Posted by: SB Websites | May 21, 2013

21/05/13 A Look at Twin 272+T2

Twin Car 272+T2 was numerically the second of the twin cars ordered by Joseph Franklin as part of a new project to introduce trailer operation. This therefore led to the purchasing of 10 brand new trailers from Metro Cammell, although due to financial constraints the decision was taken to use existing stock as the motive power. This came in the form of heavily refurbished 1935 English Electric Railcoaches which were fully refurbished and in the process lost their pointed front ends in favour of flat fronts in order to be more suitable to be coupled to a trailer. Railcoach 272 was the fourth of its type to be rebuilt for use with trailer T2 and the pair entered service in 1960, providing a totally new type of tram for Blackpool.

Initially the twin cars were only fitted with controllers in the motor car, but when they were permanently coupled the decision was then made to add motors to the trailer cars to increase their flexibility as originally they were restricted to operating round loops as they could not use cross-overs. Along with the other twin cars, 272+T2 was mainly used on the Fleetwood service, although were generally confined to use at busier periods and were not often used during the Winter.  In 1968, the fleet was renumbered with the set becoming 672+682 along with a repaint into green and cream.

Quite possibly one of the highlights for the Twin Cars was 2002 when due to the poor condition of track double deckers were banned from Fleetwood resulting in the fleet of twin cars providing the core service, one which was very rarely seen throughout their history.  As part of the twin car refurbishment programme in 2003 672+682 was repainted into Metro Coastlines Line 1 orange livery, matching the promenade buses with the other four refurbished sets (671+681, 673+683, 674+684 and 675+685) each given a different livery.

672+682

The tram was then withdrawn from service after becoming surplus to requirements in 2011 when the tramway closed for upgrade works. Initially it was hoped that the set would be preserved at the Crich Tramway Village, although like Centenary 648 this was eventually declined due to a lack of space. The future of the tram was once again unknown, until Blackpool Transport announced that it would be retained and prepared for service as part of the heritage fleet. After just under a year from its last use, the tram was repainted into its former 1960’s livery of all over cream with a green stripe underneath the windows and returned to service on the 14th September 2012. The future of 272+T2 looks bright, with it due to continue operating on its home tramway as part of the heritage fleet for many years to come.

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