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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Back to the future - in a trailer

One of the more recent acquisitions of the FHLT is trailer 687 aka T7 when delivered in 1961. Part of a 'package' of Blackpool trams saved by the initiative of a Trust supporter, Trailer 687 has been orphaned from its Motor Unit and was one of five Blackpool trams put up for sale by Merseytravel in 2015 - following the lapsed plan for a heritage tramway within the 'Wirral Waters' scheme.

Having been left very much in its 1990s condition and ransacked for internal fittings such as seats - the trailer was in a somewhat woebegone state when it arrived at Wyre Dock. Along with Motor Unit 678 a rejuvenated 687 / T7 is intended for a new role next summer. A clear out and clean out of one saloon section is underway while the other half of the trailer is currently used for storage of varied items.

Working on the platform section of the trailer revealed an interesting time capsule contained in the legal panel fitting which carries a Government notice of the conditions by which the tramway is (or rather was) operated. Signed off by Westminster officialdom, the notice is countersigned by Blackpool's Mayor - Alderman Tom Lumb - the year of formal publication being 1929...... How this copy came to feature on a 1961 built trailer is something of a mystery.

Tom Lumb occupied a very influential position - or should I say 'positions' over four decades in Blackpool. Having a professional architectural practise, as well as being very active in the affairs of several 'Estates' companies along the route of the Blackpool and Fleetwood Tramroad Company - Alderman Lumb (he became Mayor in 1929) was behind the scenes of emergent plans of the Tramroad as well as its subsequent upgrade to modern trams in the 1930s. In fact it could be said he was an extremely important advocate of the fylde coast tramway. His many connections included links to the English Electric Company in Preston.

There's a rich trove for research for someone interested.

Above : A peek inside a cleaned out half of Trailer 687 /T7 - a lot more work to do.

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