It’s back! Tram of the Year nominations now open

Leeds 602, Blackpool 736, Nottingham Express Transit 203, Trampower, Leeds 345, Blackpool 623, Blackpool 717, Blackpool 733+734, Liverpool 762, Blackpool 11, Blackpool 623 (again!). When you hear those trams what is the first thing you think of? Well apart from the fact it would make a pretty impressive cavalcade they are all trams which have had the tremendous honour of being named British Trams Online Tram of the Year. Since the contest was launched in 2003 ten different trams have been voted as the tram which has done the most significant thing in the previous 12 months by readers of this website and today we launch the (streamlined) nominations process of the contest.

You can nominate the tram you think deserves to be on the final shortlist of up to 5 trams (although we went up to 8 last year that was an one off and we will revert to the usual number this time around). I am sure you all have your own opinions of what tram has done that something special in the past 12 months (the qualifying period is 1st December 2012 to 30th November 2013) so you can now send your nominations in to us by either commenting on this article, emailing or by visiting us on Facebook at It us up to you what you consider something special to be whether that be a repaint into a new livery, an entry into service of a new tram, the completion of a major restoration or the operation of a tram away from its regular home system. Nominating a tram is no guarantee it will end up on the shortlist and if one tram gets lots of nominations that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be selected (for example if 20 people want Blackpool Balloon 700 on the shortlist just because it’s their favourite tram – that is not a decent reason for nomination!, if it was Southampton 45 would be on the list every year!) but if we are can’t decide between two trams to be added to the shortlist we will look at the number of nominations so please do send in your nominations even if you think someone else has already done so.

Nominations are open from now until Saturday 30th November after which our “expert panel” will make a decision on which trams have made the final cut. We will then enter around a month of voting and then will be in a position to name the British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2013. Full details on the contest and the various stages can be found at

Last year we also launched two new categories in the contest: Event of the Year and Tramway of the Year, so we also want to hear your opinions on nominations for these. The Event category doesn’t necessarily have to be a specific special event (for example the opening of the upgraded Blackpool Tramway featured last year) and in the Tramway category we aren’t looking for the system or museum line which has operated the best (there are other awards for this) but for the one enthusiasts think has achieved the most over the previous 12 months. The usual ways to nominate are available for this as well.

Happy nominating!

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29 Responses to It’s back! Tram of the Year nominations now open

  1. Ash Tomlinson says:

    I would like to nominate Blackpool Boat 227 as it returned to use after 3 years and painted into a very smart red and cream livery.

  2. Steve McCulley says:

    My nomination for Tram Of The Year has to be 602(227) – the repaint is just stunning and gives us all a very good idea of what the streamlined fleet in Blackpool might have looked had the livery not been changed to Green & Cream.

    As for Tramway of the year – would have to be Blackpool – never ceases to surprise and with the heritage cars definitely making their mark this year has made it extra special. It didn’t look good at the start of the season, we were told there would be fewer days when the vehicles would be out and if not used the future was looking bleak.

    Event(s) – The Heritage Weekends in Blackpool. I was there for the whole of the May Day Weekend.

  3. Paul says:

    Tramway of the year can only be Blackpool. It has gone from strength to strength through the year, with lessons learnt from 2012 being acted on with revised timetables enabling the core service to operate more reliably and better match passenger demand,while after something of a false start last year, the heritage service really found it’s role with a series of exciting and unpredictable weekends.

    Event of the year is a choice of two: ‘Our Friends Electric’ at Beamish ought to have been the run away winner but with less visiting trams than originally hoped for (through no fault of Beamish) didn’t quite deliver as much as promised. In contrast, the other candidate is the Heaton Park Autumn Gala which promised less, but on the day exceeded all expectations with no less than six cars out on the main line!

    Tram of the year is for me the hardest to decide because during the year so many have had one or two days in the headlines but none has really had the year-long impact of some previous winners… I’ll therefore be a little controversial and nominate a tram which made headlines for the wrong reasons because the incident in which it was involved seems likely to have the greatest long-term impact on British Tram preservation as a whole. Winning the title would be a fitting memorial to Blackpool Boat 605/233 in recognition of many happy years service in Blackpool and an all too brief time at Beamish as it starts it’s third life in the USA…


  4. s j cotton says:

    how about blackpool680 for tram of the year unexpected move to beamish

  5. Garry Luck says:

    For the tram of the year, I’d like to nominate Blackpool 648 – the ugly duckling that became a swan. Many of us can remember these trams entering service and its great to see the BTs heritage fleet developing in such a balanced way.

