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Previous Winners of the British Trams Online Tram of the Year:

2012 - Tram: Blackpool Brush 623, Tramway: Blackpool, Event: Glasgow 50 at Crich - details
2011 - Blackpool Marton VAMBAC 11
2010 - Liverpool 762
2009 - Blackpool Western Train 733+734
2008 - Blackpool Balloon 717
2007 - Blackpool Brush 623
2006 - Leeds 345
2005 - Trampower Tram
2004 - Blackpool Illuminated Frigate 736 & Nottingham Express Transit 203 (Joint winners)
2003 - Leeds 602
Click on the above trams for links to the relevant Tram of the Year pages

Tram of the Year: The Winners

For the first time ever the "Tram of the Year" contest included three categories in 2012 with the original "Tram of the Year" category joined by "Event of the Year" and "Tramway of the Year".

Two of the categories ended up being titanic struggles with the lead changing on numerous occasions although the "Tramway of the Year" contest was anything but close!

From the off “Tram of the Year” became a two horse race with two popular Blackpool tramcars fighting it out – Brush 623 and Twin Car 272+T2. Up until Christmas the Twin set was narrowly leading the way but since then 623 picked up votes to end up with 31% of the total vote. You would have thought that because 272+T2 were in the news shortly after Christmas with their use on the FTS tour they would have gained more votes but the complete opposite actually occurred and the Brush received the votes. In taking the accolade 623 becomes the first tram to ever win the award twice having previously won back in 2007 and it also becomes the first Heaton Park Tramway based vehicle to win. The top three was not completely dominated by Blackpool though as Birkenhead 20 took third place, although this was quite a way back from the other two.

The “Event of the Year” category also ended up being a two horse race with the Opening of the Blackpool Tramway and the Glasgow 50 event at Crich being the front runners here. As soon as voting started Blackpool started to build a lead, a lead which it kept up until Tuesday of the final week. But a surge of votes in this final week saw Glasgow 50 storm ahead and in the end 43% of the vote led to this event taking a very well deserved victory. With only three events nominated in this category it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that in third place was the Great North Steam Fair at Beamish.

The only one of our categories which lead to no contest at all was “Tramway of the Year” where the Blackpool Tramway romped to victory with 50% of the vote – and let’s be honest that was no surprise! Beamish was in a distant second with 28% of the vote and third place was Crich Tramway Village which received 15%.

Thanks to everyone who voted in the contest this year. We can now start to turn out attention to “Tram of the Year 2013” – which trams, tramways and events will be in contention this time next year?

Tram of the Year: Full Results

Tram of the Year

1. Blackpool Brush 623 - 71 votes (31%)
2. Blackpool Twin Car 272+T2 - 57 votes (25%)
3. Birkenhead 20 - 29 votes (13%)
4. Glasgow 1068 - 21 votes (9%)
5. Grimsby & Immingham 26 - 16 votes (7%)
6= Blackpool Flexity2 001 - 14 votes (6%)
6= Blackpool Boat 236 - 14 votes (6%)
7. London Tramlink 2554 - 7 votes (3%)

Event of the Year

1. Glasgow 50: Crich Tramway Village - 103 votes (43%)
2. Opening of the upgraded Blackpool Tramway - 94 votes (39%)
3. Great North Steam Fair: Beamish - 42 votes (18%)

Tramway of the Year

1. Blackpool Tramway - 113 votes (50%)
2. Beamish - 63 votes (28%)
3. Crich Tramway Village - 35 votes (15%)
4. Manchester Metrolink - 17 votes (7%)

Tram of the Year: The Shortlist

There can be little doubt that 2012 has been an excellent year for trams in the UK and as such we have had to increase the number of trams on the final shortlist for "Tram of the Year" to eight! We were originally going to have five, then that increased to six and because the expert panel couldn't agree on some of these it has ended up at eight! This is likely to be an one off and hopefully next year we will return to the usual level.

We now take a brief look at those trams nominated and why they have ended up on the shortlist:

Birkenhead 20
For the first time in its life Birkenhead 20 operated away from its home town as it went on a short holiday to Beamish. Primarily to operate at the Great North Steam Fair in April the tram was hugely popular at this event and then operated on a few more occasions before returning home.

Blackpool Flexity2 001
This was a no-brainer as there was always going to be a Flexity2 on the shortlist considering the impact they have had on the Blackpool Tramway in 2012. But the problem was: which Flexity2 to chose? Ordinary you would think that the first tram to run in public passenger service would be the one to chose but unfortunately 006 preceeded to derail on departure from Fleetwood Ferry and has then spent more time in the depot out of service than it has run so that was ruled out. Then you look at 008 which was used on the preview journey to Fleetwood the day before operations officially commenced. There is also the option of 002 which, although it has barely been used in Blackpool, it became the first Blackpool tram to be exhibited at an event on mainland Europe when it was displayed at Inno Trans in Germany during September. But the tram we have gone for is the pioneer - 001. It may not have done anything really special in the past 12 months but is the first of the class which have revolutionised the Blackpool Tramway.

Blackpool Boat 236
Having been out of service in Blackpool since 2004 236 (or 607 as was) underwent major attention in the workshops at Blackpool before being moved to its new home at Crich in April. As part of the attention the tram underwent a repaint and for the first time in many years a Boat Car was finished without windscreens. It is mainly for this reason that 236 ends up on the shortlist rather than fellow Boat Cars 230 - repainted and returned to service in Blackpool but only after a couple of years out of service - and 233 - repainted and returned to service at Beamish but again only after a few years out of use.

