The sorry saga of Blackpool Boat Car 605

It was supposed to be the crowning glory of our 10th anniversary celebrations, the chance to help a tram return to the rails and to be enjoyed by the British public again for what, we thought and expected, would be many years to come. But it now appears that the £1500 we donated towards the repaint and resurrection of Blackpool Boat Car 605 was all in vain as the Lancastrian Transport Trust have decided to cash in on their precious asset and sell it to America.

A few weeks ago I wrote an editorial when I bemoaned the amount of negativity in tram enthusiasm in recent times and stated that British Trams Online would always try to look at the positives of any situation but unfortunately this case is one of those where very few positives can be found in the UK. The Lancastrian Transport Trust are meant to be preserving a “representative collection of vehicles to portray the development of public transport on the Fylde coast” and it seems rather at odds with this that they decide to sell one of their vehicles to go halfway across the world!

British Trams Online first became involved in sponsoring the tram at the beginning of 2012 when we signed a two year deal whilst the tram operated at Beamish. We had initially been in discussions with Beamish about sponsoring another tram but when this opportunity was offered to us it seemed too good a chance to miss and we duly signed contracts with Beamish to sponsor the repaint for a two year period. The first year of our sponsorship was not exactly a roaring success thanks to the Great British weather which saw rain, rain and more rain during the summer of 2012. However this year has been much better and 605 – or 233 as it was renumbered during its repaint – has seen regular use and by all accounts has been a very popular tram when operating at Beamish.

When we first signed the contract for the sponsorship there was no mention that shares would be sold in the tram but shortly after we were contacted by the Lancastrian Transport Trust telling us that they were planning in offering shares in the tram. At this stage we felt we had no option but to agree to this as surely it would be good for the tram in the long-run to have a regular stream of income. Part of the agreement here was that in return we would receive shares in the tram, which you would expect as shares cost £500 each would equal three shares. This is where things started to go a bit off as we didn’t receive the shares for a long time and it was only when the LTT were chased that we did receive our shares  – over 12 months after the initial deal had been done. To compound matters we only received two shares but decided at the time not to make a fuss as the tram was the important thing and at least it remained safe in the custodianship of the LTT. Oh how wrong we were it turns out!

I first heard rumblings of the deal to sell 605 to America in early July this year but to be honest didn’t think a huge amount about it at the time as surely if such a deal was to be done the LTT would inform the shareholders and/or sponsors of the tram first? Surely? No! From the reaction of enthusiasts across the internet to this news shows pretty much why it seems the LTT didn’t want the news leaking out – it is not a popular move and they knew full well that this would be the case. You would have thought that it was common courtesy to inform people who had put money into helping the tram return to service what you were planning at the very least and it would be preferable if shareholders – don’t forget each shareholder had to put a minimum of £500 in, which is not a tiny amount of money many people can just shrug off and say never mind to – actually had a say in what would happen to the tram. The rumours became stronger in mid-late August before the story was finally broken after a lorry and ferry had been booked to transport the tram to the USA. It was only after other sources had reported the deal that the LTT finally broke their silence with a news release on their Blog and Facebook page.

As for the fact that the tram is actually leaving the country, well that opens another whole can of worms. Part of me says that yes there are four other Blackpool Boat Cars in the UK and they are all operational but it should be remembered that three of these are in Blackpool and despite impressions to the contrary not every tram enthusiast either wants to or can go regularly go to Blackpool (or even to Crich) to sample these delights. The fact that there was one at Beamish opened up a Boat Car to another potential audience to enjoy these incredibly popular trams.

The main thing which irritates about the whole saga is that at no stage have the Lancastrian Transport Trust turned round and said we are looking to dispose of some more of our vehicles please make us an offer. This has come totally out of the blue at a time when no-one can stop it. I can guarantee that if the LTT had said the Boat Car was available there would have been a queue of preservation groups who would have made an offer. Yes they probably wouldn’t have been in a position to offer as much as the Americans but isn’t preservation about more than making money? It transpires that the reason for selling it is to raise funds for the restoration of Standard 143 (you know the restoration which was started in about 1624 and has been promised to be completed for so long that most people have probably forgotten it even exists) but I would imagine if you asked most enthusiasts they would have been willing to donate money for this work if it meant that the Boat could stay in the UK.

