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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Ten little trailers sitting in a depot

Following the original 'Twin-Set' testing in 1958 - Blackpool's decision to proceed with conversion of a further eight English Electric rail coaches to pull brand new trailers was quite a dramatic development by 1960. The ten trailers were well crafted by Metro Cammell to the extent that seven still survive fifty years later. Originally numbered T1 to T10 - they were later included in the grand fleet renumbering exercise of 1966 and became 681-690 in the then new system. The Motor Units which were permanently coupled becoming 671 to 680.

Three trailers (690/688/689) were discarded following a later decision not to proceed with their conversion to control trailers with driver cabs (of a kind) inserted at the 'trailing' end. Their motor units (678-680) then became double ended 'modernised' rail coachesand operated 'solo' for many years.

The remaining 'push pull' twin units were subsequently given a further mid-life (or was it late in life?) refit with five acquiring smart 'Metro Coastline' liveries. Two sets soldiered on to the end of regular tram operation in November 2011. The two units which were left in BTS green and cream 686/687 have had divergent careers of late. Merseytravel acquired two trailers (681 and 687) as part of an abortive scheme for Wirral Waters. Both subsequently have returned to the Fylde coast but not to Rigby Road. The FHLT compound remarkably now hosts three trailers 681/683/687 - whilst Rigby Road is putting on the road 682 and 685 with their matching motor units - now back in retro Blackpool livery styles. A further trailer remains 686 at Rigby Road in semi derelict state. The NEETT Museum acquired the only complete twin set outside of the Fylde coast - 674/684.

By a convoluted set of circumstances BHT reacquired Motor Unit 671 via the LTT;

while the FHLT are guardians of its matching trailer 681 through the private purchase of four trams put up for sale by Merseytravel earlier this year. 681 is in excellent condition, as is 671; so who knows what fate has in store for these two units but it seems anything is possible these days. If you can follow this story then you are better at detective work than myself ! Above : Three little trailers in Fleetwood. Below : one about to emerge again in Blackpool. This fascinating story will no doubt be retold to later generations of heritage buffs!

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