Since the announcement was made earlier this year that the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust had decided to dispose of their tram collection – the bulk of which remains stored in a secure compound at Wyre Dock – there has been much discussion across social media as to what will become of these trams with no obvious answers offered to provide a future for all of them. But now there could be a more secure future for Balloon 710 as it could be off to school!
Balloon 710 is possibly one of the most famous of all individual Blackpool trams as it was involved in a big Coronation Street story way back in 1989 which saw soap villain Alan Bradley “hit and killed” by the tram as he ran after Rita Fairclough outside the Strand Hotel on North Promenade. Settling back into a life of normality operating along the Blackpool Tramway, the tram was withdrawn from service in 2007 and was then acquired for preservation by what was then the Friends of Fleetwood Trams. 710 was transported to Fleetwood on the back of a low loader in July 2011 with its move being timed to coincide with the Tram Sunday event so it could play a starring role.
In recent years it has been one of the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust trams stored in the dock area and after the decision to disperse the collection it has now become one of the trams which may have a brighter future. That bright future could be back close to the tramway once more as Rossall School – an independent school founded in 1844 – have expressed an interest in taking the tram on for eventual display in their school grounds.
Of course, Rossall School’s entrance can be viewed from the tramway as it heads north between Thornton Gate and Broadwater and even has its own named tramstop located close by so if the deal goes through the tram will be returning close to where it has run up and down the line many times over the years.
In a post on the Tram Talk website it has been confirmed that the School are interested in taking the tram which would then receive an overhaul in 2021/2 before being displayed. Initially expected to remain at the school there could be “a further Fleetwood display involving 710 with community partners”. It is expected these plans will be approved shortly.
If 710 does end up returning to school it will be the third Blackpool tram in recent years to do so, although the first where it won’t be used as a classroom. Brush 622 is an Anchorsholme School while another former Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust tram, Centenary 643, is located at Brooke School in Rugby.