Blackpool Corporation Electric Locomotive (aka No. 717)

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Blackpool 717

Photo: Jim Dignan

Blackpool Corporation’s electric locomotive serves as a reminder that not all electric tramcars were built to carry passengers. In different parts of the world trams have also been used for the carriage of a variety of other goods and commodities ranging from coal and timber to bottled mineral water and even funeral-bound coffins, in the case of the specially adapted hearse trams that operated in Milan between the 1880s and 1920s.

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Electric loco, Thornton Gate sidings. H. Nicol, date unknown

Blackpool’s electric locomotive was built in 1927 for the rather more prosaic purpose of towing coal wagons from an LMS railway siding behind the Copse Road tram depot in Fleetwood to Thornton Gate sidings, 2.5 miles away, where the coal would be off-loaded for onward delivery by various waiting coal merchants.

Specification

Type of tram
Four-wheeled steeple cab electric locomotive used as a works vehicle
Livery
Green (originally red with white lettering)
Seating capacity
Date built
1927
Manufacturer of body
English Electric
Manufacturer of truck
Integral
Gauge
4’ 8½”
Motor
Dick Kerr DK30 2 x 50hp
Controller
E.E. Z.4 (Originally DK DB1 K33E)
Current collector
Trolley pole with swivel head
Modification

The loco was repainted in 1938, when its red livery was replaced by green with dark green lining. Its original railway-type buffer beams and couplers were replaced with tramway-style coupling after it ceased to be used for mineral traffic work in 1949.
At some point its original DB1 controller was replaced by a Z.4 controller.

Withdrawn from service

Its original mineral wagon haulage role ended in 1949, after which it was deployed on various permanent way duties including weed-killing operations. It was taken out of service in September 1963 and stored for a time at Bispham depot.

Subsequent history

Acquired by the TMS and transported to Crich on 28th January 1966. It entered service at Crich later that year.

Restoration history

Extensively restored at Bolton during the mid-1980s during which process it received proper lifeguards and received its original red livery.
Overhauled in 2000 and motors serviced in 2008.

Current status
Restored and maintained in operational condition. It is regularly used on permanent way and shunting duties. Commissioned for service as part of the operational fleet during the current season.
Current location
Depots
Timeline
  • 1927 – 1965Operational on original tramway
  • 1966 – 1974Operational at Crich
  • 1974 – 1978On display
  • 1978 – 1983Operational at Crich
  • 1983 – 1984Undergoing restoration
  • 1984 –Operational at Crich

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.