In a landmark move, the Blackpool Heritage Trust (BHT) have acquired the surviving components of 1904 built Glasgow tram 1016, the former Paisley 16. The move follows a very generous offer from the current owners, the Scottish International Tramway Association (SITA), and will allow for the tram to be restored to near original specification for service on the Blackpool Tramway. Paisley 16/Glasgow 1016 will add to the Heritage collection a car from the turn of the 20th Century, an era which is currently less well represented in the Blackpool fleet than the 1930’s, and is sure to prove immensely popular with the many Scottish visitors who visit Blackpool throughout the year. In addition, in its original condition as an open top double deck car, it will add an extremely useful open topper to the seaside fleet.
The tram was built by the British Electric Car Company as one of forty cars (1-40) acquired for the conversion of the former horse tramway in Paisley to electric operation in 1904. Although starting life as a fairly conventional three window open top double decker, it was rebuilt as a single deck car and fitted with vestibules and Glasgow ‘Standard’ hexagonal dashes in 1924/5 following takeover of the Paisley system by Glasgow Corporation in 1923. Prior to the rebuild it was renumbered 1016 and repainted into Glasgow’s distinctive fleet livery featuring a green route colour on the upper deck decency panels.
The rebuilt tram was exclusively used on a service between Clydebank and Duntocher, which encountered a low bridge that prevented the use of double deck cars on this route. (Sister car 1017, preserved at the Scottish Museum of Industrial Life at Summerlee, has been restored in this ‘cut-down’ condition). 1016 continued in service in this guise until withdrawal on the 4th December 1949, but following its service life, the main body frame survived and in recent years this has resided at the Glasgow bus museum at Bridgeton, in the ownership of SITA.
Following the very generous offer of the body, truck and other associated equipment to the BHT during the latter part of 2016, these various components were transported to Blackpool from Glasgow on 3rd December. We especially wish to record our grateful thanks to Hugh McAulay of SITA in appreciation for all his help and support in making this acquisition possible. This was one of the most complex moves we have ever undertaken due to the sheer number of component parts the tram had been stripped into, but all went according to plan for our engineering expert John Houghton who achieved a small miracle by completing the entire move in just one day. Thanks also go to John Kennedy and team at the Glasgow Bus Museum who helped prepare the various components for collection.
It was the single minded dedication of the late Brian Longworth that enabled the ongoing preservation of this unique vehicle and we all owe a debt of gratitude to this remarkable man for his foresight and vision that enabled 1016’s survival. We hope to complete the good work started by Brian and his fellow Trustees and bring this extraordinary story to a very happy conclusion. At this stage it is intended to restore the tram to near original open top condition, but we have yet to decide if this will be as a representative of the Paisley, or Glasgow systems!
If you would like to help the BHT with the cost of restoring 16/1016 to service as part of the Heritage tram fleet in Blackpool you can make a donation to the Blackpool Heritage Trust. Either a one off donation, or a regular standing order would be appreciated, and will assist with getting this superb period tramcar back in action for the enjoyment of all!
You can help, by supporting the Blackpool Heritage Trust – visit http://www.blackpoolheritage.com/htrust/donate/ for details.
The photo shows Paisley 1, a sister of 16, in original condition, but with some accident damage – which is presumably why the photograph was taken!