    For the tram event, I’ll go for the NEETT open day simply because of the effort the organisation has made to establish itself as a viable player in the tram preservation world.

  6. Nathan Honest says:

    For tram of the year-it has to be 648 for it’s superb restoration back to original condition. As for event of the year, that undoubtedly goes to the Enthusiast’s Weekend at Crich. A brilliant event, full of surprises, at Britain’s premier Tramway museum. It doesn’t get much better than that! I’m a little surprised by the previous nominations in these comments – 605 as tram of the year strikes me as rather odd.

    • Mark C says:

      That a bit churlish Nathan. Instead of criticising others choices, tell us why your choice should win. Why 648’s repaint scores over 602’s for example. I’d never have thought of 605, but Paul’s is the most thoughtful and well argued nomination in this thread so far. I say it deserves a place on the short list, but don’t expect it to win because too many won’t ‘get it’.

      My Nominations.
      Tram. Blackpool 701has been in the news through the year for different reasons – started the year as a snow-plough. The heritage car that kept the tramway clear for the modern flexities. Then joined the heritage fleet staring in the May bank holiday operation and this winter will regain it’s Routmaster Livery.

      Event. Heaton Park Autumn Gala. While not as originally planned because the unfinished depot stopped anything new arriving, the crews pulled out all the stops to make the very best of what they had and turned the unfinished depot into a virtue by dispaying the works car in it and allowing us to visit the worksite.

      Tramway. Manchester Metrolink. Despite the problems with the signalling system, it was the only system to open any extensions during the year and also had the bigest increase in fleet size in the year.

      • Nathan Honest says:

        Churlish? 648 over 602 was an easy one, as 648 is quite possibly one of the most important trams in preservation, representing the original condition of the last class of traditional tram ever built in Britain. Although 647 was the last built, it is virtually unrecognisable from it’s original form. Don’t forget there are only 3 Centenaries officially preserved; 641, 647 and 648, and out of them 648 is the only operational one and probably will be until many, many years in to the future. I wouldn’t count 642, 643, 644 and 645’s chances-look what happened to the supposedly “preserved” 646. I also think nominating Heaton Park’s Autumn Gala as event of the year is a tad strange – only 3 trams in service, down a stretch of line that is only around a mile long. Yes, it was a great achievement for the dedicated volunteers at Heaton Park, but overall it hardly compares to the monumental efforts of Blackpool, Beamish, Crich, Birkenhead and the MER, all of which have done some phenomenal things this year and hopefully will do long in to the future.

        • Gareth Prior says:

          Please don’t criticise other people’s choices. It is all about opinions and not everyone is going to agree but we can all just accept that other people may well not see things the same.

          • Ken Walker says:

            Couldn’t agree more. If everyone had the same preferences there wouldn’t be any point in having the nominations! Heaton Park may only have a short length of track and 3 serviceable trams (although technically 6 managed to turn a wheel for the gala!) but I’m sure the amount of effort and energy spent in trying to provide the best with what they’ve got was just as great and valuable as any of the ‘big boys’ – and just as appreciated. The same goes for the other tramways.
            I would offer: tram of the year – London 159 for a spectacular restoration. Tramway of the year – Heaton Park for the tremendous progress made this year and the efforts made to keep us informed via posts on this website. Event of the year – Blackpool tramway bank holiday events, for the vast improvement Bryan Lindop has made compared to the 2012 operation.

  7. Mark says:

    For me the tram that has deserved to be ‘tram of the Year’ is one that has been threatened with scrap, evicted from its home three or four times, I think also been for a swim a few years ago… Coronation 663 getting my vote.

  8. Tommy Carr says:

    Tram of the year:
    227 for return to service and repaint, 648 for the same reason, Leeds 107 for its debut in preservation and Stockport 5 for overhaul and repaint.

    Tramway of the year:
    Blackpool for a spectacular year of heritage service, beamish for a great event in April and two visiting trams, heaton park for the construction of its new depot and metrolink for the opening of the new extensions.

    Event of the year:
    Blackpool bank holidays, beamish our friends electric, heaton park autumn gala, crich enthusiasts event.

  9. David Mee says:

    My nomination for tram of the year is Snaefell Mountain Tramway car 1 for its beautiful restoration to original blue and ivory livery. It returned to service in 2013 with very little fanfare and deserves its moment in the spotlight.

