Friends in high places for Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust

Local dignitaries have recently been offering their support to the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust’s initiatives to develop a tramway heritage centre in the town of Fleetwood. On November 16th, two local Politicians were shown around the planned site of the proposed museum, whilst a well-known transport author has also offered support to the project recently.

The former tram shed at Copse Road in Fleetwood played host to a visit by Councillor Alan Marsh, the Chairman of Fleetwood Town Council, and Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood. Both men have voiced their support for the Trust’s plans to transform the building into a visitor attraction which would house several of their preserved trams, most of which are currently in open storage. FHLT is now seeking grant funding from Wyre Council to enable the refurbishment of Copse Road depot to progress.

Further support has come from Steve Palmer, who is well known for his many books on the history of Blackpool’s trams. Mr Palmer has also visited Copse Road recently and made a generous contribution to one of FHLT’s various appeals. In January, Steve will hold a special tour of the system using Fleetwood ‘Box’ car 40 and a traditional lunch at the North Euston Hotel, and representatives of the Trust will be on hand to promote their activities and answer questions from the guests in attendance.

It is to be hoped that the Trust’s attempts to secure funding will be succesful, as the majority of its trams are rather exposed to the elements. Their only complete tramcar to be housed undercover is Blackpool Brush Railcoach 621, although illuminated Brush car 290 (alias 627) is likely to rejoin it at Kirkham Prison shortly. The remainder of the collection have thankfully been sheeted over, with new sheeting fitted during November ahead of the harsh winter weather. This unfortunately did not include Jubilee car 761 which has been left exposed to the coastal climate, despite being known to suffer from body leaks, so hopefully this tram will also receive this attention before too long. It is sad that these trams have now spent about a year stored outside, with Balloon car 710 having sat in a yard on the outskirts of Fleetwood since July 2011, and without the right kind of support the long-term future of these trams will undoubtedly be in doubt, making Wyre Council’s decision on whether to approve the request for funding a hugely important one.

A sad sight with Jubilee 761 and Balloon 710 (the latter covered over) in an industrial yard near the Fleetwood tramroad. One day both trams will hopefully take their place as museum exhibits, but right now they must endure another winter of cold storage. (Photo by Andrew Waddington)


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14 Responses to Friends in high places for Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust

  1. Ash Tomlinson says:

    Does anyone know what the date and times of the tour with car 40 is as I would love to film and photograph this tram in Fleetwood having missed out on this oppotunity when this piticular tram went there in April this year.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Nothing has been publicly announced yet, but when/if this happens British Trams Online will report it. All I know is that it’s supposed to be happening in early January.

    • Steve Hyde says:

      Without wishing to be offensive don’t you think it would be nice to actually support the trip and its aims financially rather than just benefit personally from it.

  2. Ash Tomlinson says:

    Has nothing been announced regarding the tour with car 40 yet?

  3. JONO says:

    Apparently 40 is doing a tour next weekend 5th January

    • A Friend of 40 says:

      Just a couple of minor corrections.

      To clarify, The Friends of 40 Group is independent of the FHLT though it does of course support the ambitions of the FHLT and all other preservation groups caring for .

      Jono the tour is infact Sunday 6th January (think you might be looking at this years calendar to get Sunday as the 5th?)

      Participants have been asked not to publicise the times or route because apparently there were issues yesterday for the FTS tour with phtographers following it who hadn’t contributed, especially on the second visit to Fleetwood, a small group who set up their tripods in the road hindering road traffic and the regular service trams.

      Andrew N

  4. Ash Tomlinson says:

    Do you know what time it will arrive in Fleetwood?

  5. Ash Tomlinson says:

    So nobody is allowed to know the times and route of the tour? Mad tram enthusiasts like me love filming and photgraphing vintage trams in unusual locations like Fleetwood! Surely that’s going a bit too far stopping people filming and photographing it by not telling the route and times unless you participate!

    • A Friend of 40 says:

      Sorry Ash,

      Sadly the behaviour of a small minority has the potential to spoil things for the more respectful majority of enthusiasts which I’m sure includes yourself. On Sat on the FTS tour there was an incident at one of the photo stops when the tour participants were sworn at by non-participating photographers who seemed to think they had more of a right to get their perfect photo than those who had contributed their fares. There was also the group with tripods in the roadway in Fleetwood who apparently refused to move their equipment out of the path of a number 14 bus.

      I appologise if it seems harsh to not publicise details but it’s not a case of deliberately excluding other enthusiasts but just to reduce the impact of that selfish minority. At this point in time we all have to be careful our activities do not upset BT otherwise we could find future tour options more limited in what can be done and where we can go.

      Admittedly this particular tour is unusual being by invitation only so on this occasion you can’t contribute directly, but if you want your perfect photos you could always organise your own private hire with BT, or alternatively Beamish and Heaton Park I know are both very amenable to private photo charters. You could even volunteer with one of the preservation groups – FHLT, Heaton Park, LTT etc – there are members of all of those groups invited on the tour with 40.

      Andrew N

      • Ken walker says:

        As well as BTS there is the risk of tours being banned by the police if “enthusiasts” are obstructing the highway. We have all come across this breed of enthusiasts who think that their perfect photograph is more important than everything else, including safety. The genuine enthusiasts (and there are many) who are upset at not being able to find out about schedules need to aim their grievances at these “photo-obsessives” rather than the tour operators. This is the classic case of the selfish minority spoiling things for the considerate majority.

  6. Andrew Blood says:

    @Steve – this is a private tour, for invited guests only therefore it is not possible to support it financially, unlike the recent FTS tour which was open to everyone.

  7. John Woodman says:

    The Box 40 excursion next weekend is a private hire and does not involve the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust. With the more recent exchanges under the BTO section dealing with our Trust – it is relevant to point out for those interested in this tram tour that the arrangements are between the organiser and Blackpool Transport. We commend any enthusiast wanting to take part in the tour which includes a lunch at the North Euston – to address their interest promptly to Steve Palmer in Rossall.

  8. Ash Tomlinson says:

    If Blackpool Transport would run their summer heritage tram service to Fleetwood, vintage trams wouldn’t be a rare sight there and enthusiasts wouldn’t need to take photographs on rare occasions and croud up the roads. Sorry if it sounds like I’m moaning a lot but everyone is entitled to their own opinion!

  9. Jonathan niblock says:

    A friend of 40, i think you will find ot was saturday 5th!!!!!

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