Picture in Time: Blackpool Balloons 726 & 715 & Boat 602

We’re off down to Rigby Road Depot for our latest archive image from Blackpool.

Again, the below image was taken in early September 1976 and shows what has always been a familiar scene at Rigby Road Depot – trams sitting on the depot fan waiting to head into service. Looking through the old tram wash we can clearly see three trams with a fourth (a Twin Car mostly obscured by one of the Balloon Cars on the far side).

In the centre of the image is that popular Balloon Car, 715. With the green and cream fleet livery of the era painted on the tram (complete with Corporation crests) the tram is presumably just stabled here waiting to either be returned to depot or for a later time when it will enter service as the blind is set to Manchester Square. Of note is that the tram has an advert for Binns, a company so familiar with Sunderland’s trams of course. Also in the image is Balloon 726 on the far side while behind 715 is Boat 602. Three trams and all green and cream!

Photograph by Donald Brooks

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1 Response to Picture in Time: Blackpool Balloons 726 & 715 & Boat 602

  1. nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    Happy Memories – the scorching summer of 76 and a visit to Rigby Road just a few weeks before this picture was taken. Traditional Balloons, a few half-scrapped Coronations and Dreadnought 59 in its first year of being traffic-ready. Good to see 715 with its roof windows (I recall they disappeared later that year), trolley arch and stair window plus lower deck vents. It was soon to receive a makeover similar to that seen on 726, a style which I always thought lent a smart and orderly appearance to the Balloons and which still looks good on 715 to this day.

    The 1970s was a wonderful decade, because the Balloons came to the forefront and received the workshop attention they always deserved to keep them running in many cases right up to the present day. I will never forget the summer season of 1971, when these wonderful trams almost completely took over the main service plus many specials. Thereafter, nearly every August and July was dominated by Balloons, until the coming of the new light rail service. Many thanks to Mr Brooks for sharing this photograph, which must surely have brightened the day for many.

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