Balloon 723 of 1935

723_01 AR

Car 723 was built by the English Electric Co., Preston, in 1935 as one of 14 enclosed ‘Balloons’. The class formed part of the streamlined family of 116 new trams introduced by General Manager Walter Luff between 1933 and 1939.

Numbered 260, this tram entered service on 26th January 1935, and the class was used on Lytham Road and Promenade routes. Luff expected the cars to be replaced by single deckers in the 1950s but his replacement Joe Franklin preferred the high capacity double deckers and the cars were refreshed with 260 being one of the earlier cars to forsake the mainly green ‘wartime’ livery for a brighter 1950s livery with more cream.

Major refurbishments of the Balloons commenced in 1966 and 723 (as 260 became in 1968) was treated in 1970 gaining single indicators, plain panels without decorative beading, rubber mounted roof windows. 723, like its sisters, was now largely a summer only car.

A second major refurbishment took place as a result of an accident in September 1991 which distorted the underframe. Work took place from April 1992 to June 1993 and the car returned to use on 29 July 1993 as the first Balloon to feature low voltage equipment. It also featured hopper windows and fixed seats.

It lasted until the end of the traditional tramway in 2011 and has seen occasional use in the heritage fleet. It is presented in the 1980s style livery.