In 1985 Rigby Road prepared for the largest tramway celebration in its history with the Centenary of Blackpool's electric tramway requiring an especial programme of events. These included an infusion of visiting trams loaned by several museums and groups. The first example being the successful testing of a 'foreign' tram with arrival of the superb restoration of a typical Bolton Corporation four axle car- number 66. This tram has become a permanent member of Blackpool's heritage fleet ever since and extremely popular with visitors.
More interesting and appropriate was arrival of Blackpool open balcony Standard number 40 from the National Tramway Museum. In this case its delivery at Rigby Road involved an unusual transitional state, with an enclosed top deck balcony at one end - giving it a unique appearance that was short lived in Blackpool. Above :
The arriving tram is being transferred into the Engineering Shop where it will be tested and the enclosed balcony end will have its temporary panels removed.
With the likelihood that 2016 will again see an open balcony Blackpool standard placed into heritage service following prolonged restoration from its works car condition as Engineering Car 3 - the red, teak and white Tramways Livery will become a familiar feature. Restoration of Standard Car 143 to its 'as built' appearance will also involve open driving ends. This feature was adjusted in the late 1920s on all of the Standards to provide at least some weather protection for drivers. Thus Blackpool will have chance to show off both the original design and the final fully enclosed state of this famous class (143 and 147), as well as liveries under successive Managers.
The enclosed leading end on the haulage trailer may well have needed some enclosing of the open balcony space to avoid any distress caused by low hanging tree branches or wires.
Both Images copyright : John Woodman Archive