Blackpool VAMBACS

The Marton Vambacs, were originally built as Sun Saloon Cars to operate on the promenade during the summer. These cars were similarly shaped to the railcoaches and had been built by English Electric. The Sun Saloons were numbered 10-21 had half size windows and doors, there was no partitions between the driver and passengers, the control equipment was salvaged from older cars which were being scrapped at the time and also had fold away tarpaulin roofs. The cars were built in 1939 and didnt last long in this capacity as World War 2 started not long after they entered service. The Sun Saloons then found a new role as troop carrying trams, taking troops form their barracks at Squires Gate to the Rifle Ranges at Rossall.

The troops christened them Cattle trucks as they were uncomfortable and draughty. To make the journey more bearable for the troops, the trams were soon refurbished with a proper roof and full windows and doors as well as the driver getting a cab fitted at either end. Later more comfortable seats were also fitted to the Sun Saloons

In 1948, when the Marton route was being relaid, the trams were further upgraded and fitted with the revolutionary VAMBAC equipment which allowed smoother acceleration and braking as and by 1952, these trams were the mainstay of the route, with additional railcoaches supplimenting the service.

In 1960 car 10 was withdrawn following an accident and scrapped soon after, followed by 21 in 1961 which was withdrawn for spare parts for the other tram's VAMBAC equipment. 14 was also withdrawn in 1961 and found use as a driver training car. The remainder of the VAMBACS lasted till October 1962 when the Marton route closed, with 11, 13, 15, 17 and 18 operating on the last day and were withdrawn at the end of service on that day. The VAMBACS remained in Marton Depot and were joined by other surplus trams for scrapping in 1963.

One VAMBAC did survive however, VAMBAC 11 survived as it was requested for a tour of the remaining parts of the tramway early in 1963 and then found its way into preservation and is now at the East Anglia transport museum. Rumours from various sources state that 11 could be coming back to Blackpool on loan during 2010 for the 125th Anniversary of the tramway.

blackpool tramway
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Original Number Current Number Built Status livery Notes
10 1939 scrapped first to be scrapped
11 1939 preserved
12 1939 scrapped
13 1939 scrapped
14 1939 scrapped
15 1939 scrapped
16 1939 scrapped
17 1939 scrapped
18 1939 scrapped
19 1939 scrapped
20 1939 scrapped
21 1939 scrapped