Numbered: 200 – 224 (608-610)(Series 1) and 264 – 283 (611 – 620)(Series 2) as railcoaches and 1-13 as OMO
Built: 1933-34 (series1) and 1935 (Series 2) rebuilt 1972-1975
Built By: English Electric, Preston and rebuilt as OMO by BCT
Trucks: English Electric equal-wheel bogies, 4ft wheelbase
Motors: English Electric 305 57 Horse Power (2 on each tram)
Controllers : E.E. Z4 (Series1) , E.E. Z6 (Series 2)
Braking: Westinghouse Air Wheel, hand wheel and rhetostatic
Current Collection: Trolley
Length: 43ft 3 inches
Following the closure of the inland routes by 1963, there was a need for Blackpool Corporation Transport to cut costs on operation of the tramway during the winter period when the number of passengers carried was drastically less than during the summer months. There was three inital experiments carried out using existing members of the fleet to see if costs could be saved. Initially, there was an experimental conversion of Brush Car 638 to one person operation. The initial experiment was a failure as the door was placed too far back, the driver had to swivel round to collect money from passengers and with the narrow entrance door, it would make loading slower. 638’s seating capacity would also have been reduced, the capacity was only 48 prior to the experiment taking place. It was soon converted back to a two person car.
Next up railcoach 611 was converted. It was built to look like a twin car railcoach to try and boost capacity (56 seats as opposed to 48 seats on ordinary railcoaches), also they lengthened railcoach 618 to allow a greater
With so many of the series 1 EE railcoaches having been scrapped in the 1960’s and ten of the twenty EE Series 2 railcoaches having been converted for twin car operation, there was very few Railcoaches available for conversion that were in a serviceable condition that of the first 5 conversions, one was accident damaged (616), three were stored requiring an overhaul (608, 610 and 620) and one was an ex works tram (609, or works car 5). These five trams were chosen to be converted first to allow as many railcoaches as possible to remain in service for as long as possible.
From early October, the OMO trams began to find use on specials with OMO 2 being first to be used. From the 30th of October 1972 OMO 1 – 4 were introduced to the winter timetable on the Starr Gate to Fleetwood Service OMO 5 would join them in November 1972. OMO 5 required more work to be done to it than the other trams as the underframe and body frame required more straightening and strengthening work than the others, this additional work probably aided OMO 5’s survival in service and ultimately it’s preservation. The original livery for the OMO trams was Plum and Custard livery to distinguish the OMO trams from the regular crew trams. Initially the OMO trams were to be called the ‘Sea Spray’ class but the OMO name was more commonly used (as well as the nickname ‘coffins’ which were used by the crews due to the shape).
Following the introduction of OMO 1-5, the remaining conversions would require Series 2 railcoaches to be withdrawn from service. 617 and 619 were withdrawn from service in 1972 and would become OMO 6 and OMO 7. OMO 6 had a distinctive shape as straightening works carried out on the original 1935 part of the underframe led to the cab ends pointing upwards slightly. Both OMO 6 and OMO 7 entered service in 1973.
The next batch of railcoaches, 612, 613 and 614 were withdrawn in 1973, becoming OMO 8, OMO 9 and OMO 10 and entering service during 1974.
The OMO cars operated along side the Brush Cars and remaining railcoaches until there was enough OMO’s to run the whole service (approximately 1975).
Soon after introduction it was realised that the Plum and Custard livery wasn’t really suitable as it had started to fade badly quickly and all cars were repainted in a red and white livery. It is thought that the OMO’s were painted a different livery from the rest of the ordinary fleet to allow passengers to distinguish between pay on entry and the normal conductor operated trams.
The last remaining ‘real railcoach’ 615 and became OMO 11 and the experimental Railcoaches 611 and 618 became OMO 12 and 13 respectively.
The last OMO (13) entered service in 1976, and the main difference between it and the rest was that it was fitted with an inverter and flourescent lighting, however it was withdrawn and scrapped after only 8 years in service. This particular tram was unpopular with drivers due to a number of faults and problems.
It was soon discovered that the OMO’s could not cope with the extra length and their bodies began to droop badly at each end resulting in continual remedial work having to take place.
By 1988, there were enough Centenary cars to replace them and many of the 13 cars were withdrawn upon reaching 100,000 miles travelled. Withdrawal started with 13 in 1984 followed by 2, 3, 4, 6 and 9 which were all scrapped soon after withdrawal. OMO 7 survived following withdrawal and was converted to a replica Vanguard tram which was supposed to be similar to those which operated in Blackpool in the 1920’s.
However, due to a number of problems with the Centenary cars, some of the OMO cars that were in the best condition had a reprieve from withdrawal, 1, 5, 8, 10, 11 and 12 remained in service after the centenary cars entered service. 2 of them however, would be withdrawn by the end of the 19080’s with OMO 1 being withdrawn following a compressor fire and an accident in the depot in 1989 and OMO 12 being withdrawn as surplus to requirements in 1988.
By 1991, there was only 4 OMO’s available for service these being 5, 8, 10 and 11. OMO 8 was withdrawn in 1992 and stored in the depot and 5 was given an experimental invertor, however this caused problems with the electrics of this tram and the lights would not work meaning this car could not be used after dark and soon had its original equipment restored. In 1993 both cars 1 and 12 were stripped of any remaining useful parts and scrapped. By March 1993, the remaining servicible OMO’s: 5, 10 and 11 were withdrawn, with Brush cars and the 3 ex towing car railcoaches taking over their winter duties.
Following withdrawal. 11 served as a test car for new bogies and motors for what was to become the experimental Roadliner 611 tram before moving to Canforth for further trials. After the trials were complete, 11 returned to Blackpool where it was stripped to it’s shell and stored at the rear of the depot until it was scrapped in 2000.
OMO’s 5 and 8 remained stored whilst 10 was sold and became a static coffee shop in a conference centre in Reading in 1996.
In 2000 OMO 5, which had been stripped of it’s windows and doors to be reused on the Brush Cars, was transferred to Clay Cross Stores, part of Crich Tramway Museum, to await restoration. In 2005, 8 became part of the LTT fleet and has since been repainted into its original livery of plum and custard and received windows from OMO 10 which was scrapped in 2005. OMO 8 was transferred to the LTT depot for further work to take place on the tram. It made its returned to service in preservation with Blackpool Transport on 29th September 2010. OMO 8 was then returned to store requiring a major overhaul and replacement underframe. OMO 5 remains at Clay Cross awaiting restoration.
|Original Number||Current Number||Built||Status||livery||Notes|
|609||5||rebuilt 1972||preserved||90’s green and cream||at Clay Cross stores awaiting restoration|
|619||7||rebuilt 1973||rebuilt||see preserved trams|
|612||8||rebuilt 1974||preserved||plum and custard||part of LTT collection, being restored|
|614||10||rebuilt 1974||scrapped||was used as a coffee shop at a conference centre in Reading|
|618||13||rebuilt 1976||scrapped||last built but first scrapped|
Original Info From http://blackpool-trams.yolasite.com/