Selling a historic transport vehicle like the Boat abroad should only ever be the last resort, it should not be the first and only option giving no-one in the UK the chance to keep the vehicle in the country it was built and operated its entire life in. Unfortunately now 605 will be spending its 80th birthday in the USA and the chances of it ever being seen in the UK seem remote.

This entry was posted in Fylde Transport Trust, Opinion. Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to The sorry saga of Blackpool Boat Car 605

  1. Nathan Honest says:

    This deal must be stopped in it’s tracks! Perhaps we could launch a petition directly to the LTT? It’s not too late until it’s left the country, which hopefully it will never do.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Thanks for your comment Nathan, but this is much easier said than done! Charity law is a very complex issue and it seems that most sources on this offer advise to the charities themselves rather than their ‘victims’! Putting together a strong argument to keep 605 in the UK would take time, which we don’t have; as it currently stands it will have left the country in less than 3 weeks. Although I am far from happy with the situation I’m not confident that there is much we can do about it, unless anyone has any compelling evidence that laws have been broken or similar.

  2. Steve Jones says:


    My comments following Andrew’s initial posting on this subject doubly apply having read what you have to say. A very positive gesture made in good faith by BTO, and how this has been repaid by the LTT is all too evident. A lesson for anyone considering donating to or sponsoring this organisation I feel.

    In time I feel sure the LTT will regret treating donors, shareholders and sponsors in this way. Whatever the views on exporting 233, due consideration should have been shown to these people. The result of their (LTT’s) arrogance and lack of respect could well be that regular contributions to the LTT and active volunteers dwindle even further and the organisation will have to be wound up. Possibly the LTT trustees feel with support from their associated commercial operation Classic Bus North West, contributions from enthusiasts are not needed. Observed light loadings on their Catch 22 service, and embarrassing loadings (or lack of them!) on this year’s Seafront 12 service would indicate salvation is unlikely to come from that source.

    A sad action compounded by incompetent handling!

  3. Paul says:

    I’ve had mixed feelings about the issue of selling 605 (or any other tram) abroad since the possibility was first rumoured a while ago.

    What really grates and does more damage to the LTTs already tarnished reputation than the actual sale, is the apparently underhand way deal has been done… That the sponsors and shareholders were kept in the dark and not consulted or informed until after the deal was done smacks of arrogance of the highest order from those involved in arranging the sale. That (as I understand it) shareholders first heard of the deal via other enthusiast channels, not from the Trust themselves only rubs salt in to the wounds…

    Whether anything can be done to prevent the sale would depend on the terms of the Share Purchase agreement. It may not give shareholders a say in the sale of the car, but if it did give true joint ‘ownership’ of the tram, I would expect that the Shareholders would be entitled to a share of the sale proceeds in proportion to their shareholding which they would then have the right to take in cash, donate to other LTT schemes or redirect to other Tramway Preservation groups.

    Gareth, Andrew, and any other shareholders in 605 who may read this, you have my sympathy for the way you have been treated.

  4. Nigel Pennick says:

    What legal rights do shareholders have in the decision to sell? Has LTT the legal right of ownership to sell the tram without consulting its members and shareholders? Does Blackpool Transport have a legal option on buying the tram back? If the sale goes ahead, will contributors get their money back? Those who donated money for restoration added to the resale value of the tram may well have a right to a share of the profits.

  5. BillBrinkley says:

    Very sad news

  6. David L says:

    If you google “tram 605 shareholder” the full share document is still on line,I suggest a few people copy this before the LTT delete it.
    couple of quotes from the document:
    The Lancastrian Transport Trust (LTT) will be the ‘registered keeper’ of Open
    Boat 605 and the tram will be asset locked within the LTT collection to
    facilitate its permanent preservation.

    If the tram is “asset locked within LTT” how can they export it as a sold item?

    1.3.4 The LTT shall hold two shares.

    If Gareth has 3 shares ,then surely he has more say in the matter than LTT

    1.4.1 “……..Whenever practical the LTT will invite
    shareholders to vote on important issues…….”

    selling the only asset the shareholders have should be an important issue.


    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Rest assured David I have copies of this document, and several issues in it have been brought to the attention of the LTT Trustees.

  7. freel07 says:

    I may be wrong but I thought that under Charity law the membership of the group had to be consulted before the body could dispose of any assets. Does anyone know if I am right and whether LTT actually complied in the spirit of the law.

  8. Mike says:

    Im not a legal expert but have had experience of loan deals going sour in the Heritage Railway sector.

