Open Boat 600 (225) of 1934

600_01

This is the prototype 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. Three prototypes were constructed of different designs with 225 delivered in January 1934. It entered service in May 1934 as a regular on Promenade Specials and the Circular Tour which took in the Promenade and Marton routes. It led to an order for 11 sister cars though these featured higher sides than 225 – which remained unique.

Stored during World War 2, the car received a repaint in November 1960 as part of a minor overhaul programme for these lightly used trams. Perspex windscreens had been fitted in early 1959 to offer some protection to the driver. 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. 225 was renumbered 600 in 1968.

A further repaint took place in 1972 and again in 1985 prior to the car moving on loan to the Heaton Park Tramway in exchange for Manchester 765 visiting Blackpool for the Centenary events.

It returned to Blackpool in late 1997 and was repainted into original livery, albeit with new glass windscreens replacing the 1959 perspex ones. 600 returned to use for the first time since July 1983 on 3 May 1998. In 2007 600 was named “Duchess of Cornwall”. In 2009 600 was stripped down for its first ever major overhaul (reflecting its low annual mileage) and it returned to use in September 2010 and is retained today in the heritage fleet.