Box 40 is back on the prom!

After an absence of almost a year, Blackpool & Fleetwood ‘Box’ car 40 was back in action on the Blackpool tramway on Wednesday 9th July, when the tram was taken for a test run along the promenade. Representatives of the Crich workshop and curatorial departments were invited along for the ride, having been involved in the refurbishment of the bogies, whilst work on the body has been carried out in Blackpool Transport’s own workshops.

As well as the aforementioned mechanical attention, 40‘s roof has been re-sealed and painted having previously suffered from severe leaking, whilst the ceiling has been repainted, the internal woodwork re-varnished, and the exterior paintwork has been smartened up. The roof advert boards are currently blank but are expected to receive new lettering acknowledging the sponsors who have made the recent overhaul possible before the car returns to service at the annual Fleetwood ‘Tram Sunday’ event on 20th July. This may actually be Box 40‘s only appearance in service on its native rails this year, as the car is then due to be transported to Crich in readiness for September’s event to mark fifty years of electric tram operation at the museum. Whilst this unfortunately means that it will not be possible for 40 to run in Blackpool alongside fellow Fleetwood veteran, Pantograph car 167, over the August Bank Holiday weekend, it will hopefully provide even more opportunities to enjoy the car in a less familiar setting. Indeed, much has changed since car 40 last operated at Crich way back in 1965, and as such it will be able to visit Wakebridge and Glory Mine for the first time ever! Of course, 40 will return to Blackpool later in the year and is expected to see use on at least one private hire before 2014 is over.

Box 40 at Pleasure Beach on a gloriously sunny 9th July during its first test run after overhaul. Note the plain cream side roof boards which should be covered by advertisements by the time it re-enters service.

An opportunistic shot of TMS cars 40 and 167 in front of the Electrical Compound, also on July 9th. Both cars are due to be in service together at Tram Sunday, and then be reunited at Crich in September. (Photos courtesy of Crich Tramway Village news blog)


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7 Responses to Box 40 is back on the prom!

  1. Christopher Callan says:

    Looks absolutely stunning a credit to the Tramway Museum Society, Fylde Tramway Society, the Friends of 40, Dorlec Ltd, Scotts Haulage and Blackpool Transport. If the National Tramway Museum is to find a niche in which it can operate going forward this is the exact sort of project it needs to do. Something like this is tangible that everyone can see and recognise.

    Its pleasing that Box 40 will get to spend a period in the Summer gracing the Crich tracks. Whilst it was regrettable that the celebrations of the historic milestone passed with little fanfare. Id hope that its return to Crich & the fact that 762 is close to launch a suitable Blackpool event is quickly announced which could see a very impressive line up indeed. Somewhere slotted around the existing events could certainly be well patronised and act a pre cursor to the main E50 Event. With 711 not been used much for those specifically wanting to ride it. Would be fabulous opptunity to draw them punters in. As well as see 762 launch.

  2. Dr Albert says:

    I have stated for some time Blackpool is missing an opportunity by not using the Heritage fleet as a living museum – so many visitors would rather travel on those rather than the new trams – It appears the council are rather nervous in regards of passenger numbers the unfortunate problem is people may wish to travel on an older tram so undermining the councils integrity

    • Andrew says:

      Did you visit and ride on the heritage trams in 2012? No? No-one else did either. People seem to have short memories but I, for one, wont forget in a hurry the sight of the heritage fleet running up and down the prom empty day after day. What we have now is so much better. Full heritage trams proving that less is more. Maybe delving a little into recent history before making statements which undermine the good work being done in Blackpool might be in order

      • Dr Albert says:

        few points need clarifying – firstly I did ride the Heritage trams when available during the 2012 season and 2013/14 together with numerous financial contributions to the relevant societies – secondly my family own four hotels on the promenade in Blackpool and we get repeated requests for information regarding the availability of the Heritage trams and when informed about the limited running a large number voice their disappointment – then regarding the Councils integrity that point came from a source within the Council itself.

        • Paul D says:

          In that case Dr, perhaps you should consider making a gesture that will be greatly appreciated by your guests by doing as other local businesses have done this year and sponsor a day or two of heritage operation… I’m sure Bryan will be very pleased to hear from you.

          The publicity and goodwill, may also generate some additional custom for your hotels from the enthusiast community…

        • Christopher Callan says:

          Several points:

          a) Their are currently no “relevant societies” that fund the Blackpool Heritage Tram operation. Until the new trust is set up which Bryan & Co are working tirelessly to set up. The Fylde Tramway Society do occasionally however do appeals for particular trams.

          b) In 2012 the day time heritage tram service regularly ran virtually empty. With a handful on nearly all known by name.

          c) The revised format is a platform to build on. The events format allows them to slowly add dates whilst ensuring it remains a success. The format ensures packed trams and far superior output than a daily service would ever provide.

          d) Whilst Paul D suggests donations Id suggest the following. If you think their is a untapped pent up demand for heritage why not hire them out available to your guests. Could team up with number of your fellow local businesses.

          e) If you want Heritage to grow. Id suggest contacting Bryan L at Blackpool Transport. Ensuring your guests are fully briefed on what is on offer. Which currently is Lights Tours & the Day Time Heritage offering. Perhaps worth getting posters from Blackpool Transport. Or print off what is on the Official Blackpool Heritage Tram Tour Facebook page.

    • Paul D says:

      Oh please not that old argument again!

      If it really the case that ordinary passengers would rather travel on heritage cars how do you explain the massive increase in passenger numbers since the upgrade, and the lack of passengers on the heritage service in 2012 when it operated every weekend?

      As a joy ride the heritage service is wonderful but for the vast majority of passengers wanting to get from A to B what matters is reliability, comfort and speed. Yes, we’d all like to see the heritage service run more often, but without substantial external sponsorship to cover the cost that simply isn’t possible at the moment.

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