    I’d say there’s enough questions raised in the postings above about whether the LTT alone have the right to make a decison to sell the tram and whether they have properly followed charity rules for you to ask a Court to review the situation. You only have to show there is doubt for an injuction to be issued at least delaying the shipment while a review takes place.

    If I were a shareholder, I would be consulting a solicitor on Monday Morning.


    • Yes this is exactly what should be done. Those of you that have shares and an investment in 233 need to spend a little money now on protecting your interest. Legal?……probably not, a desperate move?…….looking that way. I for one (of many probably) will be very sorry if 233 departs. With over 40 years in the preservation movement, I am disappointed at the actions of the LTT.

  9. Ken Walker says:

    Given the reputation of LTT over the last couple of years I am beginning to wonder if 233 has been sold abroad as a deliberate act to spite the enthusiast fraternity because of the (justified) criticism the LTT has received recently. I’m sure an appeal for funds to purchase the tram and allow it to remain at Beamish would have been successful, given its popularity. If the sale is illegal I’m sure the Charities Commission could obtain an injunction to stop the move pending enquiries even at this stage. I hope the Management at Beamish are not feeling that they have let people down: the blame for this sorry saga lies 100% with LTT.
    As a suggestion, with regards to Beamish losing one of its most popular attractions, and given the great degree of co-operation which exists generally, would it not be possible for one of the boats at Blackpool to go on loan to Beamish? With all 3 of them operational and only being used at bank holidays when the weather is fine it would probably benefit one of them to see regular use. Just an idea.

  10. The Eye says:

    Showed this to a friend who works in the field of Commercial Law. His opinion was to seek legal advise immediately as from just what I showed him on here, he believes that they could be a case of ‘misappropriation’ of charity funds!!

  11. Clifford Stead says:

    Any short term financial gain achieved by this action is totally undone by the huge damage done to the reputation of the LTT. Shameful action.

  12. kevin ashe says:

    disgusted that another iconic blackpool tram is being sold of the usa.What right has the ltt to do this as it was set up to preserve uk buses and trams -not sell them off

  13. Nathan Honest says:

    Although I am not a shareholder in this particular tram, given masses of evidence that the law has been broken, I think BTO should seek an injunction to prevent this tram moving abroad pending a full investigation by the charities commission. Maybe LTT could do themselves some good and postpone the move themselves but from the way they’ve arranged that looks rather unlikely. It seems the LTT knew there would be a commotion so they kept it secret until everything had been arranged. Are the shareholders going to be refunded? If so, and 605 is lost, perhaps 601 or 606 could be repatriated?

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      The two main issues here are time and money. If the legality of selling 605 ended up in Court, would any of the people who are protesting that something needs to be done be willing to contribute towards the legal expenses I wonder?

    • Ken Walker says:

      It shouldn’t be up to BTO to take out an injunction, given the number of shareholders that could be involved. If what has been done is illegal it should be the Charities Commission or some other authority that should be stepping up to the plate to stop the move as I’m sure they have the necessary powers. (I trust they have been informed.)

      Quite apart from the loss of 605/233, if what has happened is illegal then those responsible should be prosecuted, otherwise where will it stop? They say they want the money to finish the restoration of 143, for example. Like 605/233, this has had public money via Lottery grant etc. When the restoration is finished will they be selling 143 to the highest bidder as well?

  14. Steve Jones says:


    Although not a shareholder in 233 or 715 nor a contributor to LTT, I would like to thank you for doing some preliminary research into the legal position regarding the sale of 233 to the US. Undoubtedly morally the LTT acting without any sort of consultation or even informing interested parties is reprehensible – doubly so now it has become clearer that other preservation bodies in the UK were able and willing to take the car on board.

    Before going down the path of legal court action, the first thing that enthusiasts, particularly those that are shareholders or donors should do, is write to the Charity Commission expressing their concerns. If enough people do this, the CC will have no choice but investigate in detail the circumstances that have resulted in the disposal and export of 233. It’s far better if the body responsible for overseeing charity activities decides there is a legal case to answer (the moral case is surely unarguable!) rather than individuals going down the path of civil legal challenge.

