Blackpool Balloon Car (706)

Commissioned in 1933 by Walter Luff, the controller of the network, in a bid to modernise the tramway’s fleet, they were intended to replace the Dreadnought cars that had been in service since the opening of the tramway. They were built by English Electric during 1934 and 1935, the first being presented to Blackpool on 10 December 1934. 27 were delivered, of which thirteen were open-topped. Numbered 237-263 and used on both summer and winter services.

They had central doors and stairs, with a capacity of 84-94. Half-drop windows provided ventilation and art deco curved glass lights provided electric lighting. The enclosed-top trams had sliding roof windows and thermostatic -controlled radiators.

The closed top cars originally worked on the Squires Gate service, and it was during this time that they became known as Balloon Cars because of their rounded streamlined appearance. During World War II the need for the open-top cars fell significantly and cars 237-249 had their tops enclosed to look almost like 250-263. Also during this period the fleet was painted in a dark green and cream livery in order to conserve paint and time, as well as to reduce the chances of their being spotted from the air.

In 1968 they were re-numbered to 700-726. Between 1979 and 1982, Balloon cars 725 and 714 were totally rebuilt into two new Jubilee cars, 761 and 762. The reconstruction of 725 included moving the stairs to the end and extending its body length. However, 762 retained a central door. During 1980, an accident at the Pleasure Beach loop caused 705 and 706 to be withdrawn. 705 was scrapped and 706 was rebuilt as an open-topper, later named “Princess Alice”. During the early 1990s a number of Balloons that had been retired from service were heavily modernized, re-emerging with flat ends and modern interiors known as Millennium cars.

 

Blackpool Balloon Car (700)

Commissioned in 1933 by Walter Luff, the controller of the network, in a bid to modernise the tramway’s fleet, they were intended to replace the Dreadnought cars that had been in service since the opening of the tramway. They were built by English Electric during 1934 and 1935, the first being presented to Blackpool on 10 December 1934. 27 were delivered, of which thirteen were open-topped. Numbered 237-263 and used on both summer and winter services.

They had central doors and stairs, with a capacity of 84-94. Half-drop windows provided ventilation and art deco curved glass lights provided electric lighting. The enclosed-top trams had sliding roof windows and thermostatic -controlled radiators.

The closed top cars originally worked on the Squires Gate service, and it was during this time that they became known as Balloon Cars because of their rounded streamlined appearance. During World War II the need for the open-top cars fell significantly and cars 237-249 had their tops enclosed to look almost like 250-263. Also during this period the fleet was painted in a dark green and cream livery in order to conserve paint and time, as well as to reduce the chances of their being spotted from the air.

In 1968 they were re-numbered to 700-726. Between 1979 and 1982, Balloon cars 725 and 714 were totally rebuilt into two new Jubilee cars, 761 and 762. The reconstruction of 725 included moving the stairs to the end and extending its body length. However, 762 retained a central door. During 1980, an accident at the Pleasure Beach loop caused 705 and 706 to be withdrawn. 705 was scrapped and 706 was rebuilt as an open-topper, later named “Princess Alice”. During the early 1990s a number of Balloons that had been retired from service were heavily modernized, re-emerging with flat ends and modern interiors known as Millennium cars.

Blackpool Boat Car (600)

Built by English Electric in 1934, these cars are single deck open-topped models with central doors and gangway. They are numbered 600-607,originally 225-236 and have a passenger capacity of between 52 and 56. These cars are known as “the boats” due to their ship-like streamlined appearance and are one of the most iconic Blackpool trams. All cars are virtually identical, except for 600, which has shorter body panels.

The boats were first commissioned by Walter Luff in 1933, in accordance with his five year plan. The first prototype boat arrived in Blackpool during early spring in 1934 along with four other designs. After an initial trial period, company directors approved an order for eleven more production cars, which arrived in July and August 1934. These new boats were numbered 225-236.

Blackpool Balloon Car (711)

Commissioned in 1933 by Walter Luff, the controller of the network, in a bid to modernise the tramway’s fleet, they were intended to replace the Dreadnought cars that had been in service since the opening of the tramway. They were built by English Electric during 1934 and 1935, the first being presented to Blackpool on 10 December 1934. 27 were delivered, of which thirteen were open-topped. Numbered 237-263 and used on both summer and winter services.

They had central doors and stairs, with a capacity of 84-94. Half-drop windows provided ventilation and art deco curved glass lights provided electric lighting. The enclosed-top trams had sliding roof windows and thermostatic -controlled radiators.

The closed top cars originally worked on the Squires Gate service, and it was during this time that they became known as Balloon Cars because of their rounded streamlined appearance. During World War II the need for the open-top cars fell significantly and cars 237-249 had their tops enclosed to look almost like 250-263. Also during this period the fleet was painted in a dark green and cream livery in order to conserve paint and time, as well as to reduce the chances of their being spotted from the air.

In 1968 they were re-numbered to 700-726. Between 1979 and 1982, Balloon cars 725 and 714 were totally rebuilt into two new Jubilee cars, 761 and 762. The reconstruction of 725 included moving the stairs to the end and extending its body length. However, 762 retained a central door. During 1980, an accident at the Pleasure Beach loop caused 705 and 706 to be withdrawn. 705 was scrapped and 706 was rebuilt as an open-topper, later named “Princess Alice”. During the early 1990s a number of Balloons that had been retired from service were heavily modernized, re-emerging with flat ends and modern interiors known as Millennium cars.

Blackpool Centenary Car (647)

The centenary cars are single deck trams with flat ends and doors positioned at both the front and centre giving them a more bus-like appearance. They are numbered 641–648 and have a capacity of 52 passengers (of which 16 is standing). They can be operated by one person, as the position of the doors means that the tram can be solely operated by the driver, as opposed to a team of three. This is useful during low season and early morning/late night services when there is little demand, as it allows the network to keep labour costs down.

Centenary cars were built by East Lancashire Coachbuilders in 1985, the tramway’s centenary year, hence their name. Originally intended to replace the OMO cars which were suffering from metal fatigue, twelve were ordered. However, due to cost cutting only seven were ever built. The cost cutting continued as, although the bodies chassis and bogies were brand new the motors and wheelsets were pre-war, refubished from various withdrawn cars. The bogie design continued the theme of the “O.M.O.” and L.T. Underground cars, having “Metalastik” rubber/metal bonded springs.