The task of returning the numerous Lancastrian Transport Trust trams to Blackpool Transport’s premises for inclusion in the company’s expanded heritage tram collection took another giant leap forwards on Tuesday 10th December, when two more old friends were transported back to Rigby Road. Following the return of Coronation 663 and Balloon 715 on Monday 9th December, this time it was the turn of two contrasting Brush cars to regain their rightful place on the Blackpool tramway.
The day began with Balloon car 715 being unloaded and moved inside the tram depot, after being stabled on its transporter on Blundell Street overnight. The same low loader and staff from Scott’s Heavy haulage then returned to the industrial area on the outskirts of Blackpool to collect another tram which had been standing in a field since last September. Brush Railcoach 632 had been a popular member of the fleet during 2010 and 2011 thanks to a repaint in 1970s livery complete with illuminated roof advert boxes, but its fall from grace has been rapid and since its departure, the tram has suffered at the mercy of the Great British weather. Sporting rather faded paintwork and a few smashed windows, it was still fantastic to see 632 touch down on its native tracks once again later that same day, following an uneventful load/move/unload process. Appropriately the car was placed in the depot alongside 715, giving the wonderful sight of these two 1970s liveried streamliners together again, creating a real taste of the past - although the colour shades used on the two cars are noticeably different.
With 632 safely back home, the hauliers then returned to collect another Brush car which is in a much worse condition – the old Permanent Way car 259. Like 632, the moving process with this tram was pretty straightforward and despite arriving back at Rigby Road after the fall of darkness, no time was wasted in unloading the car and soon it too was tucked up in the sanctuary of Rigby Road depot, almost as though it had never been away! 259 has not visibly suffered during its time spent outdoors, although as the car is basically just a shell it will take a huge amount of manpower and money to return it to its former glory, and this is likely to be one of the company’s more long-term projects.
The moves of both 259 and 632 leaves Balloon car 704 as the only tram left in the industrial yard which six LTT-owned trams once called their home, during what was surely one of the most unpleasant times in the history of Blackpool’s tram fleet. The car was actually moved slightly to make the loading of car 259 easier, and there is now some uncertainty regarding the future plans for this tram. 704 is another car which has been stripped of many useful parts and any attempt to restore this tram would probably involve a massive financial outlay. For the time being, 704 is likely to remain where it is now, but with eight trams that once faced an uncertain future now safely housed undercover on their home system, there is certainly plenty for Blackpool tram enthusiasts to celebrate at the moment.