Posted by: SB Websites | April 12, 2012

12/04/12 A Look at Balloon 710

Balloon 710 was built by English Electric in 1934 where it was numbered 247, being the 11th of the 27 Balloon cars ordered. As per the rest of the fleet, 710 was out-shopped into the 1930’s green and cream livery where it was used on the promenade service as well as the Bispham – Squires Gate service which was withdrawn in 1961. During this time 247 was an open top car; similar to the sole open top 706 today, but the need for open top trams declined so the decision was taken to convert 237-249 to enclosed cars to match the already closed top 250-263.

This photo from the 25th of May 1987 shows 710 climbing the small hill at Gynn Square while heading Southbound. By this time; along with many other Balloon cars,  it received the revised 1980’s green and cream which consisted of a green roof and green stripe under the lower deck windows. Throughout its earlier life 710 was more or less ‘just another Balloon car’ with not much history made individually to the tram in comparison to others such as the 1980 collision of 705 and 706 at Pleasure Beach and the modernization of a large number of the fleet during the 1990’s.

Moving onto the Winter of 2003 this saw various trams repainted into a variety of historic green and cream liveries with 700 into the mainly green wartime livery, 702 into 1970’s livery, 703 in 1980’s livery, 706 into 1930’s livery and 712 into 1960’s livery. However, these repaints did not involve 710 which instead gained the bright yellow and purple Metro Coastlines livery which was being mainly introduced to the bus network, which was also carried by Optare Excel’s used on service 7.

Within a few years of carrying this livery and no overhauls being undertaken unlike other members of the class, the condition of 710 was becoming increasingly worse which prompted its final withdrawal in 2008 where it has never ran again. It was then stored gathering dust in the back of Rigby Road depot awaiting its future, where at once point it was thought to be  a candidate for being scrapped along with 722. Thankfully this never happened and instead its future lies within the hands of the Friends of Fleetwood Trams who plan to place 710 as an exhibit in their planned Corpse Road Museum in Fleetwood.

In 2011, 710 emerged on Blundell Street for a photo shoot along with 625, 680, 8, 605 and 708 to help make the 2012 calendar of trams, in aid of Children with Leukemia and was organized by Blackpool Transport Employees and Enthusiasts. This was the first time the tram was visible to the public; with the exception of depot shunts, since its withdrawal in 2008. Only one week later, 710 was once again on Blundell Street to help promote Tram Sunday.  To help make the event known, an interviewer from ITV Granada TV was present and were filming the tram inside and out. Within a few days it was loaded onto a low loader where it left Rigby Road for Fleetwood’s Tram Sunday where due to track renewal, it was the only tram in attendance. The choice for 710 was actually due to it moving into preservation and was on display from the back of a low loader with the end windows carrying the slogan “Goodbye Blackpool 1934 – 2011″ where after the event it moved to a yard in the Fylde area which is where it remains today.

Photos Thanks to Wikimedia Commons. May 1987 photo by Dr Neil Clifton.

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Responses

  1. you forgot something it killed a corrination street charitor in 1989

    • That is something else that could have been added, but there is so much that could have been mentioned. I’ve tried to mention some different things than the look at Balloon 715.

      Matthew


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