East Anglia Transport Museum get two more Blackpool trams!

The East Anglia Transport Museum in Carlton Colville shows no signs of slowing down with their acquisitions following the news that two more Blackpool trams have made the long journey east – Brush Car 625 and Balloon Car 726. Both trams have been latterly owned by the Fylde Transport Trust but after negotiations ownership will be transferred to the East Anglia Transport Museum with the pair having already travelled to Carlton Colville.

Both trams will require significant attention to return them to service as it has been a large number of years since they last ran in Blackpool. For 625 this was way back in 2004 whilst 726 saw limited operation in 2010 before full withdrawal came.

Since withdrawal and their sale during the disposal of redundant trams when the tramway was upgraded, both trams have found themselves with a number of owners and storage locations. 625 was initially purchased by Merseytravel for their planned Wirral Waters development with this seeing it stored in Knowsley. It was then sold on to a private individual who moved it to outside storage in Fleetwood before 2017 saw it heading to Rigby Road Depot for further storage. Then in 2020 it was sold on to the Fylde Transport Trust for possible future projects.

For 726, following its sale from Blackpool Transport this tram ended up in the care of the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust and was stored in two separate locations in Fleetwood. Acquired by the same private individual as 625 it initially remained stored in Fleetwood before it followed the same route as 625 – moved to Rigby Road and then sold on to the Fylde Transport Trust.

But now both trams will have a new part of their history as they will now become part of the growing tram collection at the East Anglia Transport Museum. The EATM will now boast no fewer five Blackpool trams – long standing residents Standard 159 and Marton VAMBAC 11 along with recent arrival Brush Car 290 being the other three.

The first of the trams to be moved was 625 which departed Blackpool on Monday 21st November and it was followed by 726 which was transported across a week later on Monday 28th November.

Upon arrival at Carlton Colville 625 was intially placed in the old tram depot before it was transported to the new building – thus becoming the first tram to enter the brand new depot.

In a statement the Fylde Transport Trust said: “Brush car 625 and Balloon 726 came into the Fylde Transport Trust’s collection quite recently after we purchased them from a private owner. They are both duplicates of other trams in our collection, and although it would be great to have several examples of each showing different liveries and modifications, we have to be realistic about what is achievable.

“With this in mind, and remembering that the FTT as a registered charity has an obligation to ensure any Trust assets that are to be disposed of go preferably to another registered charity, we decided earlier in this year to look at other possibilities for these two trams. With the expansion of the East Anglia Transport Museum, it became known that they were looking for a Balloon tram to complement the other Blackpool trams in their collection. During these discussions, it became clear that Brush car 625 would be a useful addition to their fleet as a long-term project. Therefore, the FTT decide to donate at no cost Brush car 625 & Balloon 726 to EATM.

“Brush 625 left Blackpool on Monday 21st November, and Balloon 726 was loaded and left Rigby Road on Monday 28th November to join their new home. The FTT look forward to seeing the progress on these two trams in the future and wish all the best to our friends at East Anglia Transport Museum with these two iconic trams.”

Its believed that the long-term plan for Balloon 726 is that it will be restored to its original 1934 condition whilst Brush 625 will initially provide some spares for the restoration of 290; long-term the Brush Car may have a restoration of its own. But with all the tram projects continuing at Carlton Colville these are likely to be very long-term aspirations!

For now though the two trams have a brighter future with their new owners and we look forward to seeing just what that future brings!

726 seen in Rigby Road Depot during a Tramtown tour. Panelling has been removed during previous investigation works. It retains an old advert for HM Coastguard. (Photograph by Gareth Prior, 3rd June 2022)

625 meets up with some old friends! Shortly after unloading 625 is seen outside the tram depot. Inside the shed and looking on are Sheffield 513 and Blackpool Marton VAMBAC 11. 625 would have last been with 513 in 2011 but the last time that 11 and 625 were in the same town was way back in 1965!

More meetings with old friends for 625. Alongside is sister car 290 (its just a few months since they were at Rigby Road so not much catching up to be done there!) and just in front of 290 is Standard 159. The Standard Car left Blackpool in 1967.

After a brief period in the old depot 625 was then moved to the new depot where the first track has now been laid.

Another view of 625 in the new depot. (Photographs x4 by Tim Major)

This entry was posted in East Anglia Transport Museum, Fylde Transport Trust. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to East Anglia Transport Museum get two more Blackpool trams!

  1. Geoff Currie says:

    A satisfactory outcome for these two tramcars.

  2. Andrew says:

    I think this is the best tram news for some time! I imagine most people who have seen and ridden on Marton VAMBAC 11 will agree that these trams are in very good hands. 726 restored to original condition has the potential to be incredibly special – I doubt it’ll happen for many years, but at least the tram is safe and undercover, ready for its turn in the spotlight.

    Also big thanks to the FTT for donating 625 and 726 to a good home!

  3. MH says:

    Absolutely fantastic that FTT and EATM has saved these trams. Thank you. But (and I may be over-dreaming) how about also saving the remaining FTT twin car which I believe (I may be wrong) is still in open air storage in the FTT compound in Fleetwood? The last chance ever to save such historic units. Just imagine being able to ride on a restored twin car at Carlton Coalville in the future. There seems to be space in the wonderful new depot building! EATM really seems to be climbing up the world premier league of transport museums.
    I attended the September Gala and there were trams and trolleybuses whizzing about everywhere. All action! An amazing place.

    • Gareth Prior says:

      The Twin Car at Fleetwood is owned by the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust. The FTT own Twin Motor Car 671 which is on display at St Helens.

  4. nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    More excellent news – another precious Balloon rescued and a second useful Brush Car for EATM. These railcoaches were even more stylish than the VAMBAC cars and if restored to a more traditional appearence will be extremely eye-catching. I expect that if a new home is still being sought for the twin car, then Sandtoft may find at least one part of it useful as a play tram – probably more suitable due to the reduced hazard of being sans stairs.

Comments are closed.