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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Brush Car Survivors (284 - 303)

The workers at Brush Engineering in Loughborough could hardly expect their final tramcar contract to be carrying passengers in the next millenium. The twenty new trams for Blackpool which arrived in 1937 have proved to be remarkable survivors. Even after the great cull of traditional trams in 2010 - a remarkable number still survive in Blackpool through the initiative of Blackpool Transport and its heritage team; and efforts of Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust (FHLT). A further example is well cared for in a local school playground (622 nee 285).

Eight of the twenty thus remain on the Fylde coast in various forms. One more was reduced to an extended frame to provide a rail carrier trailer. This also continues to fill a working role on the tramway numbered 260 nee 628 and 291.

The Illuminated Trawler was derived from the bodywork , frame and trucks of number 633 nee 296. This car will undergo major overhaul at Rigby Road in 2016.

The National Tram Museum has two more Brush cars: one being much modified and operable (630 nee 293), whilst the other (298), lingers on having had extensive restoration work over many years but still awaiting final completion to its 1937 condition. A Derby based energy technology company retains ownership of 636 (nee 299) which has served as a test bed for the company's projects in recent years. Heaton Park Museum has an operable example (623 nee 286); whilst the Beamish Museum took delivery of the prototype (621 nee 284) for eventual full restoration to an early appearance. Peel Holdings hold on (!) to one of three examples acquired by Merseytravel for a now aborted heritage tram scheme in a new property development scheme on the Wirral (626 nee 289) - the other two cars being privately acquired with the assistance of the FHLT. One of these is for disposal presently with one or two interested Parties - (637 nee 300). The other car (635 nee 288) will become the subject of a restoration scheme in due course.

A final example was also privately purchased and returned to an eminent appearance before being placed on loan with the northeast NEETT museum in Co. Durham (634 nee 297). The FHLT owned car (627 nee 290) is also saved for future display locally and now

stored with other heritage cars at Rigby Road.

Two Brush cars were selected for experiments 303 which utilised Vambac controls and new bogies - scrapped in 1962. Number 301 (638) was trialled as a front entrance car for OMO operation in 1969 and quickly reverted to crew operation until scrapping some years later. All in all the tally of examples in preservation is something which Brush Engineering would have been proud of. Ironically English Electric Company built a total of 45 similar styled rail coaches - none of which survive in near original form but efforts are in hand to retro build an example to its 1930s appearance. One quite valuable survivor of the same classic 1930s style is Marton Vambac 11 from the 1950s era utilising a 1939 English Electric 'Sun Saloon' model (10 - 21). This is in the care of the EATMS museum near Lowestoft.

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