648 was built in 1985 by East Lancashire Coach Builders of Blackburn. It was one of 8 Centenary class cars, though this was originally an experiemental tram owned by GEC Traction and fitted with their trial ‘switched reluctance’ equipment. It was tested in service by Blackpool Transport from 16 July 1985 to 10 February 1988 – albeit with several periods in store. It was numbered 651.
On completion of the trails, the body was purchased by Blackpool Transport and mounted on a new trucks with traditional motors and modern ‘thyristor’ controllers as used on sisters 641-647. It was renumbered 648 and entered service on 4 January 1990.
All of 641-8 carried an attractive green and cream fleet livery, 648 was one of four to receive the simplified green roof/skirt livery in 1992 and in 1994 received the first of many all-over adverts.
The Centenary cars were overhauled and modernised in a programme which started in 1998 and ended with 648 which was overhauled from August 2005 to June 2006. Unlike its sisters, it retained original windscreens and even regained its original style dash.
The Centenary cars were all withdrawn from service at the end of the 2011 season prior to the relaunch of the upgrade tramway. 648 was designated as part of the heritage fleet and ran on a couple of occasions in 2012 before our workshop team undid some of the 2005/6 modifications to return the car to close to its original appearnce, albeit still with more modern side windows and its refurbished interior. 648 returned to use on 20 July 2013.