    The other thing that the tram enthusiasts who feel strongly about the issue can do is stop supporting the LTT in any way. Donors whould cancel their contributions if they have not done so already, enthusiasts should boycott any LTT organised events and so on. Internet site editors should avoid giving them any publicity. It’s interesting to note that the LTT has posted information on its Facebook site that a sponsor has come forward to fund the “restoration” of Coronation 663. This timing of this announcement looks like some form of damage limitation on the part of the LTT, trying to convince enthusiasts they are still a credible preservation body. If this was the intention, for me at least it has failed. How many other LTT projects, both tram and bus have, after initial announcements to great fanfare, stalled e.g. Railcoach 279, Standard 143, Ribble VR 1997, Blackpool RM 521 and so on and so on!! I sincerely hope the reported sponsor gives 663 “restoration” further serious thought before putting his or her hands in their pockets. For those interested in bus preservation and restoration, they only need to look at most of the LTT’s collection to be sceptical of any announcements. Once presentable vehicles for the most part now look down at heel, a number having been stripped of many parts, early Ribble Atlantean 1805 for example.

    Given the LTT’s trustees background in transport consultancy and senior management in bus operation, their ability to create PR disasters is astounding. However given that their latest action has generated so much bad feeling even from previous stalwart supporters, its difficult to see how it can now recover from this debacle. Undoubtedly the one-off injection of cash from the sale of 233 will keep things going a little longer. Will the cash be used to pay Classic Bus for “completing” Standard 143? But the LTT may well soon discover the one off cash injection is no substitute for regular donations that have stopped coming as a result of former donors anger at the handling of 233 disposal.

    For me at least the best thing that can happen is for the LTT to be wound up, and the remaining trams and preserved buses pass to individuals and bodies able to offer safe and ongoing preservation in this country. In the meantime the Charity Commission should be made aware of the concerns around the LTT’s management and custodianship of its assets. It should be remembered that the LTT as a charity not only receives donations, but also considerable public money through Gift Aid claims.

  15. Nigel Pennick says:

    Have the shareholders who were not consulted brought the action of LTT to the awareness of the Charity Commissioners as a possible breach of the terms under which the group was granted charitable status? Whatever the result of any possible legal challenge, LTT’s secretive action has clearly caused a shocking sense of betrayal among supporters of tramway preservation and an immediate loss of all the goodwill the organization had built up. The sale of 605 has already backfired on the LTT, and the future of LTT itself has now been brought into question.

  16. Nigel Pennick says:

    Also has anyone contacted MUNI to inform them that their purchase of 605 may be illegal under UK charity law?

  17. Nigel Pennick says:

    I can’t find MUNI’s email but here is the address of the contracts department to report the contested status of the sale. MUNI is on Twitter and Facebook and attention to the 605 contract of sale can be notified there – it may cause the contracts department in SF to investigate

    Contract Compliance Office, SFMTA
    One South Van Ness Avenue, 6th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94103

  18. Andrew Waddington says:

    Thanks for all the messages of support for myself, Gareth and the other shareholders and it’s good to know how many people care so passionately about this tram. Rest assured that there has been some further correspondence today and a lot is going on behind the scenes, but at present I do not think it appropriate to discuss any more about it in public. However when/if 605 leaves the UK it will not be doing so without a fight!

  19. Nathan Honest says:

    Good to know serious efforts are being made to keep 605 where it belongs-in the UK. The way LTT have hushed this up has outraged me, they should of consulted shareholders about 605’s potential export months ago, before the deal had gone ahead, instead they have effectively kept this whole thing secret until everything had already been arranged. I feel sorry for all the generous shareholders who put their own money in to 605’s “preservation”, they have been betrayed. What LTT has done is effectively fraud, I hope if 605 is exported whoever arranged this gets their just desserts!

  20. David Holt says:

    LTT = Lancastrian Tramcar Traders?

  21. Steve Jones says:

    For those wishing to submit individual representations to the Charity Commission, their contact email address for such is As stated the more people that make representations the more likely it is that the CC will investigate the matter in detail.

    Based on initial expert advice, it would seem the CC will be more interested in the procedure LTT trustees have followed rather than the sale of 233 abroad as such. This is understandable, as disposal of artefacts may well be seen as a matter for the trustees of a charity by the CC. However there is a due process documented by the CC which advises on the correct way for a charity to dispose of an artefact. This includes as a first step offering the artefact to another charity with similar objectives. It would appear this has not been done, as reportedly “at least three other UK based bodies were willing to take the tram”.

