English Electric Railcoach 279 of 1935

English Electric Railcoach 279 and Brush Railcoach 287 (or 259, or 624!) were displayed in the Fitting Shop, which today serves as our main heritage workshop. In the foreground are a pair of Balloon car bogies undergoing overhaul.

Car 279 was built in July 1935, and rebuilt in 1960. It was one of 20 single deck streamlined ‘Railcoaches’ (264 – 283) supplied by the English Electric, Preston. They formed part of General Manager Walter Luff’s five year modernisation plan which saw 116 new trams supplied during the 1930’s. 279 entered service on 20 July 1935 and was used from Rigby Road Depot on the Promenade and Lytham Road Routes.

Ten of these trams (272-281) were rebuilt with flat ends between 1958 and 1962 and towed Trailers T1 to T10. 279 was rebuilt from June 1960 to April 1961, entering service in May 1961 with its regular pair trailer T9. Seven of the ‘twin cars’ were permanently coupled to their trailers but 279/T9 were never treated. Renumbered 679 in 1968, it – and sisters 678/80 – were fitted with heaters to act as winter cars (without trailers) from 1971 and became solo cars permanently from winter 1972 as their trailers were withdrawn.

679 was overhauled between April and June 1991 with major repairs to the underframe and continued in use. In 2004 it was overhauled again and repainted into the green/cream livery with green band it carried from 1985 to 1987. It was withdrawn on 20 November 2004 as part of the fleet reduction that took place that winter.

It was purchased by LTT for preservation and ran a farewell tour in November 2008. Work started to convert the car back to a traditional railcoach but the car is currently stored having returned to Rigby Road Depot in October 2013.