'New' Blackpool Cars

The forum for all discussion about the tramway museum at Crich

'New' Blackpool Cars

by Nick » 26.01.2011, 20:19

Just want to start a discussion on the latest acquisitions.

With 630 (Brush Car), 607 (Boat Car), 648 (Centenary Car), 762 (Jubilee car), 672+682 (Twin Car) due to arrive at Crich in the VERY near future what is everyone else view on this?

My view is simple. Do we need this many Blackpool cars at Crich? No, we don't.

I hope 630 is only going to be a donor for 298, having two Brush cars is rather pointless. The rebuilt features of 'modern-traditional' cars will be on the Centenary thus removing any need for 630 other than spares.

A Boat car I can see the point of, it is the last in the line of the popular seaside trams used across the country and shows the 'family' streamlining effect of cars of that era (something that was not limited to just Blackpool).

Centenaries are hugely important for the bus body/tram combination and the modern 'chopper' controls. Essentially the last of the line in traditional trams. 648 also has an intresting history having been 651 and then upgraded to a standard configuration.

762 represents very little that is not represented in the Centenary and is yet another hack around (like 1100 and 600...both now stored due to be oddball vehicles of little importance) being a converted Balloon car. It is essentially a double deck Centenary and only one was ever built in this form. Why do we want such a vehicle when the others we have are always the first thing to go into store?

A Twin Car is also debateable. Control trailers in this country were only used in Blackpool, all other trailers being simple trailers (converted horse cars in some cases). It also takes up an awful amount of space (48' + 50' in length). Can the technology not simply be represented in another way rather than preserving what is essentially two coupled railcoaches? I believe it can be.

So my thoughts, with limited research are out of the amount we are getting we only need a Boat and a Centenary.

What do others think?

EDIT: I've changed the number of the Brush car to the correct number of 630 having mistakenly got the wrong one. Apologies for any problems.
Last edited by Nick on 26.01.2011, 23:59, edited 3 times in total.
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by Advertising » 26.01.2011, 20:19


Re: 'New' Blackpool Cars

by bluegoblin7 » 26.01.2011, 23:14

I am posting this message on behalf of Andy Ashton, the owner of Brush 634:

Could all people reading the above message please note that the poster has inaccurately quoted Brush Car 634 as being a Crich acquisition.
'Limited research' would have shown that Brush Car 634 is owned by myself and is located at Rushden Historical Transport Society in Northamptonshire.
I have no intention of selling the car or allowing it to become a donor for other vehicles and there are no plans to relocate the car to Crich.
I suspect that the poster has failed to correctly identify the cars acquired by the TMS and has simply made a clerical error but I wish it to be noted that my car has been incorrectly reported in this thread.
Yours sincerely
Andy Ashton.



Moderator's message: Following this information the error in the original post has been corrected by the author of the original message. Christoph
Jack Gordon
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Re: 'New' Blackpool Cars

by Christoph Heuer » 26.01.2011, 23:27

Hallo all,

Err, with all due respect, we may debate about the wisdom of the decision to acquire those cars mentioned but it may prove to be a bit pointless. The decision has been taken by those who are in a position to do so and any change of plan might reflect rather badly on the museum.

There is a report, produced in 1963 and updated in 1978 which cars should be preserved at Crich. This was sold to the public (well, it has a price tag on it, so I assume it was sold to the public), so its existence and contents is not exactly confidential information. The problems arises that when the report was written some cars in question now did not even exist.

