George Formby OBE - Blackpool Tram  

Interest in both George Formby and Blackpool Trams has been created recently by the announcement of the re-naming of one Blackpool tram from its identification number 602 to the far more splendid "George Formby OBE". This report comes from the website Blackpool Trams Online. My thanks to Gareth for his co-operation on this report.

Fans of Blackpool's much-loved open 'Boat' cars have been given good reason to celebrate following the revelation that car 602 is set to return to active service in summer 2012, having been missing in action throughout 2011.

As only one Boat car, prototype 600, is currently fitted with transponder equipment it was the only one of this iconic class to operate this year and even it saw very little use for much of the summer. It had been feared that 600 would end up being the only Boat to be retained by Blackpool Transport and at least one publication reported on rumours that its four sisters had all been sold.

Thankfully these rumours were unfounded and 602 has been given a secure future in Blackpool. As if 602's impending return to service wasn't exciting enough, the tram is set to be named 'George Formby OBE' as part of a sponsorship deal with the George Formby Society.

The tram will be fitted with wooden nameplates on its roof canopy, similar to those on car 600, as well as images of George Formby himself which will be prominently displayed within its trolley tower. The work being undertaken on 602 has reportedly been costed at a very reasonable £4000, suggesting that it will probably not be completely rebuilt like 600, and the George Formby Society have pledged to contribute £500 as well as attracting plenty of extra publicity which should be greatly beneficial to Blackpool Transport and the town as a whole.

The Society has already announced to its members that they plan to launch their tram on June 9th 2012, with a special ceremony at North Pier which will include the unveiling of 602's new name. After this the tram will perform a ceremonial journey from North Pier to the Pleasure Beach and back with members on board making 'as much noise as possible' - so this should be a fun event! Blackpool Transport and the George Formby Society deserve considerable praise for this project which will see one of the most popular cars in the fleet back on the promenade next summer.

Presumably 602 will be repainted as it currently looks rather shabby in a coat of yellow and black which was applied way back in November 1998, as this tram enjoys an upturn in its fortunes. With 605 sold to the Lancastrian Transport Trust and 607 currently being restored prior to its inclusion in the National collection at Crich next year, here's hoping that the last Boat car with an unknown future, car 604, will also have a good future ahead of it.

Update - 20 May 2012

Because of complications with 602, I understand that the task of bringing it up to standard for the renaming and a season of work on Blackpool prom will take a lot more attention that the Blacpool tram people had bargained for. So they have now decied to use car 604 instead and this is the tram that on June 9th 2012 will bear the name of George Formby.

Please go to Blackpool Trams Online for the latest news.

Andrew Waddington – Contributing Writer
My thanks to British Trams Online for permission to reproduce this article


Blackpool Tram 604