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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
The British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2013 contest has seen three new winners annointed with the north west of England once again dominating all three categories with Blackpool walking away with "Tram of the Year" and "Event of the Year" whilst the Heaton Park Tramway has been named as "Tramway of the Year" following five weeks of voting which has seen over 300 votes registered.

The winner of the "Tram of the Year" category was Blackpool Boat 227 which received just over a quarter of the votes. Although the tram quickly established a lead the whole contest was a fairly tight one with less than 30 votes the difference between all five trams – the tightest it has ever been between all nominees. 227 proved popular with the majority of people following its return to action during the August Bank Holiday Heritage Service on its home system in a new “what if” red and white livery. Just five votes separated the next three trams with Blackpool Centenary 648 making it a Blackpool one-two in second swiftly followed by Glasgow 1068 and then Stockport 5 in fourth. Last but certainly by no means least was Leeds 107.

Normally when the Blackpool Tramway is nominated for anything you expect it to walk away with the award but not in the "Tramway of the Year" categorty as a late surge by the Heaton Park Tramway meant that the up and coming heritage tramway in Manchester became the second winner of this category. Just over 40% of those voting felt that the progress made at Heaton Park, particularly with the construction of the new depot during 2013 meant the tramway deserved the award. Coming in second place, 13 votes behind Heaton Park, was reigning champion the Blackpool Tramway, whilst the third place tramway was Manchester Metrolink almost 50 further votes back.

Finally and probably the most obvious winner was in the "Event of the Year" category. Let’s be honest here there was only ever going to be one winner in this category and that was, of course, the rejuvenation of the Blackpool Heritage Service with 133 voters believing that was the best event of 2013. The other three events of the year probably didn’t really ever stand a chance but they make a nice symmetry with 80 votes for second place Heaton Park Tramway Autumn Gala, 60 votes for the Crich Enthusiasts’ Event and 40 votes for the perhaps surprising fourth place event Great North Festival of Transport at Beamish. Looking at how some great events were unable to compete with the Blackpool juggernaught probably shows just how much tram events have come on in recent years.

Tram of the Year: Results

Tram of the Year

1. Blackpool Boat 227 – 79 votes (25.08%)
2. Blackpool Centenary 648 – 64 votes (20.32%)
3. Glasgow 1068 – 61 votes (19.37%)
4. Stockport 5 – 59 votes (18.73%)
5. Leeds 107 – 52 votes (16.51%)

Tramway of the Year

1. Heaton Park Tramway – 128 votes (41.42%)
2. Blackpool Tramway – 115 votes (37.22%)
3. Manchester Metrolink – 66 votes (21.36%)

Event of the Year

1. Rejuvenation of Blackpool Heritage Service – 133 votes (42.49%)
2. Heaton Park Tramway Autumn Gala – 80 votes (25.56%)
3. Crich Enthusiasts’ Day – 60 votes (19.17%)
4. Great North Festival of Transport, Beamish – 40 votes (12.78%)

Tram of the Year: Vote
Voting is now open for the British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2013 and you can register your note on our special voting page. If you read on further down this page you can find out the reasons for the shortlisted candidates in each category. Voting is now open until Saturday 11th January 2014 at approximately 1000. One vote, per category only so please don't try to make multiple votes and don't forget it is just for fun!

Tram of the Year: The Shortlist

Once again this year has seen much scratching of heads going on as we have tried to reach a shortlist of just five trams for our "Tram of the Year" award, but this year, as promised, we have kept to just five trams. Some of you will probably won't agree with those trams we have selected and indeed before the nominations period there are some trams on here which we wouldn't have expected to have made it but due to a large number of nominations we have decided to go with public opinion. There are numerous trams which didn't quite make the shortlist and these are also mentioned below. So read on for the final shortlist:

Blackpool Boat 227
Returning to service in Blackpool in time for the August Bank Holiday heritage service 227 (or 602 as it was last time it ran) turned heads with its new livery of Red & White, to show what might have been had Blackpool Corporation Transport not changed their colours in the early 1930s. The livery may have been fictitious but the added colour to the heritage fleet in Blackpool was well received and with the sunny weather the UK seemed to experience each time the heritage service ran it proved to popular, as Boat Cars always seem to be whether in the world they run.

Blackpool Centenary 648
648 returned to service during the summer following an overhaul which saw it return somewhere close to its original condition. When the Blackpool Tramway was upgraded it was not expected to be retained - in fact it was due to move to Crich - but after seeing limited use in 2012, still carrying an expired all over advert, the tram saw workshop attention to return Green and Cream colours to a Centenary Car for the first time in many years. Originally due to return to service over the late May Bank Holiday this unfortunately didn't prove possible as the work had not been completed but it was displayed outside the depot for a time to show the progress which had been made. Eventually running for the first time in July on a Fylde Tramway Society tour the tram was then able to be used on the Heritage Service over the August Bank Holiday.

