In an unexpected move the Fylde Transport Trust have announced that they have acquired two further trams with Brush Car 625 and Balloon 726 joining the collection. These two trams were in private ownership but after a change in circumstances were made available at the end of last year with the FTT now stepping in to secure their future.
At the moment there are no specific public plans for these two trams with the FTT saying they have made the “acquisition on a speculative basis with ideas in mind for their future”. Neither tram features in current plans for the retained heritage fleet and they are not current runners with 625 having last run in passenger service back in 2004 and 726 used on a limited basis for the last time in 2010. A limited amount of restoration work had been undertaken by their former owner at Rigby Road with a number of panels removed but it is likely a significant amount of time and expenditure would be needed on these cars before they could be considered for a return to service.
Both 625 and 726 are thought to be two of the trams which are due to leave Rigby Road Depot in order to create additional space ahead of work on the complete depot complex and presumably the FTT will now progress these plans to move the trams to a new storage location.
Both trams are no stranger to a low loader having originally left Rigby Road following the “Great Blackpool Tram Sell Off” when the tramway was upgraded. After periods of outside storage in Fleetwood they both returned to Rigby Road in June 2017 after being acquired by their private owner. That’s where they have remained for the past three and a half years but now with a new owner they look set to go for another road trip.
This is the third Balloon Car owned by the FTT (703 – “Sunderland 101” – and 715 the others) and the fourth Brush (along with former Works Car 259 – 624 – 632 and 634).