Sunday 3rd June saw the highly-anticipated launch into passenger service of Blackpool Boat 236 in its new home at Crich Tramway Village. Unfortunately, the weather was less than kind and the seaside-themed event day was spoilt considerably by appalling weather with heavy rain falling throughout the day. This was a tremendous shame as once again, volunteers and staff at the Museum went to great lengths to put on a good show for all who did brave the elements.
The day started with an impressive line-up of Blackpool trams on the depot fan before the tram service commenced, and this was followed by a short procession of all six operational Blackpool cars at the Museum from Cliffside and along the Tramway Street in order of age. These were: Fleetwood ‘Rack’ 2, Standard 40, the electric locomotive, Toastrack 166, Boat 236 and Brush Railcoach 630. After the parade all of these trams carried passengers during the day, with the exception of 166 which ran straight back to the depot – with the chance to ride on the loco proving especially popular with the enthusiasts present.
The launch of Boat car 236 took place at Stephenson Place shortly after 11:30am, when Daphne Luff – the daughter of Walter Luff, who was responsible for the introduction of the streamlined trams to Blackpool in the 1930s – and TMS President Chris Thornburn marked the occasion by breaking a large stick of rock over the tram’s dash panels! After a special first trip for its sponsor groups, the Fylde Tramway Society and the Tramcar Sponsorship Organisation, 236 then entered public service and proved very popular in spite of it not really being boating weather!
With other non-operational Blackpool trams, Pantograph car 167 and Jubilee car 762 displayed outside and various other seaside-style attractions, this was another highly enjoyable event from Crich. Let’s hope that the next enthusiast event there, the launch of London 159 next month, will be blessed with much better weather! Before that though, British Trams Online will be offering further coverage of the ‘Beside the Seaside’ event at Crich as part of next weekend’s main website update.