Mystery over location of 1920s Falkirk tram finally solved

The mystery behind a historic tram gifted to Falkirk Council almost 40 years ago has finally been revealed.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 27th April 2018, 1:30 pm
Updated Friday, 27th April 2018, 1:40 pm
A television crew visited Heather Dea's Slamannan home in the 1970s to see the tram up close
A television crew visited Heather Dea's Slamannan home in the 1970s to see the tram up close

Heather Dea and her relatives have been scratching their heads ever since the early 1980s, wondering what happened to the tramcar which had sat in the back garden of the family’s home in Mosscastle Road, Slamannan since 1936.

An uncle of Heather’s ex-husband, Robert Forbes, had bought and lifted it from the council for the equivalent of £6, although the family remains unsure as to the reasoning behind the purchase.

According to Heather, the local authority asked for the tram to be re-donated in 1980.

The tram is now stored in Grangemouth

Despite her repeated efforts to find out where it was being kept, or the purpose for the reacquisition, Heather was left in the dark, until she approached the Falkirk Herald to enlist support for her search.

Heather said: “As far as I’m led to believe, something has been done with it. I just think it’s so sad.

“I’m sure younger generations would like to see it.”

Heather’s request for help proved to be worthwhile as the tram’s location has now been disclosed.

The tram is now stored in Grangemouth

The carriage, which dates back to 1929, is now kept in a Falkirk Community Trust (FCT) private storage area in Grangemouth, as the trust lacks adequate space to put the tram on public display.

Lesley O’Hare, FCT culture and libraries manager, said: “We do indeed have the tram and it is located in our museum store in Grangemouth.

“My understanding is that the tram was accessioned into the museum collection.

“The tram has been refurbished and we continue to take great care of it but, unfortunately, we do not have a building big enough in which to display it.”

FCT has shed more light on the tram, one of a second batch of Pullman trams built for Falkirk tramways which could seat up to 28 people.

It followed the only route used at that time which ran from Falkirk town centre to Newmarket Street, Grahams Road, Grahamston, Bainsford, Carron, Larbert, Camelon and back.

Falkirk Community Trust has provided further information on the history of the tram Heather Dea’s family gave back to the council in 1980.

Niamh Conlon, FCT curator, said: “It was tramcar No.14 and was one of a second batch of Pullman trams built for Falkirk tramways.

“It is identifiable as one of the second batch due to the air intake louvers on the side of the dash and the transverse seating for 28 people. It was extensively restored by a training scheme for those out of work in the 1980s and the bogies are replacements.

“The second batch of trams came in around 1929. They were an improvement because they had heating and cushioned seats instead of slatted ones.”