    Tramway of the year nomination is Manchester Metrolink, yes there have been well documented issues, but the network continues to grow and the new fleet of trams continue to enter service at a pace. A great example of how to ‘do’ a modern urban tramway system and hopefully a template for other UK cities.

    For my event of the year nomination I go back across the irish sea and propose the Friday and Sunday of the annual heritage transport week. Ten minute frequency service on the MER with eleven different trams featured, sub station visits at Laxey, Workshop tours with long stored cars posed for photography, great weather – what more could a tram enthusiast want!

  10. For tram of the year i would like to nominate Metrolink T68 1011, it did something never even thought of before in the tramway world being used in a motorbike rally hours before becoming the first ever britsh operated second generation tram to be scrapped, quite a of piece of second gen history.

    Tramway of the year for me would have to be either Heaton PArk or NEETT (If it counts yet) for making such major moves forward in there preservation attempts in there new depot’s.

    Event of the year goes for me to Beamish’s “Our friends electric”

  11. Mary says:

    Sorry more Blackpool biassed nominations.

    Tramway: Simply got to be Blackpool. only place to offer the best of both modern efficiency and nostalga. Both bigger and better this year than last.

    Event: Heaton Park Autumn Gala. Was supposed to be a scaled down event but bettered all expectations.

    Tram: The beautiful Red Boat 602 for me but I like the idea above of comemorating sister 605.

  12. Jamie Guest says:

    I know I have a certain bias but I would also like to nominate Leeds 107. It’s the oldest surviving Leeds tram and despite the accident performed faultlessly and carried nearly 500 passengers over the weekend in August. It’s also the only tram in preservation to have had completely new running gear designed, manufactured and fitted by it’s owning society. In the process much has been learned about how horse trams were designed, built and operated.


    • Phill says:

      Not wishing to knock your achievement, but 159’s bogies are pretty much brand new too. I think in the end we only used axleboxes and some small castings from the Lisbon trucks we had. Blackpool 4 definately has a new design of truck…:o

  13. Colin Smith says:

    My nomination for tram of the year would be Liverpool 245. The Merseyside guys have done a great job on its restoration and, despite setbacks and uncertainty about the future of their operation have never given up on this beautiful vehicle. I know it’s not yet in service but it should be early next year.

    Tramway of the year has to be Heaton Park. Their efforts in extending their line, building a new depot and still sourcing possible restoration projects, (the Oldham tram), makes them a credit to the preservation movement.

    Event of the year: Blackpool heritage tram operations.

  14. Joseph Grice says:

    For the Tram of the Year, I would like to nominate London United Tramways tram no. 159 because it had returned to traffic during the ‘A Capital Weekend’ at Crich in July, after it had derailed during its previous debut into traffic the year before.
    For the Event of the Year, I would like to nominate the Heaton Park Tramway Autumn Gala. Despite the event being billed as scaled down because the new Lakeside Depot hadn’t been completed, it turned out to be an excellent event, which saw Stockport 5, Blackpool 623 and Manchester 765 in service. They also used the trams that are currently in store, which were Leeds 6, Blackpool Vanguard 7 and Blackpool Railgrinder 752, for a photo opportunity including the serviceable trams.
    And finally for the Tramway of the Year, I would like to nominate Manchester Metrolink because as well as building tram lines to Rochdale, East Didsbury and Ashton-Under-Lyne, there are in excess of 70 M5000 trams on site and the majority being used.

  15. Mark Grice says:

    My nomination for tram of the year would be Stockport 5 at Heaton Park. Looks superb with its period adverts and is very popular.
    My favourite Event of the Year would be Our Friends Electric at Beamish. We were there three days and really enjoyed it. Another great event was the Wirral Tram and bus event at Birkenhead, four trams in service. Plus the Autumn Event at Heaton Park which has had a lot of nominations already. Also the Crich Enthusiast event for so much variety in service and the photo opportunities of the stored trams.
    Tramway of the year. Quite a few contenders. Manchester Metrolink for its extensions, Heaton Park, NEETT and Edinburgh for the progress they are making.

  16. James Miskew says:

    Tram of the Year – 701 For me optimizes the saying that Blackpool expect the unexpected. Future Bleak. Then found salvation is a Snow Plow Car. Then dramatically entered the fold into the core heritage fleet. Fantastic that the money been raised in 2013 to transform the appearance of this wonderful car. The clearest demonstration that Blackpool are Back and intend to leave a mark on the preservation landscape.

