CityClass tram returns to Blackpool

In a rather unexpected development, the Trampower project’s prototype ‘CityClass’ vehicle, previously known as 611, has returned to Blackpool. The tram was delivered to Rigby Road on Wednesday 21st March, with very few people seemingly aware of its return until it actually arrived back on site.

611 has, of course, previously been in Blackpool twice before. When newly delivered in 1997, it was painted white and saw some use on test before departing for further modifications. A subsequent visit saw the tram, then painted in a smart green and yellow livery, undertake more extensive testing but this wasn’t exactly a roaring success and this was brought to a dramatic and premature conclusion when the tram caught fire near Foxhall. It subsequently left for rebuilding, and was not expected to be seen in Blackpool again. However, on 21st March, it did indeed return – now painted grey and having been thoroughly rebuilt since one end was devastated by fire.

It is believed that the tram is destined for future operation on the test tramway at Preston, and has moved to Rigby Road for storage as it was being vandalised in its previous location at Preston. With plans for it to run elsewhere, it seems unlikely that it will run in Blackpool but as few people would have imagined it would ever be accepted back, who knows what might happen?

This is one of those times when your writer could have produced a longer article on this topic, but as the saying goes, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all… so we’ll leave it there!

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9 Responses to CityClass tram returns to Blackpool

  1. Alan Kirkman says:

    Very worrying!

  2. Nigel Pennick says:

    Better stored there than in a place where hooligans can trash it. I expect it will not catch fire again – the same thing happened to the D-Train prototype but now they have been accepted to run on the national rail network.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I completely disagree – many of us have no confidence whatsoever in this vehicle, and for good reason, looking back at the RAIB reports from its previous misadventures in Blackpool! If it was getting wrecked by vandals then that is hardly Blackpool Transport’s problem. I just hope that confirmation it will not be allowed to operate in Blackpool will be forthcoming and soon!

  3. Gareth Prior says:

    It certainly does seem an odd one. Its been stored outside at Preston for several years and now when apparently work is about to get underway on construction of the demo line it is moved away from the city for storage elsewhere!

  4. Tony Blews says:

    Has there been any development at all on the Deepdale site? Has anything happened recently apart from the bendy-bus stunt and and the tram move? I see the websites are as out of date and inaccurate as usual.

    This saga has be going on longer than Game of Thrones… with a lot less plot development.

  5. John says:

    I think Blackpool Transport as an operator of Buses, Light rail and Heritage Trams (OK they don’t directly run heritage but they oversee it) are capable of deciding whether to accept a Tram for storage and deciding if they want to take part in any work. The fact there has been no statement is because they don’t have to release one, why would they? they have made a private, commercial decision. End of.
    Yes it had a fire, so did set 2, so did many others over the years. It happens. lessons are learned and things move on. the amount of hostility displayed here and on facebook by armchair engineers is frankly astounding.

    • Gareth Prior says:

      Indeed. It wasn’t the first, hasn’t been the most recent and certainly won’t be the last vehicle (tram, train, bus or otherwise) to catch fire. There have been lots of vehicles over the years which have had a troublesome start in life and have gone on to be a major success and who is to say this won’t be the same? At the end of the day if the tram isn’t safe it won’t be allowed to operate anywhere at any point so nobody would lose from it being stored in Blackpool.

      Sure there is no doubt the whole Trampower project has been beset by problems but good luck to them in trying to get it off the ground – at least they are trying and persistently so when it would have been a lot easier just to give up. (I’m sure we all have our opinions as to anything will happen but I’m sure they will keep fighting for it).

  6. Alan Kirkman says:

    I wish It was that simple the RAIB reports and the number of drafts they had to go though to get to printable language tells the tale. I fear HMRI will show up and subject BTS and Heritage to the closest of fine toothcomb inspection of all proceedures and training etc, and it will only take one comma out of place or one wrong response by one person and deep problems and A Prohibition Notice and that will be the end for Heritage. Lewis Lesley has no credibility indeed the exact opposite at ORR HMRI etc. and it is so unwise to give his thing house room and invite the wrath of the regulatory authorities. And as for the story it was being vandalised stored with a flock of expensive yachts etc. on Preston Marina Dockside?? Well we’ve not heard of any yachts vandalised and there is no sign of any graffiti. Given the value of the yachts etc I can’t imagine a marina staying in business without a high level of security against Vandalism. So that story doesn’t wash. Now if it’s been chucked out for space or rent reasons and a soft touch BHTT manager has allowed it in out of pity, we are in a very bad place indeed endangering the whole thing because he’s too nice to say no.