Tram 227 - Open Boat:
Tram 227 was built by the English Electric Company in Preston in 1934 and entered service in a, then, new green and cream livery. The car is currently painted in an imaginative livery of red and cream to indicate what the tram might have looked like in the old corporation colours prior to the introduction of green and cream. Otherwise, the tram has changed little in appearance since 1934, other than for the fitting of protective windscreens for the driver.
In 2018, car 227 was named after Charlie Cairoli MBE who, for nearly forty years, was a famous clown in the Blackpool Tower Circus.
Tram 600 - Open Boat
Tram 600 was the prototype of twelve open boat cars which were built in 1934 and differed from the other eleven in having lower sides.
This car was named Duchess of Cornwall to celebrate the occasion of the visit to Blackpool of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in June 2008.
During a major overhaul in 2009, the tram’s traditional metal bumpers were replaced by new rubber bumpers which, at the time, were required on the grounds of health and safety.
Of the original twelve cars of this class, eight survive, of which three remain in Blackpool, one is at the National Tramway Museum, Crich and no fewer than four are in the United States.
Tram 631 - Single Deck Brush Railcoach
Car 631 was built by the Brush Electrical Engineering Company of Loughborough in 1937. There were originally twenty of these cars and several still survive in Blackpool. Over the years these cars were progressively modernised and car 631 represents the final development of this class of tram.
In 2021, car 631 was named Reginald Dixon MBE as a tribute to the famous organist who played the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer organ between 1930 and 1970.
642 / 648 - Single Deck Centenary Car
During the late 1970s and early 1980s there was an increasing need to upgrade the year-round tram fleet as virtually all existing trams dated from the 1930s. Eight single deck trams were built by East Lancashire Coachbuilders and entered service between 1984 and 1987.
As the Blackpool tramway celebrated its centenary in 1985, these new trams are known as ‘Centenary’ cars. They are the last passenger carrying trams to have been built in the UK.
737 Trawler - Illuminated Feature Car
The Trawler is the most recent of a long line of illuminated feature cars and was built in 2001, using the body of 1937 Brush Railcoach 633, as a replacement for some of the older illuminated cars which had been withdrawn from service. The Trawler carries advertising for Fisherman’s Friend, who generously sponsored its construction costs.
In 2016 the Trawler received stunning new state of the art LED lighting to enhance its appearance.
Western Train - Illuminated Feature Car
Arguably the most popular of Blackpool’s heritage trams, the Western Train started life in 1962 as the Sante Fe Express, when it was constructed in the tramway workshops from two withdrawn trams, a 1934 English Electric Railcoach (locomotive) and a 1928 ‘Pantograph’ car (the carriage).
The tram was initially sponsored by ABC Television, part of the organisation that owned the ABC cinema chain. In 1963, Blackpool’s ABC Hippodrome was rebuilt and opened as the ABC Theatre. The Sante Fe Express was used for the opening ceremony, featuring singer Cliff Richard, who was appearing at the theatre for the 1963 season. The train has the distinction of being the last tram to carry passengers on any part of the former Marton tram route which closed in 1962.
In 1999 the train was withdrawn from service, in need of a major overhaul. Following receipt of a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the tram was rebuilt and re-launched in 2009, once again as the Sante Fe Express. In 2021, the Western Train (as it is always referred to) received significant attention to its lights, only made possible by generous contributions in response to a crowd funding appeal.
HMS Blackpool - Illuminated Feature Car
HMS Blackpool (also known as the Frigate) was built in 1965 using the underframe of withdrawn 1928 ‘pantograph’ car 170. The name of the tram was an acknowledgement of the Royal Navy’s frigate of the same name.
After decades of regular service, HMS Blackpool was extensively rebuilt in 2003/2004. In 2020, the car’s decorative lights received significant attention to enable it to continue to delight visitors to the Illuminations each year.
700 - Double Deck Balloon Car
As originally built by English Electric, car 700 (previously numbered 237) was an open top double deck car but was fully enclosed during the Second World War. In 1995 the tram was rebuilt to represent its external 1942 condition whilst gaining some more modern features to comply with health and safety requirements.
700 received modifications to its centre doors in 2011 to allow access to the platforms on the upgraded LRT system as a member of the ‘B’ fleet and as such, carried the Blackpool council livery of purple and white as used on the LRT Flexity 2 trams. In 2021 the car was repainted into the popular wartime livery of nearly all green with some cream relief.
707 - Double Deck ‘Millennium’ Car
Car 707 (previously numbered 244) was a sister car to 700. This car was converted from an open top to a fully enclosed car during the Second World War.
As a traditional ‘Balloon’ car, tram 707 was extensively rebuilt in 1998 and its pointed ends were replaced by flat fronts. In all, four Balloon cars received this treatment between 1998 and 2004 and have since been known either as ‘flat fronted Balloons’ or ‘Millennium’ cars, reflecting that the rebuilding took place around the start of the current millennium.
These cars have received modifications which allow them to operate on the LRT system as ‘B’ fleet cars.
717 - Double Deck Balloon Car
Car 717 originally entered service in 1934 as car 254, as one of fourteen English Electric fully enclosed double deck bogie cars. These cars were subsequently to become known as ‘Balloon’ cars. This class of tram was modernised over a period of time from the mid-1950s onwards, the main change externally being that the original twin destination indicators at each end of the car were replaced by larger, single display blinds.
From 2004 car 717 underwent a sympathetic rebuild, both internally and externally, to restore it to its original 1934 condition, whilst at the same time being fitted with some health and safety features that were then required. The restoration was duly completed, and the tram was re-launched in 2008. It now sees regular use on heritage tours.
723 - Double Deck Balloon Car
Car 723 originally entered service in 1935 as car 260 and as one of a batch of fourteen enclosed double deck English Electric cars. In common with other cars of this class, it was part of the core tram fleet until the tramway upgrade in 2012.
In 1993 the tram was modernised and rebuilt into a slightly different overall shape, whilst still retaining the basic ‘balloon’ shape that is so much associated with the Blackpool tramway.
In 2021, during the extended Illuminations, car 723 became the Magical Express car and ran on special tours up until Christmas.