Fleet Numbers: 69-92 and 161-166
Built: 1911-1913 and 1926
Builders: UEC (69-92) and BCT (161-166)
Capacity: 69 (55 from 1936 for69-92) and 64 (51 from 1936 for 161-166)
Controllers: BTH B18
Bogies: Preston McGuire Equal Wheel
Motors: 27 GE52 (69,70,77-92, 161-166), 29 GE54 (71-76)
Routes Operated: Circular Tour and extra Promenade and Layton journeys
The Toastrack trams were a mainstay of the Circular tour around Blackpool for over 30 years and in that time, 30 were built.
UEC in Preston were approached in June 1911 to build a pair of Toastrack trams. These trams were an electric version of horse drawn Toastrack Trams that were proving extremely popular on the Douglas Horse Tramway (some of which are still running there today). Due to their basic design, Toastracks 69 and 70 were built and had entered service by 7th August 1911! The initial livery chosen was Corporation red livery with white trim.
The simple and open design of 69 and 70 proved popular with the passengers on the Circular tour, which at that time ran from Talbot Square to South Pier, then onto Station Road, Lytham Road, round Marton and back to Talbot Square. The large capacity of 69 passengers spread out over 14 benches allowed crowds to be cleared quickly.
A further 6 Toastracks (numbered 71 – 76) were ordered in November 1911 and entered service at Easter 1912, with another 4 (numbered 77 – 80) entering service in June 1912. An unexpectedly large number of passengers wanted to travel on the Circular Tour, in 1912 with the 12 new Toastracks being joined by a further 25 conventional trams on the circular to cater for demand! A further 6 were ordered in November 1912 (numbered 81-86) with another 6 ordered in 1913 (ordered 87-92)
In 1926, Blackpool Corporation built a further 6 Toastracks numbered 161 – 166 were built to operate an extended Circular Tour, which now travelled along south prom, onto Squires Gate Lane and onto Lytham Road before heading round Marton.
The Corporation built Toastracks were built shorter than the UEC built version, with only 13 benches and a slightly lower capacity of 64 passengers.
Following the arrival of Walter Luff as General Manager in 1933, the Toastracks were still seen as an important part of the Circular Tours and were repainted into the new livery of Green and Cream.
By 1936, it was decided to add a centre aisle to the passenger area of the Toastracks to make it easier and safer for the conductor to collect fares. This however reduced the capacity of the UEC built trams to 55 and the BCT built trams to 51.
The beginning of World War 2 in September 1939 spelled the end of the Toastrack in passenger service with the fleet being stored in Marton Depot. Maintenance continued on them and the BCT fleet were even fitted with hoods on their headlights (fitted to all trams in service to make their headlights less visible from the air) in case they were required. However Marton Depot was requisitioned for the war effort and the UEC trams were sent for open storage at Thornton Gate sidings and by 1942 had all been scrapped. 161-166 were more lucky, they were stored initially at Bispham depot before transferring to Blundell Street in 1941.
161 was converted to a snowplough and water tank tram in 1942 and could still run under its own power until it lost it’s electrical equipment in 1948 and had to be towed by the electric loco. The tram lasted in this form until it was scrapped in 1960.
165 was converted to a TV tram, with a camera gantry and transmitting equipment in 1951, whilst 162, 164 and 166 were moved to Thornton Gate for outside storage. 163 was moved to Copse Road Permanent Way Depot for future use. 166 was returned to Rigby Road in 1953 for conversion to a second TV tram and was paired with 165. 162 and 164 were scrapped in 1954.
In 1959, 163 was moved back to Rigby Road where it was used as the basis for the Blackpool Belle illuminated tram.
165 was scrapped in 1968 as the use of the TV tram was no longer required, whilst 166
remained stored until 1972, when it was donated to the National Tramway Museum at Crich for restoration. 166 entered service at Crich in 1974 and is still in service and as popular now as it was in it’s heyday in Blackpool.
Original Info from http://blackpool-trams.yolasite.com/