Experimental Brush tram goes back to Wirksworth for testing

FORMER Blackpool trams are a familiar sight in the Derbyshire countryside at Crich, but visitors to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway between July 5 and August 9 may have had to do a ‘double take’ when presented with the sight of an 81-year-old ex-Blackpool Corporation railcoach operating out of Wirksworth station.

Brush-built No. 636, one of 20 railcoaches built by the Loughborough firm in 1937, is owned by Stored Energy Technology (SET), of Derby, which acquired the tram in 2006 following its withdrawal at Blackpool two years earlier.

Former Blackpool Brush railcoach No. 636 undergoes testing of its revolutionary Wheelmotor bogies at the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway on July 17. DAVID HOMER

It was bought to become the testbed for SET’s innovative Wheelmotor project, and subsequently fitted with experimental axle-less bogies.

The Wheelmotor concept replaces the traditional axle and traction motor combination with independent, individually motorised wheels; the motor actually sits within the wheel.

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