Open Boat 227 (602) of 1934


227 is one of 12 open boat cars built by English Electric in 1934 as part of General Manager Walter Luff’s five year modernisation plan which saw 116 new trams supplied during the 1930’s. After prototype 225, 227 was the first of the production cars to arrive in July 1934 and soon entered service on Promenade Specials and the Circular Tour which took in the Promenade and Marton routes.

Stored during World War 2, the boats accrued low mileage as fair weather cars. 227 was selected to receive experimental Perspex windscreens in 1958 and these were duly applied to its sisters in 1959. A simplified livery was applied in 1962.

The Boats ran from Marton depot for much of their early life but when this closed in 1962 they moved to Bispham Depot but this too closed at the end of 1963 when the entire fleet was kept at Rigby Road Depot. The 12 boats were reduced to 8 in 1963 when four sisters were withdrawn. 227 became 602 in the 1968 fleet renumbering. Two more left the fleet in the 1970s.

602 was repainted in March 1969 – the last time it was to be painted in green and cream. Its next repaint, as part of a programme of cosmetic improvements to the boats, took place in December 1989. The car received a black and yellow scheme based on the company’s minibus livery with the five operational boats now carrying different schemes. A further repaint in the same scheme took place in 1998. 602 was withdrawn in 2010, but returned to use as part of the heritage fleet on 25 August 2013 in a red and white livery based on the scheme used until 1933 before the boats joined the fleet.