Tram of the Month July 2006 - Balloon 713

713 heading North through Cabin

713 started out life as Balloon 250 back in 1935 when it was delivered. It was the first of the enclosed series of Balloons to enter service. It spent many years on the Summer Service between Cabin / Bispham and Squires Gate until that route closed in 1961. In the following years the car settled down to a spell of running on promenade specials and market day specials to Fleetwood during the summer. The car still had many original features including bare bulb lights, roof windows, drop down windows, and swing over seats until 2002 when it was withdrawn with structural faults. Many enthusiasts felt that when the car was being overhauled, it should be done similar to 700 and retain many original features due to the tram being important historically as it was the first covered Balloon built, however the HSE had other ideas and decided that this could not be done due to modern regulations so a comprimise had to be reached. This compromise resulted in the tram being reburbished like 711 and 723 on the outside, thus allowing the tram to keep the basic balloon shape minus the curved upper deck windows, but also having a number of millenium car style interior.

The tram returned to service in 2005 and featured high density headlights, heaters, fixed seating throughout with 'explosion in a paint factory' moquette and flourescent lighting. The tram returned to service in all white livery and in 2006 received an all over advert for Asda Fleetwood, in 2007 it returned to all white before receiving an advert for the Conservative Party which lasted for 2 weeks before a return to all over white livery was made for the rest of the season. The tram returned in 2008 in line 7 purple and yellow livery and looks really smart.

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