Historic Blackpool trams moved to Starr Gate

In a surprise move, two of Blackpool’s heritage trams have been transferred to Starr Gate depot, along with at least one of the modified ‘B Fleet’ Balloon cars. The two oldest native trams in the fleet, Fleetwood Box car 40 and Standard 147, have both been moved along with Balloon 713, although the reason for these movements currently remains a mystery.

With most maintenance work on the heritage trams still being undertaken at Rigby Road, there is normally little reason for these trams to visit Starr Gate and as the company seem reluctant to send them there in passenger service, seeing vintage trams on New South Promenade is now an extreme rarity. However, Box 40 did exactly that on the morning of Friday 26th April. To add further novelty value, the car was towed onto the promenade before its trolley was raised on arrival at Foxhall, confirming that the tram was not defective, and it was then driven to Starr Gate and stabled at the front of the modern depot, on the line closest to the adjacent platforms. Here it was parked in front of cars 147 and 713, both of which were already in place, although it is not known exactly how long either tram has been there. The reasoning behind the decision to tow Box 40 out of Rigby Road depot is also a mystery.

One possibility is that the trams may have moved to Starr Gate in connection with a planned tour of the depot by members of the Fylde Tramway Society next weekend, as part of their annual convention weekend. A strictly limited number of places were made available solely to members of the Society, although demand was expected to be considerable as few members of the public have ever seen inside the building. Several members of the ‘B Fleet’ have spent time at this depot and perhaps 713 is there for routine servicing, ahead of anticipated use over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. Whilst 147 was previously displayed at Starr Gate depot for the Flexity2 launch event in 2011, this is believed to car 40‘s first visit to the new depot although the oldest tram to be housed there remains Cardiff 131 during its loan period from the National Tramway Museum over winter 2011/12.

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4 Responses to Historic Blackpool trams moved to Starr Gate

  1. Jonathan Niblock says:

    711 is missing of your list!

  2. Deckerman says:

    I noted Box 40 leaving the Starr Gate depot at around 12 noon on Saturday, filled with a Lytham St Annes civic trust party, that had visited the new depot, one contingent being guided round by Mr Trevor Roberts himself. It went as far as Bispham, then returning to The Tower, where the party went for lunch and a tour of the Tower buildings.

    It may very well be that 40 is also there for the FTS convention, but it was certainly there for the tour I have just described, as well.

    ( Managed to get the only shots of it in the depot and then leaving too, if anyone is interested in seeing them on here. )

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Thanks for this info and naturally we’d be delighted to show these pictures if you’d like to share them with us – please send them over to the usual contact address and we can do the rest!

      Also, is this the first recorded private hire involving a heritage tram running to or from Starr Gate with passengers on board in the light rail era? If so, then here’s hoping that a precedent has been set as my mouth is watering at the prospect of a vintage tram ride over the entire system, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one!

      • Deckerman says:

        Ok. Will do. Happy to be of help.

        And yes, I think it probably is a first. Possibly of a hire of any tram, old or new from Starr Gate, but almost certainly of a heritage one. And hopefully, as you rightly say, the first of many, so no, you certainly aren’t the only one to wish for that.

        ( See Andrew, I can do more than just stand up for “Tram Sunday”- I’m sorry, but I just really like the event and was involved with it for a long time, so I will obviously stand up for it, when I might feel it’s required.

        It is possibly the biggest event of it’s type anywhere where non enthusiasts can see vintage transport and interact with it, possibly without even knowing it. And some just might then get interested in it, especially the younger ones. So obviously, if for no other reason, I think it’s a great event and feel it should be supported.

        Not if it genuinely has done something wrong of course, but not for example, just because of what it has unintentionally become called by others over time and now has to be known as, and how that it might then unintentionally draw attention to that title, by then falling foul of the number of trams now attending.

        So when it simply gets unfair comments or things that aren’t it’s fault, I feel I should just say so. Sorry.) You are welcome to delete this latter part if you wish. Just wanted to properly explain my reasons to you.

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