Builder: Blackpool Corporation Transport / Hurst Nelson (Motherwell)
Seating Capacity: 78
Fleet Numbers: 28, 33-43, 45-51, 53, 99-100,142-160, 177
Controllers: BTH B510
Motors: BTH B510
Trucks: Preston McGuire Equal Wheel Bogies
Current Collector: Trolley
Current Operation: 147 in service as part of the Heritage Fleet, 143 under restoration as part of the heritage fleet.
The Standard Trams were built during the 1920’s to replace a number of older tramcars, such as the ‘Motherwell’ tram cars, many built around the turn of the century. Following dismantling, the Motherwell tram cars would donate their reasonably new top decks to the Standard car that replaced it.
Initially, the standard cars were built with open balconies and open end vestibules, offering no protection to the driver against strong winds, the sand blown in by the strong winds and the rain. Of the 42 Standards built, 35 of them were built by Blackpool Corporation Transport and the other 7 were built by Hurst Nelson of Motherwell. The final 2 standards to be built (numbers 51 and 177) featured windscreens, this feature would be retrofitted to the other 40 standards by 1933. Standard 177 was actually built from spare parts left over from the standard building program
When introduced, the Standard trams wore the then tramway colours of red and white with gold fleet numbers, this gave way to green and cream livery in the 1930’s.
17 Standards received enclosed balconies during the 1930’s, with the remainder retaining open balconies for the remainder of their working lives.
Standard 33 became the first of the Standard Cars to be withdrawn and scrapped, being dismantled in 1940, Standard 46 would become the second, also making its demise in 1940. Standard 50 was withdrawn and scrapped in December 1940 after the tram was blown over during a gale near the Metropole.
In April 1944, Standard 36 derailed on the corner of Church and Abingdon Streets, crashing through the shop front of Sweet and Clarke Outfitters. The tram was repaired and returned to service.
The Standard Cars mainly saw use on the inland routes such as the Layton, Central Drive and Marton Routes until the closure of the Layton and Central Drive Routes in 1936. The Standards carried on working the Marton Route until the introduction of the Marton Vambacs in 1949 which saw the Standards relegated to specials and peak time extras. The result of this was the withdrawal of a number of Standard Cars in the early 1950’s with the majority of them being scrapped, however Standard 144, one of the withdrawn trams escaped the scrapman for a new life on the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine, America. The tram was transported to Liverpool Docks by lorry then by freighter across the Atlantic.
Standard 143 was withdrawn in 1957 and found a new life as an engineering car. The tram was fitted with a bus engine in the lower deck to allow it to move without electric power if required. At first a large part of the covered top deck was retained apart for the middle section which was removed to allow an inspection gantry to be fitted, however the remaining windows and roof were soon removed making 143 open topped.
In a bid to maximise revenue during the illuminations period, Standards 159 and 160 received exterior illuminations to allow them to be used as additional feature cars during the illuminations whilst also operating as normal specials in the daytime.
Standard 40, which had been withdrawn as only the standards with closed balconies were being retained, returned to service for a tour of the system in 1957 and was retained in service until 1962, becoming the last double decker with open ends in use anywhere in the country. The next double decker tram with an open top to operate on a commercially run tramway would be Balloon 706, which made its return to service in this form in 1985.
By 1962 only a handful of Standards remained in service, these were Standards 40, 48, 147, 158, 159 and 160. 40 and 48 were withdrawn in October 1962 after being selected for use on the final service on the Marton Route with 40 operating the final journey from Talbot Square and 48 operating the final journey from Royal Oak prior to the route’s closure on 26th October.
Following withdrawal, Standard 40 joined sister car 49 at Crich Tramway Museum in Derbyshire, whilst Standard 48 crossed the Atlantic to the Oregon Electric Railway in Oregon in the USA. Standards 147, 158, 159 and 160 continued to see use until 1966 when Standard 160 was scrapped, 158 went to Crich for spare parts and was subsequently scrapped. Standard 159 went to the East Anglian Transport Museum, where it was restored and still operates today.
Following a farewell tour of the system in 1966, Standard 147 also crossed the Atlantic, where it ended up at Columbia Park, Cleveland, Ohio.
Standard 40 was repainted back into original red and white in 1985 and returned to Blackpool in 1985 for the Centenary of the tramway.
Standard 143 (as 753) caught fire whilst operating on Diesel power in 1990 and was stored unserviceable until it was donated to the Lancashire Transport Trust.
Standard 147 returned to Blackpool in 2000 from Ohio with Boat 606 going the opposite way in exchange. Following a major restoration job, Standard 147 returned to service in 2002 and is now part of the heritage fleet. Standard 143 was returned to Rigby Road in 2010 with a large part of the overhaul complete, however further work was not carried out and it returned to the LTT workshops in 2012 before returning to Blackpool in 2013. 143 returned to service briefly in 2019, however a motor fault has seen it sidelined awaiting repair by a specialist firm.
Original Info From http://blackpool-trams.yolasite.com/