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About the Tram of the Year

Conceived as a bit of fun at the end of the year the British Trams Online Tram of the Year originally sought to find the tramcar which had done something "special" over the previous 12 months. There has never been a full definition of what "special" actually means in this case but over the years tramcars which have won have had a repaint, entered service after a repaint or gone on loan away from their home tramway to name but there examples.

In 2012 the contest was expanded to include two new categories - Event of the Year and Tramway of the Year - and then in 2014 a fourth category was voted for the first time - Light Rail Vehicle of the Year.

At the end of November each year nominations are opened for a week to allow anyone to put forward suggestions for each of the categories before our "expert panel" (which is probably neither expert nor a panel!) convene to make a decision of what should be on the final shortlist, with each category normally having around five items to vote on. Voting takes place for approximately six weeks from the start of December until mid January and we then name the lucky winners.

British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2021

Tram of the Year: And the winners are...

Voting is over, votes have been checked with multiple votes removed and we have our winners of the British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2022 contest! In truth it hasn’t been a close contest with winners in all four categories getting roughly 50% of the total vote but at the end of voting we can congratulate Manx Electric Railway 2, Manchester Metrolink 1023, the Crich Tramway Village and the Winter Manx Heritage Transport Festival on winning the accolades for this year!

The original and main award, “Tram (Traditional) of the Year” saw a total of 320 votes for the three nominated trams and Manx Electric Railway 2 received over 56% of the total vote to be crowned for 2021. 2 had returned to service on the Manx Electric Railway during the summer after a stunning repaint into a coat of its original 1893 Douglas & Laxey Coast Electric Railway maroon and ivory livery and this new look was enough to persuade you that it deserved to become the third MER vehicle to walk away with the award in the past four years! 2 beat off competition from Blackpool Balloon 723 and Amsterdam 474 to win this category.

The ”Tram (Modern) of the Year” was a vehicle which hasn’t turned a wheel in service for many years but Manchester Metrolink T68 1023 received almost 53% of the total votes to become the fifth (and a half!) tram from Metrolink to win this category. Although it was moved across to the Crewe Heritage Centre during 2020, because of the pandemic it didn’t actually go on public display until 2021 and with volunteers from the Manchester Transport Museum Society giving it some much needed TLC its starting to look its best again. In winning this award, 1023 has shown the new kids on the block on Metrolink that older is better for those of you who vote as it beat 3121 into third place whilst Stagecoach Supertram 112 was just in second (only one vote separated second and third).

With no modern tram system being shortlisted for “Tramway of the Year” it was a battle between heritage tramways this year and in the end the Crich Tramway Village came out on top defeating reigning champion the Seaton Tramway into second and the East Anglia Transport Museum in third. Although 2021 was still not a normal year for Crich, the flexibility shown during the year of commissioning additional trams for service to meet the ever evolving demands plus the good progress being seen in the Workshop on projects for the immediate and longer term future was enough to allow it to win the award for the first since 2014.

Lastly, and by no means least!, was the “Event of the Year” category with a new event taking the honours. The Winter Manx Heritage Transport Festival took place during the autumn over five days in October and gave all the usual events including parallel runs, behind the scenes tours and intensive services. Whilst not exclusively a tram event, the Manx Electric Railway featured heavily during the five days and there were enough of you who felt it was deserving of the accolade with just below 51% of the vote. Blackpool Tramway’s Anniversary Weekend was second and Crich’s Tram Day came in third.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote and congratulations to both the winners and those who were shortlisted in each category. Tram of the Year will be back at the end of this year – and who knows there may be a bit more to consider next time around!

