JOHN'S BLOG: TRAM TALK TODAY

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MORE HARD WORK ON 641

Colin MacLeod sets to work with his patent cleaning and polishing compound this week - to see how 641's panels looked after a good hard rub. Obviously this special material had a beneficial effect if you compare the area under the fleet number with the rest of the panel to the righthand side. Colin has a lot more work to do but at least its a start. The final format will retain the original fleet numbers and also the unique signage along the sides of the tram's roof which was applied when Blackpool's Football Club were really on a roll to the Premier League for that one fantastic season. The condition of the paintwork is all the more remarkable for the tram having been stored outdoors sinc

ANCHORSHOLME CLASSROOM

A remarkable transformation has turned former Brush Car 622 into a startling adjunct to the Anchorsholme (Blackpool) school which adopted it in 2013. The exterior of the tram has been authentically returned to its early all over advertising for Blackpool Zoo - then Council owned. Sited within the school's playground area its colourful appearance dominates the surrounding open area. Inside, one half of the tram has been turned into flexible space with all seating removed. The other half retains the swingover seats and both cabs also retain their control and handbrake equipment. New interior lighting and electrical fittings have been installed throughout the tram but much remains from it

NEXT STOP LYTHAM

Once upon a time it was possible to get on a tram at Fleetwood and with a change at the Gynn - continue one's journey by tram all the way to Lytham Square via Ansdell and St Annes. A strenuous effort by Blackpool Transport's General Manager in the mid 1930s' to purchase the Lytham St Annes municipal transport operation (a continuous loss maker) so that Blackpool's modern trams of the time could continue their journey further south to St Annes, was denied by typical small minded local politicians determined to maintain a distance from their northern neighbour with its boistrous (and succcessful) holiday image. So the potential of a Fleetwood to St Annes (and even Lytham) modernised coastal

SHAKE RATTLE & ROLL

The German built light rail vehicles (sorry - trams) running steadily on the eleven mile service from Starr Gate to Fleetwood are doing a sterling job day in day out. However there are two noteworthy aspects less attractive to local residents. Firstly the noise emitted by the trams even on straight track varies considerably from tram to tram - but far from being smooth and silent - there is a constant rattle from the wheels of varying pitch and in some cases permeating the inside of the entire vehicle. On curves, noticeably at the Gynn and again at the 'Orion Curve' entering Cleveleys the wheels constantly squeal against the rail and for the residents of flats facing directly on to the tramw

BLACKPOOL'S KARRIER BUSES

Way back in 1927 Blackpool Corporation Tramways decided to break away from the limited capacity of its bus fleet and trialled four new three axle versions; two double deckers and two single deck examples. Guy Motors supplied the chassis for a double deck and single deck; whilst Karrier Motors of Huddersfield similarly provided chassis for the matching pair. The single deck versions (51 - Guy FCX chassis) (52 Karrier chassis) were given rear entrance bodywork with distinctive clerestory roofs with opening glazing to the same design as the 'Pullman' cars which were being built in Preston for delivery in 1928 (167 - 176). Blackpool's motor bus services were experiencing rapid expansion as

Roman 'Brush' Cars - 1930s style

The development by Brush Engineering in Loughborough of their finest tram design - finessing the originating styling of English Electric 'rail coaches' for Blackpool did not go unnoticed elsewere in Europe. Rome, like many European major cities, in addition to its extensive urban tram system under municipal control, also hosted several lengthy interurban services. These extended east and southeast of Rome in the Lazio Region. One of these semi rural lines linking villages and small towns along its route into central Rome had a small fleet of four axle double deck top covered trams - a rarity in Europe. Under the modernising fascist government from the late 1920s - transport and architecture

Steady the Buffs !

