British Trams Online

News | Fleet Lists | Gallery | Articles | Tram Profiles | Tram of the Year | Diary of Events | Links | About the Site | Email

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

2014 - Tram: Blackpool Pantograph 167, Light Rail Vehicle: Manchester Metrolink 1007, Tramway: Crich Tramway Village, Event: Crich Tramway Village - Electric 50 - details
2013 - Tram: Blackpool Boat 227, Tramway: Heaton Park Tramway, Event: Rejuvenation of Blackpool Heritage Service - details
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 2014: The Winners

The votes were cast, the readers of British Trams Online spoke and we can announce that Blackpool Pantograph 167, Manchester Metrolink 1007, Crich Tramway Village and Crich Tramway Village's Electric 50 event have won in the "Tram of the Year 2014" contest.

Nearly 40% of those who voted decided that Blackpool Pantograph 167 had done enough to earn the accolade of Tramcar of the Year and that wasn’t exactly a surprise considering that it equalled the record of operating on three different tramways in the year. This included two very popular loan spells – at Beamish and Blackpool – as well as a starring role at the Electric 50 celebrations at its home tramway of the Crich Tramway Village. Centurion Manchester 765 came in second place just one vote ahead of Blackpool Coronation 304 with Newcastle 114 and Blackpool & Fleetwood Box 40 completing the list.

The biggest victor was in the Light Rail Vehicle of the Year category where Manchester Metrolink 1007 became the first vehicle to win in this new category. Over 56% of voters decreed that the fact that 1007 had become the first LRV to be preserved in the UK meant that it deserved to win the award. Edinburgh 275 came in second place (almost 26%) having become the first LRV to run in public service when the Scottish capital’s line opened at the end of May. Nottingham Express Transit 218 and Midland Metro 20 came in third and fourth respectively but in truth were just making up the numbers this year.

The closest vote ended up being in the Tramway of the Year category where eventually Crich Tramway Village ended up beating off the challenge of the Heaton Park Tramway. Almost a third of voters in the end decided that Crich had proved to be the best tramway of the year but this was only 18 votes ahead of reigning champion Heaton Park Tramway. With Manchester Metrolink coming in third and Edinburgh Trams in fourth this category really does show just where most of our readers interests lie! Seaton Tramway came in fifth.

There was probably no surprise that Crich’s Electric 50 celebration in September came out on top in the Event of the Year as almost 47% of those voting going for this two day event. The sight of 28 trams in action on the tramway with up to 15 of these in passenger service at any one time obviously convinced people enough that this deserved to be the Event of 2014. Heaton Park Tramway’s Manchester 765 100 Not Out event came in second with two Blackpool heritage operations taking third and fourth places (August Bank Holiday and Totally Transport). Another event at Crich was the fifth most popular event; Blackpool 711’s 80th birthday in October.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote and hopefully at least some of you are happy with the outcomes! Full results are provided below.

Tramcar of the Year
1. Blackpool Pantograph 167 100 votes (39.8%)
2. Manchester 765 53 votes (21.1%)
3. Blackpool Coronation 304 52 votes (20.7%)
4. Newcastle 114 24 votes (9.6%)
5. Blackpool & Fleetwood Box 40 22 votes (8.8%)

Light Rail Vehicle of the Year
1. Manchester Metrolink 1007 137 votes (56.4%)
2. Edinburgh Trams 275 63 votes (25.9%)
3. Nottingham Express Transit 218 25 votes (10.3%)
4. Midland Metro 20 18 votes (7.4%)

Tramway of the Year
1. Crich Tramway Village 84 votes (32.8%)
2. Heaton Park Tramway 66 votes (25.8%)
3. Manchester Metrolink 53 votes (19.9%)
4. Edinburgh Trams 43 votes (16.8%)
5. Seaton Tramway 12 votes (4.7%)

Event of the Year
1. Crich Tramway Village – Electric 50 114 votes (46.5%)
2. Heaton Park Tramway – Manchester 765 Not Out 41 votes (16.7%)
3. Blackpool – August Bank Holiday 40 votes (16.3%)
4. Blackpool – Totally Transport 35 votes (14.3%)
5. Crich Tramway Village – Blackpool 711’s 80th birthday 15 votes (6.1%)

Tramcar of the Year: The Shortlist

Blackpool & Fleetwood Box 40
2014 marked the centenary of Box car 40 and this co-incided with a well-deserved overhaul for the tram as a joint project between Blackpool Transport and the car's owners, the Tramway Museum Society. After a solitary appearance on its native tracks, car 40 then headed to Crich to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of electric tram operation there, operating at the museum for the first time since 1965, and the car was used extensively before returning to Blackpool at the end of the season. [AW]

