In Pictures: Blackpool Brush 634 launched back into service

Good Friday (29th March) saw Blackpool Brush Car 634 run for the first time in almost 20 years when it was officially launched back into service at the East Anglia Transport Museum. The tram – now owned by the Fylde Transport Trust – is on a five year loan to the museum near Lowestoft in Suffolk and after the completion of commissioning it is back in service and will be regularly used as part of the operating fleet.

634’s last recorded use was on the Blackpool Tramway on 29th October 2004 when it was one of the trams which fell victim to the mothballing when a large number of trams were stored as the operating fleet was reduced. At the time it was in an advert for the Cala Gran Caravan Park and would remain stored at Rigby Road until 9th November 2009.

Whereas many of the Blackpool trams which were deemed surplus to requirements would be acquired by various preservation groups, the journey for 634 was different as it was purchased by enthusiast Andy Ashton who moved it to Rushden in Northamptonshire where a start was made on its restoration. This included significant attention to its interior as well as a repaint into 1990s green and cream fleet livery.

The tram was then moved to the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum near Sunderland in 2014 before 2016 saw it return home to Blackpool. At this point it was donated to the Blackpool Heritage Leisure and when that organisation was merged with the Fylde Transport Trust ownership was again transferred – and it remains part of the FTT collection to this day.

634 had been on the list of trams to be prepared for service in Blackpool for some time but it kept getting delayed but did receive a repaint into an approximation of an all over advert for the Coral Island Terror Train it carried between 1996 and 2000. Now stating “Terror Tram” and with the skulls back on the ends it was originally repainted in this style for a project which was due to happen on the Blackpool Tramway but this was not carried through with in the end.

On 13th November 2023 the tram then departed Blackpool again when it was loaded onto a lorry and moved to the East Anglia Transport Museum. Its planned to remain in Suffolk as part of a five year loan and as part of this it was agreed that the work required to return to service would be completed and it would be commissioned for service. Excellent progress was made soon after its arrival and after testing the tram was cleared to enter service.

A special Blackpool Tram Event took place over the long Easter weekend with the launch itself taking place at around 1200 on Good Friday 29th March. The depot doors were flung open to allow the tram to be driven out which showed the tram in all its glory which included some recently applied fleet numbers whilst some special inserts had been applied to the destination blinds. These said “THANK YOU ANDY BEKKI JESS” in appreciation of all the hard work that Andy Ashton and his daughters had done on restoring the tram back towards its operational condition.

On launch day 634 was joined in service by fellow Blackpool trams, Marton VAMBAC 11 and Standard 159 alongside Sheffield 513 which also has a Blackpool connection of course.

With the tram now launched back into service it will be used as part of the regular operating fleet at the museum. The Blackpool Tram Event continues on both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday and then on other opening days two trams are usually in service. Visit for details of when the museum is open.

  • We will have plenty more photos from the launch day of 634 in this week’s main site update of British Trams Online which will, this week, be on Monday.

634 comes out of the depot ahead of its official launch into service.

The Terror Tram pulls away from Chapel Road terminus. This end of the tram shows the “THANK YOU ANDY BEKKI JESS” inserts to the destination blinds.

The tram coming out of the woods on the way down to Chapel Road.

Another shot of 634 coming away from Chapel Road. Marton VAMBAC 11 sits at the terminus.

Balloon 726 looks on as 634 heads off with another trip. The Balloon Car is currently located in the main tram depot and was displayed for photos on launch day. (All Photographs by Bryan Grint, 29th March 2024)

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