Picture in Time: Blackpool OMO 8

In this latest look at archive photos from the Blackpool Tramway we are again in September 1976 with the subject of our attention this time around being one of the OMO cars, a tram which have been credited with saving the tramway in the 1970s.

By the time the below photo was taken in the September of 1976 OMO 8 had been in service for two years having carried its first passengers in June 1974. Rebuilt from English Electric Railcoach 265/612 it was the eighth of 13 such trams built which helped the tramway to cut it costs with just one crew member required to operate it at quieter periods. 8 had entered service in the Plum and Custard livery but earlier in 1976 had received this Red and Cream version instead. The car was withdrawn in May 1992 and has been preserved by what is now known as the Fylde Transport Trust. Despite a brief period of operation in 2010 it is currently stored requiring further workshop attention.

This photo shows 8 and the Tower on Blackpool’s Golden Mile. The tram is off south to Starr Gate. Woolworth’s Café is advertised on the clock tower on the Woolworth’s store. Now converted into a Wetherspoon’s who would have thought that possible in 1976?

Photograph by Donald Brooks

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1 Response to Picture in Time: Blackpool OMO 8

  1. nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    I recall first encountering this car in 1974 when it looked really superb in ‘Plum and Custard’ and was delighted to seen it restored to a close approximation of this livery in 2010; even more so to enjoy a promenade trip on it in November of that same year. Of all the trams selected to remain at Rigby Road and undergo restoration, this must surely be a prime candidate. Probably second in importance only to the Balloons when it came to the survival of the Blackpool Tramway in the 1970s, this class of tram really does merit representation in Blackpool’s Heritage fleet and in the original livery, which is so striking and unique.

    While it is true that the second livery and its variations weathered better on the Blackpool promenade and did look smart, a tram which is part of a heritage operation will not be worked anywhere nearly as hard as when in regular passenger service. For this reason too, the overhang at either end beyond the bogies should prove less of an issue. Of course, the main reason for allowing this tram a future is that it is the only one of its kind realistically capable of being restored within a feasible budget and time scale, even so being costly and greatly time-consuming. From what I understand of the condition of car 5 at Clay Cross, it would require more of a miracle to return that one to service and of course 7 has been transformed irrevocably, although it is a great tram in its own right. All of this makes OMO 8 very special indeed.

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