Following recent reports that the trams owned by the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust stored in an industrial yard on the outskirts of Fleetwood would be moving to a new storage site, the task of moving the trams commenced on Tuesday 2nd July. Fresh from returning Southampton 45 back home to Crich the previous morning following its weekend visit to Kimberley, a team from Scott’s Heavy Haulage then headed to the Fylde Coast to begin the latest series of tram moves.
After stabling close to Blackpool’s Rigby Road tram depot for the night, the low loader headed for Fleetwood on the morning of Tuesday 2nd July to begin transferring the five trams in outside storage there to a new home at Fleetwood docks, close to the intended future site of the museum where they will hopefully one day be housed. Unfortunately, the trams will be remaining in open storage within a compound belonging to Associated British Ports for the time being, and although their new home is closer to the sea, it is at least understood to be an even more secure area than that which they had previously called home.
The first tram to make the short journey by road to the Fleetwood Fish Dock, was Ex-Towing car 678. This tram last ran during the 2006 illuminations season and currently retains a very drab plain black livery, left over from its previous advert for Radio Wave which was removed shortly before the tram left Rigby Road for good at the end of 2011. This car is known to be in a very poor structural condition, although it appears to remain intact and at a glance seems to be coping quite well with the effects of outside storage. Interestingly, 678 was driven along a road running parallel with the tramway on leaving its former home – presumably taking it closer than ever before to the new Flexity2 trams introduced into service after its departure from Blackpool.
Once 678 had been safely off-loaded, the same wagon returned to collect a second tram, with Balloon car 726 being chosen. This tram is still looking very well in its eye-catching blue and yellow livery promoting HM Coastguard, having bowed out of service in November 2010. This tram also enjoyed a brief and uneventful journey and has now arrived safe and sound at its second temporary home since the car first entered preservation. This leaves three further trams at the previous storage area – Trailer 683, Balloon 710 and Jubilee car 761 – and presumably the trio will follow 678 and 726 to the dockyard imminently. It is sincerely hoped that their stay there will be a short one, and that their owners will progress their ambitious plans to create a new museum attraction in Fleetwood so that all of these trams can be moved undercover in 2014 as planned.