British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2015

It’s that time of the year again as we turn our attention towards the British Trams Online Tram of the Year contest and start the task of finding the winners for 2015. We have three categories for you this year: “Tramcar of the Year”, “Tramway of the Year” and “Event of the Year” and are looking for nominations for all three categories over the next week before voting opens.

Last year the Crich Tramway Village won in all three of these categories with Blackpool Pantograph 167 voted “Tramcar of the Year” (following a year which saw it run on three tramways), Electric 50 was named “Event of the Year” and they also walked away with “Tramway of the Year”. In addition Manchester Metrolink 1007 was named inaugural “Light Rail Vehicle of the Year”.

We now turn our attention to 2015 and pass it over to the readers of this website for nominations as we form the shortlist before voting starts next weekend. To nominate you can either leave a comment below, email or leave a comment on Facebook. When nominating please give a reason for the nomination – the fact it is your favourite is not a reason! Our “expert panel” will then meet to decide which trams, events and tramways will make the final shortlists, with a maximum of five in each category.

So what are we looking for nominations in?

“Tramcar of the Year”

As well as Blackpool Pantograph 167 other winners in the past have included Blackpool Boat 227, Blackpool Brush 623 (twice!), Blackpool Marton VAMBAC 11, Liverpool 762, Blackpool Western Train 733+734, Blackpool Balloon 717, Leeds 345, the Trampower Tram, Blackpool Illuminated Frigate 736, Nottingham Express Transit 203 and Leeds 602. What do all these trams have in common? They all did something special in the previous 12 months!

Something special is of course incredibly subjective with the previous winners including trams which have spent a period on loan away from their home tramway, a new livery being applied and entry into service after restoration. Basically anything out of the ordinary qualifies and the choice is yours!

Please note this category includes all trams whether traditional tramcars or modern light rail vehicles. Last years “Light Rail Vehicle of the Year” category was a one off due to the exciting year we had in 2014 with tramway openings and the start of preservation for modern vehicles.

“Tramway of the Year”

First starting in 2012 this category has seen three previous winners: Crich, Heaton Park and Blackpool – all of which had a great year in the preceding 12 months and that is exactly what we are looking for with this years nominations!

Nominations are open to both operating tramway systems and museum lines and it is up to you to decide which tramways should be within a chance of walking away with this award in 2015.

“Event of the Year”

Again first voted for in 2012 the three years have seen Crich’s Glasgow 50 event, the rejuvenation of Blackpool’s Heritage Service in 2013 and Crich’s Electric 50 event last year all voted as the best by readers of British Trams Online.

You know the drill by now you can nominate any tram event which has taken place over the 12 months whether that is an event at a heritage tramway or an opening of a line on an operating tramway. It’s up to you! Just let us know what you would like to see on the shortlist.

For full details of last year’s contest and an outline of the history please visit the dedicated Tram of the Year page at (this page will be fully updated ahead of voting).

Nominations are open until Saturday 28th November 2015 after which a decision will be made on the shortlist with voting open from Sunday 29th November until Saturday 9th January 2016.

And please remember the British Trams Online Tram of the Year contest is just for fun so don’t get too worked up if your favourite doesn’t make the shortlist!

Last year's winner of "Tramcar of the Year" Blackpool Pantograph 167 is seen here at its home tramway Crich Tramway Village on 19th September 2015 in the Depot Yard. (Photograph by Gareth Prior)

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37 Responses to British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2015

  1. Ash T says:

    I think this year I will nominate Railcoach 680 as tram of the year for running on 3 different tramways in one year as well as running again in Blackpool just one week after arriving which the engineers did well to do quickly. Tramway of the year I think should be Blackpool for running heritage trams a lot more often than in the past. Event of the year should without a doubt be the 130 events in September for the depot tours and a large number of heritage trams used at once.

  2. Tony Sullivan says:

    For Tramway of the Year I would vote for NET – Nottingham. They doubled the size of the system at one go.

  3. Christopher Callan says:

    Its certainly a year where of highs and lows for sure. None the less fierce competition for the various categories. Perhaps a pity Headline/Premier Event not a sub category as clearly very difficult to to compare an places flag ship event to their monthly event offerings. For example Starlight Express at Crich Tramway Village deserves recognition. Think its a innovative and well deserving choice yet naturally like comparing apples and pears when comparing it to their own enthusiasts day. Think vast majority at the Village deserve great credit this year. Responded positively to the changing landscape and great to see them engaging and supporting Blackpool finally recognising they can compliment rather than compete. Been refreshing to see growing numbers of them venturing to Blackpool and supporting events and actually joining in. Long may the relationship blossom. Anyway I digress events I nominate are Starlight Express, Blackpool130. Trams for me its the battle of the balloons. 715, 723,713 and 706. Tramway of the Year Blackpool as Tramway Line and Crich Museum Line.

