Where to start with 31? It started the year as plain old 31 operating on the tramway at the Beamish Museum before a spring repaint into Works Green and a return to its former identity of 4 to play a starring role in the Power from the Past event in April. Following this event the tram returned to the Beamish workshops where a start was made on a repaint into 1920s Red, White and Teak livery. Once this repaint was finished the tram re-entered service at Beamish being a very popular good weather high capacity tramcar.
31 was transferred to Blackpool in mid-September to take on a starring role in the 125th Anniversary celebrations, arriving on 15th September. The tram was first used on an enthusiasts tour on 24th September before seeing public service on 25th September (and then another enthusiasts tour in the evening). It was also the only visiting tram for the events to see use outside the events week (on 16th and 27th October).
All of that was plenty to confirm 31's place on the shortlist but then it was announced that it was to go on loan to the Heaton Park Tramway for the Winter period. It left Blackpool on 9th November and then made its debut in public service there on 14th November - making it three tramways in one year in service (has any tram ever done this before?) 31 was one of the star's at Heaton Park's Blackpool Day.
Why is it nominated? Operating in Blackpool for the 125th Anniversary events and for many the star of the show,
Completing our shortlist of three is Liverpool 762 which turned heads wherever it went during its loan period at Blackpool - again for the 125th Anniversary celebrations. It left its normal Birkenhead home on 6th September and made its first appearance on the Blackpool Prom on a training run on 14th September. 762 first carried passengers on a tour for Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society members on 18th September.
During the events week the tram performed well and highlights included a couple of enthusiasts tours and a period of public service on Sunday 26th September. Many people described 762 as one of their highlights during the week and it is certainly a fine tram and added to the events.
This year has been quite a challenge selecting only three trams for the shortlist with several others coming close to joining the three above (just as well not all the promised trams made it to Blackpool or into service!). The following trams are highly commended!:
* Blackpool & Fleetwood Rack 2
* Blackpool Boat 600
* Blackpool Brush 632
* Blackpool Balloon 703
* Blackpool Balloon 706
* Cardiff 131
* Leeds 6
* Manchester 765
* Oporto 196
* South Yorkshire Supertram 120