Lytham 43 lands at Rigby Road

Lytham 43 has become the latest tram to join the growing collection of historic rolling stock based on the Blackpool tramway, when it was delivered to Rigby Road depot on the afternoon of Sunday 24th January. This follows the previous announcement that the lower saloon of this, the sole surviving electric tramcar from the old Lytham fleet, would be moving to Blackpool for future completion of a restoration to operating condition.

On the morning of January 24th, Lytham 43 was loaded onto a small road trailer to be towed to Blackpool. Due to being incomplete, the tram was sheeted over for its historic journey by road although bits of the ends of the tram could be seen sticking out from beneath its protective tarpaulins. As only the lower saloon of the tram survives, a shorter trailer than that normally required for tram moves was adequate. Despite a short stopover at Kirkham, the tram arrived at Blackpool before the fall of darkness and was driven through the bus yard at Rigby Road, before being moved inside the tram depot still aboard the trailer used to transport it to its new home. Presumably the tram will be unloaded inside the depot – indeed it may already have been – and will then be stored until the resources become available for its restoration to be completed. Although impressive progress has been made already by the tram’s owner, there remains a huge amount of work to be finished before the tram can run again – not least the construction of a replica top deck and replacement of its missing four-wheel truck. No doubt options for funding this very worthwhile project will be investigated in due course to ensure that such a valuable new addition to the collection of Fylde tramcars does not have to wait too long before it can once again carry passengers along the Blackpool promenade.

Whilst numerous Blackpool trams have returned to Rigby Road in the last few years as the fledgling heritage operation has grown at an incredible rate, some permanently and others to visit, 43 is unusual as it was never based at this site during its working life and now becomes the first Lytham car ever to be housed at Rigby Road, another remarkable ‘first’ to add to the heritage team’s ever-growing list of achievements. Hopefully there will be opportunities to see this priceless vehicle soon, but the most important thing is that it is now stored undercover with a bright future ahead of it. This is thanks mainly to the efforts of Robert Mortimer who has ensured its survival and carried out a high quality of initial restoration work, whilst the Blackpool Heritage Trust – and Bryan Lindop in particular – also deserve a mention for negotiating to bring the tram back to Blackpool. Its return is certainly a welcome gleam of good news at a miserable time for fans of traditional British tramways, and another reminder that Blackpool is very much a tramway on the up!


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5 Responses to Lytham 43 lands at Rigby Road

  1. Kev says:

    I would hope that this Tram can ‘leapfrog’ some other projects and funding etc is quickly forthcoming. The draw of a Lytham tram operating again would create worldwide interest for the Heritage operation.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I agree. As nice as trams like an OMO and an English Electric Railcoach will be, I doubt they will ever be crowd pleasers to the average punter who would be equally happy riding on a Brush car as 279, for example. Lytham 43 is a unique survivor and hopefully the powers that be will bear this in mind! Ultimately I think the heritage team will have to consider which trams are likely to be most popular with the general public and 43 certainly fits the bill whilst also filling a major gap in the collection.

      • Kev says:

        Exactly, Andrew. Get the crowd pleasers sorted as they are your cash cows, cars such as 40, 147, 143, 43 and 59 along with the boats and Alice attract visitors. The revenue can then be used to restore other historically significant (but perhaps less appealing) cars. Now hands up who would like to see a replics Lytham rack?

  2. Frank Gradwell says:

    Let’s hope that this car is the first of many from other operators to visit Blackpool. I am old enough to remember 1985 and young enough to remember the last visitors, Sheffield 513 and Stockport 5 move away.

    Wouldn’t a “Glasgow” season, a Liverpool season and even a London season be something!!!

  3. Kev says:

    When asked this question i was told that Heritage must, for now, concentrate on ‘home’ cars in order to establish itself. 43 counts as ‘home’ as it ran along Blackpool tracks, within yards of its current resting place in fact. Other visitors are certainly in the planning for the future. A Glasgow ‘Caur’ would certainly earn its money on certain weeks. A London car also would. So we have to keep supporting the venture to help it grow and establish so this can happen.

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