Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blackpool Centenary car

I was disappointed that a Centenary car has not been chosen for Crich. Whilst I did not particularly like them they were a response to a desperate situation when the OMO cars were worn out. The bodies were built by the local bus manufacturer East Lancashire Coachbuilders using common parts such as seats and window frames. The bogies and control systems were 'different' from other trams in the fleet.
However all is not lost. Wim Beukenkamp is trying to raise the money to save one of these trams. So far the response has been good and one may be saved in the nick of time. Wim is looking for pledges of money and I have asked him for further details so that readers of this blog can help.

Urgent Blackpool Centenary Class tram appeal
In order to preserve a fair selection of more recent Blackpool trams, last year Crich launched the Blackpool Fund. Sadly not enough money was donated to the fubnd to obtain every tram as originally planned. Reluctantly the Board of the TMS had to decline offers to preserve amongst others the last build British double deck tram 762 and the last Blackpool designed and build Centenary class tram 648. Understandable though the Board decision was, many tram enthusiasts and friends of Crich were very unhappy about this. Could Crich claim to be the National Tramway Museum and not preserve these two type of trams? Initiatives to try to reverse these decisions and create funds to support these schemes were started through internet and other social media. As a result, 762 has now been preserved at Crich after all. At present a last minute fund raising scheme has been set up through the TMS Yahoo group. The initiative is directed by Dutch TMS member Wim Beukenkamp and works as follows. Friends of Blackpool trams interested in preserving a Centenary Class tram for Crich are requested to contact Wim by email and state what amount of contribtion they are willing to pledge. Wim is collecting all the pledges and will offer them by the end of this month to the Board of the TMS. The pledges are for one purpose only, which is to preserve a Centenary class tram for Crich. If  the Board declines the offer, no money will actually be donated (no win no pay). Only after the Board has formally accepted the offer Wim will contact the contribuants and ask them to make their formal donation to the TMS Blackpool Fund.The target is to raise GBP 6400 by the end of November, which equates to GBP 8000 including gift aid, and as much as possible afterwards. Time is running out because Blackpool Transport has announced that all preserved cars must leave Blackpool by the end of this month. Those not taken away can be sold for scrap. Crich can really use a Centenary class tram, because such a tram will relieve the pressure on the sometimes overworked existing fleet, on the traffic department (because it’s an OMO) and on the overloaded Workshop. Those of you interested, please contact Wim Beukenkamp: only a couple of days already more than GBP 3000 has been pledged, which is encouraging. But it’s still a couple of thousand pounds short of the target. Every pound counts, every pledge is welcome. Help save a Centenary tram for Crich and the national collection. Give the Centenary Appeal its final push!

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