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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Psst Wanna Balloon Car ?

John Woodman

The FHLT are disposing of their trams, as most readers are aware. We are experiencing problems finding a caring? home, or indeed any responsible home, for Balloon Car 710 which has been stored at Wyre Dock for several years. The Trust has a deadline in 2022 to remove its trams from Wyre Dock and in the absence of a firm commitment to remove the tram from Fleetwood the Trust will with regrets need to arrange for its dismantling for scrap or spare parts.

Of course Rigby Road Depot has a surfeit of these cars albeit in various forms, so there is no requirement to add yet a further example to the existing lines of stored trams there, otherwise we would be pursuing that option. However there may well be solutions elsewhere in the country which are not necessarily of a transport heritage profile.

This is a vintage tramcar built in 1934, originally in open top condition, as part of Walter Luff's grand Five Year Plan to upgrade the entire municipal transoort system, both tram, bus and infrastructure. The tram was built on Strand Road, Preston by the English Electric Company and famous for its one time starring role in the Coronation Street episode watched by over 11 million viewers in which villain Alan Bradley met his demise.

Number 247 or 710 in its later format retains its swing back seating on both decks with seats stored seperately. The tram also retains its half drop side windows and has the original alhambrinal type ceiling panels, (albeit painted over). The curved corner glazing on the top deck remain unaltered from the wartime! enclosed addition. Passenger interior handles and exterior door fittings are all of the original chromed style as originally built. The tram was repainted in a version of Metro Coastlines livery in its final years of service and this has been retained but weathered badly due to outdoor storage. The tram was put on display before handover to the FHLT and its appearance (on the back of the Scotts low loader at the Tram Sunday event (in windswept rain). The tramway was being upgraded in 2011, with bus replacement services to Fleetwood. Below : A press photo of the Fleetwood supporters who helped with the event, including Frank Heald, Trustee of the FHLT second from the right.

710 poses alongside the Engineering Shop in its splendid Metro Coastline colours.

Intended by the Trust to form part of an ambitious heritage transport visitor attraction at Wyre Dock number 710 (or 247 as it was originally numbered - see below) is now available. Contact the Author online to identify your interest.

247 in happier times seen here with its original fleet number, on Lytham Road heading north to time with the outflow of crowds from a Home Match at Bloomfield Football Ground. The rear indicator blind has obviously not been changed for the journey north assuming the tram reversed at Station Road crossover Photo by : John Woodman


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