Coronation 663 (327) 1953


Car 663 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 18th January 1954 – the penultimate 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ten years their numbers began to wane as older trams were favoured for use in their place, and the first Coronation was withdrawn from service in 1963.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. 327 was re-equipped in 1967 having been painted into the revised half green/half cream livery with orange tower the year before. In 1968 327 became car 663 but withdrawals accelerated with the Vambac powered cars withdrawn by 1970. The last few cars operated in 1975, but 663 was retired at the end of the 1974 season.

It was purchased by enthusiast Graham Oliver and left on 18 August 1976 for storage at Lytham. It later had spells in store in Southport, Bradford, St Helens and Richmond before returning to Blackpool in 2003 as part of the LTT collection which was absorbed into the BHT collection in 2013. 663 returned to Rigby Road after 37 years away on 9 December 2013. It is partially restored, but awaits completion.