The Manchester Transport Museum Society have launched a new fund which has been created specifically to support the various Blackpool trams it has acquired for operation at the Heaton Park Tramway. This will allow fans of the classic Blackpool cars that have been preserved in Manchester to support them, with a brand new fund being set up to keep money allocated to Blackpool and Manchester trams separate.
The MTMS have acquired a total of six Blackpool trams since 2008. Of these, Replica Vanguard 619, Brush Railcoach 623 and Railgrinder 752 are already at Heaton Park where they have proved very popular and useful, Ex-Towing Railcoach 680 is currently earning its keep at Beamish, Balloon 708 is on loan to the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust, and last but by no means least, Balloon 702 is stored at Bury. All of these trams will need varying degrees of attention in the years ahead, but following recent investment in the new Lakeside Depot, the Society’s funds are currently very low.
Back in 2010 an appeal was launched to help pay for and transport trams bought from Blackpool Transport. This was hugely successful and the trams paid for themselves and their transport, to the extent that there is a small amount left which will contribute towards moving 702 to Heaton Park in the near future. Rather than appeal for further funds to move the car and then each time funds are required the MTMS have decided to establish an ongoing fund. This would ensure that funds are available when required and allow for the upkeep, maintenance and storage of the Trams without having to use central funds which are vitally needed for the fleet of Manchester area trams. MTMS Chairman, Bob Hill, said: “The Blackpool trams are a vital part of our collection and the story of the Tram, being as iconic to Manchester residents as their own trams were. This way we can ensure that they have a secure future within the collection and we know that there are a number of people out there who are passionate about Blackpool trams and we hope they will support us in doing this.”
Upcoming projects which could benefit from the new fund include a planned repaint of the railgrinder into two-tone green livery, and the previously announced amendments to 680‘s paintwork to portray its early 1990s appearance, whilst Vanguard 619 will need some remedial work before it can return to service this year and requires a new invertor. Looking further ahead, Balloon car 702 will need a complete repaint having suffered badly during its time in open storage at Bury, and it is also hoped to carry out an interior refurbishment of Brush car 623 in the future, to smarten up this popular workhorse. With several non-Blackpool trams also requiring work, there has never been a better time to ensure that supporters of the tramway can choose which vehicles they wish to see their donations spent on.
Contributions to the fund should be sent to MTMS Blackpool fund, 14 Buttermere Road, Burnley, Lancashire, BB10 4HU. Payment should be submitted by cheque (made payable to MTMS), or via paypal at www.heatonparktramway.org.uk. Further details are available by email from John Whitehouse firstname.lastname@example.org. One-off donations and regular contributions are equally welcome; please contact the Society for bank details for standing orders. If you are able to gift aid your donation please ask for a form as this is an invaluable source of additional income from your donation. Some extra perks are also being offered to supporters, with anyone donating £500 or more being given a static model of car 680, whilst any donations of £1000 or more will be rewarded with a free tram driving experience at Heaton Park.