In Pictures: Trailer 681 leaves Fleetwood

Last week we reported the exciting news that Blackpool Trailer 681 had been moved from the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust’s storage compound to undercover storage at Rigby Road, having been repatriated by the Blackpool Heritage Trust to be reunited with its long-term coupled partner, 671. We can now bring readers some more pictures showing 681 leaving Fleetwood.

681 had spent some months stored at Fleetwood docks along with numerous other preserved Blackpool trams, after being offered for sale by its previous owners, Merseytravel. However the tram is now set for a much brighter future back in Blackpool and returned home on Friday 26th February, with Calkeld’s Heavy Haulage in charge of the operation. Unusually 681 travelled along the promenade road for much of its journey home, revisiting some familiar landmarks which it will no doubt see again at some point in the future when it is returned to an operational condition.

We are grateful to the webmaster of the ‘Blackpool Balloon Tram 726 / 263 Restoration’ page on Facebook who has provided these images of 681‘s departure. This page is a good source of information and pictures on the trams still stored at Fleetwood and is well worth a look.

A general view of the Fleetwood storage yard with 681 in the centre. Also visible are Brush car 637, Railcoach 678, Balloons 710 and 726, Twin set 673/683, Trailer 681 and Brush car 625.

Despite a lengthy period of being stored outside - first at Knowsley and latterly in Fleetwood - 681 looks in remarkably good condition, as this picture suggests. The interior has also stood up well against the odds which must boost its chances of an early return to service.

681 loaded up and ready to leave Fleetwood and enter a new, and hopefully more prosperous, stage in its career.

Presumably the next time 681 reaches the town of Fleetwood, it will running with 671. It is unlikely to return to the docks however! (All photos courtesy of Blackpool Balloon 726 Restoration Facebook page)

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11 Responses to In Pictures: Trailer 681 leaves Fleetwood

  1. Paul Routledge says:

    Thank you for the lovely pictures and for keeping us informed about the work and development of both fleets in Blackpool.

  2. Richard Ernill says:

    Are these stored trams on rails as I can’t see any?
    If not won’t the flanges get damaged resting on the concrete ?

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      There are no rails in this yard. I don’t know if the flanges have been affected or not.

    • The steel flanges are usually harder than the concrete. The concrete suffers more as a result. See the damage done to road surfaces at derailments. (Even though tarmac is even softer and suffers even more.)

  3. Nigel Pennick says:

    Although it’s better than the alternative of being cut up for scrap, it’s sad to see these fine old trams standing on concrete in the open subject to the salty seaside weather.

  4. nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    Not only is it better that the trams are stored alfresco than acquired by a scrap dealer, but this very article demonstrates that the old saying ‘where there is life there is hope’ can apply to apparently unwanted tramcars no matter how abandoned they may appear to be. Certainly, a year ago few people could have anticipated that 681 would be rescued let alone reunited with its railcoach. Let us hope that others from this group are found useful roles somewhere. Maybe it can be argued that there are quite enough Brush Cars now in preservation or otherwise redeployed and that 625 and 637 could come in very handy for spare parts, which would no doubt prove costly to be specially manufactured. However, I am sure that most would agree that it would be a crime for a Balloon to be scrapped. Maybe 710 would prove of interest to Granada Studios, given it’s connection with a well-known Soap. An opportunity to display it on the mock-up set of that Soap to enhance the Granada Studios Tour experience in a most interesting way? Incidentally, I can’t remember what became of the plan to rehouse 726 – i hope it doesn’t end up like 716, it’s hopes of travelling to foreign shores brutally dashed in the hands of a scrap merchant!

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      There is an aim to restore 726 to near original condition – whether this will be achieved remains to be seen, but that’s certainly the goal.

      637 has reportedly been sold already but remains at Fleetwood for now, last I heard its new owner was making arrangements for a new home for it.

  5. Ken Walker says:

    So has 716 actually been broken up then?

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Last I heard (late last year) it was still in existence, though I’m not sure of its current whereabouts.

      • Ken Walker says:

        I was just puzzled by nostagicyetprogressive’s comment. I haven’t heard that from any other source.

  6. Kev says:

    Seriously what would Granada Studios want with 710? It was a prop to them, nothing more. Do you know how big a Balloon is? 710 would be an ideal static exhibit in any future transport museum and its TV fame capitalised upon in that respect. Why BT want 681 when they have 3 Twins already is anyones guess, though presumably it will become the talked about restaurant. We must not forget that regardless of where they are stored these 80+ years veterans are past life expired and will in time all require significant investment to get them running again. Perhaps its time some were scrapped for spares.

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