Blackpool Corporation No. 249

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Photo: Jim Dignan

As part of its ambitious modernisation programme of the early 1930s, Blackpool Corporation introduced three new classes of modern streamlined tramcars to replace earlier vehicles that were felt to be showing their age. Hot on the heels of the single-deck railcoaches (represented at Crich by a later version, 298) and the “luxury toast racks” (represented by ‘boat tram’ 236) came a streamlined double deck tram that was envisaged as a replacement for the turn-of-the-century ‘Dreadnoughts’ (represented at the tramway museum by 59). Like its predecessor, the new tram had a legendary seating capacity (initially 90 passengers, though this was later extended to 94).

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Blackpool 249 at Bispham, looking north. H.B. Priestley, 9/4/1939.

The first of this “luxury dreadnought” class of double-decked trams was introduced as an open-topped prototype in 1934 and 24 9 was the last of a dozen additional similar vehicles that were built to this design before being top-covered in 1941/2. A further fourteen fully enclosed tramcars of similar design were ordered at the same time and their rather rounded streamlined appearance prompted the alternative nickname of “Balloons.”

The double decked fleet shared many of the hall-marked styling features associated with the original single-decked railcoaches including central entrances, art deco styling features which included curved glass light fittings and (in the case of fully enclosed trams) sliding roof windows and thermostatically-controlled radiators.

 

Specification

Type of tram
Type of tram Electric double deck streamlined passenger tram originally built as an ‘open-topper’ but provided with a top cover in 1941/2
Livery
Livery Green and cream
Seating capacity
Seating capacity 94 (originally 90); 40 downstairs, 54 upstairs
Date built
1934
Date entered service
April 1935
Manufacturer of body
English Electric
Manufacturer of truck
English Electric
Gauge
4’ 8½”
Motor
EE 305 type, 2 × 57 hp
Controller
EE DB1 Z4
Current collector
Pantograph
Modification

1941-2 – top cover fitted and wooden seats on the upper deck replaced by upholstered ones. During the war the green and cream livery was replaced with a mainly green one to reduce visibility, which lasted till the late 1950s.. The installation of additional bench seating on the upper deck at around this time increased the capacity to 94. 1960 single destination indicator fitted in place of the original somewhat illegible double indicators.
1968 renumbered as 712; overhauled and given a new livery in 1982.

Withdrawn from service

Withdrawn from service Withdrawal from passenger service in 2010.

Subsequent history

Subsequent history Refurbished and repainted in pre-war livery by Blackpool Transport Services in 2010 prior to its acquisition by the National Tramway Museum at Crich.

Restoration history

See above.

Current status
Restored as a static exhibit in 1930s green and cream livery.
Current location
Exhibition Hall
Future plans

Future plans/prospects Acquired primarily as a static exhibit. A full restoration to operational condition would be a major – and expensive – undertaking.

Timeline
  • 1935 – 2010Fully operational on original tramway
  • 2010 – 2011In storage
  • 2011 –On display

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.