This press release will no doubt be of great interest to tramway enthusiasts and is released here and on the NTM blog simultaneously…
Following the recent transfer of Gateshead tramcar No.52 from the National Tramway Museum Collection to Beamish Museum for eventual restoration, the two organisations can announce that a further NTM tramcar is heading north, with Blackpool 167 due to visit the north east museum from late January until the end of April. The tram was built in 1928 by English Electric, Preston, and marked the end of the traditional tramcar style in Blackpool before the arrival of the famous streamlined fleet less than a decade later. Originally intended to be a Pullman fleet, the class were soon nicknamed ‘Pantograph’ cars, as when new they were fitted with pantographs, though these did not endure. 167 itself survived the wholesale withdrawal of the class (which became well known for plying their trade on the Fleetwood – North Station route), becoming a works car, then in 1962 it was presented to the Tramway Museum Society and moved to the developing National Tramway Museum at Crich. In 1982 it was moved, unrestored, into storage at Clay Cross, before moving once again for restoration in Bolton, before returning to Blackpool in 1985 for the centenary celebrations that took place in that year.
In 1990 167 ventured north to Gateshead, being one of the small fleet of trams in use on the Gateshead Garden Festival. Incidentally, the track was recovered when the festival closed, and reinstated at Beamish as part of the tramway there – so 167 has graced some of the actual rails at Beamish before!
Paul Jarman, Head of Transport & Industry at Beamish said “I am personally thrilled that 167 will be visiting us – it is one of my favourite trams and I am sure it will delight our visitors throughout its stay. Carrying WW2 era livery also fits well with the imminent opening of our refurbished Home Farm, set in the Second World War and complete with a regular influx of evacuees, as part of our schools programme. 167 isn’t so far removed from the Pullman cars that operated in Newcastle so all in all it is set to be a very appropriate visit!”
Laura Waters, Curator Collections and Library at the National Tramway Museum said “It is always a delight when we get to send one of our tramcars from the National collection out on loan. This will be the 2nd year in a row that we have loaned a tramcar to Beamish, which is a great way to share our tramcar heritage with more people. 167 looks set to make a valuable contribution to Beamish’s WW2 activities.”
In 2014 the NTM celebrates 50 years since the first electric tramcar was in operation at the Museum based in Derbyshire. An exciting programme of special event is planned including Electric 50, where we aim to have as many electric vehicles in operation as possible. We also have confirmed our popular events such as our 1940s and Edwardian weekend. Please see tramway.co.uk for full events list and up to the minute news.
167 is currently being prepared in the workshops at Crich before moving to Beamish in late January for commissioning. It will be in use at weekends, February half-term and at the Great North Festival of Transport which runs from late March into April.
We therefore have the enticing prospect of scheduling a four-Blackpool tram service using 31, 101 (703), 167 and 280, and will in due course announce a weekend in Feb or early March where a mini-gala will take place using the four trams. As ever, watch this space as there is more tramway news to come…