Sunday, 28 October 2012

There's no business like snow business!

An early Xmas card scene of 304 operating in passenger service for the first day at Beamish. (c. A Kirkman)
If 304 were an animal it must be taking some adjusting to the weather in the North East. Snow in October - now I think that really is unheard of in Blackpool but winter came early at Beamish and Alan Kirkman took this shot of 304 with snow on its first day in passenger service at the museum.
Fellow LTT tram 703 (101) in the wintry afternoon suunshine. (c Beamish Blog)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

304 runs at Beamish

Darkness falls at Beamish whilst 304 adjusts to the new surroundings of the museum tramway where it is on temporary loan.
Coronation 304 made it's first movements at Beamish on the evening of Wednesday 24th October - the first Blackpool Coronation car to ever operate away from its native system.
Following some remedial work and further testing, Blackpool Coronation 304 is expected to be placed into service this weekend and the following two weekends; as always, subject to the usual caveats. Meanwhile, tonight, tomorrow and next Wednesday nights will see the Beamish tramway at full stretch for the Halloween evening events.
David Umpleby from the LTT has led the project to operate 304 at Beamish and the co-operation of Paul Jarman and the Beamish trammway group volunteers is greatly appreciated.

LTT Strategy Review

It is no secret that the trustees of the Lancastrian Transport Trust (LTT) have found themselves under considerable pressure recently with ever falling levels of donations (the trust's primary source of income) due to the recession whilst costs have continued to increase. Highlights such as the return to service of the trust's "flagship" vehicle (Blackpool Coronation Tram 304) at Beamish have been countered by negative publicity surrounding the necessity of moving some of its other trams to temporary outside storage in Blackpool.

As a result of this the trustees themselves have made a decision to instigate a full independent review of all its activities with a view to developing, quickly, a strategy to deliver a sustainable future for its vehicles. The organisation needs to refocus on its key aims and objectives and to develop a business plan to move more quickly towards achievement of its key goals. 

This review will be led by Dave Holden. Dave will be working in conjunction with the existing Charity Trustees and other key individuals involved in the trust's activities. He has over twenty years experience in the fields of both vehicle preservation and public sector financial management. He was a Board Member of the North West Museum of Transport in St Helens for thirteen years, acting as Chairman for five years. He led the organisation through the period when its premises were being refurbished and when its collection of assets was reviewed in order to deliver a financially sustainable museum project for future generations to enjoy.

Areas to be considered as part of this review, so far identified, are as follows:

1) Existing and estimated future costs of premises for vehicle storage

2) Duplication of vehicle types within the collection

3) Duplication of vehicle types compared with others already deemed to be "preserved" elsewhere

4) Identification of the "core collection" of vehicles that best portray the transport heritage of the Fylde Coast

5) Ways of maximising donation income from supporters and the general public

6) Ways of increasing the profile of the trust and its activities

7) Ways to moved forward key projects to completion (eg: standard tram car 143)

8) Potential partnership working with other like minded organisations

9) Ways of obtaining commercial sponsorship to expedite certain restorations

10) Ways of generating more volunteer support to assist with the day to day running of the trust

Over the past fifteen years the trust has delivered some superb achievements (Coronation Car 304, OMO car 8, Blackpool PD3 529 for example) but has also, at times, struggled to cope with the demands that it places on the available free time of its trustees. This has, inevitably, resulted in certain difficulties that now need to be overcome to ensure that the organisation moves forward successfully.  

Further updates on the progress of the review will be published here on a regular basis.  

Friday, 12 October 2012

304 departs for Beamish

Our preserved Coronation car 304 departed its temporary home in outside storage in Marton for a short term loan to Beamish Museum on 11th October. Haulier Alleleys were employed to move the tram to the North East, and departure took place during the early evening following loading up which was initially delayed as the leading bogie of the tram seemed unwilling to follow a straight path towards the waiting ramp. It arrived at Beamish the following day.

304 loaded for the journey north on 11th October (c.Alan Robson)
Following commissioning and driver training, and subject to clearance tests on the museum tramway, it is hoped that 304 can quickly enter service at Beamish, thus becoming the first Blackpool Coronation car to ever operate away from the Blackpool tramway.