There was an unexpected delivery at Blackpool’s Rigby Road tram depot on the morning of Monday 26th January, when Twin car motor 671 returned home following a lengthy period of outside storage at Marton. 671 was the last of the historic Blackpool trams formerly owned by the Lancastrian Transport Trust to be rescued and moved to a new/old home, and this move really does mark the end of this controversial organisation’s involvement in the tramcar preservation movement.
671 is no stranger to road journeys having initially left Blackpool after being sold to Merseytravel, duly being dumped at Knowsley. However, after only a few weeks it was brought back to the Fylde early in 2012, following the successful conclusion of a deal which saw ownership of the car transfer to the LTT, who in return gave Brush car 637 and Trailer 687 to Merseytravel (who indeed still own both trams which remain at Knowsley with an uncertain future). The tram actually spent one night on Blundell Street where the low loader used to bring it back was stabled, before moving to Marton where it was deposited in a coach yard, remaining there for a further three years. Then on 26th January 2015, 671 was awoken from its slumbers and loaded up onto a lorry yet again, to be returned to Rigby Road for further period of storage – but now undercover for the first time in over three years. The move was handled by Calkeld’s hauliers, who are rapidly gaining an excellent reputation for moving trams with great skill and professionalism, and within a few hours the tram was safely tucked up inside the shed where it resided for much of its working life.
Although 671 was supposed to pass into the ownership of the Tyne Tees Transport Trust – a new, North East-based preservation group closely affiliated with the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust – this latest development seems to suggest that this intended sale of the tram has fallen through. Instead, it may be used to provide spare parts for other trams in Blackpool’s heritage fleet, and it has been confirmed by the Blackpool Heritage Trust that its trucks will be used beneath English Electric Railcoach 279 which currently has Metalastik sprung trucks, which won’t be strictly authentic to its intended final restored appearance with pointed cab ends. For now, 671 will simply be stored and there are currently no plans for it to join the retained heritage collection. Of course, any further news regarding 671 will be reported on this website once more information becomes available.