In Pictures: The Merseyside Four in Fleetwood

As reported on a couple of occasions earlier this week the four trams which had been stored in a yard in Knowsley made their return to the Fylde Coast this week having been purchased by a private individual. Brush cars 625 and 637 and Twin Trailer cars 681 and 687 were moved at the start of this week and are now to be found stored at Wyre Dock in the same compound as that leased by the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust. These photos show the trams arriving at their new home and also have been offloaded and are provided courtesy of John Woodman.

Wyre Dock is currently home to 11 trams with these four joining Centenary cars 641 (undergoing cosmetic attention ahead of being displayed as part of the 2015 illuminations) and 643, Twin Car 673+683, Ex-Towing Railcoach 678 and Balloon cars 710 and 726.

On 10th June the third of the trams to arrive in Fleetwood was Trailer 681 which is seen here swinging into the Dock.

681 is unloaded as fellow orphan 687 looks on.

681, 687 and 625 sit in their new home.

Looking through the open doors of 681 we can see 687 and 625 lined up.

Brush 637 seems to have brought some tree with it back from Knowsley! At least there is somewhere for the gorilla to hide if it all gets too much!

637 is unloaded. In the background can be seen Centenary 641 which has started to receive attention in preparation for its role as the Blackpool FC celebration tram during the 2015 Illuminations. (All Photographs by John Woodman)

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13 Responses to In Pictures: The Merseyside Four in Fleetwood

  1. Nathan says:

    Poor 641 it looks a mess.

    • Nathan says:

      In addition to my previous comment, what exactly does the FHLT hope to achieve?? They can’t just display one on Pleasure Beach, take it off, plonk a new one down every couple of years.

    • Gareth Prior says:

      To be fair most trams probably “look a mess” when they are in the middle of a repaint.

      • Andrew Waddington says:

        Fair comment. Of course it remains to be seen whether it will look any less of a mess when the repaint is finished…

  2. David Butterworth says:

    It is rather sad to see these trams slowly deteriorating, but thankfully they have a secure resting place. I do wonder if there is any realistic prospect that they will ever run again, considering Blackpool Transport have over a dozen ‘runners’ and those ‘under attention/restoration’. In my opinion it seems that we as enthusiasts are trying valiantly to hang on to a past which is a good aim, but surely it is gradually fading , with the passage of time. The use of the term ‘orphaned’ is very significant; personally I don’t see any future for the twin car trailers.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I think the best option for an orphaned trailer car would be if someone wanted to turn one into a static café or gift shop – being in fairly good condition 681 would be an ideal candidate for this in my opinion. Not ideal but it would allow another tram to survive in some form. Even if Blackpool ever need a spare trailer, they have 676+686 stored out of service so the need for both 681 and 687 is pretty much nil. I do agree with you completely; some would say it is being negative, but in such a niche hobby I think it is important to ensure that what limited resources exist are pooled into looking after a key selection of trams. That said, individuals obviously have their own favourites and spend their money how they wish, the above is merely my view!

      • Ken Walker says:

        Well being realistic if controversial, I would say they could potentially be useful to BHT and others as a source of spare parts! The skills for manufacturing parts in-house at Blackpool must surely have declined to some degree now that the heritage fleet is no longer the ‘staple diet’ for the tramway. With 761 now back at Rigby Road there is nothing in the FHLT collection that isn’t already well-represented. Personally I would much rather see an EE or Brush railcoach restored to original condition than any of the Wyre Dock fleet diluting the demand for the vehicles that are already operational under BHT. It’s time for an injection of commonsense to protect the future of what we already have at Blackpool. I presume that Heaton Park, Beamish, NEETT etc also would not complain about access to spare parts.

      • Paul D says:

        It was suggested a while ago that one should be towed down to Pleasure Beach on Heritage weekends as a snack bar and waiting room, but that would apparently infringe agreements with the Pleasure Beach operators…

        • Tom Irvin says:

          Would there be space in whichever line at North Pier isn’t used as the running line these days to have one used as the snack bar and still allow room for trams to be turned/stabled as required. Alternatively, I suppose the centre road at Bispham could be used if both the snack tram and a Flexity could be accommodated, though the heritage service doesn’t get there as often.

          I suppose the Pleasure Beach waiting room idea could work with having a cosmetically restored tram on the plinth in the middle of the loop. The MER had an old bus for this purpose at Derby Castle at one point.

          • Ken Walker says:

            I don’t think the tramway authorities would go for a shop / snack bar on a ‘middle road’ anywhere, as customers would be stepping out of the vehicle straight into the ‘6-foot’ whichever side they used.

          • Mark says:

            I don’t think Gift Shop/Cafe could be stored on a centre track anywhere on the system, as the public would potentially alight straight into an oncoming tram… I work in Health & Safety and there would be a lot of paperwork…!!

  3. John says:

    I personally would love to see a spare Trailer converted into a Heritage Shop which could be wheeled out for events and make money (though the politics/logistics are far greater than we can imagine I know)! Those seats in 681 would be useful too.

    • Tom Irvin says:

      With the gift shop, it is a good idea, but I think would need to be done carefully. I wouldn’t think it would be a good idea for it to be in competition with the transport shop at North Pier, which I believe does provide sponsorship and support for the trams already. If it could be done in such a way as to not compete though, then why not?

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