Blackpool Twin Car 272+T2
On 6th November 2011 many enthusiasts present in Blackpool thought they were saying goodbye to the operation of the popular Twin Cars in service when 672+682 returned to Depot following service. But wind forward ten months or so and 672+682 - now under its former identity of 272+T2 - returned to service as part of the Heritage Fleet but in the all cream livery these trams operated in when first introduced. As always with the Twin Cars this was a popular return to service and you have to admit it looks good in cream (much better than Orange and Yellow!)

Blackpool Brush 623
623 had left Blackpool back in May 2010 and was initially displayed at the now defunct Museum of Museums alongside Balloon 702. When this Museum closed rather than join the other Heaton Park owned trams in storage at the East Lancashire Railway it was moved to its new home tramway where preparations were made for its launch into service. This duly happened on Sunday 22nd January 2012 when 623 became the first Brush Car to operate in preservation. For this reason 623 is preferred to sister 630 which was launched into service at Crich later in the year.

Glasgow 1068
As plain old Paisley 68 this tram had spent a few years out of service at Crich but with the 50th anniversary of the closure of Glasgow's last tram route coming the Scottish Tramway and Transport Society funded a repaint whilst returning the tram to its Glasgow identity of 1068. The finished result - which was the Blue route colour livery from Glasgow and thus completing the full set at Crich - was ready in time for the Glasgow 50 event in September and if that wasn't enough the tram was returned to service for the weekend as well! Fellow Glasgow tram 1282 was also returned to service for this event but because 1068 also received a repaint this gets the nod for the this nomination.

Grimsby & Immingham 26
For the past 40 years this tram has been the workhorse of the Beamish Tramway in its usual guise of Gateshead 10. Many people are wanted to see it returned to British Railways livery from its time at Grimsby & Immingham and in time for Power from the Past at Beamish this happened. The tram looked resplendent in the dark green livery and turned heads as it became the tram star of this event.

London Tramlink 2554
Completing the shortlist is the first of the new trams for London Tramlink - 2554. Arriving at Croydon on Monday 9th January 2012 the tram was put through extensive tests before carrying passengers for the first time on Friday 30th March. This is the first Stadler built tram to operate in the UK and the class has proven to be a valuable asset to Tramlink.

There were so many other trams which could have been added to the shortlist but we had to draw the line somewhere! The following trams narrowly missed out (where they haven't been mentioned above):
* Blackpool Brush 290
* Blackpool Coronation 304
* Blackpool Balloon 700
* Blackpool Rocket 732
* Manchester Metrolink 1011
* Oporto 196
* Seaton 8

Please note London United Tramways 159 was ruled out of the running because it was withdrawn from service so soon after launch.

Tramway of the Year: The Shortlist

The first of our new categories looks for the "Tramway of the Year". We are not looking for the tramway which has run the best service in 2012 - there are other awards for that elsewhere - but the tramway which provided us with the most excitement in the past 12 months.

Four tramways have made this shortlist:

The tramway at Beamish has continued to go from strength to strength in 2012. Two brief tram loans have dominated the scene with Birkenhead 20 and Blackpool Coronation 304 book ending the year but there have also been repaints to Gateshead 10 and Oporto 196 to stir the interest. In addition a Leamington and Warwick horse tram arrived and Crich agreed to let Gateshead 52 move north for eventual restoration.

Blackpool Tramway
The upgrade of the Blackpool Tramway has been nothing but a success with passenger loadings higher than anyone could ever have hoped for. Sure there have been a few teething problems along the way but as the year has gone on and Blackpool Transport have learnt the best way to operate the system. As if the upgraded system wasn't enough to gain this nomination then they have also integrated a heritage tram operation which has seen some of the history kept on the Fylde coast.

Crich Tramway Village
Tram launch after tram launch, exciting event after exciting event, 2012 has been a classic year at the home of the National Tramway Museum. Blackpool cars 236 and 630 entered the operating fleet in the first part of the year before LUT 159 was launched later on (although this didn't quite go according to plan!) There was also the incredible Glasgow 50 event in September with the Brush 630 launch event also turning heads. The number of withdrawn trams which saw the open air during this events was at a high for recent years as Crich proved they can offer high quality events.

Manchester Metrolink
It would probably be fair to say it has been a mixed year for Metrolink. The opening of the Oldham and Rochdale line as far as Oldham Mumps was a highlight but on the downside other extensions have been delayed and the system keeps making the headlines in the local paper as delays build up. On the tram front more of the M5000s have entered service but the first of the T68s have been withdrawn, a process which will be completed by 2014.

Tram Event of the Year: The Shortlist

A number of big tram events took place in 2012 and this new category seeks to find the best "Tram Event of the Year". These are not only special events at the Museums but also key events on the operating tramway.

Great North Steam Fair - Beamish
The April event at Beamish saw the loan of Birkenhead 20 as one of the Museum's two major transport events wowed the crowds. With up to four trams in service on each of the days this was the best event at Beamish for trams in 2012.

Opening of the upgraded Blackpool Tramway
Although not an "event" as such - there was no real fanfare as 006 became the first tram to leave Starr Gate in normal public service on 4th April 2012 - the re-opening of the Blackpool Tramway was a major milestone in the history of trams in the UK as it became the only tramway in the country to become a light rail system without ever fully closing.

Glasgow 50 - Crich Tramway Village
Glasgow 1068. Glasgow 1282. Glasgow 1115. The first two in service, the latter out of the Exhibition Hall in public for the first time in many years were just the main highlights of this two day event. It wasn't all about Glasgow though as Brussels Snow Broom 96 and New York 674 made rare apperances outside as well. One of the best events in recent years at Crich.

This page was last updated on Friday 22nd November 2013

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