THE introduction of Blackpool’s Brush-built tramcars 80 years ago was celebrated over the weekend of September 23-24, forming the centrepiece of Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours’ (BHTT) annual Tramway Anniversary Weekend.
The 20 cars built by the Loughborough firm in 1937 owed much of their design to the earlier English Electric ‘railcoaches’ that had helped transform the Blackpool operation under
Walter Luff’s modernisation plan.
Their construction was entirely down to the decicion by Lytham St Annes council to close its tramway in 1937. This effectively robbed Blackpool Corporation of a useful source of ‘reserve’ trams, which it would often hire in during the popular illuminations season.
To cover this shortfall, Walter Luff contracted Brush to build 20 new vehicles; the designer of the English Electric vehicles was by then working in Loughborough.
A remarkable 16 of the 20 still survive today, although a combination of withdrawals, conversions and sales have reduced the number of operational passenger-carrying examples to four (two in Blackpool), or five if car No. 737 – rebuilt to resemble a fishing trawler – is included.
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