Glasgow 1068
Making the shortlist for the second year in a row is Glasgow 1068. When nominated in 2012 it was because it had been repainted for the Glasgow 50 event at Crich and at the time it looked as though it would only return to service temporarily but fortunately 2013 was to prove another good year for this tram. The reason 1068 ends up in the final five is, of course, for its loan spell at Beamish in April where it eventually arrived during the second day of the "Our Friends Electric" event and then proved to be a very popular temporary addition to the fleet there for the next few weeks. The first Scottish tram to run at Beamish the tram then returned to Crich and again proved popular during the sunny summer weather.

Leeds 107
After an eight year restoration - and 112 years since it last carried passengers - 107 made a return to the rails at the Middleton Railway in its home city during the August Bank Holiday Festival of Transport. Granted the launch event did have a tragic accident but that should not take away from the efforts of the Leeds Transport Historical Society in restoring this fine double deck horse car. Shortly after the event in Leeds the tram was moved to its new home at the Crich Tramway Village where the tram was able to be displayed during the Enthusiasts' Event as part of the horse car line-up.

Stockport 5
If you had asked us before the nominations opened whether 5 would make the final five the answer would likely to have been no but its popularity during the nominations phase has meant it has been selected. Although the tram only spent a winter out of service when it returned it had a different apperance and shows just what a small time on a shoestring budget can achieve when they put their minds to it. Featuring a more authentic look including adverts the tram was again popular during the summer - indeed it is no coincidence so many of the nominees this year are open trams following the warm and sunny summer we experienced.

Other trams which nearly made it onto the shortlist (and were probably equally deserving but we had to draw the line somewhere) were:
* Blackpool Brush 631
* London United Tramways 159
* Midland Metro 11
* Snaefell Mountain Railway 1

Other trams were of course nominated but our "expert panel" decided they had not done enough to make the shortlist. If you would like to know why your choice hasn't made it please contact us and we will try and explain!

Tramway of the Year: The Shortlist

It has to be said that this category has been a huge struggle as though several tramways/musuems have achieved things this year they have also had problems so there is no one place which really stands out. Nevertheless we have come up with three nominees:

Blackpool Tramway
A rather predictable nomination but one which has to be on the shortlist really. 2013 has shown that heritage trams can operate alongside a modern light rail system and the revised way heritage trams have operated has proven to be a success with enthusiasts actually supporting this year. An enhanced service has also been operated on the tramway with a very regular service operating on Illumination Fridays and Saturdays - the best for many years. Passenger numbers have also increased during the year. However it hasn't been all plain sailing as anyone visiting Blackpool during the Illuminations will testify. The age old problems of the service collapsing when the trams are busy was seen all too frequently, particularly on Fridays and Saturdays, with large gaps between trams.

Heaton Park Tramway
Another nominee which is added to the shortlist due to its heavy support. 2013 has seen continued progress made on the new depot which is now nearing completion and during 2014 should enable their remaining trams to arrive at their new homes. The year also ended with a successful Gala in November.

Manchester Metrolink
We will probably be ridiculed in certain quarters for this being on the shortlist but despite the well documented problems Manchester Metrolink has also achieved a fair amount over the past 12 months. Extensions have opened to Droylsden, Rochdale, East Didsbury and Ashton-under-Lyne during 2013 and next year should also see further lines opening with the Oldham and Rochdale town centre sections next up. Unfortunately it hasn't been all good with problems at Cornbrook leading to delays and recently ice on the overhead had led to many complaints in the local media and on Twitter. But as we are not looking for the best operator in the UK this does not mean Metrolink hasn't done enough to be nominated.

Event of the Year: The Shortlist

Probably the easiest category of the lot to come up with a shortlist with four events clearly out in front during the previous 12 months:

Blackpool Heritage Service - rejuvinated
OK, yes, we have cheated a bit with this one! 2013 started with a stark warning to use it or lose it following the low turnout during the heritage service in 2012 and that it exactly what enthusiasts did in their numbers. Only operating at Bank Holidays and in connection with special events the new format proved to be a success with tram changeovers during the day and also out of service vehicles displayed outside Rigby Road Depot. It would be unfair, and almost impossible, to take just one of the periods of heritage operation alone so we have cheated and taken the rejuvination of the heritage service in total instead, for this year only.

Crich Tramway Village Enthusiasts' Day
Back to just a one day event for 2013 the Enthusiasts' Day at the Crich Tramway Village gave exactly what you expect from an event of this sort at the home of the National Tramway Museum - lots of trams both in service and on display. With an extensive tram service in operation including all those trams which could run running the depot fan was the scene of a London tram line-up, a horse car line-up (including Leeds 107 for the first time) and the rare appearance of Leicester 76 outside.

