amount of artifacts, vehicles, planes and much more.

I only got to inspect the residents of just one of these treasure troves and specifically to see Glasgow Standard 585 which I last saw proudly displayed in South Kensington at the Science Museum. That was many years previously. Evicted from its prepared spot 585 was despatched to the hinterland, never to be seen again (at least to the present day) except by invitation.

As the only tramcar in the Science Museum collection (reserve or otherwise) Glasgow 585 is obviously seeking a place in the sun which it richly deserves - and preferably in Scotland where it belongs. Painted in one of the Glasgow system's route colour bands (dark blue) matching that on 1088 - the last Standard built and now definitely on display at the excellent Riverside Museum on Clydeside - Number 585 looked in pristine condition despite its extended offsite storage in the dark and under cover. Perhaps with the nationalist fervour evident north of the border, the Scottish Government might be minded to make the case to Londoncentric curatorial management for a return of this part of Scotland's transport heritage.

The capital has a less than exemplary record as far as tram preservation is concerned. At least Ken Livingston saw fit to award funds to the London group responsible for bringing back to life E1 Car (rehab) 1622 so it could take its place in an operating museum somewhat north of London. Whereas the retail oriented Covent Garden operation makes do with just one tram and one trolleybus to represent London's huge tramway and trolleybus operations of yesteryear. Several trolleybuses and three other trams have been shunted off to the equivalent of the capital's 'Clay Cross' to be viewed on select open days for public benefit. Needless to say the only 'Feltham' car preserved in the UK (out of a hundred built) is one of these exiles. Feltham experimental 331 is more fortunate in the hands of the Tramway Museum, whilst the other survivor manages to survive (just) in the indifferent ownership of the Seashore Trolley Museum.

So here are some 'snaps' of 585 in its Wiltshire lair hidden away and definitely far from Scotland. Any caring Scot to the rescue ?

And below - how it used to look in its final years of service in Glasgow before it was 'prettified' for the benefit of Londoners.

Seen here outside Partick Depot in Hayburn Street.

All images : John Woodman

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