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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Brush Car 298 - Renewal Begins At Crich

Sarah and Derek Redmond with John Woodman

The National Tramway Museum continues with its conservation and restoration work to a very high standard. Following detailed attention to the large open top car 102 of Newcastle Corporation which will allow it to enter service at the museum's completion of overhaul of LCC number 1 of 1932 now in its final stages. Intended as a prototype of a series of modernised trams by the London County Council its appearance coincided with transfer of the Council's transport remit to a newly created London Passenger Transport Board with its own ideas for the tramway network.

LCC Number `1 became a solitary one-off example which fortuitously gained a second life by being sold on to Leeds City Transport thus securing a further, if foreshortened life in that city before returning to London to join the British Transport Commission's collection at Clapham Transport Museum. Now undergoing final stages of a retro restoration to its 1932 condition at Crich, it can be seen in the background of images taken over the Easter holiday by Derek Redmond with his wife, Sarah inside the Museum workshop.

Below : the underframe for Brush car 298 stands ready for work to begin on its integration with the restored body of the tram. LCC 1 resplendent in its 1932 dark blue and white colour scheme stands in the background. Photos : Derek Redmond

Below : a closeup view of the underframe alongside Newcastle 102 in its final stages of workshop attention at Crich.

However just as important are the above photos taken of the newly constructed underframe commissioned for Brush car 298 which will follow on LCC 1 and Newcastle 102 in the workshop's agenda for 2022/23. This will become the flag bearer for the twenty strong fleet of superlative cars ordered by Walter Luff to fill the loss of summer peak caoacity with final conversion of Lytham St Annes tram service and scrapping of that fleet in 1937. Number 298 has been the object of a very long effort over several decades by a handful of dedicated craftsmen and enthusiasts, led by the late Keith Terry. Finally 298 is being taken in hand by the Tramway Museum Society to emerge in all of its art deco glory and refinements. Much work was undertaken on the tram's bodywork by Keith and his small team of helpers, latterly utilising a former depot of Salford Corporation.

By chance another of the Brush car fleet is also likely to emerge as an operating car next year - as part of the FHLT's ongoing disposal of its collection. Brush car 290 is well known to readers of this Blog, and further afield, having been on display at the Pleasure Beach terminus for several years, initially to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, An offer to take the tram has been accepted with its removal from Rigby Road expected in the coming weeks. Plans for 290 include its refurbishment to operating condition with more detailed information being provided during May/June timeframe.

Brush Car 290 in its Diamond Jubilee design on display at the Pleasure Beach tram loop in 2011.

Photo : John Woodman


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