NEETT’s Blackpool trams move in

Monday 3rd November was a momentous day for the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust, as it was on this date that the last of their collection of historic Blackpool trams were moved into secure undercover accommodation. Both of the Balloon cars currently residing at the premises of the North East Land, Sea & Air Museum near Sunderland were moved inside the Trust’s new tram shed on November 3rd, ending a lengthy spell of outside storage for the two trams.

Although most of the NEETT collection were moved into the depot in May, Blackpool Balloon cars 708 and 721 had to remain outside due to an issue with the depot doors which prevented double deck cars from getting inside, with the exception of the illuminated Hovertram which was built to an unusual low-bridge design. However, following some adjustments, a lorry was booked to move the two Balloon cars the short distance into their new home, with 708 being moved first. By the end of the afternoon both were tucked up inside for the first time since leaving Blackpool, and thankfully meaning that neither will have to endure another winter at the mercy of the elements. The shed now contains two lines of Blackpool trams; one track contains single-deck cars 634, 674+684 and 647 whilst the other is home to 721, 708 and at the rear, Hovertram 735.

Restoration work on 721 has stalled recently due to the unexpected delays in getting the car moved inside, but hopefully this can now resume. Thoughts can also turn towards the even bigger task of restoring car 708 as an open-topper, but for now, the most important thing is that both trams should be protected and not suffer any further deterioration.

Blackpool Balloon 708 being loaded onto a lorry in order to be moved inside the NEETT tram shed, bringing to an end a lengthy period of storage outside for both this tram and sister car 721. (Photo by John Gilder)


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14 Responses to NEETT’s Blackpool trams move in

  1. bob riley says:

    Great to see both double deckers in the tram shed. Another winter of outside storage in the cold North East would not have been a good idea.

  2. Franklyn says:

    Well done to everyone at the NEETT. The preservation of a complete twin car set is particularly welcome, but lets hope all the trams (and otehr vehicles on site) have a safe and secure future.

  3. Paul says:

    What are NEET’s plans? Nice that it is to have a small fleet of trams, they aren’t exactly locally relevant. The shed neither looks suitable for displaying the cars, or as a future operating depot given the height issues.

    A great achievement to get things undercover but I can’t help wondering what the objective of such a Blackpool based collection is in Sunderland.

    • Paul D says:

      Not all the Aircraft in the collection of the same site have local connections so that should not precude having trams from elsewhere either, and anyway how many Sunderland Trams survive that could take their places in the collection??

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      This alongside the discussion on another article regarding the ‘at risk’ trams owned by Merseytravel emphasise the point that it is impossible to please everybody!

      Organisations who save Blackpool trams = get moaned at for taking too many duplicates and neglecting other systems
      Organisations who sit back and watch Blackpool trams go for scrap = get moaned at for doing nothing

      Incidentally NEETT have shown interest in at least one vehicle with local significance but very little has happened there, and the chances of anything happening appear rather slim, so it’s probably a case of Blackpool trams or nothing!

    • Ken Walker says:

      Surely the important thing is that they have saved these cars and have had a building erected to keep them secure and out of the elements, which shows they are serious about the restoration of them, whether they are local or not. The same argument could apply to Heaton Park and Beamish. A fact that many people will be grateful for when rhe FHLT’s collection has collapsed into a pile of rust.

  4. Paul says:

    I’m not moaning, im just curious as to what they are trying to achieve given that much of the collection is not from the North East. The website doesn’t really tell you much about aims and objectives, or future plans and I don’t think they have charity status yet so there’s nothing on the CC website.

    I’m sure there’s a plan and vision, but it’s not clear what it is. There’s a mention on here in May 2012 about a 12 car depot and a aim for an operating line but also deals with Heaton Park and Beamish for tram loans – that sounds a sensible idea to get vehicles operational. Presumably there are plans to extend the depot in the future as it doesn’t look like there is sufficient height to wire it, or fit trolley towers to the single deck cars.

  5. bob riley says:

    The lower saloon of Sunderland corporation car no.73 may still exist at Lemmington Hall in Northumberland. Restoration of this car would certainly provide plenty of local intrest.

  6. Nathan says:

    There is a Hull car wasting away at a caravan park in Skipsea, East Riding, too.

    • Paul D says:

      Definitely not ‘waisting away’, it is infact quite well care for and has has a complete repaint in the last couple of years. Be assured that an eye is being kept on that one, but the owners presently have no desire to part with it. Their only response to approaches from enthusiasts (three to me knowledge) is that they are happy with it where it is…

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