Towing Car 680 of 1961

680_01AR

This tram was built in July 1935, and rebuilt in 1960 and 1992. It was one of 20 single deck streamlined ‘Railcoaches’ (264 – 283) supplied by the English Electric, Preston. They formed part of General Manager Walter Luff’s five year modernisation plan which saw 116 new trams supplied during the 1930’s. 280 entered service on 25 July 1935 and was used from Rigby Road Depot on the Promenade and Lytham Road Routes.

Ten of these trams (272-281) were rebuilt with flat ends between 1958 and 1962 and towed Trailers T1 to T10. 280 was rebuilt from May 1960 to March 1961, entering service at Easter. It was regularly paired with T10 each summer until 1972. Seven of the ‘twin cars’ were permanently coupled to their trailers but 280/T10 were never treated. Renumbered 680 in 1968, it – and sisters 678/9 – were fitted with heaters to act as winter cars (without trailers) from 1971 and became solo cars permanently from winter 1972 as their trailers were withdrawn.

After accruing a high mileage, 680 was withdrawn from service on 20 October 1989 for major overhaul which took place from July 1991 to March 1992, returning to service on Good Friday 17 April 1992. The modernised car featured new windows and fixed seats and was finished in a new livery with black window surrounds added to green and cream. It lost this in 1995 for a series of all-over advertisements. On 30 October 2008 680 was withdrawn and later passed into the ownership of the Manchester Tramway Museum Society. Repainted cream it operated at Beamish Museum in 2014 before moving to Heaton Park in Manchester in March 2015. Restored to its 1990s appearance in August 2015 it returned to Blackpool and joined the heritage fleet on loan.