Not usually heard in connection with trams but nonethless very appropriate for this online thank you to Dennis and Julie Smith. The couple drove to Wyre Dock from the Manchester area this week to donate two boxes of tools and equipment which Dennis had formerly used in his work as a panel beater after leaving the Army. In brilliant sunshine they joined John Woodman and his wife engaged in cleaning 641 - for a quick tour of the Trust's tram collection. Dennis served in the Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) in Germany during the same period as John's service with the 17th/21st Lancers also in BAOR. So quite a lot of stories from that period were exchanged before the couple headed bac

ONE BOGIE AT A TIME

An early task in preparing Centenary Car 641 for its new 'look' is cleaning the special bogie frames used on these cars. Whereas cleaning and painting the bogies on the Trust's Brush rail coach 290 was relatively easy - the large frames with their heavy 'compartments' is a serious proposition. After a decade of use and storage, the amount of accumulated rust and layers of old paint bonded together on the frame exterior surface, presents a lengthy ground level job. So one bogie at a time is now subjected to scraping and wire brushing to get to the original metal surface for preparatory painting. The hard rubber absorbers on either side of the axle box are particularly worn. The original

DUPLE'S LEGACY IN MARTON

Tucked away off Vicarage Lane in Marton behind the former Duple Coachbuilders office block is a cluster of specialist coach and bus bodywork firms. The entire site was originally the home of Blackpool's prestigious HV Burlingham company - supplier of the town's unique centre entrance bus fleet from the early 1930s until 1957. In a takeover in the early Sixties the Burlingham business was absorbed by Hendon-based Duple Motors who then based their northern operations in two Burlingham factories in Blackpool. Burlingham were most famous for the excellent 'Seagull' coach design which appeared in time for Blackpool's FA Cup Win team to parade through the town with the FA Cup trophy. The 'Seag

Gazette highlights tram supporters

Blackpool's main news medium carried a feature article on the Football Tram today. The growing community support and contributions included stories of a tangerine duck as well as the involvement of local societies who wish to add their names to the sides of the Football Tram at its launch later this summer. For details of the welcome coverage we recommend you visit the Gazette online where the full article and images can be accessed.

2016 TRAM CALENDAR EN ROUTE

The Trust's next Annual Calendar will soon be available from Fylde coast outlets. The 2016 Calendar is a tribute to the diverse illuminated tram creations that have been a unique feature of Blackpool's Rigby Road Workshops from 1912 to the present time. Selecting the twelve candidates from nearly twenty possibles has not been easy in covering the many variants over one hundred years. We have put together a selection of less familiar images from archives and private collections. The Calendar will be available at Brooks Collectables on Waterloo Road, Waterstones on Bank Hey Street, the Visitor / Tourist Information Centre near North Pier, and Toys2Save shop opposite Cleveleys Tram Statio

WE'RE NOT IN BLACKPOOL ANYMORE TOTO!

A foretaste of the story of how a Blackpool Corporation bus managed the overland journey from London to the Khyber Pass and beyond. The epic tale of two Students and their friends travelling through regions and countries in Blackpool Corporation Transport bus 298 will appear in a new title now being prepared by Rigby Road Publishing: 'Blackpool's Desert Bus'. This journey was not only completed successfully into Pakistan but also involved number 298's return to Britain. Amazing images of traditional corporation green and cream in settings and traffic a world removed from Blackpool and current conditions in the near east from Syria to Afghanistan. By way of contrasts above : Tehran AEC bus p

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR TRAMS ON WALLS!

Blackpool’s trams have a habit of popping up when you least expect them - and not necessarily on the promenade tracks. From the Red Bank Road Hotel with its distinctive traditional ‘Inn Sign’ showing a Balloon Car - to the hoardings on Clifton Street covering (partially) the former site of the much lamented Yates Wine Lodge, Blackpool trams feature as iconic images. A remarkably accurate rendition of the Trust’s Jubilee Tram 761 faces out on to Clifton Street - albeit in overall red colours in a distinctive style. Another red Blackpool tram can be found on the upper level of the new Sainsbury’s store facing North Station and the Council offices. This time it is an enclosed Standard car

OUR ICONIC BUSES DESERVE THEIR SHARE OF THE LIMELIGHT TOO

While Blackpool’s trams have attracted overwhelming attention from transport enthusiasts over the years - and deservedly so: the town’s bus fleet also had its fair share of attention as well. As one of a handful of urban transport systems still under public ownership; Blackpool Council are to be congratulated on retaining control of this unique municipal operation over the years since de-regulation arrived in 1986. Most of Britain’s towns and cities have lost the distinctive colours and pride associated with their municipal transport. The contrasting liveries forever associated with Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Rochdale, Bolton, Birkenhead, Bournemouth - to name a modest f

Working to conserve for display, trams and artefacts of the longstanding coastal tramway serving Blackpool, Thornton Cleveleys and Fleetwood.

 

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