In Pictures: Blackpool 636 at the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

One of the earlier departures in the great Blackpool tram sell-off with the then impending upgrade of the tramway in mind was Blackpool Brush 636. But unlike many of the other trams which went on to pastures new and a life in preservation the tram was acquired by Stored Energy Technology of Derby who had the aim of using the tram to test an experimental motor and bogie.

Since it moved to Derby at the end of the 2004 season, 636 has been seen in many different locations including back in Blackpool for testing in 2009, a trip to Long Marston and frequency visits to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway adjacent to Duffield mainline railway station a few miles north of Derby. In recent years it has spent most of its time at the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway where its tests are now thought to have ended with rumours earlier this year that the tram was now surplus to requirements and was being made available for purchase. No further information on that has since been released though.

636 is currently stored at the back of the yard and can only be viewed if you catch a train up the incline to Raventsor. This view shows one end of the tram with the destination screen set for “Tour of Illuminations”.

A second shot of 636 – this time the other end – showing the Metro Coastlines livery still in place with the paintwork now starting to fade.

Have we gone mad? There’s not a tram in sight for this photo but there is a tram link! With a class 31 diesel on the right – 31 601 – alongside is some old London Underground stock which is understood to be being used by UK Tram to evaluate different bogies and lithium batteries. (All Photographs by Ken Jones, 4th July 2021)

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5 Responses to In Pictures: Blackpool 636 at the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

  1. David says:

    They can afford to transport the tram all around the midlands but they can’t afford a tarp. Looks like another Blackpool tram which has a strong possibliliy of going for scrap. Blackpool could have had the second best heritage tramway in the world but in my opinion they threw it away.

    • Chris Callan says:

      Last thing Blackpool needs is to be acquiring any more duplicates. Frankly should have been even more ruthless. Its the lack of ruthlessness and lack of credible leadership in recent years is reason that its slumped from one calamity to the next. Best thing that could happen moving forward is a much needed mass cull (with the various trams dumped outside at present put out of misery as well).

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I fail to see how yet another Brush car in a tired condition would have taken Blackpool any closer to that goal! The need was always to have a heritage fleet focused on variety and offering trams that are attractive to the general public. I consider the number of Brush cars already at Rigby Road to be rather excessive – so they certainly don’t need another one!

      What would make the heritage operation better would be a Brush car restored in a more original condition, but that will be a coup for Crich instead in a few years!

  2. nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    I fully agree with Andrew – there really are too many Brush Cars at Rigby Road. I firmly believe that just two would be sufficient 634 (which will become the perfect tram for Ghost Tours) and 621. The latter would benefit from the reinstatement of twin destination blinds to return it to 1970s condition, when even without roof windows it looked very traditional, especially from an end on viewpoint; far more so than 636 in spite of its then retained roof windows and green (painted over) cant rail lights.

    If the remaining Brush Cars could be offloaded somewhere else, Rigby Road might then have space for another Balloon, say 710 or 726, thereby wisely increasing passenger potential per square metre of occupied depot room. The last thing they need is another low capacity tram such as 636. I recall that when 636 left Blackpool, it was fairly tired and could now be used for spare parts. Even the long gone 638 has been able to provide support for the new underframe of 298 on its former bogies – just because a tram ceases to exist as such hardly means that it can no longer prove beneficial.

  3. John1 says:

    631 whilst being horrific needs to stay as its the only Brush car which has remained in continuous use in Blackpool, every other one has left and come back.

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