Blackpool Corporation No. 167
Blackpool 167 was built in 1928 as a successor to the by-then antiquated Fleetwood ‘Box cars’ with their wooden seats and poor ventilation (see Blackpool and Fleetwood number 40) and the even older Blackpool and Fleetwood racks with their bench seats and open sides (see B&F number 2). Blackpool Corporation’s decision to replace some of its older rolling stock was largely prompted by complaints from ‘through’ passengers who had transferred from the rather more comfortable and up-market Lytham Pullman cars at the Gynn.
Blackpool Corporation’s response was to order its own small fleet of ten ‘Pullman’-standard cars at a cost of £2,000 each from Preston-based English Electric Company. These tramcars offered a much higher level of accommodation for both passengers – who now enjoyed upholstered seating – and also crew – who benefited from the more modern looking fully-enclosed vestibule.
Mechanically, the ten ‘Pullman’ cars were equipped with faster motors and also superior air brakes. They were originally fitted with pantographs, though these were replaced by the more conventional trolley poles after five years, and at around the same time the cars were modified in appearance by the addition of platform doors, larger metal windscreens and curved mouldings round the destination boxes, which visually brought them more into line with the more recently-introduced railcoaches.
One of the most distinctive features of 167’s design is the ‘clerestory roof’, which incorporates a small tier of vertical windows providing additional light and ventilation, which is surmounted by a gracefully sweeping roof canopy. Although associated for many years with American railway carriage design, this feature was also adopted by English Electric during the 1920s for single deck buses and railway carriages built for export.
The original red and white colour scheme was replaced with a green and ivory livery in 1935 though there were to be further modifications subsequently before the current version – green with a cream vee-shaped flare – was adopted in 1945.
Number 167 was the first of the new ‘Pullman’ cars to arrive in Blackpool and spent its operational life almost exclusively on the more northerly ‘inter-urban’ section of the route between North Station and Fleetwood though the arrival of the more modern railcoaches resulted in the Pullmans being largely relegated to summer seasonal usage.
Unlike the rest of its class, number 167 was withdrawn from passenger service in 1953 when it became a permanent way car for the next eight years, before being donated to the fledgling Tramway Museum Society at Crich, where it arrived in May 1962. In travelling along the newly opened first stretch of the M62 (from Worsley to Stretford), it became the first tram to travel along a British motorway.
Once at Crich it was to be quite a while before time and resources could be committed to 167’s restoration, a process which eventually commenced in 1983 when the car was transported to Bolton. Once there it was restored to 1950s condition in preparation for the tram’s participation in Blackpool’s centenary celebrations of 1985, where it covered just under 2,500 miles. Thereafter, the tram has continued to lead an active life, having made guest appearances at the Gateshead garden festival in 1990 and the Blackpool tramway’s own centenary celebrations of 1998 followed by a further visit to Blackpool for the resort’s 125th anniversary celebrations of 2010.
It has also been an active member of the Crich operational fleet apart from a couple of short periods (1998-2000 and 2008-2010) while awaiting repair work to its wheels and axles. In 2014 it paid a brief visit to Beamish where it contributed to a series of World War II-themed events.
- Type of tram
- Single deck all-enclosed bogie electric tramcar
- Green and cream
- Seating capacity
- Date built
- Manufacturer of body
- English Electric.
- Manufacturer of truck
- Preston McGuire equal wheel bogies
- 4’ 8½”
- 2x 35 hp BTH B265C (originally 2x 50 hp GEC WT28L)
- BTH B510H
- Current collector
- Trolley Pole with fixed head
1933 – pantograph replaced by trolley poles; folding doors and larger metal windscreens installed and appearance of destination boxes modified by the addition of curved mouldings.
1934 – original red and white livery replaced by green and ivory.
1936 – rebuilt platforms, improved windscreens, fitted platform doors and more streamlined destination indictor box. They were given a cream railcoach-style livery at this time.
1945 – repainted in (current) wartime green livery with cream vee flare
- Withdrawn from service
Withdrawn from passenger service in July 1953 and became an engineering car the following year.
1954 – original 50hp motor replaced by a less powerful 35hp one. Repainted in plain green livery in 1957. Finally withdrawn on 17th May 1962.
- Subsequent history
Used as engineering car until 1962, when it was donated to the Tramway Museum at Crich. In travelling to Crich, it became the first tramcar to use a motorway (the M62).
In 1990 it conveyed passengers along 500m of track at the Gateshead Garden Festival.
- Restoration history
1983-5 – restored in Bolton to original 1950s condition in time to take part in Blackpool’s centenary celebrations of 1985
- Current status
- Restored to operational condition. Commissioned for service as part of the operational fleet during the current season.
- Date started operating at Crich
- 1985. Has operated in 32 seasons including 2019.
- Total mileage covered at Crich
- 27,674. Has also operated elsewhere including Blackpool (2345 miles) in 1984, Gateshead Garden Festival (1922 miles) in 1990,, Blackpool in 1998 and Beamish in 2014.
- Current location
- 1928 – 1953Operational on original tramway
- 1954 – 1962Operated as engineering car on original tramway
- 1962 – 1983On display
- 1983 – 1985Under restoration
- 1985 –Operational at Crich and elsewhere apart from two brief periods while undergoing repairs