Thursday 14th March was a momentous day for Blackpool & Fleetwood Box 40 as it entered service at Beamish – becoming the third tram to run on four different tramways in UK tram preservation. 40 is unlikely to be used on a daily basis just yet with this use in passenger service part of its testing and commissioning period.
40 had arrived at Beamish on Monday 4th March and ran on test for the first time the following day after initial commissioning by a joint team from Beamish and Crich. Further commissioning followed and earlier this week it underwent another test run around the museum circuit – partly to check clearances when passing other trams – with Manchester 765 also out on the tramway at the same time. With everything set fair it was decided to clear 40 for service and it carried its first passengers on Thursday 14th March.
Of course, 40 is one of two trams on loan at Beamish with the other being Manchester 765. Both are primarily visiting for the Great North Steam Fair (11th to 14th April) but will also see use at other times with 40 staying until August and 765 until June. The Manchester tram will mainly be used at weekends outside the Steam Fair but no such restrictions seem to have been placed on the Box car. The two trams will also help to bolster the operational tram fleet at Beamish which is currently without Sunderland 16 and Sheffield 264 which are undergoing maintenance.
As for the other trams which have run on four tramways in UK tram preservation? Blackpool Pantograph 167 which has run at Beamish, Blackpool, Crich and Gateshead Garden Festival) and Manchester 765 – Beamish, Blackpool, Crich and Heaton Park.