Blackpool Electric Tramway Company commenced operation in 1885 with gradually extending service from Cocker Square to Victoria Pier (later South Pier). The line utilised underground third rail conduit current collection. An initial fleet of ten two axle cars of varying types (all open top double deck) were used of which one car (Number 4) was subsequently converted to overhead gantry and works duties after Blackpool Corporation acquired the assets of the Company in 1896. This tram, converted to overhead power collection, managed to evade scrapping for many years up to 1960 when it was fortunately returned to an operating condition for the 75th Anniversary of Blackpool’s electric street tramway. It was later donated to the British Transport Commission collection at Clapham Museum. When that closed the tram moved to the National Tramway Museum and care of its owning Society. In 1985 it was returned to a close approximation of its 1885 appearance, with battery power to allow participation in Blackpool’s Tramway Centenary celebrations. Since then Number 4 has been on static display at the National Tramway Museum in its BET livery of olive green, sand and white trim.
Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad Company began operation in 1898 with a mostly reserved track line linking both towns. The Company bought both open and closed cars reflecting the summer leisure travel along what was then a novel ride under overhead wires. Fortunately examples of both types survived to 1960 when they were (with Number 4 above) restored to their Company colours and operated on tours for a number of years. Now in the ownership of the Tramway Museum Society – the two trams have been further refurbished to a closer rendition of their 1898 and 1914 condition. One of the cars (Box Car 40) has been on long term loan to Blackpool Transport Services Ltd. and is now part of the ‘Heritage Fleet’. Fleetwood ‘Rack’ 2 is at the NTM and a useful summer season runner.