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THAT GREEN AND CREAM FEELING

June 6, 2015

Blackpool's fixation with green and cream colours for its transport system originated in 1933 under the gentle (or not so gentle) guidance of a certain Walter Luff in the beginning of his 'reign'.    Almost immediately a break with the past was in the offing as English Electric were quick to arrive at Blundell Street / Shannon Street offices bearing  'gifts' in the form of drawings and a model  of their speculative tram design.  This quickly translated into the prototype rail coach - appearing in  Blackpool's formally approved new green and cream livery.

 

Blackpool was not the only tramway (or bus) operator to take up this colour match in the 1930s.   San Francisco's MUNI would similarly give its entire (more or less) operating fleet of buses, trolleycars, and trolleybuses the same branding.  The new PCC cars in particular reflecting the modern and progressive approach of this US system.  

The MUNI system would subsequently turn to a orange and red styling for its next generation of trolleycars when the Boeing Light Rail Vehicles arrived;   together with construction of a new subway along Market Street.  This replaced the impressive on street operation of both trams and trolleybuses on an important commercial artery in the city centre.  

Top Image : PCC 1025 from the postwar (and final PCC car) delivery in the USA - loading on Market Street.  Note the silver painted 'fender' or 'anti-rider' as they were known.   Above : 1007 (a famous tram number in the northwest) in the dominant green and cream version in San Francisco - not unlike Blackpool's trams in the 1940s (albeit without cream vees). Note that this is the rear end of a single ended car - having been modified from double ended operation.   The trolleybus is passing alongside in the same fleet colours.  

 

Another US system to adopt a striking green and cream styling for PCC cars was Louisville (Kentucky).  This operation also took delivery of postwar PCC cars. These came with prominent frontal cream vees - much like Blackpool's version on its tram fleet.  However  dawn of PCC car operation in Louisville was shortlived - with just a trial demo around the depot (sorry Car Barn);  before a decision was made to divert the remaining trams in the order to Cleveland (and transfer those which had already arrived).   The Cleveland cars went on later to TTC in Toronto. 

 

 

Both Images from the early 1970s by  John Woodman

 

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