Blackpool Pantograph 167
This tram has enjoyed an especially busy year, becoming only the second preserved tram in history to operate on three different systems in a single calendar year. After a three month stay at Beamish, 167 returned to Blackpool for a fourth time, duly becoming the first visiting tram ever to carry passengers on the upgraded system. Following its return to Crich, the car then participated in some of the main events of the year and its reliable performance at all of these locations ensured its inclusion on our shortlist. [AW]

Blackpool Coronation 304
After being withdrawn at the end of 2010 and subsequently placed in outside storage after a short visit to Beamish, the chances of seeing this tram running in Blackpool again seemed slim, particularly in view of the complexities of its VAMBAC equipment. However, thanks to sterling efforts by a number of people, 304 was commissioned for service during the summer and debuted on heritage tour duty over the August Bank Holiday weekend - one of the greatest triumphs to date for the Blackpool Heritage Trust. [AW]

Manchester 765
Another centurion, this tramcar received workshop attention during the first half of the year before returning to service in July at a special event held to celebrate its 100th year. An even greater feat took place in November when 765 was transported to Manchester city centre for display outside the Town Hall complete with decorations to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. It has since returned to Heaton Park to continue its active retirement. [AW]

Newcastle 114
For most of 2014 it was business as usual for this popular member of the Beamish tram fleet. However, in September it enjoyed a brief stay at the Crich Tramway Village as one of the star attractions at the 'Electric 50' event. This was the first time that an electric tram from another museum had visited the national collection for a short-term operating loan and its presence was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the most ambitious tram event held this year. [AW]

Light Rail Vehicle of the Year: The Shortlist

Edinburgh Trams 275
We all know the story of the controversial Edinburgh Trams project but 2014 finally saw the first passengers carried between the Airport and York Place in the city centre. On Saturday 31st May large groups of would be passengers congregated at Gyle Centre waiting for the first revenue earning service and the tram chosen for the honour was 275. Departing Gyle Centre at 0500 the tram was packed on its first journey to the City Centre - the first tram to carry passengers on the cities streets since 16th November 1956.

Manchester Metrolink 1007
Back in 1992 the whole idea of modern trams on UK streets seemed to be a fanciful idea but it was in that year that the way was paved for other cities across the country when Manchester Metrolink opened. When it opened there was a fleet of 26 T68 LRVs purchased to operate the service between Bury and Altrincham and although they may not be the most aesthically pleasing vehicles ever to traverse a tramway they have an incredibly key role to play in the history of UK trams. As Manchester Metrolink has expanded a new fleet of trams was acquired and the decision was taken to withdraw the original T68s. It seemed for a time as though this historic fleet would completely disappear but then the Heaton Park Tramway came along and saved 1007 for preservation. Although the LRV was withdrawn from service in February 2014 it remained serviceable and had the honour of performing the last ever passenger runs of a T68 when, on Monday 26th May, it operated a Farewell T68 tour - along with sister 1016. It was during this tour that 1007 was officially presented to the Heaton Park Tramway, although at the time of writing it remains on Manchester Metrolink property. In being handed 1007 becomes the first second generation tram in the UK to be officially preserved and for that reason it is included on our shortlist.

Midland Metro 20
It has been a year of new LRVs being introduced across the UK and Midland Metro was not to be left out. Built by CAF in Spain the Urbos 3 trams are being introduced to replace the original T69 fleet. After several months of testing and two chances for locals to inspect the new vehicles; the first of the Urbos 3s carried passengers on Friday 5th September. On that day four of the vehicles were used in service but it is no. 20 which makes our shortlist as it was the tram which was chosen to operate the very first service and was used at the official launch ceremony.

Nottingham Express Transit 218
Another system to introduce new trams in 2014 was Nottingham Express Transit. The East Midlands city welcomed a fleet of Alstom built Citadis 302 trams with the first passenger runs for this class being on Sunday 27th July. The very first of the fleet to be used in passenger service was 218 - which has since been named Jim Taylor - and it is that vehicle which has been chosen for the shortlist becoming the very first Alstom built tram to run in the UK.

Tramway of the Year: The Shortlist

Crich Tramway Village
2014 has been a good year for the Crich Tramway Village - home of the National Tramway Museum - with several excellent special events taking place. But it is not just the special events - Best of Sheffield, Electric 50, Blackpool 711's 80th birthday - which warrants its inclusion on the shortlist as the year has seen 26 different passenger trams operate (including horse car Sheffield 15), an attempt to run at least three trams a day throughout the season and for the first time since the extension opened passengers have been able to alight at Glory Mine, opening up a whole new batch of photo opportunities.

Edinburgh Trams
After all the delays and controversy 2014 finally saw trams return to the streets of Edinburgh. Saturday 31st May was the date that many had been waiting a lifetime for as for the first time since November 1956 the public were able to travel on a tram in Scotland (outside of a Museum of course). For no other reason than this Edinburgh Trams deserves its place on the shortlist.

