Glasgow Standard Tram

Preserving Glasgow Tram No.488

It's history and restoration progress in the UK

Horse tram services started 19 August 1872
Electric traction from 13 October 1898 until 4 September 1962
Tramway abandonment's started in 1926, with major route closures from 1956 onwards
Trolleybuses introduced 3 April 1949 - Abandoned 27 May 1967

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About Boston Lodge Works

The restoration of Glasgow 'Standard' Tram No.488 is being carried out by the Ffestiniog Railway at their Boston Lodge Works. They were awarded the contract to restore 488 on the basis of previous work carried out on preservation projects. The work will be carried out by the same skilled craftsmen who had previously completed a commission on Metropolitan Railway Carriage No.353 and we present here a few 'before and after' pictures of this carriage from its hauling into Porthmadog in August 2011 to its emergence 16 months later with a definite wow factor!

This railway carriage was withdrawn from use in 1905, subsequently finding its way to work on the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Light Railway. On closure of that line in 1940, it then had a number of uses which included being a shop, clubhouse for US Servicemen, home and finally a garden shed before being rescued for preservation.

It cost around £200,000 [in this case being funded by a Heritage Lottery grant and the London Transport Museum Friends] but what may not be appreciated is that VAT is levied on restoration work; at the full 20%, this substantially reduces monies available for this kind of activity.

Undoubtedly 488 will be restored to the same excellent standard of craftsmanship into a working exhibit for members of the public to ride on. It will certainly be a pleasure to capture it on film with a livery associated with the system by those enthusiasts alive today who witnessed the trams operating half a century earlier. Whether it will operate with a bow collector is another matter.

The trustees of 488 pursed several lines of enquiry to determine if VAT could be waived when an historical vehicle is professionally restored for museum use, but sadly it was simply not possible to obtain an exemption. More than a little upsetting that the good intentions of a bequest sees the Government still being a major beneficiary even after all death duties have been paid.

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