627 to become a Jubilee Brush car!

Decorated trams have often played a role in various celebrations connected with the Royal
family, such as Coronations and Royal Weddings. 2012 of course marks the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and the Friends of Fleetwood Trams have decided to mark this milestone event with a specially painted tram, which should also do wonders to boost their public profile. The chosen tram for the special project is Brush Railcoach 627, which last found fame in 2009 when it was the last tram to run through the streets of Fleetwood on the traditional tramway.

627 is currently at Kirkham Prison where a cosmetic restoration is taking place, the work being carried out by prison inmates alongside volunteers from the Friends of Fleetwood Trams and Blackpool Council’s Illuminations Department staff. It was bought by Ideal
Dental Care on behalf of the Friends of Fleetwood Trams, and moved from Rigby Road last December. The group announced their plans through the Blackpool Gazette on 15th March, revealing that the tram will be painted in a special livery to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year. A doctored image seems to suggest that the base coat will be mainly cream and gold, with appropriate slogans on the body side panels. Children from two local schools have been invited to design artwork showing key events from Elizabeth II’s region, some of which will be displayed on the saloon windows of the tram.

627 is not expected to return to service in its new guise, but will instead be put on display as part of this year’s illuminations, somewhere on the North Promenade. For this role,
decorative lighting will be added inside the tram and on the body, which should create a stunning exhibit. As the Lancastrian Transport Trust’s illuminated ‘Rocket’ 732 is also expected to be a static exhibit for this year’s illuminations, the autumn period is shaping up to be an interesting time for Blackpool trams and hopefully both organisations will greatly benefit from having these trams acting as ambassadors for their work. Although not confirmed, it is strongly rumoured that 627 will also take part in the annual Fleetwood Transport Festival in July, aboard a low loader as Balloon car 710 was in 2011.

The choice of a Brush car to help celebrate this anniversary is highly appropriate as sister car 634 (now preserved at Rushden) was decorated for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee back in 1977. 627 will apparently be the first tram to enter the proposed new museum at Copse Road depot in Fleetwood once its spell in the spotlight is over for the year, indicating that the other trams preserved by this group will have to wait a little longer before they can go on display to enthusiasts, and of course the general public. However it’s certainly good that such a positive development is taking place with 627 and this should bode well for the future of this celebrity tram and it shows that the Friends of Fleetwood Trams are certainly not short of innovative ideas for its collection.

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