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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Blackpool Community Trust - BFC and Centenary Car 641

John Woodman

Following on a visit to the Football Club Stadium on Bloomfield Road today and an inspirational briefing by the Club's Management, it is worth revisiting our Trust's own efforts in 2015 to pay tribute to the town's football team and its current ambitions. In 2015 the Trust arranged for a special makeover of its classic Centenary car number 641. Already given a tangerine 'livery' by Blackpool Transport, together with supporting text number 641 was a logical ambassador to replace the FHLT's initial tram display Brush Car 290 at the Pleasure Beach terminus. Brush car 290, was a distinctive survivor from the traditional fleet, having been the very last service car from North Station to Fleetwood in 1963. The tram would eventually be transferred over to storage inside Rigby Road Depot in its final green and cream Department colours - where it remains at the present time awaiting decision by FHLT owners on a new display role in Fleetwood in 2022.

August 2015 BFC Community Trust transport plus one tram at Wyre Dock and volunteers line up.

Number 641 was repainted in tangerine with white 'strip' by the Trustees before its transfer from Wyre Dock to the Pleasure Beach. Augmented with vinyl panels kindly produced by Link Signs for the project, the new makeover on behalf of Blackpool Football Club was aided as well by working team of volunteers from the Blackpool Community Trust - whose arrival at Wyre Dock coincided with brilliant sunshine one morning in July 2015. Their involvement included tidying up some of the storage site and applying new paint on the tram ahead of application of the vinyl tribute panels. The finished product would take its place on the seafront for two year's display recording the especial role of the Football Club in the town's ongoing history. After various ups and downs of more recent years, now under new owner and new management BFC is amazingly again pushing for promotion to the top tier of the FA: being currently in position ten 'in the queue'.

Blackpool Transport have longstanding links with BFC starting with the provision of their former football pitch adjoining the former Lytham St Annes Tram/Transport Depot off Squires Gate Lane. In time this morphed into the training ground for the present BFC. In 1934 the body of withdrawn enclosed style 'Yank' tram 120 was placed at the training ground to provide a changing room for players. Sadly it was removed during the 1940s. The Transport Department 'fielded' its own football team drawn from staff for many years with the 'team' being provided with their own transport for 'away games'. 1940 Titan Number 33 was 'donated' to the BCT Football Team and repainted after withdrawal from public service in all over green for its new role, being based inside Marton Tram Depot. Under Manager Steve Burd, Centenary Car 641 of 1984 was painted all over 'tangerine' with added banner text above the side windows - whilst several Balloon cars in all over white were given special side banners supporting England in the World Cup competition. So far nothing similar has appeared on Blackpool Transport's trams or buses since then.

Centenary 641 with its special vinyl panel display front rear and both sides. Photographer prior to the tram's transfer to the display track at the Pleasure Beach turning loop. The Late Trevor Jones a Fleetwood solicitor was responsible for funding the tram's purchase for display in Fleetwood.

Sister Centenary car 643 is seen in the background. This tram would become a special themed exhibit at a special school in the Midlands. The writer stands proudly by the almost finished BFC project.


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