Following on from the popularity of Blackpool Brush Railcoach 290‘s ‘Diamond Jubilee’ livery and illuminations, the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust have announced plans to create a brand new display for the 2013 illuminations season, featuring another of its trams. This time, fellow Brush car 621 is to be the subject of attention and like its predecessor, the tram will be transformed into its new guise within the confines of Kirham Prison.
621‘s transformation will be undertaken by the inmates of Kirkham Prison along with volunteers from the FHLT, and the Blackpool Illuminations Department will once again offer support. On completion of the work, 621 will revert to its original identity of 284 and it will be placed on the display siding at Pleasure Beach, which is currently occupied by fellow Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust car, 290. The full details of the project will be confirmed next year, although the organisation’s website hints that this tram’s decorations will be inspired by a popular sport. Furthermore, ambitious plans are also under consideration for the car to be transported to London after the 2013 illuminations! Regular readers may recall that similar plans were proposed for 290 to conclude the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year, but these now appear to have been dropped and it is now hoped that 621 will make this historic journey next year instead.
The decision to carry out this work on 621 has come as quite a surprise, as the Trust had previously announced plans to restore this car to an approximation of its original 1937 appearance. With sister car 290 (latterly 627) being used as a static feature car for the 2012 illuminations, it was expected that 621 would be restored in a more authentic guise but seemingly this will now not be the case after all. This decision has already upset a number of enthusiasts, not least due to 621‘s historical significance as the first Brush car built. However, money is clearly a big influencing factor when it comes to vehicle preservation, and a sponsorship deal has obviously led to the change of plan for the future of this tram. Having been stored away from public gaze since it last ran in 2004, it will however be excellent to see 621 back in the limelight and the tram will surely be one of the big talking points in Blackpool next year, not just amongst those who are interested in historic trams.
Meanwhile, car 290 remains on its display track opposite the Pleasure Beach, but is expected to rejoin its sister at Kirkham Prison imminently, where it will be stored until it can be accomodated at Copse Road, the site of the Trust’s planned tram museum. It has been announced that the tram will retain its special gold and white livery for the forseeable future, and is therefore expected to go on display at its future home in its current condition.