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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Number 11 - Last Rites At The Seaside

John Woodman

By a quirk of fate just one solitary tram from the classic 'Marton Vambacs' has survived through the years. Purchased by a brave group in the south of England and intended for an ambitious project at Hayling Island utilising a redundant British Railways line (well before Michael Portillo appeared on the scene) - the tram left Blackpool with great expectations. These sadly were not to be realised (I know the feeling) and number 11 became homeless only to find a welcoming home near Lowestoft. The Carlton Colville Museum was in need of adding to its small fleet of trams and the Marton Vambac car was a welcome addition even though it would require extensive work to make it operable. This was achieved after extended attention funded through the museum's limited resoiurces, These had similarly been applied to a solitary London tram HR2 1858 which has previously survived courtesy of its private purchaser on closure of the capital's tram system in 1952. A London Zoo offered secure storage, albeit outdoors, within a paddock. The Museum also took advantage of the final withdrawal of remaining Blackpool 'Standard' cars in 1966 and purchased number 159 which it proceeded to restore to its final postwar condition,

Number 11 managed to provide an exotic tour car for enthusiasts before leaving Blackpool with all of its sisters having been rudely scrapped immediately following the closure of the Marton tram service in October 1962. Some images from one of its final tours taken by Colin MacLeod who had the rare benefit of living in immediate proxmity of Whitegate Drive and thus gained marvellous insight into the working of the Marton tram service in the 1950s and until closure.

The rear facing shop fronts of the Metropole building were once smartly maintained, Here a Marton Vambac passes by followed by a white fronted English Electric rail coach.

Truncated track on Lytham Road signalled the end of the Squires Gate service as Vambac 11 heads for Hopton Road followed by a white front rail coach heading for the depot.

Apologies for blemishes on the negative above. The final stub track terminus for North Station complete with automatic trolley reverser installed a couple of years before closure of this service.

The Gynn before a roundabout was installed and trams trundled across the junction heading for Dickson Road and North Station. Number 11 looks at home as it smoothly accelerates up the slight incline on the promenade. All Photos Colin MacLeod.


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