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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Adieu 290

And now for something completely different in 2013 - Urban Street art by 'Inkie'.

A now familiar resident at the Pleasure Beach tram terminus is shortly to be transferred to Rigby Road depot under arrangements agreed between Blackpool

Transport, BHT and the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust. Preliminary work

on the tram preparing for its removal has seen the gantry taken to offsite storage and the period tram blind taken out.

Work has also started on adjusting the fence line around the display track to facilitate the tram's removal; as well as to allow for the additional length of the next resident, Centenary Car 641. Dates for these transfers have yet to be confirmed. 641 is expected to be formally unveiled as part of this year's Illuminations. For those with especial interest in the welfare of the Trust's cars - 641 has survived well since it left Rigby Road and with steel framed bodywork is robust enough to withstand a season, (or two) on the Promenade.

The future role of 290 now depends on final layout for the North Station tram extension which is still the subject of Council due diligence alongside development proposals for Talbot Gateway. As the very last service tram to leave North Station for Fleetwood in 1963 at the termination of the Dickson Road tram route - 290 has earned its especial place in resurrection of a new tramway link to North Station.

In the meantime this tram will have well deserved covered storage at Rigby Road.

Doubts on the tram's condition after three years in the fresh sea air on Blackpool promenade have been voiced elsewhere - with apparent worrisome concerns over removal from the Pleasure Beach track. So far 290 has borne up well to its three

year visitor display, having had two and a half repaints and tlc on the gantry base and roof to keep it leak proof. Probably seen by millions of visitors to Blackpool and featuring on countless selfies as a personal souvenir - pity it couldn't sign autographs as well..

First appearance - The Queen's Diamond Jubilee 2012

2014 - and finally work in progress on 290's transformation into Corporation livery - retaining its side swoops naturally. Images : John Woodman

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