Blackpool ‘Coronation’ on test after two-year absence

Pioneer Charles Roberts’ ‘Coronation’ car No. 304 made its first runs along Blackpool’s famous promenade in more than two years on December 11 as work to return the 1952-built single decker to service with Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours (BHTT) continues.

The Fylde Transport Trust’s Blackpool ‘Coronation’ car No. 304 pauses near the Central Pier during its trial runs on December 11.

The car, which was restored for the TV series Salvage Squad in 2002, was in action for the first time since July 2016 to test the VAMBAC (Variable Automatic Multi-notch Braking and Control) acceleration and braking, and check the vehicle’s 24v inverter charging system, following the fitting of new batteries.

No. 304 was trialled between Foxhall and Pleasure Beach owing to single-line operation north of Talbot Square, with BHTT engineers being well satisfied with the VAMBAC’s performance.

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This now paves the way for No. 304’s owner, the Fylde Transport Trust (FTT), to continue a programme of work which it hopes will see the car return to regular service later this year.

One issue which needs to be overcome is the hardening of the rubber suspension blocks.

Those fitted to No. 304 date from a full bogie overhaul in 1970 and would ordinarily be fit for further use. However, long periods out of use have shown the suspension has a tendency to harden and become less responsive.

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About the Author

Sam Hewitt