After a number of twists and turns in its recent past, Blackpool Towing car 671 is set for a new home with a new name to the transport preservation movement, the Tyne Tees Transport Trust. This group are believed to be closely affiliated with NEETT, although as it is hoped that 671 will end up being loaned to an operating museum tramway once the planned work is completed.
It was recently announced that 671 would be joining the collection of the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust, but a late change of plan has resulted in it being purchased by the Tyne Tees Transport Trust instead, with the blessing of NEETT. The current plan for 671 is to restore the car to portray its early 1960s appearance, when it was rebuilt with flat ends as part of the ‘Progress Twin Car’ programme. The tram is expected to regain its mainly cream livery with green lining (as currently worn by car 680), subject to final confirmation, and will remain as a single car. It will also regain its original fleet number, 281. The tram will hopefully move from its present home at the Jackson’s Bus Yard shortly, bringing to an end a period of outside storage which has lasted over two years for this particular car.
It has also been revealed that, despite previous indications that 671 would be joining the growing vehicle collection of the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust, it has instead been purchased by a new name , its owners are probably not the biggest issue. This tram must now have one of the most complicated preservation histories of any Blackpool tram, having initially been sold to Merseytravel and moved to Knowsley at the end of 2011, following withdrawal from service in Blackpool. However, a subsequent exchange of trams saw it join the Lancastrian Transport Trust’s collection and it returned to Blackpool early the following year, being placed in ‘temporary’ outside storage at Marton where it has remained ever since. Last year the car was declared surplus to requirements by the LTT and NEETT expressed interest in acquiring it, although before this deal was concluded it was decided that it would be sold to the Tyne Tees Transport Trust instead. Hopefully 671‘s future will now be much more stable and we can look forward to riding on this tram again in the not too distant future!
Plans are now being discussed regarding the future restoration of 671 to operating condition, including the refitting of a full driving cab at the no.2 end, enabling it to be driven from either end once again for the first time since it was permanently coupled to Trailer 681. One option being considered is to return it to Rigby Road for the work to be carried out by Blackpool Transport Services Ltd. on a commercial basis, although contrary to what its new owners had initially announced, this has not yet been confirmed and is just one option for 671‘s future.