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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Metal Sections Ltd.

John Woodman

One of the lesser known builders of trams in the UK market is a Midlands firm specialising in preformed metal products. Metal Sections Ltd. is notable in tram heritage circles for its production of small two axle trailer cars which were used in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Lisbon to provide extra capacity without need to add to the operating fleet. The company had a very brief connection with Blackpool's tramway through its supply of new end sections to fit on to the two rebuilt Balloon cars which became 761 and 762.

Rather than the Body Shop design and manufacture customised end sections for what was an extended process of reconfiguering the Balloon cars to end loading operation - the ability of Metal Sections Ltd to deliver preformed frontal modules saved considerable time and labour at Rigby Road. There was no reference on the two trams to the involvement of this company and outside of the Transport Engineering staff and management, and knowing 'enthusiasts', no one was the wiser as to this outside contractor's contribution.

I managed to ride on the Lisbon trailers during their later years of operation and apart from being bounced around as they swayed their way over junctions, they provided a utilitarian flavour almost 'wartime' feel compared to the solid styled wooden bodywork of the CARRIS fleet. The company may also have built some new bodies for rebodied Bangkok motor units, but I am not sure on this point. I dont believe Metal Sections were involved with further UK tram operators and Blackpool's sole order for the two 'Jubilee' car end sections is the limit of their engagement in this market.

761 undergoing radical reconstruction with the centre doors and staircases removed. The new end section is in place from the stairwell forward. Below : Fitting the new destination roller blind fixtures.

Below : Two of the Body Shop team fitting the Metal Sections end module onto the truncated Balloon body frame. The finished 'product' in service. Images : John Woodman Archive


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