Tram of the Year: The Results

Tram (Traditional) of the Year

Manx Electric Railway 2 – 180 votes (56.25%)
Blackpool Balloon 723 – 96 votes (30.00%)
Amsterdam 474 – 44 votes (13.75%)

37 votes rejected due to multiple votes (caused no change to ranking)

Tram (Modern) of the Year

Manchester Metrolink 1023 – 144 votes (52.75%)
Stagecoach Supertram 112 – 65 votes (23.81%)
Manchester Metrolink 3121 – 64 votes (23.44%)

28 votes rejected due to multiple votes (caused no change to ranking)

Tramway of the Year

Crich Tramway Village – 142 votes (48.97%)
Seaton Tramway – 95 votes (32.76%)
East Anglia Transport Museum – 53 votes (18.28%)

29 votes rejected due to multiple votes (caused no change to ranking)

Event of the Year

Isle of Man: Winter Manx Heritage Transport Festival – 156 votes (50.81%)
Blackpool Tramway: Anniversary Weekend – 92 votes (29.97%)
Crich Tramway Village: Tram Day – 60 votes (19.22%)

36 votes rejected due to multiple votes (caused no change to ranking)

Votes received from the same IP address are considered a multiple vote. In these cases the first set of votes are accepted with all subsequent votes removed from the final rankings.

Tram of the Year (Traditional): The Shortlist

Amsterdam 474
This one may seem a little bit of a strange nomination but is added to the shortlist in recognition of the efforts to increase the trams available for service at the East Anglia Transport Museum during 2021. Joining the operational fleet again during the year Amsterdam 474 has quickly settled back into use often being used alongside Blackpool 159 in service.

Blackpool Balloon 723
November saw the return of the new all over advert on a traditional tram in Blackpool with Balloon 723 receiving a full vinyl wrap for The Magical Express Tour - a new tour running between North Pier and Pleasure Beach in conjunction with the Christmas by the Sea event in the town. Whilst the design of the advert - and the fact that it has been applied over a popular coat of 1980s Green and Cream - has not been popular with some it takes us back to a time not too long ago when we saw various adverts applied to the trams at regular intervals.

Manx Electric Railway 2
The third tram nominated in this category comes from the Isle of Man which has dominated this category in recent years. This time it is a vehicle which is the Guinness Book of Records as one of the oldest trams still to run in the world on its original tramway (an accolade shared with sister car 1) - we are talking about Manx Electric Railway 2. This tram has been nominated having received a repaint into its original 1893 Douglas & Laxey Coast Electric Tramway maroon and ivory livery over the winter with it returning to service in July 2021 looking resplendent in its new old colour scheme!

Tram of the Year (Modern): The Shortlist

Manchester Metrolink 1023
The very first second generation UK tram to go on display at a museum, Manchester Metrolink 1023 may have moved to the Crewe Heritage Centre in March 2020 but with various Covid restrictions in place during 2020 it didn't actually go on public display until 2021 and thus falls into our qualifying period for this year's contest. The T68 tram has even undergone some attention by volunteers from the Manchester Transport Museum Society during the year starting to bring it back looking to its best.

Manchester Metrolink 3121
Whilst it may have arrived in Manchester in November 2020, Metrolink M5000 3121 didn't carry its first passengers until 23rd December 2020 (and was then only used on a couple of occasions until it returned again later in 2021). The first of the new batch of M5000s being built for Metrolink for that fact it deserves its nomination.

Stagecoach Supertram 112
Stagecoach Supertram 112 has been making heads turn since June 2021 when it received a new advert. This advert was applied to tell the world all about the green credentials of the network and has made the tram stand out against the rest of the mainly blue fleet.

Tramway of the Year: The Shortlist

Crich Tramway Village
As with all our "Tramway of the Year" nominees, 2021 did not start out as a classic year at Crich with Covid lockdowns and closures but opening as soon as it could and with effective protocols in place to keep everyone safe the year turned out to be another succesful one for the museum. The flexibility of trams made available for service was clear to see with trams such as Blackpool 40 originally down for workshop attention commissioned to give another large capacity car for service during the busier summer months. And the workshop team remained busy throughout the year with the tantalising prospect of several head turners returning to service in the future.

East Anglia Transport Museum
It may just be a small museum but the dedicated volunteers at the East Anglia Transport Museum have shown exactly what can be achieved with the resources they have. With Amsterdam 474 returned to service earlier the year, the volunteers have turned their attention to London Transport 1858 which is now being tested ahead of entering service once more. And if that's not enough work has started on the planned extension of the tramway. Plus there is a trolleybus route and a railway which have had succesful years too!

