The official launch into service of Blackpool Brush Railcoach 630 at Crich Tramway Village took place on Saturday 12th May, with this providing the perfect excuse to hold a Brush-themed event day. Although intended as a relatively low-key event arranged at quite short notice, staff and volunteers pulled out all of the stops to ensure that this was a memorable occasion – and in the end, 630 was arguably upstaged at its own launch event!
The morning saw a number of photo opportunities with 630 being posed alongside some of the Museum’s other Blackpool trams, including partially restored sister car 298 and Jubilee car 762, which certainly caused a few heads to turn when it was towed out onto the depot fan! Afterwards, pre-paid ticket holders boarded 630 for its first passenger journey at its new home, which included a rare opportunity to get off the tram and take photos at Glory Mine. The car then remained in service until just before 4:00pm when it performed two ‘tram driver experience’ trips for competition winners, before it worked the final journey of the day.
In-between there was no shortage of other activity with other trams built by Brush of Loughborough either in service or displayed on the depot fan. This included a surprise appearance in daylight by Grimsby & Immingham 14 – but an even bigger surprise when Douglas Southern Electric Tramways 1 was brought out and displayed on the traverser for a while. As this car rarely appears outside for events this was certainly a major highlight for those present, many of whom had never seen this tram out before. Its appearance was due to it being built by Falcon Car Works: effectively the predescesor of the Brush company.
As well as the above, a shunting operation took place in the depots which led to other non-runners such as Blackpool 167 and Glasgow 1282 appearing in the yard at various times during the day. A lot of effort went into making this an enjoyable event, which easily surpassed all hopes and expectations. A more detailed report on this day, as well as a photo gallery, will hopefully be uploaded on British Trams Online next weekend.