Saturday, 24 August 2013

622 update

Now fully glossed on one side, Brush Car 622 is really beginning to take shape in its 1975 guise as the "Tigerrific" tram. This is the latest picture showing the authentic shades of blue and yellow, applied by the paint shop staff at Classic Bus North West. Still to add of course are the black roof stripes and Tiger graphics.

Cinderella Coronation gets makeover

663 has spent more years in preservation than it did operating, but in partnership with an LTT member restoration has now started after 37 years.
After spending more years in preservation than it did it operation, the Cinderella of surviving Coronation cars (663) is now receiving a makeover, 37 years after departing from Rigby Road tram depot. The restoration work is being funded by donations from a member of the LTT with the Trust contributing the value of Gift Aid received from the donations into the long awaited restoration project.

Work has already started on the first phase of the restoration of car 663 which will focus on the bodywork and it is intended that the tram will be restored to its early 1970s condition of green & cream with roof advertising boxes. A strip down of the tram has revealed the effect of several years of both outside storage and under leaking roofs, with some corrosion and rotten timberwork. However, the solid steel construction of these trams means that the problems are easily remedied.

663 was originally acquired for preservation by Graham Oliver. After residence at Lytham Motive Power Museum and later Steamport Transport Museum, Southport, No. 663 was acquired by the West Yorkshire Transport Museum intended for operation at a museum in Low Moor, Bradford. Although the museum, known as Transperience, opened to the public in the 1990s, it soon closed and the collection was dispersed. No. 663 passed into private preservation once again. Temporary residence at St. Helens Transport Museum (rejoining sister car No. 304) was secured but the tram later moved closer to the owner’s home in Richmond.

In February 2002, No. 663 was offered to the LTT collection free of charge after its owner decided to dispose of the car. Storage of the tram at Richmond continued until April 2003 when 663 returned to Blackpool after an absence of 27 years - it departed in August 1976. Since then the LTT has funded the car’s storage at £114 per month at Brinwell Road, totalling over £13,000!

Following the news that the LTT and BTS collections will merge and 663 was not included in the merger, an LTT member offered to fund the bodywork restoration of 663 to ensure its continued preservation and reverse the fortunes of this Cinderella tram. Eric Berry, trustee said “this is an example of people simply putting their money where their mouth is and making a very positive contribution to the preservation of Blackpool’s tramway heritage”.

Thursday, 22 August 2013


A very unusual, very popular transit vehicle is about to cross the Atlantic to resume its career of delighting riders on a waterfront route, albeit two oceans away from its original home.  1934 “boat tram” 233 will “set sail” on board a cargo ship in mid-September to join its twin in San Francisco, California, for planned operation on that city’s famous “F-line,” which serves the Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown areas with historic streetcars from around the world.
The arrangement between two not-for-profit preservation groups will benefit historic transit operations in both San Francisco and Blackpool, bringing a second boat tram to serve growing demand on the waterfront transit needs in the American city while providing funding to help restore a vintage double-deck Blackpool tram for possible future operation back on its home network.
Market Street Railway, which serves as the non-profit preservation partner of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (a department of the City and County of San Francisco), has acquired boat tram No. 233 from the Lancastrian Transport Trust (LTT).
No. 233 is one of 12 trams LTT acquired from Blackpool Transport when the tramway declared them surplus to operational requirements.  Recently, LTT and Blackpool Transport have announced the merger of most of their historic collections for potential joint operation.  However, since Blackpool Transport already has three boat trams, No. 233 was not included in this amalgamation and remained surplus. At the same time, LTT desired funding to continue its restoration of double-deck Blackpool Standard tram No. 143, built in 1924.
 “This arrangement benefits all parties involved,” said Eric Berry, Trustee. “We will now be able to continue restoration work on our historically important double-deck tram, whilst the three boat trams owned by Blackpool Transport continue to provide service there.” 
 “We’re delighted to be acquiring this boat tram, while helping LTT fund its restoration project,” said Rick Laubscher, president of Market Street Railway. “San Francisco’s transit agency has been operating an identical boat tram for 30 years; it’s one of the most popular vehicles in the city’s vintage streetcar fleet. Acquiring No. 233, will allow more people to ride this popular open-air vehicle type in San Francisco.”
Twelve of these open-topped boat trams were built for Blackpool Transport in 1934. Three still occasionally operate in Blackpool along the promenade on the Irish Sea, to the delight of riders and car 236 is preserved at the National Tramway Museum.  Over subsequent decades, other boat trams ended up in museums or were scrapped. One of these 12 boat trams, numbered 228, came to San Francisco in 1985 to participate in that city’s “Historic Trolley Festival,” a summertime demonstration project that grew into a full-time streetcar route called the F-line. 
The F-line runs six miles from Fisherman’s Wharf along the waterfront and then along the city’s main street, Market Street, to reach the Castro District.  The F-line carries approximately eight million riders per year as part of San Francisco’s regular transit system, called Muni, part of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 
For the past 18 months, No. 233 has been on a two-year loan from LTT to Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, located in County Durham, England, just south of Newcastle upon Tyne.  There, it has joined several historic trams owned by the museum in ferrying visitors around the grounds.  “We are glad for the opportunity to have had this boat tram visit us,” said Paul Jarman, Head of Transport & Industry of the Beamish Museum.  “We wish it well on its voyage to its new San Francisco home.”
Shipping arrangements are currently being finalized, with boat tram No. 233 likely to sail from England in September, arriving in California in October. The latest news on the location of the tram will be available on

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

622 begins to look Tigerrific

Tram 622 is beginning to look Tigerrific. The tram is receiving a version of its 1975 all-over advert livery for Blackpool Zoo Park, perhaps one of the most eye-catching and iconic all-over advert designs carried by a Blackpool tram.