Tyne & Wear Metro Superannuated Metro Cars - and Fleetwood's Icons
The pending upgrade and replacement of the originating Metro fleet with new equipment being built by Stadler has prompted an offer by Nexus - the Metro operating company, to donate five of their British built units for community use in the Tyne and Wear area. London Underground carriages were similarly acquired some time ago after withdrawal and resited on top of a building in the east of the city where they are in use as graphics design and creative arts units.
Blackpool has donated withdrawn trams to various museums over the years starting in 1955 with the gift of Standard Car 144 to the Seashore Trolley Museum at Kennebunkport in Maine. Much later a surplus Brush car was donated to Anchorsholme School where it provides a colourful centre piece in the school yard - with one of the passenger sections converted to an IT classroom. The tram was restored and repainted in its previous Blackpool Zoo all over design - which at the time was owned and operated by Blackpool Council. A much later version was applied to a further Brush car which is privately owned and stored presently at Wyre Dock (see below).
The FHLT have facilitated the transfer of a Centenary car which had been acquired by a Fleetwood Mobile Home Park and then donated to the Trust. From Fleetwood the car was sent to the former Metro Cammell works in Birmingham and spray painted before final move to a special school in the Stafford area where it is the centre piece in a 'seaside' display in the school grounds. Yet a further Centenary car also remains in Fleetwood at Farmer Parr's outdoor visitor attraction intended as a classroom but so far unused in this format. The car retains its external advertising for 'Farmer Parrs' in which it ran in its final years.
And finally a trailer car has just been acquired from the FHLT to be used by various departments at Rossall School - having been installed in a central position in the school grounds overlooked by various classroom buildings. Thus so far three retired trams from the former fleet are filling socially beneficial second lives on the Fylde coast - with possibly others to follow.
Centenary Car 644 prepared in readiness for its removal from Rigby Road for transfer to Farmer Parrs 'Animal World' next to Amounderness Way in Fleetwood. Photo : John Woodman
Above ; Sister Centenary Car 643 in its unique Corporation cream and green livery applied by the tram's new owners after installation at the Mobile Home park in Fleetwood - and latterly transferred to FHLT at Wyre Dock where this photo was taken. None of the Centenary fleet 641 - 648 operated in these colours,
Above : Trailer unit T7 arriving at Rossall School amid venerable surroundings - carefully transport by Scotts who have a great familiarity with moving Blackpool trams around the country.
Handpainted Brush Car 637 with its inspirational promotion for Blackpool Zoo - seen here with an admirer and sampling of the creative artwork. The very last Blackpool tram to receive a hand painted scheme before vinyls took over. Photo : John Woodman