More Tram Town Unveiled - 3
By way of top and tailing the extraordinary event held at Rigby Road last Saturday morning a final potpourri of images taken during the guided tour.
Inside the Engineering Shop with a sparkling enclosed Standard Car 147 showing 'Layton' on its destination blind (possibly a result of my recent Blog on the Hospital Line - or the fact I live there)! In the foreground - again - the newly built underframe for Balloon Car 704 to be 'married' to the bodywork in the next few weeks. This will probably be one of several similar fabricating projects to be undertaken by the Heritage team in future years, given the age and condition of many of the retained Balloon car fleet. A great job by Mick Perrett and colleagues at BTS using original EE technical drawings from the 1930s to ensure correct measurements (in Imperial Measure) are applied. Well done Mick & co.
Not perhaps everybody's cup of tea, but a vital sampling of early moquette style used on Blackpool trams in the 1930s. One of a handful of examples found in the Body Shop area and thankfully retained - if not in the most ideal condition at present. Below : The tour group viewing two contrasting Balloon cars at the rear of the depot. The modified Light Rail compliant version on the left and venerable 726 (263) in the background. This latter car was acquired by the Fleetwood Trust from a scheme intended for the north east of England which ran into the buffers (we know the feeling); then transferred into the ownership of local train guru Matt Lodge, with intentions for its restoration, but perhaps wiser minds prevailed and it then found its way from Wyre Dock where it had been stored, back into Rigby Road. Some initial work was undertaken on the bodywork. Number 726 remains very much a work in progress when further transferred over to the Heritage Tram group at Rigby Road by Matt. The tram's frame shows severe signs of 'bending' and need for a '704 type fix'.
Below : A marvellous nautical sight - the side profile of the 'Hovertram', formerly known as English Electric railcoach 222, and a familiar member (with flats on its wheels) on the Marton service way back when. Very much intact and still impressive - this illuminated creation merits (along with the 'Rocket' car) return to operating condition as a mobile attraction (sans passengers) during the autumn display.
And finally - Blackpool Transport's heritage 'man of the hour' Bryan Lindop - giving his summation to the now somewhat weary visitors at the end of the extended tour. Clr Galley and Blackpool Chief Executive adding their weight to the day's proceedings which involved considerable work and planning by Bryan with his colleagues and volunteers. It was much appreciated I might add.
For inquisitive minds - the tram heading for 'Rotterdam' in the righthand background is actually Preston Trampower's demonstrator stored in Rigby Road as practical assistance to this ambitious Lancashire scheme for Preston and intended to facilitate local manufacture of light rail vehicles in the northwest of England. Ironically of course Blackpool's last new trams were products of a Blackburn based coachbuilding firm - East Lancashire Coachbuilders - and thus the final example of all British tram development (for the time being).