Picture in Time: Blackpool Balloon 701

“Picture in Time” today is continuing Donald Brooks walk between Lord Street and Broadwater and he has now more or less arrived at his destination for this latest shot.

We see the first production Balloon Car here as 701 approaches Broadwater with a southbound journey for Starr Gate. You can also just make out an unidentified Balloon Car which us heading in the opposite direction. At this time 701 is in pretty much standard condition for the iconic class of trams in green and cream, destination blinds of the time and a trolley.

Today 701 remains stored at Rigby Road Depot but has not operated as part of the Heritage fleet since 2021. Entering service for the first time back in September 1934, the tram was to enjoy an overhaul in the 1990s which saw it receive a number of modernised features. It managed to escape being converted into a B fleet Balloon and so passed over to the Heritage fleet upon upgrade of the tramway. It is now in the Routemaster Red and White livery again which it famously carried in the 1990s.

Photograph by Donald Brooks, June/July 1978

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1 Response to Picture in Time: Blackpool Balloon 701

  1. Nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    Those were wonderful times with the main Summer service operated by the Balloons. I gather that there are issues with a leaking roof on 701 at present. I do hope that when the structural problems at Rigby Road have been resolved this tram can be overhauled with a view to returning it to service as it is quite an attractive tramcar in the ‘Routemaster’ livery. I suspect that it will prove a ‘work of art’ to keep a heritage service going this year with just two Balloons expected to be available. Maybe the Western Train will be used more often during the day, which would compensate for an otherwise unexciting turn out.

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