    The LTT as a charitable trust sought donations and sold shares based on a commitment to the “investors” to preserve the tram in perpetuity. Without reference to those with a vested interest, let alone other preservation bodies and the wider enthusiast community, the LTT trustees decided to sell 233 to a heritage body in the US. Most see this as a betrayal and a breach of process, and the CC may well agree after investigation. Let’s hope so!

    One related question is what will happen to the funds gained by the sale of 233 to MUNI? It is stated they will be used to complete the restoration of Standard 143, and it seems to be implicit that the LTT’s associated commercial company Classic Bus will be undertaking the work. Surely the LTT should be demonstrating theit impartiality by putting the work out to tender? It may be Blackpool Transport own workshops and resource is better equipped to complete 143’s restoration, given the time and resources 143’s restoration to date by LTT/Classic Bus to date. After all the LTT’s long list of half finished tram and bus projects, plus the many high profile promises that came to nothing hardly inspire confidence! Is this just a backdoor mechanism for providing a cash injection to LTT’s struggling associated commercial company I wonder? Given the in-principle agreement to set up a new charitable trust to manage the heritage tram collection, it is to be hoped BTS’s Mr Roberts and Mr Lyndop are fully aware of the 233 sale and the plan to restore 143 at Classic Bus.

    Finally the posting about the reported sponsorship for the restoration of Coronation 663 deserves a brief comment. The obvious question is to what purpose? The LTT has a list of unfinished tram projects, including 143 and 279. Would it not have been better for the LTT trustees to encourage the LTT member to sponsor the recreation of an English Electric Railcoach? After all potentially this could at least be enjoyed by everyone as a member of the new heritage fleet. What is the future for 663, it has a bodywork restoration (maybe?) and then collects dust in the Classic Bus depot?

    The 663 posting also refers to a statement from LTT trustee Eric Berry. Mr Berry states “…… this is an example of people putting their money where their mouth is, and making a very positive contribution to the preservation of Blackpool’s tramway heritage”. Isn’t that exactly what the donors, sponsors and shareholders did? The timing and lack of sensitivity of such a posting and statement is hard to believe!!

  22. Andy says:

    I’ve only just found aout about this scandal, so only now become able to comment. I do have a few points to raise though.

    1. From other comments on here it seems to say in the shareholder document for 605 that the LTT will be the “keepers”. Well I would like to point out that a “keeper” is NOT the same as a legal owner. This is well documented in road vehicle licensing. Although a tram is not a road vehicle, perhaps the same spirit of definition applies?

    2. Any share holder should surely receive a proportionate share in the funds raised by the sale.

    3. Have I remebered correctly that a balloon car was also the subject of an LTT organised share offer? I seem to remeber them saying something like it’s better for all the enthusiasts to put funds towards one balloon than to try to preserve one each! Hmmm… Perhaps there are another group of shareholders out there who need to keep a close eye on their assets?

    4. What do Blackpool Transport think about all this? BTs relationship with the LTT seems to blow a bit hot and cold these days. But with LTT cars moving back into Rigby Road, they might not be too pleased about the bad publicity within the preservation community that could well rub off on them, especially as Brian and his team are doing such good work with the heritage fleet.

    5. It’s ok to call for the LTT to be wound up, but they own a lot of vehicles, some of which are partially stripped down and are pretty much valueless in their current state on the open market. If the organisation was disbanded, then there is a grave risk of more historic trams being put at risk. It is not the organisation that is at fault here but the individuals who are in positions of power within it.

    6. Is the LTT classed as a museum? There are very strict rules which govern the disposal of items from a museum collection. As I understand it they first have to be offered to other museums or similar bodies. If there are no takers, they can then be offered to private individuals for private conservation. If there are still no takers, only then can they be offered for scrap. I think you may find the LTT got one of their Coronations this way when the old West Yorkshire Transport Museum closed down. It was alleged Blackpool Transport wanted to buy the tram as a source of spares for 660, but because an individual preservatiuonist stepped in at the time who wanted to save it BT couldn’t have it.

    7. Surely if the tram was to be sold then it would have been in Beamish’s interests to buy it.

    8. I echo that all of the individuals should seek legal advice. At the very least they should be off down the Citizen’s Advice! However from what I’ve seen of the state of LTT owned vehicles just recently, perhaps 605 would have a safer future in San Francisco?

    As an aside to all this, what happened to the other exported boats?

