Tramcar 245 is launched!

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historic tram running on a tramline in Birkenhead

Tramcar 245 looking fantastic after restoration

As Curator of the Transport Collection at the Museum of Liverpool I work with a fantastic collection of vehicles, and over the years I have worked with some very special groups of people associated with these vehicles. I first met members of the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society (MTPS) about 18 years ago. Sitting on a restored tram at the Wirral Transport Museum they told me all about their work. I was really impressed by their skills and their enthusiasm for the work they did. When a request to restore Tramcar 245 came through from them a short while later I thought the tram couldn’t be in better hands. Tramcar 245 has a special place in Liverpool’s transport story. Built at Edge Lane Works in 1938 it carried thousands of passengers across the city for almost twenty years and took part in the parade to mark the end of Liverpool’s tramway operation on 14 September 1957.

crowds and a brass band with a large ribbon in front of the restored tram

The official launch of restored Tramcar 245 at Wirral Transport Museum

Despite it taking several years to get the project off the ground, we were eventually awarded a £50,000 Your Heritage grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We formed a partnership between National Museums Liverpool, MTPS and Wirral Borough Council and work began in earnest in 2009. There have been hitches along the way, disagreements and delays, but on Saturday 12 September a magnificent looking Tramcar 245 was launched into public service for the first time in 58 years. It was a fantastic day, the sun came out, The Frodsham Silver Band played and a group of very excited and very lucky people (and I was one of them!) set off on the inaugural journey from the Wirral Transport Museum to Woodside Ferry Terminal and back.

group photo in front of the tram at Wirral Transport Museum

Terry Martin, Chairman MTPS, Rob Jones, Secretary MTPS, Sharon Brown, Museum of Liverpool and Ron Martin, Treasurer MTPS.

The tram will now remain on loan to MTPS and run on the Birkenhead Heritage Tramway for the next 10 years. The volunteers from MTPS have put several thousands of hours into the restoration and they have more than delivered on their promise to restore Tramcar 245 to its former glory – in fact I think the tram is better in appearance and operation than it ever was in its working life. Dedication indeed!

Wirral Transport Museum is open weekends and school holidays from 1pm until 5pm.