T7 Is Coming Home - to Rossall School
Final preparations are underway to transfer Trailer Unit T7 (latterly known as 687) from its present exile at Wyre Dock compound to a prepared display site within the grounds of Rossall School. The car's move is scheduled for later this month. T7 has had a varied existence since it was sold off by Blackpool Transport during the fleet downsizing exercise in 2010/11. Initially acquired for the aborted heritage tram scheme at Wirral Waters along with several other Blackpool trams - it became the property of Merseytravel which was intending to operate a scheduled tram service within the massive Wirral Waters scheme on a wholly new line.
The proposals foundered on various issues whilst the trams were transferred to outside storage in an industrial yard near Liverpool. Here they stayed for a period until Merseytravel decided to sell the entire group of cars to third parties - otherwise they would have been scrapped. A Fylde enthusiast, Matt Lodge, funded the purchase of several units including T7 and the FHLT offered alternative storage at their Wyre Dock site. A flurry? of individual disposals then followed with the FHLT holding on to T7 and giving it a temporary grey and black paint scheme. Weathering of the tram gave rise to the rubber mounting of a number of the roof glazing lights to fall out over recent years.
As soon as it was decided not to continue with proposals for a heritage tram display as part of a comprehensive development of Wyre Dock - the FHLT began search for alternative 'homes' for their small collection assembled on the Dock site, plus Brush car 290 seperately stored in Rigby Road Depot courtesy of BTS. Several options have presented themselves this year with the first being
formally agreed between Rossall School and the Trust. Initial interest by the School in acquiring Balloon 710 was changed to the trailer unit which offers scope for use by several of the school's different departments. Accordingly T7 will soon regain its original appearance following transfer on to a secure site at Rossall School with practical assistance from Blackpool Council's Operations team and Blackpool Transport. A record of this unique project (for the School) is being made with filming of the tram at its Wyre Dock location taking place this week. FHLT Trustees Frank Heald and John Woodman were joined by Mark Bradley, Director of Outreach programmes and a colleague to begin recording the story of reclaiming Trailer Car T7 for educational and skills training work.
A conclave besides trailer 687 or T7 as it is to be styled in the original cream colours when it arrived at Rigby Road Depot in the early 1960s. Frank Heald being lectured? by Mark Bradley on the finer points of window glazing manufacture (in Huddersfield). Image taken on 7 July.