The Blackpool tramcars fit into the following categories of the original report:

Boat 607: None. Three types of single-deck open cars were identified: a) Roofed cross-bench cars = B&F 2, b) Toastracks = Blackpool 166, c) Combination cars = Manchester 765. At best 607 is a Toastrack and an
operational duplicate to 166, which to me is a rather weak case but then by 1978 there was no possibility to get a Boat which may have played a role in the definition.
Railcoach 630: Category "modern centre-entrance cars". It is an exact duplicate to 298 and I would assume that the idea was either to restore 630 rather than 298 maybe using the best parts of both or to show the post-1980s modernisation as opposed to a 1930s modernisation à la 345 or 1622. The latter would not be covered by the 1978 Trams Report.
Centenary 648: Does not fit any category which is no wonder as the car was built well after the report was written. If I attempt to create new categories along the lines of the old ones it fits the bill of "modern tramcar, OMO operation, electronic control equipment" and its inclusion is justified, even if there were only ten cars built to fit that description.
Twin cars 672/682: Category "trailers", in this case with towing car. This was the only complete type of trailer available but given the rarity of trailer operation in Britain one may wonder if it must be included in the collection provided another car is preserved elsewhere.
Balloon 712. Category "modern centre-entrance cars". The 1978 Report did not differentiate between single-deck and double-deck cars and recommended 298 as representative which is no wonder, as that car had
already been preserved by then. As double-deckers were more widespread (Aberdeen, Blackpool, Darwen, Sunderland) a double-decker might be more justified but removing the case for either 630 or 298 at the same time. 712 also duplicates MET 331.
Jubilee 762: See 648 with the added novelty value that it is the last double-deck tramcar built in the UK and the last bogie double-deck motor car in the world. (Alexandria, Egypt has DD control trailers, Hongkong
built a small number of new four-wheelers after 762 was built)

The important question is now, where to put the cars. A space for a building has been earmarked, money appears to be still a problem as I write this. Oh, and maybe someone should update that report.

Kind regards

Christoph Heuer
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Joined: 10.01.2008, 00:00

Re: 'New' Blackpool Cars

by DoctorMop » 27.01.2011, 00:06

My Thoughts, Yes to the Boat, that's coming. Yes to the Centenary car. Yes to the Brush car to make one good one from 298.

Now then, 762, if somethings got to go (not come if you know what I mean) I think this one might be it. My Reason, it's 30 years old and not been touched (structurally) in that time. I think the work done in 1980(ish) during the convertion was not as complete as you might think. The underframe was repaired, but the steel work is the origional from the 1930's. Whilst in Blackpool last Sept I had a good look at 762 (knowing it might be Crich bound). If you look along the top line of the lower deck windows (cant rail) one saloon has already started to droop/distort quite noticably from arround the bolster point, as all EE railcoaches went like this. I suspect the the is due the the extended length and the steel framed ends. If 762 is brought as a runner I would not like to say how long it would last before a major body (structural) overhaul is required. It may last 10-15 years, possibly even longer but I suspect that weaknesses/failures in the underframe have allready occured.

I won't coment on the Twin car as I don't think I will be objective, I like them too much mainly due to the trailers retaining a lot of there origional finish. Love to see one at Crich!

All the Best, Peter W. (aka Dr Mop)
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Re: 'New' Blackpool Cars

by Christoph Heuer » 27.01.2011, 16:52


Chris Rowe and Andrew Blood kindly allowed me to copy what he wrote regarding the subject on Facebook (see: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/blue ... ment_reply but I think you have to have a Facebook account to access it.):

Chris Rowe wrote:It would be nice to see 630 + 298 both survive, the progression of the tramcar and what might have been on other systems, however, because it is a Blackpool car, snooty views will come in. The moment that 630 gets chopped is the moment that any perspective donations from myself will cease and all donations will go in the Heaton Park, Birkenhead direction.
Its no shock to see little research as 'Its a Blackpool Tram'.
As Blackpool is where a lot of younger enthusiasts have got there passion from, the TMS should maybe show a bit of respect to this fact and bear in mind that the younger generation will probably want to see Twin Cars, Railcoaches and Balloons operate more than a tram they can not recognise from their own experiences. I am not saying bin all traditional trams in favour of Blackpool trams, but at least think a bit before such nonsense is posted and try and embrace the younger breed of enthusiast rather than deflect them to other organisations through your bogus opinions.

