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Page 5: Boat Cars
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This is one of a series of pages on Blackpool trams under construction. This page shows the open Boat Cars cars delivered in 1934.
Built by English Electric in 1934, these cars are single deck open-topped models with central doors and gangway. Twelve trams were built numbered 225-236 (later 600-607) and have a passenger capacity of between 52 and 56. These cars are known as boats due to their ship-like streamlined appearance and are one of the most iconic Blackpool trams. All cars are virtually identical, except for 600, which has shorter body panels.
The boats were first commissioned by Walter Luff in 1933, in accordance with his five year plan. The first prototype boat arrived in Blackpool during early spring in 1934 along with four other designs. After an initial trial period, company directors approved an order for eleven more production cars, which arrived in July and August 1934. These new boats were numbered 225-236.
Work began on the circular and coastal tours, replacing the original toastrack cars, which were considered dangerous and old-fashioned. They were stationed at both Rigby Road and Marton depots for ease of access and continued there until the war years, when they were stored out of service due to the withdrawal of the circular tour and general lack of demand. This continued until 1946, when they returned to work on the promenade service.
The full twelve cars remained in regular service until the closure of the inland routes during 1963. The fleet was reduced to eight cars and renumbered 600-607, with 229, 231, 232 and 234 being mothballed and eventually scrapped in 1968. In the early 1990s the boats were refurbished and received a number of new liveries, including Routemaster red, blue and yellow as well as a fictitious wartime livery.[ The fleet was converted from trolley pole to pantograph conductors. However, they were soon converted back, as passengers regularly complained at being showered by grease and dirt from the power line when it rained.
In addition to the cars at Blackpool, there are boats currently serving in the United States. Car 226 (601) has been at the Western Railway Museum, Suisun City, California since 1971. Car 228 (603) was loaned to Philadelphia in 1976 for the United States Bicentennial, and was then returned to Blackpool where it was stored until 1984, when it was acquired as a gift for the San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) where it is still occasionally operated. Finally, car 606 was given to the Trolleyville Museum, Ohio, in September 2000, in return for Standard 147, which has been restored to original condition. (Ref: Wikipedia)
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Blackpool Trams Page-5 - Boat Cars - This Page!
Blackpool Trams 2012 - Flexity 2 trams on the rebuilt light rail network
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