The Lancastrian Transport Trust’s preserved Blackpool ‘Boat’ car 233 made its passenger debut in its new home at Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, on Thursday 12th April for the first day of the Museum’s annual Great North Steam Fair. Since arriving there on March 1st, 233 has been radically transformed following over two years of storage at Blackpool. Its faded, dust-covered paintwork has been replaced by a gleaming coat of 1930s style green and cream, thanks to sponsorship from British Trams Online.
Following initial commissioning carried out by Museum volunteers and staff, including significant electrical work, 233 made its maiden voyage at Beamish on March 26th when it ran on test. Since then, its appearance has been improved drastically thanks to the hard work and long hours of Busworks’ painter, and this week its appearance has been further enhanced by the addition of Blackpool Corporation crests, using artwork supplied by David Smith of the Tramway Museum Society. These really do finish off the car beautifully, and ensured that it made a splendid sight when it next ran on test on Wednesday 11th April. This was succesful enough for the tram to be declared fit for service the next day…
Unfortunately 233‘s first outing with passengers at the Museum was almost scuppered due to poor weather with a threat of rain spoiling the first day of the Great North Steam Fair. However, as the clouds parted it was decided to send the car out in service during the latter part of the afternoon when unsurprisingly it proved to be an instant hit with visitors! It was especially pleasing to see the immaculate tram running alongside fellow Blackpool trams, Marton Box 31 and Balloon 703, as well as Leeds 6 and Birkenhead 20, which has been borrowed for this event. An estimated 3,000 visitors braved the weather on this day and with a more promising forecast for the next three days, hopefully many more people will enjoy 233 and the other trams over the weekend!
The rebirth of Boat car 233 shows what can be achieved when like-minded people work together to achieve a common goal. We at British Trams Online are delighted to have been involved with this project, and would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to restore this fantastic tram. It is great to see this car doing what it should after a period of neglect, and hopefully many thousands of people will enjoy riding on it whilst it is staying at Beamish Museum.
The pictures below show the Boat on test at Pockerley and in the Town, and on its first public run at Beamish. Our thanks go to Andy Martin and Paul Jarman of Beamish Musuem Ltd. for providing them.