Picture in Time: Blackpool Balloon 705

Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at another set of shots Donald Brooks took in the early September of 1976 in Blackpool as “Picture in Time” continues.

Balloon 705 is one of the trams on the Blackpool Tramway which for many reading this website they will never have seen in service as it has now been over 40 years since it did last run with passengers on board. It was 22nd July 1980 that the tram was involved in a collision with fellow Balloon 706 at Pleasure Beach which led to both the trams having to be withdrawn from service. Whereas 706 would receive major work in the workshops to return it to an open topper, 705 would not be so lucky and indeed would be the first of the Balloon Cars to be scrapped. This work took place in October 1982 at Blundell Street bringing an end to its 48 year long career.

In the below photo we see 705 standing at what we know consider as the North Pier tramstop while running a service through to Starr Gate. Between deck adverts for Empire are carried. Immediately behind is another Balloon car although it doesn’t seem to have any numbers above the Corporation crests on the side. It looks as if it is a second series car and is running back to depot with Manchester Square visible on the destination blinds. It too has between deck Empire adverts.

Photograph by Donald Brooks

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1 Response to Picture in Time: Blackpool Balloon 705

  1. nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    Happy days, as the saying goes. Wonderful to recall when the core service was almost entirely run by Balloons during the main Summer season. It’s possible the Balloon following is in fact 716, given at that time it still had original roof windows and stair window until the winter overhaul when it received a plain green roof and side panel by the stairs. If that were the case, then both of these cars have since been scrapped.

    I recall that 705 had undergone the final overhaul to include rubber mounted roof windows, at the start of 1972. I suspect that little work was done on the underframe and bogies, as it seemed to be the roughest, noisiest Balloon in the fleet and if so, this may have made its demise more certain, probably having been less able to withstand the collision. Ironically, time has now caught up with 706 and one wonders when this will receive a much needed new underframe. At least a newly fabricated underframe has become available for 704 and it is to be hoped that we will soon see an ex open top Balloon in 1960s appearance.

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