Replica Vanguard 619

Replica Vanguard 619 is a tram with history, although it was built in 1987, its origins go back alot further.   619 started life way back in 1935 as series 2 railcoach 282.  

It led a pretty mundane life operating all year round on any route from North Station - Fleetwood, Starr Gate - Fleetwood, the Lytham Road Route or the Marton Route.   282 survived the mass withdrawal and scrapping of railcoaches that occurred with the closure of the inland routes in the early 60's and was renumbered 619 in 1968. 

619 continued in all year round service until 1972 when it was withdrawn for a rebuild into OMO 7, returning to service in 1973.   619 operated in the guise until 1987, when it was withdrawn from service. 

Following withdrawal, OMO 7 was transferred to Mode Wheel Workshops who were to rebuild the tram. The tram re-emerged later that year as a replica of the Vanguard tram which used to operate on the old tram road, but with a few concessions.

Key features of the tram included:

  • open sides, fitted with perspex sheeting along the bottom to prevent draughts
  • wooden swingover seats
  • a centre isle to allow easy access and fare collection
  • a 2 toned tongue and groove ceiling
  • roof side advertising boards

    The tram retained a railcoach trolley tower and pantograph giving the tram a rather odd look, However the tram was a popular addition to the fleet with the public.

    In the late 1990's, 619 was fitted with wraught iron railings giving the tram a more authentic look than the perspex sides did. Following the reduction in the fleet, 619 was withdrawn in 2004 and stored. Right out of the blue, 619 was reinstated to the fleet in 2008 and saw use during the illuminations on tours and specials.   619 remained in service in 2009 before being withdrawn again.    In 2010, 619 went on loan to Heaton Park tramway in exchange for Manchester 765 for the 125th anniversary celebrations.   765 went back home and 619 remained at Heaton Park, where it is still a popular member of their fleet.