Rigby Road Depot saw formal handover of ownership of Jubilee Car 761 on a bright sunny morning last month (10th). Bryan Lindop and James Millington did the honours in accepting transfer of ownership of this important product of Rigby Road Works and Blackpool's Transport Department, whilst the Author representing the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust signed off on the agreement on behalf of the FHLT. Below : The piece of paper recognising the transfer of 761 to care of BHT with myself and James.
Jubilee 761 was saved by the nascent FHLT in 2011 when its future was in doubt having seen sister car 762 reserved for the Crich collection and 761 left at risk. At the time we considered 761 to be the more important of the two examples given its prototype role. Having ridden on the tram during its final night of regular service (see earlier Blog) as an exercise in nostalgia it was particularly encouraging to have already found a private sponsor funding the purchase of the car from Blackpool Transport for our originating plans in Fleetwood. Number 761 was Initially stored in Fleetwood courtesy of Halsall Toys International on their property. The tram formed part of a mini-fleet assembled by the Trust in record time thanks to private sponsors and a handful of supporters.
Appropriately with Blackpool Tower in the background and our 2014 Calendar cover on the tram window representing the year of its transfer back to Rigby Road from storage in Fleetwood courtesy of HTI (thank you to their management). Bryan Lindop with JW smile for the camera. (Great photography by the way)
When it came to having to relocate the collection from Halsall Toys property the Trust had benefit of a further offer of storage property nearby by Associated British Ports but it was felt that 761's future would be better served if it could be returned to Rigby Road. Agreement was reached with BTS allowing a return journey for this extremely large load and a safer environment under cover in the care of BHT and its team. The Trust's plans at Fleetwood are awaiting determination by ABP of redevelopment of Wyre Dock property - but in any case 761 did not 'fit in' for the proposals lodged by the FHLT. Accordingly it was felt that the tram's long term future would be assured through transfer of ownership of the car to the Blackpool Heritage Tours Trust - fitting in with their own objectives to secure a comprehensive collection of tram types most of which will become operational at some point, if not already in this state. Sister car of course is assured of preservation at the National Tramway Museum where it now operates in its final advertising livery so 761 represents a vital part of the Blackpool tramway story and we recognise this from the outset. The costs incurred by the FHLT having been reimbursed and piece of paper duly signed by both Parties Jubilee Car 761 thus became part of Blackpool's heritage collection. A few snaps of this happy occasion for the record. The proverbial bottle of champagne awaits (vintage 1979) for the day when this magnificent car makes its first journey back to Fleetwood as a tribute to our endeavours over the past several years. A final farewell from FHLT for a job well done.
A final smile from James and myself at conclusion of the handover.