Picture in Time: Blackpool Brush 634

A tram that has been in the news in recent weeks is Blackpool Brush 634 as a result of its forthcoming return to its home tramway and it is that tram which is the latest to feature as part of Picture in Time.

The tram was built by Brush of Loughborough in 1937 entering service during the September of that year as no. 297. Ordered primarily to replace the Lytham St Annes trams which were used as illumination extras on the tramway the Brush Cars soon settled into a regular pattern of operation with renumbering coming in 1968 which led to 297 becoming 634. Single indicators followed in 1976 and a pantograph was fitted in 1986 with 634 continuing to provide sterling service until the great mothballing of 2004 which saw it sidelined along with many of its sisters. Sold into private preservation the tram then departed Blackpool on 7th November 2009 initially for Rushden in Northamptonshire and then latterly the North East Land Sea and Air Museum. Over the years a comprehensive restoration has taken place by owner Andy Ashton and earlier this year it was announced that 634 would be returning to Blackpool as part of the heritage fleet following the generous donation of the tram. It will eventually be returned to use and will once again operate along Blackpool Prom.

In this photo we see 634 arriving back at Rigby Road Depot in July 1972 following a day on specials.

Photograph by Bob Hodges

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11 Responses to Picture in Time: Blackpool Brush 634

  1. Ken Walker says:

    I think this was the condition in which the railcoaches looked their best

    • Howie B says:

      They looked better with the lighter coloured tolley tower, the white flash above the side windows which swept down to the cab windows and no fleet number on the front panel, i.e as they looked circa 1965

  2. Dave Mitchell says:

    Give Andy and his skills the gratitude they deserve. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the tram reincarnation teams and owners could have a hit squad to deal with some of the lesser known stored items.
    Dont waste the craft skills as nearly happened with steam.

  3. Phil Hart says:

    As Ken Walker says the Brush cars looked best in this guise.
    When the modernised them with such things as single destinations pantographs and taking away the Art Deco insides making them look much unrecognisable.

    Anyone know what happened to Brush Car 624 as it still had most or the original features and was used as a works car.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      624/259 is at Rigby Road in a partially stripped condition, and was displayed in the workshops during last year’s 130th anniversary event. It is intended to restore it to near original condition, but it will need a lot of work and its in a big queue of trams awaiting restoration!

  4. Kev says:

    Don’t forget one day there will also be 298 at Crich in original condition. Though personally I would be tempted to combine 298 and 259 as one and use the best of both as , and I’m no expert, the body of 259 looks more original and correct while 298 has an interior. Now an intermediate Brush with single indicators but sliding doors would be nice too.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I’d LOVE to see 298′s restoration completed at Blackpool, with the car then debuting there and perhaps sharing its time between Blackpool & Crich. It would certainly make good sense to utilise the cash that is in a restricted fund for that purpose, whilst taking some pressure off the Crich workshop who have more than enough other things to be doing!

      By the sound of your suggestions, its just as well lots of Brush cars have survived!

  5. Kev says:

    Sadly there seemed a lack of interest in the car at Crich when I spoke to people. ‘Too many Blackpool Trams’ well err yes because they survived and were the mainstay of Trams after 1962! Has it ever been published how much money 298 has? And is it enough to complete the restoration?

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Think it was about £125,000 – apparently roughly half of what is needed to finish it. The fund is still open although doesn’t seem to be actively promoted, so I’d be surprised if the amount has risen much in the last few years.

  6. Paul Turner says:

    £160,000 at the end of October 2014 according to TSO accounts, about £6k of donations in the year plus c£3k interest and tax recovery. I’m sure there are organisations who could complete the car with that amount of cash.

  7. Kev says:

    So basically enough to finish the cosmetic work to make a 1930s art deco streamliner, if not mechanical. Hmmmmm, am I being cybnical?