Great North Festival of Transport - Beamish
A lot of people nominated "Our Friends Electric" for the event of the year but we have actually gone for the over arching Great North Festival of Transport for this candidate for the Event of the Year. It has been well documented that the start of "Our Friends Electric" was affected badly by the weather with the visiting trams not arriving until the last minute - Lisbon 730 on the first day of the event and Glasgow 1068 the second with them then entering service a day after their arrival and it is because of this we have gone for the grand three long weekends event - Great North Festival of Transport. Probably the highlight for the trams was on the Saturday of "Our Friends Electric" when there was a grand tram parade of all operational trams but the event also saw one of the busiest days for Beamish in their history on the Saturday of the Great North Steam Fair.

Heaton Park Tramway Autumn Gala
This was a scaled up version of a scaled down event to end the 2013 season of excitement. Plans were initially sketchy of what would happen at the Heaton Park Tramway as it was all hands on deck to complete the new depot with the likelihood that there would be more excitement if it had have been completed. In the end it was announced it wouldn't be complete in time and so a scaled down event was revealed but in the end this surpassed expectations with three trams in service plus all other trams on site playing some part in proceedings including tram line-ups on the main line.

About the the Tram of the Year

The British Trams Online Tram of the Year contest was originally conceived at the end of 2003 with the sole purpose of finding the tram that enthusiasts thought had been THE tram of the year - whether that be as a result of a return to service after a major restoration, a repaint, a brand new new tram entering service for the very first time or a tram operating away from its home system, to be honest it has always been down to personal opinion and that can differ wildly!

In 2012 the contest was expanded to include two new categories: Event of the Year and Tramway of the Year. It is fairly obvious what these categories are all about with the Event category looking for an event (or series of events) which has had the "wow" factor in the previous 12 months and the Tramway of the Year looking for the UK tramway (museum or normal passenger service) which has done the best for the year in the opinion of enthusiasts.

The previous 10 years have seen 10 different trams win the accolade of "Tram of the Year" with Leeds 602 kicking off things in 2003 following a re-entry into service on a limited basis at Crich. Other winners over the years have been Blackpool Illuminated Frigate 736 (back in service after restoration) and NET 203 (operated first ever service on that system) joint winners in 2004, Trampower Tram (had started testing in Blackpool) in 2005, Leeds 345 (back in service after restoration) in 2006, Blackpool Brush 623 (back in service after repaint in Wartime Green & Cream) in 2007, Blackpool Balloon 717 (returning to service after major heritage overhaul) in 2008, Blackpool Western Train 733+734 (back into service after a Heritage Lottery funded restoration) in 2009, Liverpool 762 in 2010 (popular loan spell in Blackpool), Blackpool Marton VAMBAC 11 in 2011 (short-term loan period at Beamish) and finally in 2012 Blackpool Brush 623 became the first double winner as a result of its entry into service at Heaton Park. Meanwhile the inagural Event of the Year was the Glasgow 50 celebration at the Crich Tramway Village with the Blackpool Tramway taking "home" the Tramway of the Year. But what will be popular with you this year?

The British Trams Online Tram of the Year contest has several stages of which you - the loyal readers of the site - can become involved in. Firstly, we look for nominations for the contest (this can be done by email or by visiting us on Facebook), then a shortlist of 5 trams will be drawn up followed by the voting in December and January. Finally, in mid-January an announcement is made of the winners in the British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2013 contest. Read on now to find out more detail of the different stages of the contest.

Stage 1: Selecting a Shortlist

This stage involves selecting shortlists for the three categories to go forward to the main contest, with up to five nominations in each category. If you have any ideas as to a tram, tramway or event which could be on the final shortlist please email or visit us on Facebook detailing the reasons why you have made the nomination.

The deadline for nominees is the end of Saturday 30th November 2013). After this deadline our "expert panel" will decide on the shortlists to go forward to the public vote. Not everything which is nominated will end up on the shorlist and just because something is nominated by 20 people is no guarantee either (for instance if lots of people say they nominate Blackpool Balloon 700 because its their favourite tram does not mean it will go forward although if we have trouble deciding between a couple of items we will look at which has been nominated the most to help us make the decision).

Stage 2: Vote for Your Favourite!

After the shortlist has been created the public vote will open on Sunday 1st December 2013. A series of short profiles will be uploaded to this page to give you an idea as to why they have been shortlisted and to help you make your mind up as to where your vote is going. Details on how to vote will be given out when voting opens.

Voting will be open between Sunday 1st December 2013 and Saturday 4th January 2014. It is currently envisaged that voting will be closed at 1000 on Saturday 4th January 2014 but please check back nearer to the date to see confirmation of vote closing.

Stage 3: And the Winner Is...

After the voting closes on 4th January 2014 we will be in a position to name the winners in the British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2013 contest. As usual there will be no lavish awards ceremony but the closest we will get is by making a major annoucement on the British Trams Online home page!

This page was last updated on Saturday 11th January 2014

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