The East Anglia Transport Museum is now the home of three Blackpool Brush Cars following the move of 634 on Monday 13th November 2023. Owned by the Fylde Transport Trust, 634 has gone on loan to the museum where it is planned to complete work on the tram ahead of it entering service after mileage accumulation takes place.
In a statement the Fylde Transport Trust have explained the reasons for the tram moving to the East Anglia Transport Museum: “Over the last few years, 634 has been repainted into the “Terror Tram” advert and was due for final commissioning just as the situation due to the global pandemic took hold in 2020/1. This phase of the return to the rails suffered due to the various restrictions then, and also the recent restrictions on the
Rigby Road depot complex in 2022/3. We have therefore taken the opportunity to work with our friends at the East Anglia Transport Museum in order for them to complete the final commissioning and mileage accumulation of the tram. 634 was loaded aboard a low loader today and is now on its way to East Anglia.
“The planned project for 634 which was developed back in 2021 is no longer an active project for various reasons, and therefore the decision has been made to loan 634 to East Anglia Transport Museum for a fixed period once the final commissioning is complete. This will also ease the situation at Blackpool regarding depot capacity whilst various building works are undertaken over the next few years.
“Whilst 634 is away from Blackpool for its loan period, it will be flying the flag for the Blackpool tram system in East Anglia, thus giving the opportunity to people who cannot easily travel to Blackpool more chance to sample the delights of a Brush tram.”
634 was one of the first trams to leave Blackpool in 2009 ahead of the upgrade of the tramway to modern light rail standards. Whereas the majority of trams which departed were acquired by organisations and museums, 634 was purchased by enthusiast Andy Ashton who moved the tram to Rushden in Northamptonshire where he undertook restoration work on the tram. This included a full repaint into 1990s green and cream and internal restoration work. A further move to the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum near Sunderland followed but then in 2016 it was to return home to Blackpool.
Donated to the Blackpool Heritage Trust with a view to getting the tram back running on the Blackpool Tramway again, it subsequently became part of the Fylde Transport Trust collection when the two collections were merged. As alluded to in the statement from the FTT it was painted into an approximation of its Coral Island Terror Train all over advert from the 1990s (changed to Terror Tram) with plans for it to be used on the Prom for a specific project. However, this project is now not going ahead and so this livery was no longer required for use in Blackpool.
Building on their good relationship with the East Anglia Transport Museum (after the donation of former FTT trams Brush 625 and Balloon 726 at the end of 2022) negotiations took place for a loan of 634 to Suffolk and this has now been concluded with the tram starting its long journey east on 13th November 2023 (a little under 12 months since the last two FTT trams made the same move).
In a change from other recent moves, the loading of 634 took place in the Bus Yard directly out of the Body Shop where 634 has been located for a number of years waiting for work to return it to service. This avoided the need to shunt the tram onto Hopton Road where the majority of trams have been loaded and unloaded in the past.
The East Anglia Transport Museum is now home to six Blackpool trams with fellow Brush Cars 290 and 625, Balloon 726, Standard 159 and Marton VAMBAC 11 already resident at Carlton Colville. The museum is probably in the unique position amongst tram museums/organisations in the UK in that they do have capacity to grow their collection with a new tram depot having been built on their additional land which is currently allowing the museum to expand.
634 remains part of the Fylde Transport Trust collection and is on loan to the East Anglia Transport Museum.