  4. Christopher Callan says:

    Forgot to explain my reasoning for the battle of the balloons. 706 has been instrumental time and time again bringing in vital revenue with its popularity unquestionable. This year its given its all ensuring the massively increased operation was a success. During the lights it was absolute work horse often out on daytime blue then doing lights tours. It will be missed but am sure it wont be long till it graces the rails again. 713 for its unexpected starring role as a B Fleet car performing faultlessly. Symbol of something that is integral to the magic at Blackpool that ability to throw up surprises. 723 the scruffy surprise of 130 a testament to the can do spirit at Blackpool. With it operating again at the end of season gala and completing some special lights tours. Helps wet appetites for its full time return after repaint and seat layout changes etc. 715 very much a work horse throughout year used extensively far more than anyone predicted. Gorgeous un rebuilt typical balloon.

  5. Paul says:

    can i nominate midland metro tram 35 naming as event of the year,

  6. Mark G. says:

    My Nominations for Tram of the year go to Baby Grand 245 for entering service and Hull 96 at Heaton Park for its fantastic appearance. Tramway of the year to Blackpool for its increased heritage use. Also Edinburgh for its successful operation. Event of the year. Sadly we didn’t get to many this year but the Blackpool 130 was great and I think it will be on the short list.

  7. Steve McCulley says:

    Tram of the Year – 280/680 – 3 different operating locations (Beamish, Heaton Park & Blackpool) – 2 Different Liveries and 2 Different Identities plus the fact it seemed to work straight after unloading in Blackpool.

    Tramway – Blackpool – never ceases to amaze especially given the fact that when the upgrade took place – everyone thought the Heritage Fleet would take a very low profile. How wrong everyone was thankfully. Three relaunched trams into service (4 if include both cars from Set 5) 715, 680 and Twin Set 5 have all gone back into service. Also not forgetting the scruffy surprise 723 which could be classed as relaunch.

    Event – Blackpool 130 – Heritage Trams everywhere and Depot Tours – there was so much going on that it was impossible to witness/ride everything.

  8. Phil Hart says:

    My tramway of the year has to be Manchester Metrolink. Following the opening of the Airport line late last year it has expanded so much to become the largest tramway system in the UK.
    It is also expanding further at a rapid rate with the Second City Crossing construction well underway and a new stop on this line to open December at Exchange Square. With another new line to Trafford Centre in the pipeline.

    Tram of the year has to go to Metrolink 3100. this makes the 100th M5000 tram on the system. Now in service 3106 with another 14 still to come.

  9. Paul D says:

    Tram of the Year:
    For me there are three stand-out candidates:
    Liverpool 245 – finally entering service showing that after so many delays, it was worth the wait!
    Hull 96 – restoration and return to Hull livery, setting a new benchmark for what can be done on a much smaller budget than many other projects enjoy.
    Blackpool 280/680 – Only the third tram to run on three tramways in a year; and the second of those three to carry two liveries and two identities in that year.
    (I feel both 245 and 96 are ahead of other repaint/relaunch contenders such as Blackpool 715 and Set 5 or Liverpool 869 because of the more extensive work involved)

    For me there are two contrasting possibilities:
    Blackpool for the revamped Heritage service.
    Nottingham for the near doubling of route mileage in the year.

    I can’t see this one going anywhere other than Blackpool… “130” naturally stands out, but also worthy of a mention is the (Not) Totally Transport weekend as the first occasion when a public heritage service ran the entire length of the tramway from Starr Gate to Fleetwood.

    A left-field nomination for Metrolink 3100, as the first class of tram to reach 3 figures for over half a century!

  10. John says:

    For me it has to be:
    Tramcar – Liverpool 245
    Tramway – Tied between Nottingham for opening extensions and Blackpool for the monumental Heritage effort.
    Event – Blackpool 130

  11. Kev says:

    Tram is Liverpool 245
    Tramway is Blackpool for being the first to mix Volunteers and paid staff on an LRT system and make it work to increase Heritage.
    Event is Heaton Park launch of 280, so much variety and interest with everything which has been seen before yet it was all presented in a fun and interesting fresh way.

  12. Graham Sleath says:

    My nomination for Tram of the Year would be LCC 106 beautifully restored to operational condition at Crich.
    Tramway of the year definitely Blackpool for its heritage operation which exceeded all expectations.
    Event of the year Blackpool 130 with the TMS 60th event at Crich a close 2nd

  13. Nathan says:

    Ooh! Some difficult choices to make this year. Definitely, my first nomination for tram of the Year would be 680, for running at three tramways in two different liveries! Then of course Liverpool 245 for its (eventual) relaunch after its superb restoration. Hull 96 would be my third choice, again for its superb restoration, and rounding off the list is M5000 No.3100, with the M5000s becoming the first new class of tram to enter a triple-digit production run since the Glasgow Cunarders.
    Tramway of the year- Blackpool: increased heritage, bigger events, 130, what more do I need to say? Can’t honestly think of any more suggestions for this category, except perhaps Midland Metro and Nottingham, both for their new extensions.
    Event of the Year- Has to be Blackpool 130, again there is not much else to put in this category. Crich’s starlight event probably comes second. Hull 96’s launch would come third, but the lack of much else going on lets it down I’m afraid.

