They say a week is a long time in politics and so it seems a couple of weeks is a long time in tram preservation! After reports came out that Rossall School were preparing to take on Blackpool Balloon 710 from the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust to cosmetically restore it and display within the school grounds it would now appear that there has been a change of mind and Twin Trailer 687 has been selected again. Maybe 710 failed the entrance exam to the independent school?!
The decision to change course and select the Trailer comes after continued discussions between the school’s managers and trustees of the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust with 710 said to be “unsuited” to the plans the school had for a tram. Its now suggested that these plans will include display within the school grounds for practical purposes. It is intended that it will enjoy a professional repaint into green and cream along with the fitting of replacement windows.
687 – originally numbered T7 – is a strange survivor of the Blackpool Tramway with its towing mate, 677, having donated its underframe to the restoration of the Western Train locomotive with it remains subsequently scrapped. It was purchased by Merseytravel for the Wirral Waters scheme but after these plans were abandoned was privately purchased, moved to Wyre Dock and eventually ownership was transferred to the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust.
Having been stored at Wyre Dock for a number of years it has more recently been painted out of the traditional Blackpool colours with a mish-mash of grey and silver paint currently carried on the tram. It has also suffered from its outside storage with some of the roof windows having fallen out. 687 is currently without any internal seating and has in more recent times been used by the Trust as a store.
It is anticipated that the transfer of 687 will take place in the coming weeks with its survival seemingly secured, at least for the time being. As for 710 its future is now less secure once more with the Trust said to be looking for a suitable venue and hosting sponsor for this tram again.