Blackpool Corporation No. 5

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Photo: J Dignan

Economic factors played an important role in determining the fate of Britain’s ‘first generation’ tramways.  One significant cause of abandonment was the capital cost associated with replacing worn-out tramcars, track or overhead equipment, but an even more important factor was growing competition from rival modes of transport and, in particular, diesel buses.

The only urban electric tramway in mainland Britain to have maintained a continuous presence from the earliest days of electric traction and into the second generation tramway era was the one operated by Blackpool Corporation.  It owed its survival to a combination of continuing demand from visiting tourists and a willingness on the part of management to update and adapt the fleet over the years.

Blackpool 5 provides a good illustration of the lengths to which the operator was willing to go in order to see off the increased competition posed by changes in diesel bus design and operation.  Indeed, the class of tramcar to which it belongs has even been credited with saving the tramway itself from abandonment at a time when it was facing a precarious financial future in the period following the closure of Britain’s remaining urban first generation tramways.


Type of tram
Single deck, electric, front and centre entrance bogie tramcar
Currently green and cream
Seating capacity
Date built
1972 (rebuild, originally built in 1934)
Date entered service
Manufacturer of body
Blackpool Corporation Transport (originally English Electric)
Manufacturer of truck
English Electric equal-wheel bogies
4’ 8½”
English Electric 305 2x 57hp
E.E. type Z4
Current collector
Pantograph (originally trolley pole with fixed head)

The railcoach from which it was rebuilt had previously been numbered as 221 before being renumbered 609 in 1968. It then became a permanent way vehicle (number 5) between 1965 and 1971. Following its rebuild in 1972, the tramcar appeared in four different liveries:
Plum and Custard (1972-6); Red and White (1976-1985-6); Green and Cream (1985-6-1991) and the then regular Green and Cream fleet livery in 1991.
In 1975 no. 5 was fitted with new bogies – fitted with Metalastik rubber suspension – from OMO 11. Between 1976 and 1985 it carried an unusual single arm “Bracknell Willis” pantograph. In April 1985 this was replaced by a Blackpool Corporation Transport diamond-framed pantograph.

Withdrawn from service

Withdrawn from passenger service in March 1993 having last run in traffic on 17th February 1993.

Subsequent history

Following its withdrawal OMO 5 was stored by Blackpool Transport for a time before moving to the Tramway Museum’s off-site storage facility in 2000, where it has remained since.

Restoration history

The bodywork and underframe are in a poor state of repair so it is awaiting restoration.

Current status
In storage in an unrestored state
Date started operating at Crich
Total mileage covered at Crich
Current location
Off-site storage facility
  • 1972 – 1993Fully operational on original tramway
  • 1993 – 2000In storage at Blackpool
  • 2000 –Off-site storage

Crich Tramway Village is a brand name for the National Tramway Museum (Accredited with Arts Council England), solely owned and operated by The Tramway Museum Society, incorporated in England with liability by guarantee (no. 744229). Registered charity number 313615. Our ICO number is Z6700136.