  14. David Maxwell says:

    Event – I agree with nominations for Blackpool 130.

    Tram – Midland Metro 35 having been graced with a visit from Her Majesty, as representative of all new trams delivered during the year.

    Tramway – Seriously I would divide this one and give an award for heritage and another for modern tramway.

    If this were to happen? I would give heritage award to Blackpool for many innovations especially the successful introduction of joint staff and volunteer working.

    The modern tramway award is more difficult with so much going on. Nottingham and Manchester have both had very significant extensions.At the moment, I would go for Nottingham as Manchester is still work in progress and I woud hope and expect to nominate Metrolink next year.

    • Gareth Prior says:

      I’ve considering having a split category for tramway of the year but Blackpool – as always! – complicates matters.

    • Steve Hyde says:

      I think you may be over cautious there David. If the ongoing works in Manchester mean that the system may be shouldn’t be put forward then it’s going to be a long wait. 2CC won’t be finished for 12 to 18 months yet and by the time it is the Trafford Line will be under construction so perhaps we should give it another 3 to 4 years. Seriously though I can see your thinking in comparing it with the completed Nottingham extensions.

  15. Peter says:

    For me it has to be Liverpool 245 as tram of the year
    Blackpool 130 as the event of the year
    Blackpool as the operator of the year

  16. Thomas says:

    Blackpool 717 gets my vote.

  17. Nigel Pennick says:

    Event, the naming of MM tram 35 by Her Majesty the Queen.
    I nominate as the tram of the year the first tram to run to Bull Street, Birmingham, carrying passengers – whatever it is numbered – as the first passenger-carrying tram in Birmingham in over 62 years.
    Tramway of the Year – NET for its opening of two new lines simultaneously.

    • Gareth Prior says:

      Unfortunately Nigel as voting starts on Sunday and the first tram to run in service to Bull Street isn’t due until the following Sunday that Midland Metro tram will not be eligible for this year’s shortlist. Next year maybe! Just a reminder to all the qualifying period is 1st December 2014 to 30th November 2015.

  18. David Butterworth says:

    For me Liverpool 245 as tram of the year.
    Blackpool 130 as event of the year.
    LRV: Manchester Metrolink 3100, bringing up the hundredth vehicle on the system,; which is a real milestone.

  19. Reg Thomas says:

    I vote Leeds 602 for tram of the year. It’s certainly been mentioned a lot!

  20. I’ve a “split vote” for the Tram of the Year award, in my opinion both superb restorations (and both Crich):
    LCC 106
    Liverpool 869

  21. John says:

    Can I be permitted to say that LCC106 was restored in the 1980s NOT this year. A vote for its return yes, but not for restoration!

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Liverpool 869 hardly counts as new restoration either – new axles, new seat upholstery and a general overhaul isn’t what I class as a restoration. Obviously it is up to people what counts as ‘special’ enough to be nominated though!

  22. John says:

    Lets just hope the judges select sensible choices. I’d love to know the reasoning behind the nomnations – you never know there may be something we’ve all forgotten about!

    • Gareth Prior says:

      I wouldn’t bank on that John! The final shortlist is bound to upset some, it always does. And no I don’t even know what it is yet!

  23. Big G says:

    Tram – Liverpool 245 – a longer gestation period than a whole herd of elephants, but worth it.
    Tramway – Black Country Museum – for surprising everyone with a Lazarus style resurrection.
    Event – TMS 60 at Crich – for that fantastic open-top line-up and the planning and effort that produced it

  24. Andrew and John……I yield. For restoration read refurbishment ?
    All joking apart, the category is “Tramcar of the Year” and having sighted/sampled both LCC 106 and Liverpool 869, in my opinion, are worthy of nomination.

  25. John says:

    Shaping up to be an interesting vote this year! am also wondering if Burton & Ashby 14 should be in there.

    • Big G says:

      Thanks for reminding us of this one! It has not been much in the public eye since being returned to the UK, but it has to be a serious contender.

  26. John Osborne says:

    It’s got to be Liverpool 245 for tram of the year.
    Fantastic restoration from a fantastic group of tram enthusiasts at Birkenhead.

  27. Mick Jones says:

    I vote for Burton and Ashby 14, I’ve attached a video of this rarely seen tram here.

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