Rigourous Restoration Rolls On at The Tramway

Monthly news from the Brisbane Tramway Museum and the Ferny Grove Men’s Shed

Brisbane Tramway Volunteers, Ian Brandt and John Lever who are restoring the Scammel

In most museums, restoration plays a major role in their activities and it’s the same at Brisbane Tramway Museum. 

Not only do the team restore their exhibits – trams and trolley buses – they also have to restore equipment, much of which is unique to tram maintenance, an ongoing function. 

Currently, the Brisbane Tramway volunteers are overhauling their metal guillotine, various lawn mowers, weed-eaters and other tools. The big job, however, is restoring their 80 year old tow truck – the Scammel. This vehicle was the focus of The Brisbane Tramway’s article in the December 2019 edition of The Hills Echo.

The Scammel was built in Britain in 1939 as a vehicle to tow big guns and tanks for World War 2 and their Scammel saw duty in North Africa in that conflict. It was bought by the Brisbane City Council in 1945 and was passed to the museum when trams ceased running in Brisbane in 1969.

It is estimated that restoration will take about 12 months (at 1½ days per week) to finish. Much of the original timber floor is being replaced; rust is being removed from body work, cabin etc; new sheet metal will be installed to replace badly effected areas; the electrics will be replaced with new cable but original fittings will remain. Finally, the truck will be completely repainted in its colours from the 1960’s.

Hopefully, identical replacement decals will be forthcoming from BCC sources and numbering will be restored to original.

To aid in authenticity, the museum has joined the Scammel Club in England. This move has enabled their archivist Glen Dyer to access various manuals and other documentation which will enhance the accuracy of the finished vehicle.

This restoration is in the hands of just a couple of dedicated members— Ian Brandt and John Lever. They occasionally are assisted by other members when extra hands are needed, but they do all the dirty work.

Ian and John spend hours cutting and shaping timber for the floors and cupboards, angle-grinding rust and preparing metal surfaces for repainting and so on. Other members such as Neil Cameron have helped with electrical work and Jim Silk is a whiz at manufacturing parts which are no longer available. Several other members including John Osbaldiston can be called upon if needed.

The Brisbane Tramway Museum is proudly supported by the Brisbane City Council.

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