Restoration fundraiser to help save unique 'Princess Alice' Blackpool tram

A fundraiser is underway to help refurbish one of Blackpool’s most iconic trams.

The unique open-top balloon car know as ‘Princess Alice’ 706 has been out of service since 2015 and an appeal has been launched by the Fylde Tramway Society.

The 'Princess Alice' tram needs a 50,000 restoration. Credit: Blackpool Transport

The 'Princess Alice' tram needs a 50,000 restoration. Credit: Blackpool Transport

The 85-year-old tram requires a major body overhaul, as well as a new underframe to replace the original which was partly renewed during its last renovation in 1985.

The work is expected to cost in the region of £50,000 with an initial £10,000 needed for the underframe alone.

A spokesman for the society said: “Obviously this is a hefty sum, although in the general context of tram restorations it represents very good value for money.

“It is intended to have 706 back in service by 2021, which is the Fylde Tramway Society’s 50th anniversary year.”

The tram was involved in a head-on crash with another tram in 1980.

The tram was involved in a head-on crash with another tram in 1980.

The tram was originally delivered as an open-top tram and issued with fleet number 243.It was rebuilt with a roof in the early 1940’s and renumbered to 706 in 1968.

The tram was then heavily damaged in July 1980 after being involved in a head-on collision with another tram in front of the Pleasure Beach.

Six people were injured in what was Blackpool’s first head-to-head tram smash.

It returned to service in 1985 named the ‘Princess Alice’ and it was transferred to the Blackpool Heritage Trust in 2014.

Bryan Lindop, head of heritage at Blackpool Transport said: "Princess Alice is a unique and iconic tramcar within the Blackpool heritage tram fleet. When delivered it was one of 13 that were all open top during the war, they were all enclosed with top covers and remain so until 1985.

"When the tramway celebrated its centenary, it was thought to be the perfect opportunity to recreate the original open top tram as part of the celebration hence Princess Alice was born. It was not reproduced to the original drawing and therefore remains a unique vehicle loved by millions of locals and visitors.

"We are very grateful to the Fylde Tramway Society for partnering with us to help raise funds to restore this popular and beautiful tramcar."

To support the tram go to www.gofundme.com/039princess-alice039-706-appeal