    Event of the Year – August Blackpool
    Tramway of the Year – Blackpool

  17. Chris says:

    Tram of the year is a wonderful event that we should all celebrate. I’m buzzing about it!

    For me the winner has to be Blackpool 290. What a wonderful tram that is, it looks fantastic in its gold colour scheme. Can’t get better. Will be fantastic if it wins! I wish Inkie would paint more trams!

  18. Joey 752 says:

    For all the hard work she does at Heaton Park 752

  19. Mark I. P. Hughes says:

    My nominations for Tram of the Year 2013 are:

    Snaefell 1 – repainted into blue & white livery
    Stockport 5 – appearance improved this year with period adverts applied to the upper deck panelling
    Chesterfield 8 – loaned to its hometown Chesterfield
    West Midlands 11 – repainted into heritage Birmingham style blue & cream livery
    Aberdeen 15 – entered preservation this year & one of few known surviving Aberdeen trams
    West Midlands 17 – brand new tram & first of its type for the Midland Metro
    Southampton 45 – loaned to Kimberley
    Leicester 76 – rare operation this year since 1975
    Leeds 107 – 8 year overhaul completed this year, first tram to operate at Middleton Railway since Swansea & Mumbles 2 in 1960 & first time it has operated in 112 years
    Nottingham 215 – first one to be repainted into a new style mainly silver livery
    Nottingham 216 – brand new tram & first of its type for the Nottingham Express Transit
    Blackpool 227 – reactivated after 3 years of storage & added to the heritage service & repainted into a “what if” livery of red & cream
    Glasgow 488 – returned to the UK after under 52 years in France
    Blackpool 631 – repainted into 1960’s green & cream livery
    Blackpool 648 – repainted into 1980’s green & cream livery & first Centenary to operate in a green & cream livery since 1996
    Blackpool 680 – a late contender, but one of my nominations if its planned loan to Beamish materialises
    Lisbon 730 – loaned to Beamish for their 40th anniversary celebrations
    Blackpool 752 – returned to Heaton Park Tramway after 2 years away in storage & first tram in the new Lakeside depot
    Glasgow 1068 – loaned to Beamish for their 40th anniversary celebrations

    Out of those 19 above, I think that the strongest nominations are Snaefell 1, West Midlands 11, Leicester 76, Leeds 107, Nottingham 215, Blackpool 227, Blackpool 648, Blackpool 680, Lisbon 730 & Glasgow 1068. Narrowing it down further to 5 trams I think have a strong chance at being shortlisted this year are Snaefell 1, West Midlands 11, Leeds 107, Blackpool 227 & Blackpool 648.

    My nomination for Event of the Year 2013 is the Blackpool Bank Holidays heritage service, which has improved a lot this year compared to 2012, with usually about 4 different trams a day & each day having variety.

    My nominations for Tramway of the Year 2013 are:

    Blackpool tramway – it has a fantastic heritage service, the main service has been very reliable & there has been news of a possible extension to North Station within a few years.
    Manchester Metrolink – it has had a number of extensions opened this year & many M5000 trams introduced into service

  20. Dave Mac says:

    My choices of those suggested.

    Tram – a close fight between boats 602 and 605 for reasons already given. Please don’t penalise 605 for the behavior of its former owners it deserves recognition for the good times.

    Event – Heaton Park Autumn Gala exceeded all expectations. those guys know how to put on a big show with a small fleet when others struggle to put on a small show with a big fleet.

    Tramway – Beamish. Not quite as many visiting trams as hoped rules out Our Friends Electric as Event of the year, but in 40 continuous years of service it has grown from beginings as a side show to an essential and interal part of the museum deserves recognition for he tramway as a whole.

  21. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    My Tram of the Year Liverpool 245.
    My Event of the Year Crich Enthusiasts Day
    My Operator of the Year Metrolink. Despite the problems with Cornbrook etc many new trams and extensions and the fact this is now truly a network.

  22. BigG says:

    My nomination for “Tramway of the Year”, that quiet, friendly, unpretentious operation on the East Coast – The East Anglian Transport Museum”. Home to 1858, probably the most original operating tram in the UK, Sheffield 513, Blackpool 11 (compares well to any other preserved Blackpool tram) and, before long, Glasgow 488 plus all their other other tramway and non-tramway vehicles.

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