Seaton Tramway
2021 was another succesful year at the Seaton Tramway with the Covid protocols introduced last year continued and these were once again a success with many busy days experienced on the tramway. Although there were delays to the opening of new stops on the line we now have those to look forward to in the future. Themed events also proved to be a success once more culmimating in the Polar Express.

Event of the Year: The Shortlist

Blackpool Tramway – Anniversary weekend
The weekend of 25th/26th September saw the return of hop-on, hop-off heriatge tours on the Blackpool Tramway for the now annual Anniversary Weekend. This was the first time since March 2020 that it has been possible to hop-on and hop-off trams in service and proved to be popular with visitors (Saturday in particular seeing busy trams). The weekend should also have seen Balloon 700 returned to service in Wartime Green and Cream but a fault with its doors just meant that a brief glimpse of the new look tram on the Prom was possible.

Crich Tramway Village - Tram Day
Having missed out in taking place in 2020, Saturday 18th September saw the return of the enthusiast event Tram Day at the Crich Tramway Village. With all available passenger trams in service over the course of the day plus a few Works Cars on demonstration there was plenty to do out on the mainline. But, as is often the case, the most excitement came from the photo line-ups on the depot fan with current and future Workshop projects showcased - this included the stunning sight of Newcastle 102 outside alongside London County Council 1 whilst later in the day was the unique sight of seeing Blackpool 298 alongside its new underframe!

Isle of Man - Winter Heritage Transport Festival
Although there was a Mini Manx Heritage Transport Festival which took place in the usual summer window it was more low-key than usual and so the end of the season saw a full-blown event taking place over five days between 27th and 31st October (we'll just ignore the fact that it wasn't in winter!). With parallel runs, behind the scenes tours of the car sheds, photography tours and an intensive service it proved that it doesn't matter what time of the year a special event is on the Isle of Man - its still spectacular!

Previous Contests


Tramcar - Stockport 5
LRV - Manchester Metrolink 3073
Tramway - Seaton Tramway
Event - Seaton Tramway: 50th anniversary event


Tramcar - Manx Electric Railway 54
LRV - Blackpool Tramway 001 & Manchester Metrolink 3006
Tramway - Heaton Park Tramway
Event - Manx Heritage Transport Festival


Tramcar - Manx Electric Railway 14
LRV - Stagecoach Supertram 399 203
Tramway - Manx Electric Railway
Event - Manx Electric Railway 125th anniversary


Tramcar - Douglas Bay Horse Tramway 36
LRV - Stagecoach Supertram 399 202
Tramway - Statfold Barn Railway
Event - Statfold Barn Railway: Burton & Ashby 14 launch


Tramcar - Blackpool Marton 31
LRV - Manchester Metrolink 3120
Tramway - Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
Event - Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: 140th Anniversary


Tramcar - Liverpool 245
LRV - Manchester Metrolink 3100
Tramway - Blackpool Tramway
Event - Blackpool Tramway: 130th Anniversary


Tramcar - Blackpool Pantograph 167
LRV - Manchester Metrolink 1007
Tramway - Crich Tramway Village
Event - Crich Tramway Village: Electric 50


Tramcar - Blackpool Boat 227
Tramway - Heaton Park Tramway
Event - Rejuvenation of Blackpool Heritage Service


Tramcar - Blackpool Brush 623
Tramway - Blackpool
Event - Glasgow 50 at Crich


Tramcar - Blackpool Marton VAMBAC 11


Tramcar - Liverpool 762


Tramcar - Blackpool Western Train 733+734


Tramcar - Blackpool Balloon 717


Tramcar - Blackpool Brush 623


Tramcar - Leeds 345


Tramcar - Trampower Tram


Tramcar - Blackpool Illuminated Frigate 736 & Nottingham Express Transit 203 (joint winners)


Tramcar - Leeds 602

This page was last updated on Sunday 9th January 2022

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