Coronation 660 (324) of 1953

660 g Pharos St JM 010505

660 was built by Charles Roberts of Wakefield in 1953 as part of 25 new streamlined single deck trams numbered 304-328. The Coronation cars were designed to revolutionise the Promenade and Fleetwood service and introduced new Mayley & Taunton ‘Vambac’ control gear and silent running bogies, based on American PCC principles. The new trams were 50ft. long and 8ft. wide, making them the largest single deckers ever built in Britain, and were finished to a high standard both inside and out.

This tram entered service on 7th August 1953 – the 21st of the batch. Their complex equipment proved difficult to maintain and within ten years their numbers began to wane as older trams were favoured for use in their place, and the first Coronation was withdrawn from service in 1963. From 1964, thirteen Coronations had their Vambac equipment removed, those retaining Vambac being relegated to mainly summer seasonal use. 324 was re-equipped in June 1967 having been painted into the revised half green/half cream livery with orange tower. In 1968 324 became car 660 but withdrawals accelerated with the Vambac powered cars withdrawn by 1970. The last few cars operated in 1975 but 660 was surprisingly selected for an overhaul during the summer 1974 and survived in occasional use after its last sisters retired. It was repainted in original livery in 1983, again in 1992 and 2004.

660 is retained in the heritage fleet but has not operated since 2010 pending the rectification of faults.