Heaton Park Tramway
Last years winner makes it onto the shortlist again in 2014. This year has seen the new Lakeside Depot officially opened (although trams were stabled in the building since the end of last year) but it is for other ongoing projects which also warrant its inclusion. Manchester 173 has made a trip across to Leeds to help commemorate the start of World War One whilst both Manchester Metrolink 1007 and Oldham 43 have joined the ever increasing and varied collection.

Manchester Metrolink
Yes it is true that Manchester Metrolink often makes the news for the wrong reasons as a result of delays across the system but there is much good about Manchester Metrolink which means it has to be on the shortlist. The latest piece of the extension jigsaw was opened in November when the Manchester Airport extension carried its first passengers - over a year early! 2014 had also started with the two final sections of the Oldham Rochdale line opening. The expansion of Metrolink will also not stop there with construction underway on the important Second City Crossing and the Trafford Centre extension has now also been given the go-ahead.

Seaton Tramway
It was a Valentines Day present that no-one wanted; a bad storm overnight saw a chunk of the trackbed washed away - just before Seaton Tramway was due to open for the February Half Term period. However rather than allow themselves to get down about this problem the Seaton Tramway soon put a plan into action which would allow them to operate a limited service whilst repairs were undertaken. Hiring a lorry two of the tramways fleet were transported to Colyton so that a service could be operated from there to Colyford from Saturday 22nd February. A further opening of track happened at the start of March and then at the end of the month a full reopening was possible - just six weeks after the trackbed had been washed away. It is for this reason that Seaton is included on the shortlist.

Event of the Year: The Shortlist

Blackpool - Totally Transport
Since the Blackpool Tramway was upgraded the heritage service had been restricted to the section between Pleasure Beach and Fleetwood but on Sunday 22nd June this was all to change at the 10th annual Totally Transport. In glorious sunshine Bolton 66, Standard 147, Boat Cars 230 and 600 and visiting Pantograph 167 operated the service during the day (not all at the same time) which allowed passengers to travel south of Pleasure Beach on a traditional tram for the first time since 2009. And then to cap it all off 167 ran a special tour all the way through to Fleetwood at the end of the day.

Blackpool - August Bank Holiday weekend
11 different trams were used over the last daytime heritage operation of 2014 including three year debuts, one of which had not operated in Blackpool for almost four years. Boat 227 was used in service for the first time in the year after electrical attention whilst Balloon 701 made its debut in the Routemaster Red and White livery. The highlight for many though was the use of Coronation 304 - the first of the "rescued" LTT fleet to carry passengers. Always a popular tram 304 was used on the Monday afternoon carrying full loads wherever it went. The weekend also saw the final use of Pantograph 167 before its return to Crich, including a special evening tour. All in all this was probably the best heritage running weekend in Blackpool in 2014.

Crich Tramway Village - Electric 50
25 electric trams in service - do we need to say anything else?! Celebrating 50 years since the first electric tram operation at the National Tramway Museum the weekend in September saw the debut passenger workings of Blackpool Jubilee 762 (we won't mention what happened at the end of the first journey though!), the loan of Newcastle 114 from Beamish plus two other visitors in Blackpool & Fleetwood Box 40 and Blackpool Balloon 711. But there were 21 other trams which starred across the weekend and the 25 and 27 tram cavalcades on the Saturday and Sunday respectively was a sight to behold (yes its true they took a long time to be set-up but the wait was well worth it!). Everywhere you turned there was a tram and the weekend also saw the final workings of Southampton 45 before withdrawal. There was probably a lot more which we haven't mentioned as well!

Crich Tramway Village - Blackpool 711's 80th Birthday
An extra event added at short notice but one which still saw 11 different trams in use at times during the day. Originally conceived as a way of saying happy 80th birthday to Blackpool Balloon 711 and to say goodbye to Box 40 ahead of its departure back to Blackpool and Rack 2 ahead of withdrawal the day saw all of the operational Blackpool trams in service (as well as Berlin 223 006-4). With Standard 49 also on display this was a day for Blackpool tram fans to enjoy.

Heaton Park Tramway - Manchester 765 100 Not Out
One of two trams on our shortlist to reach their 100th birthdays in 2014 Manchester 765 was the only one to have its own birthday party when on Sunday 6th July the crowds descended on Heaton Park. As well as featuring chances to ride on all the operational trams on the tramway the day also provided plenty of photo opportunities not only featuring the birthday girl (including a stunning line-up with some local buses) but also many of the as yet not in service trams. Blackpool Balloon 702 and the remains of Oldham 43 also featured and there was cake!

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.

This page was last updated on Sunday 11th January 2015

British Trams Online is run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. All information contained on these pages is correct to the best of knowledge but mistakes will invetably occasionally appear and if this happens we will correct it as soon as possible. Opinions expressed on these pages are those of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of British Trams Online or any organisations we are associated with. Cookies may be used on this website and if you continue reading the site without changing your settings we assume you are happy to receive these. If you have any comments, suggestions or corrections please email.