Andrew Blood wrote:Totally agree with Chris - it will be a disgrace if 630 is dismantled, especially bearing in mind that there is a huge waiting list for people to acquire Blackpool trams so 630 could have a secure future in other hands. Can't believe people are saying that a Twin or 762 are not historically important - especially as valuable resources are being used at crich to 'restore' trams like 159 which are practically brand new anyway. But as its London and not Blackpool thats OK!

Chris Rowe wrote:I personally think they will overlook the fact that they are in a position to showcase a design of tram which has lasted over 70 years in front line service and show an as built and as 'retired' look. They are the only museum in a position to do this and others would jump at the chance to be able to do this.
Don't get me started on the twin car debate, 'Not worthy of exhibiting'. Well excuse me but, 50 years in service and a success, yet some of the trams at the NTM managed only half of that yet are drooled over. I still don't understand the policy of if a minor fault occurs then it is a full strip down and out of service for months instead of a simple repair. Its a good job that this doesn't happen on the real tramways or there wouldn't be a service to run!

Andrew Blood wrote:Months! Thats optimistic - usually its years - Blackpool 49 - leaking roof and now 19 years out of service!

Kind regards

Christoph Heuer
Posts: 120
Joined: 10.01.2008, 00:00

Re: 'New' Blackpool Cars

by Christoph Heuer » 27.01.2011, 18:30

Hello again,

this seems to be a most controversial issue with an number of factors to be considered.

Just some more thoughts:

In the UK there is an unusual situation in several respects which I believe made the decision which cars to preserve at Crich rather difficult:
- All development of tramcars post 1962 had to take place at Blackpool as the only remaining tramway system.
- There has been very little in terms on tramcar development after 1945. Nevertheless, with the exception of two prototypes (Leeds 276 and Glasgow 1005) all types of newly constructed cars outside Blackpool are represented at Crich: Glasgow Cunarders (1297), Sheffield Roberts cars (510) and Leeds Centre-entrance, which were prototypes (600, 602). None of the 20 Aberdeen streamliners built in 1949 is preserved but they might not count as post-war cars since they followed two 1940 prototypes.
- Almost all types of Blackpool cars are replaced at once. I can not think of anywhere else where this happened with such a variety of tramcar types.
- In terms of numbers of cars all Blackpool types are insignificant on a national level, e.g. 10 Twin cars in the entire UK or, even worse, two Jubilee cars.

Now I leave it up to you to make a sound decision. From a curatorial point of view this will be based on historic significance of the cars in question and the period covered. The business side of Crich will consider maintenance and storage needs, usefulness for operation and attractiveness to visitors. The enthusiast side will also see the sentimental value and maybe the usefulness in attracting new volunteers who might follow "their" cars from the Fylde coast to a Derbyshire hill (but also to the Wirral or a park in Manchester). With the museum at Crich being an independent museum which relies on visitor income and voluntary labour this decision is even more difficult. Please also bear in mind that it is also easy to shout "you should do this and that" with your hands in your pocket if you do not have to suffer from the consequences of your decision.

And finally a message before any misunderstandings occur: All of the views expressed above including those by other contributors are those of the individuals concerned and not official comments by the Tramway Museum Society at Crich, even if made by TMS members, and may diverge from the official position of the TMS as represented by the Baord of Management. Please take a positive view of the fact that all contributors are willing to share their views in public and stand to their opinions by signing with their real name.

As always, contributions will be welcome. You have to register to comment but that is an easy and straightforward process (well, I think it is :wink: ).