  23. Nigel Pennick says:

    Market Street Railway in San Francisco already have an operational Blackpool Boat – 228. Their website has this

  24. Deckerman says:

    Sadly, I have to say that absolutely NONE of this, is of ANY real surprise to me.

    You mention LTT in just about any transport related room/ blog/ society meeting and I can almost guarantee the response… it’s generally not very flattering and usually involves some quite quaint Anglo Saxon! In fact I was advised in one fairly local and very professional organisation who foolishly availed themselves of the “skills” of Bus Works, to simply NEVER utter those 3 letters in their presence again… EVER. Period!!

    This latest debacle of PR (It’s not the first and I’m sure it won’t be the last) is, in my humble view, at best, unethical and at worst, out and out fraud, which, if proven (and hopefully that shouldn’t be too difficult to do), should carry the required punishment for those involved. ( It could involve some oat based breakfast cereal and some very careful showering regimes.)

    Since almost day one, this bunch have ridden rough shod over enthusiasts, customers, vehicle owners, councils, charities, transport operators in the UK (and Europe), the public, passengers and now even their own shareholders! In fact, if I’m honest, I’m surprised it has taken them as long as this, to actually sink this low.

    Even in their earliest days as LTT, they would take money off trust members, then just the main 2 or 3 trustees would unannounced, take a trust bus to an event and ensure that no one knew it was being sent. Trust members then attended said rally under their own steam, only to see one of “their” vehicles sat there that they could theoretically have ridden on to the event and helped towards fuel with, only to be told, thanks for your dosh, but it’s not any trust member’s vehicle really. Sound familiar at all?

    I personally truly believe this is nothing to do with 143, but to be a vain attempt to shore up their ailing Classic Bus co (which with a fleet of time expired non DDA compliant Stagecoach cast offs, is anything but “Classic” ).

    Plus with the recent granting of the new level of 10 “O” licences, the amount gained by the sale of 605, would be just about the amount of extra financial standing required by the Traffic Commissioner and for relevant running costs, or is that just a huge “coincidence”? Actually, as an aside, the TC doesn’t usually take kindly to any “dodgy” dealings linked to an operator. Just thought I’d mention that.

    Plus Mr P Higgs Esq, is apparently setting up The Red Rocket Bus Ltd which of course could need similar amounts of financing. ( Notices and Proceedings Issue No.2647 (02/08/13) applies ) HMM…Hope he’s not thinking of painting 732 all over red to promote it? Still even if he did, compared to what LTT want to do to 605, that’s small potatoes I’d say.

    Anyway, I could go on for hours about what they have done, or not done, said or not said, but suffice to say, that I truly hope that this latest ” stunt ” has sufficiently undermined this bunch so much, that they use another type of “boat” and sail away somewhere they can do less damage to all concerned. Antarctica is nice this time of year I hear. Or better yet, get the Rocket FULLY restored and do the whole ( Quaint Anglo Saxon word ) planet a favour!! And no, of course if they did fold, I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to the collection, but I think that’s already happening, so let’s at least try to stop them doing any more.

    PS. A recent face to face conversation with a certain individual, confirmed that they personally and more than likely the organisation they represented too, would, (not definitely, but more than likely, if the opportunity arose), knowing their financial potential, be only too delighted to add another boat to the 3 they already have. No names.. no pack drill. But, hey…just a thought!! Now.. where’s that phone book.. C..C… C… Ahh… Charity Commissioners…..

  25. Garry Luck says:

    There is a lot of talk about what should be done but not much about what is being done. From the various responses, Steve Jone’s posting seems to be the most informative. But I don’t understand point 2, which suggests that shareholders should receive a proportionate share of the profits. Surely it is a basic principle of charitable trusts that contributors cannot withdraw their donations nor personally profit from any gain – or am I missing something?

    • Ken Walker says:

      Garry, the point you are questioning was posted by Andy, not Steve (understandable given the number of comments on this thread!) I think the point he was trying to make was that numerous people contributed to the work done on the tram, (which they were led to believe was for its preservation in THIS country), and as they have in essence been relieved of their money under false pretences, their contributions should be refunded.

      • Andy says:

        The point I was getting at is I’m not sure that the LTT actually own 605 (or whatever number you want to call it these days). As I understand it they are memerly the ‘keepers’ but NOT the legal owners who are actually the shareholders. Thinking about it this may be how the LTT are getting round the whole charity thing. If 605 is privately owned by the shareholders, then those private individuals would proabbly have the complete say over what happens to it. This would nean the LTT do not have the right to sell it, but could put anyone making an offer (in this case MUNI) in tough with the actual legal owners (as I understand it, the shareholders).

