Fylde Transport Trust

Blackpool English Electric Railcoach Tram Appeal

To raise money for the next phase of restoration work on Blackpool English Electric "Railcoach" tram 279, as part of the project to restore it to working condition on the tramway, a missing piece of Blackpool's tramway heritage.
raised of £20,000 target
by 28 supporters
RCN 1197287


During the 1930s Blackpool Corporation spent thousands updating the tram fleet with over a hundred streamlined centre entrance tramcars. This investment helped the tramway survive to the present day. Walter Luff, the General Manager of the transport department from 1933 until 1953, led this revolution of Blackpools tramway and many of the trams introduced during the 1930s still survive.

The missing piece of the jigsaw is an English Electric Railcoach, once the largest type of tram ever operated on the Blackpool tramway, totalling 45 examples. From the early 1960s, their numbers were reduced by either being scrapped or rebuilt into Trailer towing cars, illuminated trams or One Man trams. The design, with its distinctive style of ends, was last seen on the Blackpool tramway back in 1974. This project will fill this significant gap in Blackpools tramway heritage.

In November 2008, tram 679 (which had been one of the examples rebuilt for Trailer towing) was acquired for preservation by the organisation now known as the Fylde Transport Trust. In view of the historical significance of the original Railcoaches, it was decided to rebuild 679 is to its original cab-end design and with its original number 279.

This complex job has involved the fabrication of new cab underframes and steel cab end framework to the original profile. A complete re-wiring to modern specifications is being carried out to ensure electrical safety into the future, but the scale of this work has been increased to include a complete rewiring of the lighting and auxiliary circuits too. The fabrication of new roof domes is well in hand, and templates of the original style windscreens have kindly been loaned by the National Tramway Museum to enable the manufacture of replicas for 279.

New half drop windows have been installed and the interior woodwork refurbished. Work of this magnitude is obviously very expensive and the Trust is grateful to a small number of benefactors, including Peter Watts, Nick Meskell of Trams Magazine and Philip Higgs of Catch 22Bus. However, in order to maintain the momentum of the restoration project, the Trust is launching an appeal for donations to progress the next stages of the restoration.

As detailed above, a significant amount of work has already been undertaken but the scale and scope of the work has also increased significantly, including the need for the complete re-cable and rewire of the tram. There is still much to do, including the completion of the auxiliary wiring, new windscreens, re-panelling, painting and the re-upholstery of the seating. We need your help to produce a tram that will showcase this pioneering design which transformed the fortunes of the Blackpool tramway and return 279 back to regular operation, on loan to Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours, where people can enjoy this iconic transport design of yesteryear for years to come.

So, to maintain the momentum of the project the target has been set at £20,000.

A budget of £6,000 has been allowed for seating re-upholstery, £6,000 for completion of the rewiring work, £2000 for recreating the original design of windscreens, £2000 for re-panelling the sides of the tram and £4000 for interior and exterior repainting.

Contributions no matter how small or large are equally welcome and the Trust thanks you in anticipation of your support.

Help us to recreate an English Electric Railcoach to be proud of.

In the event that the target should be exceeded the funds will be spent exclusively on other ongoing aspects of the restoration of Railcoach 279. The Fylde Transport Trust is a registered charity number 1080404.



About the charity

Fylde Transport Trust

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RCN 1197287
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Donation summary

Total raised
+ £201.93 Gift Aid
Online donations
Offline donations
Direct donations
Donations via fundraisers

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