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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

BACK IN TIME (1928) - 6

The first upgrade of the Fleetwood tram service occurred in 1928 following on extensive infrastructural renewal of the former Company owned line - eliminating a sharp curve at Rossall School among other features. Replacement of the by then archaic 'Box' cars with their high and narrow corner entrances - and bare wooden interiors had become essential.

Blackpool's town tram services were benefitting from delivery of the 'Standard' double deck cars which at least boasted cushioned seating in their lower deck. The important Fleetwood service running from Talbot Road Railway Station - as it was then called needed substantial improvement and single deck trams for its mostly reserved track service. English Electric Company offered up their own design in the form of wide bodied 'Pullman' trams which came complete with a prominent metal gantrys on which were mounted novel 'pantographs.' These were deemed less prone to dewirements in the gusting winds prevalent on the Fylde coast.

Ten examples were acquired to operate the service (167 - 176). Based in Bisphan Depot they were forever known as the 'Pantograph Cars' despite the fact that they subsequently had these replaced with trolleypoles in the 1930s. The cars were subjected to some improvements during working lives which ended in 1961. Number 170 is seen on an enthusiasts tour shortly before the Dickson Road line closed in 1963. English Electric had hopes of selling this model to other UK systems but found interest only in a sample car for Liverpool. Number 757 was acquired there to test out multiple unit capabilities (in theory at least) as well as the potential for subway operation - (much like a similar scheme in Leeds in later years). Number 757 had common design features to the Blackpool cars which were very popular right up to the end ofoperation. 757 Photo courtesy BCVM.

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