        This means it’s not looking good, because private individuals don’t have to follow the same rules that organisations such as museums and charities do. However, one sould remember the LTT do seem to own some shares as the LTT and it is those retaines shares which could cause them a problem with the charity comissioners etc.

        In short of 605 was owned entirely by individuals they could proabbly agree to sell it. But if they don’t agree or if a museum or charity owns some shares, then disposing of the vehicle gets a lot more difficult.

  26. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    In view of my experiences of dealing with solicitors and barristers to go down the legal road will unfortunately waste vast amounts of money. They will waste time and drag out the proceedings which will ultimately result in a hefty legal bill and that is not including the horrendous court costs. Do we really want to see money saved in good faith used to line the pockets of these people. I would say it is best to cut our losses as enthusiasts and although it is sad to see a tram leave these shores. We really do not want to put future projects in financial jeopardy. The LTT appear to have ridden roughshod over the shareholders but maybe it is best to leave well alone.
    Solicitors and barristers have had enough gravy trains recently we do not want a gravy tram. Just remember for the future what LTT have done.

    • Steve Jones says:


      Totally agree with your point re costly legal action, which is why I believe the right direction is to channel grievances against LTT through the Charity Commission. After all the CC is the government body responsible for overseeing this country’s charities.

      They are also responsible for conferring charity status, which has considerable benefits for individual charities, not least Gift Aid on donations, and 80% rate relief on buildings owned or leased for carrying out the charity’s activities.

      Charity status can be taken away by the Charity Commission if a charity’s actions are deemed to be no longer deserving of the benefits it brings. Reference to the accounts, which can be viewed on the Charity Commission website, illustrate just how many thousands of pounds has been granted from the public purse to the LTT. Individuals can form their own opinion whether this has been wisely used and how deserving of it the LTT is now and in the future!

    • Ken Walker says:

      Fully agree Ralph. It’s a mystery to me why MUNI want to import a boat from this country which is in regular use over here, rather than what would surely be a much cheaper option of obtaining an identical but unrestored vehicle which is lying neglected in their own country. There again, by and large the Americans don’t seem to have a very good track record for actually restoring vehicles imported from the UK.
      As far as LTT are concerned, it would probably end up being as cheap to build a replica boat as pay the legal fees! What must be done is to ensure that LTT and any others like them can never pull a stunt like this again.

      • Nigel Pennick says:

        Indeed it is strange, considering MUNI/MSR have a n operational boat already and scores of unrestored unserviceable trams from various countries stored in their carbarn. US museums who acquire British (and other) trams do not have a good record of treating them with respect, for instance the rotting Feltham.

  27. Pete C says:

    As I said on the other thread on this subject, the route to go down is a formal complaint to the Charity Commisioners and hopefully this has been done. Any legal action will, as others have rightly said, be horrendously expensive and what is the point when the Charity Commissioners, if prodded sufficiently, will take action as clearly charity law has been widely ignored by the LTT trustees. It should be pointed out to the Charity Commissioners that the address for contacting the LTT appears to be that of a trustee who has resigned, so it clearly cannot be correct.

    • Steve Jones says:

      Did the resignation take place, or was it another LTT deceptive smokescreen? In reality is the same puppet master continuing to pull the strings behind the scenes?

      Charities are now able to update their contact details and list of trustees on-line through the Charity Commission website. Why therefore has Mr Higgs’s name not been removed from the list of LTT trustees, and Mr Umpleby’s added?

      As mentioned before, a member of the public can request sight of the minutes of board meetings as of right. It is not at the discretion of the charity. Resignations and appointments of trustees need to be formally positioned at a charity board meeting. It would be interesting to see the minutes and when these appointments/resignations took place!

      Requests for copies of minutes should be made to a charity’s contact address. A date should be given when the copies are required. If the charity does not comply with the request, the Charity Commission should be informed.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      The Charity Commission has indeed been informed, allegedly by a number of people. Hopefully some good will come of it, but these things can take time. My current expectation is that 605 will almost certainly leave the UK very soon indeed, however if the sale is proved to be illegal by the relevant authorities then it may well have to be returned. To be honest I have no idea what will happen next!

Comments are closed.