HMS Blackpool 736

736_01

HMS Blackpool was the fifth of the 1960s feature cars constructed following Blackpool Belle, The Rocket, The Western Train and the Hovertram. Based loosely on the Frigate of the same name, it used the underframe, trucks, motors and equipment of 1928 built Pantograph car 170. This had been withdrawn in 1961 but kept for works duties. Work commenced in April 1965 when the underframe was extended to 54ft to accommodate the longer body. A new wood framed body was constructed with full cab at one end and remote shunt controller at the rear. A single, rear end, entrance was provided. HMS Blackpool was ready for the 1965 Illuminations. In 1968 it was allocated fleet number 736 in the new series. It occasionally ran on special daytime tours but was usually restricted to tours of the Illuminations. An overhaul and modernisation of its illuminations took place in 1979. The 2001 season was planned to be the HMS’s last as the car was withdrawn in need of an overhaul and rewiring.

In 2003 736 was selected for a major rebuilt. Its body was scrapped, save for the prow and the underframe was repaired and strengthened. A new body frame and roof was built to a new style which more closely reflected the actual Frigate’s design. Full controls were provided at both ends, but there is only a door on one side (to the rear). The car entered service in September 2004 and has run in regular tour service since, including some daytime work – most notably on scheduled service on occasions prior to the tramway upgrade.