Blackpool Railcoach 680 to run at Beamish!

Plans for the official launch into service of preserved Blackpool Railcoach 680 have been changed once again, in a move which should be welcomed by tram enthusiasts. Instead of being launched at Heaton Park in February 2014, as was previously suggested, the tram is now set to make its preservation debut at Beamish Museum instead… and quite incredibly, it is expected to enter service there this year!

This time last year, Beamish Museum had four suitable winter cars available for use. Since then, Leeds 6 has departed, and with Oporto 196 currently out of action with motor-related issues, this has left the museum with just two enclosed trams for use this winter. Therefore, the museum contacted the Manchester Transport Museum Society with a request to borrow a suitable enclosed single-deck tram, and it has since been agreed that car 680 will visit Beamish over winter 2013/14 to supplement their own resident fleet. Although the tram has not operated in passenger service since 2008, it remains fully intact and able to move under power, so it should be possible to commission it for operation with fairly minimal effort. It will also be recalled that the car was repainted at Blackpool in 2010, regaining the plain cream livery it carried during the 1960s. Whilst at Beamish, 680‘s present cream livery will be enhanced by the addition of green beading, and it will temporarily regain its original fleet number of 280. It is still expected that it will move to a more permanent home at Heaton Park during 2014 and will then receive the 1990s style of green and cream Blackpool livery, complete with black window surrounds.

MTMS Chairman Bob Hill said ‘We are proud to be able to help out colleagues in the
North East by loaning 680 to do what she was built to do. And we owe a huge
thanks to Blackpool Transport for allowing the two museums to fully inspect the
car prior to it’s move.’

As well as providing a much-needed boost to the Beamish tram fleet, 680‘s loan will give Beamish the coup of having the first Ex-Towing car in service away from Blackpool which is sure to provide some festive cheer to tram enthusiasts at what is normally a rather boring time of year for heritage tram activity.

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11 Responses to Blackpool Railcoach 680 to run at Beamish!

  1. Ken Walker says:

    Excellent news, and for Beamish some consolation for their premature loss of 233. I hope the MTMS are not in too much of a hurry to repaint it out of this early livery though – surely they’ve got enough work on their books for the time being!
    Looking forward to hear when this tram will enter service at Beamish.

  2. Chris says:

    Fabulous. Just what Beamish desperately needed.

    http://beamishtransportonline.co.uk/2013/11/strengthening-the-tramcar-fleet/ Fantastic Gallery of their inspection of 680 over on their site.

  3. John says:

    Thanks for the link.
    It made my day to see the original twincar in the background.

  4. Ash Tomlinson says:

    I hope 680 still runs at Beamish when Stockport 5 visits then I could ride both these trams in one day at Beamish.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      A press release from the MTMS states that 680 is expected to move from Beamish to Manchester “sometime after Easter to allow it to take part in the April festivities”, suggesting that both cars will be present at Beamish together for a short period. Roll on the spring!

  5. Garry Luck says:

    No great surprise from an analysis of the situation, but a tremendous outcome. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to see 680 in its ‘original’ cream livery (the black window frames are not to my taste but I can understand and respect the decision to apply them later). Thank you Beamish, my custom is assured.

  6. John Lodge says:

    When will 680 be picked up from Blackpool Depot?