In Pictures: Blackpool Towing Car 671 moves to St Helens

As was revealed earlier this year, Blackpool Towing car 671 has a new home with its movement to the North West Museum of Road Transport taking place on Sunday 18th April. It will be a new exhibit at the museum when it reopens from Sunday 23rd May and is due to receive a repaint into original colours to represent the era before the Twin Cars were permanently coupled to their trailers.

Owned by the Fylde Transport Trust, 671 is the first of the trams which are expected to leave Rigby Road Depot over the coming months. It was announced at the end of last year that with more limited space being available at Rigby Road – as a result of a major redevelopment of the complex – that Blackpool Transport had been in discussions with those parties who had trams stored within the main tram shed about moving them during 2021 and 671 will not be the only one to find a new home over the next few months.

671 – which currently retains its Line 1 Metro Coastlines green and yellow livery – will become a static exhibit at the museum as the only tram currently located there. It will represent the era when the Twin Cars were not permanently coupled and is due to receive a repaint into the cream livery over the next few weeks. It may be the only tram there at the moment but it isn’t the first tram to be housed in the building! It was once the old tram depot in St Helens and since conversion to a museum it has seen trams such as Blackpool Coronation 304 housed there for a time.

In preparation for the move 671 was treated to a wash in Blackpool a few days before departure with Reid Freight then contracted to move the tram on Sunday 18th April. With a trouble free trip to St Helens the tram was soon unloaded in its new home. Work will get underway in the coming weeks to repaint it so it looks best for the public when they are able to visit it from the museum’s opening date of Sunday 23rd May.

Despite 671’s departure from Rigby Road there still remains a significant Twin Car representation on Blackpool Transport metals – 272+T2, 675+685 and 676+686 are all still in situ, albeit all are currently unserviceable although for set 5 there have been some attempts to rewire it in recent years. Trailer Car 681 also remains at Rigby Road with its ownership remaining with Blackpool Transport whereas its long-term partner is now owned by the FTT.

This is another positive development for Blackpool tram preservation allowing a tram – which last operated as a Twin Car in 2010 – to go on public display once more allowing the story of a previously unrepresented era to be told. It should also be positive for the North West Museum of Road Transport as a new tram exhibit should hopefully mean more visitors wanting to see it in position.

Farewell Blackpool! 671 is loaded on Blundell Street at the start of its journey to St Helens.

Arriving at the North West Museum of Transport.

Inside its new home and before unloading from the trailer took place. (All Photographs courtesy of the Fylde Transport Trust)

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6 Responses to In Pictures: Blackpool Towing Car 671 moves to St Helens

  1. John1 says:

    An excellent arrangement for both museums. I don’t know why more museums with capacity (I know there aren’t many!) couldn’t have Trams on loan. Currently only FTT and Heaton Park have Trams on loan as static exhibits (plus Hull 132 from Crich)

  2. Andrew Waddington says:

    Great news! I’m really looking foward to seeing 671’s new/old look when the work is completed; it will be a superb exhibit and a great ambassador for both its owners and the Blackpool tramway in its new home.

    I’ve been quite annoyed to see a pretty negative reaction to 671’s move elsewhere – as this article rightly points out, the Twin cars are already very well represented at Blackpool, indeed I doubt that all three remaining sets will ever be needed and would not be at all surprised to see 676+686 disposed of at some point. Whilst the Twins are popular with enthusiasts they lack the ‘wow factor’ with the general public of many other heritage trams and whilst they can be useful on busy illumination evenings, many people do prefer to ride on a double decker given the choice. In any case, I applaud the FTT for finding a good home and a meaningful role for 671 instead of letting it gather dust at Rigby Road, or worse!

  3. John1 says:

    100% agree with Andrew W there, there should be at lest one operational twin to tell the story of Blackpool’s Tramway – though this obviously isn’t a proirity. I’d love to see one at Crich – even if only a loan (I know, space!!!) but I was told that you can now fit one at Glory mine and one would fit at Townend, but the end of the body might hang over the points, though not the wheels.
    Certainly in the Heritage era the public aren’t that thrilled – after all they are the size of a flexity in length so many think they are just a different looking one!! Double deck is the way forward for them. Enthusiasts like Twins on lumie tours but customers often didn’t (surprising considering the roof lights). I’m sure thats a trolleybus in the pics too, so the potential of an interesting display.

  4. nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    It is indeed encouraging to see a classic Blackpool tramcar is to be represented at the museum in St Helens. It’s to be hoped that this will encourage additional interest in the heritage trams, which always need to attract passengers by whatever means. Should Set 2 ever be restored, then the redundant trailer 681 cou1d donate a correct inside end corner window to replace the undersized one currently installed. Indeed 681 could become a donor of spare parts, dismantled if necessary to save space.

    I think 676 ought to be retained so that it might be possible at some future date to recreate the 1958 prototype Twin Car. Although it is unlikely that such an ambitious scheme could be entertained within the foreseeable future, disposal of it would totally rule out such a project for ever. Again 686 could be dismantled for spare parts, even if only for the seats. Those from 687 have certainly proved their worth in 734. For now, I would say that just one standard Twin Car would suffice, given that these trams are not really all the appealing to those who are casually interested and ride for a novelty experience rather than as dedicated enthusiasts.

  5. Tommy says:

    I also don’t understand the negative reaction from some for this move. The way I see it, 671 wasn’t going to be a priority for a very long time and would’ve sat untouched and out of view in Rigby Road for years to come, so a move to public display and a cosmetic restoration is a great alternative.

  6. John1 says:

    I don’t think you will see 275/6 recreated and I’m not sure it woud actually serve much purpose unless you were going to display the 3 phases of the Twin. I would like to have an original set with non driving trailer (entirely possible in the Heritage era as it can run tours around loops).

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