Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways

March 12th 2013

Glasgow Tram arrives at Boston Lodge

Following a request from the Paris Transport Museum, Glasgow Corporation Transport donated standard tram 488 to this museum. It was thoroughly overhauled in 1960 but, following a tragic fire at Dalmarnock depot where a number of trams were destroyed in March 1961, it was returned to service and in fact operated the last 18 from Burnside on 3rd June 1961 – at the controls, for part of the way, was enthusiast Martin Jenkins.

For its journey to France, 488 was split into two parts – upper and lower deck; the accompanying photograph shows the lower deck leaving Scotland via the River Clyde. When the Paris Museum took delivery of this precious vehicle, it was reassembled and was resident at their Malakoff premises. The Paris Transport Museum is known as AMTUIR and they amassed a large number of vehicles. Their sites have changed location from time to time and because 488 was too high for one of the buildings it was split in two again. Some vehicles eventually had to be placed in store with London trolleybus 796 and Glasgow tram 488 being two of them.

An approach was made by the London Trolleybus Preservation Society to repatriate 796 and it returned to England 6th October 2010; it now operates at the East Anglia Transport Museum. A rationalisation of AMTUIR's vehicles led to them offering 488 to the EATMS. This was accepted, but inquiries as to who might be able to restore it fell on stony ground as access to the warehouse where 488 was stored could not be obtained and therefore quotes could not be given.

A few weeks before 488 was offered to the EATMS, a Mr Peter Mitchell of Cheam, Surrey, made a Will which stating that money from his estate could be used for the restoration and preservation of trams and trolleybuses that had their origins in the British Isles. Mr Mitchell quoted various possibilities, with 488 being one of them; before Mr Mitchell passed away he was told that his generosity would provide for the full restoration of this tramcar.

The Ffestiniog Railway was only too willing to take on the restoration of the tram; they had been approached because they had performed such a very professional job on a London Transport Metropolitan Railway Coach 353 which has been used on the One Hundred and Fiftieth anniversary of the London Underground. ALTEAD, were assigned the task of moving the tram from France to the Ffestiniog Railway's premises, and the lower deck of 488 arrived at Minffordd on the morning of Wednesday 6th March 2013. The top deck will shortly follow.

The Ffestiniog Railway will restore 488 to full working order and will deliver it to the East Anglia Transport Museum, who in due course will be the owner of this tram. Enthusiasts are asked not to contact the Ffestiniog Railway about this project but to use the 488 website for updates. This is: http://www.488.cyberpictures.net/

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