Welcome to Seaton 15

The transformation of Seaton Tramway’s no. 17 into a fully enclosed saloon tram was completed in the lead up to Christmas with it being used alongside the other enclosed single deck trams during the Polar Express event. As part of the tram’s rebuild it has been renumbered 15 and has been completed in a blue and white livery.

The tram was originally built as 17 in 1988 and was the first wheelchair accessible tram for Seaton with the seats removable to carry wheelchairs. Based on a Manx Electric Railway crossbench car 17’s role to carry wheelchairs was usurped following the arrival of double deckers 9, 10 and 11 although it remained a unique and popular tram in the fleet. Withdrawn from service at the end of 2015 a start was then made on converting the tram into an enclosed saloon with design elements again coming from the Manx Electric Railway. Internally the tram is roomy with two side seats down each side covered in material and curtains matching at the windows. There is level access from the platforms to saloon (linked by sliding doors) with spacious platforms provided allowing for good pushchair storage. 15 retains the same controllers as previously with the addition of a self laping air brake valve and new LED tail lights have been fitted.

The work in converting 15 to a fully enclosed tram was completed by the end of 2016 and after trial running it was cleared to enter service during December with its first use coming on the Polar Express specials which also utilised fellow enclosed saloons 14, 16 and 19.

Following Christmas and with Seaton running 15 entered normal passenger service for the first time on Tuesday 27th December with it seeing use each day until Monday 2nd January on this special service (double deckers 9 and 10 also saw use during this period).

With the entry into service of 15 the Seaton Tramway fleet now has four useful enclosed trams although it is a shame that in order to achieve this the unique Crossbench style of 17 is no more.

15 is seen here running in normal service at Colyford.

15 alongside 9 at Colyford. (Both Photographs by Mike Poole)

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8 Responses to Welcome to Seaton 15

  1. Ste says:

    I’m sorry but that looks awful. The livery chosen doesn’t help! Surely it could have been made into a replica manx or Fleetwood Box rather than a not copy of anything box? Why has it been renumbered anyway? Is it to cover the shame? Whilst I can appreciate that maybe it is more useful in this new form I really think that more throught could have gone into it.

    • Mark says:

      I’m sure if you donated in any way, then they would allow you to paint it in what ever colours you liked…
      Personally I think it looks quite smart.

  2. Nigel Pennick says:

    It’s interesting to see a ‘new’ traditional tram. Seaton is a tramway in its own right and a tram in its own livery is only natural. Well done to Seaton for being self-sufficient.

  3. David Mee says:

    Personally I preferred it in toastrack form although it does have a certain charm and ‘Manx’ feel – perhaps a hybrid tunnel car/winter saloon design. I am guessing the livery is based on that currently carried by MER 7 and SMR 1. The thing I least like is the front window, a two pane design would have looked better, but required a different driving position. However, if this makes the car a more useful member of the fleet, and it appears in service more often, then that can only be a good thing.

  4. Ken Walker says:

    No. 17 was not a ‘preserved’ dar, it was built new by/for the Seaton Tramway and built along the lines of a Manx toastrack to make it easy to accommodate wheelchairs, so there was no reason to keep it in that form once cars 9-11 superceded it as wheelchair friendly cars.
    Personally I preferred it as a toadtrack, just as I preferred no. 12 in its original form as a mini Blackpool Pantograph car lookalike. But as a tram which is not preserved on a line that is not a preserved tramway then I see nothing wrong with what they have done. An extra bad weather car will be useful and no doubt it would have cost much more to build a new one, and I suspect depot space is at a premium.

  5. Ste says:

    Seaton have always prided themselves on ‘based on’ Trams. the originals were llandudno inspired, the new 3 Blackburn etc. this one isn’t – surely modelling it on something real would have kept the Seaton spirit!

  6. Ken Walker says:

    Perhaps they could use this for the all year round Polar Express decor rather than using no. 16 which is one of the genuine corporation tramcar bodies albeit reduced in width. This new car unfortunately is the only enclosed car that has not been restored from a genuine tram body and obviously an enclosed car is needed to protect the decor.

  7. Cameron says:

    I didn’t think it was 17! blimey, complete change new number and style, not a massive fan and would have preferred they kept it in the Manx style, ah well