Whatever Happened To? Blackpool Twin Car 672+682

We now move on to the Twin Cars, with two examples of this class seeing use over the final weekend.

The first of these was 672+682, in its Orange and Yellow Line 1 Metro Coastlines livery, which although not out on Saturday 5th November would see use on the final day, Sunday 6th November. Used during the day on a Private Hire for Tramways Monthly, it was thought that when this ended that was it for “Set 2” but when Balloon 711 developed a fault on the evening service the Twin Car was summoned from depot and would end the day on public service. It would thus become the last of the class to run on the pre-upgraded tramway with it back to depot at 2343.

Since 2011, 672+682 has been a tram which hasn’t exactly had a quiet life! Retained in Blackpool after plans for it to go to Crich fell through, it was repainted in the original mainly cream livery for re-entry into service in 2012 and would then settle into fairly regular service on Heritage Tram Tours. That was until 24th September 2016 when an electrical fire broke out on the motor car as it climbed Gynn Hill. This was the last the tram saw use and it is now stored at Rigby Road.

With the trailer out of shot, the motor leads set 2 back to depot on 6th November 2011. The last of the Twins to run on the pre-upgraded tramway.

On 24th September 2016 – and its last full northbound journey before the fire – we see 272+T2 (led by the trailer) heading north past Bispham on the way to Little Bispham. (Both Photographs by Gareth Prior)

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1 Response to Whatever Happened To? Blackpool Twin Car 672+682

  1. David Blake says:

    Like many others, I remember that last night time journey of Set 2 in November 2011 very well – absolutely heaving with a standing load as if in a rush hour! This was probably the highlight of the last night as it was so unexpected but word spread very quickly. We weren’t totally convinced about the supposed ‘failure’ of the nomally reliable Balloon 711 which at that time still had its original platform doors, not the automated variety. I seem to remember someone said that 711’s failure may have been due to a ‘faulty door bolt’ but I’m not sure if that was true or not! Anyway, Set 2 was on hand to make a spectacular reappearance and proved to be the star attraction that capped the whole night – and remember this was thought to be the last ever day of twin car operation in Blackpool. When the set drew up at Pleasure Beach northbound, the driver, displaying the typical Blackpool sense of humour that we all know and love, initially set the blind to ‘Rigby Road’ and the dismay among the crowd of enthusiasts was palpable! It was just a hoax and it was soon everybody aboard for a last run to Little Bispham I think, which was as far as the trams ran that year.

    Your second photograph reminds me how much I miss the smart cream twin car in service on the heritage tours – I happened to see it being towed in to the depot on the day it failed and it still looked breathtakingly smart and bright. I always liked 272 for its classic English Electric Railcoach interior with the varnished woodwork. Set 5 is being prepared for a return to service but its motor car, 675, along with 676 of the long disused Set 6 which is still at Rigby Road, have unusual formica panelled interiors with chrome beading which are museum pieces in themselves as they would have been the latest style fashion at the time they were modernised as the prototype trailer set in 1958 – and at first of course ran coupled together before the bespoke trailers were built. Blackpool Corporation clearly didn’t go to this expense when they converted the ‘production’ batch of twin set motor cars in 1960-61 and kept the original Railcoach interiors which I look forward to seeing again on 279 when it returns to service.

    Like many others, I didn’t get the same opportunities to ride on twin cars as other types in the fleet as they were often comparatively little used, but I rode on Set 4 from Fleetwood Market on what I think turned out to be its last day in service. I’m not sure but I seem to remember noticing 674 had a brighter interior – possibly created by the woodwork being painted cream as was done with the Brush cars? Fascinating how the long and arduous lives of the Blackpool tram fleet left hardly two cars alike!

    Incidentally I only saw the cream livery on a service car once. That was a glimpse of trailer 690 being pulled somewhat incongruously by its green and cream motor car 680 at Little Bispham crossing in summer 1971. By that time, 678-680, never permanently coupled to their trailers and retaining both cabs in the motor car, were fixtures for most of the year as solo cars on the Starr Gate-Fleetwood service in place of Coronations which, although in some cases briefly revived with illuminated roof advertisements, had again fallen out of favour. So that sighting is a nostalgic memory which I still treasure when riding on 680 today. No doubt those who lived in Blackpool would have seen it more often!

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