Blackpool Jubilee car to return to Rigby Road?

In an unexpected but extremely welcome development, the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust have announced plans to return their preserved Blackpool Jubilee car 761 to the Rigby Road tram depot, following a lengthy period of outside storage. Although it is believed that some negotiation will be required to finalise the deal, the owners of the tram are optimistic that it will be moved undercover shortly, thanks to the kind assistance of Blackpool Transport Services Ltd.

761 initially left Rigby Road shortly after it last ran at the end of the 2011 season, and has been stored in an industrial yard in Fleetwood for almost two years. However, a provisional agreement has now been reached between its owners and Blackpool Transport which will hopefully see 761 moved back home. The car will remain the property of the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust and is not expected to operate in Blackpool, at least for the foreseeable future; however the move would undoubtedly be a positive one for the long-term preservation of this unique tram. As only two Jubilee cars were ever built and both are noticeably different, 761 is rightly considered the most valuable tram in the Trust’s collection, and therefore it would be fitting for it to be moved into more secure accommodation. Unfortunately, the car was known to be in a poor condition when it was finally withdrawn from service, emphasising the importance of getting it back indoors to prevent any further deterioration. The tram could also perhaps be displayed on Blundell Street during future heritage tram operating days, helping to promote the FHLT and allowing enthusiasts to admire this car again.

One of the main stumbling blocks is likely to be the high costs involved with transporting the massive tram back home, and with this in mind the Trust are offering for sale a 2014 calendar featuring images of Blackpool’s heritage trams, as well as 761 itself, to raise the required funds to move the tram. The new calendar, priced at £6.90, is available from a small number of outlets and more information can be found at

It is sincerely hoped that 761 will find its way back to Blackpool in the near future, and both organisations involved are to be applauded for taking steps to work together and do what is best for the survival of this valuable tramcar.

Jubilee car 761 seen in the industrial area which has been its home since November 2011. Once occupied by several trams, 761 is now the sole resident and hopefully it too will soon be moving to alternative, and more suitable premises. (Photo by Tom P)


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11 Responses to Blackpool Jubilee car to return to Rigby Road?

  1. Tim McDermott says:

    At last – common sense prevails – Once these trams are gone they’re gon for ever. we’ve only got one chance to get it right and that means working together for the greater good of the tram cars. Well done to all involved on this occasion.

  2. Mark says:

    Correct me if im wrong, but I thought this was just a deal about storage? Would be a very welcome addition to the Heritage fleet though I must say.

  3. Nigel says:

    Am I the only one utterly confused by Blackpool Transport’s total change of attitude?

    When the tramway was relaunched, the attitude towards the vintage trams was “get ’em out or we scrap ’em!”, now they’re been welcomed back with open arms. What happened?

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      What happened? Bryan Lindop! The game changed pretty much as soon as he was given control over the heritage tram operation in Blackpool. It’s also worth remembering that, at one time it was expected that a second depot would be built at Starr Gate which would house the ‘B Fleet’ Balloons and 12 other heritage/illuminated trams, hence everything else had to go. Now that plan seems to have been dropped and Rigby Road depot is being retained for the foreseeable future, much more space is available than anticipated and therefore trams which would have had to go had the Starr Gate scheme been approved, can easily be accommodated. And thank goodness – otherwise we’d have no Twin, Centenary or Brush car running in Blackpool!

  4. SP says:

    I was hoping something like this would happen for 761. I’ve always thought the Jubilees looking stunning.

    Maybe (if commonsense and money prevails) in the mid-longterm it may become an active member of the heritage fleet, I would’ve thought it would be valuable for illumination time.

    Afterall a Jubilee car is the one recent example of tram build missing from the heritage lineup (if you include OMO 8).

  5. John Woodman says:

    The importance of 761 in Blackpool tramway workshop’s long tradition of self reliance was well recognised by our small group when the decision to dispose of much of the tram fleet was taken in late 2010. I personally ensured that this tram would be conserved locally for eventual display – and arranged for the tram’s purchase by a private donor (and its transport to storage in Fleetwood).

    All of this was done without fuss or approaches to the enthusiast community. The options for the tram’s future display will soon however very much depend on the willingness of those with real interest in 761 – to respond to an appeal next year. We seek to return 761 to its original appearance of 1979 in the municipal green and cream livery with smaller indicators and frontage detail. The long term future of the car and entirely natural interest on the part of some (many)enthusiasts to see it again on the tramway has yet to be determined and is subject to a lot of factors. Jubilee 761 fills an important chapter in the gestation of the tramway in the pre-light rail era – and I am pleased that our group took the initiative to ensure its preservation on the Fylde coast. The tram is one of several in our current care which similarly share important roles in Blackpool’s tramway history. Watch this space.
    John Woodman
    Trustee, FHLT

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment John, and may I wish you well with your plans for 761, on behalf of British Trams Online. Personally I was never a great fan of the Jubilee cars and always took them for granted, but it’s remarkable how time changes your perspective – now I would dearly love to see one of them back in its original condition, as when compared to their current appearance, they really did look very smart indeed back then! If arrangements could be made for 761 to operate on the Blackpool tramway in its 1979 condition I for one would be highly delighted. I hope that your appeal for funds will be successful and look forward to hearing more as this project unfolds.

    • Paul says:


      Your taking-on this significant but under-rated tram is appreciated, and it is pleasing to hear you have positive plans for her. This pending arrangement with BTS for secure and (relatively) weatherproof accommodation is certainly an encouraging step.

      What does concern me and some others is a lack of clarity about the ownership of the trams in your collection. You mention ‘private donors’ paying for the cars in your post above – do those donors in fact own and control the cars or are they the legal property of and solely controlled by the trust? Given recent events surrounding a tram that was generally believed to be ‘owned’ by another preservation group, I’m sure you understand why enthusiasts may be hesitant to donate if there was the possibility (however remote) of those initial purchasers cashing in the trams that people had donated to in good faith.

      When you launch your appeal, which I hope is successful, it may help the cause to provide as much detail as possible of the true ownership of the tram and the circumstances/conditions under which it could leave the collection…


  6. thomas stewart says:

    I hope that tram lovers appreciate the work that the fleetwood group have done in keeping all the trams in the blackpool area,and not sold them off to other countries.all the hard work undertaken by these blackpool chaps have had no support from any of the local tram followers.without the fleetwood heritage leisure trust,these trams they have in their collection could well have been scrapped.well done.

  7. Greetings to all!
    I am so happy to see the amount of work being put in to preserve these magnificent machines and would just like to wish you all well in your endeavours. I assure you that there are many scattered far and wide (like me “down south” now, who thoroughly appreciate you and your endeavours.
    Should any material on my site(s) be of use to you, especially as some of that is now a bit vintage, please either rip with my blessings or ask if you want to larger sizes.
    Keith J Chesworth

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