Following on from the news that Blackpool Brush Railcoach 631 is to be repainted in a historic livery for its new role as part of the Blackpool tramway’s heritage fleet, it has now been revealed that some further changes will be made to this car. The tram is set to regain swingover seats in order to enhance its appeal as a historic tram, and may yet receive some further changes too.
631 has resided at Starr Gate depot since the end of the illuminations along with modified Balloon car 700, and it has now become apparent that the two trams moved there so that they can exchange seats. As a member of the heritage fleet, 631 is considered a more worthy candidate to receive swingover seats, and so 700 will donate its top deck seats to the Brush car, which will in turn have its own fixed seats transferred into 700. Whilst this will further compromise 700‘s historic value, the tram is classed as a member of the B Fleet and therefore such matters are not considered important by Blackpool Transport. This move will also help to standardise the widened Balloon cars.
It is not yet known what other work, if any, will be lavished upon Brush car 631 but it is believed that steps are being made to restore a more traditional appearance to the tram, which was rebuilt with modern features such as blade lifeguards, halogen headlights and a completely enclosed pantograph tower in the mid-nineties. The end result is likely to be a compromise however, as removing all traces of modernisation would mean stripping 631 to a bare shell again which would be very expensive! Although not yet confirmed, it is rumoured that the tram will be finished in 1970s style livery which may not have been many peoples’ first choice, especially as several preserved Blackpool trams already carry this livery. However, its appearance will no doubt be a big improvement on the shabby Walls advert it carried during 2012 and will at least restore a green and cream Brush Railcoach to the Blackpool tramway next year.