Kind regards

Christoph Heuer, TMS member 4709 since Sept. 1993, conductor since 1994, driver since 2000, staff no. 551
Member of: LRTA, HSM (Tramway Museum), VVM (Railway/Tramway Museum), BSW-Group Koblenz (Railway Museum) (all in Germany), FREMO (model rail, Europe)
Christoph Heuer
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Re: 'New' Blackpool Cars

by Rich Westman » 27.01.2011, 22:17

It seems to me that a lot of people are forgetting something. Crich is the National Tramway Museum, not the National Pre-1962 Tramway Museum. Some people need to stop living in the past and wake up to the fact that tramways are returning (Nottingham and Croydon being the most recent examples), and these modern tramways deserve and earn their place in Tramway History.
Tramway History did not finish in the 60s. It never finished, and maybe never will. Not in the forseeable future anyway: Nottingham is extending the tramway to both Clifton ( :D ) and Chilwell - I live in Clifton so use the Nottingham trams a lot and know what is going on here, and cannot comment on other tramways really. But Manchester's new fleet and Croydon's new(ish) livery show that tramways are getting a new lease of life in the modern world.

But what am I getting at here?

Crich should represent the new generation of tramways, beginning with the Blackpool trams being acquired soon. Blackpool is an excellent example of the development of the tramway over the years, from Rack 2 to Boat 607. And wouldn't that be a fantastic sight: a hot summer's day with 2, 166 and 607 running together at Crich, three generations of the same basic design brought together in the only place that could do it!

So stop thinking "We already have this example", because that is not necessarily true. If it were the case, then we shouldn't get what is bound to be the most popular, 607, because we already have 166!!!

I wonder what the outcry would be if Manchester offered one of their (now) old trams to Crich... "No, we can't have that, it's too modern!" Look closely, and tell me that wouldn't happen. We need to move out of the 20th Century into the 21st and how better than with new (to Crich), relatively modern trams that younger people can say "I've ridden on one of these when it was in service."

I finish with a request to all those opposing the Blackpool acquisitions: Open your eyes, and see the bigger picture.

Rich Westman, TMS Member 8240, Staff Number 700 (Conductor). www.youtube.com/CrichConductor700
Rich Westman
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Re: 'New' Blackpool Cars

by andybl » 27.01.2011, 22:56

This, to me, is the biggest weakness of the new Exhibiton Hall. Whilst it is an improvment on what was there before and a great idea to represent trams through the decades, it is a shame that it ends in the 1960s, giving visitors the impression that development ended then. Crich has the opportunity to bring the story up to date with OMO 5 cosmetically restored to represent the 1970s and either or both of 648 and 762 to represent the 1980s (with a Metrolink unit in the future to show the 1990s). Visitors should know that tramways did'nt all die out in 1962 - Blackpool kept the flag flying in an incredibly difficult time and their efforts should be recognised in the national story.
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Re: 'New' Blackpool Cars

by DoctorMop » 29.01.2011, 13:53

Althought I personally don't see anythink in the modern trams (like metrolink, I hate them actually :evil: ) I have to AGREE with Andy's comments on the Ex hall. I see a similarities here with elements of heavey rail; compare howmany Steam locos have been preserved, many duplicates, indeed the efforts to recreated one of every thing that ran (lazarus locos) compared this to how many EMU's/DMU's that have been preserved.

It's so easy to hate the new, when the OMO's were built in the 70's how many of us (aged 50+) hated them, be honest now :wink: ! but now we look back with affection. Personal emmotions can often get in the way of making the right decision.

I'm not saying the the modern vehicles should be given equal standing, they have only been arround for 20 years, 1st generation for 80+ years, but they are part of the continuing story. I do believe that when Metolink start to withdraw the stage 1 vehicles one will end up at Crich, but first we need to cover the 1960's to 1980's!

Peter W. (these are all my personal views and do not nesessarily reflect the views of the TMS (or Dr Mop))
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Re: 'New' Blackpool Cars

by Nick » 29.01.2011, 16:26


In relation to the Exhibition Hall it was chosen to represent 1860s to 1960s as that was the 'traditional tramway period', only Blackpool survived afterwards. What has yet to happen, but is I believe scheduled, is that the Assembly Rooms Exhibition will be redisplayed cover the modern era. Certainly this will feature the 2nd generation systems and I have suggested it starts in the 1970s and covers things such as One Man Operation and Solid State Control systems in Blackpool. Whether of course this happens is another matter. I've got no more information on this project at the moment though obviously in that space it won't feature vehicles.
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