The recent Spring Bank Holiday weekend saw a diverse range of events taking place at tramways across the country, and the Seaton Tramway in Devon was not to be left out. On Bank Holiday Monday 26th May, Seaton 12 was unveiled in a brand new livery during an extravagant ceremony at the Seaton terminus. Although the tram has retained its familiar red livery, this has been used as the basis for advertising vinyls to promote the well-known national charity, Cats Protection.
Car 12 has undergone several makeovers during its lifespan, and has most recently been rebuilt to resemble an open-top version of the iconic London Feltham trams. Initially outshopped in a traditional London livery, the tram latterly carried a special commemorative livery marking the tramway’s 40th anniversary in 2010. Over the past winter the tram has received some workshop attention and this has included a full repaint into a more restrained red and cream colour scheme, removing the garish vinyls carried for the last few years. However, this has now been heavily compromised by the application of vinyl adverts over nearly all of the body sides to promote Cats Protection. The between-deck panels feature the slogan ‘Make your house a home’, encouraging the concept of adopting a rescued cat, along with the charity’s logo and a large image of a cat which is spoiled slightly by the beading on the tram. Large green blocks take up much of the lower body space with extensive lettering and another picture of a cat. The ends of the car have remained untouched, giving a more authentic appearance.
For the launch event, 12 was driven by local Cats Protection volunteer Noel Allen, with guests on board the special inaugural journey including a Town Crier and someone dressed as Sylvester the cat from the famous Warner Brothers cartoons, who later got a turn on the handles! There were also other attractions on offer including cat-themed refreshments and face painting at Colyton Station. The tram itself has already been christened ‘Fluffy’ by tramway staff!
Although 12‘s appearance may not appeal much to purists, it is nice to see the tramway supporting such a worthy cause and hopefully the publicity generated by the launch event and the continued operation of 12 in its special advertising livery will encourage more support from the public for Cats Protection to enable them to continue their great work in providing help to many needy cats across the UK.