The tiger gains its stripes

Efforts to recreate one of the best-loved advertising liveries in the history of the Blackpool tramway have been completed recently, in a most unusual location. Now based at Anchorsholme Academy, Blackpool Brush Railcoach 622 has now received the full external graphics to complete its Blackpool Zoo livery, first carried by this tram back in 1975.

After spending almost a year on the school grounds, 622‘s striking pale blue livery with yellow and black ‘tiger stripes’ on its roof and fenders has now been enhanced with the addition of slogans and leaping tiger images on its bodyside panels, whilst the cab ends have received tiger faces. This has restored the famous ‘Tigeriffic’ design used to promote Blackpool Zoo, in which guise the tram operated between 1975 and 1980, when a collision led to it being temporarily withdrawn and the advertising contract transferred onto one of its sisters. Contrary to what has been reported in the local press, this wasn’t the first advert tram ever – Balloon 707‘s ‘Empire Pools’ livery was in fact the first all-over advert to be painted on a Blackpool tram, with 622 following almost immediately afterwards – although the ‘Tigeriffic’ design was the first of many specially created liveries to be applied to a Brush car.

Reports indicate that the Anchorsholme school children are very pleased with the academy’s new asset, which is being used primarily as a covered shelter and reading area. It is believed that 622‘s interior remains largely in the same condition as when it last operated in 2009, with a full compliment of swing-over seats upholstered in green moquette, although some of these may be removed later to allow the interior to be used as a classroom area. It is also intended to install a television set inside the tram!

Whilst most enthusiasts will probably agree that this new role for 622 is far from ideal, at least the tram has survived and who knows, maybe one day it could be rescued for preservation so long as it is well cared for by its current owners? Having initially been set aside as a source of spare parts following its withdrawal from service, long before it was sold to the school for re-use, at least 622 now has a reasonably secure future in the short term.

We hope to be able to publish some recent pictures showing the current condition of 622 in the future – although if anyone reading this wishes to see and photograph it for themselves, please bear in mind that men with cameras may not be welcomed with open arms on the grounds of a primary school for entirely understandable reasons!


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3 Responses to The tiger gains its stripes

  1. Iain Dobson says:

    Would it not be possible for a visit to be arranged by a suitable organisation on a Saturday, with the Head/Caretaker? There are a number of Heritage Running Days this year and could not a visit be worked in on a suitable weekend? Donations to the school usually open doors. In that way the enthusiasts get the pictures and the school’s security is not compromised (or perhaps more so, the perception by parents that the school’s security is being compromised).

  2. John says:

    It depends on the policy of the LEA and the individual school. Some don’t bother and some are totally no photo zones. As the article says, be careful!

  3. steve crompton says:

    With regard to all over advertisements, I seem to remember that, in the late fifties or early sixties, one of the balloon cars was plastered with adverts for the Daily Mirror and was known by everyone as “the Daily Mirror tram.”

    Once seen, never forgotten.

    To my youthful eyes, it looked awful.

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