Box 40 returns to Fleetwood!

In just a few short weeks, there have been some great surprises on the Blackpool tramway already in 2012 – but quite possibly the highlight of the year so far occured on Monday 30th April, when Blackpool & Fleetwood ‘Box’ car 40 performed a private hire which took the 98-year old tram to Fleetwood Ferry for the first time since November 2009!

Not only was this an extremely significant working for car 40, but it was also noteworthy as 40 duly became the first of the genuine heritage tram fleet to run to Fleetwood since 2009. The tram was hired by the ‘Friends of 40’, a group of enthusiasts who have previously supported the operation of this tram in Blackpool by donating towards various work on it. For some time there have been questions as to whether the vintage cars would be allowed to run to Fleetwood, and this remarkable working confirms that the answer is positive.

On arrival at Fleetwood, the tour passengers took a refreshment break. Due to the token system preventing two trams from running north of Fisherman’s Walk at the same time, plans to stable 40 on the Ferry loop had to be abandoned and instead it ran empty to Thornton Gate, where it rested on the relaid centre track there for a while before returning to Fleetwood a little later.

It was highly appropriate that Box 40 achieved this ‘first’ as not only did it spend its heyday working between North Station and Fleetwood, but it was also one of the very last trams to run through the streets of Fleetwood before the line closed for upgrading after the 2009 illuminations ended. 40 was one of three trams hired for an unforgettable tour by the Fylde Tramway Society to bring the curtain down on traditional trams running to the Ferry, alongside Brush Railcoach 627 and Balloon 702, both of which are now preserved elsewhere. Although such sights are likely to remain a rarity, the sight of car 40 running along a public street was certainly very welcome and hopefully bodes well for more private hires to take some old favourites to Fleetwood again in 2012 and beyond!

A timeless scene many feared we would never see again, but here it is: Box car 40 of 1914 vintage, posed alongside Fleetwood lighthouse, on 30th April 2012. Welcome back old friend! (Photo by Andrew Blood)

New meets old at Thornton Gate with Box car 40 on a break, as Flexity 006 passes by on Fleetwood service. (Photo by Andrew Blood)


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3 Responses to Box 40 returns to Fleetwood!

  1. Ken Walker says:

    I spent 2 hours on the tramway today (30th April) between 1200 midday and 2pm and didn’t see 40. Unlucky or what? However it was good to see the tramway settled down and all trams on time during that period. It was also noted that after having the track relaid through the town section and all road surface renewed, and with the tramway only reopening less than a month ago, workers were in the process of digging up the road in Lord Street (obviously not the fault of Blackpool Transport!) No doubt the street will soon acquire that “patched up” look again.

  2. Rob Hitchens says:

    My wife and I were inBlackpool for the whole day on Monday. It was a great day with the flexo’s running well. It was a great surprise and a delight to see box car 40, got a couple of good photo’s on Lord Street. The only prob was the delay to a service car that had to wait at Fisherman’s walk 15 minutes for the baton so that it could proceed to the ferry.We had walked to Victoria Street by the time the service tram caught us up. As much as I love to see the heritage fleet out, it is not a good P.A. job when they hold up the service trams in Fleetwood. Hopefully it will not be long before the sub-station is complete. Looking forward to seeing more of the heritage fleet out and about in the coming days, months and years. They will be enjoyed by millions.

  3. Ken Walker says:

    I wondered how they managed to squeeze 40 in to the Ferry under the present arrangements! The road works on Lord Street didn’t help matters as the workmen had their barriers right up against the line on the southbound side and had to move them every time a tram wanted to pass. But as you say Rob hopefully the “baton event” will be a thing of the past by the time the summer (!) season gets into full swing.

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