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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Honiton, Tiverton, Seaton and Fleetwood

John Woodman

The news headlines swing to Tiverton and Honiton and Wakefield today. The Tiverton result gaining more attention with the Liberal Democrats overturning a massive Conservative majority to take the constituency seat by a several thousand votes - over a 30% swing away from Conservatives. While in Wakefield the traditional Labour seat has returned to that Party again by a sizeable number of votes. Of particular note is the fact that Tiverton and Honiton includes the coastal community of Seaton home to the narrow gauge riverside electric tramway - now flourishing as a primary visitor attraction and doubling as a mecca for bird watchers viewing avian wildlife along the River Axe.

The recent Blog on the Trust's disposal of its tram collection alongside another riverbank - the Wyre, gained considerable attention online and a number of enquiries on the future disposal of Balloon Car 710 aka 247 - which is forever renowned for its role in the Coronation Street episode featuring the demise of a 'villain' (Alan Bradley).

Weatherworn paintwork on Balloon 710 in this photo taken during the week,

Number 710 is going to a new home, just exactly where is not certain at this moment, but its fame on television was viewed by over twenty million in the UK and fondly remembered, Whereas the intention of the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust was for this tram to become a star exhibit in the riverside display intended at Wyre Dock, now after a decade of fruitless effort by the Trust it is destined to draw visitors elsewhere. Somewhat ironically almost at the same time of the Trust's decision to terminate its efforts at Wyre Dock, the Government came through with approved funding to resuscitate the long abandoned railway line from Poulton to Fleetwood and Wyre Dock.

The reopened line may well result in the new terminus of the Fleetwood service being sited almost next to the area proposed by the Trust for a visitor waterside development - complete with tram ride and heritage display. The success of the Seaton tramway (a location also bereft of train service by the coast) being an example of what might have been in Fleetwood.

The Trust is following up with a number of contacts on the disposition of its famous Balloon car and hopes to come to a final agreement during July so the tram can be taken 'into care' and given the restorative attention it richly deserves.


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