In 1933 Blackpool Corporation Transport were looking to replace their ancient fleet of trams on all their services in the town and to Fleetwood. English Electric were approached to see if they could build a prototype car to be displayed in Blackpool for the public to see for their opinions. The car was fitted with sunshine roofs, clocks, heating, wind down windows and roof light windows. The public were impressed and a further 25 were ordered arriving throughout 1934. A further 20 were ordered giving a fleet of 45.
These cars operated on all routes on the system all year round. In 1949 Railcoach 208 was converted to have VAMBAC controls and was confined to the Marton Route after that with the Marton Vambac cars.
in 1958 2nd series Railcoach 275 and 276 were rebuilt with flat front ends and became the first twin car set. Railcoaches 272,273,274,277,278,279,280,281 were rebuilt in the same way (see twin cars).
In 1961 the Lytham Road Route closed down and some of the first series Railcoaches were withdrawn. the fleet was further reduced when the North Station Route closed in 1963 with most of the first series of railcoaches either being withdrawn, rebuilt into illuminated or works cars or scrapped.
An interesting story relating to railcoach 201 is that one day in 1963 the tram was heading to North Station in service when it was stopped at Bispham and the passengers transferred to Brush 300. 201 was turned around and driven to Thornton Gate where it was scrapped the same day.
The 10 remaining 2nd series cars remained in service till the 1970's when along with the remaining series 1 railcoaches were converted to OMO cars. (See OMO Cars)
3 of the towing cars 278, 279 and 280 were not permanentely coupled to their trailers and by 1972 they were running seperately as railcoaches, they were renumbered 678, 679 and 680 in 1968.
680 at Fleetwood July 2003
In 2004 all three ex-towing railcoaches were still in regular service, with 679 seeing all year round service as it retained it's saloon heaters. 680 was extensively rebuilt in the early 90's and saw extensive summertime use on service and specials, having had it's heaters removed in 2001. 678 remains in original 1960's condition although structurally, the car is now drooping badly and the body warped and is in need of an overhaul and the roof leaks but remarkably 678 was still regarded as one of the best cars in the fleet.
2004 was the anniversary of the railcoach and 679 was repainted into it's 1980's livery and took part in the English Electric tram cavlcade on 11th September 2004.
As part of the reduction in the fleet size at the end of 2004, 679 was withdrawn from service. It seems to be a very strange decision as it had just been repainted 6 months earlier and was a useful all year round crew car. Remarkably 678 remained in service for a further 2 years and was finally withdrawn at the end of the 2006 season, its demise coming about after it had to be swapped in service during heavy rain when the seats became waterlogged and water was pouring in everywhere. 679 was donated to the LTT in 2008 to be restored as series 2 railcoach 279 in time for the 125th anniversary of the tramway in 2010. 680 remained as the only representative of this type in service until 2009 when it too was withdrawn as being surplus despite being in excellent condition and a popular tram, thus bringing the ex-towing railcoach's operation to an end. It is hoped that 680 will return to service or even see restoration.
|Original Number||Current Number||Built||Status||livery||Notes|
|200||1933||scrapped||Pioneer railcoach, was shorter than rest|
|201||1933||scrapped||was replaced in service one morning and was being scrapped by the afternoon|
|206||1933||scrapped||first railcoach to be scrapped|
|208||1933||scrapped||was fitted with VAMBAC equipment and operated on Marton route|
|209||1933||rebuilt||see 733 (illuminated trams)|
|220||608||1933||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|221||609||1933||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|222||1933||rebuilt||see illuminated cars|
|224||610||1933||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|264||611||1935||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|265||612||1935||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|266||613||1935||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|267||614||1935||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|268||615||1935||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|269||616||1935||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|270||617||1935||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|271||618||1935||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|272||672||1935||in service||see twin cars|
|273||673||1935||in service||see twin cars|
|274||674||1935||in service||see twin cars|
|275||675||1935||in service||see twin cars|
|276||676||1935||withdrawn||see twin cars|
|277||677||1935||scrapped||see twin cars|
|278||678||1935||withdrawn||Radio Wave advert|
|279||679||1935||withdrawn||1980's green and cream|
|280||680||1935||withdrawn||all over blue||overhauled in 1990|
|281||671||1935||in service||see twin cars|
|282||619||1935||rebuilt||see omo cars|
|283||620||1935||rebuilt||see omo cars|